In this episode, Emily shares the microinterviews she recorded at two higher education conferences this past summer. The conference attendees, virtually all of whom work at universities and most of whom have PhDs themselves, responded to this prompt: “What piece of financial advice are you glad you followed or do you wish you had followed as a grad student or postdoc?” Listen through the episode for excellent financial strategies that have stood the test of time for the interviewees.
Links mentioned in the Episode
- Graduate Career Consortium Annual Meeting (GCC)
- Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance (HEFWA) Summit
- Host a PF for PhDs Seminar at Your Institution
- Dr. Katy Peplin, Thrive PhD
- Kirby Williams, Advantage Publications
- Quarterly Estimated Tax for Fellowship Recipients
- PF for PhDs Subscribe to Mailing List
- PF for PhDs Podcast Hub
00:00 Beth H: So thinking back to grad school, the things I’m glad that I did is is really just stick to the fundamentals of looking at what my income was and make sure I was budgeting it, saving. I was investing in my Roth IRA and now 20 years later, has made all the difference. Even the $50 a month I found back then is setting me up for financial success now.
00:30 Emily: Welcome to the Personal Finance for PhDs Podcast: A Higher Education in Personal Finance. I’m your host, Dr. Emily Roberts, a financial educator specializing in early-career PhDs and founder of Personal Finance for PhDs. This podcast is for PhDs and PhDs-to-be who want to explore the hidden curriculum of finances to learn the best practices for money management, career advancement, and advocacy for yourself and others.
01:01 Emily: This is Season 15, Episode 6, and today I’m sharing the microinterviews I recorded at two higher education conferences this past summer. The conference attendees, virtually all of whom work at universities and most of whom have PhDs themselves, responded to this prompt: “What piece of financial advice are you glad you followed or do you wish you had followed as a grad student or postdoc?” Listen through the episode for excellent financial strategies that have stood the test of time for these interviewees.
01:36 Emily: The two conferences I attended were the Graduate Career Consortium Annual Meeting or GCC and the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance Summit or HEFWA Summit. GCC is primarily attended by university staff members working with PhD students and postdocs in career and professional development. The HEFWA Summit is attended by university staff members working in financial wellness and financial aid across undergraduate and graduate populations. These two conferences were excellent networking opportunities for me on top of the built-in professional development. However, there are plenty of universities who were not represented at these conferences. Would you please consider recommending my financial education seminars and workshops at your university? My most popularly requested events for the upcoming academic year are How to Survive and Thrive Financially in Graduate School or Your Postdoc, How to Not Hate Your Fellowship During Tax Season, and Up-Level Your Cash Flow as a Graduate Student or Postdoc. Please direct an appropriate potential host within your graduate school, postdoc office, grad student association, etc. to PFforPhDs.com/financial-education/ where they can learn more. Thank you in advance!
03:00 Emily: You can find the show notes for this episode at PFforPhDs.com/s15e6/. Without further ado, here are the microinterviews recorded at GCC and the HEFWA Summit.
What piece of financial advice are you glad you followed or do you wish you had followed as a grad student or postdoc?
Tax Implications: Kaylee Steen, University of Michigan Medical School
03:19 Kaylee S: My name is Kaylee Steen. I work at the University of Michigan Medical School. The piece of advice that I would have financial advice for postdocs would be that if you are on a training grant, you need to be aware of the tax implications and the fact that they they’re not going to withhold your your paycheck for tax purposes. And so that will change or make your W-2 non-existent. And that can be really complicated. So make sure that you talk with your training grant administrator about the implications for taxes and any other kind of financial implications.
