In this episode, Emily interviews Diandra from That Science Couple, a PhD student in nutrition at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Diandra went straight from undergrad into a funded master’s program, then worked for six years before starting a PhD program. She lists the career and financial advantages to working before embarking on a PhD—and the disadvantages. Diandra and her husband are currently pursing SlowFI (Slow Financial Independence) while she is in her PhD program, and she gives excellent financial advice at the conclusion of the interview.
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Links Mentioned in the Interview
- PF for PhDs: Podcast Hub (volunteer to be interviewed)
- Workshop: Chart Your Course to Financial Success
- The Fioneers
- Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin
- That Science Couple Blog
- Forks Over Knives (Documentary)
- The Value of Enough (“That Science Couple” blog post)
- PF for PhDs: Subscribe to Mailing List
00:00 Diandra: I said that I never want to retire because I love research. And then I kind of shifted to, well, if money’s not the determining factor in the position that I choose, then we can spend more time with family. We can travel more and be open to different opportunities so that maybe money is more of a tool rather than a requirement. And if I want to donate my time to work on some really awesome, amazing lifestyle research that maybe doesn’t have much money in the budget to pay me, then I can choose to do that.
00:40 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 seven, episode 10, and today my guest is Diandra from That Science Couple, a PhD student in nutrition at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Diandra went straight from undergrad into a funded master’s program, then worked for six years before starting a PhD program. She lists the career and financial advantages to working before embarking on a PhD. And the disadvantages. Diandra and her husband are currently pursuing slow financial independence while she is in her PhD program. And she gives excellent financial advice at the conclusion of the interview. This interview came about because I noticed That Science Couple tweeting about financial independence. I checked out Diandra and her husband’s website and noticed that she is a PhD student. So I decided to invite her on the podcast. It turns out that Diandra is a long-time listener of this podcast.
01:41 Emily: I literally did not know that until just before we started our interview. So I have a message for other long-time or short-time listeners, i.e., you. I am actively looking for interviewees right now. If you have personal finance knowledge or a skill that you want to teach through an interview, I would love to have you on. It’s absolutely fine if you gained this knowledge or skill from personal experience. So don’t shy away from volunteering because I use the word teach. Go to pfforphds.com/podcast to volunteer to be interviewed. Do not make me hunt you down on Twitter. Also, if you would like to hear me interview a particular person on the podcast and can help me make that connection, please send us both an email or tag us on Twitter. I’m actually looking for interviewees who can speak to two topics in particular. One, the proper tax treatment of travel and research grants. Two, exactly what kinds of income-generating activities are and are not permissible on F1 and J1 visas. If you know a professional who works in either of those areas in the U.S., please email me that recommendation. I hope to feature many of you on this podcast. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Diandra from That Science Couple.
Will You Please Introduce Yourself Further?
02:57 Emily: I have joining me on the podcast today Diandra from That Science Couple, and I was so pleased to run across her and her brand on Twitter, that’s where I found her, to find another science couple like me and my husband, who are passionate about personal finance. So Diandra, it’s a real pleasure to have you on today. Would you please introduce yourself a bit further to the listeners?
03:18 Diandra: Okay. Thank you, Emily, for having me today. I’m a long-time listener to the podcast. I actually listened before I got into my PhD program. So that was a bonus. And my name is Diandra and I’m a second-year student, PhD student, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in nutritional sciences. I have a Master’s in Cell and Molecular Biology from Towson University. And before I started my PhD program, I worked in the industry from technician to scientist in the field of late-stage cancer diagnostics for six years. I’ve held five positions at four different companies over the six years and met my future husband, Brad from That Science Couple, at one of them. Each move was growth and financially motivated. And I’d like to say that it all started with a simple 1% cost of living increase.
