This is my first post - sorry if it's poorly organized:

I'm 24 years old, and currently a little less than halfway done with my bachelor's degree in Software Engineering. At the current rate I'm taking classes (12-15 credits in the fall/spring semesters, and around 4-6 in the summer semesters) I should be able to graduate in 2021 (probably July). Thankfully my degree can be completed online (minus 1 semester where I need on campus credits). My wife and I have a great opportunity where we work.

  • We have zero debt
  • We pay no rent (boss pays for us incredibly)
  • We use a company car (only pay for gas)
  • We have $28,000 in savings
  • We have $0 in retirement/investments
  • We save just about $2000 per month
  • I have scholarships, so most of my school is free (will only lose if my gpa slips)
  • We live in Alaska so every time we stay for a full calendar year we get a pfd which is around $2000 each per year

By the end of 2019 we should have just about $40,000 saved up. (28000 + 5(months)*2000 + (pfd)4000 = 42000)

Because of my scholarships I think we could honestly ride out the rest of my school with those savings, with me not having to work (plus my wife working full time to pay for monthly costs)

Essentially our question is: should we move down to my college campus and take classes there (reasons to follow)? Or should we just continue working up here, saving 2k a month, and finish school later than I would have if we moved down?

Reasons for moving:

  • Get into a community of software engineers to network with clubs, associations, etc.
  • I could probably track down an internship easier/get better job opportunities if I was down there for longer
  • There are a few elective classes only available on campus that I want to take, these aren't required for the degree though
  • I can focus more on school, so I can get it done faster/better (if I continue to work full time it will probably put me back to spring 2022 graduation - so basically a semester but maybe two)

Reasons for staying:

  • The money situation is great, and we live pretty well/stress free up here

If I end up staying I'm looking at walking away with a degree and probably $75,000 (or more), but I'm worried about eventually getting a job/internship/etc with no physical community involvement. If we move down to finish my degree we could still probably have some in savings, but we'd be more likely to break even. Should I stay and do the online thing, or should I go down to the campus to finish? Another way to phrase the question: Are the networking opportunities more worth it than the money we'd be saving? I hope what I'm trying to convey is being conveyed.

  • 2
    Two questions: #1 Move down where? #2 Why is your wife's boss paying your rent?
    – RonJohn
    Jul 1, 2019 at 6:35
  • Are you taking 12-15 credits per spring semester and 12-15 credits each fall semester, or are you taking 12-15 credits split between the semesters? Jul 1, 2019 at 10:31
  • @RonJohn Sorry, good questions. Move down to Rexburg - Brigham young University Idaho. He's actually both our boss - The short answer is that he pays for employees to move up here and pay for housing in the hopes that it makes better employees (I think it works honestly) This opportunity is, at least for the time being, going to last for at a few more years.
    – Roy
    Jul 1, 2019 at 16:03
  • @mhoran_psprep I am taking 12-15 credits each semester, and then 4-6 in the summer so around 30-36 credits a year
    – Roy
    Jul 1, 2019 at 16:03
  • @Roy keep in mind that Rexburg Idaho is a small, fairly isolated community. It's not as isolated as many communities in Alaska, but more so than say Anchorage. Your community of programmers and software engineers is going to be limited to your fellow students, which will still be a very small community. If your primary motivations are a professional community and internship opportunities you my want to consider transferring to schools in Salt Lake City or Ogden. There is the national laboratory in Idaho Falls, but that's really the only tech employer between Boise and Ogden or Salt Lake City. Jul 1, 2019 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


As this is a tricky question to answer I will be a bit wage with my answer. The best financial advice I got was always invest in yourself first! Then in other thinks like savings and other cash flow aspects.

So if you think that moving will be beneficial for your self and you can afford it, do it. If you don't think you will manage it, stay and save up more Money. It is an opportunity but will not be the last in your life.

This is more a philosophic approach than an empirical. So bear this in mind on reading this answer.


If you are persistently committed to the online study, you should also think of the advantages of the slow online study: you may have immediate access to the lecturer's advice.

Yes, the northern weather is terrible, but there is no guarantee of greener pasture in a place like silicon valley. Subtracting the weather factor, the potential $120K looks lucrative but does not speak the full story of full expenses (e.g. rental can easily take up 20%~30% of the pay, etc.). Here are some stories posted by Quara user

Unless you are attending some sort of elite University (the recent admission scandal spell themselves out), networking opportunities **is a lottery that you should not rely upon **. Enter the era of Web 2.0, you have more ways to build your network of interest group.

A monthly saving of $2000 may not sound a lot for a silicon valley job, bare in mind that many highly paid workers are sitting on a pile of debts. A saving of $2k is enough for you to get a reasonably priced insurance cover and invest in low expense ratio index ETF, which will expand your wealth in the long run.

If you think this is not convincing, then you should read through Thinking, Fast and Slow, try to justify each of your decision accordingly with the help of the cognitive and statistical example as described inside the book.

  • Downvoted because of the comment about northern weather. That's purely a matter of personal taste. Some of us happen to like it!
    – jamesqf
    Jul 1, 2019 at 17:08

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