Out Of The Mailbag – To YW Editor (Vacations from Learning)

63

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yw logo.jpgDear YW,

I am writing about something I noticed over the course of this winter.

I had learned in very good Yeshivos, and after I got married I wanted to learn for as long as I could.  However, due to the financial situation, after consulting with my Rosh Yeshiva, he advised me that I had no choice but to go to work.  Having entered this world which had been unknown to me previously, I quickly began to realize things that I hadn’t before, namely: being responsible, and how hard it is to make money.

That being said, what I noticed was so many of my friends in Kollel who went for vacation.  Whether to Eretz Yisroel, Florida, or skiing, many of them went for more than just a long weekend.  What I can’t understand is that for me there is no bein hazmanim anymore, so why are yungerleit taking off from their valuable time in Yeshiva to go on vacation.  Now that I work, I really know what it is to be stressed out- but to take off from learning Torah when there are already three month long breaks throughout the year?!  I wish I could still be delving into a seguya without worrying about where the rent is coming, yet some of these guys seem to be blowing an opportunity that I think they are taking for granted.  Maybe they should be honest with themselves if they are really fit for full time learning.

The second issue I had with these vacations is the money.  Some of my friends are spending their chassunah money, or money saved from their wife’s jobs for these trips.  How can someone without too much in their bank account spend so much on a luxury without a care of the consequences of not saving up for the future.  Even if they come from wealthy families, I still think it is fiscally irresponsible for someone with no income of his own to waste money for a one week fling.

Most yungerleit in Kollel, are the most chusheve people, and they do not waste their time or money, but what’s to be with the irresponsible attitude of those who do?
Thank you for your great website,

“Working Guy with a Gripe”


63 COMMENTS

  1. you cant judge. maybe you have no problem going for a few months straight without a break but some people need it for their sanity! also, some couples need to get away to strengthen their relationship.

  2. Wow!! When I was in yeshiva my rebbe always told us that we should appreciate the years when we could learn in yeshiva without the tirdos and use every moment of it wisely. When one is in yeshiva he has nothing to worry about. Not rent, not food, not parnasa ect… He told us that one day when we are forced to leave yeshiva, we are going to come back to him and complain that he didn’t warn us enough times…… I wish i had learned more then…..

    As for the money wasted on vacations…… I think that some of these couples are still children. Some of them spoiled children…..

  3. i dont think your right at all as a working person you have sundays off to do what you like as you also have nights.some kollels make you also stay for shabbos so if a person is learning 100% and wants to take off to spend time with his wife nothing is wrong with that.secondly what is this guy the treasurer of kollel yungerleit people could burn theyre money and that has nothing to do with you

  4. Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit”a addresses this exact issue in Orchos Yosher p. 80 at the end of his section on Kinah. His recommendaton is that a husband and wife work together to make a budget that will keep them out of debt. This is another beautiful example of how a Gadol Hador addresses current issues in very real and practical terms.

  5. Nebach nebach all around!

    You “hadn’t known before” about “being responsible”, neither do so many of your friends. You unfortunately were part of a bad chevrah. But its never too late look beyond the chitzoniyus and find ehrleche Yiddin to associate with. It doesn’t matter if they are in learning full time or working, in Chinuch or business, or living off the shver in collage or Kollel. It barely makes a diffrence if they are ‘Yeshivish’, ‘Haimish’ or ‘chasidish’ or ‘mordern’ look for responsible, honest people who take their lives and yiddishkeit (and their Rov, Ruv, Rebbe or Rabbi) seriously. This should be a wake call to you alot bigger then Kollel or work its about people!

