Investing 101: What is an index fund?

This week we start a new series we’re calling Investing 101.  Over the next several months we’ll share some basics on investing to help you make wise decisions as you get out of debt and start investing for the future.  Look for a new blog on investing ever four to six weeks to guide you in your wealth building process.

As a general rule we suggest you never invest in something you don’t understand.  In fact, one of the key reasons many doctors have poor performing investment portfolios is because they invest in things they know little about.

We need to look no further than Medscape’s recent wealth study on physicians that showed only 50% of physicians have a net worth of greater than a million dollars.  There are many reasons for why this might be, and one big reason is doctors often times are seen as people who have a target on their back waiting to be enticed into investing in things they should be running away from.

There are many...

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4 Reasons to Have or Not Have Joint Accounts

Recently, Jana came across an article on keeping separate accounts after you get married.  What do you think?  Is it a good idea to keep separate accounts?  The article cites research that states 28% of millennials are keeping separate accounts, which is nearly double the number of Gen X and baby boomer couples, so there’s definitely a shift in how couples are managing their personal finances.  In this blog let’s explore the plusses and minuses to having separate accounts.

This topic is something that comes up frequently in conversations regarding marriage and money.  A number of years back Scott was on a trip with a number of couples and one day when the group stopped at an ATM to get cash to pay Scott for the house they were renting one of the couples each stepped up to the machine to get their individual share of the rental cost.  When Scott inquired about why one of them didn’t just pay their entire share (Scott’s kind of...

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3 Elements to Developing a Frugal Mindset

Has anyone ever accused you of being frugal?  For most of us being called frugal is far from a compliment.  In fact, we’d argue most people think of those who are frugal as being cheap or stingy with their money.  However, the research on millionaires suggest one of the key characteristics to becoming a millionaire is being frugal, and most are neither cheap nor stingy with their money, but are instead wise about how they manage their finances.  In this week’s blog we explore the idea of being or becoming frugal, and how it can help you in your journey to debt freedom and building wealth.

Six behavioral patterns of millionaires.

We’re big fans of the Millionaire Next Door series of books, and in the latest offering entitled The Next Millionaire Next Door the authors discuss six behavioral patterns of millionaires in their study.  We can really appreciate their focus on behaviors because we truly believe becoming wealthy is more about...

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Invest or Pay Off Debt: Which option is best for you?

To invest or not to invest is a question many ask when working to get out of debt.  If you invest while getting out of debt it will likely take longer to become debt-free.  On the other hand, if you use the money you’d be investing to pay off debt you could be losing out on years, or even decades, of compound interest that could really add up when you retire.  As you can see, there are tradeoffs to either approach, so which is best for you?  Read on to find out.

There is no question that if you want to build wealth you most likely will need to invest, but the question is when to start investing, and how much to invest.  You could also argue another question is what to invest in.  These are all great questions to be thinking about as you work to become debt-free, and we’ll tackle the last two questions in a future blog post.  Let’s just focus on the question of when to start investing.

Debt first, then invest – pros and cons....

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Get Engaged in Your Work to Win with Money!

Personal finance and getting out of debt is not just about what you do at home, but can also be impacted by your work.  There is plenty of evidence that shows people who perform at a high level at work tend to earn more than poor performers, which could lead to having more financial resources to throw at your debt.  In this week’s blog we focus on some of the factors that lead to higher work engagement, and what you can do to boost your engagement and / or those who work for you. 

Let’s start with a basic definition of what it means to be engaged in your work. 

Scott routinely works with business leaders who are trying to boost their engagement and the engagement of their employees.  One simple test he prescribes to measure engagement starts with taking a post-it note and placing it somewhere it will be seen each day (i.e. bathroom mirror, night stand, dashboard, computer monitor).  Next, the participant puts a check mark on one side or the...

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Are you ready to buy a house? 5 reasons for and against buying a home.

A big part of the American Dream is owning a home.  Five years ago we started living the dream of homeownership, and we can attest that it’s nice having your own home, especially one that is completely paid off.  However, it’s not always a dream being a homeowner, and sometimes it’s not the best decision to buy a home.  In this week’s blog we discuss five reason against and for purchasing a home.

Before we dig into the reasons for or against home ownership, we’ll assume you are an attending physician and out of residency for at least a year.  We would argue it’s almost never a good idea to buy when you’re in residency or have just started your attending position.  Home ownership can take some time, energy, and money, none of which you have while in med school or residency.  You’re also better off waiting after you start your first attending position to make sure the job is a good fit before planting roots...

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Book Review: Everyday Millionaires by Chris Hogan

Calculating how to become a millionaire is pretty simple math.  Just accumulate enough assets to offset your liabilities so the difference between the two is at least a positive million.  However, the process to become a millionaire is not so simple.  The great news is many people have become millionaires and we can learn from what they did to build wealth.  Chris Hogan writes about research on over 10,000 millionaires in his book Everyday Millionaires.  In this blog we share some of his key findings to aid you in your path to becoming a millionaire.     

The easiest way to become like someone you look up to is to uncover the secrets to their success.  For example, if you want to be the greatest pediatrician ever you would find mentors who have been successful and ask them what they did to achieve their success, and then just copy what they did.  This, of course, doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a good...

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Comparison Cancer: 3 Prescriptions to Cure Yourself From Comparisons

 Let’s face it.  Most of us struggle to avoid looking at others and comparing ourselves to them.  Whether it’s our career, house, car, jewelry, clothing, even children; we find ourselves often comparing our lives to the lives of others to determine how we “stack up”.  We would argue this is especially true of super-competitive people like many physicians tend to be.

Think about it.  We start competing from the time we are born.  It starts with competing with other children and things (i.e. smart phones, TV) for our parent’s attention the day we are born.  Moving on through K-12 education we are graded, awarded, class ranked, etc.  Then comes college – taking entrance exams and getting scored, competing with others to get into the college of your choice.  Continuing on in your higher learning and taking MCAT’s to get into a med school, then the ranking process with residency, and on-and-on into a...

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The Big "D" and Making Sure You're Prepared for It

Whether or not you want to think about it or ignore it you are not going to be here at some point in the future.  Sad, but true, we all pass away.  As the old saying goes, “Nothing in life is guaranteed except death and taxes.”  So, if we all know what’s coming, we might as well do our best to prepare for it.  In this week’s post we’ll cover a topic most will find rather depressing and boring, but it’s also one of the most critical to being financially responsible – life insurance.

Teresa’s story.

Teresa was a healthy 35-year-old family practice physician.  She had just finished residency a few years earlier and was starting to build her practice in a new city.  Her husband, Jesse, an engineer, had also started a new position shortly after their move.  They were parents to three boys ranging in age from 4 to 10.  They were a busy family on the go from the time they got up in the morning until...

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Financial Tidying Up: Getting your financial house in order.

There’s a popular series airing right now on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  The series is based on Marie’s best-selling book titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  You might be thinking to yourself why we are writing about tidying up on a blog focused on helping doctors become debt-free millionaires, but believe us there’s a connection to getting organized and getting out of debt.  Let’s explore these connections in this week’s blog post.

One of Scott’s passions is helping organizations get faster and better at what they love to do for their customers, and a foundational steps in the process he teaches centers on getting organized.  Maybe you can relate if you’ve ever worked or are currently working in a messy environment.  How efficient and effective can one be working in a messy workspace, not to mention what will your patients, clients, or customers think when they walk into an organization...

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