Q: How can postdocs manage finances?
The postdoctoral stipend is a modest one, and it is difficult to sustain on it for several years. And if your life expenses during this phase involve starting a family, buying a house, taking care of aging parents, retirement plans, paying off educational loans, and so on, things may get a bit difficult for you.
That’s a very pertinent question. [Incidentally, we’ve made one small but important edit to the question. We’ve removed the ‘not’ before ‘modest,’ because that would have meant the entirely opposite thing. :-)]
Coming back to your query, we also think it would be best to hear responses from postdocs themselves. So, we’ve turned this over to the relevant folk here as well as elsewhere for their say.
Until then, on the forum/site, we thought we could share other relevant career-related resources with you.
You may have already gone through the piece on survival strategies for postdocs. So, as you had tagged this under ‘funding resources,’ you might find this article useful: Have you considered non-governmental organizations for research funds?
Additionally, and tangentially, here’s a piece on managing another equally important resource – time: 10 Tried and tested time management tips for researchers
Hope these help for now.
Yes, postdoc stipends aren't that great. This phase also typically overlaps with the time when you are starting a family and paying off educational loans. The only way out is to balance those books! Make sure you aren't getting into new debts and living only what you can afford. Often the city you live in considerably affects your expenses. Choose wisely if you foresee other economic burdens.
That said, if possible, plan your future well and try to get there sooner!
And to hear what some other postdocs may have to say about this, you may also decide to share your question in Researcher Voice, our group on Facebook that brings together researchers, academics, scholars from various fields and various parts of the world, talking about several aspects of the researcher life – from professional to personal. In fact, right where your query fits in. :-) Learn more about the group here: Researcher Voice