Money Confessions of a 40 Year Old Doctor

Financial Confessions of a 40-year old Doctor

I started work as a terrified intern saddled with, what seemed at the time, a huge amount of debt.

I remember wishing there was some sort of financial guide to help me dig myself out of debt, and use my wage in an efficient manner to create financial stability.  In comparison with our US colleagues Aussie graduates have it really easy, but debt never feels good.

Through the years, finance rarely came up in conversation with older doctors.  It’s something we just don’t talk about.  I have been frustrated, after making financial mistakes, to discover many senior colleagues had made similar errors.

The idea of this blog was tumbling around my head for a couple of years before, during hotel downtime between locum shifts, I took the plunge and started this site.  In writing this blog, please do not mistake me for a finance professional or expert in investing.  I simply want to share financial shortcuts and mistakes discovered over my career, and encourage others to do the same.

On to my mistakes, in the hope my confessions can help you avoid regretful decisions, or at least make you feel better about the choices you have already made.  Please don’t judge me for the stupidity of youth…

Financial Confession No 1: Debt Management

I was brought up to understand debt is bad, and mortgages a necessary evil that should be paid off asap.  In some ways, I heeded this wisdom.  I have still never borrowed for a car purchase (a major destroyer of wealth).  In other areas. I completely flunked this test of patience and self-control

University loan payments – that magical money that arrived in my account to be spent on beer, clothes, rent and books. Loan money didn’t seem “Real”.

I wasn’t earning it and I told myself that it would feel like a small tax out of my generous postgraduate wage.  I wasn’t particularly extravagant as a student, but certainly could have done with treating my loans like “Real money”.  I have now experienced paying the whole painful amount back dollar by dollar.  For any student readers, don’t deprive yourself, but do make sure your spending consciously and cautiously!  You will have many better things to spend your money on 5-10 years after graduation than paying back debt.

In the last six months of medical school, I got a bit spendy.  The looming promise of a regular pay cheque convinced me to relax a bit more.  I swiped my way to several thousand dollars in high interest debt (at 29.9% interest, at the time this did not even fill me with horror.)  Unthinkably dumb! So many people live like this – trapped in a cycle of paying off minimum amounts of credit card debt by huge interest charges.  My first few intern months were spent on paying this silly debt off.

Not completely cured of stupidity, after buying my first home, I succumbed to the temptation of decorating it with “Decent” furniture asap.  A trip to a local furniture store later, I had acquired several pieces of new furniture on an interest only deal!  I thought I was being super smart (and keeping the money in my new offset account)…. They charged administration charges to the “Interest free account” so I may as well have been paying interest, and ended up paying for this furniture for long after it was new and filling me with pleasure to use.  And of course, I spent the offset money on something else.

biggest money mistakes to avoid

Financial Confession No 2: Home purchase and renovations

My home purchase I do not count as a mistake – it has given us shelter, a sense of security and finally, after a decade – I’m paying less in mortgage payments than I would have been in rent.  Whenever you hear a widely accepted truth, such as “Rent money is dead money” stop and question it.

In this article, I discuss and calculate, whether a home is better financially to buy or rent.  Money isn’t everything, and the sense of satisfaction and stability are priceless.  But financially, I would have been far better buying an investment property in a capital growth area (or putting savings into index funds) and continuing to pay rent in the regional town I lived.

The “Big Reno” has a created a house that fits our family’s lifestyle so much better, with loads of room for the kids to run around, and a pool they have learned to swim in.  We love it!

But we over invested, and it will take quite a few years in measly growth to make the money back in value.

Before you take on a big renovation, consider the financial aspects, top value house in the area (you want to spend no more than your renovated house will be worth) and whether you would be better buying, taking in to account 6% buying and 2% selling costs.

Financial Confession No 3: New Car purchase

Most people have no idea how much of an impact their behaviour with cars affects their long-term financial outlook.  Buying new cars, trading in regularly and car loan interests can steal your financial freedom.

Mr Money Moustache has analysed all aspects of financial efficiency in life and gives some great advice about cutting the costs of car ownership.

My “crime” was to buy a new car.  I was scared of buying an unreliable second hand car.  And maybe a little bit felt I deserved better than the hunks of junk I had brought so far in cash.

That was a decade ago (but feels like 5 minutes), the car was not particularly well looked after (I’m lazy) and is scratched, dented and looks suspiciously like I may be allowing homeless people to live in it.

But it still gets me from A to B, and will last me (hopefully) for at least another 5 years.

Disappointingly, the New car feeling lasted for a few weeks.

