Financial planning translates to wanting to poke one’s eyes out…..right? Just kidding. For some it may feel that way, and for others, they enjoy the challenge. I personally think understanding personal finance is 100% empowerment and it can be super FUN! I promise! And that’s my goal with this blog, to make it fun, easy to understand, and also keep it real to make sure I’m sharing the best well-researched advice.
When you think about finances remember that it’s fun because you’ll be able to learn how to accomplish these three things and the major themes I’d like to focus on:
- How to earn at your maximum potential (how to negotiate a higher salary, build skills to become indispensable etc.)
- How to actually keep the money you earn (budgeting, savings, tax saving strategies, and running the numbers before making decisions)
- How to best make your money work for you by maximizing all the different applicable accounts and investing in index funds
Personally, I think it’s a crime that personal finance isn’t taught in US schools and I hope we can change that in the future. I believe anyone can do it. As a first-generation college graduate, if I can understand the ropes of personal finance, I think anyone can, and my goal is to make it easy for you to understand. I’m a physician-turned-entrepreneur-turned-hopefully many other things in the future, and my goal is to share advice that is applicable to anyone earning a sizeable income or potential for income, to help them grow wealth and reach financial independence/empowerment.
We all work really hard for our money, and so it’s only right to make sure every dollar is working hard for us too (we will talk later exactly how to do this). But before you get overwhelmed, consider the following questions to get you started in the right direction.
Financial Planning Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
Q1: Do You Understand the Basics of Personal Finance?
The answer here should be yes, and if it’s not, here’s something to consider: Even if this is hard for you, or you vehemently dislike finances and just want to hire someone to do it, here are my thoughts on hiring a financial planner: you must learn the basics yourself or you risk being taken advantage of. Learning personal finance is totally worth your time because it’s an integral part of your life, your future and no one will care about your money like you do.
Q2: Can You Handle Your Own Finances?
First try to see if you can handle it yourself little by little. Most people can with a positive attitude and the right guidance. If you’ve tried your best, or literally have no time (we are talking you are an on-call 24/7, 365 surgeon mom) and you are stuck, then I’d suggest reaching out to a financial planner. Only work with a fee-only NAPFA certified planner, which means they only give you advice, have your best interest in mind and will not push products on you that they will receive commission on. I’d suggest calling 8-10 planners to ask questions and “interview” them to see which person is the best fit for you.
If you have all of your finances sorted, and would like an overview review, you can also do that, using the same type of financial planner (fee-only) and doing phone interviews before committing. We personally did this, found a great financial planner who worked with us for 4 hours via phone/plan and it was nice to have someone look over everything to make sure we are on the right path.
Q3: Are You Organized?
Now, off to the races on handling your finances! To really get in the groove, my suggestion is to make your physical environment work-friendly. Being organized with your finances is really important to help you track all of the expenses and give you a clear understanding of income input and output.
To start, take 2 hours on a weekend day, set a time alone or if you have a partner, and make a financial date out of it. Unlike what some believe, financial planning together with your partner can bring you closer together and relieve stress. Grab some hot coffee or drink, add some light background music, pull out your phone calculator or old-school calculator, and have your laptop on hand.
The hardest part about handling your finances is getting started. Otherwise, it's not rocket-science, it's about staying organized, plugging in numbers and having a plan. Happy Planning and thank you again for joining me here! :)