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    Dr. Marcinko is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; as well as Oglethorpe University and Emory University in Georgia, the Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center; Kellogg-Keller Graduate School of Business and Management in Chicago, and the Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He became one of the most innovative global thought leaders in medical business entrepreneurship today by leveraging and adding value with strategies to grow revenues and EBITDA while reducing non-essential expenditures and improving dated operational in-efficiencies.

    Professor David Marcinko was a board certified physician, surgical fellow, hospital medical staff Vice President, public and population health advocate, and Chief Executive & Education Officer with more than 425 published papers; 5,150 op-ed pieces and over 135+ domestic / international presentations to his credit; including the top ten [10] biggest drug and pharmaceutical companies and financial services firms in the nation. He is also a best-selling Amazon author with 30 published academic text books in four languages [National Institute of Health, Library of Congress and Library of Medicine].

    Dr. David E. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner® who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2010. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, economics trade journals and publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News] etc.

    Later, Dr. Marcinko was a vital recruited BOD member of several innovative companies like Physicians Nexus, First Global Financial Advisors and the Physician Services Group Inc; as well as mentor and coach for Deloitte-Touche and other start-up firms in Silicon Valley, CA.

    As a state licensed life, P&C and health insurance agent, SEC registered representative Marcinko was Founding Dean of the fiduciary and niche focused on-line CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the 3 print format HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® and online Wiki Project.

    Dr. David E. Marcinko’s professional memberships included: ASHE, AHIMA, ACHE, ACME, ACPE, MGMA, FMMA and HIMSS. He was a MSFT Beta tester, Google Scholar, “H” Index favorite and one of LinkedIn’s “Top Cited Voices”.

    Marcinko is “ex-officio” and R&D Scholar-on-Sabbatical for iMBA, Inc. who was recently appointed to the MedBlob® [military encrypted medical data warehouse and health information exchange] Advisory Board.

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The “Deeper Dive” Costs of College Debt

Unintended Consequences?

[By Rick Kahler MSFS CFP]

Not only is a college education a door to higher wages, but providing that education is an important segment of our economy and a huge source of good paying jobs.

In 2017 the average salary for the country’s 624,822 full-time college instructors was $82,240, according to an annual study from the Department of Education’s National Center of Education Statistics.

The old days

In the days before college loans were as easy to get as the common cold, college costs were due in cash. Students and parents had to save money or pay tuition out of their earnings. Many students worked their way through college. Those without savings, the ability or desire for college jobs, or high enough grades for scholarships didn’t go to college.

Since colleges competed for students, market forces controlled the tuition rates. Raising tuition too much resulted in fewer students and smaller revenues. The two forces of supply (college capacity) and demand (the ability to pay tuition) kept college costs in check.

Understandably, borrowing to pay for college tuition was difficult. What sane bank or investor would loan money to an unemployed teenager with no collateral to speak of? If you could find someone willing to make such a risky loan, the interest rate was high.

Politics

Well-intended politicians decided it wasn’t fair that those without the means to pay tuition were denied college educations. Their solution was to require taxpayers to underwrite college loans, sometimes at interest rates lower than those available to the most creditworthy.

With tuition money easy to obtain through low-cost, government backed loans, demand for a college education increased. With the increased demand came higher tuition costs. This easy money is the primary reason that college tuition costs have far outpaced inflation and have gone up twice as fast as medical costs since 1985.

Consequences

Unfortunately, one consequence of loaning money to those deemed poor risks is that a high percentage of those borrowers are unable to repay the debt.  It should come as no surprise that 10.7% of all student loans are currently 90 days or more in default. Conversely, the composite default rate on mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans is 0.82% as of October 2018.

Today, taxpayers are on the hook for over 92% of the $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans made to over 44 million borrowers, according to a June 13, 2018, Forbes article by Zack Friedman, “Student Loan Debt Statistics in 2018.” Only home mortgages exceed student loan debt.

