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Financial Insights from Last Year and Winning Strategies for 2024 - The FinancialMD Show - Ep 029


·         Looking Back Since The Launching of Financial MD in 2020 [0:01:23]

·         There Were More Graduating Resident Dinners Last Year! [0:06:45]

·         It's Coming! The Financial MD Residency Online Course [0:08:15]

·         Personal Finance In A Nutshell: 2023 Recap [0:10:50]

·         Set Up Your First Short-Term Goal [0:13:30]

·         Instill Discipline To Reach Your Goal – Reverse Budgeting Tips [0:17:40]



Welcome to the Financial MD Show. This is the only podcast designed specifically for residents and young physicians to help you become educated on financial planning for physicians and avoid many of the common financial mistakes doctors make. Your hosts, Jon and Trevor, explore a different topic with each episode. Jon Solitro is a financial planner and certified financial education instructor. He’s been working with young physicians for the better part of the decade and lectures to graduate medical programs around the country. Dr. Trevor Smith is a board-certified ophthalmologist with a full-time practice and he has learned the ins and outs first-hand what it takes to make smart financial decisions as a young physician. And now here are your hosts, Jon and Trevor.



Well, hello, everyone, and welcome to the Financial MD Show. We are so excited to be coming to you for the first episode of 2024 and a lot's happened. So we're going to bring you up to speed on what's going on at Financial MD – what's going on with Jon, what's going on with Dr. Smith, and what we see for the future in a lot of ways. So this is going to be a big reflective show but also a big predicting of the future and I'll tell you more about that in just a minute. But first, we're going to start off with bringing you an update into what is happening at Financial MD. With Financial MD which you know as the Number One Trusted Source for Resident Financial Education for young physician financial planning, we are your resource for all things education, and remember, that stuff can be found wherever you're watching this – be it YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, the website, podcast – anything like that. Whether you're watching or listening to this, find our other stuff and make sure it's coming to you on a regular basis. But you know that already.


Looking Back Since The Launching of Financial MD in 2020 [0:01:23]


So we've been doing a lot more of that this year, 2023. As we look back today, what's been happening at Financial MD is we've been stepping it up. COVID changed a lot of things. It was really the launch of Financial MD in 2020 – March 17th to be precise – right about when the pandemic and lockdowns and such started, so real good timing on my part. But it's been an exciting few years. 2021, we started to build; 2022, really nailing down our processes and starting to get back into the swing of getting education. Now if you remember, I've been doing the lectures for the residency programs for about – oh boy, this is our 10th year now – with other companies in the past and when I launched Financial MD, this podcast was really a big driving factor of that because back in our world of financial planning, there's a lot of compliance restrictions. So the broker-dealers and the big, you know, investment firms and all that, they don't want you to do any kind of marketing or grow your business at all and so that's an issue when I'm really big on education. I like to talk and podcasting was going to be a big piece of that and so. Now that we've been able to launch the podcast, we've been able to do the videos, the Didactic Minutes, which you can see on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube shorts, and we've been able to get the word out quite a bit more, get a lot of education out there, as many financial tips and how-tos as we can squeeze in a two-minute video. So, be sure to check that out, but that's been super fun. I've been doing that at different locations starting in 2020 so I was excited to do that and we've been doing more. Those are coming out every week. These episodes for the podcast are every two weeks. We've really been nailing down and, in some ways, we kind of had to do some trial and error, and figure out our schedule. So myself with the family of four – and if you're watching the video, I'll throw up a family photo here – the kids are 8, 10, 12, and 18. Yeah, my daughter's 18, starting at community college. So to speak, a little to that, we had told her, or maybe planned internally, between Ashley and I that we would cover two years of community college and two years of university. So in our case, let's say, MSU. I didn't really tell her that because even that was kind of a big leap. This is something that we had really just started thinking about in the last four or five years. She was already, you know, 13, 14 at that point. She was thinking she was going to go to some university. As she got to the end of her senior year, she finally decided on Lansing Community College, which is great, because that's something we can pay for out of pocket. We don't have our 529 built up yet so we're kind of figuring that out as we go and she's figuring out how to be a grown-up. She's figuring out paying bills, having a car, going to class when nobody really cares if you go to class, and what it takes to actually succeed in college. And so those are fun and fun kind of navigating the field of how do you be a parent while not really being a parent anymore and how do I be a dad to a young adult and, honestly, it's been going okay. We have talks. We hang out. She's around more. I think all of the lessons that we've been trying to teach her and the character-building conversations have been taking root – at least, I think so. So time will tell. But she's figuring out and getting jobs and doing those things, so she's doing great and we're proud of her. And then Joey is 12, Sam is 10, Daniel's 8… that's a lot of them. They've been enjoying football which I was never really into but they're getting into it so they decided to watch University of Michigan football this year which turned out really well. We went to the Rose Bowl which maybe I'll dive into a little bit later but that was amazing. Then they've been getting into Lions football and my brother-in-law took Joey to his first Lions football game which also turned out pretty well. We made it to the conference finals, I think it was; division, conference…I don't know. But they've been doing great. We watched the last Lions game of the year. It was a playoff game, Conference Finals, the game that would determine who goes to the Super Bowl and the Lions lost which is what we expected. But my boys cried, so I did not expect that to happen. So we kind of had to navigate that but that's okay; that's part of growing up. And everything else is going well here in Michigan.


