The Personal Finance for PhDs Community
Led by Dr. Emily Roberts

What Will the Community Give You?
on the best financial goal to work toward right now
through educational, career, family, and life transitions
to increase your income, decrease your expenses, and pursue your goals
How Will You Feel After Working on Your Finances Inside the Community?
that you are handling your investments, debts, and savings optimally
between living well today and preparing for the future
to see your plan through to financial security and wealth
Yes, I need that in my financial life!
Who Is the Community For?
PhDs and people pursuing PhDs:
  • PhD students and candidates
  • Postdocs
  • PhDs with Real Jobs
  • Undergraduates, postbacs, and master's students intending to pursue a PhD

Who live in the US

  • International students, postdocs, and workers welcome!

And want to...

Start investing or grow in confidence in their investing strategy
Pay down debt and navigate student loan decisions
Strike a comfortable balance between spending and saving
Set themselves up for financial success following a move and/or job transition
Prepare for family and life transitions
Prepare accurate tax returns that minimize their tax liability
Make the most of their money (even on a low income!)
Who Is Behind the Community?
I'm Emily Roberts, the founder of Personal Finance for PhDs and facilitator of this Community.

I started out on the PhD track just like you are. I completed my PhD in biomedical engineering at Duke University in 2014 after living for seven years on a stipend.

During that time, my passion for personal finance grew and grew, as did my desire to serve my own community.

I founded my business, Personal Finance for PhDs, after I defended. Over the years, I've found many avenues to assist PhDs with their personal finances, including speaking engagements at universities, individual and group financial coaching, webinars and workshops, ebooks, and my podcast.

This Community is one of my newest endeavors. I'm delighted to offer high-quality financial education tailored for PhDs and individualized support to you in a cost-effective format!
I'm ready to work on my finances!
What Does the Community Include?
Live Q&A Calls
Live discussion calls with Emily and Community members at least once per month.
Resource Library
Keep scrolling to view the Library catalog of courses, webinars, workshops, ebooks, spreadsheets, etc.!
Ongoing Workshop Series
Attend the next first installment of The Wealthy PhD's Workshop Series on 6/6/2021. The topic is how to choose the most optimal financial goal to work on next: saving, investing, or debt repayment.
Progress Journaling
Maintain you own progress journal for your current financial goals to stay on track to meet them! Draw inspiration from following the progress of your fellow Community members.
Monthly Book Club
Join the Book Club to asynchronously discuss each month's selection!

In May, we're reading I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. Hop into the discussion threads at any time!
Monthly Challenges
Monthly Challenges to quickly make big changes to your finances!

May's Challenge: Open your first IRA! The deadline to ope and contribute to your 2020 IRA is 5/17/2021.

Read more about this challenge on this page.
Post your questions and discussion topics anytime to the Community Forum and participate in the active threads.
Supportive Community
Receive help and support from Emily and other PhDs who "get" you!
I want to jump in now!
What Is in the Library?
How to Complete Your Grad Student Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!)

This workshop helps funded graduate students in the US prepare and calculate their higher education income and expenses to be entered into the tax returns or tax software.

The workshop consists of 11 pre-recorded videos, 2 worksheets, and 1 invitation to a live Q&A call.

Learn more about this workshop on this page.
Quarterly Estimated Tax for Fellowship Recipients (2021 Version)

Is income tax NOT being withheld from your PhD fellowship paychecks?

Not a problem!

This workshop shows you exactly how to calculate and make your federal income tax payments, whether once per quarter or once per year.

Just prior to each quarterly deadline, I hold an extra live Q&A session specifically for participants in this workshop.

Learn more about this workshop on this page.
Decipher Your PhD Stipend Offer Letter

This short training lists and explains all the questions that your prospective graduate program must answer for you to have a full grasp of your finances once you matriculate.

It includes examples of tricks used in offer letters to obfuscate the financial reality.

Also included is a template spreadsheet to help you detail and compare your offers head to head.
How to Draft a Budget from a Distance

This webinar details how to draft a budget from a distance using a custom template spreadsheet (included).

The purpose is to use your high-level draft budget when making decisions on where to live and how to get around in your new city so that you don't overextend yourself with your large, fixed expenses. It also includes suggestions for how to maximize your cash flow both before and after your move.
Targeted Savings: The Solution for Irregular Expenses

This video course explores the problem that irregular (non-monthly) expenses pose for your budget and how targeted savings solves the problem.

Targeted savings turn large, irregular expenses into small, fixed expenses that are easier to write into your monthly budget, which takes the stress and uncertainty out of handling irregular expenses.
The Wealthy PhD (ebook)

This 11-chapter ebook is a comprehensive guide to building wealth as a PhD or PhD trainee.

It includes the 8-step Financial Framework I developed to help you choose which financial goal is most optimal as well as practical discussions of how to increase your income and decrease your expenses.
Investing for Early-Career PhDs

I answer the practical questions you have as a novice and/or intellectually curious investor.

The series covers how and where to invest, with particular attention paid to the needs of graduate students and postdocs.

These webinars will help you break through your analysis paralysis and jump into investing with both feet!
Best Financial Practices for Your Self-Employment Side Hustle

If you have a side hustle in which you are self-employed, you own a small business! This course explains

1) How to budget with your variable business income on top of your fixed primary income.

2) Why and how you should open a retirement account for your business. If you don't have a 401(k) or 403(b) through your primary job, you should not overlook this strategy!

