I'm in need of some honest advice. I have these strong desires for my career(s) and the way my wife and I live, but I also have some serious obstacles. There's a lot of background info, so I hope it's not boring. I'll do my best to put it in bullet form. Ready? I'll state my goal and our goals. My goal. To get a Ph.D in Mathematics. The research I want ranges from uber-pure to uber-applied, from Algebra to Math-physics and computer science. My wifes goal. To get a Ph.D in Neuroscience. Our goal. To be financial independent. To never have kids and to never own a house. And importantly, be able to travel and move often (say every 3 to 5 yrs.) You'll have to accept our goals. Yes, they're different. No, we're not kids. We're 30, and we're both x-navy too. I have a bachelors in pure math. My wife has a bachelors in philosophy, but with a ton of math, physics, engineering. Ok. I'm going to graduate school this fall for a masters in computer science. I would like to study AI and applied math, but I am also really wanting to become a strong programmer so that I can make money for us while we're in school. She will be working soon, but we don't know in what. Ok, now the bad stuff. Combined, we'll be about 160,000 in debt after my masters. We both come from very poor families. We have never had help, it's just been us since the military. Our families have co-signed, but that's all. It is what it is. Now. The questions. Will we be able to pay off these loans and still succeed at our goals if we both go on to graduate school? Does anyone do freelance programming work? and if so what advice could you give me? To be absolutely money-minded, what should be studied for my masters to make good money? and equally important what should be studied to be able to be a freelancer or part time programmer? The question I hate to ask. Should I work for us for 5 to 10 years and study on my own? If I do this, will I still be accepted into the math community after such a long brake? The upside to working would be that I would be able to pay for her masters since she is changing fields, and we don't think she has enough background to apply directly into a Ph.D program. Our fear is that 5 to 10 years down the road as post-docs (in our 40s) we won't be able to pay for living with the debts and the cost of simply living. Is there merit to this fear, or is it baseless? Any general advice you care to share on this? Thanks. Sorry it's so long.