With the holiday season fast approaching,

  • Are you beginning to feel a heaviness in your chest as you think about the money that may be flying out of your pocket without the same flowing in? 
  • Are you strategizing how many extra shifts or weekends you can do so that your family gets everything on their wish list? 
  • And are you getting tired of year after year finding yourself in this exact same place?

The exact same place is spending more money in the last 2 months of the year than the other 10 months.  It feels wonderful to give the people in your life everything on their wish list.  After all one of the reasons you chose your career was for the solid income.  But what is it doing to you if working additional shifts and doing overtime is adding to life’s stress and work dissatisfaction?

As the days go by it is easy to forget that financial responsibility is your responsibility.  Maybe you went into the healthcare field for job security, financial freedom, and a solid retirement plan.   But somewhere along the way you took our eye off your goals as you enjoyed the financial rewards of a steady predictable income.  Financial planning was not emphasized in the coursework at school.   Budgeting, planning, and saving quickly translated into working extra shifts to make up the difference.  The transition from working hard for the money to having the money work for you never happened.  And so you work and work and work. 

Regardless of where you are in your career, just starting out or ready for retirement, clarity around your finances is a gift that will keep giving all year long. Now is the time to do an audit of your finances and the thoughts and mindset you have around your finances so that you can set a realistic target for 2017.

1. Clarity. Be honest with yourself.  Take a good look at where you are even before you think about where you want to be.  Get the facts.  Did you set goals in the beginning of 2016 for savings, retirement, investments, and ‘I deserve it’ spending?  If yes, are you on target to meet those goals or have you veered off track somewhere during the year.

2. Accept. Be kind and gentle with yourself.  People often get stuck in step 1 because they judge themselves when they don’t like what they see.  Instead of getting stuck and stopping, use this as an opportunity to love and forgive yourself even more deeply so that you can power through to the opportunities on the other side.

3. Be Reasonable.  Based on where you are, what is a reasonable financial goal that you can set for 2017?  Then break that goal down into manageable pieces so that you can celebrate your progress each month.  Ask yourself what is a reasonable way to chip away at credit card debt, student loans, and other debts you may have that will continue to honor you throughout the year.  For some, it may be to dedicate working extra shifts for a finite amount of time until the debt is cleared.  For others it may be a smaller payment each month.  The key is to discover the system that works best for you.

4. Energize your plan with positivity and possibilities.  How can you make the execution of you plan fun?  Yes, fun!   Rather than begrudge the extra work, which only adds to job dissatisfaction, turn it around into something fun. Maybe the fun is in celebrating the last payment for a credit card bill.

5. Seek Support.  Who do you need to support you towards your goal?  Build your team.  Enlist your family’s support so that they all know why spending habits may change. Make a trip to the library or bookstore for books on the subject or seek the advice of a financial advisor.  The internet can also be a good resource for you.

Share this article by Stephanie Wellington, MD, CPC at www.NurturingMDs.com with colleagues and friends.