In this episode, Emily interviews Dr. Jeanelle Horcasitas, a PhD in Cultural Studies from UCSD who worked multiple jobs to stay afloat during grad school. Because of some financial events in her childhood and being a first-generation college student, Jeanelle was determined to do her PhD without accumulating any more student loan debt. In fact, she accomplished some major financial goals during graduate school, such as self-funding for a few months leading up to her defense after her dissertation fellowship ended. Don’t miss Jeanelle’s reflections on how her financial goals have changed since finishing grad school and how she’s now resisting hustle culture.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
- Jeanelle’s Twitter (@jhorcasi)
- Jeanelle’s LinkedIn
- Digital Ocean
- Mint App
- EveryDollar App
- PF for PhDs Tax Resources
- The Total Money Makeover (Book by Dave Ramsey)
- PF for PhDs: Subscribe to Mailing List (Gain Access to Compiled Advice)
- PF for PhDs: Podcast Hub
00:00 Jeanelle: Before, like I said, I felt very survival mode, hustle mode. Like I’ve just got to work hard, work, hard, work hard. And I was very burned out by the time I finished graduate school. But now I’m more of, you know, I’m doing the smart thing. I’m saving. I’m saving for my future and doing what I need to. So, I’ve backed up a little off of that and given myself more grace.
00:23 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 11, Episode 3, and today my guest is Dr. Jeanelle Horcasitas, a PhD in Literature and Cultural Studies from UCSD who worked multiple jobs to stay afloat during grad school. Because of some financial events in her childhood and being a first-generation college student, Jeanelle was determined to do her PhD without accumulating any additional student loan debt. In fact, she accomplished some major financial goals during graduate school, including self-funding for a few months leading up to her defense after her dissertation fellowship ended. Don’t miss Jeanelle’s reflections on how her financial goals have changed since finishing grad school and how she’s now resisting hustle culture.
01:14 Emily: Jeanelle and I first connected way back in 2015 when she was working as the Grad Life intern at UCSD. I had very recently launched Personal Finance for PhDs. I reached out to her cold and pitched her The Graduate Student and Postdoc’s Guide to Personal Finance, which was my only seminar offering at that time. She liked the idea and advocated for it within her office, but it didn’t go forward right away. I actually didn’t work with UCSD for the first time until 2020, but Jeanelle had planted the first seeds all those years before. If you are a fan of this podcast, would you please follow Jeanelle’s lead and request that your Graduate School, Graduate Student Association, Postdoc Office, etc. work with me in 2022? I offer a variety of live and pre-recorded seminars and workshops on topics from taxes to investing to cash flow management. My most popular seminar remains The Graduate Student and Postdoc’s Guide to Personal Finance, and although it’s changed a lot over the years, it still touches on a wide variety of personal finance topics so there’s something for everyone. The paid work I do with universities and institutions enables me to keep producing this podcast and all my other free resources. And hey, even if they aren’t able to work with me this year, your recommendation could plant a seed for an engagement in a future year. Thank you very much! Without further ado, here’s my interview with Dr. Jeanelle Horcasitas.
Will You Please Introduce Yourself Further?
02:47 Emily: I am delighted to have joining me on the podcast today, Dr. Jeanelle Horcasitas. She was a graduate student at UCSD and has been finished with her PhD for about two years, moving on to the working world. And so we are going to talk about how graduate school went financially for her, how she funded it and so forth, and then also how her, you know, financial life is going now. So Jeanelle, thank you so much for joining me for the podcast. Thank you for volunteering for this interview. And would you please introduce yourself a little bit further for the audience?
