This doctor’s $$ goals for 2022

The year is 2022 and many of us want this year to be better than last year. Rather than just hoping this will happen, let’s set some realistic goals and take steps to reach them. Here are some of my goals:

1. Continue to invest at least 10% of my salary in retirement accounts. Investing gives me the opportunity to grow my money. Indeed, due to inflation, the money held in a savings account loses purchasing power by the day. To prevent this, I put a certain amount in an emergency fund and invest the rest as a habit.

Knowing I can’t rely on me actively putting the money into investment accounts every month, I do it automatically by having 10% of my paycheck automatically invested in my work 403(b) – similar to 401( k) — before the money reaches my bank account. I also automatically invested a set amount in my Roth IRA.

You can do the same. The amount you invest is entirely up to you, but with automatic contributions to your 403(b) or Roth IRA, you can start building wealth well before you retire, giving you more options going forward.

2. Earn more money from side hustles (increase passive income). As a senior physician who will start his scholarship next year, I have not yet received the “big money”. I’m making more than my freshman year as a doctor, but I still haven’t gotten that extra raise.

While I’m anxious to get paid more, I refuse to put my life on hold for a year and a half until the time comes. While many people choose moonlighting (working extra shifts as a doctor) to supplement their income, I’ve always been concerned that doing so could cause me to burn out from medicine.

So I tried to increase my income in other ways. For me, that means monetizing my hobbies and increasing passive income. I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars doing this as a practicing doctor and would encourage other doctors to consider passive income ideas or monetize some of their hobbies to increase their monthly income as well.

3. Avoid piling up consumer debt. When I started my residency, I had a lot of credit card debt. I accumulated most of this before I went to med school. I couldn’t pay it off while I was graduating, so I still had it when I graduated and started residency. The interest rate on my credit card was 10%, which means I was charged additional interest every day I owed it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the sooner I paid off the debt, the more interest I would save.

When I got my first job as a doctor, I prioritized large credit card payments and paid off the debt in less than a year and a half. I’m still credit card debt free, so my goal for this new year is not to accumulate any more. It can be tempting to use my credit card to book flights, pay for vacations, and buy other items on sale, but resisting the urge has served me well. In 2022 I hope to continue this practice.

4. Save money for future vacations. One of the ways I avoid racking up credit card debt is to plan ahead. I save money upfront for big expenses like vacations, travel, Christmas gifts, and friends’ weddings to avoid having those expenses charged to a credit card. I also deposited a percentage of the money from each paycheck into a completely different bank account. I use the money in this bank account to save for future big expenses. Because these automatic deductions go into a separate bank account, I cannot rely on memory or self-control. I plan to continue this same practice in 2022.

5. Make time for self-care. As a senior physician starting his fellowship next year, life is busy and occasionally stressful.

One of the ways I want to reduce stress and improve my well-being is by investing in self-care. For me, that means reading more books, finding time to rest and relax, having regular therapy sessions, and maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits. Life can be hectic, but making time for my own self-care and happiness is better for my overall sanity and longevity.

Altelisha Taylor, MD, is a family medicine resident.

This post appeared on KevinMD.

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