Some Advice: Educational, Financial, Life Related

  1. OK....since the advice I am asking is really multi-faceted and not all about finances or anything I thought I could stick it here where more might see it.

    Here it is...I"ll break it into the educational part, followed by the money part since really the education part influences the other...

    OK Education:

    I am working towards a PhD in psychology. It is recommended to be a 5 year program (I knew that going in, although I heard stories of people doing it in 4). After completion of that, many people go on and do a post-doc for 1-2 years (37K a year), and then get a job at a university doing research/teaching (starting wage of around 50K for public universities and around 60K if it's private). That is the typical story.

    Here is me: I am 1 year ahead right now. I finished my masters early and am doing my prelim exams in January. I am writing a grant to fund my dissertation research. I want to finish everything in 4 years. I want to personally get a J-O-B right away, but I'll be competing against those who have the extra 2-3 years of experience. So odds are it'll be a crap job at a really small college, making maybe $40K a year. And probably never be able to advance much higher.
    The pressure to finish early is coming from my husband. He doesn't understand how it can take someone so many years to finish school and make such paltry wages. He says he hates the pressure of being the one making all the money. He goes back and forth though....I tell him if I stay for 5 years I could maybe not have to do a post-doc and get an OK job.
    I could also stay out here in Indiana for an extra 2 years at my school on a post-doc making around 36K...and then get an OK job.

    Hubby keeps waffling...some days he says 5 years is OK and some years he says 4 years is better.

    What would you do? I completely understand where DH is coming from...and frankly I'm ready to be done and to go on my own!


    Financial:

    OK. So right now DH is making quite a bit of money and I have my stipend...he's making 2X what he made in California....and cost of living is much less out here in Indiana.

    If I stay here for the extra year (do 5 years) financially it would be a big bonus. His child support will be done, we'll have paid off the truck by then, and pretty much be debt free (minus some student loans that are on deferment from undergrad, but those aren't a big deal). So I could then walk into a job with no pressure on him to be working at all.

    If we do the post-doc route...financially we would be about 1/3 less than now (I'm assuming here that I go up to 37K and hubby's gets cut in half). We would still be paying off the truck & student loan payments would kick in. ALso....I am anticipating post-doc in California so our cost of living would be a tad bit higher (we'd probably rent and not buy).

    If I try to get a crap job right out of 4 years we would be in the same situation as right above....but no guarantee that it would ever change.

    So because of this uncertainty (as well as general disgust with consumerism lately)...I'm wondering if it would be wise to start preparing now for the non-post doc route? Start cutting bills now and trying to adjust to living on 1/3 less income?
    That way if hubby says 'Stay for a 5th year' or whatever we would be ahead, right?

    UGH...sorry if this sounds so convoluted and confusing! I hope it makes a bit of sense!
     
  2. Twiggers, yes it sounds confusing.

    So you want a teaching job at a university? A Phd in psychology, any thoughts of therapy?

    Do you have to move back to Cal?

    One question - Do you have children and are they young?
     
  3. I don't know if this helps, but this situation is only temporary right?
    Personally I would do the five years.

    The reason I asked if you have children.... as I am sure you are aware, teaching at a college or university has the tuition benefit for your children, after you have been employed there for a few years.

    If you make 40-50K teaching - plus the tuition benefit for your children.... not knowing ages, etc. - Can be a lot of money in benefits!!!

    Am I making sense at all lol??
     
  4. LOL Gina.

    My PhD is in developmental psych. So pretty uch the only option is teaching/research. Teaching universities typically pay lower and don't care about research experience (so post-doc not necessary). Research universities, all they care about is research....so post doc would probably be necessary.

    I have no kids, and don't have any plans to have kids (but I have some friends who know about the tuition ebenfit and have offered me their kids LOL)

    I don't have to move back to Cali....but we are miserable in the Midwest. We really miss the California way of living!
     
  5. Ok now I understand!!
    lol

    It really makes a big difference if you have children to get through college. Private universities are now 35K-40 per year so that is a big benefit if you work there. (If I knew at 20 what I know now, I would have fought for that secretarial position at the University of Rochester haha..)

    Now saying that, I would stay for the fifth year.

    It's only an extra year, it goes fast!! In the meantime, check out the housing slump back in CA and keep an eye on it. You might get a good deal.

    I'm sure your DH will get over it!

    We don't have a housing slump where I live. Our homes don't appreciate or depreciate here! 300K here gets you a 5000 sq ft house with all anemities (granite, 4 baths, etc). Check out the U of R!! Good pay, low cost of living, but ought oh.... ck out my avatar....;

     
  6. LOL Gina!!!!!! We're in Indiana....things are pretty much the same (less snow though)!!!!! 300K would buy a near mansion out there! We paid $170K for ours and it was wayyyyyyyy bigger than our home in CA that we had paid 300K for.
    Housing is almost back to the level is was when we left CA....so we think it might be good to go back.