03:13 Jeanelle: Yes! Thank you so much, Emily, for bringing me on. I’m excited to speak with you today. So, I went to undergrad at UCLA for English and I did my PhD at UC San Diego in literature and cultural studies. And, you know, since I’ve received my PhD, I did a multitude of jobs within my time at graduate school, but since graduating, I spent some time in graduate career and professional development for biomedical scientists for about a year and a half. And I’ve recently transitioned into the tech space for a company called Digital Ocean. And, you know, one of my biggest motivations for school and getting through it was the fact that I’m first generation. I also come from a low-income family. So a big part of that was the fact that I had to be the one to get myself through school, to pay for it. I knew that my parents were in a financial situation. And I learned that at about 18 when they got divorced, I experienced bankruptcy, foreclosure at the time. And that was very transformative for me at that age to just recognize the impact of financial decisions. And so part of, you know, why I wanted to complete my PhD completely debt-free was because of those reasons of just knowing what having that burden can do to you and how it can impact your future.
Undergrad Funding and Student Loans
04:51 Emily: Wow. Yeah, that’s such such an impressionable age to be going through something like that. So thank you for sharing that with us. Since you mentioned being 18, when you started college, did you also have that determination to do your undergrad debt-free?
05:06 Jeanelle: So when I was 18, I actually went to community college for a few years beforehand, which was really great because since I was low-income, I was able to receive very generous grants like the Pell Grant. And I did my FAFSA, and at that point I just really wanted to start my undergrad. And I remember saying the only thing I’ll go in debt for will be my student, like education and I’ll do student loans. So, I signed away, didn’t really know what I was doing. I did receive fellowships for my undergrad, but I was living in Westwood in Los Angeles next to Bel-Air. And as you know, the cost of living is very high, especially to live in the dorms. So I was only there for about two years, but I did come out of debt. And so at that moment, I hadn’t really felt you know, I need to do this degree debt-free, but I tried to keep the amount I was taking on pretty minimal. So I feel like I didn’t graduate with too much student loan debt, but I did have some.
06:15 Emily: And did you go directly from undergrad to grad school?
06:19 Jeanelle: No. I took a year off to work full-time and try to pay down some of the student loans. And then I went to graduate school after that for about five and a half years.
06:30 Emily: Okay. So entering graduate school, you have a new perspective and you want to do this whole thing debt-free. Were you still carrying any student loan debt at that point, or had you cleared all of it?
06:40 Jeanelle: No. So at the time of graduate school, I still had most of my student loans from my undergrad, and I also had a car payment and car loans. So I carried those two things, and I think the stress came from the fact that I wasn’t getting any younger. I was about to sign away five and a half to seven years of my life. And I knew that I wouldn’t be making a ton of money. I was given like a pretty decent fellowship, but living in San Diego, it still couldn’t cover everything. And so I think from the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to put some sort of plan into place that I was still going to graduate school, but that I would be paying off these loans simultaneously. So that by the time I graduated, I’d be in a better financial position to buy a home or just to not have that hanging over my head for longer than I would’ve liked it to be.
How Does Funding Work in Your Department?
07:53 Emily: Yeah. Very, very ambitious. But I can see how you got there. Tell me a bit about how your field, your department is typically funded. You mentioned you had a fellowship for two years. Is that something you were seeing offered at like multiple different schools? And how did you end up at UCSD in particular, I guess, and specifically related to the finances?
08:13 Jeanelle: That’s a great question. So for the most part, my specific department, they don’t receive a lot of funding. They actually, most of the graduate students have to do TAships and, you know, find a teaching assistant position. And that’s how they get it paid for. Mine was actually through nomination that someone at the literature department had to do for me, and the graduate school, they were the ones that, you know, went through candidates and selected and made that decision. And so, the reason I chose UCSD is because it was such a generous, like first two years will cover you with this stipend. And then the next two years, you’re kind of guaranteed that TAship. And then you figure it out from there. I had a couple of other offers from two other graduate schools, where one was just offering like a fellowship for one quarter, which wasn’t enough for me.
09:21 Jeanelle: And then the other was I think, just a year. And so, I was like, I don’t want to have to pay for this. And I’m going to choose where the money is for the most part. And it ended up being a good decision for that reason. And just for the folks that I got to work with. So I was happy with that, because it seems like it really varies. It’s interesting because it was all UCs where these offers came from. So they have different ways of, I guess, enticing students to come with what kind of money they might have or available for fellowships.
