My parents are telling me to do it, but I do expect to pay a lot of money for the first year just because I need to move in and get a lot of things set up (like an ergonomic working environment). So I'm thinking of delaying for a couple of years.

  • 2
    Re: Waiting a few years. Read this before you decide to wait to start saving - bit.ly/wu4KH2
    – JohnFx
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 14:14

2 Answers 2


Since you say you are a student, perhaps you should look carefully at the requirements for contributing to an IRA, whether Traditional or Roth. Unless Congress changed the law recently, one has to have earned income to contribute to an IRA. So if you were a teaching or research asssistant receiving W-2 wages while completing your Master's degree, you are eligible, but if you had a fellowship you are not eligible (unless you had other income, whether W-2 wages or self-employment income reported on Schedule C). The amount that one can contribute is the smaller of your earned income and $5000 ($6000 for 50 and older people).

  • Oh wow - thanks very much for the excellent answer! I'm on fellowship for first year, so I guess I'm not eligible then. Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 23:03

If you are absolutely sure you will need the money in the next year or so I wouldn't do it just because of the hassle.

If you think you might not need to use the money then I would go ahead and fund a Roth IRA for the simple reason that you can get your contributions (NOT earnings on those contributions.) back without paying any penalties if you do end up needing them.

A good summary of the rationale can be found at My Money Blog's Roth IRA Contribution vs. Emergency Fund Savings


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