It is my firm conviction that a financially independent physician is a better doctor. Financial independence does wonders to treat and prevent burnout. That said, focusing too much on the goal of financial independence can also cause major harm. It magnifies the parts of the job that we hate, and can throw our work-life balance off-kilter. For this reason, it is important to enjoy today. One way we can do this is by celebrating the milestones to financial independence.
If you are short on milestone ideas, this post is for you. And with each goal, I want you to celebrate your accomplishments in a way that will build permanent memories.
The Ten Financial Independence Milestones
Though these milestones are listed in numerical order, they don’t have to happen that way. For example, you might accomplish number 5 before you accomplish number 4.
That said, each goal is important and worthy of celebrating! Let’s get to it.
1) Positive Momentum
While I prefer the avalanche method to paying down debt, the snowball method does involve nice imagery. In order to tackle our debts, we need to get the snowball moving down hill. In other words, the first step is simply positive momentum.
Just like a snowball rolling down hill, the first step worth celebrating in the journey towards financial independence is gaining positive momentum. In the life of most young medical professionals, this usually happens at the end of training.
When you finally finish that long road, and experience your first attending paycheck, this is certainly a cause worth celebrating. Just don’t forget to use The 10% Rule to keep that celebration in check! This is not your permission to allow massive lifestyle creep.
What did I do? The dumbest financial thing one can do. I financed a naturally aspirated, V-8 four-door sedan with a corvette engine and a stick. Oh, and we bought a country club membership. Basically, I am a walking stereotype. But that’s how we spent our 10% increase before I traded that car to buy a new truck in cash.
Then, we went to work financially and increased our net worth $250,000 in one year.
2) $100,000 in Student Loans Paid Off
If you are in the 20% of medical students who graduate with no medical school debt, you get to celebrate this one early. For the rest of us mere mortals, paying off this mountain of debt is a big deal.
However, even if you are hammering away at your debt it will take some time. And that can be discouraging. So, I encourage you to celebrate the moment when you pay off six figures of student loan debt. That is a big frickin’ deal.