09:58 Emily: I think that’s a point that prospective graduate students really, really need to hear, like they need to investigate the typical funding path in their field. Is it usually from TAship, so that you know, if someone’s offering you a significant fellowship, that it’s really special and they’re really trying to recruit you. And yeah, you may have to do TAships after that ends, but when does it end? Is it two years? Is it one year? You know, how much money is being directed toward you, especially as a recruiting tool. So love that you were, you know, analyzing that at that point.
Sources of Income Beyond Fellowship
10:28 Emily: So you mentioned earlier that you worked like a lot of different jobs during your PhD. And so, what did you do beyond, okay. I have this fellowship for a couple years. I know that you had a fellowship again at the end. And also the TAing that you mentioned. Did you work other jobs in addition to those? And also were they through the university or like completely independent?
10:49 Jeanelle: I had the first two years covered from the fellowship. And the last two were for the TAship. And then my fifth year I got a dissertation fellowship. However, within that time I was working multiple jobs at different places. So for the first two, two and a half years, even though I was on fellowship and taking my, my graduate courses, I was also a graduate student researcher or GSR for the the Graduate Office at UCSD. And I did some freelance writing as well. And I also worked as a student worker for the county of San Diego’s housing office. And so, you know, some, they weren’t all at the same time, but at one point I think they were all happening at once, which was pretty overwhelming, but it was nice, especially for the county job because I could work full-time during the summer, which was great because the fellowship actually it was nice, but it wasn’t always enough to get you through the summer. And they didn’t offer summer fellowships during that time.
11:57 Jeanelle: They started doing it later on during my time at the program. And then during my TAship, I really wanted to focus on teaching, but I had an opportunity to adjunct at the community college as well. So, in addition to TAing a couple of classes, I also taught one to two classes at the community college, which was a great experience. And then during one summer I did an internship in Washington DC. So there were a lot of different jobs that I was doing both, you know, if I had to go in somewhere, or freelancing, mostly writing or editing with different folks.
Side Hustling Amongst Peers
12:40 Emily: I can totally understand your motivation to take on this extra work for extra money. Because of, you know, mentioning your goals about clearing the student loan debt and the car debt and so forth. If you had not had those extra circumstances in your life, not that they’re that extra, because a lot of people have those things. But was the stipend enough to live on, or was it like no, no, everybody has to be side hustling, even if they don’t have, you know, prior student loan debt or whatever? Like, were your peers all doing this greater degree of work as well?
13:09 Jeanelle: Oh, that’s a great question. I think it really comes down to the individual and, you know, what they can take. Personally, I didn’t feel that the stipend was enough living in San Diego. The only time that it felt like it was livable was my first couple years when I was in the graduate student subsidized housing, because it’s so much cheaper. Once I had to live outside of those bounds, the cost of living is just incredible. And, you know, you’re thinking about how am I going to live, but also how am I going to eat? I have, you know, my car, my gas, my car payment, insurance, all these things. Like I said, if you’re fully independent, which I was from my parents it could be a lot at once.
14:02 Jeanelle: And so, I had a mix of, I guess, observations of folks who, there were some people that were like me that were doing at least a couple of jobs at the same time. But then there were some that were just TAing and that was fine. They seemed to be okay, but they were also in graduate housing or they were living with many roommates, which is something else I didn’t really want, and luckily my partner came to move like halfway through my program. And that actually helped a lot as far as support. So, it really depends on the person, but from what I saw, you know, there was a big group that did have to do extra. And then some that they had to sacrifice in different ways, like living with many people or living really far away and commuting, et cetera.
Money Management and Keeping a Budget
14:56 Emily: Yeah. Thank you for sharing those observations as well. So with all these different sources of income and all the different expenses and goals that you had, how were you doing the money management part of things? Like, were you keeping a budget? How did that work?
15:11 Jeanelle: Yeah, so as far as budgeting, I tried the Mint app. And then I was trying this other app called EveryDollar. The issues with those apps that I found were, it captured like your monthly overview of what you were making, but the cash flow of, you know, when the bills come out versus when you get money in and what you actually have enough to pay for groceries that week, or, you know, gas, whatever it might be, it didn’t always line up. And so this was something that my partner and I, we were struggling a lot with, especially when we combined our finances after we got married. And so we found it easiest to create an Excel spreadsheet and it’s just day by day.