Career Advantages of Working Before School
04:02 Emily: Wow. Okay. Very fascinating. So I heard in that description that you had a pretty big change in fields between what your master’s was in, what you worked in, in industry, and then what your PhD is in. So maybe we’ll get into a little bit why that happened. Because the topic that we’re going to discuss today is that path that you took between your master’s degree and your PhD and what the advantages are of working for at least a year or two years, few years, before you start a PhD program. The financial advantages, the career advantages. So let’s dive into that. You obviously have experience in this area, but you’ve probably also observed peers as well. So what are the career advantages that you perceive for working for at least some period of time between, you know, the first round of training, whether that’s undergrad, whether that’s a master’s, and then embarking on the PhD program?
04:52 Diandra: All right. So one of the big career advantages that I noted was that you’re able to test the waters. So you can gain experience before committing that five or more years to a program. And you can also determine what you don’t want in a career rather than like, focusing on what you wanted. So as you go through, you might identify different work environments that don’t click with you or ones that you like really do like, and that can help you channel your focus for your PhD program and what career you would want after that. You also are able to learn about the business side of things. You could go through different phases to take a project from beginning to completion. You work in diverse teams. So I specifically had worked in several different companies, and that collaboration either with inside my company, or to other branches, was very valuable, I think as well.
05:47 Diandra: It also trained me how to have proper documentation. So this is very useful for a PhD program. A lot of the beginning part of work for my program right now is all acquiring samples and making sure that we have good QC metrics and that we’re starting from a level basis for all of our samples. And then also I learned a realistic view on the cost of research. So I did a lot of ordering with my jobs, and then I could see what it would take to run the samples, how many times, what you needed for different replicates and then including like the final, like analysis cost as well at the end. So I think that was really important to get a realistic view of what a project I could propose in the future might cost.
06:34 Diandra: Also, another career advantage is that I was able to network early. So when you work in the industry, every time I changed jobs, I would go on LinkedIn and I would request my coworkers so that I could follow them after I had moved on. And they became references for my future applications. I gave several of them references as well. And then I also gained new mentors through working before going into my PhD. And they’re spread across a variety of fields. So now when I come back from my PhD, I’ll be able to see where they are and then potentially choose a path that maybe they’re already on or they switched to during the meantime. And then, also, I believe that I bring something unique to my PhD from working in the industry. It definitely helped me to improve my PhD application because I had a series of projects that I completed. Products that I helped launch. So that was something that I was able to include. And then I acquired additional skill sets, knowledge, and problem solving. And I’m definitely a lot more confident this time around, and I have more life experience. So when they throw a curve ball at you, or there’s an issue with your dissertation, then I’ve already been through so many times when we’ve had to switch projects or stop in the middle and change course and correct from there.
Projected Future Career Advantages, Post-PhD
07:55 Emily: So clearly there are advantages to you as the future PhD applicant, like having a stronger application, once you do decide to go for those kinds of programs. There are advantages to you in terms of knowing what you want out of your own career, whether or not a PhD is going to fit in that, and what you want to do after the PhD. And so you’ve described what you’ve experienced so far as, you know, your path to getting into the PhD program. I wonder if you can project forward, what are going to be the advantages of having worked prior to doing the PhD, once you’re looking for your first post-PhD position. What do you imagine will be the advantages then?
08:33 Diandra: Yeah. So one of the advantages then is that I already have this network built in. So I’ve tried to collaborate potentially with like my former colleagues and so far it hasn’t gone through. But when I’m looking towards the future, there are potentials that if I was a PI, that I could actually collaborate with them more. So it being like across industry is a good connection to have. So they can give you a discount on your study as long as you’re willing to share the information. So I think that’s a big proponent and I already have some of my former colleagues that are keeping in touch with me now and seeing like where I am. So I know that they’re vested in me and that if I were to say, “Hey, I need to start a team.” I have several people who have already told me, you know, “Just let me know when and where.” And they would be willing to make the leap and come join me potentially in the future.
