A large part of my job is teaching. In fact, every day I teach both residents and fellows. The subject matter is mostly anesthesia-related, but I can’t help throwing in some financial lessons I’ve learned along the way.
We just don’t get any financial education in our normal training, and I feel it’s a great disservice, not only to our future careers, but our lives as well. For this reason, unfortunately, it’s up to us to self-educate.
When I’m teaching my residents, I feel that it’s important to impart some of my own hard-earned knowledge, so they can avoid costly financial mistakes and ultimately go through life with less weight on their shoulders. Here is some of the best advice I can give any of them.
1) Read, Read, and Read Some More
As I mentioned earlier, we simply don’t get any this type of education in training or in school, so it’s up to us to seek out and consume the information ourselves. Two books that have shaped the way I think about money and life are Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Total Money Makeover. As a starting point into setting yourself up the right way financially, you’d be hard-pressed to find two books better than these.
There is also a plethora of good blogs out there with loads of helpful information.
We should always be in a state of learning. After all, how should we expect to be smart with our money if we haven’t dedicated any time to learning about it? The resources are out there, we just have to go out and feed ourselves.
2) Get a Handle on Your Debt
We all know this. Debt is bad. At least, we know it intellectually. But we often forget this in practice. I’ve heard many residents say, “I already owe so much in student loan debt, what’s a little more credit card debt?”
Developing good habits of not piling on additional monthly debt now will help you greatly when you become an attending and see a jump in your income. And of course, you should consider consolidating your student loan debt at a lower interest rate.