As medical professionals, how do we get financial clarity on the road to financial security? What are we working towards?

We often set our aim on achieving financial security, but what does that really mean? Do we have a set target, a number perhaps that once we reach it, we feel we have “made it”? I often get asked by clients, “How much do I need to retire?” Or the converse, “I have [x] million dollars, is that enough to retire?” Is this the finish line we are working towards, and once we cross, we feel we have reached financial security?

I propose a different approach and an overall different way of thinking about it. I would argue that our goal should be to achieve financial clarity – to have a clear understanding of where you stand right now, of where you want to be in the next 5, 10, 15 years – all the way to, through and past retirement – and the path to get you there. To achieve clarity, I believe first you have to understand where you are trying to get to and what it is that you want to do.

Medical professionals, more than most, have very challenging work hours and busy lifestyles. It is very easy to get caught up on the hamster wheel of life and just feel like you have to go go go. Without those goals in place, it is easy to lose sight of where it is that you are ultimately trying to get to. Lay out those goals and plans. I encourage you to think about not only the significant milestones, ie. buying a house, paying for kids’ schools, etc., but the more intangible ones too – including lifestyle, interests and other things you are passionate about. Once you have the big picture, figure out where you stand right now on that path. What are the steps and the pieces that you need to put in place to get you to not only the nearest goal, but to make sure you are on track for each of the goals in your plan. This is where financial planning can help, with the ultimate objective to help you achieve clarity today and at each step of the path.

Can the goals change? Can life throw you for a loop? Absolutely. You can adjust your path accordingly and perhaps some changes to your plan need to be made. Ultimately, at each point you are planning and optimizing for both now and the future.

The one big advantage of financial clarity is that it allows you to balance living life today with living life in the future. I truly believe that our overall most precious asset is our time. How do you make the most of it? Financial clarity helps you to achieve that balance without compromising your future or present goals.

Julia Prisco is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with Raymond James focused on helping medical professionals put their plans in place to add clarity and direction to help them lead their best lives.

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