#WhyI529 March Spotlight

Our children are our future

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As a passionate father, Stanley Wine is proud of his two sons – Bradley, who is studying to be a doctor at KU School of Medicine, and Patrick, who is studying filmmaking at the University of Colorado Boulder. Stanley and his wife, Jacqueline, helped their kids set goals early on and make a plan for college. Here, Stanley shares his family’s journey to save for higher education.

When did you open your 529 accounts?

Bradley was in middle school and Patrick was in elementary school when we opened the accounts. The accounts benefited us greatly. Of course, Patrick’s account had more time to mature and accumulate. However, Bradley’s 529 plan has been a lifesaver now that he has to pay to take medical exams because they’re not cheap!

How did the K.I.D.S. Matching Grant Program help?

At the time, years ago, we hit a rough patch when we were between careers. The bright spot was we qualified to receive a matching grant from Learning Quest for the boys’ college savings funds. We could contribute up to $600 annually and they would match it. I couldn’t believe it. We jumped at the opportunity and scraped together the money to put $600 in each son’s account. It was the easiest and quickest return on our investment -- $1,200 added total.

We eventually got back on our feet, so our family no longer qualified for the grant. Yet I will always be grateful for it. Just because we couldn’t financially save much during tough times, it didn’t mean education was any less important to us.

Why is higher education important to your family?

We want our kids to do better than we did. Most parents want the world for their kids and we’re no different. Often, kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for. Our children are our future and, given the chance, they can do things that make a difference and change the world.

Jacqueline and I always stressed the importance of education. We enrolled our kids in magnet schools growing up that best suited their personalities and interests. When they showed a passion for something, we helped them explore it. I remember giving Patrick a hand-held camcorder and it changed his life. He was always behind that thing making movies around the neighborhood with his friends. Fast-forward to today – he’s currently making an amazing film with an Emmy award winning actor. Life is too short not to pursue your passion.

Do you have college planning tips for others?

These four things worked for our family: 1) Talk with your kids. Find out what interests them and what they may want to pursue in the future. 2) Set goals. Map out a plan and specifics on how to reach those goals. 3) Start saving for college. The sooner, the better, even if it’s not a lot. 4) Research and apply for scholarships. My wife really dug into scholarship opportunities that panned out for our sons. It made a tremendous difference.

We knew we couldn’t completely finance our kids going to college, but we wanted to help in some way. We were realistic in our planning and expectations, and honest with our kids. I think that means a lot.


Anything else to add?

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Ironically, Bradley pursuing a medical degree ended up saving my life. I had a heart attack in the middle of the night when he was home on break. Because of his schooling, he knew how to do chest compressions until the ambulance arrived. Doctors told us I had a half percent chance of surviving and I was alive because of Bradley’s efforts. I’m proud of him for going to med school, but I’ll also be forever grateful. I believe the future is bright for Bradley and Patrick, and for their generation.