The most cost-effective way to own a car is…don’t.

After that a great 2nd hand car from a very reliable make, is far more efficient given the huge losses in value from depreciation over the first 5 years of a car’s existence.  Holding on to that car until you need to replace it (rather than when you get bored, or it begins to look scruffy) also improves efficiency.

Financial Confession No 4: Not Paying for a Financial Advisor, and taking advise

I thought I was doing the responsible thing, after a big jump in pay, to see a “Financial adviser” to organise my finances. It turns out he was an insurance and managed fund salesman.  He did get my partner and I to review our insurance needs, and secure better life and disability as well as income protection insurance at a relatively young age (the premiums increase steeply during 30s).

However, he also convinced me to move my superannuation to a “Superwrap” product that was charging 4%!  I was reluctant, but he was pretty convincing that the better performance would outweigh the fees, and after all – you get what you pay for.  They didn’t of course, and after 3 inefficient years, I moved my superannuation to the original fund and will likely stick with them until retirement.

Remember, the fees are the only thing that is ever guaranteed!  Ruthlessly minimise fees to get ahead.

Finance confession No 5 Salary Sacrifice

For years, this just seemed too confusing, and I was too lazy to take advantage.  Ridiculous!  Too lazy to make a phone call and fill in some forms to get free money (the tax I paid!  Every time I changed job, this was a big hassle I often didn’t get round to sorting out for months or years.  It is a great deal, don’t be lazy, Read this article, and salary sacrifice your accommodation costs and superannuation

financial drift

Financial Confession No 6: Drift

“Drift” is a term I first heard on the US based Choose FI podcast and it summarizes a common pattern I fell in to.

I have always been interested in personal finance, but often get to a point (especially in my early training years) where progress towards financial goals was extremely slow -and I would lose interest and focus for years at a time.

During this period, automated actions such as paying into my mortgage continued, but extra income that was gained through pay rises was absorbed into the households spending unconsciously.  Actively using those pay rises could have got me to financial goals faster, but nothing changed until I snapped back in to goal setting mode.

Drift is almost inevitable, for a medical professional probably even more so.  The demands of work, postgraduate training and exams are extreme.  You will not have time to keep your finger on the financial pulse of your household too.

Set your goals. Automate as much as possible (savings & investments), make an appointment with yourself to review your goals and progress.  Set a reminder on your phone, calender or email once or twice a year to meet with yourself (and partner if you have one) to limit the destructive effect of drift and keep on track to your financial goals.

Financial Confession No 7: Money organisation

With our mortgage, 10 years ago, came multiple offset accounts.  This should have been great, but meant to a disorganised mess with overdrawn fees as a result of money being in the wrong account.

Each household needs a money organising system.  Finances get more complex as you grow older, and often spend on many more items.

I have trialed a few systems, the most important feature seems to be separating discretionary spending (Wants) from obligatory spending (Needs).  There are some grey areas, but decide for yourself what are Wants and needs, and pay for wants our of a separate account – with a set amount to spend each week/fortnight/month.

Barefoot investor is the system I have adopted.  Empower wealth have a book and online platform free for use by anyone.

Hopefully I’ve given you some red flag signs to watch for before making any big money mistakes.Anyone want to make feel me a bit better by sharing their own financial errors?

No More Keeping Up with Dr Jones: New Year New FInances

Money management doctors

No More Keeping Up with Dr Jones: New Year New Finances

Most doctors are blessed with having a meaningful and rewarding career they love.   The average intern wage is around $70,000, rising well above average Australian income within a few years.

Doctors are in a privileged position of earning enough to cover the necessities (food, shelter, transport) fairly easily, providing opportunities and choices that only comfortable incomes can provide.

The oddities of behavioural economics can quickly become more pronounced, and preposterous in those with higher incomes.  Many households feel trapped by ever increasing financial commitments, often not truly understanding where their generous income disappears.

Some doctors will spend all their generous income, failing to save enough for investments, emergencies, timely retirement (lavish) or (planned or unplanned) time off work.

The Hedonic Treadmill

doctor finances

While income is barely adequate, people dream of paying bills worry-free.  Many feel that this financial security would be “enough”.

But barely as soon as this income level is exceeded, and the household is financial stress-free, aspirations tend to grow.  It only seems reasonable to treat yourself to a better car, a bigger house and luxury holidays.  Somehow the income is never quite enough to pay for everything.

The pleasure brought about by indulgent purchases tends to be short live, even if it provides ongoing greater comfort.  We become accustomed to the greater level of comfort, and take it for granted.

