In this episode, Emily interviews Alina Christenbury, a first-year PhD student in computer science at the University of Delaware. Alina doesn’t own a car, preferring to bicycle for her daily commute to her university and around town as much as possible. She relies on her roommate, sister, and other friends for occasional rides to the grocery store, bus stop, or hometown, but also uses ridesharing apps and dreams of owning a portable bicycle. While living car-free certainly helps keep Alina’s expenses down, the reasons for and benefits of her commitment to a cycling lifestyle go far beyond money. This is a great episode for anyone interested in living car-free.
Links Mentioned in this Episode
- Personal Finance for PhDs: Tax Center
- Personal Finance for PhDs: Interview with Dr. Gov Walker
- Personal Finance Subreddit
- Mr. Money Mustache Website
- Alina Christenbury’s Website
- Alina Christenbury’s Twitter Page
- Personal Finance for PhDs: Podcast Hub
- Personal Finance for PhDs: Subscribe to Mailing List
00:00 Alina: I think, financially, it’s generally a really good idea to have your priorities figured out. Like I’ve decided personally for me right now that cars are not important at all. And that lets me focus on things that are more important and dedicate my time and energy and resources to the ones that do matter.
00:25 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 14, and today my guest is Alina Christenbury, a first-year PhD student in computer science at the University of Delaware. Alina is committed to cycling and does not own a car, which frees up a great amount of her income and time to be used for other purposes. We discuss how the location of your home and your city’s infrastructure can support or not support a cycling lifestyle as well as how Alina handles transporting groceries and traveling outside of her city. At the end of the episode, we touch on how Alina’s cycling lifestyle supports her values of frugality, time freedom, and sustainability. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Alina Christenbury.
Will You Please Introduce Yourself Further?
01:16 Emily: I am delighted to have joining me on the podcast today Alina Christenbury, and she is going to be talking to us about a commitment to cycling, which is a topic that I’ve been searching to find someone to talk about. So, I’m so glad that Alina and I found one another. On Twitter, in fact. I’m really excited about this. So, Alina, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. And will you please tell the audience a little bit about yourself?
01:37 Alina: Yeah! Thanks for having me and everything. So, I just finished up my undergrad degree at the University of Delaware in computer science, and I just started my PhD in spatial computing–well, technically computer science, but the study area is spacial computing–in June. So, that’s very recent.
02:00 Emily: Yeah, I should say we’re recording this in August, 2019.
02:04 Alina: Yes.
02:05 Emily: So, you have just, in the past few months, it sounds like, transitioned out of undergrad and into a PhD program.
Transitioning from Undergrad Into Grad School
02:09 Alina: Yeah. I wasn’t really planning on doing this, but then circumstances kind of arose where it seemed like it was a good idea for me. Particularly, they hired this professor who started a human-computer interaction lab at the university. So, that’s very related to my interests, and I kind of immediately latched onto her. She’s cool, and I’m working in her lab. I’ve been working in her lab for the past year now, since she was hired, essentially. So, yeah, it’s going pretty well, I think. For the lack of planning that it had, it’s turned out really well.
02:49 Emily: That’s really good to hear. It is a pretty easy way to get into a PhD is to just work with someone in an undergrad who you’re really clicking with and they just say, “Yeah, just come into my program, just come into my lab. I’ll accept you. I’ll make it happen. You don’t even need to apply, or you know, submit your GREs or whatever has to happen.” But yeah, it’s a great, stress-free way to go about it. So, you must like the University of Delaware to want to stay there longer, right?
03:14 Alina: It’s a good place. I started going here because it was in-state and because tuition costs are crazy and I’m not trying to incur a lifetime of debt. So, that’s kind of why I ended up going here initially. But I’ve kind of grown to really like the bikeability of the place, which is definitely really a contributing factor into how I’m going to examine life situations for the rest of my life. And I’ve gotten a lot of friends and kind of buried myself in a community here. So, yeah, I like it so far.
Personal History with Biking and Driving
03:53 Emily: Great. I’m so glad you brought up bikeability and the environment that you’re in right now because of course, that’s the topic that we have for today. So, tell us what is your personal history with biking and also car ownership? Have you always been a cyclist? Have you ever owned a car? That kind of thing.