  6. I personally think that our yeshiva/bais yaakov system has done a tremendous injustice to our generation. the girls are taught to marry long term learners, not go to college, not work in offices bc of the pritzus (which is definitely a real problem) and the boys are taught to stay in yeshiva, to marry girls with wealthy fathers. the problems are manifold: not all guys are cut out to learn forever. in fact, i’d say about 90% are not. those boys that are honest with themselves and a bit responsible are afraid to leave the yeshiva bc they’ll miss out on the good shidduchim. the girls, on the other hand, are scared to take boys that are working bc they’re afraid of what people will say, and they do wonder how high quality a boy can be if he left yeshiva, even if the boy in question is already in the upper 20’s or older, and has already done more than his share of time in yeshiva. we have bred a generation of spoiled brats that expect our parents to support us royally. my question is, at what point do our kids learn to take responsibilty for themselves? when do we say “ad kan”? from where are the parents supposed to get the money to support the married children, and the children still at home? these parents cannot afford to take vacations the way their children do. who supported the parents when they were at that stage? they had a sense of responsibilty that we don’t see today. our fathers woke up early to chap a shiur, daven, worked a full day, then went out again at night to learn, all on their own cheshbon, not their wives’, not their parents’. when will this craziness stop? when our parents get sick from the stress? when will we learn to grow up?

  7. The reason for the laissez faire attitude from some of the kollel, I say some due to the fact that I do know some Kollel,friends and acquaitances, guys who do not take vacations and their going out is once a month to the pizza store, is because they do not understand the hardship that goes into the value of a single dollar.
    The gemara says that a person enjoys and takes care of something that he/she worked for more than a gift given by someone else. These married couples never had to work hard to earn a dollar, at least the husband. I am not saying that kollel is not a respectable jewish community service. However none of the Kollel men were ever forced to work straight through the night to make a deadline. Or walk into a meeting to brief his superiors with his job on the line. All they had to worry about is how to pay the bills for the month. This might be a hard task for a kollel family but everyone has the same problem.
    Furhtermore, a kollel family never had the mindset to save money for future times. They have a faith in Hashem, misguided or not, that HE will provide, whether they spend the money on vacation or saving it for when the expenses really pile on.
    There is no logical reason for a person not to spend his/her money when he expects a steady flow of cash. So the mindset is, to pay the bills and spend the rest now, on vacations or extra frivilous activities and EXPECT the money when they really need it.

  8. This is appalling! If these guys are in fact wasting their own and their wives’ money they are merely being irresponsible, but if they are recieving a stipend from their yeshiva then I am horrified.

    I’ve been married to a wonderful Ben Torah for long enough to have kids in high school, and we have sacrificed many things to allow him to continue teaching Torah. We certainly have never had a vacation (of more than a day) that was just for pleasure.

  9. #1 & #3:
    You’re definitely right that th letterwriter cant judge everyone and it isn’t his business to do so.

    However I believe you’re reading this letter the wrong way. This isn’t about a personal complaint – “I’m jealous of those who can do what I was unable to do – and it’s not a blanket accusation against all those who are acting in this manner. There definitely are legitimate reasons to do so. That said, I think it’s silly to say that everyone has those reasons and are doing it as a thought-out course of action. People being people, we do what those around us do. We feel left out if we don’t.

    This letter then, is only an attempt at showing those people that what they’re doing is unwise, that they should appreciate and value the time they have while still in kollel and act wisely for the future.

    Asa yungerman myself I appreciate the message of this letter.

  10. I think you are talking about under 5% of yungerleit learning in eretz yisroel and making it sound like “everyone does it”.

    SHAME ON YOU for whitewashing all American Avreichim!!!

  11. Aunt Laya (9), don’t worry,, if and when your husband leaves kollel I am sure that like mine, he will still be as much a ben Torah 😉

  12. I agree that this is appalling, but only that all of the above people felt the need to agree with this writer! Who gets to decide who goes where and when on vacations? Only balei batim-who work can take break?! Maybe someone does have $$$ and needs to recharge their batteries-why is there a difference if this is money from work, kollel, stocks… asume that if they are going to E.Y., Florida, they can afford it!
    I personally know someone going to Miami- that is what is keeping him going through the next five weeks at work!(and, he is only going for three days!) So, once again, everyone stop being so JUDGMENTAL!!! Assume people know what they are doing!

  13. wats the big deal…..mayb they asked a rav…mayb for personal or shalom bayis reasons they needed to get away, last i check they cheshbon to HK”BH not u….

