As a PhD (in training), you face unique money challenges that stem from your low stipend/salary during your years of graduate school and postdoc training. Listen here for the hard-won financial wisdom of your fellow graduate students, postdocs, and PhDs with Real Jobs. From budgeting and frugality to investing and debt repayment, this podcast is your higher education in personal finance.
This PhD-Prepared Nurse Managed a Night Shift Side Hustle Despite It Being Frowned Upon
In this episode, Emily interviews Dr. Jacqueline Nikpour, who holds a PhD in nursing from Duke University and is currently a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. Jackie side hustled with occasional nursing per diem jobs to supplement her stipend during grad school, but her side job also conferred unexpected benefits to her dissertation and career progression overall. Jackie details how she managed her schedule to fit in her research and writing, night shift job, and personal life. Jackie and Emily also discuss how finances are a barrier for many people to even pursue a PhD, how one-size-fits-all prohibitions against side hustling hurts the PhD workforce, and how Jackie advocates for the grad students she works with now.
How This Grad Student Budgeted for Having Her First Child
In this episode, Emily interviews Madeline Hebert, a rising second-year PhD student in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Madeline's household has an irregular income; her assistantship stipend varies between the academic year and the summer and her husband is paid hourly throughout the year with a variable schedule. Madeline details her household budget, which accounts for their irregular income, irregular expenses, and financial goals. Their biggest financial goal at the moment is to provide for their new baby, due just a few weeks after this interview was recorded. Emily and Madeline discuss the Big Five expenses that new parents need to account for: health insurance, parental leave, childcare, baby stuff, and home/car. Madeline shares all she's learned about the benefits she receives at the federal, state, and university levels (she is part of a union), and how important it is to talk with your peers about their financial experiences.
Financial Advice from PhD Career Development and Financial Wellness Professionals
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.
University-Level Policy Ideas to Improve the Financial Lives of Graduate Students and Postdocs
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 policy at your current university or one you worked at or attended in the past would you change to improve the financial lives of the PhD students and/or postdocs?" Listen through the episode for numerous ideas for policy change to advocate for at your university.
Unionization and Individual Negotiation to Improve Graduate Student Stipends and Benefits
In this episode, Emily shares first-person stories of graduate students enjoying improved stipends and benefits thanks to prior negotiation. The first half of the episode includes the experiences of four graduate students with their unions or when taking part in unionization movements. The second half of the episode includes four individual negotiation stories from prospective graduate students.
Behind the Scenes at the Graduate Career Consortium 2023 Annual Meeting
In this episode, Emily opens up the audio diary she recorded while attending the 2023 annual meeting of the Graduate Career Consortium (GCC) as a sponsor. GCC is attended by university staff members who provide career and professional development services and programming to master's students, PhD students, and postdocs. Emily shares the insights she gleaned from the keynote and member-generated sessions and the casual conversations around the meal tables and in the hallways. If you've ever wondered about the business side of Personal Finance for PhDs, this episode will give you some insight!
This is information that’s missing for so many grad students and academics.
The International Student investment episode with Hui-chi Chen was absolutely phenomenally informative!
Preparation and survival!
Excellent resource to get prepared for graduate education and to navigate it. I think the specifics of your personal situation and institution will always vary, so some things you take with a grain of salt. However, the biggest asset of the pod is the variety of people interviewed- people from different backgrounds and programs and the amount of topics covered. Most of these topics are discussed behind closed doors and in private but this podcast makes you remember you’re not alone and there are way more people out there navigating difficult situations like you.