Assuming control of your financial life involves scrutinizing multiple aspects of your income stream(s), accounting for assets and liabilities, and establishing a timeline for achieving specific financial milestones . The Financial To Do List I’ve assembled is a checklist that you can run through as superficially or carefully as you see fit. I thought applying it to my own situation could be helpful in demonstrating how other readers might use it.
This morning I read a book review in the New Yorker exploring the inherent tensions in raising a child prodigy: you want your special snowflake to make the most of their potential without spending so much time in competitive mode that their childhood is defined exclusively as a long and dreadful slog toward adulthood.
Starting in middle school, my friends decorated their bedroom walls with posters of sports cars whose names, to my virgin ears, suggested high end Italian prostitutes.
Lamborghini Countach might wear something gauzy and translucent as she lured me into her softly lit Tuscan den of iniquity, while Ferrari Testarossa would teach me moves that were surely illegal in the U.S. in her Milan apartment full of mirrors and vinyl furniture the color of lipstick.
I come from a proud line of Costco shoppers. My father knows most of the cashiers at his local warehouse by first name. When I accompany him there during visits home, he claps backs and greets the staff like a Tammany Hall mayor, all the while whispering conspiratorially to me, “She recently split up with her baby-daddy,” or “Next week he’s getting hernia surgery.” Costco membership is my version of the Corleone family inheritance.
Just like your financial portfolio, once a year it’s worth sitting down with your priorities to ensure that those areas where you’ve made satisfying gains have not inadvertently created blind spots of neglected priorities. This was underscored by a funeral a couple of days ago - a family member I loved died after a long hospitalization. Weirdly enough, his eulogy served as inspiration for a checklist I’ll share below.
Dr. Jim Dahle, a.k.a. the White Coat Investor, is the hardest working and most entrepreneurial physician finance blogger in the space, and he’s developed an online course to spoon feed the financial GOMERs among us. As far as I’m concerned, every bit of help that weans us off the teat of Big Advisor is a welcome addition to old fashioned books and blogs.
I just turned 45 this month. Statistically, I have more years behind me than ahead of me. This means I expect a pass from younger readers (and sympathetic understanding from my peers) to indulge any overly sentimental writing impulses.
My dad has been on my mind a great deal recently. Specifically, due to the illness of someone close to me, I’ve been reappraising all the different stages of my relationship with my father over the years. I’ve come to realize that, using the lens of personal finance, my dad is in fact a volatile appreciating asset. Allow me to explain.
Coastal California is paradise for everything but your wallet. You can hit the waves and hike the mountains in the same day. World cuisines collide in novel deliciousness (LA's Kogi Taco Truck craze started when a Filipino-American chef who grew up devouring local Mexican food married into a Korean family). 13 years ago this month I had to dig my car out of snow to make it to my first date with my wife. We spent yesterday’s first date anniversary in shorts and sandals on the beach ten minutes from our home. It’s no surprise that folks want to live here.
Unfortunately, housing is costly, commutes can be soul-sucking, and many jobs offer lower salaries than other regions of the U.S. because employers feel the privilege of living here is a big part of your remuneration.
Given these realities, what unfair advantages can assist you in achieving Financial Independence (FI) in a High Cost Of Living (HCOL) area?
As a newly minted physician, you are presumably on an upward trajectory in career earnings. Any injury that limits your ability to achieve financial security needs to be covered by disability insurance. Some risk mitigation involves practicing common sense: no one will feel badly for a surgeon whose knife juggling hobby maims his dominant hand. But everyone will get a knot in their stomach if you develop lymphoma your first year working as an attending.
Disability insurance is intended to protect physicians from those forces beyond their control that threaten their income. I recently sat down with a newbie in my group, a motivated youngster with a kid on the way who needed a concise, "Tell me what to get and what to avoid, I don't have time to figure it out on my own."
Back in the 80s of my youth, I owned one black tie and it was razor thin. Frankie was constantly insisting I relax, and Time magazine was the major determinant of what a given week's father-son chat would be about.
Financial Literacy for The Newly Minted Physician