No one likes making mistakes, especially when they can be costly. I know that you likely share my perfectionist tendencies and are often averse to taking risks. As physicians, we are trained to carefully consider the risk-benefit ratio before making any decision because we know the consequences of making a costly mistake. While mistakes are inevitable in some aspects of our lives, we must be conscious of and deliberate in avoiding financial mistakes, as they can be detrimental to our financial well-being, and they can have significant consequences.
As an anesthesiologist, I understand the importance of minimizing mistakes, and I’ll do everything in my power to prevent them from happening. While some financial mistakes may seem obvious, such as not spending more than you earn, or hiding your money in your mattress, there are others that are not as apparent. By being intentional and mindful, we can set ourselves up for greater success in the future.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the top five financial mistakes that you need to avoid in 2023 to achieve smart money management. From not diversifying your portfolio to investing in something you don’t understand, we’ll cover expert tips to help you avoid these mistakes and set yourself up for financial success in the coming year.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to avoid these costly financial mistakes in 2023.
Mistake #1: Don’t Diversify Your Portfolio
Diversification is a key concept in investing, but it’s not always easy to achieve. While you may think you have a diversified portfolio because you have a mix of index funds and a retirement account, it’s essential to take a closer look. Especially with the current state of the economy, ask yourself “how have my investments held up?”
It’s crucial to have investments that move in different directions, so when one asset class is down, another can pick up the slack. If all of your investments are in one asset class, such as your medical practice, you may not be as diversified as you think. While it may be tempting to rely solely on your day job for income, there are many factors that could impact this, such as changes in regulations, technology, and the political environment.
For example, during the pandemic, many medical practices experienced a decline in revenue due to canceled appointments and elective procedures. If your income was solely tied up in your medical practice, this could have been a significant financial setback. By making diversified investments, you can mitigate the impact of any sector or asset class on your overall portfolio.
It’s also essential to diversify within asset classes. For example, if you only have index funds in your portfolio, you may be missing out on opportunities to invest in individual stocks, real estate, or other alternative investments that can provide additional diversification and potential returns.
So, take a closer look at your portfolio and see if you’re truly diversified. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your investments across different asset classes to reduce risk and increase potential returns. By diversifying your investments, you can weather any economic storms better and set yourself up for long-term financial success.
Mistake #2: Inadequate Insurance
Don’t underestimate the importance of insurance. Make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself and your assets from unexpected events. One area where many physicians fall short is disability insurance. As we age, our health can change, and unexpected accidents can occur, making it difficult to perform the duties of our job.
As a physician in my mid-40s, I’m doing my best to stay healthy, but I’ve noticed that my body is changing in ways that are hard to predict. When I first got disability insurance as a resident, it was more of a “just in case” precaution. However, as I’ve seen colleagues rely on their disability insurance due to health issues, I’ve come to realize the importance of having adequate coverage. As physicians, our ability to perform our job is critical to our income and financial stability. If we’re not healthy, we may not be able to perform the duties of our job, which could have significant financial consequences.
It’s crucial to have the right type of disability insurance, especially if you’re in a highly technical field like medicine. Without this type of coverage, you could be at risk of not receiving proper compensation if you’re unable to perform the duties of your specific occupation.
Your ability to create a large income through your work as a physician is one of your greatest assets. Protecting this asset with adequate disability insurance is critical. While it may be tempting to think you can self-insure once your investments create enough cash flow, it’s important to have proper insurance until you reach that point.
If you haven’t reviewed your disability insurance policy recently, I recommend speaking with an independent disability insurance agent to ensure you have adequate coverage. Protecting yourself and your financial future should be a top priority, and having proper insurance is a key part of achieving this goal.
Mistake #3: Not Taking Advantage of the Tax Code
Let’s face it, taxes are a pain. As a physician, I know that a big portion of my income goes towards taxes. But did you know that the tax code actually has incentives to encourage certain behaviors that are good for society?