And the appetite for loans continues to rise. The average student from the Class of 2016 graduated with over $37,000 of college debt. It isn’t uncommon for a medical student to amass over $200,000 of student loan debt. This year we will add another $120 billion in college debt to the books.

The more college debt that graduates take into the workplace, the less they have to spend for vehicles, rent, and consumer goods. The damage to the credit ratings of the 10.7% who are in default will also hinder their purchasing power for years to come.

******

Assessment

If taxpayers ever decide to quit footing the bill, my hunch is that many colleges’ tuition rates will fall as hard as housing prices did in Florida, Arizona, and California in 2009. Lower tuition costs would create a financial hardship for most colleges and the some 4,000,000 people employed in higher education.

Politically, I don’t expect that to happen. Colleges are big business with a lot of money and influence in Congress. Further, a college education is becoming viewed as a right that should be free. In the meantime, savvy students will do whatever they can to minimize their college tuition and graduate debt-free.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements.

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WHAT CAN A Certified Financial Planner® REALLY DO FOR YOU?

That a NON-CFP® Certificant … CAN-NOT?

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP®]

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

OK – I was a Certified Financial Planner® before my academic team launched the Certified Medical Planner™ online and on-ground chartered education and board certification designation program a few years ago. I am now reformed and in remission.

MORE: Enter CPMs

Enter the Certified Medical PlannerChartered Designation

Today, we are gratified that Certified Medical Planner™ mark notoriety is growing organically in the healthcare, as well as financial services, industry.

In fact, even uber-blogger Mike Kitces MSFS, MTAX, CFP, CLU, ChFC, RHU, REBC, CASL has taken note of us in his musings on the Nerd’s Eye View website.

And, the reality is that there are a growing number of CFP educational programs at the post-CFP niche market level. But, none for healthcare industrial complex: for doctors … by doctors!

CMP

QUERY

Nevertheless, I was a bit flummoxed when a physician college recently asked me this simple question:

Q: What can a CFP® mark holder do for me that a non-CFP® certificant can not?

Assessment

Now, much like a good interrogating attorney, I think I already know the answer to this question. Nevertheless, it is important to determine and understand what our ME-P readers believe; and why they believe it!

MORE: Enter CPMs

So, please opine and tell us what you think.

Conclusion

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8     Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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***

Marcinko’s New FINANCIAL PLANNING TEXTBOOK for DRs and Physician Focused Financial Advisors

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

Front Matter with Foreword by Jason Dyken MD MBA

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“BY DOCTORS – FOR DOCTORS – PEER REVIEWED – FIDUCIARY FOCUSED”

***

Book Reviews

Written by doctors and healthcare professionals, this textbook should be mandatory reading for all medical school students—highly recommended for both young and veteran physicians—and an eliminating factor for any financial advisor who has not read it. The book uses jargon like ‘innovative,’ ‘transformational,’ and ‘disruptive’—all rightly so! It is the type of definitive financial lifestyle planning book we often seek, but seldom find.
LeRoy Howard MA CMPTM, Candidate and Financial Advisor, Fayetteville, North Carolina

I taught diagnostic radiology for over a decade. The physician-focused niche information, balanced perspectives, and insider industry transparency in this book may help save your financial life.
Dr. William P. Scherer MS, Barry University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

This book was crafted in response to the frustration felt by doctors who dealt with top financial, brokerage, and accounting firms. These non-fiduciary behemoths often prescribed costly wholesale solutions that were applicable to all, but customized for few, despite ever-changing needs. It is a must-read to learn why brokerage sales pitches or Internet resources will never replace the knowledge and deep advice of a physician-focused financial advisor, medical consultant, or collegial Certified Medical Planner™ financial professional.
—Parin Khotari MBA, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, New York