  14. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

    Your point that you first realized after you left kollel how difficult life can be is a good one. I doubt, however, that you would have taken someone who told you beforehand seriously. Everyone has to find his own way, and people will have to learn the hard lessons the hard way. If we all listened and learned from everyone else’s mistakes, the world would be a far different place today. Ain’t gonna happen. And stop griping.

  15. He has a valid point. But, I think it has to be a little more focused.

    Let’s not forget the thousands of Yungerleit who are moser nefesh for learning & haven’t taken a vacation in years.

    The problem exists mostly with young newly married couples.

    To put all Yungerleit in the same boat is unfair & untrue!!

  16. Look at it this way:
    those who are learning with ability to go to Florida it’s basicaly a luxurious life of the rich, not much different than in the work force where you have some working hard and some having it very easy. It’s an extended honeymoon, and why not throw in some learning too?

  17. You missed one thing about these vacations… it’s called STARWOOD’S POINTS! No yungerman is going on a luxurey vacation with his savings. It’s either the parents who sent them or they got a Metziah with points or connections.

    As for vacations during learning, usually it’s for the wife who works hard. If he’s a shtarke guy he’ll learn every day for at least an hour straight. This can be proven I know ten’s of guys who are shtark and went with their wives to geshmake places- on points.

  18. I appreciate his message, too.

    If you have the money and you need the vacation, there are working people who also take extra unpaid vacations, job permitting, so I don’t think this is unique to a kollel couple.

    I don’t think it’s wise to spend chassuna money on vacation after vacation. I do think it’s reasonable to take a short economical “vacation” with one’s spouse after marriage, but certainly not to blow money you don’t have on a month-long trip around the world or one vacation after another as if you’re making 7 figures.

  19. I agree with the writers sentiments, however,you have to understand that the Kollel lifestyle today is not what it was 15-20 years ago, those yungeleit who started back then are not the ones going on vacations in the middle of the z’man.

    Believe it or not, 20 years ago a yungerman in Lakewood would be embarrassed to drive a 3-4 year old car – it was too new! (if it had power windows, it was too new)

    It’s in the new generation (married in last 5 years) that there a few that are embracing this kind of Baalebatish lifestyle with, new cars, vacations, and lavish, carefree spending, all while being a part of the Kollel.

    Thats all regarding the hashkafa, regarding the money, there are many ways to make a vaction very affordable. i.e. airline tickets with mileage, staying at a friend’s/family apartments while they are not there, etc.

  20. THE REALITY IS THAT Everyone needs some breaks, and the more money you have (captalist america), the more you can spend. That’s the bottom line.

  21. That’s what happens when people get paid to learn.

    A kolel man’s learning is not worth a fig next to a working man’s learning.

  22. I remember reading that reb ahron used to say that learning is a vacation – but not everyone is reb ahron. I think there’s a middle ground between having these extravagant, irresponsible vacations that really are not relaxing(with all the planning, and non-stop activity, who can relax? the more you pay for the more you worry, during the trip and especially afterwards!) i think a vacation should just be at a bungalo colony, or for yontif, but a vacation just for the sake of having a vacation without making it leshaym shomayim is just another sign of how weak our dor is – let the goyim waste their time, who needs it?

  23. IN THE USA
    TORAH = MONEY
    TORAH = LUXURY
    TORAH = FAMILY
    TORAH = BUSINESS

    VERY VERY SAD TORAH BECAME A BUSINESS FOR THE RICH TO INFLUENCE, THE CHILDREN TO CONTROL AND FOR KLAL YISROEL TO WATCH AND SUFFER.

    I WISH TO MAKE ONE POINT, DID YOU EVER STOP TO THINK THAT IN ERETZ YISROEL THAT NOT ONE OF OUR GEDOLIM ARE RUNNING YESHIVOS. THAT ALL OF OUR LEADERS ARE OF THE MOST HUMBLE CHARACTER AND LIVE A VERY PASHATE LIFESTYLE -ALL AS THEY ANSWERS THE WORLDS SHAYALOS. THE GEDOLIM IN ERETZ YISROEL ARE NOT FUNDRAISERS, NOT RUNNING TO LAVISH WEDDINGS, NOT PUTTING THEIR CHILDREN INTO THE FAMILY (BUSINESS) MOSSAD.

