The broke graduate student. The starving scholar. The intellectual who subsists on ideas.
As PhDs and PhD students, we’re not supposed to think about money. We’re implicitly or explicitly told that:
- Caring about money means you’re not passionate enough about your work.
- Talking about money is gauche.
- Having money makes you an evil capitalist.
Money is a difficult subject in our society, and it’s even more difficult for those of us who are or were in academia. We’re shamed for thinking that money is a relevant or important subject to our lives. At the same time, by the nature of being “trainees,” we’re provided with subsistence pay for 5-10+ years, which can culminate in being (or at least feeling) years behind our college peers with respect to finances by the time we get a Real Job with a reasonable salary. How can money not be important to us?
I hope you’ve listened to me long enough to know that I believe PhDs can be very financially successful.
We have a lot going for us! As a group, PhDs are:
- Smart and hard-working
All of these traits lend themselves well to success in many areas of life, including finances.
I believe that if we have the right mindset – the right attitudes – the right motivation – we can become financially successful.
Dare I say: We can become wealthy.
Before you come at me with pitchforks, hear me out!
“The Wealthy PhD” is a provocative title.
Believe me, I have trouble saying it at times.
Your objection might be:
- “The Wealthy PhD” is an oxymoron! PhDs are by definition financially disadvantaged!
- I don’t want to be wealthy! Wealthy people are [fill in the blank negative traits].
Bear with me for a moment: I’ve been ruminating on the word “wealth” for many years, and to me it does not connote the 1% or billionaires/millionaires or anything inherently negative.
You can be wealthy in many areas of life: money, time, health, relationships, career, talents, creativity, spirituality. You don’t have to sacrifice your character or any of your wealth in these other areas to achieve financial wealth.
I take a wider view of “wealthy” even when limited to the financial realm. It’s not about the number of commas in your paycheck or bank account.
This is my picture of a wealthy person:
- They have financial security and stability
- Their use of money conforms with their personal values
- They strike a sustainable balance between saving and spending
- Their net worth is moving in the right direction!
Aren’t those characteristics you’d like to have?
A wealthy person does not have to have a certain amount of money in investments or to have paid off all debt. It’s all about your trajectory, not your current status. And your trajectory isn’t limited to the amount of money you save every month! It also includes your skills and attitude toward finances. If you get those locked in, they’ll serve you well whether you have a high or a low income.
I am wealthy by my own definition and have been since about midway through graduate school. (Not a coincidence: Around the same time I became really passionate about personal finance!)
So how can you become a Wealthy PhD?
I have to tell you, it’s not by reading articles and listening to podcasts – even mine.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s great content to consume – especially mine! 😉
It’s not about learning. This is the great failure of the “financial literacy” movement.
You become wealthy by taking action within your finances. You have to actually take steps! Make changes! Implement strategies! A lot of small steps add up to an enormous difference over a long period of time.
I’m a Wealthy PhD, and I’ve spoken with many other Wealthy PhDs, even if they wouldn’t call themselves that. (Have you heard the interviews on my podcast? Holy moly!)
I know how to set you up to become a Wealthy PhD, too.
It takes three factors:
- Actionable knowledge
I’ve designed an incubator for financial success for PhDs: for PhDs and PhDs students to take their first steps on the road to becoming Wealthy PhDs.
It’s a course, from which you’ll draw inspiration and actionable knowledge.
It’s a community of peers, from which you’ll draw inspiration and accountability.
And it’s one-on-one and group coaching with me, from which you’ll draw all three factors.
(The application cycle for The Wealthy PhD’s Spring 2020 program (February to April) is now open! Apply here.)
How do The Wealthy PhD alumni describe the program?
It is a group of graduate students who want to undergo a self-reflection journey to better understand their personal relationship with money and to learn new skills to improve how they manage their finances during graduate school and beyond. Moreover, it is a support group that is grounded in respect, compassion, positivity, and kindness. – Helga
An online community of PhDs and ECRs that provides support and accountability for your personal financial goals. The Wealthy PhD’s Financial Framework provides great direction for anyone who is looking to work on their finances. – My-Linh Luong
This is the “financial health” education I should have gotten before college and somehow never got! And from a community who knows the PhD and post-PhD experience. – Anonymous
My vision for the community is for it to be both narrowly defined and diverse.
Narrowly defined: I will only accept people who have or are pursuing PhDs and have a long-term connection to the US. (International students, postdocs, and workers living in the US and US citizens living abroad are welcome!) I will create cohorts of approximately half a dozen people to meet together regularly.
Diverse: There is no income or net worth requirement to be in the community, so I expect people at any and all stages of training to have widely disparate income and net worth numbers (six figures of debt to six figures of assets and everything in between) and financial goals.
Want to know allllll the details about the program’s structure? Check out the syllabus from the Fall 2019 cohort here; the spring 2020 structure will be similar.
Within The Wealthy PhD, you will have your positive financial attitudes and habits affirmed and bolstered and will, with input and accountability from me and your peers, take even more positive steps that will effect a great deal of change during your time in the incubator and a massive amount of change when applied over the coming years.
Sounds amazing, right? I’m pumped!
This is how The Wealthy PhD’s alumni describe their transformations:
Unpacking my own narrative and limiting beliefs around my money mindset and then replacing these unhelpful stories with positive, healthy affirmations helped me to realize I can take control of my financial future. My finances have historically always been a point of shame for me. But the more I engage with the group and the material, the more comfortable I feel openly discussing my concerns and wins in my finances-not only with my cohort, but with my partner, family and friends. – My-Linh Luong
I made a major decision to drastically decrease my living expenses and also to plan more long-term. – Anna
My mindset and attitude toward my finances has significantly transformed. Before the seminar, I felt shame and frustration about my finances. I felt like I had to hide my financial reality from my family and friends…and that my financial reality was a burden for me to bear alone. In a nutshell, I framed money and finances as something to be ashamed about and to isolate myself as a result. Emily’s caring and well-informed guidance on all things finances, paired with an excellent support group, were critical to change my negative mindset. Because of this community, I have grown courageous to air out my concerns and share my victories with group members who will support me. More importantly, I have learned the life-long skill of articulating my feelings and personal experiences with my finances, and in so doing, I have become more proactive with my managing my finances. This community helped me realize that I am not alone in my financial journey and that there are people and graduate students who are undergoing similar struggles as my own. Emily and the support group have helped me take the fear and shame out of my relationship to money and to see my finances as an empowering, life-long project that can be managed and tackled! – Helga
I have a better understanding of the current state of my finances *and* I know what steps to take to improve my finances. The knowledge I gained during the program will keep benefiting me even though the program has ended for me. Essentially, my entire mindset related to money has shifted because of The Wealthy PhD. – Alex
You have changed my life for the better more than you can ever imagine. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. – Boluwatiwi
What do you have to do to take part in this experience?
1) You have to pay for access to the program.
The reason behind this fee is two-fold:
- When you pay money for something, you take it more seriously. You will be more successful in this program if you pay for it than if you don’t!
- I am going to pour a ton of my time and expertise into the course, coaching, and community! This is going to be multiple levels above what I can give away for free.
The cost of this experience is $495 (billed just prior to the start of the program). If you would rather pay over time, you can opt for three monthly payments of $174 (first billed just prior to the start of the program).
2) You must apply. The size of the program is limited so that I can get to know everyone participating.
You don’t have to have a certain income or net worth, but I’m only accepting people who are ready to commit to themselves and each other.
The application cycle for The Wealthy PhD’s Spring 2020 program (February to April) is now open! Apply here. Applications are due by January 31, 2020.
I look forward to walking with you on your journey to becoming a Wealthy PhD!
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