In Part I of Financial Insights from Family Physicians, we discussed the importance of having the right levels of coverage for disability and life insurance. While it’s often difficult to know the exact amount of coverage you’ll need, the benefits of having it outweigh the costs. In today’s post, we wanted to know from family physicians and those who work in the field of family medicine “what was the best piece of financial advice you ever received, that you wish others knew?”

Live within your means

Living within your means is the key to money management. It is a necessary skill to understand and perfect earlier in your career, and one of the top pieces of advice to be given and shared. Hal Grotke, CEO and medical director at Redwood Family Practice in Eureka, California, makes the example of, “don’t buy a Lexus when a Honda will serve your purposes.” Living within your means will help prevent debt and financial struggles. Keep track of your income and expenses to stay organized, and to always know where you financially stand. Use a spreadsheet or check out these money management apps to help put you in control of your money.

Save early and invest

Young family physicians may have a harder time initially putting money aside into a savings account or emergency fund. But no amount is too small to start saving with, is a classic piece of advice. To be financially sound in the future, family physicians need to start saving early and diversify their investments to be financially comfortable. Don’t just save only in stocks and bonds, but in real estate and alternative investments. If you are financially stable and want to do a little more than stash money away in a savings account, a diversified portfolio will help increase potential financial stability, as you won’t have all of your eggs in one basket. Although investing can be risky, as different areas of finance react differently to certain economic events, in the long run it has great rewards in securing a healthy financial future.

Prepare for retirement

At the start of a career in family medicine, retirement is the last thing on a young physician’s mind, but we all know it’s an inevitable part of a long, rewarding career. When it comes to preparing for retirement, family physicians need to understand that it is not the end, but the beginning of a new phase in life. And when planning for retirement, be sure to have some plans as to what you will do in this new phase of your life, or if “retirement” means staying in medicine in some way. If you’re an older family doctor who hasn’t saved for your retirement, you may need to plan on practicing medicine a little longer. Here are some additional steps you can take to plan for retirement late in the game.

Whether you’re a new family physician or one who is nearing retirement, be sure to enjoy what you do, and start to save what you can, when you can. If family medicine is your passion, it will bring its own non-monetary rewards.


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