Financial Advantages to Working Before the PhD
09:31 Emily: Wow, that’s fantastic. I also think that it takes a variable out of the equation for your future employers of, can this person be successful in my setting, an industry setting and not just an academic setting. And that question has already been answered, especially for like you had maybe a longer period of work experience, not just like a year or two. That’s already been well demonstrated for you. Okay. So we’ve covered the career advantages. This is not a career podcast. This is a financial podcast. So what are the financial advantages to working prior to starting a PhD program?
10:05 Diandra: Okay. So this was a big one for us because it took a lot of thought into, you know, why go back when I’m already established in my field, right? So it will make a big impact on you financially. And so I think the basis is just knowing what you’re getting into. Knowing that you’re going to have a few years of low income, but you can weigh that versus the potential future gains. So originally the program that I was thinking I wanted to go into would have given me a similar skillset and would not have provided any leverage up in comparison to where I already was. But then this past year, as I was developing and choosing which lab I wanted to go into, I was able to identify like, look, this is a gap in my knowledge, this is a skill that I don’t have.
10:53 Diandra: So if I add this, and it was data analysis, so if I add data analysis, then I can be potentially location-independent. I can also add this as like potentially a part-time job as well. So I could do research and then do data analysis on the side. So it’s a side hustle potential as well. So, it brought a lot of additional motivation to the PhD that I’m not going to just go out and make the same money that I was making before, but I can actually leverage that further in the future.
How Did Finances During Work Help with the PhD Transition?
11:26 Emily: Yeah, absolutely. I’m also thinking about, you know, let’s say traditional PhD student, you know, straight out of undergrad, straight of a master’s degree, early twenties, not a lot of capital, maybe a lot of student loan debt. What were you able to do in your finances in those years when you worked that helped you once you transitioned into the PhD program?
11:49 Diandra: Yeah, that’s a great question. So financially I didn’t have any student loan debt because my parents paid for my bachelor’s degree, which was great. And then when I got my master’s, I said, I’m only going to do it if they pay me to do it because I wasn’t quite sold on the need for it yet. And it was just at a transition point where I had an opportunity to stay on as a master’s student with my current research, my undergrad research. So it just kind of flowed right through. And I was able to get a TA position that covered it and then paid a small stipend. So I wasn’t able to pay off any, you know, credit card debt or things like that during that time. But once I started working, I was able to over the years level that out.
12:34 Diandra: So I had $5,000 of debt that I had to level out. And then Brad had also had some minor student loans that he was able to pay off during that time. So we go from a negative net worth of, you know, five, 10,000 to a positive net worth. And starting to open that 401k was a turning point for me because I had always started saving cash. And I had this number, this like specific amount that I could always get to my bank account. And then something big would happen. Like I would have a car repair or I would have a medical expense or something like that. And then I would have to, you know, bring it down again and start over in the savings. So working helped me to start investing earlier in comparison to some of my counterparts that are in the PhD program with me now.
13:28 Diandra: And I have that capital there that can grow during my program. So I was able to open a 401k, an HSA, which was very crucial. So I don’t have a ton in there since I was using it as I was contributing. But it’s been able to sustain me so far. And I’m hoping that after my program, that it will either still be there or it will have just covered all my medical expenses during the program. So I don’t have to worry, which is really, really useful. And then I’ve also started a Roth. So I’ve been able to do that post-tax money as well, that I will be able to access earlier. So if we choose to be, FI [financially independent], take time off you know, work remotely, or try to do more traveling, then I’ll have that money that I’ll be able to access since I’ve already paid the taxes on it.
14:22 Emily: Yeah. I call being able to start investing, and/or pay down debt, before you start graduate school. I call it having a financial wind at your back, right? Like if you just get that little nest egg started right at the beginning of graduate school before graduate school, and then you take whatever five plus years for your PhD training, even if you don’t add any more money to that, it’s something that it can be growing alongside you as that time passes. So it’s fantastic to be able to have that.
