Ep #158: Financial Wellness with Ryan Inman

Ryan Inman is listed as one of the top 100 financial advisors in the United States, and he works exclusively with physicians to offer unbiased and quality financial advice. The founder of Physician Wealth Services, a family-owned, fee-only financial planning firm, Ryan joins the show today to share the questions you should be asking your financial advisor.

You may be wondering why we’re talking about finances instead of weight loss, but the truth is that the way you approach your money is very similar to how you approach food. Not to mention, part of the process of losing weight is also getting your finances right. So be sure to listen in as Ryan breaks down how you can pay off your medical debt and start enjoying the money you earn.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Why you should hire a financial advisor.
  • Questions you should ask your financial advisor.
  • How to pay off your medical debt.
  • What F.I.R.E. is.
  • How to approach budgeting.

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Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians Podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 158.

Welcome to Weight Loss for Busy Physicians, a podcast for busy doctors like you get the practical solutions and support you need to permanently lose the weight, so you can feel better and have the life you want. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Well, hey there, my friend. How are you? Welcome back to the podcast. I’m so glad to have you here. How is your January treating you? I feel I cannot even tell you. I feel like everyday flies so fast. I’m just going, going, going, and not like in a stressful overly busy way, but just in a focused creating the life of my dreams kind of way. You know what I mean? You just are just going and going, and it’s already almost the end of January. How did that happen?

I have a special treat for you today, but before I get to that, I want to let you know that if you would like some advice and some help in how to lose weight quickly and effectively, I do have a guide for you on how to do that. It’s the Busy Doctor’s Quick-Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss, and it’s available to you for free, and it is some tips that I think most people don’t know about, and I think they’re going to be really helpful for you.

The way to get that is to go to katrinaubellmd.com/guide. If you do that, you’ll get it downloaded to your email, and then you’ll be able to start applying what I teach you right away. That, in combination with what I teach on this podcast, will make a huge difference for you in terms of getting going with your weight loss and getting those results to make 2020 the year that you lose that weight and keep it off permanently.

Okay, the special treat that I have for you today is an interview with Ryan Inman. Now, he is the founder of the Physician Wealth Services, and what Physician Wealth Services is, is a physician family-owned fee-only financial planning firm. His wife, Taylor, is a Pediatric Pulmonologist with US Navy, and he works exclusively with physicians to offer unbiased and quality financial advice, so he helps physicians create the life you love using either resources you have. That’s really important, right? It’s not like you need to change your circumstances and make a ton more money, so you can live the life you love. That helps you to feel more in control of your money, of course, with the way that you think and is just going to be very similar to how you help a patient feel better about their health, like making them feel better.

Ryan is also the host of the Financial Residency Podcast. I was actually just on his podcast last week, so you’re going to want to check that out and listen to his interview with me. It’s just a podcast to help you increase your financial literacy, so check out his podcast for sure and see what you think. Now, I got connected with Ryan through clients that we have who are joint clients. I have clients who work with me, and they work with him as well, and they thought, “You guys you have a lot in common. You guys should chat.”

He’s listed as one of the top 100 financial advisors in the United States by Investopedia, and he just really understands what it’s like to be a physician. Now, why are we talking about finances on weight loss podcast? Let’s just talk about that briefly. The reason is that money and the way that you approach your money is very, very similar to the way you approach food and your weight. There are so many parallels. It’s really uncanny. Part of the process of losing weight is also getting your financial house in order.

I know that, especially for so many women physicians, you’re similar to the way I was, and I’m still working through, which is thinking, “Hey, I’m a smart person, but this stuff doesn’t make any sense to me, this whole money business,” so a lot of us have a lot of fear around it. We’re confused. We just end up avoiding it. That is really probably not in our best interest. Even though I don’t work with Ryan personally, he is really someone who I think could benefit a lot of you, and just hearing just some encouragement to get yourself going.

Whether you end up working with him, or you find someone else to work with, or just give a call to your financial planner that you’ve been avoiding, I think you’re going to really find that there’s more that you can be doing to get yourself organized, and set and really having your future self in mind. You’re thinking about you in the future and how you’re going to set her up to have success. Please enjoy this interview with Ryan, and check out his podcast. All right, I’ll talk you to next week. Take care. Bye-bye.

