Smartsaver RESP and CLB Information


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Success Stories

Learn how other families are using RESPs and Government grants to help their children succeed in their education. If you'd like to share your story with us, email us today at info@smartsaver.org.

Bushra

"Why should I want my children to take loans? In my culture, it's a parent's duty to have the savings to help them."

If Bushra had only herself to think of she might have become a pilot. "I sat on a plane in Pakistan and dreamed of that," she smiles. But now she's in Canada with two daughters under the age of six. "Mothers think that what they haven't done, their children should do," she laughs. She hopes that her youngest will want to fly.

"I didn't know about an RESP until the workshop. That's when I got to know that there is a plan for the children. This got me started."

When Bushra learned about RESPs at a SmartSAVER workshop, she asked what would happen to an RESP if either of her children did not go on to post-secondary education. Once she understood that, if she chose her plan wisely, she could get her savings back, she was almost ready to start. But first, she and her husband discussed their options with lots of other people.

As Muslims, Bushra and her husband needed to consider whether such an investment was acceptable in their faith. They decided that they were comfortable with it. After her husband spoke to their branch manager, he asked his wife to complete arrangements with the bank. "Back home men do these things and ladies only enjoy the luxuries," she laughs. "Here we have to be very active." Determined to be thorough, Bushra took the community outreach worker to the bank with her. "There were plenty of questions she made sure they answered," says Bushra, "about the government grant and the low-income funds."

Bushra's husband, who has a graduate degree, is retraining in the Canadian system, so the family income is still modest. But their RESP has had a good start with the Canada Learning Bond. Bushra herself hopes to train for a new career one day. Once employed, she'll be able to make her own contributions to the RESP - she thinks that her eldest daughter will make a great doctor.


Chaturi

"My husband and I don't have a degree. This is what we want for our boys. We want them to finish university. Then they should choose what they want to be."

Marcus and Dexter, aged four and five, are much more interested in their toy cars than their education. But their mother, Chaturi, has resolved that when the time comes for college her family will have the money to make it happen. Chaturi, who struggles with her new language, is anxious to make herself understood when speaking English. She is shy, but very determined. Her warm, easy giggle wins her many friends.

Had she stayed in Sri Lanka, Chaturi's education would eventually have qualified her as a teacher. Instead she came to Canada to get married and began a new life. Six years later, both she and her husband are working. Her husband's new job is one that finally pays a good salary. That, along with Chaturi's first job, which is part time, makes for a family income far better than they've ever had before.

When Chaturi was first given information about RESPs, she was very wary. Two years ago, Chaturi and her husband started an RESP with a group scholarship plan. At the time, only her husband was working. His income was small and his job was uncertain. For 12 months they managed to make a monthly contribution of $35 but when they couldn't keep up the contributions, the couple closed the RESP, a decision that cost them money.

"Smart Saver helped me find an RESP that I can afford. I don't have to pay every month."

Then she learned that there were RESP options that do not require a monthly contribution and Chaturi was more than willing to try again. She and her husband know that they can't count on having a good family income when their boys graduate from high school. And they are determined that their children will have all the educational opportunities that Canada provides.


Ebrahim

"Without skills or education you can't get a good job."

When Ebrahim and his family arrived in Toronto there was snow on the ground. He and his children were thrilled. It had taken him many years to get to Canada from Yemen.

The kids are happy at their new school and Ebrahim is busy building a professional network. He works hard as a volunteer to gain Canadian work experience and is sure that he'll have a job soon. His own education was expensive and he had to borrow from his family to pay for his tuition. Now he is determined to help his children with their education.

"I had to interrupt my education and go to work. I saved and borrowed to be able to go back to school. Now I have children and I don't want them to have that problem."

When he heard about RESPs at a SmartSAVER session, he was very interested. He was willing to contribute $200 a month from the family's child benefits. Information he had from SmartSAVER encouraged him to shop around and to compare his options. Ebrahim decided that his bank's RESP was the most flexible and the least expensive. He established a family plan and his youngest child received the Canada Learning Bond. In addition, his contributions will be matched by a Canada Education Savings Grant.

NOTE: These are true success stories. Names have been changed to protect families' privacy.