Are you a doctor? Are you in debt? Those two seem to go together don’t they? Like bread and butter? Mac and cheese? Well, they don’t have to. I’m a doctor but I have no debt. Same thing goes for Dr. Cory S. Fawcett who wrote the book, “The Doctors Guide to Eliminating Debt.” Dr. Fawcett has credibility. He is financially independent and debt-free. He was financially able to retire at 51 but chose to work part-time for a few years. He retired early (in his fifties) and helps teach doctors how to do what he did.
I agree with Dr. Fawcett that doctors are drowning in debt and they shouldn’t be. It is a major contributor to personal financial problems, divorce, bankruptcy, burnout, and suicide. Even those who cope well with the burden may have to avoid vacations or postpone retirement.
He thinks we doctors work too hard to be suckers for the bank. Why send your hard-earned dollars to a financial institution that helped to mislead you? Excellent question.
Dr. Fawcett’s book will give you better insight into what debt is, how it affects you, and how to get rid of it. He includes ways to think and strategies of attack. I especially recommend this book if you are early in your medical career and deep in debt. Buy this book before you agree to a long payment program. Read this book before you buy your car with credit or close on your “dream McMansion.” You may see with different eyes after reading this insightful little book.
He talks a lot about what it feels like to be debt-free. I agree: it feels wonderful. Better than you realize. The argument to become out of debt are laid out in spreadsheets, but the true benefit is the feeling of a burden being lifted. It is hard to describe how good it feels to get the debt monkey off your back. I had no idea the debt was affecting me emotionally until it was all gone, and I felt a palpable sense of freedom.
If you follow the plans in the book you can become debt-free in 6-7 years. That includes your car, credit cards, student loans, and mortgage. I believe he is on the right track. I paid off my student loans in about 2 years and all debt (including the mortgage) within 6 years. I started in debt and ran up to a maximum debt of $600K (like Dr. Fawcett’s $500K).
He argues that your debt level is likely proportional to your income level. Banks don’t lend you hundreds of thousands of dollars unless you have vast earning ability. Thus the 6-7-year timeframe will work for most everybody – no matter what income or debt level.
He articulated the excuses you will hear.
- “But I need the mortgage tax deduction.”
- “But my interest rate is so low.”
- “But I need the money to invest.”
- “But I need a bigger house.”
- “But everyone is in debt.”
- “But I don’t make enough money.”
- “But my debt load is so high.”
He has heard it all and so have I. And we both know doctors in all those situations who paid off all their debt quickly and never looked back.
Remember the alternative: “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
Too many doctors get comfortable with debt. I remember a classmate in medical school. He booked a thousand-dollar vacation in the summer. I asked how he could afford it. He said, “Oh what’s another thousand bucks of student loans….” I was shocked.
I’ve always been debt-averse. So, has my frugal wife. Dr. Fawcett benefitted from a frugal, debt-averse spouse as well. His wife, Carolyn, played a pivotal role in his financial success. That is a recurrent theme I hear. It was also seen in surveys, such as in the book, “The Millionaire Next Door” where they noted a frugal and financially responsible spouse to be key.
As described in the book we all need to balance debt, lifestyle, and investing. What is the optimal spending in the past, present, and future? He lays out a path to understanding of concepts (with diagrams and analogies) as well as specific examples on how to get there.
Getting out of debt isn’t just about eliminating the trouble and stress. It is also about being able to embrace a fuller life where you have abundant streams of passive income coming into your life even when you don’t work. Do you want to pay for your kid’s college? Transition to part-time? Retire early? Achieve a net worth of $5M by age 55? Buy your dream home for cash?
You could do any of this, but not without a coherent debt strategy. Do yourself a favor and let Dr. Fawcett’s excellent book be your guide to get out from the financial hole you found yourself in.