It’s 2022, and many of us want this year to be better than last year. Instead of just hoping this happens, let’s make some realistic goals and put steps in place to achieve them. Here are some of my 2022 goals:
1. Continue to invest at least 10 percent of my salary in retirement accounts. Investing money gives me the opportunity to allow my money to grow. Because of inflation (the rising cost of goods and services), money sitting in a savings account is actually losing buying power by the day. To prevent this, I keep a certain amount of money in an emergency fund and make a habit of investing the rest. Since I know I can’t be relied upon to actively put the money into investment accounts each month, I make it automatic by having 10 percent of my paycheck automatically invested into my work 403(b) (similar to a 401(k)) before the money hits my bank account. I also have a set amount automatically invested into my Roth IRA. You can do the same thing. The amount you choose to invest is up to you, but having automatic contributions into your 403(b) or Roth IRA will allow you to start building wealth long before you retire, creating more options for you in the future.
2. Make more money from side hustles (increase passive income). As a senior resident physician who is starting fellowship next year, I haven’t gotten the “big bucks” just yet. I make more than I did as a first-year doctor, but I still haven’t gotten that attending salary boost. Although I’m anxious to get paid more, I refuse to put my life on hold for a year and a half until that time comes. While many people choose to moonlight (work extra shifts as a physician) to supplement their income, I’ve always been concerned that doing so might cause me to burnout from medicine. So, I’ve tried to increase my income a different way. For me, that means monetizing my hobbies and increasing passive income. I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars doing that as a resident physician and would encourage other docs to consider passive income ideas, or monetizing some of their hobbies, to increase their monthly income as well.
3. Avoid accumulating consumer debt. When I first started residency, I had lots of credit card debt. Most of it I accumulated before I went to med school. I was unable to pay it off while getting my degree, so I still had it when I graduated and started residency. My credit card interest rate was 10 percent which means that each day I had the debt, I was being charged extra money in interest. It didn’t take me long to realize that the sooner I paid off the debt, the more money I’d save in interest fees. When I got my first job as a doctor, I prioritized making large credit card payments and paid off the debt in less than a year a half. I’m still credit card debt-free, so my goal is to avoid accumulating more for this new year. It can be tempting to use my credit card to book flights, pay for vacations, and purchase other items on sale, but resisting that urge has served me well. In 2022 I hope to continue this practice.
4. Save money for future vacays. To avoid accumulating credit card debt, one of the things I do is plan ahead. I save money in advance for large expenses like vacations, travel, holiday gifts, and friends’ weddings to avoid charging these expenses on a credit card. I also have a percentage of money deposited into an entirely different bank account from each paycheck. I use the money in this bank account to save for future large expenses. Having these automatic deductions into a separate bank account prevents me from relying on my memory or self-control. I plan to continue this same practice in 2022.
5. Carve out time for self-care. As a senior resident physician starting fellowship next year, life is busy and occasionally stressful. One of the ways I plan to decrease stress and improve my well-being is by investing in self-care. For me, that means reading more books, finding time for rest and relaxation, having periodic therapy sessions, and maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits. Life can be hectic, but making the time for my own self-care and happiness is better for my overall mental health and longevity.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com