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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.

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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]

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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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A Physician Focused Financial Advisior and Certified Medical Planner™

Financial Management Experience

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David K. Luke focuses on helping physicians, medical professionals, and successful retirees with financial planning, investment and risk management.

In the past 24 years of industry experience, David has held licenses including general securities registered representative, registered investment advisor, Branch management supervision, and Life, Accident, and Health Producers.

David, a fee-only advisor, is able to help his clients to achieve peace of mind and greater assurance with their financial goals by giving advice and providing investment management that is in their best interest, untainted by commissions or sales objectives. Likewise, in a true fiduciary capacity, he is able to help investors determine the reliability and suitability of products and services that they have been sold by other advisors.

David began his career managing money in 1986 in the General Motors of Canada Banking and Investments department where he was engaged in cash management, foreign currency hedging, and the debt issuance of a $100 million Eurobond and a $300 million Note Issuance facility. In 1988 as Supervisor of Borrowings for GMAC Canada David was responsible for the daily average issuance of $125 million in short-term Commercial Paper. David worked as a stock broker and portfolio manager for 2 major national brokerage firms (A.G. Edwards and Wachovia Securities) from 1989 to 2008.

Additionally, at Wachovia Securities David was among an elite group of financial advisors approved as a PIM (Private Investment Management) Portfolio Manager. Prior to joining Net Worth Advisory Group in 2010, David managed his own independent firm, Luke Wealth Strategies, working as a registered representative and investment advisor.

Education and Designations

  • President 2009/2010, Financial Planning Association (FPA) – Utah Chapter Affiliate
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  • Member, Medical Group Management Association Master of International Management (Finance concentration)
  • American Graduate School of International Management Bachelor of Arts, Brigham Young University
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David is our newest ME-P “thought-leader”. We look foward to his insider comments and posts. So, please welcome him and give his site a click: http://networthadvice.com/our-team/david-k-luke/

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Book Dr. David Edward Marcinko CMP®, MBA, MBBS for your Next Medical, Pharma or Financial Services Seminar or Personal and Corporate Coaching Sessions 

Dr. Dave Marcinko enjoys personal coaching and public speaking and gives as many talks each year as possible, at a variety of medical society and financial services conferences around the country and world.

These have included lectures and visiting professorships at major academic centers, keynote lectures for hospitals, economic seminars and health systems, keynote lectures at city and statewide financial coalitions, and annual keynote lectures for a variety of internal yearly meetings.

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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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business-valuation

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More on “income inequality” and financial planning

“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”

By Rick Kahler CFP®

One of the pillars of my profession of financial planning and counseling is to help people get richer. For many people, this statement might evoke the idea of “income inequality” as summed up by the phrase “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” This is a common money script around a topic that evokes a lot of difficult emotion.

Of course, there are people who have wealth that tends to increase over time. This includes some who inherit vast wealth and others who achieve wealth through business ownership or creative successes. It also includes those who live on less than they make, invest the difference, and make sound investment decisions with the money they have saved.

Goals of financial planning

Regardless of the economic class people start out in, one of the goals of financial planning is to help them expand their lifestyles—in in other words, to get richer. We help them build wealth so they can afford to send their children to college, or can take care of themselves in old age, or can someday not have to work for an income. We help the poor to become middle class, the middle class to become affluent, the affluent to become rich, and the rich to become richer.

When I frame “the rich getting richer” in that manner, people typically respond, “I never thought of it that way.” It contradicts the popular interpretation that the way the rich get richer is by taking from the poor, hence “the poor get poorer.”

Certainly it’s true that some rich people and companies do exploit the poor or try to influence legislation in their own interests. The artificially high prices they charge can be one factor in causing the poor to get poorer. Examples of this might include the secondary educational system as well as industries where excessive regulations limit competition.

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https://www.amazon.com/Comprehensive-Financial-Planning-Strategies-Advisors/dp/1482240289/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418580820&sr=8-1&keywords=david+marcinko

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Reasons

However, just as most of the rich don’t get richer by exploiting the poor, most of the poor don’t get poorer by being exploited by the rich. Some get poorer because they lack education or don’t know how to access help. Some get poorer by events out of their control, such as job layoffs, serious illnesses, or cultural, racial, or sexual discrimination. There are many reasons.

Some get poorer through choosing careers with little future, not taking care of their health, or making poor money decisions such as financially enabling children. Others are caught up in destructive behaviors like addictions or compulsive gambling. A few even choose poverty for religious or philosophical reasons.

Complex

As with many things, income inequality is complex.

For example, some people choose to take large risks that could result in their becoming very rich or very poor.

Others choose the security of a steady paycheck. There could ultimately be a huge wealth gap between the entrepreneur who hits it big and the more conservative person who wants to play it safe. Does that mean the gap is inherently bad, or that the risk-taker doesn’t deserve the rewards of success?

Certainly, the risk-taker could have ended up far worse than the person who played it safe. Does that make one right and the other wrong? I don’t believe so.

Assessment

Just as with other money scripts, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is true in some circumstances. At other times, the truth can be that “the rich get poorer and the poor get richer.” It can also be true (think of the 2008 economic crash) that “the rich get poorer and the poor get poorer.” And the final truth—one that financial planners work toward—is to help “the rich get richer and the poor get richer.”

Conclusion

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