Home > Personal Finance > Two decades and nothing to show for it financially?

Two decades and nothing to show for it financially?

A fellow baconista asks:

Sorry if this sounds like a pity party, but I really would like to get this out there. I’m a physician in a high-earning specialty, just turned 40, and can finally say I’m debt free. In other words, the past 2 decades have been: going to school and paying off debt for school. I can’t help but wonder, had I gotten a job right out of undergrad, I would have had no debt and a tidy sum in my retirement accounts for nearly 20 years.  Instead, I have nothing to show for these years financially. Any suggestions on how to get out of this funk?

Here’s my $.02:

1) Treat yourself: School and debt have been your life for nearly two decades. Time to now focus on you. Have you wanted to take that vacation? Buy that car? Get those fancy tech gadgets? Now’s the time to reward yourself (within reason, obviously, see number 3).
2) Clean financial slate: Yes, it took nearly 20 years to get to this clean slate, but look at it this way. Isn’t it better to be where you are now (debt free and being able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work) than where you were a year ago (in debt and worrying about it)?
3) Saving and investing going forward: IMO, this is the key point. Your high income means that you can live (relatively) high on the hog if you choose to, and still save/invest a substantial amount every year. Set a financial goal (“I want to save/invest $X this year”) and stick to it.   

Ladies, what do you think? What advice would you give the OP?

Categories: Personal Finance
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