In this episode, Emily interviews Jewel Tomasula, a graduate student at Georgetown University in biology, specifically ecology and evolutionary biology. Jewel participates in climate change collective action through the Sunrise Movement, through 500 Women Scientists, and at her university. Emily and Jewel discuss how people can combat climate change as individuals and collectively through the lens of personal finance, covering frugal and environmental strategies, socially responsible investing, and leveraging our affiliations with universities. You do not need to be a homeowner or in command of massive capital to explore the advice in this episode.
Links Mentioned in This Episode
- Find Jewel Tomasula on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website
- “What We Should Really Do For Climate” by Samuel McDonald
- “I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle” by Mary Annaise Hegler
- “Scientists Must Speak Up for the Green New Deal” by 500 Women Scientists Leadership
- Personal Finance for PhDs: Tax Center
- Personal Finance for PhDs: Podcast Hub
- Personal Finance for PhDs: Subscribe to the mailing list
00:00 Jewel: I think people are maybe a little quick to discount the power that you have as an individual in these collective action movements and just being a body that’s part of this protest really makes an impression on the people who are making the decisions. People we’ve elected can’t ignore you when you were physically sitting in their office or physically outside the building and you’re part of a mass group of people.
00:28 Emily: Welcome to the personal finance for PhDs podcast, a higher education in personal finance. I’m your host, Dr. Emily Roberts. This is season five episode thirteen, and today my guest is Jewel Tomasula, a graduate student at Georgetown University in biology, specifically ecology and evolutionary biology. Jewel participates in climate change collective action through the Sunrise Movement, through 500 Women Scientists, and at her university. We discuss how people can combat climate change as individuals and collectively, through the lens of personal finance, covering frugal and environmental strategies, socially responsible investing, and leveraging our affiliations with universities. Listen on for actionable strategies that do not require you to be a homeowner or in command of significant capital. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Jewel Tomasula.
Will You Please Introduce Yourself Further?
01:24 Emily: I am so happy that Jewel Tomasula is joining me on the podcast today. This is a really special one for me because Jewel was the person who worked with me on editing the podcast and creating the show notes in the first three seasons, so really happy to have her back on now as a guest even though she’s moved on from the editor role. And today we are actually talking about kind of one of Jewel’s areas of special interest, which is climate change and climate change collective action. And we will get into how this intersects with personal finance momentarily. But before we do, Jewel, would you please introduce yourself to the audience?
01:50 Jewel: Hi. Thanks Emily. So I am a PhD student at Georgetown University. I’m working on a biology PhD and more specifically my discipline is ecology and evolutionary biology. The ecosystem that I focus on is the salt marshes. And they’re an ecosystem that is really affected by human activities, as well as really important for us adapting to climate change in dealing with sea level rise and salt marshes are important for carbon storage. I look at the resilience of this ecosystem and so I have a very ecology perspective, but I also think about climate change a lot because of the setting of my research.
02:47 Emily: Yeah, that’s perfect. So very strong professional connection as well. What is it that you’re doing outside of your professional capacity in terms of climate change collective action?
02:57 Jewel: I would call myself an active participant in the Sunrise Movement, and also a mobilizer of the 500 Women Scientists network. I wouldn’t say that I’m like a big leader in any sorts, but I’m someone who closely follows along and participates when I can. With the sunrise movement, I participated in a December 2018 action, where we visited out members of Congress and talk to them about supporting a Green New Deal resolution, which hadn’t been formally introduced yet, but it was an initial talking about ramping up climate action and taking on more stringent goals than just the Paris agreement and saying we want a stronger plan for climate action. And then it was a sit in of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and McGovern — representatives of the top Democrat offices. That was a really powerful experience, just to be one of hundreds of people that joined together and are taking this action and really showing our representatives that people care about this. And they can’t avoid it when we’re all sitting in the hallway or sitting outside their offices.
