Asset protection is a term that gets tossed around quite a bit when we discuss how long and difficult the journey is for doctors to establish their careers.  You always want to protect what you’ve worked hard for, right? The principles for asset protection apply not only to doctors but essentially anyone who wishes to have some sort of security for their assets. The key is to make sure you don’t over ...

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We’ve all heard about credit card points and miles by now—put enough of your expenses on plastic and you’ll be flying first class airlines all the time, right? We are actually fortunate in American (sorry for those of you residing in, let’s say Japan, who still are stuck in a mostly cash-based society) to be able to have incredible amount of credit card options to squeeze out every penny. While the ...

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The general consensus among physicians who have a solid grasp on their finances is that they are realistic about their earnings and expenses. Ins and outs. Just like in nephrology, except a net positive in your finances is considered a win.  One would expect that doctors ought to be generally conservative in their expenditures, since medicine is a generally conservative profession. But life is unpredictable, and that’s why there are ...

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Disability can be a devastating outcome to a doctor’s career and self-image. Think about it: You busted your butt to learn how to do a Whipple procedure, end up getting into a skiing accident that ends your career right there. No worries, because you purchased the appropriate coverage of own-occupation disability insurance, right? Having disability insurance certainly provides a protective cushion, especially you are the sole breadwinner. This is a no-brainer, ...

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It’s human nature to be social.  The collective sensation of being in a group or organization helps us belong. We see this in school, where kids band together for activities. We see this in the doctor’s lounge, where the anesthesia guys chat about the latest hospital gossip. Occasionally we see the loners who shed the collective mentality and shine through their own path. If these novel beliefs are compelling enough ...

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We talk about money on my website, and how to make sure that you have enough of it.  In fact, that’s pretty much the entire strategy for the growing crowd of people in the world who are gunning to retire at an age that most neurosurgeons start their careers. Those of us in the medical field who also have similar ambitions to work our finances intelligently are likely to have similar ...

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The grass is always greener on the other side.  Humans are like that. For reasons that we can never consistently define, any situation other than the one that we are in has potential to be better.  I guess we just like to compare ourselves to others and assume that there is a better life over the horizon.  That doctors wish to get themselves in a better situation is nothing new. ...

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Doctors and other caretakers are the pawns of the health care system. We provide the services that allow hospitals and medical groups to bring in big revenue.  Unless we are contracting directly with insurers, doctors will never realize the true financial firepower that we have. As the health care environment evolves, we are seeing fewer individual physician-owned groups and more conglomerates.  The larger the system that we belong in, the ...

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Some of us like to micromanage.  Obviously, this trait is useful only for certain tasks that you need to accomplish.  Managing money can take some attention to detail, but fortunately, many issues work themselves out if you follow broad principles.  How much you should micromanage your daily expenditures really depends on your own tolerance and your individual financial situation.  We’ve all seen discussions about the cost of daily artisanal cups ...

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Necessity is the mother of invention. If you need something badly enough, you are more likely to find a way to obtain it. This proverb clearly rings true in all aspects of life. The key is really knowing how badly we need it. I knew someone who wanted to become a dermatologist. After several additional years of research after medical school and applying to residency, she eventually achieved her goal. ...

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As we get older, time becomes are more valuable commodity.  I clearly remember that as a college student, I was more than willing to wait in line for over an hour simply to get a free sandwich promotion.  Nowadays, I’m not even too interested in waiting 20 minutes to be seated at a restaurant.  Our priorities evolve. One interesting aspect of time that remains relatively unchanged over time is our tolerance ...

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We all know the importance of compound interest in building wealth. The fuel for compound interest is time -- the longer you are committed, the greater chance your investments will grow. This applies not only to financial growth but also to essentially everything else. As a rule of thumb, the more you study for a test the better you ought to do. The longer you have practiced medicine, the more ...

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How much we micromanage our lives is dependent upon our compulsivity and how many goals that we set in life.  Medicine is a profession that attracts some of the most goal-driven people I have ever met.  There are egos, obsessions, intelligence, and diligence all packaged into one unit.  This is simply overwhelming.  Fortunately, these habits tend to evolve with age.  I’ve seen some of the most incendiary personalities in medicine ...

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One common question that doctors face in estate planning is whether to establish a trust. This topic gets brought up in the doctors' lounges, especially after someone gets a pitch from their financial planner. Most doctors who bring up the topic are quite enthusiastic, and cite that doctors need a trust because “we make a lot of money.” Fair enough. Medical students and residents probably do not need a trust I’ll get this ...

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The most common hurdle that doctors have is overspending. The notion that good income guarantees great buying power not only delays building financial worth but also confines doctors to lengthier careers than needed.  The solution, in a nutshell, is to make sure that we make prudent financial and career choices to complement our financial velocity. Easy, right? The reality is not so simple.  Psychology is fascinating. Human behavior can function, at ...

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Education can be expensive. Higher education can be even more costly. Even partial scholarships can be deceptive as one might opt for a more expensive school for the sake of redeeming “free money.” As a student, I had no financial understanding of return on investment when I was considering higher education. All in, I plowed through more than a quarter million dollars in my college and medical school after substantial scholarships ...

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