When Does The New Year Of RESP Contributions Start?

An RESP question I frequently get at this time of year is along the lines of:

“I maxed out my child’s RESP grant last year in [insert month here] – do I have to wait 12 months from that time to get more grants?”.

In other words – they want to know when a new “year” of grant-eligible contributions are available.

The answer is always going to be January 1st of each year.

It doesn’t matter when you contributed last year or when the kid’s birthday is.  When the new year rolls around, another $2,500 of grant-eligible contribution room becomes available for qualified beneficiaries. The grant-eligible contribution room is always determined by the calendar year.

This rule also applies to situations where there are partial years of eligibility ie a child is born in July or moves to Canada in June – in either case, they get the full $2,500 of grant-eligible contribution room for that year and then on January 1st of the following year, they get another $2,500.

Don’t forget the eligibility rules for RESP grants

The last year a child can get any RESP grants is the calendar year in which they turn 17.   See RESP contribution rules.

There are specific eligibility rules for kids in the years when they turn 16 and 17.  Make sure you understand these rules if you started the RESP late or haven’t contributed much.

The maximum amount of lifetime RESP grants a child can get is $7,200. This number includes any additional grants (but doesn’t include Canada Learning Bond). If someone contributes $2,500 a year for a child born in 2013 and gets 20% grants, they will max out the child’s grant with a $1,000 contribution in the year they turn 14.   This scenario hasn’t been a problem in the past because the eligibility amount was only $2,000 of grant-eligible contribution room per year in 2006 and prior, plus the current RESP grant system only started in 1998.






Will There Be a $250 Stimulus Check for SSI Recipients In 2013?

Getting a $250 check mailed to you out of the blue sounds like a nice thing to happen.  This is not just an idle fantasy – in 2009, anyone getting a regular SSI payment received $250 from the government.

[Read about the 2020 Corona Virus (Covid-19) Stimulus Check]

If you are not able to work due to some sort of disability, then it is hard to make ends meet.  Prices are always going up and the economy in general hasn’t been doing well.

Will there be an SSI stimulus check for 2013?

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that any bonus checks will be sent out to SSI recipients.  In 2009, the rationale for sending out the stimulus check was that the cost of living increase was zero.  However, this year the increase is 1.7%, so that reason isn’t valid this year.

These kind of checks are generally sent out in order to create an economic stimulus for the American economy.  While it may not seem like it to many Americans, the economy is stronger now than it was back in 2009, the last time a stimulus check was sent out.

The odds of the government send out a check are pretty much zero.  It would take a major economic slowdown for the government to consider doing a stimulus check and even then the chances are pretty low.

History of the SSI stimulus check

In 2009, everyone on SSI got a $250 check to do whatever they wanted with.  In 2010, President Obama suggested it would be a good idea to send out another one, but it never happened.

What does SSI stand for?

SSI refers to Supplemental Security Income which is for people who can’t work due to disabilities.

Will there be a stimulus check in 2013?

Will there be a $250 stimulus check for Social Security recipients in 2013?





Will There Be a $250 Stimulus Check In 2013 For Social Security Recipients?

The economy isn’t doing that great.  Sure, it’s improved marginally in the past year or so, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy for most retirees to get by.  High unemployment makes it hard to pick up that part time job to make ends meet and the price of things never seem to stop going up.


[Read about the Corona Virus Covid-19 Stimulus Check in 2020]

Getting a stimulus check from the government for $250 would likely be at the top of any Social Security recipient’s list of things they would like to happen this year.

However, it isn’t very likely to happen.

History of the $250 Social Security recipient stimulus check

In 2009, a $250 check was paid out to Social Security recipients which was supposed to make up for the fact that there was no cost of living raise for Social Security payments because of low inflation.

The Social Security cost of living raise for 2013 will be 1.7% which isn’t a big increase, but means that there won’t be any kind of stimulus check given out.


As to the question of ‘Will there be a $250 stimulus check for Social Security recipients?” – the answer is almost certainly no.

Will there be a stimulus check in 2013?

Will there be a $250 stimulus check in 2013 for SSI recipients?



Will There Be A Stimulus Check In 2020?

One of the more common questions I get at this site is “Will there be a stimulus check in 2020?”.

The answer unfortunately, is almost definitely no.

[Edit – Mar 21 – 2020.  Looks like unfortunately the answer is almost definitely yes!  I say ‘unfortunately’ because this is only happening because of the Corona virus which isn’t a good thing.  Read more about the CoronaVirus stimulus check]

Why do people keep asking this question?  Well, back in 2008, the US government did give out $600 stimulus checks to most Americans.  Needless to say this money was very well received and I’m sure most people wouldn’t mind seeing more of those checks.

Who doesn’t like free money?

History of the stimulus check

In 2008, a $600 stimulus check was paid out to most taxpayers in an effort to boost the economy by getting more cash into the hands of people likely to spend it.

In 2009, a $250 stimulus check was sent to all recipients of Social Security (retired people) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) for disabled people.

Will there be another stimulus check this year?

The factors which might produce another stimulus check could include:

A bad economy – While the current economy isn’t great, it’s better than it has been in the past.  Even housing prices seem to have bottomed out.  Unless there is a major slowdown in the economy, this will not provide much motivation for another check.

Election year – My theory is that politicians will try to buy votes when given the opportunity.  Given that 2019 is not an election year, this shouldn’t be an issue.

What is a stimulus check?

A stimulus check is a check mailed out to a significant number of Americans in order to give government tax money to those most likely to spend it and help stimulate the economy.


