In this episode, Emily interviews Brittany Trinh, a PhD student in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Brittany originally applied to grad school in fall 2018, but she elected to defer her acceptance for two years in favor of taking a job. Brittany shares how she developed her finances, side business, and professional life in the 2.5 years she worked prior to matriculating. She started graduate school in fall 2021 in a much stronger financial position—and more confident in herself—than she would have in fall 2019, even though it was a bit of a rough transition. At the end of the interview, Brittany explains for whom deferment of grad school acceptance is a good option.
Links Mentioned in this Episode
- Set Yourself Up for Financial Success in Graduate School (Workshop)
- PF for PhDs S14E4 Show Notes
- PF for PhDs Tax Center
- Brittany Trinh’s Website
- Brittany Trinh Twitter
- Brittany Trinh Instagram
- PF for PhDs S11E8: Semester-Proof Your Academic Side Business with Digital Products (Money Story with Dr. Toyin Alli)
- Brittany’s E-mail Address
- PF for PhDs Subscribe to Mailing List (Access Advice Document)
- PF for PhDs Podcast Hub (Show Notes)
00:00 Brittany: I think the biggest thing was just, one, knowing how the PhD stipend is, and just the whole grad school process. I was just really afraid about like how like setting up my like financial future when like the stipend makes it kind of difficult to do that, savings and things. Like it is possible. But just at that time, I knew that like with my job, I could do that a lot faster than like going to grad school right away. And we know that like with time and investing, like time is like the most valuable thing.
00:41 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. This is Season 14, Episode 4, and today my guest is Brittany Trinh, a PhD student in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Brittany originally applied to grad school in fall 2018, but she elected to defer her acceptance for two years in favor of taking a job. Brittany shares how she developed her finances, side business, and professional life in the 2.5 years she worked prior to matriculating. As a result, she started graduate school in fall 2021 in a much stronger financial position—and more confident in herself—than she would have in fall 2019, even though it was a bit of a rough transition. At the end of the interview, Brittany shares from her perspective for whom deferment of grad school acceptance is a good option.
01:57 Emily: If you’re a prospective graduate student currently in the thick of admissions season, I encourage you to check out my asynchronous workshop, Set Yourself Up for Financial Success in Graduate School. You can pick and choose which modules are most relevant to you now and over the coming months. For instance, if you’re staring at a cryptic funding offer letter, you might want to join “Interpret and Compare Offer Letters.” If you’re not sure if your stipend offer is really livable for a certain city, you might want to join “Stipends vs. Cost of Living.” If you know already that your top-choice program is offering a sub-par stipend, you might want to join “Negotiate Your Stipend and/or Benefits.” You can learn more about Set Yourself Up for Financial Success in Graduate School and the various modules at PFforPhDs.com/setyourselfup/. You can find the show notes for this episode at PFforPhDs.com/s14e4/. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Brittany Trinh.
Will You Please Introduce Yourself Further?
03:06 Emily: I am delighted to have joining me on the podcast today Brittany Trinh. She is a first-year graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Madison in chemistry. By the way, we are recording this in April, 2022, but I’m expecting to publish it in early 2023. So, for reference, you know, Brittany will now be a second-year graduate student at the time of publication, we expect. Okay, Brittany, thank you so much for joining me. Will you please introduce yourself further to the listener?
03:31 Brittany: Hi, yeah, my name is Brittany and I’m, like you said, currently a PhD student in chemistry at UW Madison and part of the Boydston group studying metal-free ring-opening metathesis polymerization. And before that, I was getting my BS chemistry at the University of Houston and then also working at a polymer company for about two and a half years before I became a grad student.
Timing of Grad School Application and Deferment
03:58 Emily: Excellent. And that is the subject of our interview today. So, Brittany applied for graduate school, got in, and decided not to go for a bit. So, we’re going to talk about that deferment process and why it happened and how it happened and how she used that time to better her finances and be in a stronger position when starting graduate school. So, I love this topic. Okay, so starting off, what was the timing of this? Like when did you apply for grad school? Were you also applying for jobs that same time? Just like walk us through the beginning of this process.
