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Financial Literacy for the FFYFP

By Dr. Sierra Tamminen

I think it is safe to say that my transition from residency to practice was a rocky one. With the onset of the COVID pandemic, delay of our licensing exams, and the resulting uncertainties about if/when we would be able to work, it was an eventful few months. However, as time went by, things became more clear. We started to better understand this mysterious virus, how we may support our patients with COVID, and ways to prevent the spread. We rescheduled our licensing exams, learned that many of us would still be able to work without traditional certification given the extenuating circumstances, and eventually graduated from residency! Now that there is a fresh set of residents starting to go through this transition, and of course the upcoming tax season, I thought a blog post about personal finance might be timely.

When I was transitioning out of residency, managing my own finances was something that felt daunting. I didn’t think I could manage on my own. Around the time I started to feel the stresses of the upcoming transition, the COVID pandemic hit, and I found myself overwhelmed in other areas of my life. But, I also had some spare time in the evenings and weekends without many distractions. As incredibly difficult as the COVID pandemic has been, this extra bit of spare time turned out to be an excellent opportunity for me to do some reading and research around personal finance. And, as it turned out, this gave me a sense of control over something during a time when most of us felt we had no control at all. I am by no means an expert. I am simply writing as someone who transitioned from residency in the last couple of years, and who (with some help from family) has slowly chipped away at student debt. If I continue to stick to my financial plan, I should be free from my non-mortgage debt in the next couple of months!

I am hoping to provide some resources that may be beneficial for those of you who are currently in residency and planning ahead, those who are transitioning from residency to practice, or perhaps even those of you who are already in practice who might enjoy a refresher or are interested in taking more control over your personal finances. This is a compilation of the resources I found to be quite helpful. It is by no means exhaustive, but I hope some of these may be useful for you as well!

Where to Start?

  1. Facebook Group: Physicians Financial Independence (Canada)
  2. White Coat Investor
    • Blog/Books specialized in personal finance for physicians. Of note, it is American, so some of the recommendations are not the same as in Canada, but does a great job of providing a general overview/starting place to learn about personal finance.
    • I would recommend starting here:
      • By signing up for the “Free WCI Newsletter” they will send you a 12 email starting guide to get your finances on track, starting with the basics such as Disability and Life Insurance, basics of personal finance, and where to learn more. Personally, I found this quite helpful!
  3. Books
    • There are so many out there! I started with these 2, which had been recommended to me by my mentors
      • Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam
      • Beat the Bank by Larry Bates
  1. The Loonie Doctor
  2. Accountant
    • Finding a great accountant that you trust can be huge! Good resources to start looking for an accountant include word of mouth and/or the Physicians Financial Independence (Canada) Facebook group that was mentioned above
  3. Financial Advisor
    • Can help you to make a financial plan, and answer specific questions you may have about your finances/taxes.
    • Many resources recommended looking for someone who is willing to work for an hourly wage. Most financial advisors work for a proportion (perhaps 1%) of your investments, which can really add up over time!
    • Good resources to start looking for a Financial Advisor also include word of mouth and/or the Physicians Financial Independence (Canada) Facebook group
  4. Podcasts

Do you have any other resources that may be helpful for our members interested in learning about financial literacy and personal finance? Please share below!

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