    I guess my biggest concern too is with my husband. I absolutely know that he wants the stress off his shoulders...and I don't blame him at all! I wonder if I tighten the belt this year and stash money.....then it kind of says 'Hey honey, in year 5, don't worry about anything...we have enough stashed to survive the whole year even without your job'
     
  7. I understand you perfectly - since I'm in the same position. Fortunately my SO is also in grad school so we understand each other and what we want to do. I have no pressure to finish just so I can "get a job" - I won't do that since I had the option of leaving after my Master's, joining industry and making a much higher salary.

    I think cutting bills is a good option. SO and I don't make car payments - I drive a used car and SO has the one his dad bought him after graduation - this actually comes to significant savings per month, as well as the fact that we both don't have loans or debts/liabilities.

    I think it's easier for us to rationalize the way we live because we are both looking forward to the same thing. I have friends whos spouses do not understand the need for more time/better research and always think in terms of the $$ and the lifestyle.
     
  8. Oh, honey, I would try to stay for the full 5 years. :yes: It doesn't look good if you leave school early...whether you do the post-doc or not, you should try to build up your CV/resume. I know it's SO frustrating (I'm nowhere near how far you are in school, and I'm so envious), but I think you should at least stick it out for 5 and make your decision later if you want to do a post-doc or not...

    And I don't blame you for wanting to leave asap...there are times when I want to leave, too! I'm just hoping it's worth it in the end :sad:...
     
  9. I just told my adviser I want to leave... (not the graudate-with-PhD leave, the leave-out-of-frustration leave) She glared at me and said "You want a good recommendation?"
     
  10. From what I've read about you/dh, he sounds like such a sweetheart and I understand how you are feeling about this. I also sense that your choice of occupation is not about the money - how could it be? Just think... Twiggers, PHD. Your DH (and you) will be so proud!! It is such an accomplishment and personal satisfaction. You will become a PHD soon! Can you believe it?!

    ITS JUST A YEAR. I really think you could save more money staying in Indiana an extra year.

    Just my opinion. Hope it helps!!

    PS After the holiday's I have to PM you about this as my son is thinking of continuing on as you have, might need some advice!
     
  11. Argh, advisors! :sweatdrop: I'm actually going to meet up with mine next week to discuss some research I should've been doing weeks and weeks ago! :angel: I'll admit, I was very intimidated (and still am) about grad school because everybody around me seems so smart and getting published and whatnot! And I haven't published squat. GAH!

    But, twiggers, I think it's important to build up your resume...*that* is key to getting a good job. Try to stay in school longer! :tup:
     
  12. I totally agree with everyone! I would also stay the extra year in Indiana too, if not only to save money, but to have the extra time to think about whether to get a post-doc or not (LOL I'm pretty indecisive so I completely understand your dilemma)!

    Plus, a year really isn't that bad in the long run... I just moved out of California too so I know what you mean about missing the CA way of life, but when I think about how cheap everything is OUT of CA, I feel much better about living in a different state LOL!
     

  13. Oh Merika I was hoping you would come alone here! I know our professions are slightly different.....but yes, having a non-academia spouse makes things a little harder. He just doesn't get it taking so many years!
     
  14. Well I wouldn't be leaving early out of any bad reasons....but I know what you mean. Publications are everything...and 1st author in top 5 journals are what matters. This year I am working like crazy on getting a ton of 1st authors....I"m hoping to have about 6 out by the end of next semester (I have no classes to take next semester so I have more free time). If I do get the grant that will also look very good. In addition, I am planning on attending at least 2 more statistics workshops (which also helps)!

    UGH.....we go back and forth so much on this. I keep telling him I can't compete on the job market if I don't do the post-doc or stay 5 years. Prospective employers will think I don't have enough experience.

    My advisors (I work with 2 advisors) don't care either way....they are very flexible...and I'm sure my recommendations would be very good.

    And Bernz...don't stress about the pubs. No one expects you to really start getting them in the pipeline before your 3rd year!

    Gina: Please do contact me! I'd be more than happy to help!
     
  15. A friend of mine had a hubby who wasn't very happy after 4+ years of grad school. He was by no means a bad husband or anything. He just didn't understand. So my friend thought she could do some of her work on the evenings and weekends and took a CPT (an option that allows you to be employed outside while maintaining full time status) and went to teach high school. It paid her reasonably well - 50K+, and he husband is happy but her work suffered greatly and she had no time for research or paper/proposal writing. My friend didn't like it at all, it was just something she did to make hubby happy.

    It's hard. I mean, her husband stayed in a place where he could not make much money just so she could do her studies, and he always thought that in the 5+ years they spent with her doing a Ph.D they could have been financially much more stable if she had finished sooner or stopped after a Masters.

    So I do understand both sides of the story - but it's only one more year!!! And work hard..time flies and you'll have your Ph.D in no time!!:heart: