Why I Blog Series: Emily Roberts

 October 31, 2014

Blogging Helped Me Better Connect with People

The subject of my blog is totally distinct from my academic pursuits, yet completely integrated with my life as a graduate student: personal finance (PF). I first became interested in PF when I realized I would have to be very careful with my money just to make ends meet on my stipend, but I didn’t connect it with my love for writing until a few years later.

Why I Started Blogging

I started blogging about halfway through my Ph.D. I’ve always drawn my posts from what has been going on in my own financial life, so in addition to being a fun place to teach and discuss financial matters it also serves as a kind of chronicle of our financial journey. When I started the blog, I anticipated it serving as a weapon against lifestyle inflation through our transition out of graduate school and into “real jobs.”

What Blogging Has Done for Me

Blogging about PF has benefited me both tangibly and intangibly. Our net worth took off because of what I was learning and the accountability that blogging provided. We have also generated a bit of income from the blog; this year I spent our earnings attending a conference for PF bloggers. At the conference I got to meet many of my “friends from the internet” and hang out with other PF nerds!

Blogging has helped me practice and refine a different type of writing style than what is typical in academia. I’m now looking for a full-time job that will involve much more writing and I think that my experience blogging will help me in that pursuit.

New Opportunities Generated through Blogging

Blogging about PF redoubled my interest in the subject and opened up service opportunities in my community. I started serving on the PF@Duke committee in 2012 and facilitating a course and coaching through my church. This fall, I developed a seminar on personal finance for graduate students, which I am presenting at Duke on November 13. I love that my online pursuits have translated into real-world activity, because what I find most gratifying is connecting with people one-on-one and serving my community. I’m even launching a few new websites this fall on personal finance for the academic audience, including Grad Student Finances.

Blogging is a very time-consuming hobby, but I can’t imagine my life without it at this point. I have gained so many skills, so much knowledge, and so many friends along this journey!


Emily Roberts, Ph.D.

Recent Ph.D. Graduate

Emily Roberts co-founded Evolving Personal Finance with her husband, Kyle, in 2011 and recently launched PhD Stipends, a database of grad student pay at universities all over the US. She defended her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 2014.