Recently, I finished setting up RESPs for our boys and for new parents who cannot wait to start saving for their kids’ education, here are the steps to getting started:

  1. First a Statement of Live Birth form should be completed and filed with the city where the hospital is located.
  2. Three to four months later, a Notice of Birth Registration arrives in the mail.
  3. Using the information in the Notice of Birth, apply for a Birth Certificate from the provincial government. In Ontario, the Ministry of Government Services accepts online applications with guaranteed service times.
  4. With a birth certificate, apply for a Social Insurance Number for your child at a local Human Resources Development Canada office.
  5. I decided on a self-directed RESP and I think TD eFunds are perfect for such accounts. I first opened a TD Mutual funds RESP account, parked the initial contribution in a money market account and then converted it into an eFunds account.
  6. As soon as the eFunds account was open, I bought index funds to match my target asset allocation of 20% bonds, 20% Canadian equity, 35% US equity and 25% International equity.

See also:
MoneySense magazine’s excellent RESP article.
Frugal Canadian’s post on RESP basics.
Canada Revenue Agency’s RESP publication.