04:18 Jewel: I’ve tried to keep up with Sunrise Movement and participate when I can, not that often because I’m doing my PhD work as well. Then with 500 Women Scientists, with other leaders in that organization, we wrote an op ed for Scientific American called “Scientists Must Speak Up for the Green New Deal” and we outlined why scientists should be interested in this resolution and should take it seriously and advocate for it. And then that’s the group that when I go to, and just participating in in strikes or protests, that I usually kind of group up the DC pod of 500 Women Scientists to go together to these actions and support the leaders. And I try to amplify in my offline and online networks what the leaders of the youth climate strikes…their message, and the Sunrise Movement message as well.
05:24 Emily: Yeah, I think you have this interesting crossover identity that you are, identity-wise, compatible with these various friend groups. And it’s nice that you can be an intersection point between them and be, as you were just saying, amplifying messages from one to the other. And back and forth. So that’s great. Thank you for detailing that.
Climate Change and Personal Finance
05:50 Emily: I think that now we’ll get to the point where I want to say a couple of words about why we’re even talking about climate change on a personal finance podcast. Because maybe, you know, you say, well, Emily, this isn’t a good fit. This is about money, why are you talking about this? Or like, Emily, this is too political, why are you covering this topic? You don’t usually cover politics. And that’s not at all my intention, but the reason that I think about climate change in the way that it intersects with my business is because within personal finance and what I do a lot is thinking about the long-term — in my own life and the lives of my clients. When I talk about like investing and the power of common interest, I’m throwing out 50 years as a timeline that we should be looking over to think about our money. And over 50 years, over many decades — as you said, we’re already seeing effects of climate change and certainly over to 2030 and beyond that point, this is something that I think should be factored into our financial plans. As well as whatever motivation you might have to care about this as a human being specifically, it intersects our finances in this longterm planning aspect and also short-term planning.
06:56 Emily: There is this wonderful sort of synergy between frugality and conservation, or environmentalism and minimalism. A lot of the strategies that you might use to reduce your carbon footprint or be more environmentally focused in general are also ones that dovetail really, really well with being frugal in general or being a minimalist in general and not consuming so much. And so I just think whether you’re focusing first on reducing your carbon footprint or focusing first on frugality, you’re going to end up probably doing a lot of things that will benefit both facets, just naturally by the choices that you make. Because, as we’ll go through in a few minutes, there are a lot of things you can do that are good for your wallet and good for the planet. That’s kind of why I wanted to bring this up because there’s just this wonderful overlap. Not only should you be thinking about your own finances and what’s best for you in the long term. Maybe you can also direct your finances and your life choices in a way that’s compatible with being more sustainable long-term, as well. Jewel, can you just start, just make a couple of comments here — what can people do as individuals to reduce their carbon footprint?
08:13 Jewel: I think you outlined that so well about how we have to think about our personal finances in the long-term and that’s good for us, that’s a healthy thing, but if we’re going to be doing that, we also need to be thinking about the state of our environment and how sustainable our economy is as a whole and how that might be changing over the long term. I would hope that our economy is going to look really different in 50 years, that’s what my big hope is. And so this question of the individual carbon footprint and your responsibility there, it really centers on the power you have as a consumer. That’s often what you see in articles. If you can just Google how to go green and you can find lots of options and lots of suggestions, but I feel like they hardly ever take into account what power you actually have as a consumer and your dollar. If you’re someone with a constrained income and you only have a few hundred dollars of discretionary spending every month, if even that, it looks really different than somebody who has a lot of discretionary income, and the power you have with that.
09:33 Emily: Can I just jump in to ask — something I see for example in these how to go green suggestions is make your home more energy efficient. And so I’m thinking, okay, well I’m a renter, I have absolutely no influence over this. When I become a homeowner, I would love to think about that, but it’s not something for me in the here and now. Is that the kind of thing that you’re talking about that people just have differing degrees of influence over their own lives in terms of especially how much discretionary income they really have?
09:58 Jewel: Yeah, exactly. I live in the state of Virginia and there’s essentially a monopoly with Dominion Energy and you don’t have very much choice over where your power comes from. You see a lot of these lists and it’s like install solar panels or make your home energy efficient. And I’m like, I live in an apartment. But it is really empowering to think about, even if you have a constraint income, where you do have power in your budget and your spending and trying to direct that as much as you can towards the way we want the world to look like — a more ethical world with healthier and safer communities. I think part of that is if you are living in an apartment, there’s only so much you can do, but maybe you can live closer to work and you can take out that transportation part of the carbon footprint because you’re walking or you’re taking public transit.