04:28 Brittany: Yeah, so I actually graduated a little bit later. So, in the fall of 2018 was my graduation semester, so that’s when I started applying for jobs and grad school at the same time. And then throughout that process, I actually only applied to one grad school, which was UW Madison because of like a fee waiver I got from a preview program. And simultaneously applying for a bunch of jobs and we all know how job searching goes.
04:59 Emily: Interesting. So, when you, because you were graduating like at that end of fall semester timing, were you already anticipating that you would have to have a job between, you know, let’s say January and August or whenever it was that you would matriculate if you had gone directly to graduate school?
05:16 Brittany: I think that I wanted to do something but I wasn’t expecting to honestly get into the graduate program because I did get the job offer by October, 2018. So, I had already like accepted the job offer before I even knew that I was getting into grad school.
Receiving an Acceptance Letter
05:38 Emily: Okay, great. So, when you got the acceptance to UW Madison, what were your thoughts at that time? Were you thinking that you wanted to enroll or were you already thinking by that point that deferring was going to be a good idea?
05:51 Brittany: So, this is actually a really funny story. I got my acceptance letter the same day that I came home from like my first day at work. And I was super surprised because I did not think I was going to get in. And so, of course I’m like kind of freaking out and thinking like, well, what do I do? You know? But ultimately I decided that it was better for me to just stay at my job because I literally just got started. And so, I wanted to see if there was an option for me to defer just for some time so I could get the work experience but then still pursue grad school later.
Role of Finances in Decision
06:27 Emily: And what role did finances play in that decision to defer?
06:33 Brittany: I think the biggest thing was just, one, knowing how the PhD stipend is and just the whole grad school process. I was just really afraid about like how like setting up my like financial future when like the stipend makes it kind of difficult to do that savings and things. Like it is possible. But just at that time, I knew that like with my job I could do that a lot faster than like going to grad school right away. And we know that like with time and investing, like time is like the most valuable thing. And then of course there were other some like emotional things related to that. Yeah, and I think the thing was that my job offer was really good and I just really could not turn it down. And that was why I ended up deferring my grad school enrollment.
07:32 Emily: Yeah, I think it definitely makes it easier to imagine what else you would be doing if you didn’t go directly to graduate school already being in that job, which is awesome. I’m wondering, did you have any particular financial concerns? Like I know generally things are hard, right? For grad students and finances, but I don’t know, were you like looking at like student loan debt that you wanted to pay down? Or were you like, “Oh, I have zero in savings and I really want a certain amount in savings.”? Like was there any specific element of your finances that was a top concern?
08:01 Brittany: Oh, yes. So, I am very fortunate that I did not have any like student loan or other like personal debt. But for me it was definitely zero savings. Because I obviously just graduated from school, and I had just like a little bit of savings from like summer research or things like that. But yeah, I really wanted to build up my emergency fund, my 401(k), and just kind of let it sit there while I’m in grad school and things like that. Those were like the main concerns.
Informing the Grad Program About Deferment
08:37 Emily: Okay. So, we’ve talked about like the decision to defer why you did it, what you were planning on doing with your time anyway. How is it actually like telling your program <laugh> that you got into that that was your plan, that you would like to exercise a deferment option? Like, I don’t know, like how did those conversations go?
08:55 Brittany: Yeah, so I don’t remember exactly like how I came up with the idea of deferring. But I think maybe I’ve seen it somewhere. So, I think I was just like searching the department’s website to find any reference in like the handbook or their FAQ or whatever about the deferral process. And so, I remember seeing this on their FAQ page saying that like, yes, it is possible because they’ve granted it to people before, you just have to like let them know and it’s up to two years. So, what I did was I waited until I went to the official visit weekend and I wanted to talk to the graduate program coordinator personally as opposed to like over e-mail. And it was actually a little bit awkward because it was at like a poster session when I approached her because the schedule is like pretty packed.