Hey, Ryan. Welcome to the podcast.

Ryan Inman:       Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

Katrina Ubell:      I’m so excited to have you here. I always ask everybody who comes on the podcast to just start off with a little description of themselves and what they do, so if you could do that, that’d be awesome.

Ryan Inman:       Of course. I am a fee-only financial planner who works with physicians all around the country, and I’m married to a pediatric pulmonologist for the US Navy. I am the host of the Financial Residency Podcast.

Katrina Ubell:      Awesome. Where do you live?

Ryan Inman:       We’re in San Diego currently.

Katrina Ubell:      Amazing San Diego. You have a couple of kids too, right?

Ryan Inman:       I do. I have a five and a three-year-old. A five-year-old boy and a three-year-old daughter.

Katrina Ubell:      Great. Awesome. Explain to everybody what a fee-only planner is. A lot of people I feel like are going to be like, “I don’t know what that means.”

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, no, that’s fine. There’s two types of financial planners or financial advisors out there. There are fee-based advisors, and then there’s fee-only advisors. NAIFA, which is a big governing body for us, did a study and found out that 97% or a little bit more of all advisors are fee-based advisors, and what that means is that not only can the advisor earn a fee for working with a client, but they can also sell products. When they sell those products, they can earn a commission for seeling those.

The most easy recognizable one is insurance, so most planners sell insurances is the easy way of looking at this. It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing, but it introduces a lot of conflicts of interest, “Is this person telling me this that I need this product to better myself, to protect myself, or is it because they earn more money?” Some products in insurance don’t have a huge commission structure, so it’s not a huge deal. Like term insurance it doesn’t have a lot of pay up from a fee standpoint, but when you start talking about like whole life insurance where the commissions could be 10, 15, $25,000, all of a sudden it’s like, “Oh, is that person acting in my best interest or not?”

Fee-only advisors they don’t sell any products. You’re paying them based on their expertise and advice. There’s a number of ways that they can charge, but that is the only thing. Whatever is in that client agreement is the only thing that that person can earn, so if you and I are working together, and it says you’re going to pay $5,000, that’s all I can earn. I can’t refer you to someone else, let’s say, a CPA to do your taxes or anything, and they buy me a Starbucks cup of coffee. It’s black and white. I earn 5,000. That’s it. There’s a big distinction-

Katrina Ubell:      It’s kind of like if you’re a physician, and people come to see you, and they pay you for your medical advice, but also whenever you prescribe medication A, you get a kickback. You get some commission off of that sale of that medication, but if you prescribe medication B, which is comparable and does the same thing, you don’t get paid that. You’re probably going to be more likely to recommend medication A even when maybe medication B is also good or might even be slightly better. That’s kind of I feel like a good medical analogy of it, right?

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, I look at is as like what if you were just paid on the amount of prescriptions you wrote? You would write lots of prescriptions versus maybe there’s a different path or different way to go whereas advisors that sell insurance that’s usually all roads lead to insurance, and that’s usually a bad thing because you should have some insurance but not that much. Insurance is insurance, and investments are investments. You never want to mix the two, but typically, those who sell insurance kind of pitch it also as an investment when you’re featuring all this stuff. It just really muddies the water and introduces a lot of conflicts of interest, and we’ve decided that we don’t want to take part in that.

Katrina Ubell:      97% of these planners are doing that. This actually came up for us. Just so that we’re clear, I just want to everyone to know you and I do not work together.

Ryan Inman:       No.

Katrina Ubell:      This is not like me doing you a favor because I work with you.

Ryan Inman:       No, not at all.

Katrina Ubell:      I just want to be sure that that’s clear, but this actually happened to us within the last nine months or so where we found out that the person that we’ve been working with for a long time was fee-based even though I had specifically asked many times like, “Remind me how you get paid,” and there were definitely some things going on there where there were some backend commissions that were not reported. He didn’t have to report and that we didn’t know about. I only figured it out once I learned about this issue, learned about what to look for and then did my own research.

