Will you have enough?

November 5, 2010

The recent downturn in the economy has taken long-standing personal finance calculations and turned them on their head. As a result, many of us face an endless set of questions regarding our financial planning.

Key Points

Median total revenue for multispecialty group practices rose 5.5% but fell short of the 6.5% increase in median operating costs. Numerous specialties/practice areas including family practice, ob/gyn, and pediatrics showed similar trends. Increased expenses are due to factors such as drug supply costs, support staff, and professional malpractice insurance, according to the MGMA. In many cases, these costs are in addition to student loan payments.

SET PRIORITIES

Finding the right answers has to start with an introspective process as well as the establishment of priorities. What is important to you? What falls into the must-have category, and what are the nice-to-haves? This process applies to current expenses as well as future big-ticket items. The things that are important to you could include freedom, less stress, more time with family, or making the world a better place.

Taking a closer look at current spending may provide some interesting findings as well as some ways to save money. Short-term planning requires a careful assessment of today's income and spending. Long-term planning requires careful assumptions, accounting for multiple variables, and contingency preparation.

Roy Disney, business executive and nephew of Walt Disney, once said: "When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier." This thinking is true about your career, your life, and also your money. Once you've taken the time to identify what is important, you then are ready to clarify your goals and benchmark where you are today.