09:45 Brittany: But she had just finished chatting with another student and so when I came up to her, I introduced myself and explained to her my situation and I just said like, could you tell me more about the deferral process? Like I would love to come here, but like as of right now, I’ve just started my job and it’s only been like two months and I don’t really want to leave that yet. And in the end she was very kind and reassuring about it and she just told me it’s totally possible just like stay in contact with her and she would like follow-up with me and let me know what the steps were.
10:15 Emily: It’s actually like, I hadn’t thought about this before, but sort of thinking about it from the program director’s perspective, you’re going to be an even stronger candidate when you actually join the department in like a year or two or whatever having had that relevant work experience. So, it actually feels like they’re getting like a bargain or something, like, we’re going to get an even better grad student than like the one we accepted. Like that’s amazing. So, I can see how that would maybe be attractive. But something I hadn’t asked you yet is, when you were admitted to the program, were you admitted already like knowing who your advisor was? Or was that a process that would maybe happen during like your first year?
10:52 Brittany: Yeah, so when I was admitted, we don’t know who our advisors are yet. It’s just like you’re just generally admitted, and then once you enroll whatever semester, that’s when you go through like the whole rotation process and stuff. So, that wasn’t a concern at that point.
What About Funding?
11:07 Emily: Yeah, I can imagine if, you know, for anyone listening to this who’s maybe going to consider this, if you’re admitted directly with an advisor, that’s the way I was admitted to graduate school, then it’s like two levels, like you have to make this okay with the department level, their program level, and also with your advisor. And the other like sort of wrinkle in there is like, what about your funding? So, what was your funding situation and did the deferment matter at all in like, you know, was your funding automatically going to come again? Or did you have to like apply again? Or how did that work?
11:36 Brittany: Yeah, so I think when I was accepted, they offered me full funding as a student and then they also gave me an additional fellowship which was a surprise to me, but when I followed up with her about deferring and such, I just asked her what the situation was like. Because I would understand if they decided to rescind the additional fellowship which I think was like an additional $4,000 or $5,000 just for the first year because I deferred, but actually she said, “No, your funding will [I guess] transfer.” And I was really surprised. And so I think it, it just is a matter of just asking very directly. Like it was a little uncomfortable for me to be so forward about it because I didn’t want to seem like, you know, I’m just only concerned about money, but it was something that they offered me and I just wanted to see if that was still available to me.
12:36 Emily: Yeah, well that’s great. I mean, it sounds like this person was like very receptive to the process. I mean, even them having it on their website is a good indication that yeah, this is something there that happens from time to time, and they can handle it. And especially like you were saying, just being admitted generally to the program I think makes the whole process easier since you’re not negotiating with like a certain person with a certain number of spots that are available or whatever the case might be.
Finances During Gap Years
12:57 Emily: Okay. So, let’s move beyond like the decision to defer and talk about what you did with your time about two and a half years, you said, between when you started your job and when you ultimately entered graduate school. So, we talked earlier about like the financial reasons for why to pursue this job instead. What actually ended up happening during that period of time with your finances?
13:18 Brittany: Yeah, so during that time while I was working, I was able to save over like $60K in my 401(k). And so, I’m like really proud of that, and a lot more like for emergency funds, my future house, as long as like PhD expenses because I know that like moving would be expensive and like school fees and such. So, I wanted to have like an additional fund for that that I could tap into in case I needed it. The other thing was I also just learned a lot more about my own financial habits and values and such. And so, all of those were like really good to know before coming to grad school just in terms of like spending and how you save and such. And then of course the last thing was like, I started my business, which was really a fun learning experience.
