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And please don't give me the line that both my ex AND my financial advisor friend gave me, the one that goes "but when you meet someone else....."!!

I wouldn't dream of it! I believe you can tackle this on your own, especially if you LBYM and maybe let the boys know that there's a good chance they'll need to help out with certain things - like perhaps buying their own clothes when they get a part-time job, and maybe helping pay for their college educations. It's not out of line to ask this of them, because they are the ones who ultimately benefit from these expenditures. I paid my way through college and it didn't scar me for life. <g>

You didn't mention how much you're currently putting away or how much you intend to put away after graduating, so I can't really do any estimating based on that. But you mentioned that you've currently saved $32,000, $12,000 of which will be spent on school fees. That leaves $20,000 to work for you. Through the power of compounding, if you figure an 8% return for the next 20 years, that $20,000 can grow to about $100,000.

If you can manage to set aside $500 each month over the next 20 years, that figure increases from $100,000 to about $400,000.

A trick that has worked well for us in the past that will probably work for you, since your income will be increasing sometime after you graduate, is to take any raises in income that you get and put them into savings/investments instead of raising your standard of living. That way you can increase your savings amount over time.

If you don't start setting aside any new money for 2 years, but then start adding $500 to the $20,000 you already have and increasing that amount by 3% each year, in 20 years you'll have close to $400,000.

The trick with compounding is to get as much invested as you can as early as possible, so that it has more time to work for you. If, instead of $500, you start investing $600 in two years and increase it by 3% each year, you'd have over $450,000 in 20 years. If you start with $1,000 your 20 year figure would be close to $700,000.

If it makes you feel any better, we're in a similar situation - only we have a HELOC to pay off while we do our investing, we're older than you (I'm 37 and DH is 42) and we have 5 mouths to feed rather than 3. In our case, I believe that owning investment property will be our saving grace, but that's not the answer for everyone. It sounds like maybe in your case, the answer will be to significantly increase your earning power, in which case it sounds like you're on the right track.

This may be a stupid question, but I thought that RNs made a decent living. I take it that's not so? What will you be studying? What portion of your sons' expenses is your ex helping with?

Don't lose hope so early in the game. Time is on your side. :)

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