#WhyI529 April Spotlight: Making out-of-state college a reality

Here's Jim Vranicar of Shawnee, Kan., story:

When did you start saving?
My wife, Amy, and I started saving for our son's college education when he was about 3 years old. At first, we simply put away $50 a month in a mutual fund. When 529 plans became available, we rolled over everything and contributed the same amount.

When the economy crashed in '08 and '09, it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we took advantage of the low market and invested more. We ended up raising our contribution to $200 a month and built a solid nest egg.

What do you like best about the plan?
The smart investment track of the portfolio - how it invests more aggressively when your child is younger, then becomes more conservative as your child grows.

How did it make a difference?
Our son, Johnathon, is now a freshman at the University of Nebraska. We were only able to afford an out-of-state school because of our 529 plan. Our family is living proof that paying for a college education can become a reality if you just commit to investing a little bit each month over a span of years.