Best financial decision you made in your first year post-residency

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  • Avatar guitarguy23 
    Status: Resident
    Posts: 19
    Joined: 11/29/2018

    Topic title says it all. Just finished residency-man it does feel good. But I want to continue to make sound financial decisions. What one thing made the most impact for you personally (I realize this will be a different answer for most). And why? Thanks!

    #226242 Reply
    Avatar engerland66 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 16
    Joined: 03/17/2017

    Enjoy small things that seem big.

    And pay yourself first.

    #226244 Reply
    Avatar MPDO 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 39
    Joined: 01/31/2018


    1. Rent is the maximum you will pay for housing every month. This allows you to have more control over your finances during those crucial first couple of years.

    2. By renting, you’re buying flexibility. In case things don’t work out at that first attending job (as is more common than you might think), you can just pack your things and go.

    Avatar Kamban 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2489
    Joined: 08/01/2016

    Stay in an an apartment as attending.

    #226247 Reply
    abds abds 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 242
    Joined: 01/16/2017

    Work really hard.

    #226248 Reply
    IntensiveCareBear IntensiveCareBear 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 235
    Joined: 12/22/2018

    Not getting married (esp to someone financially dependent/incapable)… or at least not signing the papers to make it legal. There is nothing wrong with doing a ceremony, going on honeymoon, living together, having kids, sharing insurances, etc. The actual legal marriage creates an unnecessary financial minefield (and potentially excess taxes), though.

    Everyone thinks the statistics and horror stories don’t apply to them. Everyone starts with the best of intentions… not all end that way.

    I has been discussed in detail… people disagree, but we all know the downsides. The truth is that there are no real upsides.

    Unmarried Couples: Pros and Cons of Delaying “I Do”

    Avoiding legal marriage?

    …other than that, yeah, as was said: make a budget, meet with a (per hour) CFP to discuss ideas once in awhile, go sloooow on the lifestyle increases, take your time with considering a house (make sure you are paying down high interest loans and maxing roth and match accounts first), and develop your billing coding skill and most important, your effective and swift comm style with patients. You can wait until your debt is lower, you are sure you like your job/location, and/or housing market slumps to buy… if you even choose to buy at all. GL man

    "Hmm, that sounds risky." - motto of the middle class

    #226249 Reply
    uptoolate uptoolate 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 269
    Joined: 01/31/2016

    Continuing to live like I was making resident money.

    #226251 Reply
    Lordosis Lordosis 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1862
    Joined: 02/11/2019

    We eliminated all debt other then our mortgage. Took 2 years but yeah.

    Take your time to do the annoying crap at work. Really learn the emr and make good templates. You are not super busy at first and use that time to get off on the right foot.

    “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”

    #226253 Reply
    Avatar Infinity 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 92
    Joined: 05/25/2019

    Find a reasonable low cost of living state.  Choosing a high cost living state and you will pay high price for the air you breath in.

    #226257 Reply
    Liked by RocDoc, Brains428
    ENT Doc ENT Doc 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3518
    Joined: 01/14/2017

    Saved a lot.

    #226277 Reply
    wonka31 wonka31 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 701
    Joined: 03/24/2018

    Limit the big expenses like housing and cars.

    #226280 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod
    White.Beard.Doc White.Beard.Doc 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 937
    Joined: 02/06/2016

    First year completing training:

    Stayed in a nice rental house.

    Saved aggressively for a house down payment.

    Had parents close by for help with childcare as it was free for the first year while my better half continued towards law degree.

    Developed habit of maxing out tax deferred accounts that year and every year since, investing in Vanguard index funds before most people had ever heard of the concept of index funds.

    Bought nice used furniture at estate sales at perhaps 20% of the cost of new.

    Purchased an inexpensive new Japanese vehicle and kept it for a long time providing trouble free, reliable transportation to the hospital.

    Bought our first positive cash flowing investment rental property with a small down payment.

    Remained on faculty at the fancy pants university hospital for the attending job with continued faculty appointment so my spouse continued with free law school tuition.


    And finally, thank you for asking this question.  I had never stopped to fully reflect on those decisions that first year when I completed fellowship. I just looked at my spreadsheet.  I earned $174,825 that year, first half of the year from fellowship and moonlighting income, the second half with the attending salary.  I knew that we got to the current 8-figure net worth from thousands of careful, small financial decisions. When I stopped to ponder your question, it really hits home how true that is.

    As a result of careful financial habits, we are wealthier than we could have ever imagined.  We enjoy international travel, financial security and great health.  We are fortunate in the extreme.  I continue to enjoy meaningful work that is impactful. Just last night at midnight I made the decision to return to the hospital to help someone in need. I easily could have left it to those that were there on site, but when I surprised them by walking through those doors to provide direct assistance rather than simply phone support, their eyes became wide and bright. Later when I left I got a big hug of thanks from a young colleague as an expression of her extreme appreciation.  I definitely made the right decision to go back to the hospital.  Heck, I probably got as much benefit from that decision as anyone.

    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2854
    Joined: 01/03/2017

    Keep spending low while paying off loans.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #226298 Reply
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6191
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    I found this website, but since you’re already here, also renting.

    #226300 Reply
    Avatar wa2106 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 185
    Joined: 11/29/2017

    Just finishing first year out.  Easy answer: renting.

    Happy enough with my job but still not sure about staying beyond 2-3 years.

    One of my fellow attendings who is also 1 year out just took the leap to buy right as hospital announced financial difficulties.  He’s stuck if something happens.

    #226301 Reply

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