That’s why it’s so important to understand how you can take advantage of the tax code to minimize your taxes and maximize your income. Know the tax laws and use them to your advantage. Maximize tax-deferred accounts, deductions, and credits to reduce your tax burden. The first step is to speak to a tax professional who understands your goals and what you’re trying to achieve.
For example, if you’re a real estate investor, finding a tax professional who specializes in real estate can make a huge difference in your tax bill. They can help you understand things like real estate professional status, which can help you convert passive losses from real estate into active losses and offset your W-2 income. In my own experience, finding the right tax professional completely changed what stayed in my pocket at the end of the year and allowed me to invest in my future and spend more time with my family.
So, if you’re not getting the guidance you need from your current CPA, it may be time to consider finding someone who better fits your goals and needs. Ask around to your friends and colleagues, or join online communities to find someone who can help you take advantage of the tax code and keep more of your hard-earned money.
Mistake #4: Investing Without Understanding
One financial mistake that you should definitely avoid is investing in things you don’t understand. As a physician, various people have approached me to invest in all sorts of things, from real estate to different funds to alternative investments. It’s easy to fall prey to the fear of missing out on opportunities, especially when you’re seen as a high-income professional with money to spare. But the problem is, if you don’t understand the investment, you don’t know where the risks lie.
Understanding risk is crucial when it comes to investing, and proper due diligence is necessary to mitigate those risks and increase potential for upside. I’ve seen examples of people who invested in things they didn’t understand and lost money along the way. It’s important to make sure that your investments are secure and will help you achieve your financial goals.
There are cases where people invest in something they don’t fully understand and end up losing money. For example, they may invest in a medical device that they have no knowledge about, but it just sounds promising. Or they may invest in a real estate development deal that they know nothing about and fail to do proper due diligence on the property, sponsor, or market. This happens frequently, and it’s challenging to see which investments are actually worth pursuing. To address this issue, our team created the Passive Real Estate Academy and a community around it to support each other, become more knowledgeable, and avoid making poor investment decisions.
Mistakes can be costly, both in terms of the money invested and the opportunity cost. That’s why it’s crucial to educate yourself and do your due diligence before investing in anything. This is especially important during times of economic uncertainty when people may be afraid to make any sort of investment.
Mistake #5: Stop Investing in Yourself
I completely understand and empathize with the feeling of wanting to cut back on expenses during tough times, but I believe that investing in yourself is one of the best ways to secure your future. We’ve all invested in ourselves in the past by taking out student loans and pursuing higher education, even though there was no guarantee of success. But it’s important to continue investing in yourself by attending conferences, networking with other professionals, reading books, and joining communities. Investing in yourself, both in terms of time and money, will pay off significantly in the long run. So, don’t forget to invest in your own skills and knowledge.
This is a time of great opportunity, and those who are educated, confident, and connected to the right resources will reap the benefits in the next 5-10 years. By investing in yourself today, you’re planting the seeds for your future success. I know that if you’re reading this, you’re already investing in yourself, but I want to emphasize the importance of staying hungry and continuing to learn new things. It’s okay to take nibbles at new opportunities to learn and grow, but make sure you do your due diligence and invest wisely.
In conclusion, investing in your financial future is crucial, but it’s equally important to avoid making costly mistakes that can derail your progress. We all must be intentional in looking out for these mistakes and mitigate their risks at all costs. This is the year and the right time to do an inventory and study your current portfolio. Take time to review your insurance and determine if it is adequate to protect you and your family. This also includes not investing large amounts of money without doing due-diligence. It’s time to bet on yourself by continuously investing in your education, attending conferences, talking to other people, buying books, and joining communities that can help you stay ahead.
By avoiding these financial mistakes, we can secure our financial freedom, have peace of mind, and be better prepared to take advantage of future opportunities, even in challenging times. Let’s take these steps and set ourselves up for future success!
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