Value as a Student: Stevie Eberle, Stanford University School of Medicine
03:57 Stevie E: Stevie Eberle, executive director and assistant dean of BioSci Careers at Stanford University School of Medicine. During graduate school and postdoc training, I really wish I had understood my value that as a student I actually had value and I had the right to say no or to ask for more. That being said, as soon as I learned my value, I, I ran with it. And I have taken every opportunity to actually ask for more or to reject offers that don’t offer either enough or anything to. Examples were recently with an event that I was planning where it was a DEI related event and they were going they wanted me to do this for free. It was a 300 person event and I said no until they offered me something and I ended up getting a very nice package out of it. Another example was when I was I wanted a promotion and everybody around me had this and I had had the same title except for me. And everybody was making a certain amount of money except for me. And I had all the data and they were not listening to me and they told me, You love it here. Let’s face it, you’re not leaving. And I said, Oh, that is not true. I love it here if I’m being paid equitably. So I found something else. And then they were surprised. And then I miraculously got a promotion and more money. So what I was saying is I wish I’d known, but as soon as I knew I ran with it.
Retirement Savings: Alicia Roy, Gladstone Institutes
05:39 Alicia R: My name is Alicia Roy. I work at the Gladstone Institute in San Francisco and I received a piece of advice that came from a cohort member’s parent telling them to open a Roth IRA immediately, which I had also heard from my parent. But hearing it from multiple places really helps. And the two of us did it together. We sat down with our laptops next to each other and we’re like, How? How does this work? Where do we go? And I think that really helped me actually open that account and actually make that happen for me. And I’m really glad that I did that along, for now. Now is actually a pretty long time ago. At the time I was like, Is it already too late? And I now have colleagues. I’m in my mid thirties and I have colleagues who still haven’t opened one and I’ve had one for over five years now and that already makes me feel a lot better about the future.
Financial Habits: Melissa Bostrom, Duke University
06:32 Melissa B: My name is Melissa Bostrom, and I’m the assistant dean for graduate student professional development at Duke University. What piece of financial advice am I glad I followed during graduate school? Well, I really kept myself to a budget and really watched my expenses and made sure that I saved money for surprise expenses, emergency expenses like car repairs and also conference presentation opportunities. And I feel like those and a little bit of buffer in my budget really helped me take advantage of opportunities when they arose. And some of them are very positive and others car repairs not so positive.
Housing: Yasmine Farley, UC San Diego
07:10 Yasmine F: So hello, my name is Yasmine Farley. I am a senior associate director at UC San Diego. And the piece of financial advice that I guess I’m glad I followed or wish I would have followed while I was in grad school. When it comes to I’m glad I followed was being flexible in my housing arrangements and making sure that I was getting the cheapest option. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I first moved for my Ph.D. program. And so then being willing to chat around with colleagues, classmates and move in with one and then looking for others each year really helped to cut costs for me. And what I wish I had followed during grad school is to not take out as many loans. I had a full ride. However, I took out loans so that I could live and pay for rent and food and gas. But I wish I would have taken out the bare minimum so that I wouldn’t be saddled with all the debt that I have now.
Socializing: Anonymous #1
08:18 Anonymous #1: One piece of financial advice for graduate school and actually for life, but that I developed with my spouse when he was doing his Ph.D. Was that be very thoughtful about who you are socializing with and what kind of approaches to finances they have, what kind of class background do they have, and genuinely try to find people who are spending less money than you, you know, for their socializing, for their life and hang out with them and get to be friends with them, use them as models for how to budget and save money and most of all, not spend money. So stay away. Stay away from the free spenders or the or the loose spenders and stick with the people who spend very little to not at all, especially around socializing.