14:12 Emily: Yeah, let’s put a pin in the business for just a second. I definitely want to talk about that further. But I just want to like congratulate you because it sounds like you made great use of the time that you’re working to like build up 401(k) balance and the savings and all that. And just like hearing all that, I’m just so happy for you like starting graduate school in such a strong financial position. You’re not precarious in the same way many other graduate students are. Especially having those like investments in place because, I mean, maybe you’re still adding to them, but even if you weren’t able to add your investments at all during graduate school, like I mean five years or more in graduate school, like that money is going to grow. I mean, we’re like assuming the market behaves like sort of average over a long period of time, but it’s going to grow like a lot, like at least 50%, maybe even, you know, closer to doubling during just that period of time that you’re in graduate school. So, it’s amazing to have that wind at your back is what I call the financial wind at your back of having investments. So, that’s just awesome.
15:04 Emily: One thing I did want to ask you though is that like since you had this plan of eventually going to graduate school, were you concerned at all about like your lifestyle or like experiencing lifestyle deflation upon entering graduate school? Because I know that I’ve heard that as like a reason against deferring or against taking time between undergrad and graduate school. It’s like, oh no, what if I become used to spending $60,000 a year and I can’t do that in graduate school, that’s going to be painful. So like, what was your thought process around that, like lifestyle setting aspect of the question?
15:38 Brittany: Oh yeah, that’s a really good point and question. Some other people also brought this up to me as well. But for me there was a little bit of a transition, which I guess we can talk a little bit more later, but the reason why I was able to save so much was because like I was already, I never saw that money because it was always like going direct deposit to my 401(k) or to my savings accounts and things like that. So even though yes, I was making like was like $65K a year or so, I didn’t see that $65K every year. It was like most of it’s already gone to savings. And so I was kind of living as if like I was making more of like $40K or something like that. And so, it wasn’t as bad. And then again, like I mentioned, I learned a lot about like my own habits and values and such. And so then once I came into grad school, I was able to kind of realign that with my current budget.
16:42 Emily: Yes, that makes total sense. And yeah, just having those extra couple of years of experience, as you said, learning about yourself, learning about your own like systems and habits and mindset and so forth with respect to money can be so super helpful with that.
16:55 Emily: Emily here for a brief interlude! Tax season is in full swing, and the best place to go for information tailored to you as a grad student, postdoc, or postbac is PFforPhDs.com/tax/. From that page I have linked to all of my tax resources, many of which I have updated for tax year 2022. On that page you will find free podcast episodes, videos, and articles on all kinds of tax topics relevant to PhDs. There are also opportunities to join the Personal Finance for PhDs mailing list to receive PDF summaries and spreadsheets that you can work with. The absolute most comprehensive and highest quality resources, however, are my asynchronous tax workshops. I’m offering four tax return preparation workshops for tax year 2022, one each for grad students who are U.S. citizens or residents, postdocs who are U.S. citizens or residents, postbacs who are U.S. citizens or residents, and grad students and postdocs who are nonresidents. Those tax return preparation workshops are in addition to my estimated tax workshop for grad student, postdoc, and postbac fellows who are U.S. citizens or residents.
18:11 Emily: My preferred method for enrolling you in one of these workshops is to find a sponsor at your university or institute. Typically, that sponsor is a graduate school, graduate student association, postdoc office, postdoc association, or an individual school or department. I would very much appreciate you recommending one or more of these workshops to a potential sponsor. If that doesn’t work out, I do sell these workshops to individuals, but I think it’s always worth trying to get it into your hands for free or a subsidized cost. Again, you can find all of these free and paid resources, including a page you can send to a potential workshop sponsor, linked from PFforPhDs.com/tax/. Now back to the interview.
Web Design Business
18:58 Emily: Okay, let’s come back to the business. So, what is the business that you started during this time before entering graduate school? And I guess, you know, did you have it in mind that you would continue it after starting graduate school?
19:12 Brittany: Yeah, so the business that I ended up creating is a web design business specifically for scientists, researchers, and academics, helping them build their online presence and their websites and such. And so, I started this business unofficially in April of 2019. So that’s like about four months after I started working. That was like kind of the, beginnings of it, but I didn’t start like actually getting clients until September. And that’s when I officially launched. And then since then, I’ve been working with a lot of clients one-on-one and doing workshops, collaborating with organizations and such and all those like fun things that come with an online business. And throughout the process, I made about like $15K in revenue, which most of it was reinvested into the business. But I always did have the intention of continuing it in grad school because I wanted to have that additional income.