So, life is good here personally. Dr. Trevor Smith, which he'll update you on some more, probably spoke a little too in the last episode if you caught that, but he has finally started his own clinic and it's keeping him very busy so he's figuring out the ends and outs of a clinic and office space and expenses and building a practice and, you know, with Ophthalmology, it's definitely a lot of going out to beat the streets and meet other clinicians and get your own patients. So it's been interesting to help him out with that and watch him on that. So stay tuned, you'll get some more on that. If you're ever thinking about opening your own practice or getting into business for yourself or have any piece of running the practice or running the clinic, you'll want to be sure to check that out.


There Were More Graduating Resident Dinners Last Year! [0:06:45]


A couple of other things to look forward to in the future, I will allude to so I'm not going to jump the gun yet. But last year at Financial MD, we had more dinners than we've had in a couple of years. So if you don't know, in the areas that we're serving in physically, we have graduating resident dinners where we go to a decent restaurant – not a super nice one – but really nice. The food is good and it's a decent place. The ones where we've been really active have been in the Detroit area. So we eat in Royal Oak. There are about 15 or 20 graduating residents from the area and we bring in a physician mortgage specialist. We bring in a CPA. Sometimes we'll have an employment contract attorney, and we'll just talk, and it takes a lot of the attendees from our resident lecture programs will come to this to get some very specific information about transitioning into practice, and get their questions answered. I love doing those because I get to talk for a while and people supposedly listen to me but maybe it's the free food. We buy them dinner just to get to know them. So, those I really enjoy. We've been doing more of those. Well, actually, we're scheduled to do probably 10 to 15 this year. And the residency lectures are ramping up this year as well. So I'm excited about what's going on. We did a few more last year; we're going to do a lot more this year. We're going to get on a regular schedule with the Didactic Minute videos with the podcast episodes.


It's Coming! The Financial MD Residency Online Course [0:08:15]


And one of the more exciting announcements – this has been two or three years in the making – is the Financial MD Residency, an online course brought to you by myself and a practicing psychiatrist who will remain unnamed currently. I'll probably have him on the show here pretty soon. We've been talking about this for a little while. I met him in residency to one of the residency programs I was giving lectures to and after he went into practice in Alaska, we kind of reconnected and started talking about our common passion for financial education for residents and we decided, you know, I don't think there's a good online course for this. So how hard could it be to make one? Turns out, it's pretty hard. So, that should be launching in the next month or two and we're super psyched about that. So, shoot us a message directly. You can get me at if you want to be added to that waitlist. We're going to have things about it on the website at, so get on that waitlist to be a part of the first beta testers. So we're going to give it free to a few to run through and test and work out the bugs and find our typos and do all those kind of things and give us some feedback. So if you want to be on that focus group, part of the beta testers, let us know. We'd love to have you in that group. It's already starting to build that list.