Common Objections to Working Before Grad School
14:50 Emily: Something I hear from people who are debating with themselves about going directly from undergrad into graduate school, debating with themselves about that versus working for a while. I hear two things. One is I’m going to get used to my financial lifestyle on my industry salary, and then it’s going to be too hard to live on a PhD stipend. So I should just go directly and never have that, like lifestyle intermediary. That’s one potential downside or whatever. The other one is that they’re concerned that their academic abilities, basically their ability to do school well, is going to deteriorate if they’re working for more than a year or two. How do you feel about those two objections?
15:36 Diandra: Yeah. Okay. So the first one, the financial aspect. I do agree. It can be really easy to get swept up in there. So I think for us, like the turning point was that we didn’t want to start like putting off our future. So we wanted to start traveling now and we didn’t want to say, “Oh, when we’re 65. That’s when we’ll start traveling.” So what we did initially was, when we started dating, moved into this nice apartment together, started saving for our first international vacation. And then when it came time to renew the release, it was going to go up. And we said, look, we can either do the vacation when we planned, or we can live in this nice apartment. And we looked at each other and I was like, I don’t want to live here. I would rather have the adventure that we planned than live in just a nice, shiny apartment that I can’t afford to have parties because I spent all my money on rent.
16:37 Diandra: So that kind of got us to stop with the lifestyle inflation. To cut back early on. And then we did back to back three years in a row, we did international trips for our birthdays and then just for the summer. So it was really nice. Like each one was only two weeks at a time, but instead of paying that extra to the nice, shiny things, we decided to pay it towards experiences. So I think if you were to work, you can still do that. But then like, what are your values? Like, does your spending align with your values? So if you value having a nice house for your children to grow up in, then that’s fine. But if you value adventure, then you don’t need to spend as much on your rent. So I think that that can be can be difficult to go up against like financially and having that inflation. But also every time I got raises, I pretended like I was still making the money that I was making in my master’s. So of course it was slightly more. But what I did was I took that extra when I got the raise, when I, the bonus and I put that into my savings and my investments, and I said, “I don’t want to see that money at all.” So I had that mindset that like, I’m still living on this fixed income, and no, I don’t have the extra to spend.
18:03 Emily: Yeah. I think that’s it’s a particular application of the advice live like a college student, live like a grad student, live like a resident, which is, if you are anticipating a future income decrease live on that future income. This is the same advice you hear, like people who are, for example, going to buy a house. Well, can you live on the mortgage payment that you’re going to make in the future? You know, is that possible for you in your budget? So like sort of projecting to your future, live on what that is, so that you make the adjustments in advance instead of having a real sudden, real abrupt, real painful lifestyle decrease when you enter, you know, something like graduate school. So I really liked that you took that approach of especially keeping your living expenses, your fixed expenses, on the lower side as if you were still a graduate student or will again be a graduate student. And saving the increase and also spending it on experiences. Because it’s not really lifestyle inflation, unless I guess those experiences become habitual for you.
19:01 Emily: Emily here for a brief interlude. On Saturday, November 14th, 2020, I’m facilitating a new workshop: Chart Your Course to Financial Success, and you’re invited to attend. The central question this workshop will help you answer is, What should my singular financial goal be right now, and how should I best pursue it? This particular instance of the workshop is just for funded grad students. Future dates will be for post-docs and PhDs with real jobs. You can learn more and sign up at pfforphds.com/chart. That’s P F F O R P H D S.com slash C H A R T. The deadline to register is Wednesday, November 11th. So don’t delay. Now, back to the interview.
Financial Independence and Early Retirement (FIRE)
19:46 Emily: You discovered FIRE, it sounds like, in your time in industry. Financial Independence and Early Retirement. How is that pursued, or how are the principles still carrying on for you in graduate school?