I have to say it feels pretty bad when you find out. You feel like you’ve just been taken for a ride. This person you’ve trusted with … I know he did a good job for us in terms of our investments, but still this was like, “This is not cool. We really want to work with someone who is just like what you see is what you get. That’s all it is.” So then we switched to somebody who is offering that to us.

Ryan Inman:       It’s hard to find.

Katrina Ubell:      I think it’s important to do your own due diligence because it can be hard to find, so it’s just important to not just ask because their livelihood depends on it, so they’re going to have a way of explaining it to you most likely that’s going to make it sound better than it probably is.

Ryan Inman:       Absolutely. In this day and age with the internet you shouldn’t be surprised with any product or anything because it’s easily searchable through our friend Google right at this point, so you shouldn’t be surprised with what it is, but looking at it, I have several friends that are fee-based advisors, and they’re great people, but they will never become fee-only because they make three times more money selling products than they would with just advising.

And then even when you get to the advising piece, basically if the fee is derived from assets under management fee than a fixed flat fee, they’re more likely to tell you, “Don’t pay down your debt. It’s a low interest, so we can earn more in the markets. Invest more money.” Or in reality, maybe that’s the best option, but maybe it’s not, but you know that they get paid with more money that they manage, so you know that that conflict exists.

As long as you understand all the conflicts, and you can make an educated decision, you’re okay. The problem with navigating the financial industry is that a lot of time they don’t have to tell you the conflicts of interest, and it’s up to you to figure out what those are and what questions to ask, and it’s kind of difficult to kind of go through. You always want to ask the person you’re about to work with, “How do you get paid? What do you sell? Do you sell products? What licenses do you hold?”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, you have to really make sure you understand that. You and I had just chatted before, and I was telling you about how I very much felt for many years like I didn’t understand the financial world. I would always say like, “I’m a smart person, but this stuff just doesn’t seem to make sense to me.” I would often ask our advisor. I’d go in there for our annual meeting or every six-month meeting that turned into an every annual meeting because I avoided it as much as possible because it was so awful. Not because we didn’t have money, but because I did not understand what he was talking about. I would think, “No, this is my job to understand this stuff. I got to get in there and ask questions and ask questions until I understand.”

He would just keep speaking in a foreign language, and finally I’d be like. “Okay, whatever.” And then with my husband there too I think it was even easier to be like, “Well, but he seems to understand it, so okay, I guess it’s okay.” But it’s really just this abdication of responsibility for your own money, which I think for physicians is kind of a little bit unique in the sense that you have no money, most of us, for a really long time.

In fact, you’re in the hole significantly for most people, and then all of a sudden you’re making a lot of money, and you got to figure out what to do with all of that and how to solve all of that, so it’s really this like maturing that has to happen in terms of deciding that this is what you’re going to do, and you’re going to learn about this, and you’re responsible for this just the way you’re responsible for taking good care of your patients or learning about something that’s going on with your child. You have to look at money the same way, and it’s just not as sexy unfortunately for most of us, even those of us who really like money.

Ryan Inman:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      I would love for you to talk about that a little bit but also to tell us a little bit more about how you got into this niche of working with financial planning for physicians.

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, of course. When you think about working with a planner as you walked in, and you kind of dreaded it. No one likes to feel stupid, and there’s a lot of industry jargon that can be thrown at you to make you feel stupid or just that you should look at and go, “Well, I’m a doctor. I’m really smart. I should know this stuff.” You look over at your husband and the guy … I’m guilty of this, so I’ll just make fun of guys. We’re naturally just shaking our head, “Yeah.” You’re like, “Oh, he gets it good. I’ll ask him later,” and then he’s like, “Did you get that?”

There’s so much industry jargon that it’s frustrating. On the show that’s why I try to break things down like really basic because you don’t know these things. My wife is so much smarter than me. I’m totally fine in saying it everywhere because she is perfect score ACT, SAT, like brilliant physician. We start talking finance, and in beginning of our relationship it was like, “Wait, I’m supposed to pay the whole thing?” I’m like, “Oh yes, you’re supposed to pay the whole credit card balance off.” “I’m sure it said minimum payment.” I’m like, “No.”