In today’s healthcare environment, in order for providers to survive, they need to understand their current and future market trends, finances, operations, and impact of federal and state regulations. As a healthcare consulting professional for over 30 years supporting both the private and public sector, I recommend that providers understand and utilize the wealth of knowledge that is being conveyed in these chapters. Without this guidance providers will have a hard time navigating the supporting system which may impact their future revenue stream. I strongly endorse the contents of this book.
—Carol S. Miller BSN MBA PMP, President, Miller Consulting Group, ACT IAC Executive Committee Vice-Chair at-Large, HIMSS NCA Board Member

This is an excellent book on financial planning for physicians and health professionals. It is all inclusive yet very easy to read with much valuable information. And, I have been expanding my business knowledge with all of Dr. Marcinko’s prior books. I highly recommend this one, too. It is a fine educational tool for all doctors.
—Dr. David B. Lumsden MD MS MA, Orthopedic Surgeon, Baltimore, Maryland

There is no other comprehensive book like it to help doctors, nurses, and other medical providers accumulate and preserve the wealth that their years of education and hard work have earned them.
—Dr. Jason Dyken MD MBA, Dyken Wealth Strategies, Gulf Shores, Alabama

I plan to give a copy of this book written
by doctors and for doctors’ to all my prospects, physician, and nurse clients. It may be the definitive text on this important topic.
—Alexander Naruska CPA, Orlando, Florida

Health professionals are small business owners who need to apply their self-discipline tactics in establishing and operating successful practices. Talented trainees are leaving the medical profession because they fail to balance the cost of attendance against a realistic business and financial plan. Principles like budgeting, saving, and living below one’s means, in order to make future investments for future growth, asset protection, and retirement possible are often lacking. This textbook guides the medical professional in his/her financial planning life journey from start to finish. It ranks a place in all medical school libraries and on each of our bookshelves.
—Dr. Thomas M. DeLauro DPM, Professor and Chairman – Division of Medical Sciences, New York College of Podiatric Medicine

Physicians are notoriously excellent at diagnosing and treating medical conditions. However, they are also notoriously deficient in managing the business aspects of their medical practices. Most will earn $20-30 million in their medical lifetime, but few know how to create wealth for themselves and their families. This book will help fill the void in physicians’ financial education. I have two recommendations: 1) every physician, young and old, should read this book; and 2) read it a second time!
—Dr. Neil Baum MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, Louisiana

I worked with a Certified Medical Planner™ on several occasions in the past, and will do so again in the future. This book codified the vast body of knowledge that helped in all facets of my financial life and professional medical practice.
Dr. James E. Williams DABPS, Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Conyers, Georgia

This is a constantly changing field for rules, regulations, taxes, insurance, compliance, and investments. This book assists readers, and their financial advisors, in keeping up with what’s going on in the healthcare field that all doctors need to know.
Patricia Raskob CFP® EA ATA, Raskob Kambourian Financial Advisors, Tucson, Arizona

I particularly enjoyed reading the specific examples in this book which pointed out the perils of risk … something with which I am too familiar and have learned (the hard way) to avoid like the Black Death. It is a pleasure to come across this kind of wisdom, in print, that other colleagues may learn before it’s too late— many, many years down the road.
Dr. Robert S. Park MD, Robert Park and Associates Insurance, Seattle, Washington

Although this book targets physicians, I was pleased to see that it also addressed the financial planning and employment benefit needs of nurses; physical, respiratory, and occupational therapists; CRNAs, hospitalists, and other members of the health care team….highly readable, practical, and understandable.
Nurse Cecelia T. Perez RN, Hospital Operating Room Manager, Ellicott City, Maryland

Personal financial success in the PP-ACA era will be more difficult to achieve than ever before. It requires the next generation of doctors to rethink frugality, delay gratification, and redefine the very definition of success and work–life balance. And, they will surely need the subject matter medical specificity and new-wave professional guidance offered in this book. This book is a ‘must-read’ for all health care professionals, and their financial advisors, who wish to take an active role in creating a new subset of informed and pioneering professionals known as Certified Medical Planners™.
—Dr. Mark D. Dollard FACFAS, Private Practice, Tyson Corner, Virginia