    WE HAVE LOST THE LAST GREAT LINK IN AMERICA TO THOSE SPIRITUAL GIANTS. RAV SHMUEL BIRNBAUM ZT’L WAS THE LAST AMERICAN CONTEMPORARY TO GEDOLAI ERETZ YISROEL WHO BREATHED AND LIVED HASMODAS HATORAH.

    WE NEED TO BE MISPALLEL FROM SHOMAYIM FOR RACHMANIS NOT TO ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS ABOUT VACATIONS BUT FOR THE SURVIVAL OF AMERICAN TORAH JEWERY.

    ADAR IS THE ZMAN FOR UNUSUAL AND SPECTACULAR NISSIM MAY WE TRULY BE ZOCHE>

  24. My dear sir,
    what is the issue here? That they are going on vacations they cant afford and you are concerned for them ,or that you want to go on vacations that they can afford and you cant and your just jealous? If your only concerend about theyr spending style, rest assured taht they are big boys and girls and can make theyr own mature desicions. No need to worry for them. If youd like to go on a vacation yourself then pick yourself up and go on one, and stop worrying about the other people.
    Jack

  25. The Seforno writes on the passuk “va’yishman Yeshurun va’yivat” that when the Bnei Torah are “into” gashmiyus, all of Klall Yisroel follows.

    וישמן ישורון ויבעט. והנה גם בעלי העיון שבהם הנקראים ישורון מן אשורנו ולא קרוב עשו כמו הבהמות הבועטות בבני אדם שנותנים להם מזון: שמנת עבית כשית. הנה אתה ישורון קהל תופשי התורה ובעלי העיון פנית אל התענוגים הגשמיים ובזה עבית מחבין דקות האמת כאמרו וגם אלה ביין שגו ובשכר תעו כהן ונביא. כשית. כאמרו כי טח מראות עיניהם מהשכיל לבותם: ויטוש אלוה עשהו. ולפיכך נטש ההמון אלוה עשהו:

  26. Everyone please have rachmonus. Many “kollel wives” work like dogs to support their families. Not only do they go to one or perhaps two jobs, they also do all the necessary tasks to keep the family running and the kinderlech well cared for. No need to elaborate on the many daily stresses a kollel wife endures. A few days away may do wonders to restore a kollel’s wife koach.

  27. #27

    I believe the writer of this article is more annoyed that kollel couples are going on vacations, which they can not afford and complaining after the vacation that they can not make ends meet. The writer knows the hardships of kollel, as he mentioned he was part of one until he HAD to start WORKING. I think he knows the financial situation of some of his former kollel “buddies”. He is just wondering where they get the money to vacation but do not have enough to pay for the basic necessities unless “DADDY” pays the bills for them.

  28. I agree that people are acting very imature as of late but people have to also stop judging everyone. Everyone seems to worry how everyone else can manage and afford everything. Everyone needs to start worrying and taking responsibility for themselves. We must realize that some people have wealthy parents that subsidize their kids immature activity and others have other ways to do what they do. Incidentally others incur large debt to show off as well, but this should not be your problem. If people want to act foolish let them. It is they who will ultimately pay.

  29. if you feel you need a vacation take one , its like medicine.working for a living is a mitzvoh and one should have it in mind when he goes into the office ,workplace etc. the real test thoughis what does he do on a day off? is he in the bais medrash for an extra hour or 2, or is he in the malls etc spending the day with his wife.? if he would ask her , she likely would say go learn for a while. maybe even pack a lunch and stay all day. psst heres a secret: you dont have to travel anywhere to make your own personal yarchei kallah. without knowing vus iz by yenem you cant begin to judge . and even then wheres your “ltzad zechus”? maybe a little mussar is needed .

