Book review: The RESP Book

Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Misc.

There are typically two popular methods of writing a personal finance book aimed at the average investor. The first is in the form of a narrative using fictional characters- see the Wealthy Barber as exhibit A. The second is to simply present the facts and advise in a concise and pithy manner. After all, money is not a sexy topic to non Gordon Gekko type people.

Mike Holman, half the writing team behind Money Smarts Blog, has opted to adopt the latter in The RESP Book: The Complete Guide to Registered Education Savings Plans for Canadians. I don’t much blame him. Since a RESP is a type of program, rather than a product per se, it is hard for fictional characters to get worked up about how government rules and regulations work.

Despite the inherently dry nature of the topic, Holman manages to hit all the relevant points about a most important program for any household with children; as he points out, under the Canadian Education Savings Grant, the government is basically giving you money to be a contributing member of the program. Thus, it literally pays to understand the program properly.

Another reviewer indicated that much of the information found in the book could be retrieved on a government website. However, if one has tried to navigate any government website, it is pretty apparent that usability was not very high on the list of priorities. This is where the book thrives. It hits all the relevant points quickly and without much wasted build-up. Consider it more of an instruction manual than a book.

The value add of the book is derived from Holman’s background as a long-time financial blogger who understands the “why” questions is as important as the “what” question. Rather than pushing the program for the sake of pushing the program, he addressed honestly at the outset of the book why someone should not contribute to a RESP and places the strategy question first (“what are you goals?”) before the product question.

There are a few minor quibbles with the book. The book should have larger sections headings to break up the 13 chapters for easier navigation. Perhaps having read one too many tax books, there should be an appendix reviewing some of the tax effects of the RESP rules to accompany the account set-up checklist. The material is dense and it is easier to an overall reference page to refer to the rules. But, all in all, these are small details to an otherwise solid work.

I’ll be giving away one copy of The RESP Book. Post a comment by Friday midnight to win. Good luck.

22 Comments on Book review: The RESP Book

By Mike Holman (the author) on November 2, 2010 at 8:44 am

Thanks a lot for the review!

I would argue that an instruction manual is a type of book. :)

By Steve on November 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

Count me in. I’ve got two kids and already contribute to a family RESP plan but I’d love to know a little more about how to most effectively maximize those contributions.

By Noor on November 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I have to agree on the navigating govermental websites to find information you need. Having it in a simple book format is far easier.

By Chris on November 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I have started an RESP for my little one. But, would love a copy of the book.

By Dr Dale Rathgeber on November 2, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I say good for Mike Holman. He has tried to be helpful to hard-working Canadians saving for their kids’ futures. Kudos. Don’t draw my name;I’ll buy the book.

By Brandon on November 2, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Sign me up for the contest. Cheers.

By Stephan on November 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm

This book sounds great… there are so many rules out there that are not known, I think it’s great that someone wrote such a book !

By Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, RESP Book Reviews And Giveaways on November 2, 2010 at 9:12 pm

[...] wrote a very good review of the RESP book.  Another review, another giveaway – go and enter! This is where the book thrives. It hits [...]

By Karissa on November 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Here’s my comment :)
I have a couple of shares with an RESP company, and I often wonder if I should also have a self-directed account to maximize the program. If I win the book I hope it will answer my question.

By Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, RESP Book Reviews And Giveaways | POFME.com | Power OF Media on November 3, 2010 at 5:08 am

[...] wrote a very good review of the RESP book.  Another review, another giveaway – go and enter! This is where the book thrives. It hits all [...]

By Sam on November 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

I like the idea of having most of the information in one place.

By Brenda on November 3, 2010 at 9:24 am

As a financial planner I can’t wait to have this book on hand to be able to provide to my clients. There is a lot of information when it comes to RESP’s, the easier to read and the more to the point it is, the better for them to understand and put something into place without hesitation.

By Brian C on November 3, 2010 at 9:55 am

Please count me in! Nice…the first comment is from the author himself..he can win his own book!

By Eva on November 3, 2010 at 11:33 am

I have a 6-week old and want to understand the ins and outs of RESPs. Thanks for reviewing this book!

By Elliot on November 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Thanks for the review. Would love to learn as much as I can to make the most of our RESP’s.

By Chris on November 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Sounds like a great book. Sign me up for the giveaway!

By New Mama on November 4, 2010 at 3:36 am

Hi there:

We are having baby #1 in four weeks or so, and plan to open an RESP for him / her pretty well immediately. We’d love to receive a copy of this book, in order to read and plan a strategy before our brains are totally fried from sleeplessness :)

Cheers!
New Mama

By Thicken My Wallet » Blog Archive » GM IPO: speed bumps ahead on November 4, 2010 at 5:02 am

[...] appreciate your feedback. Contact me at thickenmywallet at gmail.com Recent CommentsChris on Book review: The RESP BookElliot on Book review: The RESP BookDr Dale Rathgeber on When is home bias not home bias?» [...]

By John K on November 4, 2010 at 9:49 am

Timely review for me!

By Mark on November 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

Having done a fair bit of research on RESP’s in the past, I look forward to having a concise guide that summarizes that information in one spot.

By Jeroen on November 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Great review! Would love to win the book!

By MarianneO on November 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Please and thank you!

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