Welcome, Hello PhD listeners! On this page, you will find further information on the subjects I discussed during my interview episodes.
Episode 109: HelloPhD Guide to Grad School Applications – Understanding Your Offer Letter
In this episode, Josh, Dan, and I break down the financial aspect of the offer of admission you receive from a PhD program.
6:39 Segment introduction: Understanding your offer letter.
7:52 Introducing Emily Roberts and Personal Finance for PhDs.
9:37 Review of previous episodes in guide to grad school applications series.
10:52 Receiving your first offer letter and the need to interrogate each letter.
12:22 Find your stipend or salary and put it in the context of the local cost of living using the local living wage.
13:35 What range of stipends to expect for biomedical PhD programs (in PhD Stipends)?
20:13 Availability of housing survey from current graduate students.
22:13 Tuition and fees – how much is the student responsible for?
23:44 In-state vs. out-of-state tuition.
26:12 What is the type of stipend – fellowship or assistantship?
30:59 Are students ever responsible for fees and if so how much?
32:22 The package that you are offered in your first year is not necessarily going to stay constant throughout your PhD. As best you can, figure out the expected path of your funding: how your stipend may change, how your work expectation may change.
34:29 Is your stipend or funding package negotiable at all, e.g., signing bonus or moving expense bonus?
Further listening: Negotiating PhD Funding Offers: This Grad Student Did It Successfully
38:25 Is health insurance (and dental and vision) included in the funding package?
40:29 Are any conference and travel expenses paid?
41:00 How does this offer change after the first year? If the letter doesn’t make it clear, talk with current graduate students, director of graduate studies, and departmental admin.
42:49 Is there a funding guarantee for a certain number of years?
44:44 Conclusion and final tip: Balanced Money Formula
Further reading: A Graduate Student’s Balanced Money Formula
Episode 89: The Graduate Student’s Guide to Investing for Retirement
In this episode, Josh, Dan and I discussed investing for grad students, postdocs, and PhDs in their first Real Jobs. Check out my articles on this subject and sign up for my free 7-day email course!
- Why You Should Invest during Grad School
- Whether You Save during Grad School Can Have a $1,000,000 Effect on Your Retirement
- Are You Ready to Invest Your Grad Student Stipend?
- Everything You Need to Know about Roth IRAs in Graduate School
- Why the Roth IRA is the Idea Long-Term Savings Vehicle for a Grad Student
- Fellowship Recipients Can Save for Retirement Outside an IRA
- Why You Should Contribute to Last Year’s Roth IRA
Free 10,000-Word Email Course on Investing for Early-Career PhDs
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It’s tax season again! Sign up below for my free tax webinar for grad students and postdocs or download the tax “cheat sheet” for grad students.
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Episode 68: Targeted Savings Accounts for Irregular Expenses
Targeted Savings Accounts
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15:46 Interview introduction.
17:20 Interview begins.
17:48 Training is your real life, too. Why graduate school is an optimal time to take control of your finances.
19:08 Emily’s background.
19:55 What are irregular expenses? Why do we need to pay special attention to them?
22:06 How should we deal with irregular expenses? Use a system of targeted savings accounts. Personal example from Emily’s life to illustrate how the system works.
24:25 Two methods for building up the system.
26:49 Practical steps to start using the system. Multiple accounts vs. one account. Automated transfers.
28:33 How did using targeted savings change behavior?
31:01 What if you want to use more money for targeted savings than you have available in your budget?
34:02 How easy is it to find a bank that will let you open multiple savings accounts?
35:47 Targeted savings vs. emergency fund.
37:26 Interview concludes. Discussion of targeted savings between Josh and Dan.
Further reading on targeted savings accounts:
- Targeted Savings Accounts for Irregular Expenses
- Weather Irregular Expenses on Your Grad Student Stipend with Targeted Savings Accounts (a Personal Finance for PhDs Guide)
- Many blog posts on my use of targeted savings accounts during graduate school on Evolving Personal Finance.
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