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Financial Wisdom in Brief


Physicians would do well to remember that "You cannot separate business decisions from your personal life, just as you cannot separate your personal self from your work self."

It's been quite a while since I put together a collage of interesting, and wise, quotes that may enlighten our finances, our personal lives, or just our day. So here is a batch of some that have been talking sense to me from their drawer.

These quotes are pertinent to what we do here at PMD; for instance, "You cannot separate business decisions from your personal life, just as you cannot separate your personal self from your work self" — Worth magazine.

This is particularly true for docs in private practice.

— Speaking of the 21st century job market in general, if not exactly a wry comment on the current parlous state of primary care; "Being a generalist is, in my view, very unwise." — Lynda Gratton in Forbes.

— Or how about this one from Joe Flower; "Surfers don't do all of that work just to get to shore." Deep…

— "Every teacher needs to be a student of something else." — Anonymous.

It is well known that teachers often learn more than their students, but let's not lose track of the concurrent value of the experience from the other side.

— "Failure, by definition, is always the result of miscalculation … but it is not proof of incompetence… Every human effort is flawed." — Holman Jenkins in The Wall Street Journal.

— "The man who leaves money to charity in his will is only giving away what no longer belongs to him." — Voltaire.

It is also more meaningful, and more fun, to give while you are alive to see the, hopefully, positive impact of your giving.

— "The stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions." — Economist Robert Samuelson. He obviously favored taking the long view of market activity, as should most of us.

— "These days I'm prescribing more apps than medicine." — Dr. Eric Topol on NBC.

Don't laugh too hard; there are 13,000 such apps out there and they can only become more numerous, useful and cost-effective as we move to a more self-help and online, cost-effective medical model.

— "If you are working from your inbox, you are working on other people's priorities." — Donald Rumsfeld. All of us are guilty of too often acting on the urgent in lieu of the important.

— "Every time I see the word 'co-signer' I am reminded of my grandfather's definition … 'A fool with a fountain pen.'" — Jim H., commenting in the San Francisco Chronicle.

And most financial and legal authorities would heartily agree, except for the rare exception. Such as your newly graduated offspring trying to rent an apartment in New York, I can tell you.

— "Cash is not an investment." — Sheryl Garrett in The Wall Street Journal.

Unless you buy foreign currency and that defines a speculation. Precious metals also fall into that category, unless you are in an industry that uses them.

— “The best predictor of a happy retirement is being able to take a good vacation beforehand." — Dr. George Vaillant, Harvard psychiatrist.

Amen, and I am reminded of a young, hard-charging ENT that I met on a cruise once. He was so unable to relax and enjoy himself that he left the ship in the middle of the cruise, forfeiting his fare, and probably his sanity.

--Pertinent to this column, John Steinbeck once said, "No one wants advice — only corroboration."

But how about this sweetmeat to leave a good taste in your mouth: "One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats" — Iris Murdoch, British novelist.

Bless her heart…

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