Money management is more than just investing. It refers to managing the entire financial profile.
Undoubtedly, finances play a major role in our personal life. If your finances are in a mess, you cannot avoid stress for long, regardless of whether it matters to you or not.
In the case of doctors, the importance of good money management increases further.
Due to the late start of the earning life, a busy work schedule, and good earning potential you are more prone to making money mistakes that you may have to regret later.
Although investing is crucial, but to get the most out of your personal finances, it is essential to follow the money management fundas to the core:
1. Getting family members involved in the process
There are different meanings attached to money for different people. It is the management of the family’s limited finances that determines the future of all family members, whether they be your kids, spouse, or parents.
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In addition, every family member has their own usage and desires around money. House expenses make up a large portion of your budget that needs to be on track so that you can have an adequate surplus to accomplish your dreams.
It is important for your children to understand the value of money and hard work without which no savings will be enough.
Furthermore, buying insurance is of little use if there is no arrangement of distribution and proper usage in case of an eventuality. (Also Read: 5 risks doctors are exposed to and how to manage them?)
The point is that it is not only about you only but the complete family.
So, why not involve the complete family in the process? May not immediately but gradually.
After all, the entire planning and management may fall apart without their understanding and involvement.
You will need your family members to have answers to a lot of questions if you are seriously considering money management, such as Where is all the money invested? Where are the documents lying? What is the financial plan of the family? Whom to contact for what? etc.
2. When using money, always ask “why”
“Why is money important to you?” Ask yourself, to your family members and you will get many deep-rooted emotional answers coming from Hope, excitement, and fear.
It will help you understand why you spend, save, and for what.
Why did you buy the latest smartphone? Why did you spend so much on last month’s online sale when you already have enough clothes? Why do you want to spend so much on your kid’s wedding? Why did you buy or sell a particular product? Why do you have so many insurance policies?…and so on. When you’re not aware of “why,” you tend to spend haphazardly and invest aimlessly and carelessly.
Your “WHY” will take you closer to your goals and give you a better understanding of what really matters in life.
3. Investing in “self” is important for you
In order to grow, doctors cannot stop learning. It is very important, especially in the ever-changing field of medicine.
You need to keep yourself updated with the new treatments and developments happening in your area of specialization.
In addition, every specialty has some regulatory requirements which you need to comply with for the maintenance of your practice certificate.
Here again, finances come into play as you need to manage your Travel to attend conferences, Funding your research, your certification, Books and periodicals, etc. All these should become part of your cash flow management and budgeting.
So, it becomes really crucial that you devote time to these important things and you should not hesitate to take professional help when it comes to money management. (Also Read: How doctors can select the best financial planner in India?)
4. Understand time and money exchange
You exchange time and money every day. To earn money, you devote your time to your work. Then, you spend the money on quality time with your family or self, such as eating out, taking a vacation, etc.
Occasionally, you may also spend your money on things such as clothes, a phone, a car, gadgets, etc., even if you do not need them or do not want them.
In your view, all of these are necessary for a comfortable life.
You may also buy products on loan because you have less time or want the item quickly. As a result, you exchange more money for that time.
Consequently, you will need to devote more time to your work to earn that extra money.
Let’s put a monetary value on your time first. Assume that you earn Rs.1 Lakh a month. It means your hourly earning comes out as Rs 480 (for 24 working days of 8 hours each). I know doctors may have to work more than 8 hours, I am just taking the best-case scenario.
Spending Rs.2,000 at a restaurant means you’ve spent almost half a day’s worth of work on that meal.
Going on a vacation and spending Rs. 1 lakh there indirectly means that you are spending a month there.
To enjoy sufficient time with your family and friends in the future, you invest in order to have sufficient money. You take advantage of the time of others by investing.
When you work with professionals like financial planners, Chartered accountants, you borrow their time and skill for your financial wellbeing.
The point is to make you understand money’s worth with reference to time. They are both limited resources. Making the most of it requires you to use and exchange it wisely.
5. Plan your finances holistically
Financial planning or money management isn’t about a single goal, person, or investment, it’s about your financial life as a whole.
We all do some kind of financial planning in our lives, like saving for the future, buying insurance, investing for goals, etc., but what we lack is a structured approach. (Also Read: Financial Plan vs. Financial Planning- What’s the difference?)
Investing is fine, but where should you invest? how much should you put in? Do you need any insurance and how much coverage do you need? Is it a good idea to mix investments and insurance? What impact will your investment products have on your tax profile? The ease with which your assets can be distributed within the family…and so on…are some of the issues that need to be addressed.
Buying a pension plan does not mean you have finished planning for retirement, you cannot fund the education of your child with child insurance plans. (Read: Why Retirement Planning should be the most important goal for doctors?)
It is your misconception that Real Estate is the best investment that can take care of each and every goal. (Read: why Real Estate should not be your primary investment?)
Having a holistic view of your finances – your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities – will help you prioritize your things and save for your important goals.
In the short term, playing around with products to make money brings excitement to life, but that is not sustainable for long.
Money Management is not limited to Investments. Doctors being a professional themselves understand the importance of having a professional by their side and also the cost of bad advice. Selecting a product is one thing, giving a reason to that decision is another so that it should suit your other life goals too.
Like the Human Body, everything in financial life also is interlinked. Financial planning will connect all the dots and help you find the impact of your actions on different areas of life.