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Financial empowerment

Create money momentum as an early career doc

December 19, 2020

Hey there, and Happy Holidays! If you are looking for the perfect gift for the doctor in your life, whether that’s YOU or someone else… read on! I’m excited to announce I’ll be speaking at the annual White Coat Investor’s Physician Wellness & Financial Literacy Conference on March 4th-6th. Network and learn from the comfort and safety of your couch. I’ll be speaking about creating money momentum as an early career doc. I have tackled my early career finances in such a way that, despite living in a medium/ high cost of living area in California, I’ve managed to amass some wealth. In my talk, I’ll share some of my money philosophy, mistakes, and moves that have helped get me here. This is a sneak peak into the talk I’m planning for March!

WHY bother gaining financial momentum? 

Won’t I be fine with a doctor’s salary? You might wonder. It was a pretty steep learning curve, and a bit of a smack in the face to learn the stark difference between gross and net pay. That big number you’re working for? It won’t all be yours after the tax bite, so don’t plan to spend it all. 

My wakeup call happened as I exited fellowship, and my husband and I planned for a jump in salary from 70k to more than quadruple that. It was up to me to figure out what to do with it. How could we take care of this money? How would we discipline ourselves so we weren’t tempted to spend it? We sat down with a financial advisor to make a money plan. It takes discipline and an education to take care of your new-found and long-awaited earnings!

Mind your career longevity:

7 years into my career, I’ve identified some keys factors that contribute to career longevity:

  • Picking the right career to begin with
  • Switching gears from the pace of training to the pace of attending life
  • Learning to be mindful and take care of your money-maker (that’s you)

The primary residence: should you buy a home??

According to recruiters, as many as 70% of physicians across all specialties change jobs within their first two years out of training. Even if you plan to stay where you are, you might benefit from renting first while you learn the area.

The bottom line is, maintaining a home generally costs more than renting. Often, it’s a lot more. So if you still have student debt and aren’t on solid financial footing, consider renting until you are. If you’re still itching to buy a house, read this first.  

How can you gain money momentum with all those student loans dragging you down?

Make a plan. Don’t put your head in the sand. 

Lifestyle creep: good or bad?

Incremental creep is okay. But on the other side is hedonic adaptation. When I was a kid, if we were going anywhere with a pool, I wanted to plan my whole day around enjoying that pool. Now, I have one in my backyard. It’s part of everyday life, and it’s hardly exhilarating. Sometimes it’s really nice to soak in the hot tub, while other times, I don’t go in for months, and it’s just another expense to maintain it. The pool is a great example of hedonic adaptation. You can get used to all kinds of lifestyle upgrades, and go broke doing it. So if you’re aware of this dynamic and plan for it, you can decide how you’ll handle it before you go broke on the hedonic treadmill.

Being selectively cheap can power your financial momentum. Last week, I was chatting about cars with my support staff, in the context of my looking at an electric or plugin-hybrid. When they heard what I was driving, they actually laughed in surprise. They all have newer cars than me. Instead of feeling embarrassed, I felt a little proud. Because it’s my choice. I still enjoy the car I have, and I haven’t had a car payment in years. If you have an area in which you can cut costs, it can help supercharge your financial trajectory.

Money momentum can empower you

…but it’s not everything. 

In my view, money can buy freedom. Having an accessible pile of money, like a sizable emergency fund, can give you the flexibility and peace of mind we all crave. In The Simple Path to Wealth, J.L.Collins called this extra money, “F-you money.” That’s because it allows you the financial cushion you’d need to make a big move for the sake of your goals or happiness, like walking away from a toxic job or situation. In this era of decreased autonomy, decreased reimbursement, and increased job uncertainty, there’s never been a better time to have F-you money, just in case. 

Sometimes, even before you’ve reached a net worth of zero, dropping a few thousand on a special trip or experience can keep you feeling like you’re living for the now, not just the future. When I had a five week stretch off after fellowship, my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I had the chance to backpack around Europe. It was well worth the spend.

Will you join us?

The goal of WCICon is to help improve the financial literacy and overall wellness of physicians, dentists, and other high-income professionals. We (WCI and I wholeheartedly) believe that increasing the financial security and overall wellness of doctors enables them to be better partners, parents, and doctors along with reducing burnout, decreasing suicide risk, and improving patient care.

If you join us, you’ll get to hear not just my fabulous talk, but over 50 hours of educational material that you can access on demand. CME credit is available; use your CME funds to learn about wellness and personal finance, including my approach to gaining some money momentum early on!

CME details: let your employer pay!

Continuing medical education credit for physicians, medical professionals, and CE for dentists will be available. This activity will include up to 17 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ and dental CE credits. That may allow you to use your employer-reserved CME funds to pay for it, and/or write it off as a business expense. Considering how many conferences were canceled this year, many of you are still sitting on unspent CME funds. This is a terrific use for them.

Check out this lineup, which includes more women than ever before!

The Money Mindset Transformation Class You Wish You Had in Training -Latifat Akintade MD

Successful Budgeting: The First Step on the Pathway to Wealth -Disha Spath MD

How to Nail Your Next Negotiation in 3 Simple Steps -Linda Street MD

Changing Your Life One Line at a Time -Jennifer G. Christner, MD

The Biggest Investment You Will EVER Make -Kate Louise Mangona, MD

Financial Freedom Means Changing (Some) Behaviors -Jess Thompson, MD

When Life Gives You Lemons: Wisdom from a Young Physician -Audrey Jean Roberts Ludwig, MD

How First-Generation College Graduates Can Reach Financial Independence -Dewan K. Farhana, MD

You’re Burned Out…Now What? -Dawn Baker, MD

How to Build Another Source of Income by Investing in Real Estate -Letizia Alto, MD

How to Raise Financially Fit Kids -Sanghamitra Sadhu, MD

And a ton more topics, which you can check out on the conference website here!

And if now that WCICON21 is done, sign up for a course I tailored for the female breadwinner. Get a peek at my new course for FREE, or enroll in the full course right here.

GOT QUESTIONS? Email me at tiredsuperheroine@gmail.com

Happy Holidays! Wishing you health, wealth, and money momentum in 2021!

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