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Am I putting $900 in the right places?
Old 01-08-2014, 06:16 PM   #1
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Am I putting $900 in the right places?

Along with saving for FI, I'm reentering 5 years of school in the fall. Figuring a rough (take home) budget, I have $900 'left over' even after accounting for miscellaneous expenses every month. That number will raise to $1,000+ as I trim costs for the gym and other memberships in the next few months, and commute in less expensive ways.

I am trying to place as many assets possible in retirement accounts, since they supposedly don't count against me when applying for financial aid. As an aside, my first couple of school years should be paid for, but I am also looking to decrease reportable assets for all terms afterward (to receive the most aid) and provide for some living expenses. Knock on wood, I'm not planning on drawing from my retirement accounts for school but it is nice to know that there are some funds that would be available if needed.

I look forward to maxing out my Roth IRA for the first time this year. That's $458.33 per month out of the $900. I have a matched 3% of pay going to a 401(k) at work, not counted in the $900 figure (I am considering raising this as well). I am also saving some money for living expenses, but even my books will be covered until year 3. I don't expect to be able to keep working 40 hours a week after going full time, but did do that once before when I had more energy! So my full time work may end approximately mid-August, with my aim on getting a part-time job netting $1k/month. I will receive a stipend of nearly equal amount for the school terms that are paid for. During years 4 and 5 I may not be able to work at all.

Am I putting too much emphasis on retiring at this point, or should I contribute even more to equities? If so, what do you advise? If it matters, my focus is to go FI around 55 (currently 30), then work as I please in my chosen field less than 20 hours a week.

Thanks for any input.

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Old 01-08-2014, 08:19 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Midwest View Post
.....Am I putting too much emphasis on retiring at this point, or should I contribute even more to equities? ...
Should I walk to school or take my lunch?

Yes, you are putting too much emphasis on retiring. Yes, you should be mostly equities at age 30 other than your emergency fund.

I think at this point it would be best to have a small emergency fund outside your Roth and fund your Roth to optimize your financial aid. Any Roth monies that you expect to need in the next 5 years for your educational expenses keep in something pretty safe and put the rest in equities.

IOW, for the next 5 years, the main purpose of the Roth is to optimize your aid.
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