As healthcare professionals, it is our Hippocratic duty to avoid preventable harm by paying attention. On the other hand, some of us are guilty of being reckless with our own financial health—delaying serious consideration of investments, taxation, retirement income, estate planning, and inheritances until the worry keeps one awake at night. So, if you have avoided planning for the future for far too long, perhaps it is time to take that first step toward preparedness. This in-depth textbook is an excellent starting point—not only because of its readability, but because of his team’s expertise and thoroughness in addressing the intricacies of modern investments—and from the point of view of not only gifted financial experts, but as healthcare providers, as well … a rare combination.
Dr. Darrell K. Pruitt DDS, Private Practice Dentist, Fort Worth, Texas

This text should be on the bookshelf of all contemporary physicians. The book is physician-focused with unique topics applicable to all medical professionals. But, it also offers helpful insights into the new tax and estate laws, fiduciary accountability for advisors and insurance agents, with investing, asset protection and risk management, and retirement planning strategies with updates for the brave new world of global payments of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Starting out by encouraging readers to examine their personal ‘money blueprint’ beliefs and habits, the book is divided into four sections offering holistic life cycle financial information and economic education directed to new, mid-career, and mature physicians.

This structure permits one to dip into the book based on personal need to find relief, rather than to overwhelm. Given the complexity of modern domestic healthcare, and the daunting challenges faced by physicians who try to stay abreast of clinical medicine and the ever-evolving laws of personal finance, this textbook could not have come at a better time.
—Dr. Philippa Kennealy MD MPH, The Entrepreneurial MD, Los Angeles, California

Physicians have economic concerns unmatched by any other profession, arriving ten years late to the start of their earning years. This textbook goes to the core of how to level the playing field quickly, and efficaciously, by a new breed of dedicated Certified Medical Planners™. With physician-focused financial advice, each chapter is a building block to your financial fortress.
Thomas McKeon, MBA, Pharmaceutical Representative, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

An excellent resource … this textbook is written in a manner that provides physician practice owners with a comprehensive guide to financial planning and related topics for their professional practice in a way that is easily comprehended. The style in which it breaks down the intricacies of the current physician practice landscape makes it a ‘must-read’ for those physicians (and their advisors) practicing in the volatile era of healthcare reform.
—Robert James Cimasi, MHA ASA FRICS MCBA CVA CM&AA CMP™, CEO-Health Capital Consultants, LLC, St. Louis, Missouri

Rarely can one find a full compendium of information within a single source or text, but this book communicates the new financial realities we are forced to confront; it is full of opportunities for minimizing tax liability and maximizing income potential. We’re recommending it to all our medical practice management clients across the entire healthcare spectrum.
Alan Guinn, The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc., Cookeville, Tennessee

Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™ and his team take a seemingly endless stream of disparate concepts and integrate them into a simple, straightforward, and understandable path to success. And, he codifies them all into a step-by-step algorithm to more efficient investing, risk management, taxation, and enhanced retirement planning for doctors and nurses. His text is a vital read—and must execute—book for all healthcare professionals and physician-focused financial advisors.
Dr. O. Kent Mercado, JD, Private Practitioner and Attorney, Naperville, Illinois

Kudos. The editors and contributing authors have compiled the most comprehensive reference book for the medical community that has ever been attempted. As you review the chapters of interest and hone in on the most important concerns you may have, realize that the best minds have been harvested for you to plan well… Live well.
Martha J. Schilling; AAMS® CRPC® ETSC CSA, Shilling Group Advisors, LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I recommend this book to any physician or medical professional that desires an honest no-sales approach to understanding the financial planning and investing world. It is worthwhile to any financial advisor interested in this space, as well.
David K. Luke, MIM MS-PFP CMP™, Net Worth Advisory Group, Sandy, Utah

