Now that I’m a mom of two, we discuss the 5 easy ways I am planning for my kids’ financial future and education and why a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) should be on your back to school list this fall.
Since the day I got my junior bank account and my first job as a grocery clerk at the local store, I have always been a saver. I guess I have generally always been a forward thinker, so a desire to think about my financial future, education and career path has just come naturally. While I may have been motivated by a special toy in my childhood, a handbag in my teens, and a girl’s trip in my early 20s, as a mom of two, it’s all about my kids and what their future holds.
With back to school season in full swing, I know a lot of you might be thinking seriously about pencil cases, backpacks and cool masks to buy. But I think we wouldn’t be really ready for this back to school season if we weren’t also thinking ahead about what schooling might look like as our kids get older and whether we can afford their post-secondary education costs.
So today on the blog, I thought I would share the simple pain-free ways I am trying to prepare for my kids’ education and financial future.
5 easy ways I’m planning for my children’s financial future and education
I am all about consistency and making little changes in my life that I feel confident I can uphold in the long run. So each year, once I see how my business financials are going, I make a commitment to save a certain amount of money each month for my kids. This could go towards family trips, their education, future big expenses (like weddings – AH cue the waterworks), or just a rainy day as a family. The key is that I am committed to saving it for them.
Sell, Don’t Hoard
There are so many baby and kids things that cost a lot of money, and get used for such a short period of time. While I am not sure if I’m done having kids quite yet, once I make that decision, I plan to sell the big-ticket items and save those earnings for my kids. Think about the money you spent on the crib, stroller, snow gear, sports equipment – all of which have such a short life. All of those little sales and savings can definitely add up!
Budget Your Child Expenses
In the age of Amazon Prime, it is really easy to overspend on kids’ things without even noticing – every purchase is just a simple click away. Working on a spreadsheet on Google Sheets (which is easily accessed from my phone), I’ve started to create buckets of expenses for our household and kids – think clothes, toys, etc. Each time I buy something online, I just plug the cost into my spreadsheet on my phone, so I see how much I’m left with for the month. If a purchase will set me over my monthly budget for that bucket, I will try my best to wait until next month. Otherwise, it can be way too easy to go overboard on cute baby button ups and new teddies for the nursery and be left in the red by the end of the year.
The CST Bright Plan™
Education is really REALLY important to me, and I want to make sure I have a plan in place to ensure E and O have a post-secondary education that will help them thrive. The CST Bright Plan from CST Spark Inc. is an innovative digital RESP that makes it easier for families like mine to save. It can be opened easily and digitally from home and rebalances investments as kids get closer to graduation (as crazy as that thought is), which helps reduce risk and maintain any gains. It also provides flexibility in how much and how often we can invest. In other words, we can add as little as $10 every month or contribute more as it suits us! The benefit of an RESP is that it allows investments to grow tax free, and when the kids start school, the money gets taxed at the student’s income level. It also provides the kids access to government grants like the Canada Education Savings Grant, which can add up to $7,200 per child over the lifetime of an RESP, by matching 20 per cent of annual contributions to a maximum of $500 per year. Low income families may be eligible for the Canada Learning Bond, which can provide up to an additional $2,000. Some provinces provide additional provincial grants. Plus an RESP can remain open for up to 36 years! I know CST Spark’s parent company (Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation) has been around since 1960 as a key player in the evolution of education savings here in Canada, and this is a much-needed solution for a lot of family’s needs.
Investing in Life Insurance
It’s a funny thing to have to think about life insurance when you still feel so young at heart. Isn’t that something that only old people have to do? But investing in my kids’ future means planning for me not being part of it (I know, kinda morbid, but very important!) As soon as my husband and I started having kids, we made sure to sit down with our financial advisor to determine the best insurance policy to protect one another and our kids should anything happen to either of us. I feel good knowing my two sons will be taken care of financially even if I’m not around.
So fellow moms and dads, as you adapt to this year’s back to school routine (whatever that’s looked like for your family this year), what are some of the ways you’ll be thinking ahead for this future education and financial wellbeing? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!
Disclosure: This post was developed in paid partnership with CST Spark Inc., but all opinions are my own. CST Bright Plan is only sold by Prospectus and distributed by CST Spark Inc.
Updated on October 23rd, 2020
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.