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. 

Our story begins with the ethic that it’s the parents’ duty to provide opportunities for their children. For my wife and me, each of our mother and father did the best they could to help provide each of us an opportunity to attend college. We wanted to do the same for our children. We expect our children will do the same for theirs.

The very week in 1985 that our daughter was born, we began putting money aside for college. When our son was born three years later, we repeated the same strategy. Every single month, we allocated a portion of our income to their college fund. In the early years, our contribution was small; but in time, as we earned more we set aside more. Our goal was to have enough in their college fund by the time they were eighteen to allow them to choose just about any school across the country. When we learned of Ohio’s new program for college, we thought this would be a smart way to supplement our savings. My wife and I had both seen how the cost of college tuition had skyrocketed in just the few years since we graduated. The program made sense as a way to help assure there would be enough funds on hand when the time came for our children to begin their advanced education. In later years, we also took advantage of the various stock market and fixed income investment options the program offered.

Our daughter attended the University of Mary Washington in Virginia majoring in Geography. She has pursued a career as a world traveler and sailor. Immediately after graduating college, she joined Sea/mester, a study abroad program for college students aboard a 112’ sailboat. As a crew member for five years, she circumnavigated the world, visited scores of foreign countries, was a mentor and teacher, and led students on excursions in Africa, Asia and South America. She grew up fast. During that time, she also earned a large vessel Captain’s license. She continues to sail and is currently employed aboard a privately-owned sailing yacht in the Mediterranean Sea. I like to think that some of my tales as a merchant seaman hauling coal and iron ore aboard the lake freighters were of some inspiration for her to seek a life of adventure on the sea.

Our son attended Ohio State University with a degree in Business. Upon graduation he joined an international bank as an analyst and continued with them for two years before leaving to begin his MBA studies at Georgetown in Washington, DC. Following a successful internship in Houston this past summer in the oil and gas investment banking division of another international bank, he was offered a full-time job. Following graduation in May, he will become part of the company’s Defense, Aerospace, Technology & Services investment banking team in Charlotte, NC. Like our daughter, he also has the bug for traveling the world.

That’s pretty much the story so far. These two kids have gone way beyond anything Bonnie or I could have imagined for them. As I am sure you know, it takes so many ingredients to succeed in life. And along the way there are so many bumps and bruises. I know the story for each of them has only just begun.

CollegeAdvantage was a part of it.

Craig Shopneck

Bay Village, Ohio

This Saving Story was originally published April 12, 2015.
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