19:58 Diandra: Yeah, so our basis going into graduate school was very important to see where we are and what we still need to do to get to potentially FIRE, or if not, just financial independence. So individually my husband and I are both 25% of the way towards our FI numbers. So that’s good. It means we have money that can grow. And then while I’m in my program, we’re working on our savings in two different ways. So instead of me trying to do everything and him trying to do it all separately, my focus is more on the post-tax money. So I make sure to pay myself first, every paycheck. And I have 25% of my stipend that will go in towards savings and individual investments. And then I also have another 10% that goes into a 457, and I’m treating this as a Roth account.
20:53 Diandra: So I’m paying the taxes now while I’m in a lower tax bracket in comparison to what I expect to be when I graduate. And then, so what Brad is doing is the kind of opposite. So he’s focusing on the pre-tax savings. So he’s also a university employee, but not a graduate student currently. So he’s been able to ramp up his savings and utilize a 457, 403(b), and HSA. And then while he has a moderate salary, he’s living on a similar income to me. So everything above that, instead of inflating our lifestyle, he’s saving that additional amount.
How Do You Have Access to a 457?
21:33 Emily: I was surprised to hear that you have access to a 457. How do you have access to that?
21:40 Diandra: So I have access to that through the UW system. So I actually didn’t know I had access to it in the first year of my PhD program. So I was doing like those micro investing apps. And then like, I would randomly put money into my individual retirement account, my IRA. So when Brad had gotten a job with the University, he saw all the benefits and explored it fully. And then he’s like, so I’m looking at these details. And it says that, aAt UW, that graduate students are considered employees. So since we had that label, we do have access to a 457. And I was able to go through and say, I could have it pre-tax, or it could have it post-tax. But since I know that I want to work for a few years, at least once I graduate, I’ll be in a higher tax bracket then. And so I’d rather pay the taxes now. So the whole point of it is that maybe we can get together funds that the whole first five years, when you become FI and you leave work is, it’s really hard to access your funds. So if you do like a Roth conversion ladder, that takes five years. So my aim was, what can I do now to build that initial five-year cash cushion?
Tracking Finances and Navigating Lifestyle Expectations
23:03 Emily: It sounds to me from the way you described that, that you and your husband either keep separate finances or like sort of track things kind of separately. Is that right?
23:11 Diandra: Yeah. So we don’t have any joint accounts but we do, you know, send money back and forth to each other all the time. So we keep it separately, and it’s good because then since we both did work around the same amount of time, that we have that money to grow. But we know that jointly, like if we’re going to go and buy a house, we can pull from both accounts. So like the HSA, since we got married this year, he’s going to switch over to a family plan. So I can’t contribute to my HSA during my program, but he’ll be able to contribute double. So it’s separate, but we joined them together. And like, when we look at our numbers, we’ll do both. So what do we individually and what do we combined have?
23:59 Emily: Yeah. And I think it’s also kind of a great, even though you’re keeping separate finances, it sounds like your lifestyle level you’ve agreed on. And you’re both living at this kind of grad student stipend ish level, and just doing a lot of saving above that. Because it sounded like you were saving 35 or maybe more percent of your stipend income, which is very high, very impressive. You must be keeping your lifestyle expenses quite low.
24:22 Diandra: Yeah. Yeah. So when we moved to Wisconsin from Maryland, actually, the last bonus that I got from my job paid for us to move across the country. So that was nice. It was just a net zero after that. Unfortunately I didn’t get to save any of it, but that was fine. So what we did when we moved here is we said, let’s pick an apartment that we can afford on my stipend. Since he was moving with me and for me, and he didn’t have a position to start with here. So we just immediately said, what is the lowest that we can find? And then like, you know, can we go slightly above that? You know, you want to live in a decent neighborhood, something that’s safe. But we were just very lucky. We got an apartment sight unseen.
