A Simple Way to Make a Lasting Difference
Mount Mercy alumna Bobbie Oltman '94 is the shy, quiet type. She grew up in Anamosa, Iowa and has lived within a 30-mile radius of her hometown her entire life. When it came time for college, her heart was set on a small college where she had been offered a prestigious scholarship. However, when she received her financial aid package, she realized significant debt was on the horizon—even with the promised scholarship.
She reluctantly expanded her search and toured Mount Mercy as well as a public university. Bobbie was a straight A student in high school; her parents expected nothing less. But when she received a letter from Mount Mercy offering her a presidential scholarship, her parents were impressed. They quickly discovered it would cost significantly less to attend Mount Mercy than the other colleges and universities she was considering. Her decision was practical but also life-changing.
Bobbie flourished at Mount Mercy. A strong aptitude for math led her to pursue a major in math and minors in psychology and computer science. "Math isn't an extremely social major," Bobbie reflects, "and I rarely spoke up in class."
Fortunately, she was intrigued by professor Jim Grove and his round table discussions in her first collegiate English course. He challenged her–claiming there were no wrong answers in this environment. As a math major, her logic was very different from the others in the class. As the semester progressed, she gained confidence and found she enjoyed sharing her opinion with others who had a different point of view. Looking back, she believes this breakthrough helped prepare her to hold her own in life and at work.
She went on to take a J-term literature class on slavery and then an upper level English course as a non-English major. She found Mount Mercy to be a comfortable place to explore and stretch without jeopardizing her grade point average.
The college experience expanded her world and her gratitude runs deep. Bobbie managed to complete a Mount Mercy degree in 1994, accumulating only $5,900 in debt over four years. "I would not be thriving in a position where I get to be mentally creative, challenged and pushed beyond my expectations if not for Mount Mercy and the financial aid I received. My work has also given me opportunities to travel places I would not have pursued on my own," Bobbie readily acknowledges.
Once settled in her career, she began giving faithfully to the Mount Mercy annual fund knowing she wouldn't be where she is today without scholarships. As a product manager at GoDaddy, she is eligible for a corporate match that seamlessly doubles her annual gift.
She never really thought much about an estate plan until she began talking with a financial planner. Anticipating retirement at age 60, she was given a "to-do" list to complete. She hesitated when it came to drafting a will. Bobbie doesn't have any children and joked, "I can't leave it all to my dog!" She noticed a line about estate planning on a Mount Mercy pledge form and checked out the web site for more information. She always wanted to impact her alma mater so it made a lot of sense to name Mount Mercy as partial beneficiary of her 401k plan by simply filling out a form that is entirely separate from her will. As a nonprofit, Mount Mercy will pay no taxes on the IRA distribution upon Bobbie's death whereas family members would have to pay federal income tax on an IRA distribution.
With thoughtful planning, she is set to leave more tax-advantaged assets to her family allowing her to direct her hard-earned money toward her top priorities. An added bonus was seeing how pleased her family was when she told them of her plans to support Mount Mercy through her estate.
Life experiences have taught Bobbie not to take things for granted. Having an estate plan gives her a sense of peace and satisfaction. Have you avoided creating or updating your will? Take the first step today. Contact Lonna Drewelow at (319) 368-6468 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to put your plans in order and ensure your resources will continue to support your top priorities.