Hedonic adaptation is described in a 1971 study which found even lottery winners’ long-term happiness wasn’t affected positively by their windfall.   We risk never achieving contentment by continually chasing the next indulgence.

Mindless Spending

When people no longer have to worry about paying their bills, they can stop organising or planning their money.

Discretionary spending on luxury expenses tends to grow and fill the gap between income and expenses.  Previously considered “Luxury spending” soon become considered “Essential spending”.  Gym and golf club memberships, subscriptions and upgraded car payments are all valid ways to spend the money you earned – if you value them.

Thoughtless spending can increase to a ridiculous level.  It’s easy to dismiss the 200%+ premium paid for convenience when $5 or even $20 doesn’t seem significant.  The sense of value for money is lost, and replaced with “I can afford it” or “I deserve it”.    In reality, this wasting of seemingly small values may be robbing the spender of more significant future rewards.

Do you track your spending to see how much really disappears through these thoughtless, often impulsive purchases?  Is there a better way this money could be directed?  Retirement savings, kids’ education savings and charitable contributions are contenders (maybe you have other ideas?).   There has been a trend of social media of posting what has changed in your life in the last decade.  Think ahead another 10 years, what would you like to have achieved?  Does it really include buying more stuff to show off?  Do you have any meaningful aspirations?

Spending should be guided by the priorities of the household. It seems as if this should be obvious and automatic, but often the two become separated and it a wake-up call to bring them back in to alignment

Keeping Up with The Joneses

Status symbols are everywhere, from the houses we live in, cars we buy and clothes we wear. People seem to aspire to showing off how rich and crass they are.  The phrase “Keeping Up with the Joneses” is thought to originate from a 1913 cartoon about exactly this human behaviour.  The rise of mass media, then social media has just added fuel to the superficial, self-indulgent fire of consumerism.

Advertisement is cleverly designed to take advantage of the almost unanimous insecurity of humans that we are not enough.  How else can you explain the ridiculous decision some make to pay thousands of dollars on a bag?

Marketing aims to convince our subconscious the product is needed to “keep up” or boast!  The most successfully promoted brands not only get consumers to pay top dollar for a product but plaster the company brands name across the product as free advertising!  And we consumers seem to lap it up!

It all seems pretty silly, and most of us have probably rolled our eyes at hugely popular social media influencers making a living by posing as the images of “perfection” we apparently want to be.

But are doctors immune to this behaviour?  Certainly not!  Shackling themselves to excessive mortgages to buy the best house in the best suburb and buying luxury cars are not terrible decisions if the personal value or investment potential of these financial decisions are weighed carefully against opportunity costs.

how to pay less tax

The More You Earn the Less You're Paid

Income tax in Australia is progressive, meaning the more you earn the more you’re taxed.  Tax rates peak at 45%.  In reality that means, as a fully qualified specialist, you work for less net pay as you work more hours.  Good news for those interested in lifestyle optimisation; cutting down to part-time will likely mean a smaller cut in income than you would expect.

In the example below a specialist earning a generous, but not unrealistic $250,000 gross annually for full time work and is considering cutting down to 30 hours per week.

Full time Specialist

0.75 FTE Specialist

Gross Earnings

$250,000

$187,000

Net annual Take home

$164,000

$130,028

Average Take home per Hour

$79

$83

Now this is a simplistic comparison, not taking into account the medicare levy, childcare rebates (which would both be more advantageous for the lower earning specialist) or the likely lower opportunities for career progression associated with part-time work.

Some doctors clearly live for the job and love to be there all the time?  Others enjoy work more when they’re working less, or wish to spend more time caring for children.

How to increase savings rate

Make Active, Conscious Spending Decisions

With a small amount of active planning, and practising conscious “switched on” spending a healthy surplus (or freedom fund) should be easily found which can be directed in to investments to provide you with choice in the future.

At the intern stage, most will have significant student loans to pay off, but there is no rush.  Plan to live within your means during this year.  Spend less than you earn and save something regularly (no matter how small and seemingly insignificant).  Increase your savings each year as your wage goes up, and when they start to become significant (always surprises me how quickly this seems to happen) start considering a plan for making your money work for you.

There are many distractions along the way, and you will be surrounded by doctors buying fancy cars, and expensive houses, spending money as if it’s burning a hole in their pockets.

Subscribe to something that will help remind you to keep spending in line with your values, and set yourself a date to review financial goals once or twice a year (New year and tax time for me).