We started from the basics. Now we’re writing a book together. She gets finance. She reluctantly gets it, but if you don’t have someone that you’re married to that nerds out on this stuff, it’s hard because you never went through training to understand. It was never included. It’s a tough piece to go through, but I got started in this. I went to multiple graduate degrees, and as I came out, it was in the middle of 2008, which is in unfortunate. There was like this big recession. When the recession kicked up, I was working through accounting.

I started working for a financial advisor, and they worked with ultra high net worth, a million dollar minimums, and really honestly the clientele was a lot of retirees and people that were significantly older than myself. It was all drawdown strategies of how to spend their money and to gift money away. It was a really good learning experience, but I wasn’t emotionally excited to go to work, and so while I was earning a good paycheck and everything, it was really hard.

And when we had kids, I wanted to be there for them, and so I said, “Look, I want to work with people that are similar to me that I get, that I know the steps they’re going through, and that really excites me. I don’t care how much or how little they make. I just want to do meaningful work,” so I decided who best to work with and other physician families because my wife and I have been together since we were 18.

We met freshman year at college before she was even wanting to go back to med school because that’s what her dad wanted her to do, and she didn’t want to do it at first, but I’m happy she did. But we were together all these years. We’ve been through the joys, the pains, the struggles, every fourth night on call in the hospital. You’re feeling single and alone. Those were hard times. Residency was super tough. And then we had two kids in fellowship, which was also a whole set of interesting problems to go through with that, but I love working with physicians.

All of our friends are physicians. I’m married to one. I work with all of them. I’m the crazy guy that hangs out with a bunch of doctors.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, which I think is actually really good though because I think all of us as physicians have kind of had this experience where either people can feel kind of intimidated by the fact that you’re a physician or make a lot of assumptions like, “Well, but you’re a doctor, so you must be an expert at every single thing.”

Ryan Inman:       “It might be nice you’re married to a doctor.” I’m like, “Yeah, all the debts.”

Katrina Ubell:      It’s amazing. Right, it’s either that, or they are making assumptions like, “Oh, but now we got a doctor in here, so let’s …” You can start wondering like, “Are they just recommending this because they know I’m a doctor.” Sometimes it’s just kind of this weird type of dynamic that can sometimes be there. I think everybody listening is going to know what I’m talking about. It’s not always there, but every now and then you’re like, “Something is off here.” Your little Spidey sense is kind of like, “This is kind of weird.”

I think knowing that you are totally comfortable with … Sometimes you want someone who’s not impressed that you’re a doctor, someone who’s just like, “Okay, listen, I know you’re a doctor, but this is what we need to do,” who’s willing to come in and take charge in a loving way, of course, but also isn’t going to be like pussyfooting around.

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, it’s unfortunate because everyone, especially in the financial industry, know that physicians have zero formal education in financial matters, so you guys have a giant target on your back. It’s really, really unfortunate that most people want to work with physicians because they think you’re wealthy. Now, you will become wealthy over time if you don’t blow up in the beginning part of your career a bunch of things, right? Don’t buy the giant house and become an ostrich and throw your head in the sand with your student debt.

If you do some of the right things, you will become wealthy, but unfortunately, a lot of people in the financial industry kind of know that, and so they want to work with you because you … I look at it, and not only am I not impressed, sometimes I’m like, “I’m sorry,” because I know that you work a lot. You tell me your specialty, and I just immediately know, “Oh, I work with four people that do that, and I know you work a ton. Let’s talk about why you’ve structured your life this way, and what you want to be doing,” and we get into some of the life planning pieces with that.

It’s really similar to your show. I told you offline and even when I had you online. Some clients told me that they listen to your show and love it, and that we talk very similar. I’m like, “Well, behaviorally, there’s a lot of similarities, so it makes sense.”

Katrina Ubell:      Totally. Absolutely.

Ryan Inman:       Now you’re in my podcast lineup.

