As a physician, you should think about both your present and your future, as well as where yourself and your loved ones factor in. Given how long it takes to become a physician and train in one’s specialty, not to mention the rising costs of medical school, return on investment remains uncertain. For this reason, it is important to think about investments. Your career, your retirement, your future, your mind, your mental well-being, your physical well-being, your family, your marriage, your children’s future, and your friendships are all things that are worth investing in.
1. Your Career – A majority of doctors choose a career in medicine because they want to make a difference in individuals’ lives. Throughout your career, you should continuously invest in your skills, expertise, and passion. The medical field is continuously changing and if you fail to keep up, it can cost you your patients. Attend medical seminars, read web articles and journals on the latest medical trends and tools, and attempt to learn from those around you. Most importantly, maintain strong and healthy relationships with your patients. “I could easily be burned out. But I’m not. I guess that’s because deep down I believe that life for myself and my patients really is dear. I haven’t lost sight of the fundamental aspect of internal medicine which is the individualized knowledge of patients. There is something sacrosanct about the relationship between me and my patients. Once they become anonymous to me, I’m no longer a good physician,” said Mark W. Stolar, Internal Medicine Physician and Endocrinologist.
2. Your Retirement – Some downtime, peace, and serenity: this is what a retired doctor hopes for. You may find your job exciting, rewarding, and demanding; however, it’s no secret that it can get frustrating at times. The average retirement age for doctors is around 60 so; if you do plan on retiring someday or you have the opportunity to retire in the near future, you should invest in a retirement fund plan today. Get organized, set your goals, understand the benefits and risks associated with your retirement savings, figure out how much you should be putting away, and build on your retirement fund as you go along.
3. Your Future – Your future does not merely include your retirement. It includes the next few hours of your day, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and beyond. In order to manage your life, or rather your future, you need to make sure you can remain financially independent. While a physician’s salary ramps up fast, so does student loan debt. Consider eliminating debt as soon as possible, setting up an emergency fund, and assessing your financial goals. Put in the time and money now so that you can reap the benefits later on.
4. Your Mind – The mind is one of the greatest human assets that thrives by being fed. Consider reading educational books and articles to expand your knowledge and expertise in any specific area. Moreover, stay on top of the latest trends and advancements. This will give you the opportunity to develop your skills and build your knowledge in your professional and personal life. Continuously investing in your mind means continuously investing in yourself.
5. Your Mental Well-Being – Stress in life is inevitable. Work responsibilities, time pressure, children, money, distractors, failures – you name it. For this reason, it is vital that you take the time to laugh, try out new things, and be happy. If you have any hobbies, take the time to enjoy them. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Nurturing your mind by keeping it active will help you grow and maintain your mental well-being.
6. Your Physical Well-Being – Living a fast-paced life as a physician can really put things into perspective when it comes to mental and physical endurance. The fact of the matter is that you only have one life and one body, so you need to make sure that you are taking good care of your physical well-being. Remember to make healthy food choices because what you consume plays a crucial role in your energy levels and your ability to perform. Do not push yourself too hard, undergo annual medical check-ups, and most importantly, listen to your body. If you're not able to take good care of yourself, how can you expect to take good care of your patients?
7. Your Family – Sometimes, the craziness of working in a fast-paced clinical environment can take up much of your time and cause you to put your personal life on hold. While it is only natural that you work to provide yourself and your family with a comfortable lifestyle, you should not allow your job keep you away from them. Pursuing financial independence can offer you the chance to spend more quality time at home with your family and less time at work. Enjoy family dinners and plan family adventures on a regular basis. Try to establish fun traditions because at the end of the day, it is such traditions that keep families closer together.
8. Your Marriage – You can have a great relationship or a great marriage, but this does not mean that you should not constantly invest in it. Find fun activities that you enjoy doing together with your partner and take the time every month to plan out the occasional date nights. By making one another a priority, you can keep your relationship strong, healthy, and thriving. “It’s extremely important to budget this time together. It strengthens our relationship, our family, our friendship, our mind, our mental/physical health. We constantly discuss our careers, our future, our children’s future, and plans for retirement,” wrote Another Second Opinion, anesthesiologist.
9. Your Children’s Future - Every parent wants to ensure that their children are provided for when they go off to college or when it is time for them to leave home and become independent. The reality is that today, the cost of education is on the rise and it may be a great burden on you and your family. This is where planning and budgeting comes into focus. Talk with your children about their ability to pay for their own college expenses, take advantage of financial aid and tax options, and come up with a savings plan to fund their education.
10. Your Friendships – Friendships are much like investments. They are about making valuable connections with individuals who support you and who want to help you grow as an individual. Some of your friends may even help you to grow as a professional as well. “Friendships go far beyond grabbing a burger and a beer on occasion; they’re about investing the time and energy so you can reap the benefits. The occasional burger and beer is just a nice touch” wrote Another Second Opinion.
“Physician fulfillment is dramatically increased when financial worries are eliminated. Trust me when I say you will enjoy the practice of medicine much more when you no longer have ‘to go to work’. Begin now to optimize your financial life by learning as much about personal finance and investing as you can. By doing so you will not only be wealthier, but more importantly, you will be happier,” wrote James M. Dahle, author of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide To Personal Finance and Investing.
Allow yourself open up to a world full of opportunities and to develop yourself both personally and professionally. Even as a physician, you will see that no patient will invest in you until you take the time to invest in yourself. Invest in your career, your retirement, your future, your mind, your mental well-being your physical well-being, your family, your marriage, your children’s future, and your friendships. More importantly, invest in yourself - physically, mentally, and financially. This will allow you to appreciate your life, your medical education and training, your medical career, as well as your family and friends.
- Take care of yourself, mentally and physically.
- Make safe and profitable financial decisions.
- Maintain personal relationships.