Should I invest a portion of my summer job income this summer, or should I save it all to help pay for my Freshman year in college? I figure since I'm still living at home, it would be best to utilize the time value of money and invest right now.

Looking at making about $7,000 this summer. Putting at least $2,000 into an emergency fund... then possibly investing a bunch-- or should I save it for my college expenses? I know a lot of professionals say to get out of debt before investing so....

Thanks in advance for the help!

  • 3
    How would you pay for school if you didn’t use this money? Do you have any other debt?
    – Ben Miller
    Apr 11, 2018 at 3:01
  • No debts. Graduating high school this spring. No money saved. $8,000 in scholarships, but still an outstanding amount of around $11,000 a year to pay Apr 11, 2018 at 4:43
  • If you are going to need the money to pay expenses in the next few years, I would hesitate to invest the money in individual stocks or ETFs since it could be worth a little/lot less should the market go south. If you were willing to accept modest risk for yield, you could consider parking the money in investment grade preferred stocks which pay 6% or so now. Assuming that you only chose quality issuers with no financial problems then your primary risk would be long term interest rates increasing. Need the money in 2-3 years? OK. Time frame of 6 months? Fahgettaboutit - stay in cash. Apr 11, 2018 at 14:36

3 Answers 3


My experience with investing is if you don't have the ability to plant the seed and let it grow over years, it's not worth your time to do it over paying down debt. If I were in your position I would either

A: use the money to pay down college debt or

B: use the money to live on (not beer)

Believe it or not, you are entering a magical time in your financial life. It's at this moment in time that you're going to learn the fundamental lessons that will carry you over your lifetime. Will you run your finances like a business? Live below your means? Will you join most people and start a life of never ending debt and credit consumption?

The choice is yours but I promise you that if you work hard now, when you do get that big paycheck, it'll be much easier to manage it responsibly. Good luck.


You should not invest any of the money, as tempting as it may be. College is an investment and any money you can earn to pay for it will be very valuable. Investments such as stocks or bonds can and do lose value from time to time. This is the opposite of what you need because college is a far more valuable investment.

In addition, the money will vanish quickly. There is a reason the image of the poor college student living on Ramen noodles exists. The small gains you might make investing it are nothing compared to coming up short at some point.


If you had an influx of money Then please invest ,but if you do not have an influx of money pouring in do not invest. Save your money and use it when needed for example college classes you might want to pay for rather than taking out loans. There may be a time when you need that money for an unexpected car bill or for health reasons.

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