04:12 Alina: So, in high school, I started driving. I used to live in southern Delaware, which is like an hour and a half south from where I am now. And you have to drive there because it’s just so spread out and very rural. And then when I moved to Newark, I pretty much immediately got a bike because it’s a lot closer and it’s actually viable for someone to bike here on a regular basis without too much hassle. So, I started in undergrad, like 2015 I want to say. And I’ve been biking pretty much daily ever since. Just commuting and going to classes, living life. I still do take infrequent car trips particularly for grocery shopping and visiting family downstate because they’re far away and I don’t want to take three days to go see my family, just getting there. So, yeah.
05:02 Emily: Yeah. We’ll get into kind of all those challenges in a moment. But first, I kind of wanted to ask you. So, okay, you’ve just transitioned out of undergrad. Are you living off-campus? Or were you living on campus for part of undergrad? Or what’s been the living situation versus where you work?
Commuting to/from Campus in Grad School
05:21 Alina: So, I live off-campus but very close. It’s maybe a six-minute bike ride from The Green, which is the central area for the University, pretty much. It’s maybe a 20-minute walk or so. Some people bike, some people drive. There are a lot of commuting options. I’ve pretty much always lived just off of campus within a 10-minute bike ride max, which has definitely helped a lot. So, yeah, the one time I stayed in dorms, even then it was on the northern part of campus, which is farther from the base hub of it. So, even when I was living on campus, it was kind of off-campus and still far enough away to make biking seem much more appealing than just walking everywhere.
06:12 Emily: That’s good to hear that you have been able to situate yourself so close to campus. And maybe you don’t know yet because you’ve been a graduate student for a short amount of time, but do a lot of graduate students live that close to campus or do some people live farther away?
06:28 Alina: The few whose houses I’ve been to are pretty close. There’s this one guy, Kent, who lives about the same distance as me, and I’m actually living with another grad student in another department in the same house and he’s as far away from campus as me. So, I’m not totally sure how common it is across the total grad student population, but I’m not the only person doing this.
06:53 Emily: Yeah. There are at least some opportunities to live that close to campus.
06:57 Alina: Yeah.
Bikeability of Newark, Delaware
06:57 Emily: So, tell me a little bit more about the city and how it’s set up to support cycling or not.
07:06 Alina: So, it’s very much a college town. The University really defines a lot of how Newark operates. So, during the summer it’s very, very quiet because all of the students are just gone. But beyond that, infrastructure-wise, there are a handful of bike lanes. Campus itself is very bikeable so you can pretty easily weave in between different university buildings and everything to get around, which is helpful. They’re actually redoing some of the main streets over the summer while a lot of the students are gone, which should make it even easier in the future. But yeah, so it’s set up pretty well to just be a person on a bike, which is not something you can say about every place.
07:48 Emily: Yeah. So, specifically, when you say it’s set up pretty well, can you describe exactly what you mean by that? Like, are there dedicated bike lanes? How do the drivers behave?
08:02 Alina: Dedicated bike lanes is the big one. Drivers aren’t too aggressive. I mean, it’s a small city, so there’s not hyper crazy traffic like somewhere in like New York. Yeah, I don’t think there are any protected bike lanes. There are some bike trails though that kind of snake in circles around. And then there are like some different park-ish areas that it goes through too. So, that definitely helps a lot too, I think.
Comparison to Dedicated Bike Lanes in Seattle, WA
08:33 Emily: Yeah. So, I’m at home in my apartment in Seattle right now, I’m looking out the windows onto a rather major street from my neighborhood that we live off of. And in the last couple of years that street has switched from having, I would say not actual–I guess there are bike lanes, right. But they’re not protected. So, on either side of the road, right. One going north, one going South. It switched to having a totally separate bike lane in parallel with the road that essentially takes up about as much room as a car lane. But there was, not physical barriers, but some space between the bike lane pair and the car lane pair. And my husband cycles to work along this road. And so, I think it’s really been helpful in giving me peace of mind knowing that he’s not so close to cars, you know?
09:18 Alina: Yeah.
09:18 Emily: But it sounds like there aren’t necessarily dedicated bike lanes like that, but there is designated space on either side of a lane of traffic for bikes.
09:25 Alina: Yeah, it’s more like where the shoulder would be is a bike lane and then maybe a shoulder beyond that. I do love how some cities are doing the dedicated bike lanes thing. And I wish we had more of that, but it’s hard to say how it’s going to shape out, I guess.