That's one of the big things for 2024, we're going to be expanding into a few different areas for our lectures. Our lectures are nationwide, but the dinners will be expanding into a couple of other locations. We've got Chicago on the docket and we're excited, growing our team. A lot of you have met Tanya, who's our business manager here; our paraplanner, Alex. We've got a lot more coming out of that as well. So, that's what's happening here. That's what's been happening.


And I want to talk to you for a few minutes about you, about your own personal finance journey. And I'm assuming the reason you're here is because of your personal finances. Yes, I have a sexy voice. Yes, I have the face of a young George Clooney. But besides that – I was trying to figure out who I look like; I don't look like George Clooney. So if you're listening to this in audio, that's not true. Who do I look like? Timothy Olyphant I've gotten before and I don't completely know who he is. I think there's a football player. Somebody has said somebody Greek…I don't know. Anyway, I think the Sicilian in me comes out as Greek sometimes. Brad Pit from time to time. Anyway, if you're not watching the video, you have to check out the video and see if I'm completely joking or if that's accurate. But go ahead and put some in the comments below. I can take it. Anyway, where was I going with that?


Personal Finance In A Nutshell: 2023 Recap [0:10:50]


So personal finance, our whole goal has been to teach you about personal finance, to bring you financial education that you can apply because our thesis is that there are things you can do during your training that can make a positive impact on your future financial goals. So you don't have to wait until you're in practice. You don't have to wait till you get to the six-figure income. There are things that you can do. So hopefully you've gleaned some things and taken some advice. But how has that advice panned out? So if you're just joining us today for the first time or you've been with us for a few years, let's look back at 2023. Now how do we do that effectively with our financial goals, with our financial progress, and just all of our personal finances? Now you can look back and see what you did. You can use apps like Mint which is phasing out. So you can use apps like Monarch Money, Rocket Money, You Need A Budget, EveryDollar – there are several of them out there. Or your bank; credit card will often categorize things for you: here's how you did…here's your year at a glance – that kind of thing. That will tell you what you did. You'll see what you spent in different areas and if you don't do anything else from today's episode, that is still worth doing because to know where you're going, you have to know where you've been. If knowing is half the battle and all the other clichés that come from Saturday morning G.I. Joe commercials, you have to know what you did. Now how you did is a relative question, isn't it? Because how you did is based on compared to what. If how you did was good or how you did was bad, the same person – two different people could do the same thing but have a different answer to the question – how do you do? So looking back at what you did, find what you made, find what you spent, categorize it to the best of your ability, and just take a look at it. Sit with it. Digest that. See what you think, without comparing it to anything yet. Just what do you think? How do you feel? How does that make you feel? If you have a spouse or a significant other who shares the finances with you, how do they feel? And have that discussion, like I say in the lectures, in a loving and respectful way, and if you need help with that loving and respectful part, hit us a message. My background as a private practice therapist has allowed me to gather a bunch of resources on helping a marriage or just helping in communication. We've got resources for that. We'll get those to you. But looking at what you did, analyzing it, thinking about it, digesting it, feeling it, talking about it, feeling like that's accurate though and up to date is going to take you to the next one of how you did, and to get to the how you have to know the why. Why are you doing personal finance? Why are you spending the way you are? Why do you want to accomplish the things you want to accomplish?