Retirement Savings: Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann, Humanities without Walls Consortium
09:20 Maggie NH: Hi, Emily. My name is Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann. I’m the associate director of Career diversity for the Humanities Without Walls Consortium. Which is a grant for a Mellon funded, grant funded project at space at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. But I am located at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I think what I wish I had done while I was a grad student was to continue to think about my investments after leaving a career that I left, that I had spent about six years in before starting graduate school. So as I shared with you earlier, I used to work in wealth management for Financial Advisor based at what was then an affiliate of MetLife and no longer exists. And I worked in that role during the Great Recession from about how I was in that role from about 2005 to 2011 when I started graduate school. And right like I was completely in that world thinking about investments, watching people have to make really challenging decisions just to save their homes. Right. Seeing people pull out money from their 401k plans before they hit hit the age that you’re supposed to raise when you can start drawing contributions from your 401K. And they did that in order to continue to make their mortgage payments. Right? So I was I was there and watched people go through those decisions to save themselves and their families, or at least to protect themselves and their families after in some cases losing their jobs for up to two years, which was not an uncommon phenomenon during the recession. But then I started grad school and right like every little bit of money that I made through my stipend and my assistantship I had to use to meet my material needs, as opposed to continuing to think about how do I put a little bit of that into savings or how do I put a little bit of that into my existing 401K or what I now have A 403b plan since I work in higher ed. So I wish I had continued to do that because now I’m kind of faced with all three. I’ve got about 25 years before retirement and I don’t know that my investment savings are going to be where I need them to be when I retire in my mid to late sixties. Right? And so that’s I think the advice I would give to students or even faculty who might be listening to your podcasts. You have to be thinking about what, how much income are you going to need to draw from your retirement accounts when you get to 65, especially for our generations who might see cutbacks in things like Medicare or Social Security, how much money are you going to need to live when you’re retired and you might not? Right. So I think that’s that’s what I wish I had done.
Retirement Savings: Delaney Dann, Scripps Research Institute
11:58 Delaney D: Hi, my name is Dr. Delaney Dann, I work at the Scripps Research Institute. My piece of financial advice is as much as possible. Maxed out your Roth IRA during grad school and your postdoc.
Retirement Savings: Eric Vaughn, University of Rochester
12:13 Eric V: Hi, this is Eric Vaughn from the University of Rochester. My piece of financial advice would be start investing early so you can retire earlier.
Financial Habits: Penny Baga, Vanderbilt University
12:25 Penny B: Hi there. My name is Penny Baga from Vanderbilt University, and I encourage everybody to spend less than what they make.
Funding/Income: Elizabeth Harrington Lambert, Vanderbilt University
12:34 Elizabeth HL: So I’m Elizabeth Harrington Lambert from Vanderbilt University. And I think the absolute best piece of advice that I can give you is apply for funding before you need it. And don’t apply for 20 awards, but apply for three or four. Give yourself a plan B, a plan C and a plan D.
Funding/Income: Jessy Ayestas, University of Kansas
12:53 Jessy Ayestas: So, hello, I’m Jessy Ayestas. I am awards and outreach coordinator at the University of Kansas and also Fulbright scholar. So my piece of advice for any anybody thinking of attending grad school would be to consider applying for fellowships for scholarships, for grants. That will definitely facilitate at least the first years of your graduate education. And if the support that you receive is for a timeframe that is smaller than the time that you will be in grad school, then definitely try and think about the options that you will have and what opportunities may be available at your institution to continue being funded until you complete your program.
Financial Habits: Lindsey Cauthen, Baylor College of Medicine
13:35 Lindsey C: Lindsey Cauthen. Baylor College of Medicine. And I’m the head of career development. So I think the piece of financial advice that I’m glad I followed was really thinking about exactly how you spend your money each month and being very, very intentional about the way that you spend it and accountable. Right. So when I was in grad school, I had my own place and I was able to go on vacation and I was able to manage my money well, and that was because honestly, I had parents that taught me how to do so. So I had the proverbial envelope system and everything had a place. I think what I also did was I bought life insurance back in that time. That was really, really good life insurance. And I’m so glad I did that. And I did a little bit of investing and I didn’t have any debt coming out of undergrad. So that made a huge difference. And I didn’t come out of grad school with any debt either. So that’s made a big difference at this point.
Funding/Income: Colleen Gleeson, University of Texas at Austin
14:41 Colleen G: I’m Colleen Gleeson. I am the assistant director for advanced Degree Employer Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin So when I did my master’s program, I didn’t really get any funding, and I just thought that was the end of that. But now, having worked with worked with master students on the other side, I’ve seen how current master students have asked, researched and just pushed to actually to get more funding and to advocate for themselves and to identify additional funding resources. So I wish that someone had told me to be more persistent because there is there are funds out there. You just have to you just have to put the time and the research into it.