The Impact of Individual’s Choices
10:58 Jewel: With individuals, the big things I think for anyone are your diet and transportation. If there’s ways that you can alter those to have a smaller impact, a smaller footprint, then those are two big things. Meal planning is one that I’ve been engaging with more recently, especially since starting grad school. My partner and I found that that’s also part of frugality and really making a difference in our personal finance wellness. Meal planning makes a difference and also really reduces our food waste. It made a big difference in how much for wasting, not just in food but also in the plastic that comes with food. If you’re not having take out all the time or just getting pre-prepared meals, there’s like a lot of packaging waste that’s produced there.
11:52 Jewel: I guess something that I care about with having that zero waste is that I have really minimized how much I use. That’s kind of in that minimalism that you talked about. Kind of that buy nothing new or going to thrift shops or just holding onto things and repairing them if they break. There’s still clothing alteration shops and shoe repair shops out there and so that’s something that I utilize. Those things aren’t always the most frugal, necessarily. Sometimes it is cheaper to just buy a new pair of shoes, but if I have a pair of shoes that I can get fixed, then that’s more in the mindset. Just because it is just as cheap to get a new pair, they are still a good pair of shoes. Those kinds of things I’ve really built into my budget and I think a lot of PhD’s could think in those terms as well and just rejecting our disposable consumer system that we have. Those are some of like the individual actions I think people could look towards.
13:02 Emily: Let me jump in there because I have a couple of comments about what you just said, which I thought was great. In terms of like the food that you eat, you’re talking about reducing waste, which is awesome. I think I read, years and years ago, I think there’s a book called American Wasteland*, which is about food waste. And I think it said that 50% of food is wasted, like that we grow in America doesn’t get into people’s stomachs. Most of that does not happen in your refrigerator, it happens prior to that point. Again, not something you necessarily have influence on, although I guess we can choose where we source our food from. So maybe getting it more from like local farmers or something rather than conventionally grown agriculture.
[* This is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting PF for PhDs!]
Emily: And also, I guess I’ve been seeing these advertisements for ugly produce and like similar sorts of services like that where it’s food that wouldn’t make it to the grocery store, you can still buy that and eat it because it’s perfectly good. It just doesn’t look pretty enough to be in the grocery store. There’s different sourcing things you can do around that as well, and you were just saying about packaging. That also reduces packaging, all that kind of stuff. You didn’t mentioned what you eat, but I know that one of the major things that you can do is reduce your consumption of meat and dairy, particularly beef. I think beef is one of those big offenders in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Food selection can also go into that. And it’s really difficult to change your diet, I know that. There’s all kinds of things that influence why you eat what you eat, but to the degree that you’re able to, think about addressing that in terms of less beef, lamb consumption, and dairy.
14:35 Jewel: It’s a really personal thing, that’s something that I’ve experienced. I would say I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life trying to be vegetarian. And it’s a really personal and often a cultural thing too. Food is how you connect with your family often. I get really excited with plant based diets. I have a special spot in my heart for plants and so I think it’s so cool what we can do with plants. I have like a personal excitement about plant based diets and then from the frugal side, meat is often more expensive, especially beef. When we do have beef every now and then, it’s always what’s on sale. If we’re getting it on sale, it’s not really part of the driving demand for beef, in a way.
15:30 Emily: I see what you’re saying.
15:31 Jewel: Right. That’s thinking about what’s the power of your dollar here and having beef is part of it. I have looked into what they say the average American consumption of beef is and it’s a little absurd. It’s not healthy for us as a culture to be eating that much beef, for our own bodies, as well as for our environment. That’s very justified and that’s one of the first things to cede. But if you’re someone really constrained in your income then you’re probably not eating very much meat anyway and I know there are calls for meatless Mondays and stuff. When we do meal planning — and this is me and my partner — my partner is environmentally minded, he still has the attachment to meat and that cultural element that we’re kind of working through.
