Okay, so here's where I'm at and what I'm trying to decide. I'm currently saving to buy a condo in the next 2-5 years, I was hoping to do it sooner then that but b/c I just started grad school that's taking away from how much I can save up each year (paying for it out of pocket b/c I don't want student loans) and that has forced me to push back my estimate on when I'd like to buy. Because this is pretty much everything I'm saving right now I don't want to risk putting all of it into the market at first but I'm willing to try with about a third of what I have so far ($10-$15k). Is it worth it to put this into the market (mix of mutual funds and/or index funds, mixing domestic and international) for an average of maybe 3 years? As I see it, there's the potential for a larger return then what I can get in a savings account (5.05% @ etrade) and the earnings could be taxed as capital gains instead of income, however there's also the cost of investing it (I would be going with a discount firm such as Vanguard to minimize cost, and would be sure to take overall costs it consideration when deciding on which funds to go with) and then the obvious risks that it's not FDIC insured, and the investments can go down in value leaving me with less money then I started with.
All things considered, I think I'm still willing to try it with $10-$15k but wanted to check with you all in the Finance Ground forum b/c you all are more knowledgeable about this stuff then me. So is it worth it to invest a smaller amount like that for about 3 years, or does the risk of it going down (or not making as much as a savings account) overshadow the potential benefits? If it was for longer I would go for it without much hesitation, but because it is for only about 3 years I'm not sure if it's still worth it.
Any help or suggestions you all could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Also, when I said "this is pretty much everything I'm saving right now" I just want to clarify before anyone jumps on me over this, that I do take part in my company's 401(k) plan, I'm looking at opening up a Roth IRA (and regularly contributing to it), and I do put a few more bucks away each month on the side "just in case". So it's not like everything I'm saving goes towards this goal of buying a place, but it is the overwhelming majority of my monthly savings. And lastly, yes all my savings are in a savings account, so it's not like this cash has just been sitting in a checking account, or under a mattress, not gathering interest while I've been saving it and trying to decide what to do.
Thanks for your help, sicko
Oh, and sorry about the long winded post, but I wanted to include as much information as I thought you all might need