I’m a big proponent of do-it-yourself investing. In the age of index funds, many investors can manage their own investments at very low cost. And fees you pay to a financial advisor could be used to invest and grow your nest egg. But that’s not to say that I believe that no one should have a financial advisor. There are many situations where it can be beneficial to hire a financial ...

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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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Life is full of potential worries. Personal, professional, and other stresses can make us anxious and reduce our happiness and quality-of-life. A major source of anxiety in our lives can be financial. A recent survey found that 85% of Americans are at least “sometimes” stressed about money and 30% of Americans state they are “constantly” stressed about it. In order for physicians to reduce their financial anxiety, they first have to ...

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Medicine has changed immensely over the past 40 years. Not only has the drugs, surgeries, and procedures changed, but the culture and economics of medicine have changed as well. Radiologist and blogger Xrayvsn enlisted physician finance bloggers young and experienced to write posts on the common topic of generational perspectives of the past, present, and future of medicine:

  1. Doctor of Finance MD: A Late-Career Perspective On Medicine
  2. Xrayvsn: 
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There’s a lot of financial information out there. Some of it is helpful, and some of it is unhelpful. I’m sure many of you take notice when the Dow Jones falls 1,000 points in two days. And even if you don’t usually follow the stock market on a daily basis, when the stock market is dropping, the financial news media will let you know about it. Because when the stock market is crashing, ...

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Physician financial literacy is dismal. In the past, many physicians got their first introduction to finance from insurance salesman or financial advisors who give presentations over a free steak dinner. My medical school’s attempt at teaching us personal finance was to have a financial advisory firm give a half-day lecture about student loan management, budgeting, and investing. While the advice wasn’t inherently bad, I don’t think many of my classmates retained ...

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The tricky part about retirement planning is uncertainty. Uncertainty in retirement planning comes from three major sources. 1. Current and future income Doctors are fortunate in that they have very high job security. Even if you were to be let go from your current position, there will almost always be another position somewhere in the country (although you might have to move out of your current metropolitan area). However, the high income doctors currently ...

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No, I’m not saying that the process of investing in index funds is difficult. In fact, it’s actually quite simple to build a diversified index portfolio, whether your money is invested at Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, or Etrade. What makes investing in the stock market so difficult is tolerating its high volatility. Many investors are unable to stick with the stock market in the long run because of the ups and downs. But those who stay invested ...

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I was driving up to Northern Michigan recently for a nice vacation with family, and like any long road trip, before I left, I turned on my GPS on my iPhone to see how many hours it would take to get there. There’s an initial excitement to get on the road, looking forward to how enjoyable your upcoming vacation will be. However, once you hit the highway, road trips can become long, ...

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Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab have been engaging in a fierce competition to claim the mantle as the leading provider of low-cost index funds. As a result, each has aggressively lowered their fees for their index fund offerings over the past few years and advertised their low-cost offerings to investors. After the latest round of fee reductions in mid-2017, I wrote a post speculating whether it was inevitable that Vanguard, Fidelity, ...

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Many residents and fellows will contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b) over the course of their medical training. They should be commended for saving for retirement on just a resident’s income. Often, newly-minted attendings wonder what to do with these 401(k)s or 403(b)s from their training hospitals. In particular, they wonder whether they should convert their 401(k) to a Roth IRA. 4 options: some better than others In general, there are four things ...

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It is no secret that medical school is getting very expensive. Over the past 20 years, the cost of medical school has greatly outpaced the rate of inflation, and medical school debt is rapidly rising. The average medical student now graduates with over $192,000 in student loans, but with the cost of attendance for the most expensive private medical schools approaching $100,000, there are some physicians who are finishing residency ...

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No one can predict the future, but when making projections for things like retirement planning, what investment return should you expect? What do we mean by “investment return?” Before we get into the numbers, we need to go through a few definitions. Nominal returns vs. real returns These are just fancy words for before-inflation and after-inflation returns. Real returns (after-inflation) returns are equal to the nominal returns (before-inflation) minus the inflation rate. Real returns ...

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I strongly believe that clinical physicians do not have an edge on the rest of the market. Therefore, they should heed Warren Buffett’s advice — avoid picking individual stocks and invest in index funds. Nevertheless, some doctors do believe that they have an edge when it comes to investing in health care stocks. They think that just because they are a doctor, they are better trained to ...

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There are a lot of what-ifs in life. If only I had made that putt on 14, I could have shot my best score ever. If only I had taken a different job or performed better at the interview, I would be so much happier at my job. For decisions large and small, there are ample opportunities to second-guess yourself. I’m sure you have your own what-ifs when it comes to investing. If only I ...

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When I became interested in the financial markets many years ago, I spent many hours and days trying to devise ways to make money in the stock market. There are many ways that investors try to make money in the stock market, including:

  • Trying to find the next hot stock.
  • Finding a new trading strategy, based on charts or other strategies.
  • Picking the next hot fund manager.
  • Looking for an ...

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Doctors order a lot of tests. Let’s be clear, most of these tests are quite good and help with diagnosis and management. They can help hone down a wide differential diagnosis to a single diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, additional tests can help guide physicians on the best treatment. But there are some tests which are not necessary to order. In some scenarios, the next step in management (whether it be ...

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The savings rate in America is abysmal. As a result, many Americans rely on Social Security and pensions to fund their retirement. However, physicians would not be able to maintain their lifestyle on Social Security payments alone. And few physicians receive pensions from their employers. Therefore, they have to fund the majority of their retirement through savings. But how do you define savings rate? Let me count the ways. Do you use gross ...

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Every physician, especially those who work in oncology, have read their fair share of clinical trials. In order to advance the field of medicine, you need to test new drugs against the current best treatment, or the standard of care. Some trials succeed, and we make progress in our fight against cancer, or hypertension, or HIV. Some trials fail, and these new treatments are discarded. When designing a clinical trial, you need to ...

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It’s a question that reverberates in the minds of premeds around the country. If you have a choice between multiple medical schools, should you go to the cheapest medical school available, or should you go to the more prestigious, more expensive medical school? MD vs. DO vs. Caribbean I think it is worth the investment to go to a U.S. allopathic (MD) school if at all possible. It’s an unfair bias, because every medical ...

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