DEAR DAVE: I'm in college with a full scholarship. I work part time and should be able to graduate with no debt. What can I do now to best utilize the money I make?
DEAR TYLER: You're in a fantastic position right now. First, I think your main goal is to study hard and be 100 percent certain you're graduating on time with no money issues. The next thing is to make sure you have plenty of cash on hand to make the transition to the real world. In a case like this, transition can mean anything from moving to a new city to simply finding a different place to live. You're coming to a time in your life where you really can't have too much cash saved.
If it were me, I'd just save every penny I could and drop it in a savings account. You can worry about investing and growing your money later, after you've settled into your new life and have some stability. Just think how cool it would be to graduate with $20,000 in the bank. Then, when you change gears and move out into the real world, you can do some really cool things with the money that's left. Set three to six months of expenses aside as your emergency fund, then you can even begin to think about buying a home and investing in Roth IRAs and other pretax retirement plans.
But your biggest investment right now is making sure you finish school and have the cash on-hand to transition smoothly afterward. And you're in a great position to make that happen!
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