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Four Strategies Beyond RESPs

Contributing to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) easily ranks as one of the best financial moves you can make for your children. But it's not the only financial planning strategy you and your family can undertake. There are several government-sponsored options that will help you decrease expenses today and build your children a financially sound tomorrow.

 

Here are four savvy strategies:
  1. An RESP is one of the best ways to save for your child’s post-secondary education – because it's both a tax-efficient savings vehicle and it allows you to take advantage of the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). Currently, the government will contribute a CESG amounting to 20% of your annual RESP contribution directly to the RESP, to a maximum of $500 per year per beneficiary. The lifetime CESG maximum per beneficiary is $7,200.
  2. To get the most out of tax-related bonuses and government grants for families, parents should file a tax return every year – even if there is no income to report. 
  3. The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) was introduced by the federal government in 2016 as a replacement for several previous initiatives, including the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and the Family Tax Cut, also known as income splitting. Under the CCB program, families with children younger than age six will receive an annual tax-free benefit of up to $6,400 per child. Those with children between the ages of six and 17 will receive up to $5,400 annually. Households with children with annual income below $30,000 will receive the maximum payment. Families whose children qualify for the Disability Tax Credit can receive an additional amount as part of their Canada Child Benefit, up to a maximum annual benefit of $2,730 per eligible child. Applications for the CCB can be made through the Canada Child Benefits Application, available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
  4. The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is a federal government initiative entitling eligible RESP beneficiaries to a grant of up to $2,000. An initial CLB of $500 is provided in the first year of entitlement. Subsequently, additional CLBs in the amount of $100 per year are provided for a period of 15 years, as long as the beneficiary meets the eligibility requirements. Among the requirements, the beneficiary must be 15 years of age or younger in the benefit year, and the beneficiary's parent or primary caregiver must be entitled to the National Child Benefit for at least one month of the benefit year.
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