October 2015

October 30th, 2015

I’m an avid reader, and I try to remember, as Stephen King suggests in his book On Writing, that reading can be done in both “small sips as well as in long swallows.”

(By the way, the audio version of that book is a great listen.) So, while in the waiting room at my physician’s office, having decided not to suffer through another weekend with the flu without speaking to my doctor, I was quite content to be waiting and reading.

I continued reading in the exam room, setting the book aside when the doctor entered the room. She took a peek at the cover (Anna Karenina—I’m sure I’ll get through it this time), and commented that it’s a title that’s been on her reading list for some time.

Physicians, being necessarily studious, are obvious candidates for avid readership. But certainly, even more so than the average adult, they struggle to make time for it. After I left the doctor’s office I wished I’d remembered to share my new love affair with audiobooks and how they’ve doubled my “reading” time.

If I’m out and about and I see someone reading a book, I’m always tempted to ask about it and whether it’s enjoyable. This isn’t a foolproof method for finding a good read—people’s tastes are so different—but there are some good resources for finding your ideal read. And let’s face it, this is important, because there are so many books and so little time.

A traditional approach might be to seek out “best books” lists like this one, or to search on a particular person’s reading list, like Stephen King’s.

But some really interesting ways to search for books can be found on these sites:

goodreads. I’ve been using goodreads for a few years now and it’s a site that has a community feel. I’ve had success finding valuable reads through others’ ratings there and it lets me save a “To-Read” list. It also has some great curated lists of recommended books like these.

YourNextRead. The neat thing about this site is that it allows you to find books similar to those you’ve already enjoyed in a pleasing visual format.

FantasticFiction has information on over 350,000 books and the bibliographies of more than 30,000 authors, all neatly compiled. One of my favorite features: authors list books they recommend at the bottom of their profiles.

So find something good to read. It’s good for you.

Are you an avid reader?

October 20th, 2015

So, imagine that you get out of med school, you're age 35, and you start saving 20% of your income.

You save 20% for 10 years, from age 35 to 45. Assume you get 8%, about the historical average return of the stock market, and then you stop.  You only save for 10 years.  

Now imagine that somebody else at age 45 starts off, saves 20% a year for the rest of their career, for the next 20 years. The 20-year saver never catches up to the saver who started at 35. (The assumption is that in each of these scenarios, $50,000 per year is saved. And no, it isn't a good idea to stop saving after 10 years.)

For the early saver, most of the value comes from growth. For the later saver, only about half the value is growth, and the rest is just sort of the brute force effect of savings. This may be why the 50- or 55-year-old physician who has under-accumulated, who doesn’t have time on his side, ends up having to adjust his lifestyle. 

Don't Wait to Save

So it’s a bad idea to wait before you start saving, and it’s also a bad idea to expect that investment results can make up for a deficit in savings. Always get the saving (and spending) picture right first, and then let your investments play a supporting role. 

Another way to look at it is to understand how much you’d need to save monthly to get to $1 million by the age of 65. Like eating an elephant, saving is easier to do in small bites. In your struggle to save in those lean, early years of your career, try to keep in mind that it is never easy to save, and starting late can make reaching the retirement goal finish line much more difficult.

Did you enjoy this post?

October 9th, 2015

On October 6, I had the privilege of attending a LiveConnections event, the Big Hurrah 2015.

Watching Philadelphia students and professional artists perform together was moving and the level of skill and finesse displayed was incredible. The venue, World Café Live, is a must visit for anyone who enjoys music. The hearts of everyone involved in the LiveConnections community were touched at this event.    

LiveConnections: Bringing Philadelphia Youth to the Arts

LiveConnections creates interactive music education programs that enable urban school-aged children and special needs populations to collaborate with artists from various genres. Participants, most of whom would not have access to this type of opportunity, explore music, culture, and personal creativity through hands-on workshops. The best part: 99% of the students and people with disabilities who attend these workshops do so for free. 

Every $50 raised brings 4 students to the program; $1000 brings an entire class. The Big Hurrah is a celebratory fundraising event that showcases students who benefit from the mission of LiveConnections and honors people and organizations that create connections within the local community.

TGS Financial and TriageMD are proud to sponsor an organization that encourages innovative, educational connections, especially in a city so close to home.