1. Brian Poncelet, CFP on May 16, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Hi Guys,

    A couple of thoughts here. One is a link to tuition fees check out link from CBC


    When you think about RESPs help but fall short and over time the RESPs is gone. RRSPs…has some good things, but the government has and will change rules here and the tax bill will be paid in the future at future tax rates?! My guess is taxes are not going to be much less in the future…like gas prices.

    In a nutshell fees are going up higher than inflation and what people can make in the market.

    The other big thought is nobody is using a Financial Model. For example, if one has limited amount of money where to put it? How does this impact my life 20, 30 years from now?

    If you want, I can scan a model I use. This model includes real estate, RRSPs, wills, insurance, (home, auto, life, disabiltiy, etc.).

    A financial model should show inflation, taxes, how a disability or premature death changes everything. Since everyone is different, no two models will be the same.



  2. Teacher Man on May 16, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Brian, I love the experience and obvious wealth of knowledge you bring to the comment board, but your confusing this situation in order to pump your own financial model is not cool.

    I’m not even sure what you’re trying say here. RESPs are gone? What does that mean? You will have to pay taxes on RRSP withdrawals? Yes, you will… How does this affect the comparison? Fees ARE NOT going up higher than what people can make in the market, especially when you consider that with the RESP program you get an automatic 20% ROI from the CESG. You also need to factor in that governments allow more money in these accounts, and wages are also rising with inflation (albeit not at the same rate for the last 25 or so years).

    This article is not a personalized financial model, it is a comparison between two savings vehicles for your money, and it is that simple my man.

  3. Brian Poncelet, CFP on May 16, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Hi Teacher Man,

    Sorry if you took offence to a financial model.and my offer to add something here. One idea is to see what kind of financial models are out there and have that for a future story.

    One needs to look at the long term pros and cons of RESPs and RRSPs etc.
    RESPs and RRSPs have advantages and disadvantages. I don’t know if you reviewed the link I added regarding tuition fees let me know.

    I understand you are trying to make it simple for your readers but my point is what is the out come 20 to 30 years out? Why not look at that? One may get a different answer.

    Also, RESPs and RRSPs even TFSAs is not the only tools for people.



  4. Teacher Man on May 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Hey Brian,

    I just don’t want to make things appear more complicated than they truly are for our readers. You have to be careful when stating things like RESPs are not good because of inflation. This is improper logic to provide to our readers. I think this article does a pretty good job of looking at the pros and cons of RESPs and RRSPs. I do mention that RRSPs are dealing with a different investing time horizon and subsequently different conditions apply. I think any financial model can be set up in order to slant results in a certain way. I would much rather people get a fundamental understanding of how certain savings vehicles work and then make their own conclusions as opposed to blindly placing face in a “financial model” that makes several assumptions that may or may not be relevant.

    I did take in the link. I’m pretty familiar with rising tuition costs, and I did review the link. I don’t understand how the rising costs of tuition effects the choice of what savings vehicle to use? The costs are going to rise regardless of where you put your money, so it is irrelevant to the conversation.

    RESPs, RRSPs, and TFSAs are not the only tools, that is correct. That being said, they are by far the most accessible, and in the vast majority of cases they are the best option at what the purport to do for the majority of Canadians. I think it very worthwhile to compare two of the most popular investment vehicles in a head-to-head comparison in order you help you Canadians.

    Thanks again for being such an active participant on Y&T, we really do appreciate it!

  5. Brian Poncelet, CFP on May 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Teacher Man,

    Lets start again.

    Fees are going up faster than inflation. (tuition/rent/food/gas/etc.)
    The 7% is not likely to happen as an average for the 18 years. (return).
    RESPs are great but your case studies starting at 5 and putting $2500 per year and using reasonable increases of 5% plus per year the child is still short.

    Since many readers may not understand insurance and how it works, it can be accessible and more flexible.

    If a parent is disabled contributions will not be made to the plan.
    Insurance does this.
    If money is withdrawn from an insurance policy (the right kind) and paid back the cash value is credited as if no money was ever withdrawn.
    Values on the right kind of insurance policies can never go down.
    No limit on the cash value insurance policies (or at least very high).