20:14 Brittany: I think that was like the thing that really was also another concern for me was that I didn’t want to feel limited by my stipend and I wanted to do other things. One of them being visiting family because I’m in Wisconsin now and I’m from Houston, so, you know, flying home at least like three or four times a year is kind of a priority for me. And so, if I’m able to have like this extra side income, then I don’t need to worry about it, like cutting into like my daily expenses.
20:48 Emily: I just love how intentional you were with the choice of the business to start. And also just using again, your time before starting graduate school to establish it. Like you mentioned, you know, your revenue was like largely put back into the business as an investment and that actually makes a lot of sense to do that while you were working your job because the point at that time was not to get income from it, it was to, I assume, it’s to establish the business so that you can really reap that income once you have your graduate student stipend that you’re living on. So yeah, I just, this is so great and like of course also the subject matter of your business is still like related to like academia and like science and so forth, so it’s still like, it’s something that isn’t totally out of left field for like a graduate student to be doing, right? So, I love that choice because you can still sort of market it and it makes sense like even once you start graduate school. So, just to commend you on all of that. That’s great. Is there anything else that you want to say about the business? Where can people find you by the way, if they want to work with you?
21:43 Brittany: Yeah, if you want to work with me, you can find me on my website, brittanytrinh.com. Or you can also just connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, which is b r t t n y t r n h. So, that’s basically my name without the vowels. Yeah, so all the things about like website design start building and starting your website. That’s what I love to do and yeah.
Starting Grad School
22:09 Emily: Okay, great. So, let’s go back to our timeline. So, you’re doing great with your finances, you’re liking your job and so forth. How did you decide that it was finally time to start graduate school?
22:20 Brittany: So, the program that I applied to, or at least in my time, it was a limit of two years for deferral. So, what happened was the graduate program coordinator contacted me at the one-year mark which would’ve been fall of 2019 for me to enroll in fall of 2020, to ask if I was still interested. And I said, I am, but I still wanted to defer another year. And she was like, okay, that’s that’s totally fine, just keep in contact. And so then again, she did that in fall 2020 and well, we all know what happened then. And so at that point, at work things were kind of slowing down because of COVID, and I was just thinking, you know, maybe this is a good time now to go back to school. Because I also felt like I could not progress in the way that I wanted to at my workplace with my current credentials. And just in general, if I wanted to move up in the chemical industry, having a PhD would strengthen my application.
23:20 Emily: You know, we didn’t even mention that earlier, I guess because in your case this was a deferment of an acceptance instead of like a choice to just wait to apply to graduate school. But I love that you also ended up using that time to confirm that you really did need a PhD like for the career because of course you could have just bailed if you said, “Oh no, I have plenty of room for advancement, this is great, my BS is awesome, maybe I’ll do a master’s on the side.” Whatever it is. You could have gone that track, but yeah, I love that you really are sort of once again intentionally like choosing the life and career that you want to have, and use that time to like confirm this is the right path. So, that makes so much sense to me. I understand you did have to technically apply again to Wisconsin, right? So, in that fall of 2020, right? So you’re submitting another application to them. Were you also looking around at other grad schools? Because as I said earlier, now you’re a two-years better candidate than you were the first time around. So, tell us about that too.
24:11 Brittany: Yeah, so this was something that I brought up with the graduate program coordinator at Wisconsin. I was wondering if I was allowed, like if the deferment meant that I was kind of confirming my acceptance and she said, “No, feel free to apply to other schools that you want.” And I was like, okay, that sounds great. So then I did end up applying to four other schools, really reach schools like MIT, Colorado Boulder, Rice, and University of Michigan. And so, I applied to those four other schools, but in the end, I still went with Wisconsin because I thought that they were the strongest program for what I wanted and needed for my own career.
