The Personal Finance for PhDs Community
Why Join the Community?
that you are handling your investments, debts, and savings optimally
between living well today and preparing for the future
as to the best financial goal to work toward right now
through career, family, and life transitions
for increasing your income, decreasing your expenses, and sticking to your plan
that minimizes tax due (for graduate students and fellowship recipients who are US citizens/residents)
Who Is the Community For?
PhDs and people pursuing PhDs:
  • PhD students and candidates
  • Postdocs
  • PhDs with Real Jobs
  • Undergraduates or postbacs 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
File accurate tax returns that minimize their tax liability
Make the most of their money (even on a low income!)
Icons by Freepik, Dave Gandy, and Pixel perfect and available through
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!
What Does the Community Include?
  • Courses and workshops on investing, taxes, budgeting, and more ("the Library")—expands monthly!
  • Monthly live calls and a community forum to ask and discuss questions
  • Progress journaling for community accountability and encouragement
  • Monthly challenges
  • Monthly book club
  • Help and support from me and other PhDs who understand you and your situation!
What Is in the Library?
As of October 2020, you will have full access to these products:
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!
Quarterly Estimated Tax for Fellowship Recipients

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.
The Wealthy PhD

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.
Best Financial Practices for Your Self-Employment Side Hustle

This is a developing course!

"How to Budget with a Variable Income" was published in September 2020.

"Self-Employment Retirement Account Options" will be published in October 2020.
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
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.
Why Other Community Members Joined
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%!
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.

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!
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.
What Is the Cost?

The monthly fee to be part of the community is $30.

Are you ready to join your peers?
Frequently Asked Questions
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., 30 ways to cut $30 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 September 2020 Challenge is 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?

I will not offer refunds of the membership fee for previously paid months. However, you can cancel your membership at any time by emailing me.

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