Personal Finance

Anyone with experience with Knowledge First Financial - RESP??

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Aug 28, 2007
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Funny I never noticed this thread before.

We purchased into one of these plans back when my first daughter was born (early 2000s). My wife and I were kids when we had our first, both of us just graduating out of university.

Anyway, we purchased into a small monthly plan with the hope to one day increase our contributions. That never happened, and I'll explain why later.

Back then, I hadn't yet mastered the art of online research when it came to doing background checks on companies. We simply got a call shortly after the birth of our daughter, were sold a convincing sales pitch, and being first-time parents naturally envisioned our baby growing up to become a doctor or the next Prime Minister. So of course, we didn't question the wisdom of purchasing into an RESP and went ahead with the nice lady representative from USC (now KFF).

Funny enough, about two years later, I started working for USC. Not as a Sales Rep, but as an analyst. It was at this time that my opinion of the organization sunk.

The network of sales representatives ranged from well-meaning, well spoken individuals all the way to moronic scam artists. Just before I had joined, USC (along with other Group Plan administrators) had to undergo a huge shakedown in their Compliance policies that monitored who they took on as sales reps.

95% of these reps are purely driven by their commission earnings and have a very vulture-like attitude when it comes to completing their sales.

By the way, for those of you wondering how these guys are suddenly calling you up out of no where, it was when you attended a Baby show or conference and submitted a ballot for a free vacation. The info collected on those cards are sold to Sales Reps for $1-$2 each and they pursue these leads hoping that they become profitable sales.

Despite everything said here, I like my sales rep. But it's the structure and buffoonery of the organization that bothered me and convinced me to do a bank RESP despite my 2nd daughter being born while I was still an employee and eligible for a refund on some of my annual fees.

As for the RESP that I have with them... many have stated already that once you're in, you're in. It would only be to my loss to try to cancel. And analysts would sit together discussing the same attrition principle that others have mentioned here and the ethics around it when it came to benefiting those who would stick through to the end.

Top sales reps make in excess of $200K and incredible bonuses if they're able to achieve a certain level of unit sales. They also get to go on beautiful vacations to the Caribbean where they get to schmooze with KFF executives and some privileged members of the Sales & Marketing department. Of course, these vacations are labeled as "business conferences" for your expected tax purposes.

I mentioned earlier in the thread that my wife and I planned on increasing our contributions with KFF and never did. Rightly so, I didn't want to lose more money to paying commissions. So I opened up a 2nd RESP for Daughter #1 at the same bank as Daughter #2. Any increased contributions to the plan are done on the bank side. Fortunately, she's a bright kid and is showing all the signs of a university-bound student (and hopefully a 4-year program). But I still sit in fear of the potential hurdles that I'll have to leap over to make obtaining her tuition funds as pain-free as possible.

By the way, it's not the internal staff at KFF that manages the investment portfolios. Last I remember, they were outsourced to the investment arm of one of the Big 5... can't remember to who though. But there is someone that's responsible (in a liaison type way) of look at how everything is performing.
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Redguard wrote:
Mar 8th, 2016 4:02 pm
they get to schmooze with KFF executives and some privileged members of the Sales & Marketing department.
Is that a benefit or a punishment?
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Nov 6, 2009
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What's the average commission for agent if you are selling lets says 3 resp's a month with $100 per month contribution for each resp?
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Apr 22, 2016
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Mantic wrote:
Mar 8th, 2016 11:29 am
They issued me checks today for actually $14,000 I'm surprised I guess they are easy now to get your money.
So what exactly did you do? My brother attended one year and dropped out. He has mental health concerns and is not fit to attend school or manage the RESP account. They're giving him the option of forfeiting all the money or to delay EAP for 35+ years LOL. :lol: wtf?! I'm so OVER KFF. They won't allow him to authorize me to manage his account. I just want to pull the money. but for 5000 they're saying he would only receive $150
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Aug 7, 2016
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I'd not recommend using Knowledge First Financial for RESP. When the plan is mature in summer, other institutes use direct deposit to make the payment in June/July. Knowledge First Financial only uses mailed cheque, which will arrive at the end of August. Given a few days of holding period for regular cheques by the bank, it means the fund won't be available before the university payment due date. I called them asking if there is any other payment option. The answer, as everybody expected, is "no". They are not helping at all!
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Sep 10, 2016
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Its amazing to read this forum (that started over 4 years BTW), that if you look at the whole thing from a larger perspective, there hasn't been any change with the originating company (KFF), the RESP laws, or the knowledge that is out there regarding RESP's.

