Formulate a Financial Plan

Know Your Net Worth

Manage & Minimize Debt

Accumulate Assets

Budget to Live Within Your Means

Understand Investing Basics

Plan for Retirement

Insure People & Property

Deal with Financial Advisors

Review Your Employment Contract

Make Plans for Your Estate

Make Good Decisions


In the introduction to this book I stated four axioms:

  1. Your most valuable asset is earning capacity
  2. Your most precious resource is time
  3. Your greatest enemy is procrastination
  4. Your biggest dangers lurk within

Thoughtful planning automatically embraces each of these tenets: It respects and protects your earning capacity, recognizes time constraints, avoids procrastination, and thwarts psychological biases.


Benefits of Advanced Planning

Consider the real-life case of a surgeon with three young daughters. He faces the future cost of three college educations and three weddings. Where’s that money going to come from? What if in addition to college costs, the children must be sent to private schools because local public schools are not very good? He doesn’t want his children to be paralyzed by debt when they graduate from college, but he doesn’t know how to arrange things such that tuition isn’t sucking the family’s savings away. He doesn’t know how much insurance is enough or too much. He doesn’t know how to invest systematically.

This scenario is based on a true story, and many households face similar challenges. Some people respond by putting decisions off, and only re-engaging when the challenges can no longer be ignored—often when it’s too late to make good decisions.

Instead of reacting to circumstances, it’s better to plan proactively. A doctor earning the average surgeon’s salary should be able to meet all these financial challenges successfully. But only if he follows a disciplined plan beginning early in his career.

Proper planning sets you up for success by ensuring that:

  1. Your debts are covered (through full understanding of debt repayment options and the dangers of becoming over-extended)
  2. You have plans in place in the event of disability or premature death
  3. You have a plan in place to fund children’s education expenses (and weddings)
  4. You have a solid sense of the financial products and estate planning tools needed to meet your family’s needs
  5. You know your assets are as safe as you can make them
  6. Your taxes are minimized
  7. Your savings are maximized (and you avoid questionable investments)
  8. You know your assets will reach intended heirs or other destinations (in a tax-efficient manner)
  9. You’re able to retire sooner rather than later
  10. You feel financially secure and you don’t lose sleep over money issues

In medical terms, the point of advance planning, and of this entire book, is that preventative medicine is far more effective than reactive medicine. It’s far easier to anticipate financial needs and dangers than it is to clean up the mess after disasters strike.

Do your family a favor—plan ahead!

Many doctors can’t plan ahead because they don’t know where to start. This book provides that starting point with a basic education on all major financial planning issues. 

My hope is that defining the universe of necessary knowledge and helping you get your arms around it will give you enough confidence to get started. Once you begin with some financial decisions, the rest will become progressively easier.

I hope this book helps you build some momentum in your decision making, and I wish you and your family happiness and prosperity.