A Doctor Tells: How to Save More of Your Money

Gregory A. Hood, MD

Disclosures

November 30, 2017

In This Article

Time to Tighten the Belt a Notch?

As 2017 draws to a close, unprecedented anxieties and uncertainties grip our nation. The divided and unpredictable state of the Union makes it difficult for Americans to be able to predict their incomes, their tax burdens, and the cost of their healthcare premiums, as well as other major expenses.

Physicians aren't immune to such concerns. I know of several doctors who have faced skyrocketing levels of practice overhead in the past couple of years. Some have gone months without a paycheck in hopes of keeping their practices afloat. Others have gone to work for someone else or left the practice of medicine altogether. Several recent reports of physicians not having their contracts renewed with their medical groups/employers underscore the Grinchy landscape of physician employment today.

Although employment, reimbursement, taxation, and healthcare are prime examples of unpredictability in finances, achieving financial security despite these threats is a crucial milestone that all of us should strive for.

By virtue of their late start in the work world, physicians not only commonly face mortgage and student loan debt, but also these balances are typically quite high. Given their devotion to education, it's also unsurprising that doctors often help their kids pay for their educations. Given the dollars involved, it's understandable that some of us give up hope of ever succeeding financially.

To those physicians, I say that there's only one viable, sustainable financial path that leads forward: the path of frugalness.

For some doctors, frugalness comes naturally. Perhaps their parents came from humble working-class backgrounds, or their grandparents lived during the Depression, instilling in each generation an appreciation for the value of a dollar. For others, speaking of being frugal is like speaking a foreign language. Yet, it's a language that can be learned—passably, if not fluently—by anyone.

Given the complexity of the healthcare market, the changes coming out of Washington, and the unpredictability of the investment world, it's well past time for physicians who haven't yet adjusted their lifestyles to reconsider and embrace learning the language of frugalness.

If the concept of frugalness is new to you, you're probably wondering, "Where do I start?" Here are five steps that I'd recommend:

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