16:01 Jeanelle: And it has the categories to the left. But it’s really nice for us because we can really see where we are in real-time and know, okay, if you’re getting paid this Friday, maybe we could do a little more extra fun this weekend, or we know this is coming up. We have to put aside savings for this so that we can sequence it a bit better than these apps that are just, you have this much money for the month when it’s not necessarily true. You don’t have all that money like next week yet. Especially if you’re getting paid biweekly, which for some of my jobs I was.
16:38 Emily: Yeah, I can imagine working with, like, as you said, you had so many different jobs, all the different pay schedules that you must have been dealing with, and then, you know, like your fellowship stopped over the summer, for example, like you mentioned earlier, like it’s just a lot of moving parts. And I do agree that when you have a lot of moving parts, ultimately building your own spreadsheet is maybe the fastest way to a good solution that works for you. So thank you for sharing that with us.
Final PhD Year Funding
17:02 Emily: So you also mentioned earlier that you were funded in your fifth year by a dissertation fellowship, but you said you took five and a half years to finish graduate school. So let’s square that circle. What was your funding like for the last half year?
17:17 Jeanelle: So my last year was actually my fellowship, that was the highest amount I had received. And so, when I say it was a higher amount, it was only like $5,000, you know, more than what the other years had been. But that little bump did help. But, for that one year, I really wanted to finish my dissertation. And so, I had to say no to a lot of my extra jobs that I had. And, like I said, I have a spouse and it was nice to have you know, that support. He works full-time. And he could help with some of those extra, you know, expenses that couldn’t be covered by my stipend alone or anything like that. However, because I knew that I wanted to finish, I had planned, okay, you know, I’m not going to enroll the next year.
18:19 Jeanelle: I’m going to take leave of absence if I don’t finish at the exact year mark, but I know they’re not going to give me any more money after that. So we planned ahead and I decided to teach for one semester during that time. So, I just taught one class and then the rest of the time was dissertating. But all of that went into like a savings. We knew that that was going to be the gap of whatever time off extra I would need without getting my stipend. And so basically from January to August, or no, January to December, for about a year, I had worked on the dissertation, but the money stopped in the summer. So I didn’t have money coming in for about four months. And so I was able to be covered for about three months, and then I was starting to feel really stressed looking for jobs and seeing what we were going to do. So by that last month, when I knew I had my defense date, all those things, I was doing a lot of freelance extra work because by then the savings had run out. So I would say, from that extra time of teaching, I had saved about like a three month, like emergency fund as I wasn’t working during the summer.
19:41 Emily: That end of graduate school, getting to that defense date is such, such a busy period and such a stressful period. And you did as best you could, it sounds like to, you know, be doing the planning ahead financially, but it’s tough that, you know, at the very end there, when you’re applying for jobs, you’re preparing for the defense and all of that stuff that the financial stress had to come back in at that point. But I’m glad it didn’t go on for too long. You finished up very quickly. Yeah.
Starting Dissertation Debt-Free
20:06 Jeanelle: I just wanted to add one thing. I will say, at that time, like when I started my dissertation fellowship, we were debt-free. We didn’t have any more consumer debt. And we were actively saving for this time I would be off but also saving for our house. So the end of that summer was extra stressful because that’s when we bought our first town home condo. So that was an added layer of I need a job because we need to pay for this new place that we just got.
20:35 Emily: Wow. Yeah, that is a lot to put on one, you know, short few-month period, but it is really good to hear that you were done with the debt, especially the student loans, because you know, you mentioned taking a leave of absence. I would guess that, with not being a student anymore, your payments would’ve kicked back in, had you not already been finished with paying that off so that would’ve been like another thing to pay for during that time.