Funding/Income: Derek Attig, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
15:22 Derek A: I’m Derek Attig I work in the Graduate college at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. And as a graduate student, I’m really glad that I saw that opportunity is to get income. Even small amounts of income from a variety of places, because it gave me a lot of skills as also as well as just consistent, reliable money coming in.
Retirement Savings: Peter Myers, Washington University in Saint Louis
15:47 Peter M: My name is Peter Myers. I’m at Washington University in Saint Louis. The piece of advice that I’m glad I took as a postdoc is to put everything I can into a Roth IRA.
Employment: Kelly Graham, New York University
16:01 Kelly G: Hi, my name is Kelly Graham and I am from New York University. One of the best pieces of financial advice that I ever got and that I followed was that to go work at the university that you want to get your degree from because then you can go for free. Most universities offer tuition remission, so identify the university I wanted to go to. I got a full time job. I went to school for free and I built my resume at the same time.
Funding/Income: Erin Brown, UCLA
16:29 Erin B: Hi. So I’m Erin Brown. I am the associate director of Graduate Career Services at UCLA. And I guess the piece of financial advice that I wish that I had followed when I went to graduate school is I should have done my research and I should have applied for every extramural grant or fellowship that I could have found. I think it would have made my life so much easier after graduate school. I think that what I did was I used my savings to finance graduate school, and that money would have been really helpful when I left graduate school because I feel like I ate up all of the savings that I had while I was in grad school.
Funding/Income: Baron Haber, UC Santa Barbara
17:11 Baron H: my name is Baron Haber I’m the assistant director of Professional Development for Graduate Division at University of California, Santa Barbara. So one piece of financial advice that I wish I would have followed during graduate school better is I wish I would have had a calendar that was alerting me to deadlines for fellowships and other extramural funding opportunities. Like I always found out about them like two days before the deadline and then, like, talk myself out of trying to throw together an application. So I think I could have taken more advantage of applying for those opportunities if I had been more organized and kind of like known to be anticipating these things. And also that if I would have just had like standard statements prepared for those sorts of things a little bit earlier on in my career by the time I figured out I should be doing those things, I was like beyond the university requirements for that. So
Funding/Income: Shawn Warner, UC Santa Barbara
18:06 Shawn W: My name is Shawn Warner. I’m the director of Professional development for the Graduate Division at UC Santa Barbara. And one piece of advice I’m very glad I followed was when I was considering applying to grad school, I talked with someone who was about to finish their grad program, and they said, Do not do a study program unless you are paid to do so. And so I was unfortunately applying to grad school in 2009 during the recession, and I applied lots of places and I only got a financial funding offer from one. Thankfully, that was my number one pick and that’s where I went and I’m very glad I followed that piece of advice.
Financial Habits: Katy Peplin, Thrive PhD
18:50 Katy P: Hi, I’m Katy Peplin from Thrive PHD. You can find me at thrive dash PhD dot com. I work with graduate students all around the world on being a scholar and a human and the piece of financial advice that I am so glad that I followed during grad school was. Pay attention to your finances. I know so many people got sort of caught unawares by tax bills that they didn’t have, like living expenses that they weren’t prepared to handle. And I was really grateful that I kept an eye on. My budget is activating and nerve wracking as that could be sometimes when I was low on summer funding and always took extra jobs to make sure that I felt as secure as I could because I knew I wouldn’t be able to study if I was panicked about where I was going to eat next week
Financial Habits: Roshni, Johns Hopkins University
19:36 Roshni: Roshni from Johns Hopkins University. And I’m answering the question what piece of financial advice did I wish I had followed during grad school or post-doc? And that would be to not be afraid about talking about money. Culturally, it’s not the norm from where I grew up. And so if I knew to get over some of the intimidation around money, I may have made more empowered and more informed decisions.
