Introducing our First Child Savings Participant of the Month, Thomas Casillas!

Fund My Future highlights one of the second quarter raffle winners as he shares his tips to save.

Originally from Georgia, Thomas Casillas recently moved to Pittsburgh last June. Both of his daughters, Isabelle and Aria, had Georgia 529 savings plans that he needed to transition to Pennsylvania.

A 529 plan, sometimes referred to as a Qualified Tuition plan, is a savings account operated by a state or state agency and is designed to be used for a child’s educational expenses. Savings can be used for tuition, books, and other education related expenses at an accredited two or four year college or university, in addition to use for private or religious primary and secondary schooling for children before college.

Getting a Jump Start on Savings with Fund My Future

Through his research Mr. Casillas stumbled upon the Fund My Future website and knew it would be a great addition to his current savings plan.

“Saving to me has never been something I did, my wife was the saver, but she taught me. Prior to her, I was bad in debt and saving was a fantasy.” – Mr. Casillas 

Through these savings accounts, he and his wife are teaching their two daughters to value savings so that they never have to live paycheck to paycheck.

Turning Spare Change into College Savings

Finding a good way to save can be tough, but Mr. Casillas and his family have crafted a ritual, as he calls it, over the years to save. In his home they have a separate piggy bank that they fill with loose coins throughout the year. At the end of the year, they go to the bank and have the girls drop the coins into a coin counter. Once the total is determined, he splits it equally and deposits it directly into their 529 plans. A few loose coins a day doesn’t seem like much at the time, but as his girls are able to see, can quickly add up to a significant amount of money! Isabelle and Aria look at their account balances monthly to learn about how interest builds up over time, and to remind them that their future is already being supported.

When asked what his children would like to be when they grow up, Mr. Casillas responded, “Good question!” Isabelle, a student at Quaker Valley Middle School, is musically inclined. She loves to play the piano and cello, so she hopes to pursue something in the arts field. Her younger sister Aria, a student at Osborne Elementary School, loves animals- especially dolphins. “At the moment,” her father says, “she wants to be an ‘animal doctor’.”

With such supportive parents and a jumpstart on savings, we are certain Isabelle and Aria have a bright future ahead of them.