Remember to Allow Fun Money

It’s important to have some completely guilt free money – an allocation for each person in our household to spend how they see fit.

Our discretionary spending budget is allocated and automatically transferred to our individual accounts every pay day.  It stops me feeling guilty for ever buying anything frivolous, allows me to save for selfish, but wonderful experiences, and stops my partner from raiding the financial cookie bin.

We also have a holidays account, which I have recently emptied to take the family to Lapland – a once in a lifetime trip I admit is self-indulgent but in line with my familys’ priorities.

What are your financial goals for 2020 and beyond?

How to Break Free from Debt: An Aussie Doc Guide

how to get more joy from your money

How to Break Free from Debt: An Aussie Doc Guide

Doctors are wealthy, right?  Well, that is the expectation.  Australian doctors are well compensated in arguably the country with the highest standard of living country on Earth.  But the truth is, income does not make you wealthy.

Doctors are graduating from medical school with between $60,000 and $150,000 debt.  On top of that come mortgages, a car and yet more debt.  Doctors often feel pressure to keep up with societal expectations of wealth and status.  In order to build financial security, doctors (like everyone else), need to spend less than they earn, actively pay down debt and invest for the future.  Financial freedom and a comfortable retirement are not automatic.

It’s time to face the truth.  Although it is very tempting to hide your head in the sand, facing up to your debt is without a doubt the fastest way to get on top of it, so you can start building financial security.

Give yourself an hour to look through your debts and work out the following:

Debt

Amount

Interest Rate

Minimum Payment Necessary

Bad debts…

Tolerable Debts…

Good Debts…

I think its important to reflect on which debts are “good” – helping you build wealth, and those that are “Bad” – so that you are less likely to make the same mistakes again.  Most of us have had bad debts at some point.  There’s no point in beating yourself up, no judgement!  Just mark which debts were Good, Bad or Tolerable after reading the explanation below.

Bad Debts

These arise from periods when expenses were unable to be met by income – either from lack of willpower, inability to earn income, or unanticipated expenses.  They are often avoidable with forward planning and an Emergency Fund. These debts will keep you poor, especially if you are unable to pay them off quickly – the interest compounds and you are literally throwing your money away instead of using it to develop a financial base.  Once your out of “bad debt” and have an emergency fund, life gets cheaper.  You don’t pay interest if your car blows up and needs an expensive repair, credit gets cheaper when you need it for better debt too.

When I graduated from medical school I had a few “F*!% it, I’m almost finished and then I’ll have loads of money” moments, resulting in a the debts below

Debt

Amount

Interest

Store Card

$500

29.9% (!)

Credit Card

$2000

17%

Included in the bad debt category

  • Afterpay/Zip pay or equivalent
  • Personal loans
  • Car loans
  • Credit cards
  • Store cards
  • Harvey Norman (Ive done this too! They may be interest free, but they add fees and charges to your account each month!)

And any other debt that hasn’t helped you financially.

A special note about cars.  It’s often seen as sensible to borrow from the mortgage to buy a car, after all interest rates are at a record low.  But if this is not paid off quickly, the compounding effect of paying the car off over 30 years is astonishing!  I am of the belief cars should be paid for with cash if at all possible – it stops you getting carried away and upgrading too much!

Car financial mistake

And that’s at record low interest rates! At 6% your $40,000 car will cost $53,290 over 10 years, or a whopping $86,335 over 30 years.

Bad debt will keep you living pay check to pay check

Tolerable Debt

This is your mortgage for your principle place of residence (PPOR) UNLESS your choice of residence meets criteria to be a good debt.  Most houses are tolerable debt – they give you accommodation and so are necessary, but aren’t really helping you build wealth. Alas my own PPOR is in this category.

Good Debt

HELP Student Loans

To find out your up to date HELP debt including inflation adjustments, you need to create (if you haven’t already) and log in to your My Gov Account.

When you sign your employment paperwork you need to let them know you have HELP debt.  Repayments will be taken out of your wage by the tax office as soon as you hit the income threshold ($45881 this year).  You have to make repayments, based on your income as long as your working here, or overseas and the debt does not go away if you declare bankruptcy. The ATO website outlines how much is to be repaid based on income

For those about to start their intern year, this probably means you will have a few months pay (6-9 months) before having to start paying HECS back.

There is no rush to pay your HELP off faster, unless it’s bugging you.  As I say, it’s the cheapest debt you will ever have so while you have any other debt, prioritize that.

