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(Soon to be) Fiancee and I each openning up Roths
Old 07-07-2008, 03:39 PM   #1
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(Soon to be) Fiancee and I each openning up Roths

My girlfriend and I are both 23 years old and are done with our first year as PhD students. Our income (although steady) isn't that great. We are still pulling in about 36k between the two of us on our research assistantships and we don't have to pay any tuition or fees.

We will both graduate debt free in 3-4 years with our degrees.

Over the past year she has managed to squirrel away ~$5k savings (would have been more but we had some fun too, you'll go insane studying/researching all the time if you don't.)

I am currently in France on an internship and am turning double salary so I will have an extra $4k (even after paying off the ring i bought and deducting a little bit to buy ourselves the new tv we've been wanting for a long time.)


We want to each open up a Roth and begin making our contributions as soon as I get back.

Her assistantship is greater than mine (chemistry pays better than mechanical(although i work in nuclear) engineering at the student level) and she will almost definitely be able to max out her contribution each year while in school whereas I will likely only be able to make a ~2k contribution.


I guess my question is if anyone has any advice on my situation where I can max it out the first year but then might have a few years where I cannot. Obviously regardless of whether i max it out or not I'm still doing more good than harm, but is there anything I should know about not maxing it?

Also if someone were to open a new acct right now (or within the next month or two) which one would you go for? Vanguard seems to be the standard answer I have seen, but I'm throwing it out there anyways to see the responses.

Thanks!

Nate


EDIT: I should also mention that her father is retired navy and she is able to take advantage of USAA benefits. Does anyone know how attractive USAA is versus vanguard or one of the others?
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:34 PM   #2
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There's no hidden downside to starting out maxing your Roth and then contributing less than the max in subsequent years. You've got the right idea, start saving as much as you can for retirement, as early as you can, and continue that as best you can; if you have a few lean years where you can't contribute the max, don't sweat it just stick with it. Congratulations for starting off on the right track!

As for "where" to open your Roth, nothing new from me: Vanguard would be my recommendation. Lots of great low-cost index funds for you, or go with one of their "Target Retirement" funds for the year when you'll be 65 - that's a great fund to start with because you get instant diversification and asset allocation appropriate for your age in a single fund (and when you only have a little to start with, sticking with fewer funds is much better because of fund expenses).
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:32 PM   #3
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Great, thanks for the affirmation on the vanguard
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:42 PM   #4
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I'd second what Lusitan said.

Also, I am a customer of both Vanguard and USAA, and while they are both absolutely great companies, I would recommend Vanguard for your Roths. USAA has been really great for me for all of my insurance needs -- I don't even bother shopping around anymore because every time I do USAA is cheaper, usually by a lot. I would strongly recommend you check with them when you get homeowners and/or auto insurance. I also have my daily checking account with USAA.

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Old 07-08-2008, 12:52 PM   #5
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Sounds like you are the person who knows the ropes concerning the two!

We actually both have our renters insurance through USAA already (I was able to get in it via a cohabitant loophole under her plan.)

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:00 PM   #6
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If I were you I would join the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) right now. I think you only need to deposit $5.00 in a savings account to join and stay a member. You should be able to join via your GF's father as a relative.

Mike D.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:06 PM   #7
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Are you in Grenoble, Nate?
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:47 PM   #8
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Are you in Grenoble, Nate?
As a matter of fact I am. Please tell me you are here too! lol

All of my friends are going home this weekend for Bastille Day and I have nothing to do.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:06 PM   #9
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As a matter of fact I am. Please tell me you are here too! lol

All of my friends are going home this weekend for Bastille Day and I have nothing to do.
Nope, not there but my sister will be starting a post-doc at the lab in about 2 weeks. I'll be visiting in the fall with some FF miles.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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Is she working at the CEA? That is where I am.

btw, you can tell her to check out my blog. In it I have several posts about the things I have done around here, just to give her an idea of what there is. I actually JUST updated it 2 minutes ago with a long post with photos from my weekend trip to go snowboarding. That will be fun coming here. My gf and I will be taking a trip (most likely for honeymoon) with my FF miles (i have just barely have enough to send us both on a trip to europe )


There is stuff to do here in the city, but she'll need to make friends with ppl with cars to do the cool stuff. (I went beyond and made friends with a guy with a plane lol)
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