Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Plan: Free $25 Opening Bonus

The Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan is again offering a $25 refer-a-friend bonus if you open an account and deposit at least $25 by May 31, 2009. You can be a resident of any state, and there are no application or annual fees.

First Impressions
My own account with them has been open for a few months, and so far I am quite impressed with the Ohio plan. The website itself is functional and fast, there are a variety of investment choices (cash, index funds, active funds), they are upfront with the fees, and the expenses are very competitive – either the lowest or near the lowest in the nation. The only bad thing I can think of is that every time I make a purchase I get a snail-mail confirmation with no paperless option, which seems wasteful. A more detailed review is upcoming.

I have gotten the $25 bonuses plus several referrals, with no complaints from the people I referred. I have also started an auto-debit from my checking account for $50 a month. Right now, half of my 529 is in the Vanguard inflation-protected bond fund. This is an investment option that is unavailable in most state plans. I feel that since college is only at most 18 years away with a big lump-sum payment, I would prefer less volatility while marching towards that goal. This is in contrast to saving for retirement, where I currently have 35 years until I turn 65, and hopefully another 20 years after that as well.

Referral Bonus Instructions
Both the referred and referree get $25, and I’d love for you to help fund my kid’s college dreams. :D Here’s how:

  1. You can enroll online or via mail. The online process was quick and easy, and I didn’t have to mail in anything.
  2. The first step is to input your personal info and choose a login/password. Next, you’ll verify your e-mail and complete the application.
  3. After that, you’ll choose your funding amount and select an investment fund. Your initial deposit must be a least $25, and is funded using the account/routing numbers of your bank account. At the bottom, you will need to enter a referral code to get the bonus. Enter *.
  4. In 1-3 days, your initial deposit will be sucked out, and in 5-7 business days you will get your $25 bonus. The $25 will be deposited directly into the 529 account, and will be invested in the same thing as your initial deposit.

I opened the account back in November and got my $25 bonus successfully and as promised:

* Javascript is required. If you can’t see any numbers, please use 2439350.

Comments

  1. “I feel that since college is only at most 18 years away with a big lump-sum payment, I would prefer less volatility while marching towards that goal”…

    Is your wife pregnant? If so, congratulations! Any posts coming on how to save effectively with a child?

    Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the $25!

  3. I was wondering the same thing as ethan… :-)

  4. I’m so glad they started this up again. Now there’s plenty of time to enroll my family. =)

  5. Don’t you get a state income tax deduction though if you use a 529 plan from your own state? Does it make sense to have more than one 529 – in different states?

  6. Ted Valentine says:

    I like the Ohio plan as my state’s plan is lousy. The options are good and low cost. Investing is simple and the web site is easy to use. Highly recommended. Now if just the market would cooperate…. :)

  7. Awesome! Thanks! I just opened an account.

  8. Can my wife also open another account and I be her referral for the same beneficiary that’s my son.

  9. I opened 3 accounts, here have $75! Hopefully you get them all. If not, feel free to put some of my referrals in for a lottery ;-)

  10. Is it only for people with kids or can I invest for my ‘future’ kids?

  11. I am a resident of Ohio, are there any tax benefits if I open one?

  12. Reader’s Digest has a different opinion:
    “Put retirement savings ahead of college savings. But because of the tax breaks and the flexibility of retirement accounts, you’re much better off contributing to a 401(k) or an IRA and taking out loans for college.”
    An interesting argument . . . http://www.rd.com/advice-and-know-how/29-ways-to-save-more-money-during-the-recession/article115281-2.html

    Thanks for the tip on the Ohio plan.

  13. Mike H,

    It is a tax write off for Ohio residents so definately a good deal – opened two myself…

  14. I opened last time you had it listed and quickly received my bonus. I like their Vanguard low-cost options too!

    Unimax: this can be for future kids. I believe it can also be for yourself or spouse if 1 of you return to school, or as Jonathan I think pointed out in the stimulus plan, will now qualify for “educational expenses.”

    Jennifer, RD may be right, but if you’ve already maxed 401k, then you might as well also do 529. Also, I would put $25 bonuses ahead of no bonuses = 100% return

  15. Are you willing to disclose how many bonuses you received (aka how much money you made) from readers.

  16. ethan & wil: I have nothing to announce yet. Let’s just say we are in the planning stages. :)

  17. Received all of our bonuses as of today (between myself and girlfriend) – $175 in total with only $100 contributed by us!

    It took about 5 business days to receive the bonuses.

    Thanks again!

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  1. [...] investment mixes, but a few offer them as standalone investment options. The Ohio 529 plan ($25 bonus) looks to offer the cheapest option, with an annual expense ratio of [...]

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