I have been writing about the financial side of doing a PhD on this blog over the years. During my PhD, my focus was on saving as much money as possible through budgeting and pinching pennies, and then in the later years, my focus shifted to getting extra income from working on the side and by getting paid writing gigs.
The most important financial decision is, however, at the beginning of the PhD. When you are comparing options for your PhD program, the most important and obvious considerations relate to finding a good university with good facilities and a supervisor that suits your working style. At this stage, it is important as well to consider the financial side of your PhD program:
- Does the PhD pay you a salary?
- Does the university charge you tuition and fees during the PhD?
- How high are living expenses in the city of the university?
- Can you get an additional income through teaching?
- Considering everything together, can you live and save for a rainy day on the PhD?
In the Netherlands, PhD candidates are often salaried employees from the university, with social security, tax responsibilities, retirement savings, and everything else you would find in a normal job. In other countries, PhD candidates have a much lower income, and either need to pay their own way through the program, get help from their family, or take a loan.
Consider the (long-term) financial impact when you apply for a PhD. After all, your financial status strongly influences your day to day life, and the lifestyle you can afford.