    RESPs are great because of the 20% added by the government but have limits on how you can get your money.

    In the end having a mix of say RESPs and insurance maybe better, but as I said before one needs a model to see if it makes sense.

  6. Teacher Man on May 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Ok Brian, at least we are discussing specifics now, I’ll reply in kind:

    1) Fees are going up faster than inflation. This is irrelevant as to the best way to save money.

    2) What assumptions do you make to say that 7% is not a probable rate of return? The S&P 500 has returned over 10% since its inception. There is still plenty of growth potential in the world’s markets.

    3) If a parent is disabled, the vast majority of them will get an insurance settlement, depending on their employment. This can then be invested on the child’s behalf, or in an RRSP however they see fit.

    4) So your withdrawing money from an insurance plan, only to put it back in again at a later date? This is really what you are suggesting as a viable alternative to an RRSP or an RESP? That sounds like an insurance salesman to me, oh, and by coincidence your website is one that sells insurance.

    5) I’ve seen and heard this pitch before. The money inside of insurance funds grows at a much slower rate than if you invest it on your own behalf. This is why most financial gurus (including David Chilton most notably) will advise their clients to use term insurance “and invest the rest.” Using insurance for what its meant to be used for – protection against events that are out of your control, makes much more sense than trying to use it as an investment strategy. Basic logic tells you that insurance companies take your money (the premiums you pay) and invest it, and then pay settlements out of the pot. Their profit comes out of your earnings. It has to, or insurance companies would have to run on volunteer labour!

    6) You comment that withdrawing from an RESP has strings attached? It’s pretty straightforward, and there is a great feature that allows you roll the money into your RRSP if none of your children use the money (although they almost assuredly will in this increasingly information-based economy). Your proposing that taking money in and out of an insurance plan doesn’t have strings attached? Come on man…

    7) I want one specific situation where any amount of money in an insurance plan would be better from an investment standpoint than in an RESP. The fact is that it does not exist. Please come bearing hard facts and quit trying to merely sell insurance, or I will forced to disallow comments from here on out Brian.

  7. Brian Poncelet, CFP on May 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Teacher Man,

    I will address two points

    # 2 The “10% ” returns rates vary for different times one if you look at Jan 1 1999 to Dec 31 2011 the S& P returns were 3.85% as one example. check out www.moneychimp.com/featu…t_cagr.htm

    #7 If use an example of a 20 pay insurance policy for a five year old male at $2500/year the cash value is $67,880 at age 25 and death benefit of $435,948
    At age 55 the death benefit is $1,331,919 and the cash value is $592,031 This keeps going in value over one’s life time.

    The insurance idea is not to say RESP are bad (the 20% is great) but later in life the money is spent. The “strings” is in order to keep the policy alive one can borrow up to 90% of the cash value. Also one would want to repay the amount borrowed over time. Lets face in a $1,000,000 plus policy will cost a lot at age 55.

    I can comment on the other points but I will see if you are open minded here on other ideas. I sent an e-mail to you on a book you may want to read, let me know if you got it.


  8. Teacher Man on May 17, 2012 at 7:49 am


    2) Of course an “average” of 10% varies Brian… We could both cherry pick times when the market did well or didn’t do well, but the bottom line is that the long-term average is over 10%.

    7) The death benefit of insurance is irrelevant to its use as a savings vehicle. Besides, why do I want a million dollar insurance policy when I’m 55? About the only time I ever want that much insurance is if I have just moved into a large house and have three young children. To use your own numbers, if a 20-year old took those insurance premiums and put them in a TFSA (the RRSP comparison isn’t even valid because it is pre-tax dollars which is another huge advantage), invested in the market average (I’ll use returns of 9% just to be conservative) he would have $638,846.73 by age 55. That money could now be taken out whenever they wanted, as opposed to borrowing and returning and the tax ramifications of that!

    I like to think I’m pretty open minded, but your facts just aren’t going to line up in the case Brian. It’s impossible given the basic business model of an insurance company. The insurance companies invest in the same markets I do, then they take their cut before anything else; consequently, we’re all better off skipping the middleman.

