The tale of two physicians There once was a physician who had no idea what personal finance was. She was living the American dream, but with lots of student loan and credit card debt. During her residency, she paid minimums on all her debts, but had neither a savings account nor a retirement account. During fellowship, there was a slight jump in her income, and she used that as an opportunity to ...

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One of the great teaching experiences in a young medical student or resident's life is to be placed in front of his or her peers with an attending physician quizzing him or her on the spot about a particular patient. Often, when radiology imaging is involved, the said victim will be asked to interpret the study and point out any salient features. I have been subject to this numerous times in my ...

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In an ideal world, we should all be compensated fairly for our services and skills.  The reality, as we all experience, is an amalgam of mistakes and victories.  One hopes that with time our skills will translate to a greater number of victories.  Most greenhorns entering the workforce are unfortunately poorly equipped to assess their worth.  I certainly was. Greenhorn doctors stand to lose a financial lot from mistakes simply because ...

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You wouldn’t have known it by looking, but Viktor had once been on several modestly successful television shows. He lived for acting. It brought him joy and purpose. So much so that it was the first thing he mentioned to any who happen to pass through his single room next to the nursing station. Viktor was almost famous, definitely broke. His little space in the nursing home ...

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Retiring early as a doctor is surprisingly difficult given the typical doctor income. There are four main reasons for this – the heavy debt load to enter the career, the very late start to earning a significant salary (most physicians leave residency at an age older than some FIRE bloggers retire at), the temptation of a high income, and the “doctor factor” I’ll get into later. Despite those challenges, it ...

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It’s easy to judge when you don’t experience the same difficulties that others do. The classic scenario in medicine is an internist, who runs marathons and bikes to work, tells his morbidly obese patient to lose weight.  How would the scenario work if the doctor were mildly overweight, or has a body mass index of 30.5? The same judgment is frequently seen in the online financial blogosphere.  Why does a doctor ...

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Too many doctors today believe that their income is what determines their level of success. This is a fallacy that is hurting way too many doctors. We hear things like, “Become a specialist so you can make the big bucks,” or “Now that I’m an attending, I can afford the payments on a new Tesla,” or “I’ve lived in an apartment too long, now is the time to get my ...

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A retirement plan isn’t usually a top priority for fresh doctors looking for their first jobs, whether that final date is in five years or thirty. Perhaps knowing when to hang up your hat is immaterial so early in your career since most doctors will end up leaving their first job within the first five years anyway.  However, I do wish that I had some inkling about the career paths ...

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Rock-paper-scissors is a game that nearly all of us played as children. It is a game with incredible opportunities to play mind games with your opponent. There is no luck in rock-paper-scissors as with card games. The game does not have complex rules like chess. You simply have to figure out the patterns of your opponent (or induce patterns into them) and take advantage accordingly. Can you beat the New York Times computer bot? Back in ...

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Women physicians are disheartened when they discover the financial implications of having children. Most of us will not get paid leave. Many of us are the breadwinning partner. And most of us will not become stay at home moms so we will need to pay for high-quality childcare or have a stay at home spouse. Certain things should be in place prior to becoming pregnant. So even if you’re single, I ...

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