Although not a substitute for a formal business education, this book will help physicians navigate effectively through the hurdles of day-to-day financial decisions with the help of an accountant, financial and legal advisor. I highly recommend it and commend Dr. Marcinko and the Institute of Medical Business Advisors, Inc. on a job well done.
Ken Yeung MBA CMP™, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, Hong Kong

I’ve seen many ghost-written handbooks, paperbacks, and vanity-published manuals on this topic throughout my career in mental healthcare. Most were poorly written, opinionated, and cheaply produced self-aggrandizing marketing drivel for those agents selling commission-based financial products and expensive advisory services. So, I was pleasantly surprised with this comprehensive peer-reviewed academic textbook, complete with citations, case examples, and real-life integrated strategies by and for medical professionals. Although a bit late for my career, I recommend it highly to all my younger colleagues … It’s credibility and specificity stand alone.
Dr. Clarice Montgomery PhD MA, Retired Clinical Psychologist

In an industry known for one-size-fits-all templates and massively customized books, products, advice, and services, the extreme healthcare specificity of this text is both refreshing and comprehensive.
Dr. James Joseph Bartley, Columbus, Georgia

My brother was my office administrator and accountant. We both feel this is the most comprehensive textbook available on financial planning for healthcare providers.
Dr. Anthony Robert Naruska DC, Winter Park, Florida

***

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***

Dr. Marcinko at YOUR Service in 2019

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By Ann Miller RN MHA

Professor and physician executive David Edward Marcinko MBBS DPM MBA MEd BSc CMP® is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; Oglethorpe University, and Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center in GA; and the Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He is one of the most innovative global thought leaders in health care business and entrepreneurship today.

Dr. Marcinko is a multi-degreed educator, board certified physician, surgical fellow, hospital medical staff President, Chief Education Officer and philanthropist with more than 400 published papers; 5,150 op-ed pieces and over 125+ international presentations to his credit; including the top 10 biggest pharmaceutical companies and financial services firms in the nation. He is also a best-selling Amazon author with 30 published text books in four languages [National Institute of Health, Library of Congress and Library of Medicine].

Dr. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner®, who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2001. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, management and trade publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News].

As a licensed insurance agent, RIA and SEC registered endowment fund manager, Dr. Marcinko is Founding Dean of the fiduciary focused CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® Wiki Project. His professional memberships include: ASHE, AHIMA, ACHE, ACME, ACPE, MGMA, FMMA and HIMSS.

Dr. Marcinko is a MSFT Beta tester, Google Scholar, “H” Index favorite and one of LinkedIn’s “Top Cited Voices”.

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A Financial “Christmas Carol” [Part 2]

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By Rick Kahler MS CFP® http://www.KahlerFinancial.com

Rick Kahler MS CFPPreviously, in Part 1, we discussed the most important step of changing a problematic financial behavior: becoming willing to admit that changing the behavior is important and to seriously contemplate the change. Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol took that step when he heeded a warning from the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Financial Transformations

The next step in the financial transformation process is probably the most difficult and requires the most courage. It is looking into the past to revisit the events in our lives where our strongly held delusions were formed. Scrooge resisted this step and tried his best to skip over it. Yet his guide, the Ghost of Christmas Past, gently turned him toward the past.

Bringing objectivity and understanding to entrenched financial delusions isn’t easy. Many people want to focus instead on obtaining more information on how to save, invest, or spend wisely. We try to jump into the present before visiting the past, which is typically the last thing we want to do.

Yet, what we need most for transformation is emotional intelligence, which cannot be learned academically or developed by oneself. It must be learned emotionally, experientially, and in community. Just as Scrooge found a guide in the Ghost of Christmas Past, people wanting to gain the emotional intelligence needed to change their financial behaviors require the assistance of a financial coach or therapist. This is a journey that cannot be taken alone.

The New Reality?