Private Student Loans

These may be charging you 10-15% interest and so are obviously a priority to get paid off over HELP

Mortgage on Carefully Chosen Principal Place of Residence

If you are clever enough to have brought a great quality property in an area destined for significant and sustained capital growth, your mortgage can also be considered a good debt.  Although it won’t provide an income while you’re living in it, the value will grow and can be used to build wealth through other investments.  Do not make the mistake of assuming any house you have brought is likely to have good capital growth.  Look up the capital growth of your suburb over the past 10 years – if it’s been growing consistently over the interest rate over a long time, this is a promising sign.

Tax Deductible Investment of Business Loans

Are used to build wealth.  But they have to be used to buy strong investments.  If you borrow to buy an investment that does not appreciate in value it is not growing wealth so is probably a bad debt.

The Strategy

Now if you haven’t done so already, check in to those accounts and document all your debts.  It is critical to TAKE ACTION if you want to get ahead.

Next, you need to work out how much income you can spare to pay off bad or high interest debt.  For interns to be, your net pay is likely to be $4300-$4900 per month and I recommend saving 20% – (~$860/mo) this can be used to pay off bad and/or high interest debts, build an emergency fund and then invest.  If you stick to this and increase the amount saved every year when your pay goes up, you will be in a strong financial position very soon. Perhaps you already have financial commitments, and 20% is really not realistic?  Start with what you can – 5 or 10% but make sure to increase every pay rise and you will be on the right track

The first few months before you have to start making repayments are a great opportunity to pay off any naughty debts off fast.  At $70,000 you will be expected to to pay back 4.5% – around $233 per month.  Prior to repayments starting, this can also be directed towards debt repayment.

You need to prioritize debt repayment.  You will need to make the minimum repayments on all debts, but will want to pay more to get rid of one debt at a time, in order from highest to lowest interest rate makes the most financial sense, although some people like to pay off a smaller debt first for the psychological encouragement.

If you would like a more detailed guide to paying off debt, managing your finances and building financial security Scott Pape’s “The Barefoot Investor” is the most loved among doctors, for good reason.

By now you should have

  • Researched and documented all your debts
  • Decided which are good, bad or tolerable
  • Worked out a plan of attack
  • Be able to identify bad debt opportunities and be able to avoid making these mistakes again and again!
  • Remember, once bad debt is paid off, to divert the cash flow freed up to wealthy building -mortgage pay off, additional superannuation payments or investments

Good Luck with managing your debt and moving on to a more secure future

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Just Graduating Medical School? Seven Steps to Start Your Journey to Financial Freedom

About to Graduate from Medical School? Seven Steps to Start on your Journey to Financial Freedom

So, you’re about to graduate from medical school, congratulations!  What an amazing achievement.  You will always look back at this time with pride and an incredible sense of achievement.

You may be dreaming of transitioning from the world of study and awkward loitering around the ward, to the world of a “proper” job, a sense of responsibility, your own patients and finally a regular pay cheque.

Beyond the amazing opportunity to make a positive impact on your future patients, your colleagues and the future of medicine, you have incredible financial opportunities too.

Medicine is well compensated.  You will likely earn above average income within a few years and could fairly easily achieve financial freedom to do what you want, travel and make the world a better place with donations or charitable work.

It is easy to assume these privileges will be yours no matter what you do with your modest first pay cheques.

But the small choices you make with your money add up to define your financial future.  You cannot, even on a doctor’s wage, have everything you want without planning for it.

Those of you with good financial intentions may have noticed financial planners sponsoring medical school events, graduation balls or sending you invitations to join their privileged group.

Doctors are usually time poor, and known for their ineptitude with money.  We also tend to be a little too trusting, assuming other professions follow a similar ethical code to our own.

Be aware that these companies are interested in you because of your potential to pay them lots of money over the next forty years.

Be very careful who you get advice from – you should contact them (not the other way around) and pay for advice up front, rather than let them earn through commission or management fees, which is likely to cost you multiples more in the long-term.

An average adult’s full-time earnings were $82,752 in 2018.  The average full-time intern earns around $70,000 in 2019, and earnings increase quickly over the first ten years.  But many specialists end up with no idea where their high income goes, and lack the freedom and choice they desire in life.

Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your finances organised for a bright future. 

  1. Work Out Where Your Stand at the Start:

     a. Student Loans

I want you to log in to your student loan accounts and work out how much you owe.

Many people bury their heads in the sand (OK, I did this) and try and avoid acknowledging how much debt they are in.

You are going to have to pay these off one day.

You need to work out how much you owe, how much interest you will be charged, and how much of your intern wage is going to go towards paying these off.