Katrina Ubell:      That is so fun.

Ryan Inman:       And then my wife’s going, “Why haven’t you lost weight?” I’m like, “Easy. I’m getting there.”

Katrina Ubell:      You have to actually apply it, Ryan.

Ryan Inman:       Baby steps.

Katrina Ubell:      You actually just do what I suggest.

Ryan Inman:       Of course.

Katrina Ubell:      I love it. Okay, I want to talk about the people who accumulate a lot of debt in their medical training and then come out and have like a real paying job, attending job, and they’re making decent money now, and they go into it like, “I want to pay down this debt as fast as possible.” They’re very afraid of debt, or they think debt is bad, or they just think they’ll feel better when debt is paid off, and so they’re basically putting their life on hold to aggressively, aggressively pay down debt.

Now, I’m not against paying down debt, but I just want to talk about that a little bit because I see that come up pretty frequently. The way I teach it like debt is a neutral circumstance. It’s just money that you’ve borrowed for something that creates value, in this case your education. Our thoughts about it can be so varied. Some people think debt is not a problem at all, and some people think debt is just like the worst thing. I find that most of the time it’s based on how you were raised. If your parents thought that debt was horrible, and you were raised with that idea, then you’re in this panic to pay it off as quickly as you possibly can.

But I know that you’ve talked about that on your podcast. That’s something I wanted to see if you could comment on that.

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, our average client has $290,000 of just student debt. We’re not talking any consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage, nothing. Even some of the really early new attendees are coming out with some consumer debt because they had to borrow to go for interviews or whatever it might be, so understanding that that’s the average. Some people come out, and their parents and grandparents saved and paid for it. I think our highest is like 770, so quite a bit of debt for that individual.

But I look at debt … And you have a very interesting take on it, and it’s similar actually to what I look at, because most people are like, “Oh, how could you do that? Just pay it all down.” It’s like, “Well, no, sometimes it doesn’t work. You might have public service loan forgiveness. You might have a whole bunch of different ways.” But let’s take the person with their earliest memories of how you’re raised around money. That does tell you how you’re going to interact and your relationship overall with it.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and go, “That was my limiting belief because of maybe XYZ reason, and maybe I should start to shift this focus and over time get to that.” I look at debt as you bought a business. A business just happens to be in your head. You are a physician, and you’re buying this business. If I was going to go out and buy, let’s say, another financial advisor practice, and it made $300,000 a year depending on if it’s one-time revenue, if it’s just like that person is just doing hourly work, or maybe it’s recurring revenue, and maybe it could be worth up to two times of what it is, so that 300,000 maybe is worth 600.

With the physicians, it’s going to be the same thing. It’s in your head. But if I paid $300,000 in student debt to walk away to earn $300,000 as an anesthesiologist, that was a great purchase because you, in theory, should be able to pay it off pretty quick and then have a really strong earning potential for that business. Most people get stuck in, “Debt is bad, and this is a horrible thing that I’ve done to myself. How could I have done this and gotten into this hole? It’s such a mess.” And they either are an ostrich and throw their head in the sand and say, “Oh, that all will work itself out,” which it doesn’t. You have to face it and actually go through it.

Some people are dead immune and just be like, “Yeah, I get student debt, and I’m going throw a house, and cars and all this on top of it,” and then one day they’ll wake up and go, “Oh-oh.” Now this is an issue, and they’re going to have to resolve it. I think if you take the approach of you had to take out student debt in order to become a physician as long as you are responsible and have a reasonable amount. If you’re a pediatrician that makes 150, and you took at 600,000, that wasn’t responsible, so it’s a much harder route going to PSLF.

You’re not going to pay it off easily without living on ramen to go to work in academics and just realize that that was the result of that decision, but most people are in that case, and they have gone overboard with it. That is okay if you have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, nothing’s okay. But you have to understand the direction you want to go. I look at just debt it’s a business. You bought a business.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. I just find it so interesting. I would say everyone has to make their own decision about … And there are some many factors that play into this; the cost of living, where you live and all of it. But I think that sometimes I’ll hear from people saying like, “Oh, I’d love to do your program. I would love to get help from you, but we’re really putting all of our extra money toward debt repayment right now.” I always find that so interesting because it’s like this lack of being willing to invest in something that’s going to make such a big difference in your life. We’ll actually make it, so you could potentially make more money, which helps you pay down your debt faster.

