My husband, Luke, and I both paid our own way through college. We really had no other option. We were both raised by single moms who had five kids (my mom) and four kids (Luke’s mom). Our moms did everything possible to support us. However, they simply couldn’t afford to pay for college for all of our siblings and us.
Both Luke and I took out loans and worked throughout college. In fact, my husband worked full-time, so he was only able to take up to two classes per term. Because of that, it took him a full 10 years to get his bachelor’s degree! Both of us agreed that when we had kids, we would do everything possible to help them with college expenses.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself working at RegentAtlantic and paying off my own student loans. One day, Chris Cordaro, our Chief Investment Officer, sent around an email about Upromise. If you’re not familiar with it, Upromise is a loyalty program that offers cash rewards you can put into a college savings account or use to pay off student loans.
What is Upromise?
Upromise is similar to a cash back/points credit card program. You earn rewards by buying certain everyday products, shopping at partner retailers or using the Upromise cobranded credit card (offered through Barclaycard).
When Chris introduced us to Upromise, I had no children. But I thought: ‘What the heck? I’ll open an account and one day I’ll use it for my own kids.
In November 2011, my husband and I welcomed our first child, Lucas. At that time, my Upromise account had some funds in it, but I hadn’t been very diligent about making it work for me. After Lucas was born, I became more vigilant about buying things from Upromise partner retailers. It was easy, since so many stores participate—including Walmart, Kohl’s and Sam’s Club. I didn’t have to change any of my spending habits. I just had to make sure I received credit for my spending.
Three years later, we welcomed our daughter Aubrey, and last year, our little Ashley joined our family. After Ashley was born, I logged into our Upromise account and found that, along with help from family and friends I referred to the program, I had accumulated more than $2,500 in my account! I honestly didn’t do much to earn this extra money. I just registered and let the earnings grow.
Today, Lucas is 6 years old and our Upromise earnings total $3,425. We’ve also split the account so all three kids will have a good start for their college educations. Although $3,425 may not sound like a lot of money, we really appreciate how easy it was to start accumulating this money for our children’s education. With three kids, it’s not easy for us to set aside extra money for their college years. However, Upromise is like an automatic savings program that helps us save money, no matter what.
Every so often, we withdraw money from UPromise and add the funds to the kids’ college savings accounts. Furthermore, my husband and I agree that any money gifts or other funds we receive on behalf of our children will go into accounts earmarked for education. We expect that our kids will all still need to work and take out some student loans for college, too. However, these funds are important gifts we can give our children—little head starts to help them along the way.
Important disclosure information
Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including the loss of money invested. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including the investments or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by RegentAtlantic Capital, LLC (“RegentAtlantic”) will be profitable.
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RegentAtlantic does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult with a legal and or tax professional of your choosing prior to implementing any of the strategies discussed in this article.