24:57 Emily: Yeah, that’s great and it makes sense. I mean, I guess maybe someone else considering a deferment would still have to check with their program, but it doesn’t really make sense that you would be obligated to go. It’s more like they’re obligated to you <laugh> to still like accept you. Right? But you’re not really obligated in the same way to them. So, that makes sense. Okay. So, you technically apply again, you apply to some other schools. You still decide on Wisconsin. Did you go to a second visit weekend? Did you get to do that again?
25:21 Brittany: Yes, but because of COVID, it was virtual but I still came anyways to, originally it was to look for apartments, but it ended up just being hanging out. And actually, I did meet some professors during that trip, and one of those professors is now my advisor, <laugh>.
25:39 Emily: Okay. So that worked out on multiple fronts.
25:41 Emily: So, let’s then talk about like the transition to graduate school, like specifically through a financial lens. You mentioned earlier that you did have to make some adjustments. But you have the savings in place, you know, for the moving fund, all that. So, how did that transition go?
25:57 Brittany: So, it was definitely rough in the first semester. Like you mentioned, there was a little bit of a time period where I had to transition my finances in that curbing my spending was a thing. So, I was trying to keep a closer eye on spending, especially like online shopping, clothes, and things like that because obviously I wasn’t making as much as before. And then on the other side of my business, I also made the decision to kind of put it on the back burner for the first semester because I was trying to focus on just transitioning, TAing, coursework, and finding a lab group. So, all those things were happening and I was like, my business does not need to be going on right now. The other thing was that I experienced a little bit of financial anxiety which was mostly avoidance.
26:47 Brittany: And this was because I just didn’t want to think about like how much I was spending now that my budget or my income was a lot less. But obviously that’s not the greatest way to go. So earlier this year, like in January I just decided to, you know, kind of clear all those things up on like my spending habits and things and trying to keep track of like, what do I spend for groceries and all those things and kind of get a good better handle on that. The other thing was that like related to the financial anxiety, it was mostly about like financial future because now it’s like I don’t have as much money as I did before to put towards savings, but I definitely still want to keep saving, which was why I decided to kind of get a better handle on my spending. So then I can see like, okay, can I save like $200 a month? Right? That would equal out to be, I think the $6,000 for like a Roth IRA contribution per year, is that right?
27:49 Emily: It would be $500 a month.
27:50 Brittany: Oh no, it’s $500 a month. Yeah. So yeah, actually $500 a month, not $200. But yeah, so those are some of the things that I wanted to do.
28:00 Emily: Yeah, that makes sense. I’m glad you’re being like, so like open about this and honest about it because I bet other people who had a similar experience would have similar emotions around it of like, you know, feeling more insecure and more anxious even though you knew it was coming <laugh>, like still to see like the smaller numbers in the bank account and like your savings going down because you’re, you know, you’re spending on moving expenses and whatever else is going on. But really glad to hear that you sort of eventually like kind of firmed up on the mindset and the processes and so forth. So, that’s great and thank you so much for sharing. And have you re-ramped up with your business? Again, we’re recording this in April 2022. So now that you’re in like your second semester, is that more, is that something you’re spending time on now?
28:43 Brittany: Yes, definitely spending more time on it. Really wanting, I’m really trying to push for teaching more workshops. I’m still taking on one-on-one clients, although it’s just a little bit different than before. So, definitely taking that first semester off to kind of recalibrate to see like how do I want my PhD experience to go and what I want to get out of it has also helped me realign my own business goals as well. So, that’s been really fun.
29:10 Emily: Okay. Well, this is an unexpected tie-in, but in season 11 we published an episode with Dr. Toyin Alli sort of along these same lines of like moving from one-on-one services to more scalable like passive products. So, interesting. If anyone is like jibing with what Brittany is saying, then check out that episode with Dr. Toyin Alli where we talk more about these like strategies.
For Whom is Deferring a Good Option?
29:32 Emily: Okay. So, kind of to wrap up here, for whom do you think deferring is a good option?