    Term insurance for whatever you need, and invest the rest!

  9. Randy on March 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Excellent article Teacher Man. It is worded well and gives great examples that make the understanding very simple. I also completely agree with your points in the discussion between you and Brian.

    The best thing I learned from my father is to take advice from those who have attained the goals you wish to achieve. Many have preached to me about these insurance models and many other wonderful schemes, none of them seem to be at the same point in life as me though… funny how that works. (unless they are the middleman or are working for the middleman himself).

  10. Teacher Man on March 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks Randy!

  11. Goose on May 8, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Teacher Man,

    Excellent post! I have 2 kids and I live in Quebec where there is an extra 10% given by the government for RESP contributions.

    My plan is to contribute 7500$ per year in my RRSP and use the tax credit of 2500$ and invest it in the RESP to get the 30% grants. I would do that for 14+ years to earn the maximum grants as possible. After that, invest the tax return in the RRSP or TSFA, depending of which one has some room available!

    I have two kids and to not loose the potential 30% free money from the grants, I will wait until the second one is 10 years old to see if my boys have a certain potential and interest in school. If yes, I will invest 5000$ per year to catch up the grants until the maximum is reached.

    By doing that, I make sure that I will have a fairly huge amount in my RRSP and in my RESP, without having to stress about the fact that I need to find a way to withdraw 100k from the RESP during 2 or 3 years.

    The fear of having too much money in a RESP is not a big problem but if I can max out my RRSP without having to think that I should keep some room because of the possibility of rolling the interests from the RESP to the RRSP, it would be the best case scenario for me.

    Oh! I forgot! I will probably by an insurance plan to………….. I think I will stop here, just by writing that made me realize that it was an awful plan. Low cost investing is the way to go!


  12. Rek on October 31, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Lets say I know i will be able to pay my child’s tuition out of pocket when they go by using my usual annual savings contribution (i won’t save those 4 years). I don;t want to turn down free money so i will still buy RRSP or RESPs. But what one is better in that scenario?
    My logic is that i am better to get only RRSPs and keep that interest compounding and not save for 4 years rather than get RESPs.

    Basically i am saying if i can afford to pay for school for my children with my annual salary is it better to buy RRSPs or RESPs?

  13. Kyle on November 1, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Honestly, what I would likely do Rek (not knowing anything else about your situation) is go RESP. That automatic 20% top up the government gives is so valuable. Then, in a few years, when you would have been paying out of pocket for your child’s education, use that money for an RRSP contribution. You’ll lose a few years of compounding, but that automatic 20% is tough to beat.

  14. Rek on November 1, 2017 at 11:24 am

    thanks Kyle. the thing is with the RRSP tax refund I get more than the 20% a RESP would give.

  15. Kyle on November 21, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Sure, but the tax refund is just delaying the tax you pay (you’ll still have to pay when you take it out), the 20% RESP is basically free and clear (your child likely won’t pay tax on it as a student).

  16. Dividend Earner on June 23, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Here is my case study, if it helps others as I am actively withdrawing and I don’t have enough for 2 kids in university at the same time.

    1st – We pay for their education. That’s a rule we have that was passed down from my family. Ensure a post-secondary education with no debt. (Excluding graduate school)
    2nd – I pay for everywhere in Canada and depending on the field of study, that’s $25K per year (2 terms).

    Over the span of 18-20 years, the income for the family will change. Depending on when you have your kids. In our case, we were young (26) and it was hard to do both RESP and RRSP for a while. I dropped RESP for about 3 years and only did RRSP and TFSA. Why drop it? We won’t sacrifice our RRSP and retirement to fund an RESP, we can always withdraw from our TFSA if needed to help pay.

    The biggest tip I can share is that you need to let your kids know how you intend to help or not help them. Some kids find out when they graduate that they won’t have help. That means you need to know where you help and where you won’t help (i.e. draw the line) and let them know.

    Do the minimum to get the free government grant and then decide how you want to do the rest through a TFSA or another method.

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