How to save for Graduate School?


I have a Bachelor’s degree, and I am debt-free. I started a Roth IRA and an emergency fund. I plan to save money for my Master’s in the next 5 years (maybe). I am not in a rush because I am still exploring different career paths that fit my interest and passion. In the meantime, as I am still trying to figure it out, I want to save grad school money other than scholarships/programs/etc (Unfortunately, my parents don’t make enough to help me, so I am saving for living expenses as well). Do you have any tips? I recently discovered the 529 plan. I am still reading more about it, and I am curious if you would have any advice or knowledge on how to save money for school?

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I dont have more advice aside from utilizing 529 plan to save for school. If you end up not using that money for education though, know that the gains will be subject to 10% penalty.

Also, I encourage you to really do a cost-benefit analysis. In my experience, somebody with a Masters don’t necessarily earn more than somebody with a Bachelors even though the cost of obtaining a Masters is ridiculously much higher. A person with a Bachelors who can prove themselves in a work environment has better potential to advance in real life. I’ve seen a lot of people with Masters and PhD struggle to get a job.

But if you choose to get a Masters, there are options. Find out if your employer has a Tuition Assistance program. Some employers cover a portion of their employees’ higher education. You can do a part-time Masters program (at night or on weekends) while you work to keep costs low and still have income.

Best of luck!

I’ve been working towards a Master’s in a different field than my Bachelor’s degree is in. I didn’t opt for a 529 plan as I’m cash flowing as I go; in that I save X amount each month in a HYS account so that I have enough to cover the next semesters tuition when it comes due. That way I don’t have to work about any penalties if life takes a sudden turn.

Similar to what Mindi said, definitely do research on the programs and if it’ll end up paying off in the long run. For me, it ends up being less classes to get Master’s than a second Bachelor’s and the there is an (near) immediate salary increase.

Also look into online options and don’t be afraid to do school part-time; not paying for additional living expenses than you already do will help your endeavor. I work a FT job then do school in the evenings and on weekends. It takes a bit to get used to but it’s doable if you really want it.

Good luck!