PRIORITIES – PART TWO: THE LIST
Don’t rent a posh apartment. Rent a reasonable apartment. If it’s just you, you only need a studio or a 1 bedroom in a reasonable and safe area close to the hospital, especially for those of you living in a metropolitan area. If you’re ok with it, get a roommate or two and share a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment. Having roommates saves you a ton of money. If you’re lucky enough to be doing internship/residency where family is… LIVE WITH THEM, if you can handle it.
Free rent is the dream.
Don’t buy nice furniture. Yes, you’re a doctor, but you don’t make “doctor money”. Go buy some furniture from Ikea or Walmart or wherever, break out your Allan wrench and put it together. It just needs to get you through internship and residency.
Furniture should be function over form. You don’t need to impress anyone.
Don’t buy a pet. If you already have one, that’s fine, you managed as a medical student so you’re probably used to it. But as an intern, the last thing you want to do after your overnight shift is come home and walk Fido in the -10 degree winter. Visit your friends that have cute pets, but don’t buy one. Trust me on this one.
Pets are a luxury and a responsibility. You can’t afford luxury and you don’t need more responsibility.
Don’t lease a car, especially not an expensive BMW or a Benzo. You don’t need to show off to anyone. When you lease a car, you are paying for convenience and basically renting a car for an extended period of time. Leasing is a fine option for people who need to have new cars all the time and can afford it. That excludes you. You don’t have any money!
If you have a car from medical school, keep it and run into the ground. However, if it’s time for another car, go get a used one, either Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) or from Carmax. For more savvy car people, then go ahead and use Auto Trader and/or Craigslist. If you absolutely need to buy a new car for yourself, then please buy something reasonable and reliable like a Corolla or a Camry or something.
Leasing a nice car is for rich people who can afford it… not you.
Don’t live month to month. You will need to be paying off some of your loans each month, but you should still be able to save some money every month since your repayments should be IBR or REPAYE or some variation thereof. It doesn’t matter if you make $1000 a month or $10000 a month…
If you spend everything you make every month; you’re living month to month.
Don’t feel the need to foot the bill all the time. For some of you, you will be the “rich doctor” in your circle of friends. Don’t lose sight of the fact that they probably make more money than you, have been working longer than you, and probably have a lot less debt than you.
You are not richer than them.
Don’t run up credit card debt.
Your credit card balance should be zero every month. If it is not, then you are living outside of your means and need to tone it down.
Credit card debt is like cancer. If you don’t get rid of all of it the first time, it comes back stronger.
Above all else: DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT BUY A HOUSE AS A RESIDENT. Continued in next post.
Read at least the bold parts of 1-7. Trust me.
Stay tuned for “The Rebuttal” in part three.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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