Ryan Inman:       We see that all the time.

Katrina Ubell:      Sometimes you have to be smart about spending money to actually make more money or to learn how to eat less, so you aren’t spending so much money on food, and maybe you’re drinking less alcohol, which also costs a lot of money. Your restaurant bills are lower.

There’s this kind of mindset of like, “The student loan debt is bad. It must be paid off first, then my life begins, then I can actually do something for myself.” But you also have to stop postponing your whole life. That is all of residency and fellowship, right? It’s postponement, postponement and getting to a place where you actually can enjoy your life maybe not in an extravagant way but enjoying it somewhat.

Ryan Inman:       We know this. Anything in extremes is bad. If you have one end that’s like, “Eff it, I’m not saving a single penny. I’m going YOLO.” It’s not going to probably end up well, and at the same time you’ve got someone that’s so worried about debt paydown that they’re not going to live life, and they’re going to cut every penny, and they’re going to worry about it. The extremes in anything are bad. It’s the same thing with … A lot of it you see actually in the FIRE community. Everyone is saving as much as they can to retire super fast.

Katrina Ubell:      Tell everybody what the FIRE community is. Not everybody will know what that is.

Ryan Inman:       It’s Financial Independence Retire Early. Sorry. I threw out an industry jargon. I didn’t need to.

Katrina Ubell:      You can’t help it you financial planners.

Ryan Inman:       It’s the Financial Independence Retire Early crowd. What a lot of them are doing … I mean, every personal finance is personal, but a lot of them are saving as much money as they possibly can. They don’t have physician student loan debt and stuff, but they’re saving as much as they can to retire as early they can to live off as little as they can, so they don’t have to work is essentially what it is.

Now, there’s forms of FIRE, if you will, where some people want to save more money, and then that way they can live a little bit more comfortably, but for the most part they’re doing that. I think anything extremes is bad, so when you look at that it’s you’re sacrificing so much, and physicians and families behind it we’ve sacrificed so much already that … I hear it all the time though. You’re saying, “Hey, we’re paying down debt. We don’t have enough money to invest.”

It’s like, “Well, I don’t care about your investments. I want your financial health overall to be better, and without looking at everything, you’re probably not doing certain things. You forego disability insurance and term coverage, and you got three kids because you want to pay more on your student debt, but what happens if the physician, I don’t care if it’s male of female, passes away and you have very little coverage?” Now you’re really stuck. I only look at all the exposure on your end. What is more important than your health? I have recently found out-

Katrina Ubell:      Right, your health and your brain. I mean, that’s what we focus on. I’m like, “Literally, your whole experience of your life is going to change from this one investment for the better.” Anyway, it’s always interesting. Again, it’s personal what people decide they want to spend money on, but I think it’s an interesting way of looking at things. I know somebody who was also very … She and her husband were really trying to pay things down with this idea of retire early, and I remember talking to my mom about it, and she’s like, “So, you retire early and then what? You’re a doctor, and you’re like the Walmart greeter because that’s a good use of your time. How about you actually love your job and contribute in that way?”

I’ve been saying, I’m like, “Why would you want to retire if you work as much as you want to doing something you love and no more no less?” Why would you ever want to quit that? I think it’s way more compelling to focus on creating a life like that.

Ryan Inman:       Sometimes people get stuck.

Katrina Ubell:      And then, of course, saving because things can happen, and you have a stroke and whatever happens. You can’t do that anymore. But rather than this idea of like, “Let me just live this very austere life.” Again, putting off like, “Then it’ll be great. I don’t have to work anymore when I’m financially independent. I don’t have to work. Then life will be great.” Well, then you have no purpose in your life because you don’t have a job anymore. I think it’s just postponing having a meaningful, satisfying, fulfilling life forever and then you die, and then what? It just doesn’t seem like it makes a lot of sense to me.

