Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
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smile0751
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Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby smile0751 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:46 pm

Hi, please do not quote because I may delete later.

So I decided to work for two years prior to law school to 1) gain experience and 2) to save money to try to minimize debt. Since working, I have been able to save a substantial amount and expect to have 40k+ saved by the time it comes to enroll and $0 debt.

From a strategic financial standpoint, is it a mistake to save money? I know this will lower my financial aid package which can be worth quite a lot. Are there some commonly accepted financial maxims to minimize the financial blow of law school? I'm not asking how to avoid reporting the truth, but am instead trying to be strategic about my finances.

My ideal school would be YHS, but I've also already been accepted to most of the T14 (NYU down).

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twenty
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby twenty » Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:15 am

If it turns out having 40k in cash hurts you that much for financial need (which if HYS financial need is anything like college financial need, it will), then just spend it when it gets to that point.

I think the bigger question for you, though, is what do you want to do? If you actually have the numbers to get into HYS, you have the numbers to get serious scholarship money in the T14. If you want biglaw, the latter is a no-brainer. If you want some prestigious PI gig, you'll be on LRAP anyway so at that point just save your money and take on more debt. In either event, you're better of having saved that money than having not.

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sd5289
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby sd5289 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:09 am

Whatever you've saved won't affect merit-based schollies (based largely on stats), so I don't understand what the problem is. I agree with the above poster that if you can get into one of the YHS, you can pull some serious $$$ from the T14 schools.

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smile0751
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby smile0751 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:53 pm

Thank you both! I'm going to weigh my school / scholarship options later, but I wanted your opinions on how I can do the least amount of damage possible and keep most doors open.

Do you know if HYS measure financial aid at the time of enrollment or when fafsa is filed (the end of the year)?

Thank you again!

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:29 pm

how do schools determine how much you've saved? FAFSA? Just straight up ask you?

It's odd that they would base it on that - income makes more sense to me because at that point you can decide what to do with your money - fewer savings because of major factors (kids, etc.) are indicated elsewhere without having to report amount saved. Why should someone who chooses to blow their money instead of save it get an advantage?

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smile0751
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby smile0751 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:53 pm

ChemEng1642 wrote:how do schools determine how much you've saved? FAFSA? Just straight up ask you?

It's odd that they would base it on that - income makes more sense to me because at that point you can decide what to do with your money - fewer savings because of major factors (kids, etc.) are indicated elsewhere without having to report amount saved. Why should someone who chooses to blow their money instead of save it get an advantage?


I agree with you 100%. I cannot stress enough how the current financial aid landscape provides perverse incentives. But that's the world we live in, and I dont want to be surprised by any of the "rules of the game."

I believe FAFSA asks about your assets, which includes financial assets (i.e. saving accounts, stocks, retirement funds) and real assets (houses, cars, etc).

From what I've read, taking on additional debt can help you with financial aid--I.e. purchasing a car or property with little down which can offset assets. However, I'm hesitant to take that path. From what I can tell, the best option would be to blow money on a vacation / experience since there is no asset as a result. But then again, that seems so short sighted.

But what I also wanted to know is when is the measurement of wealth taken? Is it of 2013? The last 12 months?

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:59 pm

smile0751 wrote:
ChemEng1642 wrote:how do schools determine how much you've saved? FAFSA? Just straight up ask you?

It's odd that they would base it on that - income makes more sense to me because at that point you can decide what to do with your money - fewer savings because of major factors (kids, etc.) are indicated elsewhere without having to report amount saved. Why should someone who chooses to blow their money instead of save it get an advantage?


I agree with you 100%. I cannot stress enough how the current financial aid landscape provides perverse incentives. But that's the world we live in, and I dont want to be surprised by any of the "rules of the game."

I believe FAFSA asks about your assets, which includes financial assets (i.e. saving accounts, stocks, retirement funds) and real assets (houses, cars, etc).

From what I've read, taking on additional debt can help you with financial aid--I.e. purchasing a car or property with little down which can offset assets. However, I'm hesitant to take that path. From what I can tell, the best option would be to blow money on a vacation / experience since there is no asset as a result. But then again, that seems so short sighted.

But what I also wanted to know is when is the measurement of wealth taken? Is it of 2013? The last 12 months?


Probably the same timeline as your tax forms if I had to guess - so Jan 2014-Dec 2014 if applying for the 2015 year

So dumb - well I guess it's time to go plan that massive vacation that I won't have time for in the next decade after starting law school...

Also I feel as though there are a lot of ways to bypass the "savings" aspect. Couldn't you theoretically "gift" some $$ to your parents/significant other or something so as to report less savings? Granted this sounds very fraud like which is definitely not good for a budding attorney but it seems like a very feasible thing.

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twenty
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby twenty » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:18 am

That doesn't "sound like" fraud, that is fraud. Don't do that.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:10 pm

twenty wrote:That doesn't "sound like" fraud, that is fraud. Don't do that.


Haha of course I wasn't planning on doing that - I was just bringing it up as a hypothetical

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Advanced Planning - Will Work Experience Hurt Me?

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:40 pm

smile0751 wrote:
ChemEng1642 wrote:how do schools determine how much you've saved? FAFSA? Just straight up ask you?

It's odd that they would base it on that - income makes more sense to me because at that point you can decide what to do with your money - fewer savings because of major factors (kids, etc.) are indicated elsewhere without having to report amount saved. Why should someone who chooses to blow their money instead of save it get an advantage?


I agree with you 100%. I cannot stress enough how the current financial aid landscape provides perverse incentives. But that's the world we live in, and I dont want to be surprised by any of the "rules of the game."

I believe FAFSA asks about your assets, which includes financial assets (i.e. saving accounts, stocks, retirement funds) and real assets (houses, cars, etc).

From what I've read, taking on additional debt can help you with financial aid--I.e. purchasing a car or property with little down which can offset assets. However, I'm hesitant to take that path. From what I can tell, the best option would be to blow money on a vacation / experience since there is no asset as a result. But then again, that seems so short sighted.

But what I also wanted to know is when is the measurement of wealth taken? Is it of 2013? The last 12 months?

At Y at least, they don't count it if you don't have access to it, so maxing out 401(k)/IRA would be a good plan. I do think you can keep sending them updates pretty much until school starts IIRC, so there's no exact cut off point for when your actual cash in the bank counts.

That said, you've got to be in a really specific band of need for it to make sense to just blow your money.




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