What I do notice however, is the fact that the fees are completely hidden between the agents and the clients. Probably (and I can only speculate) this is because the agents don't fully understand the fees and/or products they are representing and the agent doesn't provide proper value to the clients. I don't work with this company (nor will I ever) and there is nothing wrong with this company (they are under federal regulation, just like every other financial institution in Canada). What it seems like to me, is the fact that the information, that is being presented, is getting screwed up and the knowledge isn't being delivered (which is kind of ironic considering its the company's name). I can only speculate that the agents are probably looking to fill a quota to fulfill their duties as a representative of KFF (or any other financial institution for that matter). Not that I have a problem with commission sales, but I do have a problem with quotas being the driving force behind the agents intentions. We all need to stop and think for a moment before posting, "Is what I am saying helping or hindering the forum's conversation?" and "Is there a solution to the problem at hand?" so in light of all this, and in closing, I would like to answer the originating question.

Anyone with experience with Knowledge First Financial - RESP??
No I have not personally have had experience with this company, However if the information that you receive from the representing agent is satisfactory, you are happy with the fee schedules, terms and conditions, AND you have had time to consider OTHER ALTERNATIVES to weight out the pros and cons, then I would go with the product that suites your family the best.
"If you cant FLY then RUN, If you can't RUN then WALK, If you can't WALK then CRAWL, but whatever you do, you have to keep MOVING forward." - Martin Luther King jr.
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Jun 17, 2007
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I just received a sales pitch from one of the sales from KFF. My wife signed up for some free samples for Similac and one of the check boxes was if we wanted to be contacted to talk about government grants.
Anyway, this agent laid out all of the fees up front for us and said that it's all we will pay. For example, over 206 months, a $20,000 principle will incur about $1950 in fees, with $1000 in loyal rebates. For people who are in KFF, did you get told all the fees up front or this is just a sales pitch and there are more fees and hidden fees down the road?

Of course after reading this thread (and thanks to all RFDer's sharing their experience) I won't be going with this company but still curious about their antics today.
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Oct 25, 2016
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Max out your TFSA instead and stick it in an index fund. RESP are not that good and are taxed. If your child goes to school you can use the TFSA. Only RESP is everything else is maxed
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ElliottGalt wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 2:04 am
Max out your TFSA instead and stick it in an index fund. RESP are not that good and are taxed. If your child goes to school you can use the TFSA. Only RESP is everything else is maxed
Lmao.... What?

Are you forgetting the 20% government grant? As well, EAP withdrawals are taxed in the child's name...so no, just no.

RESP is also one of the account types that FIs offer free brokerage accounts for. It's super easy to set up an RESP with some simple ETFs.
Last edited by superfresh89 on Oct 27th, 2016 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ashock wrote:
Oct 25th, 2016 7:35 pm
I just received a sales pitch from one of the sales from KFF. My wife signed up for some free samples for Similac and one of the check boxes was if we wanted to be contacted to talk about government grants.
Anyway, this agent laid out all of the fees up front for us and said that it's all we will pay. For example, over 206 months, a $20,000 principle will incur about $1950 in fees, with $1000 in loyal rebates. For people who are in KFF, did you get told all the fees up front or this is just a sales pitch and there are more fees and hidden fees down the road?

Of course after reading this thread (and thanks to all RFDer's sharing their experience) I won't be going with this company but still curious about their antics today.
How about spending an hour or two looking into your kids education funding, setting up a self-directed RESP and putting that extra $1000 or 2 into the RESP itself, instead of "fees" (not you personally, just sayin' generally).

These people are all shysters. This is one of the few areas where I think government regulation would be useful.
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Aug 9, 2015
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ElliottGalt wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 2:04 am
Max out your TFSA instead and stick it in an index fund. RESP are not that good and are taxed. If your child goes to school you can use the TFSA. Only RESP is everything else is maxed
NO! Just use a bank! RESPs have gotten a bad reputation due to the efforts of these group providers. Open an account at a bank... Get your 20-40% bonus from the government, taxable to the student. Stay away from these group providers!!!
"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning. " - Warren Buffett
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TheClone13 wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 2:52 pm
ElliottGalt wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 2:04 am
Max out your TFSA instead and stick it in an index fund. RESP are not that good and are taxed. If your child goes to school you can use the TFSA. Only RESP is everything else is maxed
NO! Just use a bank! RESPs have gotten a bad reputation due to the efforts of these group providers. Open an account at a bank... Get your 20-40% bonus from the government, taxable to the student. Stay away from these group providers!!!
I have no idea why you are talking about group providers and a bank. TFSA account through a broker and put it in a index fund so you can be lazy.