20:04 Emily: These action items are for you if you recently switched or will soon switch onto non-W-2 fellowship income as a grad student, postdoc, or postbac and are not having income tax withheld from your stipend or salary. Action item #1: Fill out the Estimated Tax Worksheet on page 8 of IRS Form 1040-ES. This worksheet will estimate how much income tax you will owe in 2023 and tell you whether you are required to make manual tax payments on a quarterly basis. The next quarterly estimated tax due date is September 15, 2023. Action item #2: Whether you are required to make estimated tax payments or pay a lump sum at time tax, open a separate, named savings account for your future tax payments. Calculate the fraction of each paycheck that will ultimately go toward tax and set up an automated recurring transfer from your checking account to your tax savings account to prepare for that bill. This is what I call a system of self-withholding, and I suggest putting it in place starting with your very first fellowship paycheck so that you don’t get into a financial bind when the payment deadline arrives. If you need some help with the Estimated Tax Worksheet or want to ask me a question, please consider joining my workshop, Quarterly Estimated Tax for Fellowship Recipients. It explains every line of the worksheet and answers the common questions that PhD trainees have about estimated tax. The workshop includes 1.75 hours of video content, a spreadsheet, and invitations to at least one live Q&A call each quarter this tax year. If you want to purchase this workshop as an individual, go to PF for PhDs dot com slash Q E tax. Now back to our interview.
Retirement Savings: Sonali Majumdar, Princeton University
22:11 Sonali M: Hi, everyone. I am Sonali Majumdar at the Graduate Career Consortium Annual meeting. I’m Assistant Dean for Professional Development at Princeton University. And I just wanted to say in terms of, like, what I wish I had done as a graduate student and postdoc in terms of financial decisions, I wish I had created a Roth IRA and started my investment portfolio early. That’s the best way to. It. Also incentivizes and motivates you to save and invest, and I wish I had done that sooner. So that’s my little advice.
Financial Literacy: Diane Safer, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
22:48 Diane S: So, hi, I’m Diane Safer, the director of career professional development for graduate students and postdocs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. And I think the idea of just welcoming new post-docs and graduate students to the idea of financial literacy right from the start so that they understand, considering especially that postdocs are international and don’t know about saving for retirement and how to live on a paycheck, that’s not a lot in New York
Housing: Kathryn Sawyer Vidrine, University of Notre Dame
23:16 Kathryn SV: I’m Kathryn Sawyer Vidrine from Notre Dame, and I wish that when I was starting graduate school in South Bend that I had just gone and bought a house instead of dithering about it because I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick around.
Housing: Tom Meyers, University of Notre Dame
23:32 Tom M: So my name is Tom Meyers. I’m also from the University of Notre Dame. And to Kathryn’s point, one thing I do with graduate students now is when I get incoming graduate students, I tell them, you can rent an apartment that’s a studio for 1100 dollars a month across campus, or you can drive five miles and pay a mortgage of 858.77 every month.
Retirement Savings: Karin Lawton-Dunn, Iowa State University
23:51 Karin L-D: Hi, I am Karin Lawton-Dunn at Iowa State University. And this question is, what piece of financial advice do are you glad to follow during your graduate program? And that was a long time ago for me. But I did have a I did work three years professionally before. And my colleague, we came back to grad school and she cashed out her 401K and I left mine in and I’m getting closer and closer to retirement and I’m very thankful I left that in. So I do not cash out 401Ks.