09:41 Emily: Yeah, there’s actually–not super close to where we live, but along the same road and bike path at a little bit of a more major intersection–the bike lane even has its own traffic light now, which I feel like is so European or something. Like, wow, the bike lane has its own traffic light and a time when they’re allowed to go and the cars aren’t allowed to go. In Seattle, there are a lot of people who commute not by single car. A lot of people cycle here. So yeah, the infrastructure is really being set up to support that. So, it’s really nice.
When Driving is a Necessity
10:11 Emily: Okay. So, we talked about Newark a bit. So, you brought up earlier that you do use cars infrequently for some certain special situations. So, when you do have a challenge, what are the kinds of things that you can’t or don’t at this point accomplish on your bike? And then what do you do to accomplish them?
#1 Grocery Shopping
10:30 Alina: So, the most frequent is probably grocery shopping, which I can kind of do, but I’m only within range of the more expensive grocery stores and the cheaper ones are a little farther away. Usually, I’ll go like grocery shopping with one of my roommates and we’ll just pick up a bunch of stuff for the week and then bring it home, everything. But sometimes for single one-off bits where I need food for just tonight, I’ll just bike to one of the stores and get like two things.
10:56 Emily: Is the main challenge more the distance or is it more transporting the groceries?
11:02 Alina: It’s more distance. For transportation, if it’s like only a couple items, I generally have a basket on the back of my bike that can handle small amounts. Not a whole truckload or anything of groceries, but enough for like two people for a week. And yeah, some of the other grocery stores are just, again, farther away and it’s like an hour-long bike ride to get there and then back would be another hour. It’s not necessarily as feasible.
11:35 Emily: You know, I saw a really funny thing the other day. I was just at Costco a couple of nights ago because I’m a Costco shopper. I actually saw someone in Costco in cycling type clothing and he had one of these little trailers that usually goes behind a bike that I see children sitting in but it was filled up with his Costco bulk food. It’s like, wow–and he also had his dog, like, you are dedicated to your craft, sir.
12:03 Alina: Part of me wants to try that one day. But I have not gotten around to it.
12:08 Emily: Yeah, I’ve never seen that before, but it happened just this week. Yeah. So, okay. So, you covered grocery shopping, but you also mentioned when you go visit your hometown because of your parents in that situation.
#2 Visiting Family
12:20 Alina: Yeah. So, my parents and six younger sisters all live in Millsboro, which is a little bit of a drive. So, maybe every couple months I’ll go down there for a weekend and hang out, you know, missing them and everything. So, it works pretty well. My sister coincidentally lives right across the street. So, she’s very close and we’ll generally drive down together for a couple of days.
12:50 Emily: So, if I’m hearing this correctly, your sister lives where you do and has a car?
12:56 Alina: Yes.
12:56 Emily: And so, you will both go back and visit at the same time. And that’s how you get there. Have you ever traveled without your sister?
Community Reliance When Car-Free
13:04 Alina: Yeah. So, sometimes she’ll drop me off at the bus station and stuff, or I’ll just borrow her car. So, those are kind of some of the workarounds there. Sometimes I’ll take trips up to see friends in New York for a weekend or two and they’ll just drop me off at the bus station in Wilmington and I’ll just take a Greyhound, which I don’t know if I’d recommend. The Greyhound is okay. It’s very cheap but a time.
13:32 Emily: So, I had one year when I lived car-free when I was living just outside of DC. I was working at the NIH and I had a postbac there and I lived car-free. But, like you, I did some things borrowing other people’s cars or asking for rides from other people. So, the grocery situation, right? Going with a roommate. My now-husband, then-boyfriend, when he would drive his car to visit me there in Maryland, I’d be like, “Okay, well, you’re coming for the weekend. Awesome. We’re going to go to the grocery store as part of this trip. So I could mooch off you with the car situation.” So, I’m very familiar with this solution of, “Well, you end up relying on your community a little bit.” Which is not a bad thing. But I wonder, so in the 10 plus years since I did that one year living car-free, ridesharing has become a total thing. So, do you use Uber or Lyft or anything like that to any degree?
