Author Topic: Any international students around here? (or others with international stories)  (Read 1646 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 3
Hi! I'm looking for other international students in the U.S. or others with similar situations to share experience. I don't think my story is predictable or complicated enough to require a full case study, so I only hope for a good conversation and to meet people. Do you also live in between two countries? How do you decide to spend? Where do you invest? What do you do with taxes and visa restrictions?

I am going to copy here my basic introduction to give some background. I'm an international student from Russia in an Ivy League school. I randomly discovered MMM website and devoured all of it in two-three days. I've been brought up with the idea that you should invest and eventually reach FI, but never really got to mechanisms how to achieve it (apart from MLM that contributed greatly to my personal finance education, but not a career option I'd like to pursue). Thanks to this forum, I've been able to become more frugal (and I do find wastefulness I've witnessed in the U.S. ridiculous as is). How graduation is approaching soon, and I do want to start saving.

Here is my current situation: full financial aid from university with room and board, no loans, no permit to work outside campus on F1 visa (on top of travel allowance, I make $120 per week during school year), and only those summer opportunities that cover living expenses, as I do not request family support (save for partial lodging during holiday time back home) since 18. Back in Russia I have few houses to live in if I need and own a share in an apartment, but there are no opportunities worth getting an international degree from Ivy. I guess I'll be looking for jobs on global scale. While it seems like I have very, very little spare income to invest, I still think I could have managed even modest contributions over the past few years that could have started working in my favor already.

The pressing questions that I have right now are the following. If you can relate or offer advice, please chime in! Thanks for reading the whole thing.
1. Does Vanguard work with people on F1? (I'm figuring it out with them right now, too, but it will take a few weeks)
2. Invest in an index fund in U.S., where I can do monthly contributions for most of the year, with 30 percent income tax, but I do not know if I'll remain there after graduation, or
in Russia where I visit twice a year, and I am doubtful whether the recent crisis will have an easy way out?