Retirement Savings: Megan Brock
24:22 Megan B: Okay, so I’m Dr. Megan Brock, and I think that I wish I would have I would to really look into the retirement plans that people offer you, because as a new grad moving into the field. I’m in the state of Georgia, you pick a program and you’re in it. There’s no switching up. The only way that you leave is if you leave the system. So where everybody else has something that they can if they want to purchase a home, they could pull out there for a1k or whatever type of retirement plan. Well, I’m a teacher retirement system and then I’m, you know, my pension, so to speak, is invested for ten years. All my friends can go out, purchase a home and have that saved up because that’s like kind of and of course, it’s for retirement. But, you know, a house is an investment, right? I can’t do that. I didn’t think about it. I was like, Oh, it’s easy to click the button and now you’re in. And now there’s no way that I can kind of help myself. The first generation, everything first, you know, the first person in my family to be able to do this is like, I can’t I can’t leverage that kind of like professional benefit of having retirement savings accounts. I didn’t select that option. So, yeah, I would say like, you know, just ask people about their options. The pros and cons, pause, don’t feel rushed. Because it will seem like you have to fill your paperwork out by a certain deadline, but you can always ask for those types of extensions. You can always ask to meet with, like whoever the H.R. officer is. You can always ask for that, you know, more time to get it sort of position for whatever school system that you’re going to be with. And so that’s my biggest like, dang, I wish I would have known that other that other than like living within my means. But like, the biggest thing is like, this is a marathon, not a sprint. And it we have to be prepared to be the people who can honestly retire at 50 and 60, like enjoy the rest of our life if we plan accordingly and not just like pick something that’s the easiest option. So that’s my piece of advice.
Retirement Savings: Christine Krieger, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
26:13 Christine K: Hi, I’m Christine Krieger. I’m with the training office, with NIDDK and my question is, what piece of financial advice are you glad you followed or do you wish you had followed during graduate school or as opposed to. So the advice I wish I had followed was that you are always welcome to follow your dreams. Just open a Roth. From the very beginning.
Funding/Income: Katie Homar
26:40 Katie H: So I’m Katie Homar, and my advice is take advantage of small travel grants from student organizations and campus offices to travel to conferences and grow your professional network.
Financial Habits: Mabel Perez-Oquendo, MD Anderson
26:52 Mabel P-K: Hi. My name is Mabel Perez-Oquendo. I am a current admin public fellow at MD Anderson. So one piece of advice that I wish I knew when I was doing my graduate school is to have saving accounts. And this is because, like, unexpected things happens. And also we want to have some like personal work life balance and we want to like travel and we want to take vacations. But if we don’t have that saving account, how we can accomplish that goal. So I wish that someone told me, Hey, you shall save part of your salary to go out and have fun and travel when you feel overwhelmed. So that is my piece of advice.
Negotiation: Hecmarie Meléndez-Fernández, West Virginia University
27:35 Hecmarie M-F: Hi, my name is Hecmarie Meléndez-Fernández, and I’m a recent Ph.D. grad at West Virginia University. And the one piece of financial advice I wish I had followed was to negotiate your benefits package for your job. There’s always room for negotiation. So.
Housing: Amanda Figuera, University of Washington Tacoma
27:55 Amanda F: My name is Amanda Figuera. I’m the senior director of Student Transitions and Success at the University of Washington Tacoma. And during graduate school we got creative with housing arrangements, and so I shared a one bedroom condo with a roommate who was doing lab work. And so we had like a hoteling bedroom almost in the living room. And that was one way that we were able to afford the cost of living in Seattle.
Employment: Mallorie Smith, Mississippi State University
28:19 Mallorie S: My name is Mallorie Smith. I’m the financial wellness program coordinator at Mississippi State University. And one piece of financial advice that I’m glad I followed as a grad student was that I sought out employment with my school that I wanted to attend first. And because of that, I got free classes two free classes this semester, and I was able to get my MBA that way. And now I’m about to get my Ph.D. in the same way for free. So all I’m paying for is textbooks, and I know where to find that cheap.
Moving: Helen Colby, Indiana University
28:49 Helen C: Hey, I am Helen Colby. I’m an assistant professor of marketing at Indiana University School of Business, and I am the chair of the Heck for Research Committee. And the piece of financial advice that I didn’t get in grad school that I wish I had gotten was to plan for that post-graduation move because I was in grad school in New Jersey and I got a postdoc in Los Angeles. And I realized about three months before I actually started the job that I was going to have to pay to move all my stuff across the country and put a down payment and pay first month’s rent and live for a month because I got paid monthly as a postdoc. But I didn’t get my first paycheck until I had been working for a month. And I was already a little strapped because I was in grad school and my husband’s in law school, I wouldn’t have any money. And then to move, that was very complicated. So we worked it out by being broke and side hustles and the one credit card we had that had a $1,000 limit on it. But if I had thought about having to move as opposed to just this is great, I’m going to have a better job that pays more. Not a lot more, but more. I would have planned for that better and at the very least spread my side hustling across more.