25:12 Diandra: But it was actually only slightly higher than our rent back in Maryland. So we were able to just like, keep that nice low rent amount there. So that helped. And then one of the big things for us is that we do track all of our spending. We have a calendar. And so every day when we spend money, we have to write it on the calendar and then stare at it for the rest of the month. So it’s more like, was that purchase worth your life hours because that’s what you did and now you have to admit it. So we’re not like as stringent on what we spend, but like we always go into the grocery store with a budget. We say, we’re going to spend a hundred dollars on all our groceries. And we put every item in there individually. So we know when we’re hitting the cap. And if it’s only $5 more, well, that’s fine, but you don’t want to blow your budget. Like if you just don’t track it, then you can easily spend a lot more than you intended.
How Do You Describe SlowFI?
26:13 Emily: Well, thank you. So I actually have never heard that tip before of writing your spending on a calendar and then looking at it for a month. That’s actually a really great one. I understand that you identify as being on a SlowFI track right now. And I actually wrote a post recently on the flavors of five. So there’s all these different versions of FIRE, SlowFI being one of them. How do you describe SlowFI and yourself on that path?
26:38 Diandra: Yeah, so SlowFI is a term that was coined by the Fioneers. And so give like three big components. So they say it’s like embracing your dreams. So working in positions that will motivate you to like add to the world. To give back. Also being more intentional. So instead of just, I’m gonna work, work, work, work, work, you are in whatever you’re doing and that you’re actually like focusing on it and it speaks to you. So your position, your ultimate career should give you energy rather than take energy away from you. So I thought that was really, really key for the SlowFI movement. And then it’s also against that consumeristic kind of viewpoint of our country, where as you gain more money then you just buy more things. And then more things means more upkeep and being like environmentally-conscious.
27:38 Diandra: So for us, we just want to focus on the journey. So I think of it as what are you running towards instead of what are you running away from? So initially, we didn’t like our jobs, we weren’t satisfied. So we wanted to just get to FI so that we could take a break. But actually it’s really interesting with the pandemic right now that we’ve had glimpses of what life would be like if we were FI because we were fully remote for a while and we made our own schedules and it was interesting to see what do we choose to do with those extra hours. So finding that out now, while we still have incomes is better than leaving your job entirely, and then not knowing what you want to do, because if you say, I want to sip mojitos on the beach, that’s great.
28:30 Diandra: But how long is that going to last? So, I mean, for us, it was a really big shift when we met, I said that I never want to retire because I love research. And then I kind of shifted to, well, if money is not the determining factor in the position that I choose, then we can spend more time with family. We can travel more and be open to different opportunities so that maybe money is more of a tool rather than a requirement. And if I want to donate my time to work on some really awesome, amazing lifestyle research that maybe doesn’t have much money in the budget to pay me, then I can choose to do that. So that’s what SlowFI brings to us.
29:15 Emily: Yeah. I think the SlowFI path is probably one that’s quite appealing to PhDs. I know it’s appealing to me. Well, one, because it’s kind of necessary if you’re going to do graduate school at some point, you’re going to slow down your FI pursuit during that period. Almost certainly. It’s going to add some years. Like you said, though, earlier, there is income upside on the backside of the PhD, depending on, you know, what field you’re in. But I think PhDs also by and large have more opportunity to create work that they really love, that they’re really passionate about. That’s more, it goes with the territory, I think, of pursuing a PhD is that you found something that you love. And so yeah, work being part of your lifestyle long-term could still be attractive. Finding a job that you like, doesn’t have to be necessarily the most high-paying. Again, you don’t go into research if you want to be paid super, super, super well. You are talented enough to do other things if that’s your, you know, your primary motivation. So yeah, I think the SlowFI pursuit goes along very, very well with a lot of things that are common personality-wise to academics.
Best Advice for Another Early-Career PhD
30:15 Emily: So Diandra, as we wrap up here, would you please tell us your best financial advice for another early-career PhD?
30:23 Diandra: Sure. My best financial advice would be to fight lifestyle inflation and determine your value of enough early on. So this will be easier than trying to cut back, but instead use your bonuses or raises to supercharge your investments and move you along the path to financial independence.
