Being smart with medicine doesn’t make you smart with money. There’s help in this guide for successful physicians who haven’t planned for their financial futures as wisely as they could have.
Financial advisers Burd and Hemphill follow up on Pay Yourself First (2013), in which they advised young doctors how to begin their careers on strong financial footing. Such advice came too late for those already established in their careers, not to mention their spending and investment habits. Case in point is the fictionalized couple who regard themselves as rich but in fact have less than they need to survive a year without their high doctors’ salaries. “Could we design a program as systematic and data-driven as that in our first book,” Hemphill asks, “to provide that peak-career physician couple with confidence they can change their financial outcomes?” It sounds like a First World problem, and it is—earning such a high income that the downsides of irresponsible spending and vanity investments can be invisible over the course of an entire career. Regardless, the financial advice here is sound, sensible and roundly applicable to individuals from a variety of professions and with a range of incomes. Maximize your pretax savings to your employee retirement plan, they advise. Dump the assets that cost more than they earn—the rental property for which you pay more on upkeep than you make in rent, the expensive car that depreciates in value every year and is far more than you need to get from Point A to Point B. Curb your consumption now to close the quality-of-life gap between your current lifestyle and your postretirement one. Less applicable to all readers, perhaps, is the talk of selling the boat, the vacation home and the speculative real estate, but it’s solid advice nevertheless—and the admonition may, in fact, keep some from heading down those slippery financial slopes to begin with. Burd and Hemphill are not only credentialed financial advisers, specializing in the medical field, but they are also solid writers, their soothing but rational voice both embodying and promoting clarity in the often perplexing world of personal finance.
Though not a replacement for one-on-one financial guidance, this slim and accessible volume is filled with good advice for professionals looking to get their finances back on track.