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Author: OldOne Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 744231  
Subject: Re: Just starting to save Date: 5/18/2004 12:42 AM
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Some Observations:

I would not make any extra payments on the student loans. Your interest rates are incredibly low. You can achieve a 100% safe return which is higher than the interest you are paying. For instance, I-bonds are paying 3.39% right now. The only drawback is you lose 3 months interest if you cash in before 5 years.

Many of us feel that interest rates will soon go higher, which will make putting extra money into bonds of some sort an even better deal. I-bonds are particularly interesting since they are guaranteed to keep up with inflation.

Money in your portfolio is more useful than money which has been used to pay off a loan early. Go ahead, have a financial emergency and try to get the lender to accept no payments--it can't be done, but you can draw down your emergency fund.

As others have observed, keep the free housing for as long as you can, you will never see a better deal. OTOH, I think you need to consider some real estate exposure over the next few years. I am 58 and going to retire in about 18 months. My lifetime accomplishment record is that real estate has been a better investment than stocks. If you can handle managing it, consider buying a rental house when you have the down payment and the reserves to take care of emergencies. I know some people have done better in stocks than real estate, but in high-growth areas like Florida, real estate is a very good bet.

Lastly, I have found that while earmarking certain pots of money for given purposes is sometimes helpful, it is sometimes very limiting. You have a nice savings account right now. Just keep it all in one portfolio and consider what you need it for and when.

And absolutely last: Children will be much more expensive than your wildest imagination could ever estimate.
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