Let’s face it: As a graduate student or postdoc, you’re not being paid what you’re worth. Your stipend/salary/fellowship/funding is limited and will be throughout your (sometimes quite lengthy) training period.
But adulthood can’t be delayed forever. Your small salary has to cover a lot of different areas: basic living expenses, some quality-of-life upgrades and splurges, saving, debt repayment, etc. And in the time-vs.-money trade-off, you don’t exactly have time to burn either!
Despite these challenges, I believe that the PhD training period is the perfect time to learn how to make the most of your money and, more importantly, to actually put it into practice. If you’re ready to take that step but need some guidance, education, fresh ideas, or accountability, you should consider engaging me as your financial coach.
Is financial coaching for you?
If your finances are causing you any stress or you lack confidence in your current financial trajectory, you can benefit from financial coaching. What we work on together is customized to what you want to get out of coaching. Whatever your starting point, we will find ways to improve both your bottom line and your relationship with your money.
The following scenarios describe excellent candidates for financial coaching with me:
- “I know I’m earning enough for a reasonable lifestyle, but every month I seem to find to the bottom of my bank account or add to my credit card balance. I feel disorganized and like my money is just slipping away.”
- “I have a budget but just about every month something derails it. I want to stop being blindsided by these big expenses.”
- “I have some money that I want to use effectively, but I’m not sure if it’s best to save it, invest it, or put it toward my debt.”
- “I’ve never kept a budget before but I think it’s time to start. I don’t feel like I’m using my money optimally.”
- “I’m receiving a fellowship but no taxes are being withheld. I don’t know how to prepare for my tax bill in April.”
- “I’ve accepted my grad school/postdoc offer letter and I know what my salary will be, but I’m not sure how far it will go in my new city.”
When you become my coaching client, you must be ready to commit to your financial transformation. You will not be a passive participant in the coaching relationship, but rather the driver. Coaching will not work for you if you do not put in the work of self-examining, experimenting, developing new habits, and prioritizing what’s most important to you.
What is financial coaching?
Financial coaching is an investment. You will put in your time, energy, and money, and you should expect a significant return on your investment. Your exact return will depend on your goals, but will include both financial and emotional components.
- Explicit financial goals for the short-, mid-, and long-term and strategies to meet those goals
- A budget that balances needs, wants, and savings
- More money in the bank as short-term reserves
- Increased cash flow going to investing or debt repayment
- Reduced or eliminated credit card debt
- Freedom from stress and arguments about money
- Pride that you can provide for yourself (and your family) without turning to debt
- No more analysis paralysis
- Satisfaction because you are using your money the way you want to instead of how you have to
- Confidence that you are using the best strategy to build your wealth over the long term
As your coach, I will, as needed, teach, encourage, guide, brainstorm with, and provide accountability to you. When we establish our coaching relationship, we will decide upon goals for our time together, and continue meeting regularly until those goals have been fulfilled or you choose to discontinue. In between our meetings, you will implement the strategies you chose, gather data, and complete exercises. By the time you are ready to stop meeting regularly, you will have made numerous tangible improvements to your finances and easily see the first blossoms of a return on investment that will bear fruit for the rest of your life.
There are certain needs that I as a financial coach cannot meet; they are more appropriate for a financial planner. A financial planner can provide you with expert advice regarding investment and insurance products, while a financial coach walks with you through your behavior change.
Why should you work with me?
If you have decided that you want to receive financial coaching, there are many choices of quality coaches available to you. You need to find a coach who you is a good fit in terms of their personality, coaching style, experience, and fee.
What sets me apart is that I specialize in PhDs-in-training. Having survived my own PhD, I am uniquely positioned to understand the constraints and motivations of the life of a young scholar. I know what it’s like to live on a small salary for years on end, balancing saving for the future with living comfortably in the present. I found my own way to maximize my salary, and I can help you find yours.
Additionally, through my speaking and writing, I have conversed with grad students and postdocs all over the US; I am aware of the diversity of financial experiences of those groups and have collected many stories and strategies from them.
If you are a prospective graduate student, graduate student receiving a stipend, or postdoc in need of financial coaching, schedule a free initial call with me. During that call, we can both evaluate whether we’ll be a good fit for a coaching relationship.
The first 25-minute call with me is totally free and no-obligation.
For single sessions, my rate is $100 for a 55 minute session and $50 for a 25 minute session. Discounts are available when you book at least 5 sessions.
If you would like to receive a discount or a chance for a free session, sign up for the Personal Finance for PhDs mailing list.
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