14:32 Alina: Not on a daily basis. I have occasionally used it to get to bus stations and airports and stuff. Just when the timing hasn’t worked out for other people. But generally, I try to go with friends and just make a whole thing out of it. So, yeah. I’ve mostly used it when navigating other cities when in conferences and stuff. But I kind of really want to get a folding bike so I can just take it with me and do that instead of relying on Uber and Lyft and those kinds of ride-sharing services.
Portability of Folding Bikes
15:06 Emily: Yeah, I saw a folding bike actually for sale a couple of days ago. I don’t know if I’d seen one in person before. It was very impressively small, but it looked kind of heavy. I don’t know. I didn’t try picking it up. How portable are they, really?
15:19 Alina: I mean it depends, right? There are ones that will fold to the size of maybe, I don’t know a good comparison for this, like a large dog, I guess? And then others that’ll be a lot smaller and just very light. There are a lot of variants within that whole arena. But I think if I can get one that is small enough that I could just carry it on a plane or a train or something, I think that’ll deal with a lot of those niche edge cases when traveling in other places. So, yeah.
15:53 Emily: Yeah, I would think that if you’re able to bike to a public transit hub and then take your bike with you, if it’s going to be a longer trip, that can definitely solve a lot of those issues.
16:08 Emily: 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 S.com/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.
Benefits to Living Car-Free
17:12 Emily: What benefits have you experienced by this commitment to living car-free?
17:17 Alina: So, it gets me outside, which is really nice. It’s one of those things where I am not naturally very motivated to exercise without a real reason. And transportation is a real reason that gets me consistently sort of working out, but just moving and doing something with my body. I only really recently started going to the gym regularly with some friends and that was mostly for social reasons and not necessarily for fitness. So, it kind of built-in this exercise regimen without me necessarily having to think about it and plan for it and everything, which is I think is really helpful. So, yeah.
17:58 Emily: Yeah. So, you get outside. You get your body moving. This is a personal finance show, let’s talk about the numbers. Let’s start with how much money you are spending. So, where did you get this bike from? And how much does the maintenance cost?
18:14 Alina: So, the bike I got at a local bike shop. I think it was around $500, and then another maybe $200 and little add-ons like the rack and some bike bags and stuff. And then maybe once or twice a year, I’ll take it back over there for maintenance. But initially, when I got it, I got a maintenance plan. So, even when I do get it maintained, the labor’s free and I only have to pay for parts. So, I maybe get my brake pads replaced once every year or two years, or so. And then stuff like with tires blowing out or whatever is also pretty infrequent. So, it’s really not a lot. I’d say like a hundred in maintenance a year. And I’m not paying for insurance. I’m not paying for gas. I’m not paying for the “car” bike itself. So, yeah. I haven’t really looked into buying a car, so I don’t totally know what the numbers would look like if I were doing that instead. But I think the financial savings are pretty substantial just based on the frequency of use alone.
19:19 Emily: Yeah. I mean, I can tell you as a car owner, cars are a lot more expensive. Even a very, very cheap car–several times as expensive as a bike as well. And really, the gas costs, the insurance, as you mentioned.
19:33 Alina: It all adds up over time.
19:35 Emily: Yeah. And the maintenance, too, on a car is like–if you haven’t planned for it, if you haven’t saved for it, budgeted for it–it can be a real shock. I mean $500, a thousand dollars, multi-thousand dollars easily for maintenance. And you’re just not going to get to that scale with a new bike. You’re just going to buy a new bike if things got to that degree of a problem. Yeah. So, I’m sure it helps with the budgeting and everything. So, yeah. Have there been any downsides to this commitment? Aside from the slight challenges that we’ve already discussed. Like I don’t know, maybe weather? Anything like that?
Downsides to Biking Commitment: Weather and Community Reliance
20:10 Alina: I was going to say, the weather is probably the biggest one. I definitely have to limit how I dress in certain ways during certain seasons in order to accommodate this. It’s pretty hard for me to wear longer dresses and skirts and stuff because it can just get caught up with the gears and everything. And then I definitely have to layer well, particularly in cold and rainy weather. Otherwise, my entire body just gets soaked, which is not great. I don’t recommend it. But yeah, that’s probably the biggest one, honestly. And then again, the community reliance is a little bit annoying sometimes. But we have backups for that, like Uber and Lyft, so it’s not as much of a hurdle as it would be otherwise. Yeah, those are the two biggest downsides, I think.