  30. I understand what you are saying. However you must take each case and analyze it separately . many couples who are in kollel have schedules which do not permit much family time. if the yungerman is learning 3 sedarim and comes home at 11 o’clock at night while his wife works at some point during the day, a mini-vacation can be the only time that they can have to themselves. Whether this should be done during the zman or not is another question. sometimes the schedules do not necessarily coincide.
    Also, shana rishona can be a different story. As far as the financial aspect, everyones financial situation is different and that has nothing to do with taking off during the zman or not. money is money. To be quite honest , while a couple is young to “blow a few bucks” is not such a big deal . the little amount that they spend, will not exactly save them from financial disaster were they to save it.

  31. # 30.
    Well if daddy is in fact paying for it, then that is where the moneys coming from , and they have a right to go on vacation if its being payed for. Even if we dont like the source of where its coming from.
    On the other hand,If they themselves are paying for it with monies that they cant afford, thats their buisness as well, and they are mature enough to make theyr own desicions.

    I was in kollel as well and never had my vacations payed for and niether would we afrford to pay for it on our own. We accepted it and did not cry cause there were others whos in laws and parents were able to sponsor their vacations.

  32. Excellent points. Also wish to point out that the yeshiva schedule (month off for Nisan, and 3 weeks for Tishrei and Av) are products of a time when many bochrim (and even yungeleit) traveled for days/weeks each way to go home from Volozhin or Mir, etc to their home town.
    Today – how many bochrim go home every night or every shabbos? Even EY is only a 12 hour flight. No reason to have the current schedule. The letter writer is right – working people don’t get those kinds of vacations -10 weeks a year- most are lucky if they get 4.

  33. i think that it sounds alittle like the writer is upset bec. he has to sit and work while his friends are gng on vacation. but some of u r right u cant judge and A. the parents are prob. paying for it and its not from there savings or from their kollel, all that money goes towards food on the table.
    B. most kollel guys only take off during bein hazmanim. did u check b4 u wrote this article if it was EVERYONE doing this or only ur few close friends.
    C. and as for u , u probably get more vacation days especially if u work in a goyishe firm. u get all the goyishe holidays off while kollel sits and learns through them.
    D. most kollel guys go home 4 super and then go back to learn and dont get home till 11 or 12 when there wives who work hard already go to sleep but u on the other hand probably have normal working hours from 9-5.
    i think that u should think b4 u judge anyone or write anything. u really have to be careful!

  34. What it all boils down to is, no matter how much moneya kollel couple/family has coming in or being spent, the kollel guys who are machshev torah for real (not those who say they are for lip service), will not and do not take any kind of these week long vacations or along those lines. They sit and learn till the zman is over. Granted some need a vacation to get re-energized, but it certainly does not need to ba a week of skiing in switzerland.

    And I agree with those who said above that maybe those couples that do go away for that long are in need of it for shalom bayis or something of those sorts.

  35. Maybe the yungerlight today should start working earlier in life to learn responsiblity, support the family and appreciate their time in learning. With the Rebonei shel Olem’s help they will retire very quickly and devote their full day in Kollel. Maybe that is bitochen with hishtadlus?
    I know a few people that have done it and were matzliach in their learning later in life.

  36. Hashem’s desire was for you to have to go into the working world to make a living. The fact that you don’t take vacations is because your boss does not allow it. Guaranteed, if your boss did allow it, you’d be out on siesta in a flash. Baruch Hashem for these kollel men, most of them have some means of support. By no means am I condoning fancy and lavish vacations. But if a yungerman feels that he would like to take off to recharge his batteries or to stabilize his sholom bayis, ma tov uma naim. And just because a person can’t learn 100% of the time , does that mean he shouldn’t learn 85% of the time? As long as he has the financial means, isn’t it better for him to be learning most of the time then working most of the time? The last time I checked, “b’zeias apecha tochal lechem” was a klala, not a bracha.

  37. have we become so immune to our weaknesses and succumbed to the everything is okay generation

    forget about the money for a moment!
    It is now 100% acceptable to even think that going on vacations while learning in kollel during sedorim time is ok?????