21:02 Jeanelle: The other thing is health insurance. They stop your health insurance. Like I said, luckily I could get on my spouse’s for that short amount of time, but I know that that’s not always the case for everyone. So I’m always like weary of just like, this is my experience, but that’s not always the case. And to think ahead of things like that, if you’re going to do that, like health insurance costs.
21:22 Emily: Yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s good just to know, like you sort of tick down all these boxes, I have to consider this. I have to consider this so that someone else can, if they don’t make the same decisions as you, they have different situation, whatever, that’s fine. But just the thought process is good to hear.
21:37 Emily: Emily here for a brief interlude! Taxes are weirdly, unexpectedly difficult for funded grad students and fellowship recipients at any level of PhD training. Your university might send you strange tax forms or no tax forms at all. They might not withhold income tax from your paychecks, even though you owe it. It’s a mess. I’ve created a ton of free resources to assist you with understanding and preparing your 2021 tax return, which are available at PFforPhDs.com/tax/. I hope you will check them out to ease much of the stress of tax season. If you want to go deeper with the material or have a question for me, please join one of my tax workshops, which are linked from PFforPhDs.com/tax/. I offer one workshop on preparing your annual tax return for graduate students and one workshop on calculating your quarterly estimated tax for fellowship and training grant recipients. The next live Q&A call for the annual tax return workshop, How to Complete Your Grad Student Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!), is coming up on Sunday, February 13th. It would be my pleasure to help you save you time and potentially money this tax season, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Now back to our interview.
Setting Financial Goals
23:04 Emily: So you mentioned, you know, by the time you got to the end of graduate school, you had cleared the debt, you’re working on other financial goals. You were then, you got married at some point. And so you and your partner were able to work on these things together. Can you tell me more about those financial goals that you started setting at that point, whether that’s toward the end of graduate school or after graduate school?
23:24 Jeanelle: So when my husband and I got engaged, we were pretty, I would say hesitant to get married for a while because we both had parents that were divorced and a lot of it had to do with financial issues. And so that was a big factor in getting married and figuring out how we were going to do things together. And so before we had gotten engaged, we both were very motivated to pay off our car. We both had car loans and student loans. So at that point, when we got engaged, I had paid off my car, he had paid off his student loans and all we had were basically those reverse things remaining. But now we had this wedding, and these expectations. And so we had to make some pretty hard decisions as far as, you know, this is our budget.
24:17 Jeanelle: We’re not going to go beyond this. We’re going to have a small courthouse wedding, which is what we had with immediate family and we’re gonna have a small get together at a community center. And so, we budgeted at like $10K I would say, and it was probably like $8K that we ended up for everything. And so that was a motivating factor because we wanted to go into our marriage not with anything extra outside of our loan and our cars. And so, I would say like about five months after we got married is when we really combined everything and joined forces and got rid of all of that debt and then started thinking about a house. And so, that was like our main goal is let’s just help each other out.
25:08 Jeanelle: We’re in this together now. Let’s pay these things off, let’s put together what we can for our house. And then start thinking about other things like retirement, because I felt pretty stressed about the fact that I was almost 30. I hadn’t had put anything away for retirement. And they don’t really, they don’t do that for you in graduate school. And it’s just something I didn’t know. I didn’t come from a family that, you know, had made good financial decisions. And so, it felt really tough sometimes to know what was the right thing to do at times.
Internal Motivation for Working on Personal Finance
25:46 Emily: It sounds like you, even though you, you know, were approaching 30 and didn’t have anything in retirement savings, it sounds like you really had your head on straight though about like understanding your own internal motivations for working on personal finance, the budgeting, obviously you’ve been doing, the hustling. So like the elements, right, for financial success, I can easily see were there. And it was like, okay, you clear the debt, you get the house, you’re ready to go, right? You’re ready to hit the ground running. Is that how you felt about it since like getting your post-PhD jobs and the house and how are you doing now, I guess, with these financial goals and dreams?