Jewel: I’ll just be honest there, I’m the one that pushes more for plant-based foods and he’s still like, “Oh, but the meat, it tastes good. And it’s part of how I know how to cook.” That’s just the expectation that your plate has like a meat and then a veggie and a potato. It’s like a very ingrained American conception. But we’ve been looking at our weekly meal plans and it’s only meat for one meal a day typically and often the meat is a small part of the meal. That is something that has changed as we’ve started being more intentional with our meal planning. If you just think meatless Mondays, that’s three meals out of your week that don’t have mea. I would say for everyone, if you can have two meals a day without meat, that’s kind of a big win right there and you’re probably a lot less than the average American. We definitely do need to change this expectation that every meal should have meat in it.
17:39 Emily: Yeah. And I don’t actually think that’s a historically accurate view of the American diet. But anyway, you’re right in that it is sort of in the cultural zeitgeist. A larger point that I wanted to make about what you were just saying is that, as you were just saying earlier, as a consumer and especially if we’re talking to graduate students and postdocs and people who have a smaller degree of control over their finances and their lives — make the changes that you can and that you’re willing to and do what you can. It’s okay if for the time being you cannot change your diet because of whatever else is going on in your life, or you cannot change where you live to start taking public transit. Maybe you can choose one of these areas to make a big shift in and worry about the other ones later. It’s good like to make even a small change, like you were just saying with meatless Mondays or having two meals a day that are meaningless or whatever. It’s not that you have to become completely vegan or completely vegetarian to make an adjustment from where you are today. It’s just about making some degree of progress in that area. Were there any other individual actions that you wanted to discuss?
Being Mindful with Where You Keep Your Money
18:47 Jewel: Yeah, I have one more that I’ve been exploring recently, but I do want to mention two articles that I’ve found can really be like light bulb awakening for the nuance of this issue. One of them is titled “What We Should Really Do for Climate” by Samuel Miller McDonald and that’s published in The Trouble. The other is “I Work in the Environmental Movement. I Don’t Care If You Rrecycle” by Mary Annaise Hegler.
19:16 Emily: I think actually read that one.
19:17 Jewel: Yeah. And honestly, anything by Mary Hegler is on point. That one’s in Vox. Those are two I think that are really helping to increase awareness and making you understand how constrained this can be and how to feel that individual responsibility but also to channel it and grapple it with it better and understand how income plays in and how we kind of just need the whole system to change. How trapped you can feel, but also what personal empowerment you can find in it. Along those lines, something I’ve been looking at just this summer that kind of just slipped by me before was where my money is actually kept in my bank — who I’m letting have my money while I’m waiting to use it. And also looking into investing and trying not to be a typical like 20-something grad student who just puts off investing.
Jewel: I have been using Wells Fargo just because that’s the bank that my parents set up for me and I never really thought about it. Even when I was learning about how Wells Fargo is funding oil pipelines and doing other shady stuff, I just didn’t think about it and didn’t think about taking my money out of there. That’s something I’ve like just done and I’m transitioning to using a bank called Aspiration. They are an online bank that tries to make themselves an accessible option that’s not using any of the money for fossil fuels or gun manufacturing either. Those are two of their big things and building that social awareness into their whole model. It’s nice to have a bank that’s like thinking about this ethically. They also have sustainable investing options. I have $2,000 in there now, but I put in $1,500 and so over two years — I think it’s a little over $1,500 that I put in, so it’s grown like a few hundred dollars over two years. And you actually get to set your own fee for that. They have what’s called a pay what’s fair fee. I had it set pretty low and so over two years I’ve only paid just under $10 in the fees and you could set it to zero actually, if that’s something you really need to do, just to start trying investing.
21:52 Emily: That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard about that model before. And even Wells Fargo’s actions that you just mentioned — I know that they’re sort of blacklisted because of their like consumer protection fails, but I didn’t think before about the way that they’re using just the cash you have with them at any point. I’ll have to take a look at my bank and see how they’re ranking on this metric.
