Every week I run into a few articles that I feel are especially valuable and 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 Medscape’s physician debt & net worth report 2020, why Bill Gates is happier today than when he was younger and what he has learned, 13 bad money habits keeping you broke, and 14 reasons to retire early.
Medscape puts together informative snapshots of what life looks like for the typical doctor in their annual surveys. The 2020 physician debt & net worth report is a good example. It was nice to see where I stand in relation to my peers. This article shows some notably alarming findings: credit card debt is as prevalent as student debt, nearly 1 in 5 doctors lease cars, more than one third have car loans, about 1 in 5 own houses larger than 4,000 square feet, 57% live at or above their means (paycheck to paycheck), 20% save less than $500 a month in their retirement accounts, and 34% have never met with a financial planner. It is no wonder we are collectively having money problems. For me it was rewarding to see that I earned less than the average primary care doctor and yet ended up in the top 8% in net worth. If after reading this report you find your situation does not line up with your expectations, consider seeking outside help to get your finances in order. Either my financial makeover coaching program or a flat fee financial advisor on my recommended list of advisors could be a great benefit to you. Isn’t it about time to turn your financial life around.
The declaration of Independence states that we have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. But how do we find happiness. INC recently published an article summing up a recent interview with Bill Gates in which he stated his level of happiness is much higher at 63 than at 25 because he chooses to do these 4 things. It is interesting that one of the richest men in the world does not list money as one of the things that leads to happiness. I have also learned that money is not a major factor in the pursuit of happiness. Once you reach a level of income that meets your basic needs, your happiness doesn’t increase as you exceed that income. There are other factors that make you happy. Bill’s 4th reason was the one that I worked on during my career. I was not perfect at it, but I put extra effort into this one. My mother-in-law recently commented on my efforts in this area and gave me an “atta boy” for doing so. Maybe if you followed Bill’s advice, you could boost your happiness level too. I wrote an article on the one word secret to happiness that might also help you in your quest.
We are a product of our habits. Bad money habits lead to bad money results which often means being broke. How can one earn $500,000 a year and live paycheck to paycheck and feel broke. It happens all the time. Perfection Hangover gives us a list of 13 bad money habits keeping us broke. I think #7 is the one that physicians struggle with the most. If you are broke from a recent financial disaster that hit you, like a job loss or having your income cut in half, then you should read my newest book The Doctors Guide to Navigating a Financial Crisis. There are many things you can do to improve your situation whether you are in crisis or just broke, so why not start making the changes you need to get on track financially. This could be a good mid year’s resolution.
All of us will retire at some point, unless we die first. So why shouldn’t we do it on our terms and when we want? There are good reasons to retire and good reasons to keep working. The White Coat Investor recently listed 14 reasons to retire early. Number eight was a big reason for me. I retired from my 20 year practice at age 51 and worked part time for three years doing locums. I have no regrets for retiring from medicine when I did, and I think I retired at the right time for me. You can read my retirement story in my book, The Doctors Guide to Smart Career Alternatives and Retirement. We all will be ready to retire at different times in our life. I hope when your time comes, you will be financially ready to retire. One of my biggest worries about retiring was whether or not I would miss medicine. If you want the answer, you will find it in this article.
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.