Grandparent Involvement in Quebec: Nearly 80% Take Part in their Grandchildren's Lives

Among those involved with school, 25% have saved or are saving to help support their grandchildren's education

QUEBEC, QC, April 20, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The majority of grandparents in Quebec (78%) share a common trait: they are involved in the lives of their grandchildren, yet the role they play can take on many forms. Such were the findings of a recent survey conducted by the firm CROP on behalf of Universitas, education savings specialist, who wished to learn more about this issue. As free time and better financial means often come hand in hand with retirement, grandparents tend to invest themselves more in family life. Interestingly, among the respondents who claim to be actively involved, grandmothers seem to be so more than grandfathers (45% vs. 29%). In general, babysitting (76%), chaperoning school activities/field trips (44%) or joining the family on annual vacations (43%) are the most common forms of involvement grandparents have in the lives of their grandchildren.

Education: A Gift that Lasts a Lifetime
The role that grandparents play in their grandchildren's school education mostly consists in chaperoning field trips or taking part in school activities (42%), followed by providing financial support (25%). Among those who save money for education, the average annual contribution for all grandchildren combined totals approximately $2,000. The survey also revealed a correlation between age and the desire to financially contribute to education. While 8% of respondents aged 55 to 64 years reported offering financial support for education, this percentage increases to 36% among those aged 65 years and older.

The grandparents who financially contribute to the post-secondary education of their grandchildren have a good understanding of the advantages of investing in a registered education savings plan (RESP). Indeed, the majority (79 %) have chosen the RESP as their preferred savings vehicle, followed by the savings account (16%) and the TFSA (12%). Furthermore, almost two-thirds of the grandparents in Quebec (64%) are aware the amounts they invest will be increased by the grants offered by both the provincial and federal levels of government. "We are quite pleased, and even a little surprised, to see that so many grandparents favour the RESP to save for their grandchildren's education rather than another investment vehicle," says Tina Fournier-Ouellet, spokesperson for Universitas. "The RESP is the best investment option when it comes to planning for a child's education, mainly because of the generous grants available. That being said, the RESP remains a little-known savings vehicle and Quebecers often turn to the more traditional investments (according to the findings of a survey conducted last fall). To see that grandparents prioritize the RESP means our efforts to promote its benefits are making headway! It's all very encouraging!"

Posthumous Contribution
The survey also revealed that less than a third of respondents are aware that it is possible to bequeath a contribution to a child's RESP in their will. Two options are available:

1. For the benefactor:

The will must include the name of the beneficiary or beneficiaries and the amount of the contribution as a special bequest. The usual steps to open the RESP will follow.

2. For the liquidator/estate trustee:

 If the benefactor does not name a specific cause or charity to support in his or her will. The liquidator/estate trustee can chose Universitas as a foundation to make a posthumous contribution on behalf of one or several children. Universitas will then open an RESP for the legatee or make a single contribution to his or her existing plan, as the case may be.

‟In this situation, as provided for under the will, the capital will be returned in full (100%) to the child; as well as grant money and interest on the capital and grants. Education is a gift that lasts a lifetime, so why not choose to bequeath access to knowledge?" adds Ms. Fournier-Ouellet.

Other survey highlights:

  • Most grandparents in Quebec (80%) offer cash as Christmas gifts to their grandchildren;
  • Grandmothers tend to help with babysitting (82% vs. 69%), whereas grandfathers are more inclined to participate in the upbringing (discipline, good manners and behavior, etc.) of their grandchildren (39% vs. 25%).
  • Regarding school involvement, grandfathers are more likely to offer financial support (35% vs. 16%) while grandmothers are greater in number to chaperone field trips and take part in school activities (53% vs. 30%);
  • When it comes to spoiling their grandchildren, grandparents will offer small gifts (70%), make their grandchildren's favourite dishes (59%) and organize or take part in an activity they love (57%).  

Universitas Grandparents
Universitas offers several advantages to grandparents who wish to open an RESP for their grandchildren, including the chance to enter an exclusive contest. Click here for all the details.  

About Universitas  
Created in 1964, Universitas offers over 50 years of RESP expertise to families across Quebec and New Brunswick. With the mission to promote post-secondary education through savings and educational assistance payments (EAPs), Universitas has paid out more than $550 million in EAPs and returned savings, currently has some 208,000 beneficiaries and manages assets of over $1 billion. For more information, visit universitas.ca.

The survey was conducted online from March 11 to 15, 2015. The CROP firm conducted the survey using a Web panel and a sample of 207 Quebecers aged 55 and older with one or several grandchildren.

 

SOURCE Universitas Trust Funds

For further information: Lydia Juliano, Matom Communication, ljuliano@matom.ca, 514 949-1446; Julie Deschambault, Matom Communication, 514 891-8645, jdeschambault@matom.ca; Tina Fournier Ouellet, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Relations, Universitas Management Inc., tina.fournier-ouellet@universitas.ca, 418 651-8977, ext. 2320

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