Ryan Inman:       Yeah. After working with hundreds and hundreds of physicians, I’ve never had one be like, “Oh, I just want to earn a ton of money and then die with it.” Everyone has something, not just physicians. Everyone has something that they want to accomplish, but sometimes I feel like people get stuck. In a way finance it’s a big burden for them if they were an ostrich previously and didn’t put the right money away or didn’t save and kind of had that yellow mentality, and all of sudden they have a ton of consumer debt.

They feel stuck in a job that they hate because they need the paycheck. I work with many, many people who make more than $500,000 a year and are paycheck to paycheck. That’s okay if you realize, “Now I need help, and now I need to invest something into that.” It’s not the actual investments. It’s you’re investing and making yourself better in your own self-learning. That’s how I view some of your stuff is if you get to a point that you’re stuck, and you can’t do anything, you need outside help.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, right.

Ryan Inman:       That’s okay.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s just like, “Why would I hire a financial planner and pay him when I have all this debt?” Well, to help you come out of that as quickly as possible and in the best possible situation. Why would you hire someone … I’ve had people be like, “Well, I only have £10 to lose. That’s a lot of money per pound.” I’m like, “God, if you’re thinking about it per pound, you’re thinking about it all the wrong way.” That is not-

Ryan Inman:       It’s like, “How much are you going to make my investments?” It’s like, “Well, how about we work on just identifying where everything is and figuring out a plan that has your money living the life that you want to live and helping support that versus you just working for a paycheck?”

Katrina Ubell:      Right. I think a lot of that comes down to really maturing into a true adult role. I’ve always said this. I feel like we as physicians are developmentally delayed. We got out of college, go to medical school. All of our friends maybe they’re going to graduate school, but it’s not long, and they’re making some serious bank, and we are toiling away, accumulating debt.

If we’re lucky in residency, we make enough money that we don’t have to take on more debt, but we’re still just postponing our other debt and deferring all of that and just slogging away. Meanwhile, our friends are all traveling the world. Maybe they’re getting married, starting families, things like that. Some of us try to do that in residency, but it’s still not the same, and then we get spit out at the end 30-ish, 30 to 35, maybe even a little bit older, and we’re still not adults.

Everyone around us they’ve been adulting for a while and we haven’t, and we’re like, “Oh, I’m behind. I’m still driving this total Bitter car. I’ve got to get out of this condo that sucks. I want a nice house. I want nice things. I’ve been working so hard for so long.” And then you get into that position where you are being paid a lot where now you’re at the country club, you got your kids to the most expensive school, you’ve got the lake home, you’ve got like all of these things that you really can’t responsibly afford, and so sometimes there needs to be a scaling back of the lifestyle like you were saying like living paycheck to paycheck, which is the responsible thing to do versus like, “Well, I can’t do anything because I’ve got these golden handcuffs. I’ve got all these expenses, and I can’t change them.” You can change whatever you want.

Ryan Inman:       You can change anything.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, you can change anything. You can just stop being a doctor. Did you know that, Ryan? You could stop practicing as a doctor and do something else.

Ryan Inman:       No, who would do that?

Katrina Ubell:      I don’t recommend it to everybody because I know I have so many amazing doctors, and we need them, so you can take care of us.

Ryan Inman:       Thank God, there’s people like all of you listening because at the sight of blood I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do anything of what all of my clients do. There’s no way. I am not that person. I’m not wired that way. I immediately visually … I hear conversations that my wife has with all her friends, and immediately it gets gross and disgusting, and I visually see all this, and I’m just like, “No, I can’t.” In my head I can’t unsee something. Thankfully, there’s people. Please don’t stop being a doctor. We need all of you so bad.

Katrina Ubell:      We need all of you. That’s for sure. We need all of you with a great mindset because nobody wants to be taken care of by a doctor who does not want to be there and hates their job.

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, I want to go into a happy doc as possible.

Katrina Ubell:      Exactly.