Once we have taken that difficult but transformational journey into the past, we are ready to become present and see reality with new clarity. While Scrooge was less resistant to looking at the present than the past, it was the one step that terrified him the most. Once emotional intelligence is gained, we must face replacing our faulty beliefs with accurate cognitive information. This is the place for learning about budgeting, debt reduction, investments, and other financial skills.

In Changing for Good, Dr. James O. Prochaska calls this the stage of preparation, where we begin to acquire necessary knowledge and take the necessary steps to get ready to act. Scrooge’s guide, the Ghost of Christmas Present, helped him negotiate the present and obtain this knowledge. Our real-world guides may include accountants, attorneys, financial planners, and educational books and workshops.

When we gain accurate financial knowledge, we are ready to look toward the future to see where our previous delusional decisions potentially were taking us. Like the vision that the Ghost of Christmas Future unveils before Scrooge, the scene is often harsh. However, because of our preparation, we have the capacity and tools to enter what Prochaska calls the action phase.

***

100_1

***

Now we can begin to create a future that is consciously and deliberately planned. We can take control of our money rather than our money controlling us. Our guides can be financial advisors, financial planners, and financial mentors.

Many of us try to shortcut the transformation process by starting here, in the last step of looking toward the future. Sadly, without first taking the critical steps of viewing the past and learning the present, we often lose heart. This is why resolutions for financial change often fail, not because the goal is bad or unattainable, but because we are unprepared to go into action.

The end product of Scrooge’s difficult journey with the three Spirits was a transformed person, full of joy, generosity, and spirit. He experienced this transformation because he had the courage and conviction to start the process.

Assessment

It’s not possible to give the gift of a financial transformation. It is a gift that can only be received. This Christmas and New Year 2019, perhaps it’s time for you to receive yours.

Part 1: A Financial “Christmas Carol” [Part 1]

Conclusion

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A Financial “Christmas Eve Carol” [Part 1]

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By Rick Kahler MS CFP® http://www.KahlerFinancial.com

Rick Kahler MS CFPFor me, the Christmas season doesn’t seem complete without Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I’ve long been captivated by the transformation of the cold-hearted and calculating Mr. Scrooge, the seemingly inherent goodness of Bob Cratchit, and the haunting visits of the Ghosts of Christmas.

As a student of Dickens’s fable, I’ve been amazed at the wisdom and universal truths contained in that seemingly simple story. I have discovered that Mr. Scrooge isn’t merely the villain he’s often made out to be, nor is Cratchit the straightforward hero.

It’s not uncommon for the average American to have a stressful, even adversarial relationship with money, especially since half of Americans have no savings or investments and live month to month. Stress over money is especially exacerbated during the Christmas season each year. Many Americans borrow heavily on credit cards for gifts and end up stressing for months afterward trying to pay the bill.

Financial Transformations

How ironic that what Dickens unveils in the short A Christmas Carol is a powerful process for financial transformation (or any desired transformation). Dickens gives us a four-step process that anyone can employ to change destructive financial behaviors.

A few years ago I co-authored a book, The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge that highlights the subtle wisdom of Dickens’s story as it pertains to transforming one’s behavior around finances. The story became the heart of a successful model employed by financial planners and therapists to help transform a person’s relationship with money.

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The Story

The first big event in the story is the visit to Scrooge by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge takes to heart Marley’s warning to change his ways, thereby becoming willing to consider changing. Psychologists would call this an intervention.

The first and most important step toward transformation needs to be a personal realization that something is amiss with your behavior and it’s you who wants to contemplate changing, as opposed to someone else insisting you ought to or should change. Meaningful and sustainable change comes only from within, not without. Blaming personal financial problems on family, employers, the wealthy, or the government just keeps a person stuck in delusion.

What is the key to developing an internal desire to change? Addiction recovery programs call this “hitting bottom.” I describe it as reaching a state of openness to accept the facts and circumstances as they are, not as you wish they were. It is becoming convinced that change is crucial and that you are passionately ready to take action to change.