RESP were fine before the TFSA existed, now it sucks. Money is taxed and if taken out you lose 100% of the matched money, 20% of the gains and whatever is left is taxed. Do a TFSA and get no tax, pull out at any time, no fees. Use it for whatever you want--no restrictions
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superfresh89 wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 9:35 am
ElliottGalt wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 2:04 am
Max out your TFSA instead and stick it in an index fund. RESP are not that good and are taxed. If your child goes to school you can use the TFSA. Only RESP is everything else is maxed
Lmao.... What?

Are you forgetting the 20% government grant? As well, EAP withdrawals are taxed in the child's name...so no, just no.

RESP is also one of the account types that FIs offer free brokerage accounts for. It's super easy to set up an RESP with some simple ETFs.
Not forgetting it, or its cap($7200 over the lifetime of the child) There is one advantage of RESP and that is the match--assuming you get to keep it.

Your kid goes to college the money is taxed. If they don't go... you still get taxed, you lose the matched money and 20% of the gains.

TFSA has an advantage in every way except the match. No tax, can be used for anything at any time with no penalty. Don't lose gains either. It is better.

Taxes go up--not down and 7k is nothing in the lifetime of a child. Little reward for a lot of risk--and even if everything works out and the go to school it is still taxed which reduces your total investment.
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ElliottGalt wrote:
Oct 31st, 2016 2:41 am
superfresh89 wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 9:35 am
ElliottGalt wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 2:04 am
Max out your TFSA instead and stick it in an index fund. RESP are not that good and are taxed. If your child goes to school you can use the TFSA. Only RESP is everything else is maxed
Lmao.... What?

Are you forgetting the 20% government grant? As well, EAP withdrawals are taxed in the child's name...so no, just no.

RESP is also one of the account types that FIs offer free brokerage accounts for. It's super easy to set up an RESP with some simple ETFs.
Not forgetting it, or its cap($7200 over the lifetime of the child) There is one advantage of RESP and that is the match--assuming you get to keep it.

Your kid goes to college the money is taxed. If they don't go... you still get taxed, you lose the matched money and 20% of the gains.

TFSA has an advantage in every way except the match. No tax, can be used for anything at any time with no penalty. Don't lose gains either. It is better.

Taxes go up--not down and 7k is nothing in the lifetime of a child. Little reward for a lot of risk--and even if everything works out and the go to school it is still taxed which reduces your total investment.
The kid is taxed only on earnings and subventions, not the contributions you made. You can also roll your RESP, minus the subventions, into an rrsp if you still have the room available if you're kids doesn't go beyond high school. Seriously, RESP are great and should definitely be used. The only time wehre you might lose out using an resp is if you only have a kid who doesn't go to school, no rrsp room and no other kid to to send the subvention to. Your advice only apply if you know your kid won't go far in school, which is almost impossible to know if you start it at the birth of your child.
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ElliottGalt wrote:
Oct 27th, 2016 2:04 am

Not forgetting it, or its cap($7200 over the lifetime of the child) There is one advantage of RESP and that is the match--assuming you get to keep it.

Your kid goes to college the money is taxed. If they don't go... you still get taxed, you lose the matched money and 20% of the gains.

TFSA has an advantage in every way except the match. No tax, can be used for anything at any time with no penalty. Don't lose gains either. It is better.

Taxes go up--not down and 7k is nothing in the lifetime of a child. Little reward for a lot of risk--and even if everything works out and the go to school it is still taxed which reduces your total investment.
First off, the aim of an RESP is for EDUCATION, NOT for an account that you can "use for anything at anytime". If you want a generic tax-free account for whatever, then sure use a TFSA. But for an account specifically targeted for education, then an RESP is far superior.

Just run a basic simulation - 16 years @ 5% return, depositing 2500+500=$3000 per year into RESP (2700 and 2500 in final 2 years when 7200 CESG max is met), compared to $2500 per year in a TFSA. At the end of 16 years, the RESP will have just under $12,000 more in it. If you're a good investor and make 10% per year, the RESP would have $19,000 more.

And when the child goes to school and withdrawals the money over several years, while making none or limited income and having huge tuition credits to use, their income tax paid on the RESP will most likely be in the 0% range. But they will have more than $10K extra in their pockets.

As mentioned there are many other alternatives even if the child doesn't go to school. But to base your TFSA recommendation here on the very small chance a child won't pursue any qualifying post secondary education at all, and that there will be no alternatives to roll the RESP money elsewhere, is very bad advice IMO.

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