Emily here for a brief interlude. Tax season is upon us and while no one loves this time of year, it’s particularly difficult for post-bac fellows, funded grad students, and postdoc fellows. Even professional tax preparers are often thrown for a loop by our unique tax situation. And don’t get me started on tax software. I provide tons of support at this time of year for PhD trainees preparing their tax returns. From free articles and videos, to paid at-your-own-pace workshops, to live seminars and webinars for universities and research institutes. The best place to go to check out all of this material is pfforphds.com/tax that’s P F F O R P H D dot com slash T A X. Don’t struggle through tax season on your own. Visit my website for the exact information you need in the most efficient form available. Now back to the interview.
Socially Responsible Investing
23:24 Emily: Okay, great. So you thought about where your cash is. I know we also wanted to talk a bit about investing, about what’s called socially responsible investing or SRI. This is something that you’re learning about, that I’m learning about right now, so can you start making a couple of comments about that?
23:41 Jewel: My understanding is that there’s a spectrum. Maybe it’s with typical investing group like Fidelity or Vanguard and they just have options that are more socially minded and you can pick those options as well, but it’s still focused on growing your money. And then —
23:59 Emily: Oh, we should say more generally that socially responsible investing is not just about these environmental causes. It could be about like social justice or working conditions or the sort of sin areas, like tobacco and firearms and those kinds of areas. Depending on your exact social preferences, you can make different choices within these groups. But continue, I just wanted to say that SRIs they cover more categories than we’re talking about today. But yeah, go on.
24:31 Jewel: Yeah, kind of this overall ethical minded. Like “Is what I’m investing in doing harm to other people that I’m not necessarily seeing every day? Is there harm or sketchy things being done out in the world with where I’m investing my money?” And that empowerment say, “no, l want my money to be supporting the things that do good in the world and not the things that are doing harm.” And that’s bigger or more encompassing than just environment or carbon emissions. It’s about how the people are treated as well. There’s someone more typical — I guess I don’t know if that’s more typical options, like through Fidelity or Vanguard. They’re big investing options. But then there’s kind of the filter out options since that’s what I have, where it’s still performing pretty well.
Jewel: Through Aspiration, they have these pretty accessible investing options. The deposit you have to make is pretty low, they have where you can set your own fee. I think for someone starting out in investing it’s something accessible, and it’s also passive, like you’re not having to pick out each stock that you want to invest in. It’s a diversified portfolio already, but they do have, I think I was looking at it, Amazon and Facebook are part of their portfolio. Some people might think that those companies are a little sketchy, but then what they do have filtered out are anything with fossil fuels and gun manufacturing and some of these other big sin stocks, as you had mentioned before. And then with socially responsible investing, there is the option to pick out the specifics stocks, but then it’s not passive anymore, and that’s something that I don’t have any experience with and it’s a little like out of my realm at this stage in my life that I would look into.
26:38 Emily: Yeah. Long time listeners definitely know that I teach the strategy of passive investing versus active investing. And so when we’re talking about getting into the socially responsible realm, it is a bit more active, because you’ve decided, you the consumer, and also the person running the fund or whatever, have to look into, okay, it’s not just a strict definition on what are the biggest companies in the US, it’s more like, okay, we have some criteria that we’re evaluating these companies on and some are not going to make the cut. So it’s a little bit more active in that sense, but it can still be a fairly passive approach if you go with a managed fund, because their criteria can be rather fixed.
Emily: And again, they’re not trying to market time and they’re not like picking and choosing necessarily individual companies that are in or out based on whims. It’s all based on sort of an investing plan that’s been laid out in advance. So it can still be a fairly passive strategy, in terms of the important aspects of passive investing, like being well-diversified and not trying to market time and so forth. It’s a little bit more active than like classic passive investing strategies, but still fairly passive overall, or at least it can be. And really I think that it’s so difficult as an individual to do all the research that is necessary to pick individual stocks when you’re trying to evaluate them on these metrics that we’re talking about, that SRIs care about. So I do think it’s a really good idea to go in with a larger fund where there’s a professional, a set of professionals doing that kind of research for you. And as long as you are selective about which fund you go into and make sure that it matches up with your values, then you should be good to go and it’ll be fairly passive on your end.
