Something you might also want to learn about is I-Bonds at TreasuryDirect.gov. They work a bit like bank CDs, are federally guaranteed, but follow inflation automatically and can be bought in small amounts in electronic accounts or can even be received in paper as income tax refunds. They might be better for shorter-term needs as they mature in 30 years with tax due on interest, and that might be your higher earning years. They can be cashed in in 1 year and after 5 years there is no longer a 3-month interest penalty. Of course, they are steady, plodding bonds which lack the excitement and risk of the stock market, but do not lose value when interest rates soar, and are a nice counterpoint to stocks.
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