I don't know how much I should put into an RESP for my son. I have $1000 to start and plan to put $100 / month into it. Will this be enough to pay for university when he turns 18?
For a Canadian university education, an October 2009 article at Canada.com says:
[...] The study estimates the total price tag of an undergraduate degree at a whopping $137,013 for students living away from home and $101,426 for those staying at home. [...]
The College Board offers a calculator. (Targeted to US residents; not sure how the figures will differ for Canada and other countries.) Keep in mind that college costs typically increase faster than inflation. When I attended in 2001-2005, my college's tuition costs increases ranged from 4 to 6%.
Here's a great Canadian college/university cost calculator I used; found at Canadian Business - they say:
Our tool is divided into three easy steps. First, calculate the tuition cost for the university and faculty you wish to attend.
Then, calculate any additional fees for residence (on campus student housing), meal plans, athletics, health and student services. This will give you the total cost a student will pay at a Canadian university in 2006/7.
Once you know the total annual cost, take the third step to calculate the total cost for the duration of the course of study.
Of course, this only calculates what it will cost you NOW, not eighteen years from now, but it's a good start :)
I personally do not buy any those so-call forecasts - look no further than the economic forecasts by those experts with PhDs over the last decade or so. Truth is there are too many factors that affects the tuition fees that far down the road (think inflation, cost of living, the method for which the education is being delivered, anticipated salary for the teachers, the ratio of schools and students, your children's ability to obtain scholarship money, and etc).
Put in what you can afford for RESP - I put in $2000 annually per child to take maximum advantage of the 20% government matching. And be prepare to augment that with additional fund in 18 years. I am prepared to take on significant loans if my children both decided and qualified for graduated studies in specialized fields in a prestige universities - I have had met people with graduate degrees from Harvard and Cambridge and the obscure sum they (or their parents) paid on tuition are about as good investment as I have ever seen. Education is one of the best gifts any parent could give to their child.