26:21 Jeanelle: Thank you for that. I like to feel validated because there was just so much I didn’t know. There’s still a lot I don’t know. Since then, I feel like I’ve been able to detach myself a little bit from that tussle and survival mode that I think I’ve been raised on my whole life and experienced just growing up and seeing family struggle and my family struggle. And then just also what’s still happening especially to graduate students and the kind of, you know, these difficult situations that they might be in. So since then, you know, I feel motivated still to do the next thing. So the next thing I’d really love to do is pay off our house. I think that would be really great and would set us up really well.
27:21 Jeanelle: And that’s mostly because I’d to beef up my retirement and just be very aggressive with that because, like I said, I feel like I lost some time for the, you know, those 10 years, I didn’t really do anything since I had turned, you know, 18. And that’s one thing I really wish and regret. But, like I said, because I don’t know much I was a little nervous, but we started talking to a financial advisor and this was something like I said, no one in my family had, and I never really knew what to expect. So we spent some time interviewing folks and figuring out who would actually tell us, like, this is how this is how you invest. This is good because of X reason and someone who would explain those things to us.
28:14 Jeanelle: So I think since then, I feel like I’ve been able to hone in a little bit better on what I want to do financially for my future, in a way that I feel more confident. Before, like I said, I felt very survival mode, hustle mode. Like I’ve just got to work hard, work, hard, work hard. And I was very burned out by the time I finished graduate school. And when I finished, and I defended, I worked right away, and I’ve always been working. And even so, I was still doing freelance stuff. I just felt like I couldn’t say no. I felt like I always needed to keep money flowing in. But now I’m more of, you know, I’m doing the smart thing. I’m saving. I’m saving for my future and doing what I need to do. So, I’ve backed up a little off of that and given myself more grace, because I am making good choices as far as, you know, what the future holds and what I can be doing with investing and retirement and hopefully paying off my home.
29:18 Emily: That’s fantastic to hear. I’m so glad that you’re, you know, on that journey with your money mindset, right? Away from hustling, because it is interesting, like you had to hustle for a long time. It was necessary for survival. It was necessary to meet the sort of just baseline financial goals of getting debt paid off. But now, you know, presumably you’re making a much better income from your primary job. Now you can switch to thinking about investing and how money can be generated and come from work and income you’ve earned in the past and not completely from income you’re earning in the day to day. And eventually of course, when you reach financial independence, when you’re retired or whatever, all of your income will be coming from those, you know, previous investments. So I just love to hear that. Just hearing that transition point is really interesting.
Best Financial Advice for Another Early-Career PhD
30:08 Emily: Well, this has been absolutely fascinating, Jeanelle, and thank you so much for volunteering to come on the podcast. I always end my interviews by asking my guests, what is your best financial advice for another early-career PhD? And that could be something that we have touched on already in the interview, or it could be something completely different.
30:26 Jeanelle: So, this advice I would give especially for folks who are just finishing their PhD, and are not sure, you know, what comes next, or, you know, maybe they have these residual effects or trauma, I would say, and feel like I did. Like you always need to catch up. I felt like all my friends around me were getting promotions. They were buying houses, they had retirement, you know, saved and I felt really behind and it made me feel bad. So I would say, you know, go at your own pace. Everyone is at a different point in their life and you will get there as long as you come up with a plan. And I would say like the most powerful plan you can have is your budget and really reckoning with what you have and what you can do with that.
31:20 Jeanelle: So you know, when I first started, I wasn’t getting a lot of money, but I still made it work within my budget. I lived within my means and what I could do. And now that I have a little bit more flexibility because your income usually goes up a lot more from a grad student stipend, is just to know, just because it’s gone up more, prioritize what you really want for kind of like those future financial goals that you might have. Like think about those things first. Because a lot of times those other things are just temporary satisfaction that we’re trying to get, and it’s okay to do once in a while. You know, it’s nice to splurge once in a while. So I would say, you know, don’t compare yourself. Give yourself some patience with where you’re progressing.