Financial Habits: Matt Hertenstein, DePaul University
30:04 Matt H: Hi, my name is Matt Hertenstein, a college professor at DePaul University, received my Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley in 2002 the piece of advice that I wish I had followed in graduate school would be. Even then, I had a little bit to save, and I wish I had done a little bit better job at putting that away into a retirement account and started the snowball. Then rather than waiting a little bit
Debt: Eric Monday, University of Kentucky
30:35 Eric M: Eric Monday Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration at the University of Kentucky. I think the financial advice that’s most helpful when I think back to my grad experience is a professor told me do not take on an extreme amount of debt. You know, figure out a way, even if it takes you a little bit longer, don’t take on a lot of debt. So that’s the advice that helped me the most.
Debt: Byron Kerr, Texas State University
31:01 Byron T: Hi, I’m Dr. Byron Kerr with Financial aid and scholarships at Texas State University, and I received my Ph.D. from Florida State University in Tallahassee working on my Ph.D. I had developed a lot of debt over the years, like a credit card debt, and to get out from underneath that, I reached out to a nonprofit credit agency that helped negotiate with the credit card companies to help me get that debt that paid off.
Financial Habits: Anna Sheufelt, Duke University
31:23 Anna S: My name is Anna Sheufelt. I work at Duke University, overseeing the educational programing and outreach for the Office of Student Loans and Personal Finance. The piece of financial advice that I wish I would have followed when I was in graduate school, I would be to spend less and save more. It sounds pretty simple take to managing money, but I really wish I would have built up that financial foundation because once I increase my knowledge of other things I could be doing with my money, I would have been in a position to just act. And I sort of had to continue with that foundation of, Nope, I have to save first because I didn’t do a good enough job when I was in my master’s program.
Financial Assistance Programs: Gilbert, University of Texas at Austin
32:04 Gilbert: My name is Gilbert. Financial advice I wish I would have followed was maybe just looking more into assistance programs or basic needs programs here in the city of Austin, especially coming from an area that where the cost of living was pretty low. And we went to a city that has one of the highest cost of links in the nation. I wish I would have looked more into like rental assistance programs, and Austin has a couple of them that will help people with low income cover partial or full rental cost and also just any assistance with regards to just basic needs like food and Internet subsidies. That would have helped me focus more on my graduate program. Also, it’s in Edwards and working at U.T. and not have to worry about budgeting too much and sacrificing like someone’s and some needs to continue going to grad school and living here in Austin.
Financial Literacy: Anne Xiong, UC Berkeley
33:02 Anne X: So, yeah, my name is Anne Xiong. I am the program manager for Financial Wellness Program at U.C. Berkeley. Answering this question, it is what piece of finish or otherwise are you glad you followed or do you wish you had followed during grad school? So yeah, there’s a reason is kind of related to the reason why I’m very passionate about financial wellness education because I didn’t have any. So I wish I had have someone that taught me more about money management so I can start to pay more attention to manage my finances. When I was in college, in grad school, I just felt like if I had someone provide me with more guidance, I probably will and was less staff and more resources. And then when I started my first job, I probably will just have a better start. So. Yeah.
Mindset: Kirby Williams, Advantage Publications
33:59 Kirby W: So I’m Kirby Williams, and I am the owner of Advantage Publications. We do financial education, Learning Materials. So I, I didn’t realize until just now why my father always said that if you would pay for high school in college and we would have no loans and that wasn’t very important to him. But that if we want to wanted to go to grad school, that that would be on us to pay for. And I think he really wanted us to see the return on our investment. But, you know, it’s a whole different feeling when you have to pay the bills for it. And he didn’t want us to stress about that for college, which is a wonderful gift that he gave us. You know, you didn’t have to stress about that. Um, but at some point you have to grow up and you do stress about it, and you should stress about it because it’s your career and it’s your life. And if you’re not going for something that gives you joy, then all the career and, you know, stress and the money, stress and the time is wasted.
