The RESP Book, by Mike Holman @MoneySmartsBlog

Back in November the Young And Thrifty blog had a review of The RESP Book, by Mike Holman and a contest to win a copy. And I WON!!!

And now, thanks to the reality that my car is dead (well almost, sometimes it’s feeling a bit better, but really it’s quite ill) I’m commuting by train so I have lots of time to read and I finished the book within a few days. I’ve also come away with a page full of to-do’s to make sure my kid’s RESP is done right!

The RESP Book is subtitled The Complete Guide to Registered Education Savings Plans for Canadians and I think this book will remain the RESP bible for quite some time to come, probably until there are major changes in the RESP rules since it is such a complete and thorough review of RESP’s.

There’s two things I love about this book: it contains all the information you need to set up and maintain an RESP; and it was self-published (i.e.: when you order the book they print you a copy, that’s got major geek appeal).

The book goes through the process of opening an RESP, buying investments, maintaining the investments, withdrawing from the RESP to fund your childern’s education, and collapsing the RESP.  It also covers all the possible federal and provincial grants that can help you maximise your RESP’s return; and reinforces some basic principals of investing (like keeping your costs down and diversifying) but gives concrete examples in an RESP.

In particular I recommend everyone make a copy of page 110 and keep it on the front of their RESP folder/binder.

I also really appreciated the chapter summaries at the end of each chapter, so if I’m looking for something I don’t have re-read the whole chapter only to realise it’s not there – I can just check the summary to find the right chapter.

I do think that giving each of the provincial programs (Alberta’s and Quebec’s) their own chapters was a bit overkill – they probably could have been merged into one chapter since they’re only a couple pages long.

In an interview with Kevin Rose for Sun Life Financial, Mike explains a bit about how the self-publishing works:

There’s a company called Lightning Source that I used; they’re the main printing press for most self-publishers. They’re connected to Amazon. Once you get a book set up there, they automatically send the information to Amazon and people can order it…The way print-on-demand works is that they will literally print one book. Once somebody buys a book from Amazon the order goes to Lightning Source. Because they work with Amazon, they’ve got their packaging technology. The package is mailed off, and away it goes.

I think it’s really cool that not only as a writer you can concentrate on the writing and then just upload your manuscript (well, set-up your account, etc. but only the first time) and for a small fee they take care of the rest.  But also as a buyer it’s pretty cool to know that the book I’m holding in my hands was printed specifically for me!

The only downside is that the book is only available from Amazon.ca – you won’t find it in your local corner book store or even a Chapters store.  There’s also no Kindle version (sorry Steve) or audio version (sorry Johnny) available, yet!

You can read the first chapter of The RESP Book over at the Globe and Mail.

You can read more about RESP’s on Mike’s Money Smarts blog and follow him on Twitter.

When you do read this book, and if you have an RESP you must read this book, make sure to keep a pen & paper handy (or your iPad) because you’re going to want to take notes and follow-up on what you’ve learned.

Cross-posted on 2FatDads at The RESP Book, by Mike Holman @MoneySmartsBlog

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