Author Topic: What to do with savings during grad school?  (Read 791 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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What to do with savings during grad school?
« on: June 17, 2020, 02:31:54 PM »
Hello all! Going to grad school full-time starting in August. I have no debt (not counting the debt being accrued while I am in school) and have $40k in savings. I am hoping to use this savings strictly as living expenses over the next two years. I have calculated my expenses and expect to spend $1,500/month for two years ($36k in total). I want my money to make money for me while I am in school, but am nervous about fluctuations in the market impacting the money I have saved for living expenses. I have a "high" interest savings with Capital One currently earning 1%APY (down 50 basis points in two months). Any other suggestions on where to put this money? Thanks!


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: What to do with savings during grad school?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 02:41:05 PM »
Money you need with 5 years (let alone 2) should not be invested. Keep in the high interest bank account.


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: What to do with savings during grad school?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2020, 02:43:15 PM »
For money that will be needed in the next two years for living expenses, a savings account (even with a 1% APY) is exactly where that money should be.

you could shop around for something with a slightly better rate, but given the short time frame the gains won't be huge


  • Bristles
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Re: What to do with savings during grad school?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2020, 04:17:47 PM »
I agree with the other posters that for money needed in the short-term (and 2 yrs counts as short-term) a savings account is what you need. You've already found a good one. Kudos!

That said, if you anticipate having any extra money on hand that you won't need for living expenses in those two years, I would add that grad school is a great time to make deposits in a ROTH IRA because your income (if any) is low, so you are below the income limits and can still contribute. Hopefully going to grad school will eventually land you in a position where your income is too high to make ROTH IRA contributions, so the sooner you start investing, the more years you'll be able to put money into a ROTH IRA over the course of your life (I'm leaving out the possibility of a backdoor ROTH IRA, which isn't a possibility for everyone) and the more money total you'll be able to have sit in that account to grow for decades. And if things really get tight, you can withdraw the principal (but not the interest) from a ROTH IRA penalty-free.

If you don't have a ROTH IRA already, I would suggest taking $1000 of your $40k and opening a ROTH IRA at Vanguard. That is the minimum you need to open an ROTH IRA account with them (you'll be able to buy target date funds). Once you have that account open, you can make smaller, additional deposits as you are able, up to the annual contribution limit (currently $6000). And for me at least, having made that one-time big payment and opening the account greatly lowered the mental barrier to making future contributions.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: What to do with savings during grad school?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2020, 09:06:00 PM »
Yes, keep it in a savings account, but you can probably do better than 1%.  Look into credit unions. Can you put half into a higher rate GIC, since you won't need it for a year?