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Personal Finance for PhDs


Apr 29, 2024

In this episode, Emily interview Dr. Corwin Olson, who completed his PhD in aerospace engineering and achieved financial independence (FI) just a handful of years later. Corwin argues that using a traditional IRA is typically advantageous over a Roth IRA, even for a grad student, if they have aspirations to retire early in the 0% marginal income tax bracket. Corwin and Emily walk step-by-step through his family's finances and his money mindset from the time he finished his master's in 2009 with a "$0 net worth" to when they reached FI in 2021. Corwin tried out unemployment during the pandemic, but ultimately returned to work a part-time schedule because he still wanted to use his engineering skills professionally. Corwin's story highlights how a PhD can achieve a highly satisfying job and work-life balance through a combination of financial freedom and career capital.