32:13 Jeanelle: And definitely, you know, create that budget. Know that it’s not probably going to work for the first few months. You’re going to have to take some time to get it right. And then once you’re in a place where you feel really good, if you’re like me and you don’t know much, I recommend talking to a financial advisor and expert who can lead you and teach you in a way of, you know, things like investing and what will suit you, and what are good goals to think about. Because if you’ve never learned it, you’ll just never know. And there could be something that unlocks for you. So, that’s what I would say is just, you know, keep going, don’t compare yourself and, you know, go at your own pace. Everyone’s running their own race.
33:02 Emily: I love those thoughts. I actually want to ask you a bonus follow-up question, which is, I really like the advice actually of speaking with a financial advisor once you’re ready for that. I actually am working with a financial advisor myself for the first time in 2021. And it’s actually been really good because I wouldn’t say that I’ve gained necessarily any new knowledge, because of course I am very well informed in this area. Although there have been a few, like really, really detailed questions we’ve asked. What’s been important for me is the behavior change of involving someone else in our picture, asking for advice, and then being like, Ooh, I need to act on this else. Or else this person’s going to follow up with me and I’m going to have to say I didn’t do it. So like, that’s what really, really ultimately matters in finances.
Personal Finance Resources
33:47 Emily: It doesn’t matter actually how much you know, it matters what you do, the action that you take. So like, I love that even though you’re saying, I didn’t know much, I don’t know much. As you’ve learned, you’ve done what you’ve learned about. And that’s really the most important thing, right? Is to just take the action. So, anyway, I love that advice, but the question that I wanted to ask you was, prior maybe to starting to meet with this financial advisor, did you have any personal finance resources, like media, like other podcasts or like books or anything that you consumed that helped you along that way?
34:18 Jeanelle: Yes, you know, one, one of the most helpful books for me was The Total Money Makeover. I don’t know if anyone has heard of Dave Ramsey. I won’t get into like his political stance and some of those problematic things, but I will say the baby step plan that he has is very solid. It’s, you know, I’ve tried to read other books, like How to, I think it’s How to be rich or something like that. And it talks a lot about investing and it just really went over my head. And I liked that it was like, step one, do this step two, do this step three, do this. So that really helped me, at least, and my husband just feel like we could follow a plan that we understood. It was very straightforward. And then later on, when it got to the more complex stuff, like the financial advising and investing, that’s when we were like, okay, let’s get some expertise.
35:13 Jeanelle: There’s no shame. I will say culturally, money just wasn’t talked about in my family. And I wish it was because I feel like that transparency would’ve helped me instead of seeing it in different ways. But you know, it’s nice, like you said, to have that outside person who can give you actionable things that you can do that are really making an impact on your finances and helping you grow you know, to have hopefully a good nest egg. So that was the biggest resource is probably The Total Money Makeover and then the financial advisor. And we have a San Diego financial literacy clinic. I learned about this through working with the county. And so I actually met with a pro bono financial advisor several years ago for that as well. So there are great resources like that too, where you can just talk to someone and have this neutral person listen to you and give you advice.
36:20 Emily: That’s a great, great tip. And it’s great that you found that resource that you knew about through your work. I would say also, you know, of course, anyone listening check for similar resources in your area. Check with like a local credit union. If they don’t offer something like that themselves, they probably know where to refer you for that kind of help. And I’m sure, if you’re below a certain income level, you know, they’ll have some kind of like pro bono sliding scale sort of thing going on. So thank you so much that. Jeanelle, it’s been great catching up with you and thank you again so much for giving this interview.
36:51 Jeanelle: Thank you!
36:57 Emily: Listeners, thank you for joining me for this episode! I have a gift for you! You know that final question I ask of all my guests regarding their best financial advice? I have collected short summaries of all the answers ever given on the podcast into a document that is updated with each new episode release. You can gain access to it by registering for my mailing list at PFforPhDs.com/advice/. Would you like to access transcripts or videos of each episode? I link the show notes for each episode from PFforPhDs.com/podcast/. If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, here are 3 ways you can help it grow: 1. Subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or whatever platform you use. 2. Share an episode you found particularly valuable on social media, with an email list-serv, or as a link from your website. 3. 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 increasing cash flow. I also license pre-recorded workshops on taxes. 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.
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