Postdoc Financial Literacy Series

My Wellness. My Community. My Identity.

Series Description

The Postdoc financial literacy program will provide financial education for managing the economic life of postdocs and graduate students by providing tools and information to help them develop financial management decision making skills and build positive consumer behaviors. These new skills will help to mitigate financial stress from lack of money management and lack of access to programs and financial institutions that might be helpful in saving and managing money.

Postdocs and graduate students of all backgrounds, cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations will be included and empowered with insight and information about borrowing programs they may qualify for that will eliminate or reduce educational debt burdens. They will be taught positive consumer practices, such as use of credit cards, bill paying, and debt management which they can rely on to set themselves on a path for long-term financial success after completing their education and research training.

The course will also cover how to build favorable credit, and the importance of building strong credit scores related to borrowing and other aspects of economic wellbeing.

  • Course meetings will include six (6) lectures, with two (2) live lectures and four (4) sessions delivered by Zoom, all with interactive components.

Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions in the series. However, if you need to miss a session or two you are still welcome to join the series and attend as many sessions as you can.

Register for this series*

*MyAccess required

Focus Areas:

It is well known there are financial literacy gaps and variable access to financial products and services to certain populations that cause inequities and disparate access to financial resources and financial skill building opportunities.

Postdoctoral scholars and graduate students are at risk for assuming a heavy financial burden and receiving less financial education due to lack of financial knowledge and skills. Financial education is often either unavailable during a postdoc's research training years or is often deprioritized and overlooked due to the primary focus on the demands and rigor of completing scientific research in fast-paced, competitive environments. Greater emphasis is placed on other life aspects including required adjustments to the research work environment, publishing and building collegial relationships. Research trainees may need to individually finance expenses related to moving personal effects and securing expensive Bay Area housing.

The Consumer Price Index 2022 data showed the San Francisco area cost of housing was 202% more expensive than the U.S average, with utilities about 33% higher, and necessities such as food and clothing, groceries were around 22% more than in the rest of the country.

Learning Outcomes

In this course, you will:

  • Learn and share best practices for building financial stability and life-long economic success.
  • Empower research scholars across all ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds with critical financial skills, knowledge, and tools.
  • Discover and practice making smart financial decisions.
  • Explore how to select the student loan payment plan that best achieves a postdoc’s goals given what they can afford to pay each month.
  • Understand how loan repayment can impact other aspects of financial life beyond research training.
  • Gain insights on how loan forgiveness programs can help and learn how to qualify for them.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of refinancing federal student loans with a private loan or consolidating with a federal direct consolidation loan.
  • How to achieve personal, financial goals while pursuing professional goals
  • Review best practices for debt and money management.
  • Employ strategies to manage income and avoid common financial mistakes.
  • Understand the importance of relying on sound consumer knowledge to behave in ways that support household financial goals.
  • Help mitigate financial-related stress from lack of financial management knowledge and skills.

Lecture Topics Schedule

Session 1: Financial Health and Emotional Health - the Link
Wednesday, March 6, 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. - Mission Bay, Mission Hall 1400
Jeanne Stanford, PhD, UCSF Mental Health Services, Director
John Brown, PsyD., UCSF Clinical Psychologist, Faculty Staff Assistance Program

Session 2: US Banking (Credit unions, banking tools and access for US and International Trainees)
Wednesday, March 13, 1:30 - 2:45 p.m. - Mission Bay, Mission Hall 1400
Mariana Ronchita, Branch Manager, Golden1 Credit Union
Barbara Quan, Manager, Financial Education, Golden1 Credit Union

Session 3: Income/Expense Management and Spending and Saving
Wednesday, March 27, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. - Zoom
Jeffrey Hanson, PhD, Educational Consultant, Jeffrey Hanson Education Services

Session 4: Federal Student Loan Options and Managing Debt
Wednesday, April 10, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. - Zoom
Jeffrey Hanson, PhD, Educational Consultant, Jeffrey Hanson Education Services

Session 5: Building Credit History and Credit Scores
Wednesday, April 17, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. - Zoom
Jeffrey Hanson, PhD, Educational Consultant, Jeffrey Hanson Education Services

Session 6: Planning for Family and Future - Retirement
Wednesday, April 24, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. - Zoom
Jeffrey Hanson, PhD, Educational Consultant, Jeffrey Hanson Education Services

** All times Pacific


Suggested Reading


A limited number of Amazon gift cards will be distributed during the series so attendees can purchase and read one book from the Harvard Book Store's Personal Finance List, or a financial book of their choice:

Bad with Money
Financial Freedom
The Dumb Things Smart People do with Their Money
Money Makeover
Your Score
Dollars and Cents

Additional Resources

Financial Equity and Inclusion Should Be Part of Your DEI Programs
UCSF Financial Service Debt Management Team
2022 National FINRA Study
2018 National FINRA Study

UCSF is committed to making its facilities, activities and events accessible. To request accommodations for this event, please contact Chequeta Allen ([email protected]) at the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars at least one week before the event.