In 2015, CollegeAdvantage celebrated its 25th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, many longtime account owners shared their Saving Stories and how using CollegeAdvantage helped them achieve their goals. We are fortunate to have these encouraging stories of how families prioritized their children’s higher education and are sharing them again. 

Over the years, my wife Pam and I have thanked our “lucky stars” at our good fortune in signing up for CollegeAdvantage when it began.

As it turns out, our family grew up with your program and today we continue with the next generation in getting our grandchildren off to a good start. (More on that later.) Our three children all received the benefit of Ohio’s 529 CollegeAdvantage Program. Because of your program, all three of our children graduated with a four year college degree and NO debt! Our deal with our kids was always the same.  They were responsible to take care of their room and board, and we would use their CollegeAdvantage funds for the education. I am proud to say all three of my children held jobs for the four years they were on campus which kept them focused on why they were there. It also insured that they would leave college with a degree and no debt hanging over their head.

Our oldest son graduated from Bowling Green State University with a major in Business Marketing. He is a very successful sales representative for a leading medical technology and services company. Our second son graduated from Bowling Green State University with a major in Middle School Math and Social Studies teaching degree. He is a successful middle school math teacher, an athletic director and football coach in Ohio. He subsequently earned a Master’s Degree from Bowling Green State University in Education Administration. Our youngest daughter earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from The Ohio State University. She is a Human Resources Specialist for one of the premier lingerie companies worldwide.

When we began raising our family 35 years ago, Pam and I had no idea how important our decision to invest in CollegeAdvantage was going to be. Employed as teachers and having just purchased our first home, we were not loaded with extra cash. Several investment advisors that I was reading were advocating that “States with good 529 plans” were a great way for young families to save for rising costs for college educations.  At the time I began reading these things, Ohio did not have a program in place. By the time our oldest son Matthew was 10 years old, the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority was formed in Ohio and the rest is history! Our savings in the program was slow and methodical, but time is on your side if you can just start early enough.

And now the rest of the story!  We presently have three grandchildren and another on the way. Before their first birthday, our goal is to invest $5,000 in the CollegeAdvantage program for each. Every birthday thereafter, we add another $500 in their accounts. At Christmas time, we print off their CollegeAdvantage Statement and put it in their Christmas stockings so their parents can see how things are going, and be encouraged to do the same. Our family is very fortunate to have you as a partner in their futures.  Thanks for being there and congratulations on 25 years!

John and Pam Wilhelm

Hamler, Ohio

This Saving Story was ​first published on April 13, 2015.

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