21:05 Emily: Yeah, it definitely sounds like a worthwhile tradeoff given the amount of money that you are not spending. And I can just say, again, my husband cycles to work. We live in Seattle. It rains–not heavily, but quite frequently–here. And so, he’s biking in the rain a lot and like you said, he had to buy some special clothing that’s water-resistant, waterproof. But after that, he’s pretty okay. Like, it’s alright, he just takes off that layer when he gets to work and puts it back on when he leaves again.
Peer Perceptions About Not Owning a Car
21:34 Emily: So, what do your peers think about you not having a car? Is this an unusual thing?
21:44 Alina: I don’t think it’s totally unusual for this age range and location. I’ve definitely convinced some of them to try this more because I really like this, I just talk about it a lot. So, I’ve kind of seen a handful of my friends pick up their own bikes over time, which is always like, “You’re doing it! Good job, I’m proud of you.” So, I mean, they’re generally supportive, I think. So, yeah.
22:13 Emily: It’s clear from your enthusiasm in this conversation that you are a biking evangelist, right? You want to spread the good word about biking.
22:23 Alina: Yeah! It’s so much cheaper! There are so many benefits!
Additional Bike Benefit: Sustainability
22:28 Emily: Well, another benefit that you haven’t brought up yet is sustainability and energy usage. So, can you talk a little bit about that?
22:34 Alina: Yeah. So, the only thing it really costs is human energy. And even that is beneficial because it’s cheaper than a gym membership, for one, but it doesn’t pollute the air, which is a perk. And it’s very location-dependent, but if you can get past that, it doesn’t damage anything.
23:09 Emily: Yeah. I have observed that there are many, many overlaps between frugality and living a more sustainable or a smaller carbon footprint kind of life. This is one of the big areas, right? If you drive less, if you can drive less to the degree that you don’t even need to own a car, then you’re really shrinking your carbon footprint as well as not having those line items in your budget that are pretty big ones.
23:38 Emily: I mean after housing, transportation, and food are like the next two big expenses for Americans. And so, if you can pretty much eliminate one of those three big ones by using a bike instead–as we said, it’s a very small outlay of cash to buy the bike and the maintenance is very, very low–it has an incredible impact on your finances, but you can also feel good about the impact on the Earth, right?
24:05 Alina: It doesn’t use as many resources as a car, that’s just fact.
24:08 Emily: Right. And many, many of us Americans, we have calories to expend, I’ll put it that way. There’s plenty that we’re already eating that if we decided to burn it off through biking, that’s a great use. As you said, instead of maybe going to the gym. Like maybe just building this exercise into your general lifestyle and then not having to seek it out on extra time and extra kind of dedicated way that again, costs more money as you were just saying. I understand that you are, well, I don’t know what you’d like to call yourself. Some people say FIRE walkers, right? What’s the term that you like? You are pursuing FIRE, which is financial independence and early retirement, and I understand that this cycling lifestyle plays into that. Can you talk a little bit about that?
FIRE: Financial Independence and Early Retirement
24:56 Alina: I mean, I don’t really like titles. I’m just a person trying to live in what I think is the best way that I know of so far. But the FIRE movement is really inspiring and I think really had an influence on how I look at priorities in life and what really, really matters. And cars, I’ve decided really don’t matter for me and I’m willing to work around that in other ways to work on other things. I think freeing up most of my time is really important just so I can work on things that aren’t necessarily going to be paid. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say volunteering, but community organizing is really important to me. Game design is really important, and there are all kinds of other things that are more deserving of my attention than cars. So, this helps free up the most time for that, I think.
25:57 Emily: Mhm. So, you’re really thinking about and being inspired by the FIRE movement, not only in having more control and autonomy over your finances but also over your time?
26:06 Alina: Yeah, I mean I view it as buying my time back, really. This is a really big motivation for looking into it and kind of following a lot of the tenets, I guess. So, it’s one of those things where I don’t think the ultimate purpose of humanity is to work and accumulate capital, right? There’s so much else to do, but you have to have the time and autonomy to do that. And if you don’t have that, then you turn it into this negative cycle of just always working for someone else and never really fulfilling what you really want to do with your time.