Set Up Your First Short-Term Goal [0:13:30]


Now what do you want to accomplish? Now some people will have you start with, you know, retirement goals or any of those kinds of things. Those are hard to picture at this age. They just are. It's too far away to really feel like you can understand. Do I want to retire at some point? I guess. What do I want that to look like? I have no idea. What age? I don't know. What income? I don't know. What's my retirement budget going to be? I don't know. Because we don't. Now you'll know as you get closer, then we're going to want to put some rough numbers together to just know how we're doing in terms of saving and spending and investing and those kinds of things. But I want to try to flip the script a little bit and you are welcome to start with the short-term goals first. So take something like, I want to buy a house when I go to practice. Okay, that might be a year or two or you might wait three just to see how you like that first job. But to buy a house, most of the time you need some sort of down payment. Now with physician mortgages, you don't, so be sure to check out our episode on that. If you want connections on that, we've got some. But for physician mortgages, a lot of the time you can put zero down, but a typical conventional mortgage 20% down. Sometimes you can get away with 10. But either way, you need to save up for that, most of you. If you don't, great. Stick that in an account; wait till you're ready to buy that house.


Is buying a house the right move for you? Does renting make sense? Will you be renting forever? Maybe. People have asked me or assumed, "Obviously, Jon, buying versus renting is a better financial decision, right?" And the answer is: I don't know. I used to be really sure about that and now I'm not so sure. So, that's worth having a conversation over to see if renting or buying makes sense. But if you're sure you want to buy and you know you need a down payment for it, then it's time to set that maybe as your first short-term goal. If getting out of student loan debt is the first short-term goal. If saving your emergency fund is your first short-term goal. All of these things we have prior episodes and resources to get the answers to that. So check that out. But if that's your first goal, how are you doing for that goal is the question. If you want to cut back and get some surplus and that's your first goal, how are you doing on that? If you committed last year to spending less and saving more, how are you doing? If you're not on track for retirement, if you want to save for kids' college, if you want to pay off other debts, if you want to just grow $100,000, if you want to get a million dollars, if you want to retire early and have financial independence – these are all things that are going to tell you how you're doing. So you look at what you're doing. You look at what your goal is or why and they're connected with the how. How do we do that and how are we doing? So that's how you can properly and effectively look back at last year and see how you did last year because you can send me your budget, your spending, and say, "Jon, how did I do last year?" And I'm going to say, "I don't know." I have to know what you were shooting for, what are you capable of, why did you want to do that, what were you trying to do, and you can give yourself a grade on how well you did. And once you know that, then we can look ahead at 2024 and say, okay, here's what I need to do better at.


Now you can call it a New Year's resolution but I do think every year you should be getting better. I think every month, we can be getting better and we can do that by making small, consistent decisions over long periods of time. I've told you before if you've been to our lectures or been to our dinners, wealth is generated, by and large, most of the wealth in this country is from small, boring consistent decisions made over long periods of time, and it's true in your personal finances in a small level. So if you want to start cutting back, you want to start saving more, you want to save for big goals, small goals, whatever it might be, what are the changes and the habits and the behaviors that you have to do because knowing your why isn't going to matter. Knowing how to do it isn't going to matter. What are you going to execute? I've heard it said that we are drowning in ideas, but we're starving for execution. So ideas and goals, that's easy; but what are we actually going to do about it? So don't overwhelm yourself. Don't try to do too much too fast. But what is one thing you think you can do this month? If it's, "I'm going to spend less on Starbucks." Great, okay. What are you going to do with that surplus? Now if you look at some of the reverse budgeting videos that we've done on how to actually discipline yourself or instill some extra discipline in your life, I'll give you a couple of tips.


