We have all received many gifts throughout our lifetime. Most are long gone and forgotten, but a few gifts stand out as favorites. As kids, we are given so many toys that we don’t even remember most of them. As we get older, practical gifts like ties and socks are given. Sometimes people don’t know what to give us, so we get gifts we don’t even want or need. There ...

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Many people look at their 401(k) like it is a piggy bank. Since they often don’t have any other savings, when they need a lump sum of money for a large purchase, the only account they have with a decent balance is their retirement account. Since most people are not saving outside of their retirement plan, many people end up with an empty checking account, an empty savings account, no emergency ...

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There are only three valid reasons to file an extension on your taxes, which changes your required filing date from April 15th to October 15th. Unfortunately, I see many people who have filed an extension incorrectly or for the wrong reason that end up getting billed by the IRS for interest and penalties. There is no reason anyone should have to pay penalties for late tax filing since correctly filing for ...

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Wealth seems to be an elusive dream for many people. They desire to become wealthy, but feel they don’t earn enough money to reach that goal, as if earning more would make the difference. A study of 10,000 millionaires presented in Chris Hogan’s new book, Everyday Millionaires, showed that 69% of these millionaires reached that level of affluence on a household income of less than $100,000 a year. If all ...

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It’s interesting, but not surprising, to hear that numerous government employees are crippled by the delay of a single paycheck. This is precisely the reason everyone needs an emergency fund. When an unexpected financial catastrophe pops up, we need to be able to weather the financial storm. Many people consider a car breakdown, a sick pet, or a roof leak to be an emergency. These are not emergencies. These are things ...

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Most don’t realize how easy it is to become debt free. Instead, they envision a horrible drop in lifestyle and great sacrifices that include turning back the clock to medical school days where they were living on peanut butter and ramen. When in fact, no sacrifice is required to become debt free. All it takes is to decide that becoming debt free is what you want and then stop borrowing ...

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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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How often do we face a physical or mental feat that we’ve always wanted to do, but never seemed to be able to complete successfully? I had a physical feat that I wanted to do my entire life, and this year, at age 56, I finally succeeded. I can still picture my junior high gym class. Lots of other people could do it. Why couldn’t I? They didn’t seem to ...

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As Christmas approaches, I have begun seeing ads for things our family "must" have this Christmas. Overspending in December is a common problem I often find when I do a financial makeover for doctors. There is a huge push to buy things during the Christmas season, whether they can afford it or not. Those who choose to overspend, end up with a big headache when their January’s Visa bill arrives. Overspending ...

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I sadly read about another celebrity with significant wealth who died without a will. Aretha Franklin left behind an estate worth $80 million with significant future royalties and no instructions for who should receive her fortune. Over the next few years, we will hear about the fighting and legal battles over her estate. Abraham Lincoln died without a will.  Since he was an attorney, he could have written it himself, yet ...

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Burnout and dealing with its symptoms has become a hot topic in the last decade. It’s a problem that has multiple contributing factors. Some of those factors are thrust upon us and are beyond our control, such as government regulations. Other factors are self-imposed, and thus under our control, such as volunteering for extra call shifts. One self-imposed factor is a little thing we use to improve our lives, our ...

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If you have been following my writing, you know I have been out of the surgical workforce for a year and a half. I have settled into a much more relaxing lifestyle as an author who can set his own work schedule. This week I got a flashback of what my old life was like as a general surgeon when I attended a four-day conference called FinCon. Each morning of the ...

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An interesting phenomena recurs when I work with physicians to makeover their finances. They almost never believe that overspending is the problem. They believe the reason their credit card balance is growing, and their large monthly income isn’t enough to pay their expenses can’t be due to their own choice to overspend. They always have a reason for the lack money: They have huge student loans. They have eight kids. They are in ...

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Timeshares, for those who might not know, are a way to own the right to use a vacation resort. It comes in two forms, owning points or owning a specific room in a complex for a specific week. It’s like a partial ownership of a condo at a resort. These units can be traded for other timeshares all over the world. If you own a week, it can be traded ...

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Often a stay at home mom, like we have in our house, is not thought of as a contributor to wealth. Too often, only the person who “really” works and brings home an income is considered to be generating wealth. This is a case of incorrect thinking. The non-working spouse is a very big factor in attaining wealth. In the book, The Millionaire Next Door, the spouse is considered one ...

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A few years ago my son expressed interest in racing bicycles. I thought that would be a great way to spend time with him, and if I was going to be at all the races, I might as well race too. It would also help me take a few unwanted pounds off and get me into better shape. We started racing part way through the year and learned the nuances of ...

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It’s that time of year again. Over 30,000 medical residents are about to finish their training and start their first job. Many of them will make some big financial mistakes during their first year that will haunt them for years to come. One of the biggest errors many doctors make is to buy a house right after they leave residency. Society gives us a big push to own a house, after ...

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Upon retiring from clinical medicine and becoming a full-time author/coach (I like to say I’m repurposed), I was uncertain as to the amount of taxes I needed to pay. I have a complicated tax return with several K-1s that don’t surface until March. My final return totals 32 pages for federal and 5 pages for state.  After making an estimate of my tax bill at year end, I figured I ...

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In 2013 I began searching for ways I could change my career to reduce my workload, but not give up medicine altogether. During that time I took a cruise and looked at various jobs I could do on a cruise ship. One of the jobs I was qualified for, I thought, was to be a Cruise Ship Doctor. After talking with the ship’s doctor to find out what it was like ...

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Many doctors don’t want anything to do with investing money. They feel investing is not what they were trained to do and therefore a waste of their valuable time. I think this attitude gets some doctors into trouble. It is true that our time is best spent in our main area of training, but it’s very important for us to also have an adequate knowledge of investing. Being somewhat familiar with ...

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