    Have we gotten so low that we are now debating if the shver is rich than we can miss days and weeks from sedar?
    we are not talking about the excetion where circumstances are that a couple has to get away, the writer is referring to the norm

    lets go all us foolish shvers and think now its normal to support our kids in kollel,buy them new houses, lease new cars and shteig while they go on their vacations
    HELP! HELP! HELP!

  38. the various comments on this issue I found ironic if not hypocritical. I speak as one was in kollel and did not get handouts. Yet as a society are we just as outraged as the commercialization of judaism pesach at exotic hotels, shaloch monas that has become theme oriented and totally missed chazals intensions etc. the reality is that the so caled working element among us feels that we have the right if not the obligation to ridicule kollel at every oppurtunity. Indeed some individuals in the kollel may need a reality check yet we if we truley are striving for a true torah society predicated on daas torah we must first do some real introspection. I suspect however that the motivator of this discussion is not to achieve a real dialogue of yehadus. Rather our own insecurities and imperfections about our own existence are propelling this judgmental and charged forum.

  39. The writer has a very valid point. Kudos to his rosh yeshiva who understands that working is not a sin.The writer specifically said that these ostentatious vacations are the lot of the few and not the many.The issue is very simple. The ramim and roshei yeshiva and certainly the heads of bais yaakovs have for years deligitimized working people and have raised on a pedestal those who “meimisim atzmam be’oholo shel torah”. We’ve all heard the arrogance of the learning community and their denigration of g-d fearing jews who work for a living. These “vacationers” put the lie to the yishivishe party line. So if they are going to represent the oilam hatorah, they should act the part. And if not, then they should not pretend they are.

  40. I am very sorry to hear that you had to go to work I know its a michayeh to delve into geshmake sugyos but please don’t take out your fustraition on the ones still in kollel. There is a reason why people who learn need a break otherwise their brain will explode, however people who work dont seem to have this problem of needing a break. Ever noticed when you were in yeshiva/kollel how much you needed those off shabbosim?
    thank you
    p.s. from now on please lets try to have pro yeshiva/kollel/rabbeim etc LETTERS on this amazing YESHIVA WORLD

  41. There’s a simple solution to this “lack of responsibility” on the Yungerleit’s part: Let each Kollel/Yeshiva give manditory tests on what was learned that week. Only those who pass will be allowed to continue receiving their Kollel check.
    Now I realize that you can’t test someone on lomdus, as the emes spreads itself on multiple wings. But at least a test on the simple pshat in Gemora+Rashi+Tosfos (and some ikkar meforshim) would be a great way of having the Yungerleit appreciate and value their own time in Kollel, and not “jump” at any opportunity for vacation.

  42. 36, re point C: you get substantial vacation after 10 years at the same job. Until then you spend it all on yom tov, MAYBE erev Pesach and Purim (there were years I did biur chametz myself), if you are blessed with family and don’t live in town traveling to simchos, etc.

    But what ever happened to fargining?

  43. I believe that person should work before going to Kollel. This way he will appreciate every second. When you work, you are forced to learn to use your time wisely, since there is so little of it. You are forced to get up at 5:30 a.m. to make a Daf Yomi so you could make the subway ride into work by 9:00 a.m. Do Kollel yungerleit have that pressure?

    Also, to #2 – working people do not have nights off. They have children with homework and Sedorim at night. Also, there is a large working population that works on Sundays – who do you think is standing behind the counter in the stores on Sundays for 12 hours?

  44. The Grass is Always GReener on the other side!! Stop looking at everybody else, it is not your business. You think you know what is going on by everyone else, YOU HAVE NO CLUE!!!! Do what you are supposed to do, do what Hashem put you on this world to accomplish and you should have a lot of Hatzlachah. Hashem should help you be content with your lot so you shouldn’t have to jealous of others.

  45. of course you have to be dan lekaf zechus but let’s face it, it is most of the time a continuation of the spoiled lifestyle that they were brought up with. No SERIOUS Kolel person is takingthese kind of vacations.
    KEEP FEEDING YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY TO YOUR SONS OR SONS IN LAW WHO ARE JUST TAKING AN NICE 2-3 YEAR VACATION ON YOUR CHESHBON

  46. number 19-u are right. we are what you would call a kollel couple…and just went on a 2 day vacation with starwood points. (which otherwise wouldve costed us close to 500 dollars!) you just need to air out sometimes….

