What truly IS self-care?
Self-care is more foundational than simply getting massages or pedicures.
It’s recognizing that you must know yourself and pay attention to yourself before serving others – at work and at home. It’s being attentive to YOUR particular physical, mental and emotional needs.
It’s maintaining your health by keeping up appointments with a doctor, dentist or other wellness practitioner.
It’s ensuring your ability to tackle challenges each day by gaining energy through nutritious food, exercise, and adequate sleep.
It’s also preventing defaults on your emotional bank account. And one type of withdrawal that could easily lead to a default is having problems with your real bank account.
Money is a huge source of stress, both on individuals and relationships. When money management is an outstanding issue, not only do you (by the nature of mathematics) have fewer resources to tend to your stress… you may not possess the mental space to properly care for yourself.
Just like gaining self-knowledge, gaining financial knowledge will improve your self-care and in turn your overall health and happiness. Figuring out how to do this in a time-efficient and effective manner is the crux. There’s a TON of information out there, and it can be confusing.
I met Bonnie Koo of Wealthy Mom MD at the White Coat Investor’s inaugural CME event in 2018 where she gave a great talk and then sat with me on the bloggers’ panel. I was struck by her level of blogging professionalism and financial literacy. She spent years working at Morgan Stanley before attending medical school and training as a dermatologist. Her prolific writing and speaking focuses on money issues particularly pertinent to women physicians, such as considerations for high income earners, blended families, and couples with a significant earnings differential. She blends personal experiences with outside experts in her blog content; I’ve been interviewed for her “real women physicians” series, and I’ve also guest posted on her blog to discuss parenting issues around money.
Not only does Bonnie know a tremendous amount about finances, she also understands common mindset issues that surround women and money. While we women physicians have studied for years to achieve expertise in our respective medical specialties, many of us (myself included) find learning about money to be overwhelming. I’ve often said that, despite completing graduate level mathematics courses in differential equations and process engineering, I just don’t get basic economics. The overwhelm can lead to shame, which can then lead to a vicious cycle of not addressing this area of our lives.
Why does it have to be so hard? According to Bonnie, it doesn’t. The best way to gain financial literacy, just like acquiring any other skill, is to take small, guided steps. Because otherwise, we’re busy with our careers and our families. We need that simple learning environment with an accountability component if it’s going to stick. She’s divided her 8 week course, Money for Women Physicians, into 6 modules: Money Mindset, Spending & Debt, Think Beyond Your Clinical Income, Protect Yourself From Financial Catastrophe, Your Legacy, and Creating A Life On Your Own Terms. Each module involves live sessions including Q&As with experts. She also offers participants “office hours” and access to a private Facebook group for additional support.
Personally, I feel pretty confident in a few of these areas; we’re already financially independent, view things from a state of abundance, and live a life on our own terms. But this is WE (my family). What if my husband died today in a freak accident? What if we both did… what would happen to A? And how will we teach her about money as she grows up? I’ve vowed to spend some time on my sabbatical, figuring these things out myself. Everyone needs to have some plans in place for legacy and protection… these are truly self-care must haves.
If you’re a woman physician (or you know a woman physician) who wants to take better care of herself by taking better care of her finances, then consider enrolling in this 8-week course. Enrollment opens today (October 7, 2019) and will close in one week. The course itself will run from October 15 through December 15. There are a finite number of spots, and it won’t stay open for long… but if you miss it (or read this late), don’t despair. Bonnie plans to offer the course again in the spring.
This is not an inexpensive course, but it promises to truly teach women physicians to “fish” when it comes to money matters. AND the course qualifies for 5 CME credits (which means that if you have a CME budget or a pre-tax account for educational expenses, you can use it for your tuition).
What about the non-physicians (and non-women) reading? I wish I knew of something exactly like this to recommend, but I can point you in the direction of a few of my favorite money-related resources. Here are some good books and websites that appeal to everyone, from low incomes to high incomes, from math-averse to number nerd:
- Choose FI is a whole movement around intentional spending, investing, and living. My family is a huge fan; in fact, we just reviewed their new book over at our family blog.
- The books The Millionaire Next Door and A Simple Path to Wealth are classics that we’ve enjoyed. The updated I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a good orientation to the abundance mindset.
- A few of my favorite finance bloggers (who happen to be physicians but write content applicable to anyone) are Physician on FIRE (for which I recently did a guest post about how to ask for what you want at work), BC Krygowski, and of course all the other great content at Wealthy Mom MD.
How do you take care of yourself, and what does money (if anything) have to do with it?
Disclaimers: 1) This course is only open to women physicians at this time. 2) The link to enroll here is an affiliate link, which means if you purchase your enrollment through me, I get a portion of the proceeds – though it does not affect your price or course experience in any way.