Instill Discipline To Reach Your Goal – Reverse Budgeting Tips [0:17:40]


Number one, start with something automatic. There are automatic savings, automatic transfers; different things you can do to just set it and forget it. And you can start small – 50 bucks a month, 100 bucks a month, whatever the case might be – if building your emergency fund is what you need to do. We don't have the strength inside of us to stick with most things. So don't be afraid to cheat and use the tools. I do it. I don't have the self-discipline to stick to a lot of the goals that I have and the habits that I decide to. So I have to set up in my life things that are going to help me do that, that are going to make it really hard not to. So setting up automatic transfers, do it, and then you're thinking, okay, to stop that, I have to actually log in, go to this, and cancel this. Yeah, great. Make it hard for you to stop doing the right things. Make it easy for you to start doing the right things. So anything you can set up on autopilot – great. And if you can do it as soon as you get paid within a few days – great. So make that step today. Pick something you're going to do and set it up. That's the great thing about finances. So when you make a New Year's resolution about finances, it's easy to stick to when you just set it up automatically with technology. If it was something where you literally had to take money out of your wallet; you literally had to write a check every week, every month – a little tougher. So, don't be afraid to use the technology; make it easier for you.


So quick recap: Looking back at 2023, it's easy to look at the whats. It's going to take some time. It might be – I won't say it's easy. It's simple; might not be easy, but it's going to take some time. Might be tedious to categorize everything, but give yourself a snapshot of what you did last year. To figure out the how you have to know the why. What are your goals? What's one short-term goal? Pick that at least. Might be an emergency fund; might be getting out of debt. And then how did you do last year? Give yourself a grade – A, B, C, D, F, and then commit to just bringing that up one grade this year. Maybe go from a C to a C+. Maybe C+ to a B-. And how do you do that? You can set up something automatic; get it going on autopilot, set it, and forget it. So much more success to do it that way. So small, manageable habits that you can start. Start with a small goal. I'm telling you, guys, these wins will help you to make a big difference later on.


So, I hope that helps. Remember to check out all the Didactic Minute videos on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok. We've got the reels. We've got the shorts. Some to just, you know, I'm not a big fan of just scrolling but if you can narrow it down to some good specific educational information, at least that's a little better than mindlessly scrolling on crap and entertainment BS and goofy videos. So, get away from that stuff, guys. Subscribe to this podcast if you haven't and share this with somebody. We'd love to get the word out more. We don't make any money from this podcast. This is just simply an effort to get financial education out there to build awareness of Financial MD and what we're doing. And if you have somebody that you think we should talk to, send them this way. Go to You can reach out to me directly. My number, 517-82-8085 – that's my cell phone; So I'd love to talk to you guys. Anytime, get a hold of us. Like I told you, I've got four kids so I won't get back to you right away; got a lot of stuff going on here. But let us know if you want to be a part of the online course, The Financial MD Residency. We are super excited about that. We'll be throwing some more stuff out there, so get on our email list at the very least.


Until next time, this is Jon from Financial MD. We'll see you soon.


Thanks for joining us for another Financial MD Show. Be sure to head over to to get more in-depth resources on financial tips for physicians and don’t forget to join the Financial MD community group on Facebook, where physicians at all stages of their career gather to share tips and get ideas on achieving true financial success. We’ll see you next time.


The Financial MD Show is for informational purposes only and is not an offer to invest. It is not financial, tax, or legal advice. Be sure to seek financial, legal, or tax professionals when making any financial decisions. Before investing, you should make sure that any investment strategy or investment meets your individual investment needs, goals, and objectives. Financial MD makes no claims or guarantees to individual investment performance. All investing involves the risk of loss as well as the potential for gain.



Resources and Links:

·         Monarch Money: The modern way to manage your money –

·         Rocket Money: The Money App That Works For you –

·         YNAB: Change Your Relationship With Money –

·         EveryDollar: The Simplest Way To Budget for Your Life –

·         Financial MD Website –

·         Financial MD YouTube page –

·         Financial MD Facebook community –

·         Financial MD TikTok –

·         Financial MD Instagram –

·         Financial MD Twitter –

·         Financial MD LinkedIn –

·         Financial MD App –

·         Financial MD Apple Podcast –

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