You've heard that the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all time high this week, breaking its record set back in 2007 just before the financial collapse.
Yet I continue to get calls from physicians who state that they've had dismal investment returns over the past 1, 3, 5 and 10 years.
Many of these docs have financial advisors. Some have had multiple advisors in the past 10 years. Others have been trying to do it on their own with poor results.
In the meantime they continue to get hammered by new government regulations, diminishing pay, an ever increasing workload, and a general rise in career frustration which spills over into their personal lives.
After reviewing their situations I've identified a few common causes:
Lack of an investment plan
I look at their investment portfolios and I can't make sense of what the hell is going on. What makes it worse is that other financial advisors--who have the audacity to call themselves "professionals"--created these portfolios.
To me most of these portfolios I've reviewed appear to be nothing more than taking some darts and throwing them at the Wall Street Journal's mutual fund page and investing in whatever the darts land on!
Lack of discipline
Yes, all of our portfoios got whacked in 2008 but guess what? Had you just stayed in, you should have recovered your losses and a whole lot more!
Well, even if you were the unluckiest person on the planet and invested ALL of your money in November 2007--the exact worst time to do so--and just hung on, you'd be back to even by the end of 2012.
With the spectacular returns in the first two months of 2013, you should be well ahead.
And then if you have a solid investment plan and continued to save, invest, rebalance, and buy more as the market headed south, many of you should be "walking in the clouds" and ready to walk away from the daily grind.
Consider the past 10 years which included the financial meltdown. A well diversified global portfolio of stocks is up something like +150%.
That means if you started with $500,000 in 2003 you should have about $1.2 million now assuming you didn't even add any more money.
Even if you're a younger doc--someone less than 10 years out of residency training--the last several years have been a turbo boost to your infant portfolio.
If you're a mid or late career physician and you're still slaving away at the hospital, cranking out patients like a factory worker, and still sacrificing your nights, weekends, and family life, isn't it time you actually take action?
Doctors hate admitting mistakes. We're arrogant, egotistical airheads sometimes. That attitude won't get you far in your financial life or with your retirement portfolio.
Remember action delivers results not proscrastination.
Stop complaining. Take action. Get it done.
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