$25 Referral Bonus: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Plan

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The Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan is currently offering a $25 refer-a-friend bonus if you open an account and deposit at least $25 by December 15, 2008. You can be a resident of any state, and there are no application or annual fees.

Is This Ohio Plan Any Good?
After doing some research on the best 529 plan for those without an in-state tax break, my opinion was that the two best overall 529s were the Ohio CollegeAdvantage and the Illinios BrightStart plans. Illinois uses Vanguard, has a decent variety of low-cost index options (average ~0.20% total annual expense ratio), and has one of the lowest fee structures around. Ohio is similar – they use Vanguard, are a bit more expensive (average ~0.30% total annual expense ratio), but have a few more investment options like inflation-protected bonds. So yes, it is a solid plan.

Collecting 529 Bonuses
We don’t have kids (yet), and yet I’ve opened a bunch of different 529 plans in different states for their bonuses or in-state resident tax advantages. The nice thing is that you can usually roll them over into another 529 plan, although some states do a tax recapture. (Oregon didn’t.) So open an account, get the bonus, and just see if you like it. If you don’t have kids yet, simply list yourself, your spouse, or even your parents as the beneficiary. You can always change it later.

For the curious, I am currently in a New Hampshire plan run with 0.50% expense ratio by Fidelity because I have a grandfathered-in 2% cash back card that deposits into the 529. Given how good the Ohio account is, one day I might be rolling everything over there.

Referral Bonus Instructions
Both the referred and referree get $25, and I’d love for you to help fund my future kid’s college. πŸ˜‰ Here are the easy instructions:

  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 2465786.
  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 last week and got my $25 bonus successfully and as promised:

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  1. Thought you might enjoy this:

    Perhaps the worse invent bond every issued:


    The interest rate is 450% a year. However, your paid in Zimbabwe dollars. The inflation rate in Zimbabwe is currently running at 100% PER DAY. So in one year your investment would be worth fractions of a penny is terms of purchasing power.

  2. Thanks, I’ll try to cycle through reader referral codes if I max out.

  3. That’s right, bitch, I just earned you twenty five bucks!

  4. Jonathan,
    When you run out of your referals,will u pass the others along..I will be thankful.

  5. Thanks Jonathan.

    How long does it take to receive the verification mail in step 2? It’s been awhile since I filled in the form but haven’t heard anyone back yet.

  6. Yes, I will rotate the referral code listed myself. Please send me your account number and the referral code you used if you wish to participate.

    The verification e-mail in step 2 should be instant, I got it in 30 seconds.

  7. Do you have to keep a minimum balance to avoid fees or make a minimum deposit every so often?

  8. I went ahead and opened the account, and listed myself as the beneficiary, but what are the fees going forward on this account and costs to get remove the banance?

    Also you say that there are in state resident tax advantages in having some 529’s-do you mind explaining?


  9. Jonathan – for me, I think the higher fees of just lumping my 529 in with my other Vanguard accounts was worth the convenience of not having to worry about an extra account. Vanguard’s age-based options are 0.5% with the added convenience of seeing your investments on 1 page along with your Vanguard mutual funds. It’s sponsored by Nevada, and received good ratings from savingforcollege for individuals who live in a state that doesn’t offer a state tax break.

  10. This worked perfect. Got the $25 bonus from the referral today for an account for my son. Also, signed up my daughter on a second account and received a $25 bonus for both of their accounts. Nice find…

  11. Just opened an account today and saw the referral program still alive. Used your referral code.. hope it still works. πŸ™‚

  12. Does the code still work? I’m about to sign up my newborn for a 529 and I’d love to get some money back on it.

  13. Sadly, it did not work for me.

  14. Thanks, I started a 529 on Christmas day for my newborn and the code still worked!! I just saw the credit in my account yesterday. Your site rocks.

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