You've graduated. Has reality set in yet? Years of hard work, sweat, stress tears, and way too many hours of studying have all culminated in you being able to call yourself a Doctor of Optometry! YES!
Now for a news flash: Do you know what comes next? I don’t mean to reign you back in so suddenly, but as the dust is begins to settle, you’re faced with a long list of questions that likely starts with "now what?" As a wealth advisor to many optometrists and recent graduates, I can tell you the #1 question that folks ask me is "What do I do now?" Alternatively:
- "Is there a game plan I can follow?"
- "How can I make sure that I’m set up for financial success?"
These questions are terrific, and I love it when people ask them because (while there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finances) there are absolutely some key things you can do right from the get-go!
1. Start working with a financial professional
One of the five key mistakes we find OD’s make is assuming they don’t have enough assets to work with an advisor. Get rid of that thought immediately. Ask your friends, colleagues, and most trusted mentors about who they are working with and why. A few areas you should be looking for right away include:
- Independent advisors who are comprehensive planners — they don’t represent any one specific insurance or investment product.
- Find yourself a fiduciary — someone, who by law, must act in your best interest not only today, tomorrow, and the day after, but each day after that. This is so important.
- Attend financial talks and dinners or get to know any advisors or firms that specialize in your industry. This is a great place to start.
Need even more reasons to work with a financial professional? Check out this interview on the benefits of working with a Certified Financial Planner!
2. Educate yourself on disability insurance
Find the appropriate terms, the right carriers for optometrists, and have this conversation right away with your advisor — trust me, they’ll bring it up 1st anyway. It’s that important.
3. Start planning for retirement
“What? But I’m just getting started?” Exactly! The truth is, if you’re starting now, you’re already behind. But that’s okay! It’s a challenge unique to doctors that you’re starting your career now, but the good news is that you are going to be a higher earner and can get caught back up quickly with dedication and a proper plan!
4. Create a budget
For some, this comes naturally. For others, it is a daunting task! If you fall in the latter camp, look for some financial technology apps to help try to make it fun! Taking control of where your assets go gives you the power and control to make great financial decisions. The sooner you master this, the closer you are to becoming financially successful.
Compare student loan refinancing rates 💰
Did you know that the average optometry student graduates with $173,000 of student loan debt? Paying off that debt requires smart budgeting and a lot of discipline. Many of the ODs in our community have also chosen to refinance their loans to lower the interest rates and/or reduce monthly payments. If you're looking to refinance, we heartily recommend that you check out Credible. In a nutshell, Credible is a free service that lets you compare prequalified student loan refinancing rates from up to 10 lenders without affecting your credit score. Click here to compare rates
5. Obtain life insurance
If someone else is going to be dependent on your new income or your practice, you absolutely have to have a conversation about life insurance. Your independent advisor will specialize in the life insurance marketplace and educate you on the differences between term and permanent insurances.
They can also walk you through other policies that a new business owner may need to acquire, such as key person life insurance or buy/sell agreements. Business planning and insurance planning go hand-in-hand, and it’s extremely important to be proactive with both. Discuss with your advisor today. None of us have any way of knowing what lies ahead, and failing to plan is planning to fail.
If you act on all the above, you’re going to be in terrific shape as your career progresses. If all of this feels overwhelming, that’s okay. Go back to step one, and the rest will begin to fall into place. Remember, you are never alone, and those who work with professionals will be that much closer to achieving their financial goals.
To learn more about steps, please contact me using my information below! I look forward to helping you navigate through your financial path toward new worry-free goals and dreams. Let’s get after it!
Are you ready for a powerful budgeting tool to add to your arsenal? Check out our Personal Cash Flow Calculator to help you budget, spend, and (most importantly) save!