On that Christmas Eve, inexplicably, Scrooge was finally ready consider the message his old friend Marley had tried to deliver to him on many Christmas Eves previously.

In the book Changing for Good, psychologist James O. Prochaska and his co-authors describe this as moving from the stage of pre-contemplation to contemplation. Scrooge was willing to consider that his firmly entrenched world view might be skewed and to consider seeing the facts for what they were, not as he assumed they were.

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We may not be misers like Scrooge, but when it comes to our beliefs around money, we have as many delusions as he did. A few of the more popular of these beliefs, or money scripts, are: “More money is the answer,” “The stock market is a gamble,” “I work hard so I deserve to spend money,” and, “If I work hard I will make money.”

Assessment

Becoming willing to consider change is half the battle to free ourselves from destructive financial behavior based on these delusions. But it is only half. Next time we will look at three additional steps to transformation.

Part 2: A Financial “Christmas Carol” [Part 2]

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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Keeping Up with the Clauses

Feeling the Pressure to “Give”

By Rick Kahler MS CFP®

Are you feeling any pressure this Christmas season to give, give, give? Keeping up with the Joneses all year is hard enough. It gets even worse during the holidays, when we feel pressured to keep up, not just with the Joneses, but also with the expectations others, and ourselves, put on Santa Claus.

Some Christmas shoppers overspend on gifts and end up paying off credit card bills for months. Others drive themselves crazy trying to find exactly the right gifts for the right people. Others hate the whole idea of shopping so much that they find it hard to enjoy the season.

If you fit into any of these categories, the cause may be your money scripts. The unconscious beliefs about money that we all hold are especially likely to kick in this time of year. We are surrounded by expectations and pressures about “ideal” holiday celebrations with the perfect gifts, the perfect decorations, and the perfect foods. As a result, we are especially vulnerable to making money decisions blindly in response to beliefs we don’t even realize we hold.

You may be one of those who regularly end up spending significantly more on gifts than you intended to. You may impulsively buy additional, unbudgeted gifts for people you’ve already bought presents for. You may not even try to set holiday spending limits. You may overspend on things for yourself while you’re Christmas shopping.

  • If any of these are true for you, you may have some unconscious beliefs about money that drive you to overspend. See whether any of the following money scripts might fit for you:
  • “The more you spend, the more love you show.”
  • “It takes the joy out of giving if you pinch pennies.”
  • “It’s the season for giving lavishly, not for being a Scrooge.”
  • “If I don’t buy just the right gifts, people won’t like or respect me.”
  • “I need to give my kids more than I got when I was a child.”
  • “More gifts and more spending will make the holidays okay (and make my guilt go away).”
  • “It’s tradition. Everyone expects (whatever) from me.”
  • “I do so much for everyone else; I deserve something for myself, too.”

It’s also possible you may go to the opposite extreme and be a Grinch when it comes to the holidays. If you hate Christmas shopping, grumble about the holiday being so commercialized, and look forward to January, it’s possible you may hold some money scripts that drive you to underspend. Your beliefs may be similar to the following:

  • “It’s wrong to spend money except on necessities.”
  • “You aren’t a spiritual or religious person if you spend too much money.”
  • “Christmas shouldn’t be about money.”
  • “It’s wrong to spend money on luxuries when poor people are suffering.”
  • “It isn’t good for kids to get too much.”
  • “My kids shouldn’t have more than I had when I was a child.”

Christmas Wreath

If you’d like to change some aspects of what you do and how you feel about holiday spending, you may find it useful to take a closer look at your own beliefs about the season. One way to begin this is to quickly write answers (short statements are best) to the following questions: What do I believe about money and each of the following? Christmas? Family celebrations? Presents? Giving? Spending? Receiving?

Assessment

You may uncover some money scripts similar to the ones listed above. Learning why you tend to overspend or underspend this time of year won’t instantly change what you do. Yet understanding what is behind your pattern of holiday spending is an important way to start becoming a more conscious Christmas shopper.

Conclusion

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