“Start Saving for Education as Soon as Possible”

By opening Bright Start accounts early, this Waukegan family is maximizing the time their account funds can grow for their young sons.

When Jorge Figueroa and Liliana Rios started their family nearly a decade ago, Jorge knew he wanted to begin saving early for their first son’s future education.

“When George was almost 1, I looked into 529 plans and opened a Bright Start account the same day during my lunch break at work,” said Jorge, an electrical engineer.

The goal of saving early was influenced by his own college experience. Jorge earned scholarships but still needed help with his remaining educational costs.

“I was very fortunate and grateful to have scholarship awards cover most of my tuition. My parents helped cover the remaining costs of tuition, books, room and board,” he said. “I was thankful for their help, but I was uneasy knowing they used funds that could have been saved for their retirement to help cover my college expenses. They sacrificed their own future finances for my education.”

Saving for the Future with Family Help

The Waukegan family has since opened a Bright Start account for their younger son Andrew, and contributing to the boys’ college accounts is now a family affair.

“Cash gifts from family for birthdays and holidays go directly into their Bright Start accounts instead of spending it on more toys that get little use,” Jorge said.

The family hopes that opening Bright Start accounts will help them focus on academics. As they grow older, Jorge wants his sons to find and excel in their passion instead of worrying about how to pay for it.

For now though, the family is happy they began saving early and urge fellow parents to do the same.

“Start saving for education as soon as possible, with as much or as little as possible,” Jorge said. “Eighteen years is a long time that savings can be working in the family’s best interests.”