30:44 Emily: So you’ve used language a couple of times in this interview that I have recognized as being from Your Money or Your Life, which I am currently reading. Would you recommend that book or how has that book shaped your journey?
30:55 Diandra: Yes. Vicki Robin is amazing. I would highly recommend Your Money or Your Life. She’s the one that talks about calculating your life-hours. And so how much money you make, and then how many hours does it take for that? So, when I was working at the startup company, I was driving an hour and a half down to the company and hour and a half back. So it was three hours. So instead of saying I had an eight-hour day, I would have to say that I had an 11-hour day, and then I needed time to wind down. So it turned into a 12-hour day. And then I had car maintenance. So then, the money that I got paid per hour started getting ticked off because of all these additional costs that I didn’t think of initially. Because you think of your hourly rate is one flat rate, but I would highly recommend it if you want to get more context and see that, is your job really paying you what you think it is or are you trading too many of your life-hours for that paycheck?
That Science Couple Blog
32:01 Emily: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for that recommendation. And finally, tell us a little bit more about That Science Couple and what you’re doing with the blog.
32:08 Diandra: All right. So That Science Couple is a blog between Brad and I. And it was originally born out of a newsletter that we had written for our friends and family. So a couple of years ago, we had started our journey to becoming plant-based and we’ve used evidence-based nutrition. So there was the documentary Forks Over Knives, which I would highly recommend, and also the website nutritionfacts.org, which really motivated us to say like, look, there’s some science behind nutritional choices and that it’s not all about the macros. So we had noted that a lot of our friends and family didn’t understand the nitty-gritty details of this. And we wanted to start breaking down those complex ideas and topics into more relatable terms. So when we started our blog, we wanted it to be more holistic. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, his whole idea is treating us as like whole people.
33:07 Diandra: Also Dr. Dean Ornish does the same thing and there’s several other physicians that if we just look at one part, then we’re missing the whole picture. So what I really wanted to get across with our blog was that we can’t just talk about nutrition. But we are here because nutrition is important, but finances and having healthy finances is super important to having a lifestyle that, you know, supports health. And then our other point was the environment. So we didn’t want to tax the environment a lot. Brad was an environmental science major and got his master’s as well. So he wanted to talk about sustainability, and then that grew into, well, what makes a sustainable life? So when I was working as a scientist, it wasn’t sustainable. The commute wasn’t sustainable. The hours, the stress wasn’t sustainable. So how does that branch out further than just your impact on the environment, but your impact on you, personally?
34:09 Diandra: So those are the different categories that we’ve chosen to talk about on our blog. And, overall, we just want to provide a place for people to get information. So if you love those, you know, nerdy little citations and you want to see the references, like we’re going to be the place to go to, but then like personal growth is just like a free reign. So we had talked about The Value of Enough was a recent post that we put out. So if you’re trying to determine, you know, what makes your life sustainable, then maybe that’s a post that you would be interested in, too.
34:45 Emily: Yeah. We’ll link that post from the show notes. I can very easily see how those three topics interlock with one another and support and complement each other. So sounds wonderful. I’ve of course been to your blog and would recommend that everyone else go and check it out. And Diandra, thank you so much for joining me today and giving this wonderful interview.
35:04 Diandra: Yeah, thanks for having me. It was great.
35:07 Emily: Listeners, thank you for joining me for this episode. Pfforphds.com/podcast is the hub for the Personal Finance for PhDs podcast. There, you can find links to all the episode show notes and a form to volunteer to be interviewed. I’d love for you to check it out and get more involved. If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, please consider joining my mailing list for my behind-the-scenes-commentary about each episode. Register at pfforphds.com/subscribe. See you in the next episode! And remember, you don’t have to have a PhD to succeed with personal finance. But it helps. The music is Stages of Awakening by Podington Bear from the free music archive and is shared under CC by NC. Podcast editing and show notes creation by Meryem Ok.
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