28:18 Jewel: Yeah, and I’ve been trying to think in terms of like, I really appreciate that Aspiration just has a whole values model behind what they’re doing, as opposed to just being a bank that’s all about the money, no matter who or where is getting hurt, or just what’s good for business.I feel like it’s part of that system change. Let’s have institutions that are actually accountable, and that care about the well-being of communities instead of institutions that are about the bottom line with profit.
28:57 Emily: Before we started recording this episode, I sent you another podcast episode that I had listened to from “How to Money,” which is another great personal finance podcast that I’d definitely recommend. Episode 97, “Socially Responsible Investing” is where they went over this model that I was really learning about for the first time, that there are gradations within social responsible investing. And I think you’ve already covered two of them — what’s called ESG, environmental, social and governance, and then also SRI, socially responsible investing. Those are more about…They’re pretty similar to like your classic like mutual fund where it is largely driven by what’s going to be best in terms of like the profit and bottom line for the investor, with differing degrees of sensitivity towards these social issues that you might care about. And then the final category was impact investing where the goal of impact investing is not necessarily get a great return, although maybe that will happen, but the goal is really to influence the world through with the companies that you invest in. The profit thing is secondary to the mission. Do you do any impact investing at this point?
30:07 Jewel: No. It’s a little out of my realm, as someone who’s at the grad student stage, where I’m just trying to actually invest instead of not investing in. I could bring up here that if you go into the real job that offers the 401k, that’s a great plan and you need to do it, but I am trying to take this time in my life where I don’t have that option, where I don’t have employer match, I don’t have the 401k option and it opens me up to try other investing options. I’m trying to look at it that way, but still with that passive investing, where I can just pick a managed fund and make contributions to it. That impact investing is interesting and I don’t know if I would manage to get there in the future, because you have to really pay attention and do research.
31:06 Emily: Well I think there could still be impact investing funds that you go into. It’s just that they’re going to be composed differently than like the SRI or the ESG types of funds. But I totally agree with you, I think that’s an amazing point that when you have an employer and you’re being provided a 401k or 403b, especially if there’s a match involved, you really do need to use that in terms of your own personal finances. That is the best place for your retirement money to be. But when you have an IRA, either because you don’t currently have access to a 401k, or you haven’t in the past, but any IRA money that you have is completely self-directed. So if you want to invest inside SRIs with your IRA money and do whatever is offered to you through your 401k, that’s a really good balance that you can strike as an individual. And as graduate students, postdocs, we start out probably only having access to an IRA. So the core and the part of your investments that are growing the most over time because you started them the earliest, those are the ones where you can have like the most discretion over where they go. And every time you leave a job, you close out your 401k or 403b, you can roll that money into your IRA and still have that total discretion over how it’s invested. I really love that you made that point.
32:15 Emily: We’ve kind of moved from talking about individual actions and diet and transportation and so forth to now we’re talking about investing, which is something you can do as an individual, but you’re really banding together with other individuals when you go into these funds and you choose SRIs over conventional investments. What are some other things that we can do as individuals but that is joining together with other people for this collective action around climate change?
32:40 Jewel: With collective action, I think the understanding there is that there are some decisions made at the collective level with the idea that they’re accountable to you as an individual. We have voted people in that should be accountable to us as voters or there are people working on behalf of the community that should be accountable to the community members. Whether it’s elected officials or a board of trustees at university or at another institution that you are associated with, those people are making the decisions on behalf of everyone else, but they should be accountable to you and you have power in holding them accountable. That’s where you as an individual have the chance to use your voice and to pay attention.
Jewel: Maybe starting with, since we were talking about investing, there’s also the question with universities and where they have their investments and their endowments. If you’re a PhD, you have an association within a university, whether you’re currently there or you’re an alumni and you have power in influencing how the university is using their money. Especially I think when you’re an alumni, when you can say, I’m not going to donate to you. Or you can contact the university, or be part of a movement. I think people are maybe a little quick to discount the power that you have as an individual in these collective action movements. Just being a body that’s part of this protest really makes an impression on the people who are making the decisions. The people we’ve elected like can’t ignore you when you are physically sitting in their office or physically outside the building and you’re part of like a mass group of people. Paying attention to those and joining anyone you can and just even voicing support and talking about it amongst your coworkers and your family is an important thing. If you have the right to vote, where you are able to use your vote, in the US, paying attention to what kind of plans the candidates have and how firm they are in their belief and voting for those candidates and then not stopping at voting. Actually realizing that you have power as a constituent to go and meet with them and join as a group to go meet with them.