  47. by the way ther are some parents who want to give their children money even if they dont have much so they can stay in learning – and ther are some wifes willing to do anything so their husband can learn another year in kollel and sometimes you may not know why they need to get away -just plesase look at youself b4 getting jelous of others

  48. Listen if Daddy got money and Mommy wants to shep nachas from her kollel children at the “chesed luncheon” why shouldn’t the little ztadikel stay in kollel. He doesn’t need to work.

  49. To be quite honest , while a couple is young to “blow a few bucks” is not such a big deal . the little amount that they spend, will not exactly save them from financial disaster were they to save it.

    The math might prove otherwise. I vote that if someone is going to “blow a few bucks” he should blow it when he is past 40 years old.
    $1000 invested in a ROTH IRA for 40 years with an 8% return will turn into $21,724 (tax free).

  50. LGBG-A ROTH IRA is available to those under a certain income level (I believe the Modified Adjusted Gross Income for a married couple must be under $100K, but I don’t want to be quoted on this). You are investing post-tax dollars (i.e. there is no tax deduction for the current tax year, but in exchange for not being able to reduce taxable income you withdraw the money starting at Age 65 tax free—this is a bargain!). You can invest up to $4000 of EARNED income for 2007 (if you invest now you must put your elect investment for 2007 by Apr 15 2008). For 2008 you can invest up to $5000.

    If you have regular IRAs and fall below the income level, you can also convert your IRAs to ROTH IRAs, but be warned that you already invested pre-tax dollars, so you will need to claim the entire amount of the conversion as (regular) income. If you can, it isn’t a bad idea to convert any IRAs you might have.

    In addition, you might be interested in a Coverdell (aka Education IRA), which is not a retirement account at all, but an account built with post-tax dollars (withdrawn with no tax) which allows you to invest up to $2000 per year per beneficiary to be used for education expenses, both college and private schools. This is a great way to help shield income to pay for yeshiva expenses in the future. Currently the 529 College Plan is far more popular, so the banker might give you a blank look when you ask about Coverdells, but all institutions should be able to process the paperwork.

    Go to your local bank and meet with a financial advisor. He/she can guide you through the application process. You will have a choice of opening a ROTH IRA Certificate of Deposit or a ROTH IRA Brokerage Account. Investing is not risk free of course, but the potential gain is far higher in the long run.

    I have some information up on my blog about retirement accounts and Coverdells, however, I don’t I have covered ROTHs yet.

  51. orthonomics

    thank you for explaining. I looked up on ROTH, but it said something about retirement, not that age yet.
    thank you again

  52. LGBG-The ROTH is an account you tap into when you retire, but if you want to have money put aside for your senior years, you need to start putting it aside as soon as possible, the earlier the better. Unfortunately, you can never catch up if you miss early opportunities. I assume you are in your 20’s or 30’s, now is the ideal time.

  53. How does a kolel guy apply for an IRA? Will he ‘save’ some learning every year? How much will his ‘boss’ contribute?

  54. lgbg-I did not write you were risk taking, I wrote that investing in mutual funds via the vehicle of an IRA entails some risk and one who is really risk adverse can save via a FDIC insured CD in the form of an IRA.

    KAH-WH TIDE-There are non-working spouse IRA’s. So a Kolel guy with no earned income could look into that if they have money to put away for retirement. I’m not so familiar with the non-wrking spouse IRA.

  55. My Mashgiach in Gateshead, Reb Matisyohu Shlit”a once gave a Shmuess about this subject. the line that i will always remember is:
    “an extended honeymoon with a Yarchei Kalla atmosphere”.
    this also came in:
    “UN MEN HARGET AVEK DER SHVER!!!! ROTZCHIM!!!!”

  56. YW is an excellent place to be commenting on other peoples actions. i would say that if they are too stressed out to learn then it will help their learning to take a break. who are you to judge other peoples madreigah