Financial Habits: Becky Sparks, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
35:02 Becky S: My name is Becky Sparks. I’m with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and my advice that I wish I had followed is to save as much as you can while you’re in grad school. I know that’s a very difficult thing to try to do, but your future self will thank you and take it from me who did not take that advice. You will definitely be glad that you did Absolutely
35:27 Robert: Yeah. So my name is Robert. I had a lot of helpful advice from people in my department and also people at the university who were able to direct me to different ways to apply for different fellowships and other kinds of opportunities to help me pursue my research in ways that I didn’t really know where there. So that was looking beyond the department, looking for other opportunities for external scholarships, external fellowships, and then finding those two and finally get me to complete my research in the end with that funding.
Student Loans: Sara, Baylor University
36:00 Sara: Hi, I’m Sara. I am at Baylor University. And then my big piece of advice that I followed after leaving my graduate program and currently is I utilize public service student loan forgiveness. And I think a lot of grad students who are either going into academia or the government or any type of nonprofit or education work often don’t know that they can really lower that Student loan monthly repayment if they go down an income driven repayment plan and then utilize. Public service student loan forgiveness. So definitely check that out as we’re going into student loan repayment.
Financial Habits and Retirement Savings: Beth Hunsaker, University of Utah
36:47 Beth H: My name is Beth Hunsaker with the University of Utah’s Financial Wellness Center. I’m the associate director, So thinking back to grad school, the things I’m glad that I did is is really just stick to the fundamentals of looking at what my income was and make sure I was budgeting it, saving. I was investing in my Roth IRA and now 20 years later, has made all the difference. Even the $50 a month I found back then is setting me up for financial success now.
Tax Implications: Ben Raines, Ohio State University
37:19 Ben R: So Ben Raines Program Coordinator for financial education and a student life at Ohio State University. So I was lucky to have a graduate tuition stipend as part of my one at the university. And I’m glad that I went through and thought about how much $25,000 taxable income would affect my income over the course of a year. And while that was unpleasant, I was at least prepared to have my take home income go down $800 a month for six months of the year.
Funding/Income: Michael Dedmon, National Endowment for Financial Education
37:47 Michael D: My name is Michael Dedmon. I’m the research director at the National Endowment for Financial Education and a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Syracuse University. Graduate students approach the Ph.D. journey and get a different range of support from their institution, depending on sort of where it’s ranked, the kind of resources they have, and then where they hope to place their graduate students. I know that for me, I was a teaching at a pretty teaching heavy department where almost all of the financial support was really, really tied to doing that teaching. I wish that I would have realized earlier on the importance of seeking out external sources of funding, and I wish that I would have advocated more for myself. I wish they would have advocated more for fellow graduate students with the graduate school and with my department to provide those resources because of how critical they are, because it’s very difficult to do your work, to finish your degree, and to produce the knowledge that the university wants if you don’t get that additional support. But also the process of achieving and getting that support is really critical. And so I think the universities like the country over, especially the ones that are outside of the top ten that don’t have right, those kinds of resources need to think better about how to support graduate students in getting resources to specifically support their research.
Employment: Gilbert Rogers, University of Oregon
39:01 Gilbert R: My name is Gilbert Rogers, Senior assistant director of financial Wellness at the University of Oregon. So the piece of advice I wish I would have followed during grad school or during my doctoral studies was to seek out an employer that would pay for that. I didn’t know I would land in higher education. I was currently still working in corporate finance, and that’s where I first kind of caught wind of all the loans and loan debt. So I didn’t have zero debt until my doctoral degree. So that’s a piece of advice I work out.
39:37 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? My team has 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/. 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 by Dr. Lourdes Bobbio and show notes creation by Dr. Jill Hoffman.