Jewel: I mentioned being part of the Sunrise Movement action in December. That started with us going to our representatives office. I went with a group of people who are Northern Virginians to representative Tom Steyer’s office and we talked with the staff there. Then about a month later we got an email that our representative had changed his attitude towards the green new deal because of what we had come and said to him. You can all see more immediate change and impact just by like stepping up a little and using your voice and being part of movements. But you could also look in your communities and see what kind of like actions are happening there and any time that you can like hold systems accountable or change systems and think about how can your community be more resilient. I think it’s part of that power that is a little under utilized by people in their 20s. It’s definitely growing. And that’s really exciting to me but I think we could use more people. We could always use more people at least paying attention.
36:34 Emily: I like what you brought up there and it goes back to what we said near the beginning of the episode of like you as an individual can be part of groups at different levels. You’re a voter and you have representatives at both the national and also the state and the local levels and you vote for the people that you want to be in office. But then also once they’re in office, you still have influence with them, to some degree, over the decisions that they’re making once in office. They’re still supposed to be representing you. And then not only are you a voter, but you’re also a member of an academic community with your university, maybe multiple different universities. And then you also are a person who lives in your community and like you, you’re using your identity in terms of what age you are, to be affiliated with one movement. And also like you’re a scientist, you’re affiliated with another movement. I think we can all think about the various facets of our identity, and where we live and so forth, and the different groups that intersects with, and to see, as you were just saying, sort of see what’s going on in our own communities at these various levels and start participating as you feel comfortable, or as you see there’s something to participate in to make your voice heard. I really appreciate that. It’s not something I’ve been involved with personally to this point, but I’m definitely now going to be looking for more of those opportunities.
37:50 Jewel: I think just following your representative on social media or signing up for their email is really enlightening and just like a way to see what are they actually saying about these issues or what kind of bills are they introducing? That’s a really simple way that raises your awareness by a lot and shows you the opportunities to go to a town hall or to call them up. That’s one really simple thing.
38:18 Emily: The larger point around a lot of the discussion we’ve had today is you can evaluate where you are now and what you’ve been doing and you don’t have to keep doing the same thing. You don’t have to give into inertia of “well, I’ve always eaten this way” or “I’ve always lived in this place” or “I’ve always kept my money here.” Now that you are aware, if you weren’t already, that these various different areas impact how sustainable your lifestyle is or where you’re putting your money and what it’s doing in the world, now that you have a little bit heightened awareness about that, you can reconsider and make changes where you’re able to.
38:52 Emily: Jewel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. This is a real treat for me.
38:57 Jewel: Yeah. Thank you Emily.
38:59 Emily: Listeners, thank you for joining me for this episode. PFforPphDs.com/podcast is the hub for the Personal Finance for PhDs podcast. There, you can find links to all the episode show notes and a form to volunteer to be interviewed. I’d love for you to check it out and get more involved. If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, here are four ways you can help it grow. One, subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on Apple podcast, Stitcher, or whatever platform you use. Two, share an episode you found particularly valuable on social media or with your PhD peers. Three, recommend me as a speaker to your university or association. My seminars covered the personal finance topics PhDs are most interested in, like investing, debt repayment, and taxes. Four, subscribe to my mailing list at PFforPhDs.com/subscribe. Through that list, you’ll keep up with all the new content and special opportunities for Personal Finance for PhDs. See you in the next episode, and remember, you don’t have to have a PhD to succeed with personal finance, but it helps. The music is Stages of Awakening by Podington Bear from the Free Music Archive and is shared under CC by NC. Podcast editing and show notes creation by Lourdes Bobbio.
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