Learn more about this workshop on this page.
Effective Budgeting for Grad Students

This ebook bundle will help you set up your first budget as a grad student, including addressing why most budgets fail or lapse.

The ebook titles are:

Determining Your Values and Financial Goals While in Grad School

How to Create Your First Budget as a Grad Student

Weather Irregular Expenses on Your Grad Student Stipend
The Coronavirus Crisis and Your PhD Finances

This is a recording of a live webinar delivered on 11 April 2020.

Addresses stimulus checks, student loan forbearance, aid given to universities, tax deadline delays, and how to handle your finances in a recession
Yes, these courses have the info I need!
Why Other Community Members Joined
Jordan Harrod:

After participating in Emily's awesome Wealthy PhD program, I joined the Community so that I could continue the personal finance discussions and accountability meetings with people who are or were also PhD students!

I'm looking forward to gaining more insight into how other graduate students navigate budgeting, investing, and saving.
Courtney Beringer:

I joined this Community because I wanted to work together and motivate other PhDs in our financial goals.

I hope to gain access to great content, have fruitful conversations, and make lasting connections with others in the community.

I joined the Community because it holds me accountable. It makes me more intentional with money so that my finances reflect my priorities. It gives me the opportunity to be honest about financial difficulties in an optimistic space in which I also receive support and advice to brainstorm financial solutions.

All in all, I hope that the Community is the push my family and I need to make financial strides now that I've earned my PhD and am re-entering full-time work.

Emily's Financial Framework... helped me understand how to approach my finances with both optimism and realism.

I'm hoping that by joining the Community I will get out of this plateau and back on track towards my goals!
My-Linh Luong:

When Emily launched a new community, I had no hesitations about joining! I'm looking forward to being in community with more PhD students and working on my goal of being completely debt-free!

The numbers speak for themselves: in the past year of working with Emily, I've successfully paid off one credit card and increased my net worth by 154%!
What Is the Cost?

Join the community today for $29 per month!

Are you ready to join your peers?
Yes! Sign me up!
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time do I need to spend on the Community?
It's entirely up to you and your goals! The Community is a pick and choose experience.

On the high end, you can spend a couple of hours per week going through the courses, participating in the Book Club and Challenge, attending the monthly live call, and asking questions in the Forum.

If you want to see a very fast result, I suggest that you read The Wealthy PhD Chapter 1, which presents the Financial Framework I suggest for setting financial goals. It will take less than 15 minutes to read the chapter, and you should be able to determine where you currently stand on the Framework and what your next goal should be within the hour.
Do I need any prior knowledge to be part of the Community? I'm just starting out!
It's easy to become quickly intimidated by financial jargon!

The courses in the Community assume a basic level of financial literacy, e.g., you functionally understand what an interest rate is, even if you couldn't define it mathematically.

However, when it comes to topics like investing and taxes, I clearly explain the basic terms and concepts early in the courses before building on those.

If you have a checking account in the US, you're well prepared to tackle the course material.

If you are ever unable to understand a component of the course material, please ask for clarification in the Forum or during one of the live calls! I will personally answer your question.
What resources will be added to the Library in the coming months?

I have dozens of ideas for new resources for the library!

The topics that are captivating my attention right now and are likely to come out first are:

  • Self-employment side hustles, particularly how to set up a self-employed retirement account and how to handle your self-employment income for quarterly and annual taxes
  • Frugal strategies, e.g., 29 ways to cut $29 per month from your budget
  • Budgeting with a once-per-term income
  • Student loan decisions, particularly the federal income-driven repayment programs and PSLF

In January 2021 I will add the 2020 versions of my annual tax return workshops! All Q&A calls in these workshops in the future will occur within the community.

Of course, the resources I create in the future will be influenced by what the community asks for. Please let me know what you'd like to learn about!

What are the monthly challenges?
Monthly challenges are actions that multiple Community members choose to take in their finances at the same time. I guide them and provide support and encouragement to everyone participating. You are welcome to participate in past challenges as well as they are documented in the Community Conversations Forum.

The October 2020 Challenge is to apply frugal tactics strategically, from most effective and sustainable to least.

The September 2020 Challenge was to create or upgrade your budget using The One Week Budget by Tiffany Aliche.

The August 2020 challenge was to open an fund an IRA. This is a perfect challenge to participate in if you know you are ready to invest but have been procrastinating making the necessary decisions to open an account. The challenge includes step-by-step instructions as to how to open and fund an IRA and points to supplementary material to help you make the necessary decisions.

Future challenges may include no-spend months/fasts, frugal experimentation, negotiating bills and changing providers, applying for funding or jobs, starting a side hustle, etc.
How will the community address my specific question or need?

You have several opportunities to ask questions!

The community forum and the monthly Q&A calls are great places to pose questions. I and/or other community members can answer them relatively quickly in those formats.

If your question requires a very in-depth or nuanced answer and it seems to be common among community members, I may create an entirely new piece of content for the library to answer it or bring in another expert to do so.

What if I need more personalized guidance?

This core focus of this community is financial education tailored for PhDs. If you are looking for one-on-one advice from me and small group accountability to keep you focused on your financial goals, I recommend that you join The Wealthy PhD.

Is there a refund policy?

Because you immediately have access to several hours of training, courses and workshops inside the resource library there is no refund for the membership fee. However, you can cancel your membership at any time by emailing me.

Still Unsure About Joining?
I would be happy to answer any remaining questions you have and point you to the resource inside the Community that you should dive into first! Simply make an appointment with me through the link below.
Make an appointment with Emily
I'm ready to commit
to my financial journey!