Okay... so the title is mostly "click-bait", but not entirely. As an independent financial planner and CFP® professional, I prefer to work with with high net worth individuals and families. Believe it or not, many physicians won’t ever reach the high net worth status and experience true financial freedom. I define financial freedom as: not needing to worry about the next paycheck, not being concerned about a loss of income because you have your financial "ducks in a row". Those are a bit extreme, but the idea is simple: you aren't living paycheck to paycheck and you don't lose sleep over money. It is unbelievable the number of physicians and physician families who don't ever truly experience the financial freedom that should come with the kind of income a physician earns.
But Bobby, you say, how can a physician making between $16k - 80k per month be living paycheck to paycheck?!? Believe me, it happens. Paying off student loans, buying a house that's "too much", a new boat, a new car… always needing the next thing. Sure, those people have a lot of toys, nice clothes and fancy houses, but they also lose sleep at night worrying about income. They also put themselves in a position to HAVE to work until they are 75 because they created a lifestyle that demands their entire paycheck. Instead of experiencing the freedom that can come from high earnings and wise financial choices, their income is their master.
Perhaps this post is more about contentment than it is about spending. The saying is true: we do the same with a small amount of money as we do with a large amount of money. I've seen it time and time again working with residents/fellows and practicing physicians. The type of lifestyle and financial decisions you make in training will almost certainly carry over to when you are earning a full physician’s income.
So what do we do now, you ask? Well, start by setting lifestyle goals before you actually have the ability to walk into the car dealership and buy the new Audi S5 with cash. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that you wear sack clothing or never, ever dine out. I'm saying think through a reasonable lifestyle now, write it down and live by it. I believe you will actually be happier! Another step (a crucially important one now that you are an MD/DO in good health), is to protect your investment in your education and career, and your future income, with physician-specific disability insurance. Right now with student loans and very likely a growing family, you would be in a pickle if you or your spouse could no longer earn the income that should come with your training. There are a lot of providers who claim to have this physician-specific disability insurance, but it's important to read and be able to understand the fine print. While I do have my insurance license, I am no longer an insurance agent. However, if you are a member of Iowa Medical Partners don't hesitate to reach out to me and I can point you in the right direction and connect you with some fantastic agents in the Iowa City area.
So if you want financial freedom, start making good financial habits now!
Note to members: If you have questions for Bobby but don't know how to reach him, please reach out to any of the IMP officers and we will connect you with him.
Copyright Iowa Medical Partners 2013.