29:39 Brittany: I think deferring may be a good option for anyone who’s like at all doubting their decision to do a PhD because that’s how I felt. Like I did not want to do a PhD yet, at the time that I was accepted for not just financial reasons, but also a lot of like emotional and like mental health reasons. I felt a lot of burnout from undergrad and I wasn’t sure if I could complete a PhD successfully given where I was at at the time. And I don’t really think that the decision to do a PhD should be taken lightly, right? And so if you’re not sure, like you’re honestly better off taking that time to work at a job and figure out like what you like to do or like in my case, like do you even really need a PhD for what you want to do? And like just in general learning more about the industry that you want to work in and ultimately you should just do the PhD, or I guess when you decide to do the PhD, it’s because it’s an experience that you want to have in your life. So, getting to like a more like affirming position rather than like feeling FOMO about not doing a PhD.
30:53 Emily: Love that. I had, so I didn’t defer my acceptance to grad school. I just waited to apply until, I was planning on taking two years between undergrad and grad school. I ended up applying so that I enrolled just one year after I finished undergrad. But for some of the same reasons that you just mentioned, like I felt like I was a stronger candidate having had like extra work experience. I wanted to see what science was like in a different kind of setting than what I experienced during undergrad. All of that still just confirmed for me that I did want to do the PhD. What you did that I did not, was really working on the finances in that time because I did a post-bac program, which paid me basically what a grad student stipend is. So, there were no financial advantages there, but there were those other advantages still that you mentioned. So, that’s so great.
31:35 Emily: And where could people find you if they want to follow up? You mentioned your business website earlier, do that again, but let’s say someone wanted to follow up more on like the personal side about deferring or something. Where can people find you?
31:44 Brittany: Yeah, so definitely you can still visit me on my website, brittanytrinh.com. Or you can email me at email@example.com if you want to like send a longer message. And also just again, connect with me on my social media accounts. You can just tag me or DM me as well.
32:02 Emily: Sounds great.
32:03 Brittany: Totally open to share more. Yeah.
Best Financial Advice for Another Early-Career PhD
32:05 Emily: Good, good. Okay, so, we’ll finalize here with the question that I ask of all my guests, which is, what is your best financial advice for another early-career PhD? And it could be something that we’ve talked about in this episode or it could be something completely new.
32:19 Brittany: Yeah, so I would say that my best financial advice is to find a skill that you like enough to leverage for extra income. So, a lot of people do like tutoring, writing, editing, whatever. And like one of my, like my roommate, she like does like cover art for like, you know, for like for publications and such. So, it’s like having those types of skills or just having something that you like to do. Especially like if it’s something that doesn’t require too much time or effort from you, it’s always more, it’s more beneficial to you anyways. And like you don’t have to build like a whole business, but it’s good to know that you have another way to make extra money if you want to.
33:05 Emily: Yeah, that’s interesting you say that because I mean, I totally agree. I’m so on board with this advice <laugh>. But like furthermore, you’ve built like a business and you have like a brand and all of that, but someone doesn’t need to go to that level to make extra money on the side. Like they could do more like freelancing or like put themselves on, is it called Upwork now? Is that the current name for the website?
33:24 Brittany: Yeah, Upwork.
33:24 Emily: Yeah, Upwork. So, they can put themselves on Upwork or something like that where like you’re finding clients but you don’t need to necessarily build a whole infrastructure around it. At least not at the start while you’re just like trying things out. So, I love that, just like thinking about what skills you enjoy that you have that might be a little bit unique in the marketplace. I definitely see how your skills with like the website building is unique and something very needed. And especially if you can speak like the language of, you know, your clients, that’s a big advantage. Anyway. I love your business so that’s awesome. Brittany, thank you so much for joining me for this interview! It’s been wonderful! I hope the listeners got a ton out of it. Thank you so much!
33:56 Brittany: Thank you for having me!
34:03 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 Lourdes Bobbio and show notes creation by Meryem Ok.
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