School has gotten back into full swing, and thus we begin another cycle. Will this cycle be better than the last? Every year we find ourselves in this same spot. Summer’s over, big vacations are in the bag, back to school shopping is complete, and we start recovering from our summer spending. We often haven’t yet recovered from the summer splurges before it’s time to start Christmas shopping. Then we begin ...

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Here are eight things to do as a new attending that I didn’t learn as a resident (and wish I had). Establish a budget There are two times when a budget is a very important tool: when you are struggling financially and when you have a large income or expense change. Now that you have graduated to your new attending income, it’s important to intentionally decide how you will invest, save, pay ...

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As physicians, we find ourselves in higher tax brackets than the majority of Americans. With the graduated tax system here in the U.S., the more we make, the higher the percentage of taxes we owe. That is not just because of the tax brackets, but also because many tax write-offs are phased out as income climbs, creating a compounding effect. There are things we can do to decrease our tax burden. ...

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This week my wife and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. It made me think about how my life has changed from when I was a single freshman in college. A time when I didn’t always do the right thing. I knew it was against both the law and school policy to drink alcohol at my age during a frat party, but I sometimes did it anyway. We know we have moved ...

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I recently read an article called "Inefficiency and luxury" in which the author stated that he has never tried to get any frequent flyer rewards, and in fact doesn’t even have a frequent flyer number. This statement left me a bit confused when I first read it. I’m not one who likes to leave money lying on the table. Then he ...

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I read a Facebook post asking what people were doing about a recent market drop. As much as I watch the market (very rarely), I didn’t know the market had dropped until I read that comment. This question was raised on a site that is constantly teaching people that there is no way to time the market. Those who follow me always agree with this concept, until the market drops, ...

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An excerpt from The Doctors Guide to Real Estate Investing for Busy Professionals. Only make offers on property you think would be good for you to own for 40-plus years. Don’t mistake this statement to mean if you are 70 years old then you shouldn’t buy real estate. Positive and ...

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An excerpt from The Doctors Guide to Real Estate Investing for Busy Professionals. Cash flow is the only method I use to determine the value of the property to me and is my decision-making tool. This is how I determine the price I’m willing to pay. This is the only way ...

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I often hear people talking about their “investment” in gold. Then there are those who have a “diversified portfolio,” and gold is one of their forms of diversification. I’ve encountered people who have $60,000 worth of gold bars in their home safe, in case of a major financial crisis. We all see the celebrities pitching gold on national television ads with “now is a great time to buy gold.” If you ...

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An excerpt from The Doctors Guide to Real Estate Investing for Busy Professionals. I left my 20-year general surgical practice at age 51, only 12 years after buying my first apartment complex. By then, my real estate investments were producing more passive income than I was spending. I no longer ...

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Back in 2001, we paid off our last personal loan, our home mortgage. At that time, we decided to begin investing in real estate with the money that used to go towards digging us out of our personal debt. Our real estate was held in an LLC, and we acquired loans to purchase these properties. In fact, most of our real estate was purchased with 100% financing. In 2002, the credit ...

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I am often asked the question, “Is it better to pay down debt or invest?” It is uncanny how often this question comes up. This question is asked as if those were the only two options to choose from. I never hear, “Should I go on a three week trip to Paris or invest?” “Should I buy a new car or pay off my debt?” “Should I buy disability insurance ...

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Many physicians have a poor understanding of personal finance. Since personal finance isn’t a required course in high school, college or medical school, physicians are often unprepared to handle their high income when they become an attending. Sometimes the results of this lack of education are not pretty. Other times it’s a downright disaster. Yet some of us are able to figure out this thing called money. I was thinking about ...

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When our kids were in the 5 to 9 age range, we used to buy each of them a souvenir on our vacations. They always wanted the most expensive item in the store, a great big teddy bear that cost $400. We would tell them no, they needed to pick something less expensive. They weren’t happy about not getting their first choice. It was then that we decided that we ...

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Locum tenens is a great way to make a living or earn some extra income. But frankly, there are some groups of physicians who should not even consider doing locums work. When you pair the right person with the right job, you can get employment bliss. But when the wrong person takes a job, both the employer and the employee are often unhappy. I believe everyone should enjoy the work they ...

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Most Americans live their lives on borrowed money, constantly spending a little more than they make, leaving them with a growing debt. These debt payments, and the added interest they must pay on their debt, decreases the amount of money that they have available to spend on future needs. Paradoxically, borrowing to buy depreciating items, decreases one’s net worth. Stop the madness this year. No more spending more than you make. ...

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When I sat on the management committee of our surgery center, I was wondering why owners didn’t bring all their cases to the facility. They would clearly benefit financially if they increased their caseload. So why didn’t they? I realized, it was because we all think like dogs. Dogs will do tricks if you give them a treat immediately after their successful performance. Dogs will not do tricks if you promise ...

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The Match is complete, and now the fourth-year medical students are preparing to make their move to residency and chief residents are preparing to start their new career as an attending. The next phase of their lives is about to begin. The Match got me thinking about a comment I read recently from a doctor who decided to not become a general surgeon, which she had always wanted to be, and ...

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I would like to share six lessons that I learned from my dad. Parents have a big responsibility in bringing up the next generation. Our kids learn from watching what we do more than hearing what we say. So doing what’s right pays dividends with our kids. As physicians, we miss a lot of time with our family due to our schedules. When we do have time with our family, ...

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Here we are, coming down the home stretch and about to finish residency. With an increased income comes some new financial decisions. The need for life insurance is one of those decisions. If you don’t have any, now would be a good time to consider getting some. The purpose of life insurance is to support the people who are dependent on your income if you die and aren’t there to provide ...

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