More Details About the FIRE Movement
26:43 Emily: Mhm. Yeah, so we haven’t really defined this that well in this episode, but if people want to hear more about FIRE, financial independence and early retirement, I did a two-part interview with someone else pursuing FIRE, Dr. Gov Worker, that was published in season three of the podcast. So, you can go check that out. But basically what we’re talking about is lowering your expenses, raising your income, saving a whole lot of money so that you can, as you were just saying, buy back your time. Maybe you want to leave your job, eventually. That would be more like what we call retirement. Maybe you want to do that particularly early, early retirement, or maybe you just want to have the ability to be able to have more control over what your job is. Like have more negotiation ability around what your job is because you have the ability to walk away.
27:29 Alina: Being able to say, “No,” matters so much because if you feel like you can’t say, “No,” to bad opportunities and bad decisions, then you don’t really have a lot of power over your life. And then it just gets really depressing, which is where policies like universal basic income can be really empowering to kind of fix that issue for the general person across everywhere instead of specific niches that are trying to do it themselves.
28:03 Emily: Yeah. This is so interesting. I would love to talk about this topic further, but we said we were going to keep this episode about cycling, so that’s I think we’re we’ll leave it. So, there’s definitely a lot to follow up on if other people are interested in being inspired by the FIRE movement, as you were. Can you give a couple of recommendations for where you learned about this or maybe people to follow in the movement that you like?
Personal Finance Subreddit and Mr. Money Mustache
28:27 Alina: So, the only real interaction I had was the personal finance subreddit. They have a very extensive FAQ and Wiki, and it goes into a lot of different detail about different strategies for managing your finances and potentially reaching early retirement. Mr. Money Mustache is also the really big figure people probably should already know about him by now. He’s been around. And then I actually took a personal finance class in high school because I was like, “I need to be prepared for this. It’s an inevitability of adult life.” So, those are the majority of my influences here.
29:06 Emily: Yeah, that’s great to know. I also really enjoy the personal finance subreddit. Mr. Money Mustache–you have to have a certain taste for his material. I’ll say that. You either love him or not so much, but he’s a great person to have at least a little bit of exposure to, as you said, because he’s such an influential figure in the FIRE movement broadly. The thing is, his definition of frugality, definition of what living a rich life is on a low amount of money is very compatible and consistent with the graduate student experience. So, if you are looking for ways that you can be inspired to spend less money–maybe because you don’t have money to spend–Mr. Money Mustache is a great person to look to and he is, not surprisingly, a huge cycling advocate as you are. Yeah. So, if you’ve been intrigued by what Alina’s had to say, as a next step, go to Mr. Money Mustache’s blog and read more about cycling because he will definitely motivate you.
30:09 Alina: Oh my gosh. Yeah, he’s crazier about it than me.
Best Finance Advice for an Early-Career PhD
30:12 Emily: Yes, he’s very committed. So, last question here as we wrap up. What is your best financial advice for another early-career PhD?
30:21 Alina: So, I think, financially, it’s generally a really good idea to have your priorities figured out. I’ve decided personally for me right now that cars are not important at all. And that lets me focus on things that are more important and dedicate my time and energy and resources to the ones that do matter. And if you don’t necessarily have that straightened out, it can be kind of difficult to budget and figure out what you really want. And finance is just another element of that.
30:53 Emily: Yeah, I totally, totally agree. I mean getting your priorities straight, figuring out what’s most important to you is super foundational and helpful in personal finance, but it’s really something that you need to know in every area of your life. Especially as a graduate student or a postdoc and early-career PhD, you’re making a lot of decisions around your career. And so, I think, unfortunately, sometimes because of the bleak job prospects at the faculty level, we can get a little like, not very confident or down on ourselves about our employment prospects and can kind of be like, “Oh, just take whatever comes my way. Anyone who wants to get me a job, like I’m going to take that job.” And having thought through a little bit more, what are your priorities when it comes to your career? What are your priorities when it comes to your personal life? How can your career support your personal life? That can help you be a little more selective around the job choice and as you were saying, be able to walk away or design the job that you want to, if you also have your personal finances in order. That gives more power on your side of the table rather than your employer side of the table. So, Alina, it’s been a real pleasure chatting with you about this and I’m so excited for you starting your grad student journey. And yeah, thanks for coming on the podcast.
32:11 Emily: All right. Thank you so much.
32:14 Emily: Listeners, thank you for joining me for this episode. Pfforphds.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 cover 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 Meryem Ok.