Whether to pay off your student loans aggressively is something to be considered carefully, and weighed up against investing that extra money for a potentially greater return.

 b. Bad debts

You may have built up some of these towards the end of medical school (ahem, OK, again I’m guilty!).

Credit and store cards are likely to be charging you a should-be-illegal interest rates of 20-30% so are going to be a top priority to pay off as soon as possible

 c. Necessary Debts

Perhaps your already committed to a mortgage.

Now is a good time to review things.  How much do you owe?  Do you have any equity?

Was the property a good investment and will likely grow more equity over the years, off which you can leverage for further investments?

Are you being charged a competitive interest rate?  Do you have offset accounts set up that your pay can go in to, and your savings stored in, in order to minimise interest paid?

 d. Investment Debts

Maybe you’re well ahead of the pack and have already got investment loans.

Or perhaps you’ve made some ill-advised choices over the years.

Time to face up to the situation, whatever it is.

Similar to your principal place of residence, is this a good investment, can you manage the debt, what interest rate are you paying?

 e. Your Expected Living Expenses

Hopefully these will be fairly low.  Sit and work it all out.  The amount to which you can control your regular living expenses will determine how much you are able to pay down debt, save and invest.

 f. Work out your “Gap”

The gap between your income and expenses is going to define your future wealth. Even if its only a tiny amount at the moment, as long as it’s a surplus you’re on the right track.

The aim is to start with a small POSITIVE ‘Gap” and increase this every time you get a pay rise.

You can use this “Gap” to save up your emergency fund, pay down extra debt or invest for the long-term.

2. Emergency Fund

Work out how much emergency fund you need, and work out how to save it up.  What sort of emergencies can you see cropping up?

Car blowing up?  Needing to fly interstate in case of a family emergency?

What if you’re sick and unable to work before building up sick leave allowance?

Most financial experts recommend 3-6 months expenses saved; this will take a while!

Start with a more achievable $1000-2000 depending on what emergencies seem possible to you.

Work out how quick you’re able to save this by setting some money aside each pay.

  1. Insurance needs

Consider whether you need income protection, life insurance or total permanent disability insurance at this stage.

Do you have dependents? What would happen if you couldn’t work, or were permanently disabled?

Check what insurance is automatically included in your super, and whether this is appropriate for you and your stage of life.

Don’t cancel insurance unless you have carefully considered the long-term issues with this.

  1. Long-term plans

This is really tricky!  If you already have a ten, twenty or forty year plan – write it down, work out what your relevant financial goals are and then work out how you are going to reach them over the prescribed time period.

If you have no idea, it is safe to assume you will want to do something with your life in the next twenty + years that is going to cost money!

You may want to buy a house, take time off to travel or work for free, pay off student loans or take time off to have children (and many doctors don’t end up qualifying for any paid parental leave).

Once you have paid off any high interest debts and got an emergency fund, the extra money freed up can be immediately redirected (by direct debit) to savings before it disappears.

Options initially include savings accounts, share investment (including micro-investing), superannuation (including first home savers scheme).

It may seem the amount you can put aside is too small to be worthwhile.

It’s not, and you have to start, and will be surprised after a couple of years by the significant amount you’ve built up if you stick with it.

5. Superannuation

Surely I’m too young to think about this I can hear you moan!

I hate to break the bad news to you, but your years behind in starting to contribute given all those years in higher education.

At bare minimum, make sure you tick the box that means you contribute enough to get the maximum amount paid into your super account from your employer.

After your debts are paid off consider why you would make voluntary contributions.

6. Buy your first car – or better, don’t

Consider whether you really need a car straight away, and what you should buy

7. Buy and read “The Barefoot Investor” by Scott Pape.

For a few, his advice is insultingly obvious.  For most, its life changing.

Definitely the book your likely to be recommended by a doctor if asked for financial advice.

Worth buying a paper or kindle copy to refer back to over the years as your circumstances change.

Will have you organising your money and building investments automatically -which really is the secret!

I wish you all the best in your first year of practice.

I hope your patients are the right balance of interesting and challenging.

I hope you’re well supported by your superiors and peers.

Your learning curve will be sharp and with luck you wont find your intern year too traumatic.

I hope you make the most of all the wonderful opportunities you encounter.

Good luck!

Subscribe to Aussie doc to receive weekly blog posts in your inbox as they are released

Interns may want to sign up to the Intern Crash course – ten emails delivered once a week that cover the basics of what you need to know about finance when you start getting paid.

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