Values: The Foundation of Life and Money

What we value drives much of what we do in life.  In some sense our values are one of the only things that no one can take away from us.  However, few people have spent any time in their life thinking about their personal values.  Rarely have we come in contact with families who can describe specific values they as a family live out each day.  Regardless if we have written them down or even thought about our values, we all have them, and this post centers on how to harness the power of values, specifically family values, to help shape and guide your life and finances.

What are values?

Let’s start with a basic description of what values are and are not.  Values are characteristics and behaviors that describe who we are and what is important to us.  They motivate and guide us in much of what we do each day.  For example, we would argue many of you as physicians value hard work.  If you didn’t value hard work and perseverance you...

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Contentment: The Secret Ingredient to Financial Success

How much is enough?  The answer to this simple question could determine how likely you are to find contentment in your life.  A few years back Scott read a book titled Enough by the late John Bogle (inventor of the index fund and The Vanguard Group founder) that opens with a story that is quite fitting to this topic.  Two incredibly successful authors, Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller have been invited to a party hosted by a billionaire hedge fund manager.  Kurt says to Joseph, “You know, this billionaire makes more money in one day than you made in your whole lifetime from your novel Catch-22.”  Joe responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have…enough.”  Do you have enough?

In this blog post we’ll discuss the idea of “enough”.  Each of us has a different perspective on what enough means in our life, and for some, like the aforementioned billionaire, enough is something elusive we chase our...

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Disability Insurance – What is it and do you need it?

After a long week of seeing patients and dealing with endless paperwork, Sarah, an Ob/Gyn physician, was looking forward to a long relaxing bike ride on Saturday morning in hopes of leaving all her workplace stress behind in exchange for warm sunshine on her back and a refreshing breeze in her face.  The winter had been cold and dreary the past several months and she was excited that spring had finally arrived.  Unfortunately, the tranquil begin of this day would not be how it would end.

Sarah planned to ride from her house to the local bike path where she’d head west away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into the scenic quiet countryside.  One of the things Sarah hated was having to ride on busy roads to get to the bike path, but it seemed like a waste of time and energy to load her bike on her car to drive two short miles to the trailhead. 

On what felt like a picture-perfect day with sunny skies, temps in the low 70s, and almost no wind, Sarah...

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3 Ways to Build Intensity to Crush Your Debt

Paying off debt is a fairly simple process that for the most part needs no instruction.  If you want to be normal when it comes to debt you can just simply make the minimum monthly payment and over time the debt will be paid off.  Unfortunately, the downside to this approach is that it will take you longer (much longer in most cases) and cost more in interest than any other approach to paying off debt.

For example, if you take the average U.S. household that has a credit card balance of $6,929 with an average interest rate of 17.68% making minimum monthly payments it would take 184 months or 15 years to pay off the card!  You would also pay $6,204 in interest.  So that $6,929 would end up costing you $13,133.  Can you begin to see why credit card companies are so profitable and why they want to lure you with points and other enticements to use their cards for every purchase you make?  You didn’t think they were doing that stuff just because they...

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Creating Your First Budget / Spending Plan

This week’s topic is arguably one of the most critical to success in becoming a debt-free millionaire doctor.  Unfortunately, it’s also a topic many run from even though they know it has the power to change their financial future.  Why is that?  Why do so many struggle with completing a monthly budget?  How can doing a monthly budget become something you look forward to each month?  How can the budgeting process be made simpler to ensure it is done each month?  In this blog post we’ll uncover some answers to these questions to help you win with your budgeting process.

Let’s start with why so many struggle to budget.  Why is it budgeting seems to be something most can agree is a good idea, but yet struggle to consistently complete each month.  For many it can be depressing to look at all the bills you have, and not budgeting is an easy way to look the other way.  It’s in some ways like stepping on the scale...

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4 Reasons Why So Many Doctors Struggle With Debt

Have you ever met someone who told you, “One of the best things I ever did was take on a lot of debt.  My success is due to the massive amount of debt I have, and spending the rest of my life making payments is a great monthly reminder of my excellent decision to get into debt!”  Of course not.  No sane person would ever say this, but indirectly this is true of most Americans in regard to their relationship with debt.  Americans in many ways are addicted to debt! 

Debt in America is higher than it has ever been, totaling $13.54 billion at the end of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  According to the report, auto loans increased by $9 billion, credit card balances went up $26 billion, and student loans increased by $15 billion – all this in just the last quarter of 2018! 

A big problem for many Americans is we like stuff.  Unfortunately, it’s stuff we usually can’t afford to pay cash for,...

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Getting Your Spouse On-Board to Get Out of Debt

Are you revved up to get started on your journey to become debt-free?!?!  Can you already feel the grass between your toes walking through the yard of your paid-off house and being able to scream, “I’m a debt-free millionaire!”.  Can you see the dream becoming reality on the day when you will be able to do whatever you want to do, instead of doing what you have to do?  We can assure you that when that day comes you will have become a transformed person – one who thinks and acts differently when it comes to your life and money. 

So how revved up is your spouse?  Do you have more excitement about the journey than he or she does?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone if he or she is not jumping up-and-down with excitement to start the journey.  In fact, it’s quite normal one of you is not totally committed to taking the first step, or any steps for that matter, in freedom from your debt. 

A common challenge...

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5 Ways to Stay Positive with Six-Figure Debt

One of the greatest challenges, once you decide you want to be free of your debt, is keeping a positive attitude over the years it often takes to find freedom.  This post is focused on five practical ways to keep a smile on your face as you walk the path to becoming a debt-free millionaire doctor.  We begin with a story many of you can probably relate to.

  

The day had come when Janet’s hard work was finally going to pay off.  During the last 12 years she had completed a degree in biology, achieved an MD, and was now about to finish four years of residency.  The hundred plus hour weeks of studying and working were about to come to an end.  A new chapter was beginning as Janet was set to start a new job as an attending physician at a hospital in her hometown on Monday.

She was excited to be going back home and surrounded by family that she had missed during her years of education and training.  Finally, her life was beginning to slow...

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Developing Debt-Free Millionaire Doctor Habits

If we only had five minutes to provide guidance on how to succeed not only with your finances, but with life in general, we’d tell you the three most critical factors to success are: 

  1. Who you marry.
  2. Who you spend most of your time with.
  3. Your habits.

The first two, especially number one, are hard to “fix” on your own, and we’ll discuss both of them in future blog posts so let’s start with the “easiest” one of the three – your habits. 

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

-Aristotle  

 

What’s below the surface matters most.

Our lives in many ways are like an iceberg.  A typical iceberg has 90% of its volume under water and out of sight.  One thought that comes quickly to mind is how much this analogy is like social media in that only a very small percentage of our lives are visible online – usually just the good stuff.  We, like you I’m...

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Debt and Marriage: A Deadly Combination

One of the greatest things in life is marriage.  When you find someone to share your life with you become a more complete person.  However, marriage is also one of the greatest challenges in life, and when you throw money issues into the mix it’s no surprise that one of the top reasons for divorce is money fights.

Those fights are not regarding having too much money:-), but are centered on challenges primarily related to debt and having too little money to cover monthly bills.  Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce, according to Sonya Britt-Lutter, assistant professor family studies and human services and program director of personal financial planning at Kansas State University.  She was one of the researchers who conducted a study using longitudinal data from more than 4,500 couples as part of the National Survey of Families and Households.  In their study the researchers controlled for income, debt, and net worth and the...

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