There will be no stimulus check in 2020.  I know that might be disappointing, but the reality is that is just isn’t going to happen.

Will there be a $250 stimulus check in 2013 for SSI recipients?

Will there be a $250 stimulus check for Social Security recipients in 2013?




Real Estate

Should I Have An Open House When Selling My House?

There was a recent article in the Globe & Mail where a real estate agent was interviewed about her opinion on holding open houses if you are selling a house.

To summarize, the agent thought that open houses were a waste of time with only nosy neighbours dropping in to check out your belongings.

I disagree.  I think those are the words of a lazy (and quite possibly untrustworthy) real estate agent who doesn’t like doing open houses.

Benefits of having an open house

When I sold my first house, some prospective buyers who had scheduled appointments with their agents, also came on the weekend for the open house. 

Why would they do this?

  • Less structured – They don’t need an appointment, so there is some flexibility as to the time and day when they check out the house.
  • No agent – No need for an agent, which makes things easier to schedule and allows the buyers more time to look at the house without using up their agent’s time.
  • Bring a friend/relative – Easy opportunity to get other opinions on the place.
  • Second look – If you are seriously interested in a house – why wouldn’t you want to have a 2nd or even 3rd look at it before signing your life away?

Is it just neighbours who go to open houses?

Neighbours can indeed be nosy, but they can also have friends who might be interested in moving to the area.  It’s very possible that your eventual buyer will be a result of one of your streetmates who sees your house and tells someone about it. 

The more people are at your open house, the more ‘buzz’ there is and the greater the chance that you will get an offer or have more bidders on your house.  Neighbours will always be welcome at any open house I have.

Casual dropins

Do casual ‘window shoppers’ ever buy houses?  I’m certain they do, because I almost did.

About 10 years ago, I got into the habit of looking at local open houses to get ideas on how to fix my house up.  One rainy Saturday I checked out this one house and fell in love with it.  It was large with a great third story party room (I was single and childless at the time) with a walkout deck.  I thought it was fantastic.

Because I casually dropped in on that open house, I went from being a curious neighbour (I lived on the same street) to calling my agent, scheduling a visit and seriously considered making an offer.  In the end I didn’t because it was a bit expensive for me and it needed some work which would cost even more.

Although I didn’t buy that house, I suspect there are other examples where someone attended open house for ‘fun’ and ended up buying the house.

Why not have an open house?

And really – What is the downside of an open house?  Sure you have to clean up and vacate the place for a few hours, but you have to do that anyway for scheduled appointments. 

Do you want to do everything you can to sell your place or not?

What do you think – Are open houses worthwhile if you are selling a house?


LinkStuff: Online RESP Chat With Globe And Mail Today

Announcement – I’ll be doing an online chat on RESPs with the Globe & Mail today at noon to 1pm, so if you have any RESP related questions, please check it out. And unlike most of the questions asked through this blog, I promise not to ignore any of them. 🙂

Here is the link.

On with the links


2012 Investment Portfolio Returns – A Good Year

Time to take a look at the 2012 investment returns.  You can usually tell the performance by how early in the year this post appears.  When the market has done well, I can’t wait to calculate the return and see how much more money I have.  In bad years, I tend to delay performance calculation.  This year – the numbers look pretty decent.

My portfolio allocation

My portfolio allocation is loosely based on the Canadian Capitalist’s sleepy portfolio. I’ve made a few changes from his portfolio and this is what my desired allocation is:

Asset class ETF Target (%)
Bonds XSB 20
Real return bonds XRB 5
Canadian equity XIU 11
US equity VTI 32
International equity VEA 32

I’ve been a good little indexer this year (for a change), so my actual allocations were pretty close to those numbers.

Past returns

Here are my returns from the last seven years:

Year Return(%)
2006 14.7
2007 4.1
2008 -17.0
2009 20.24
2010 7.3
2011 -1.8
2012 13.3

My annualized rate of return over the seven years is 5.16%. At that rate, $100,000 invested seven years ago would now be worth $142,260.

The rate of inflation over the last six years has been pretty low at just under 2%, so my annual real return is about 3%, which is pretty reasonable.

I have a relatively low amount of Canadian equities (11%) which helped this year as the S&P500 (13.5%) and Europe/Pacific (14.8%) handily outpaced the TSX60 (8.1%).  This doesn’t mean anything, as there are other years where the Canadian index is the winner.  My investment philosophy is to keep my investment fees low and diversify.

How did your investments do last year?



Personal Finance

LinkStuff – US Election

Last week saw Barrack Obama re-elected as president of the US.  I can’t claim to fully understand the US government system, but the fact that the Republicans still hold a fair bit of power means that there will likely be a lot of conflict over the next four years rather than good governance.  It appears that their current power distribution is similar to Canada if there is a minority government in place.

On with the links

Rob Carrick of the Globe & Mail wrote a very good article called Three smarts ways to find a discount brokerage.  Rob was nice enough to include a couple of my articles, but that’s not why it is a good read.  His main advice is to use multiple sources of information on discount brokerages.  Here is a different link to the article if the first one is behind a paywall.

Rob from Canadian Mortgage Trends wrote about some differences between US and Canadian housing markets.  He’s not suggesting that the housing market in Canada won’t crash, but it’s important to note that there are some significant differences.

Ben Rabidoux has one of the better arguments as to why Canadian house prices will fall.  Now if he could just provide a timeline for that fall….

 Mike from Oblivious Investor has a very good piece on what to do about low interest rates?

Robb from Boomer & Echo compared some free chequing accounts.