(Need to use your CME funds before the end of the year? Get tickets now to the Physician Wellness & Financial Literacy Conference being held virtually the first week of March. I will be giving 2 lectures you don’t want to miss.)
Each week I run into a few articles that I feel are especially valuable. Every Monday I would like to share some of the best with you, my readers. I hope you find them helpful.
This week’s favorites include why you should avoid comparing yourself to others, how to start a 529 college saving plan for your kids, how to find a good financial professional, should we live below our means or expand them, and financial lessons we learned in 2020.
You can always find someone who makes more money than you, has less debt, drives a nicer car, has better work hours or even takes more vacations. But should we be comparing ourselves to others, or is it better to compare ourselves to our best selves? DocWife wrote a nice article about wishing we were like other doctor families and calls it When You Are Jealous of Other Medical Families (and How You Should Deal). I have found myself falling into this comparison trap many times over the years. It is not a worthwhile place to go. You do have a great life and if you think about it, the shoe is also on the other foot. There are many who look at you and envy what you have. It’s time to be thankful for what you have and enjoy the life you lead. Comparisons only make you feel inadequate.
Many physicians are worried about their ability to pay for their kids’ college education. For us, we paid off our house, and the money that used to go to our house payment was enough to put both of our kids through college just using our monthly cash flow. If you have an interest in starting a college 529 savings plan, then The Frugal Physician spell out what you need to know with How to Start a 529 College Savings Plan. Whatever you decide to do, giving your kids a college education without strapping them with debt is a wonderful gift, allowing them to start their adult life debt free.
Many people really don’t want to make their own investments. For those people, there are financial planners. Kiplinger has put out a guide on How to Find a Good Financial Professional – or Dump a Bad One. One thing to be especially careful about is to not mistake a salesman for a good financial planner. I put together a list of recommended flat fee financial planners for you. If you need help, start with this list.
There are two main ways you can become wealthy: You can live below your means and save the difference, or you can raise your means and make a lot more money. The Debt Free Doctor tackles this interesting question with Living Below Your Means vs. Expanding Your Means – How to Get Rich. I am in the camp that you should do both. No matter what you make, you must spend less than you earn or you begin accumulating debt. You should also find ways to create passive income to take care of you when you no longer can or want to work for a living. How about you? Do you want to live below your means or expand them?
This year will go down in history as one you will always remember. But what lessons did you learn during the ordeal? The White Coat Investor spell out six Investing Lessons He Learned from the CoronaBear. What lessons did you learn during the year of the pandemic? The big one I took away was #3 on his list. I believe a lot of physicians are changing how they do things because of it. If the year has put you into hard times, please pick up a copy of The Doctors Guide to Navigating a Financial Crisis and get your financial life back.
I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did. I look forward to updating you again next week with a few more articles I find especially interesting. If you read an especially good article, send me the link so I can share it with others.