Ryan Inman:       I know they’re all sitting there with like EMRs and all that stuff. That’s not possible, but it is because I work with a lot of happy physicians too.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, that’s totally possible.

Ryan Inman:       It’s just realigning your life with what you ultimately want, knowing that you can change literally anything you want other than having kids and not having kids. When you already have kids, you can’t go back, but for the most part, anything else you can change. Yes, kids are expensive.

Katrina Ubell:      On that front, let’s talk about budgeting, the B word that everyone hates. I think that most people are like, “Well, I don’t want to spend less. I’m going to have to go on a budget, and I hate budgets.” I think that budgeting is very similar to not wanting to create a plan for your food. There’s this resistance like, “I’m going to feel like so trapped, and I’m not going to be able to do what I want.” It’s the same for, “But what if I don’t want to eat that when it comes? But what if I want to buy that thing that’s on sale and I don’t have the money in that envelope in the budget? What do I do?” I’m curious to how you approach budgeting with people.

Ryan Inman:       I think it depends on how much or little you’ve been paying attention in the first place, but from the onset you have to understand what comes in and what goes out of your cashflow. You have to understand the basics because if you don’t, there’s no way you can build a plan for the future if you have no idea what’s happening in the present. Now, budgeting is like today looking backwards; what did we spend our money on?

I’m assuming, and I’ll just relate personally to food. I don’t want to think about the donut I had three days ago because I’m going to feel bad, and then it’s like, “Oh, I probably shouldn’t have done that.” But at the time I was like, “Hell yeah, that’s a good donut.”

Katrina Ubell:      That’s a good donut.

Ryan Inman:       But it is the same thing with budgeting. I don’t want to look back and be like, “Oh my gosh, I thought I was going to spend $300 in entertainment. I spent 500 last month.” It’s a horrible feeling. No one wants to do anything that feels horrible, so we immediately say, “Well, all of budgeting is horrible, and I don’t want to do it,” and they put it away when in reality we should be doing cashflow planning like a business and going, “Today looking forward, what do we expect to spend next month?” And then you map out what you think you’re going to spend, and then you compare. It’s just a mindset change. You compare what you spent to what you thought you’d spend thinking ahead.

As we’re putting this together it’s not … If this is the first time and you’re like, “All right, fine. He’s convinced me a little bit. I’ll start looking at it.” Don’t make any changes. For 90 days don’t try to change a single thing. Just try to understand how your money is flowing in and out and then go-

Katrina Ubell:      It’s just awareness. Once you see it, then you can go, “Well, am I happy with this or not? Do I want a few changes?”

Ryan Inman:       Exactly. “Am I spending money in a way that makes me happy?” Like, “Oh yeah, I spent two grand at Amazon.”

Katrina Ubell:      What are you talking about? Easily.

Ryan Inman:       No joke. Because we do monthly cashflow reporting for all our clients, and Amazon has its own separate section.

Katrina Ubell:      Of course, it does.

Ryan Inman:       Amazon is sneaky. They make it so you can’t tell what your purchases are when it flows in through the data aggregators, but if you trust your Google, you can find the way to export it into Excel to break it down into like all these fixed expenses or these like variable expenses. Most people don’t. We can kind of just lump it together, but in that first 90 days just understand what you’re doing and then comparing it to like, “Was that fun? Did I have a great time? Oh, we spent $700 at Disneyland. That was super worth it. I had a great day. I spent tons of quality time with the family, made a bunch of memories. I spent $600 at Amazon. That didn’t make me as happy. Well, guess which one I’m going to choose next time.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, I think that’s a really good way of looking at it. I’m one of those people, too, that hates a budget. My thoughts about budgeting are not great. I’ve told you this before. Especially because we always seem to still be able to meet our goals. I think I’d be more of a fan of budgeting if I really felt the pain of budgeting. Because I’m not budgeting, I’m thinking like I don’t need to budget even though it would give me some good awareness.

Ryan Inman:       Because you’re past that point where you need to understand in order to pay the bills.

Katrina Ubell:      Exactly. But what you were saying is that you help clients with that cashflow kind of work. I think doing it on your own … I think if I really felt like I needed a budget, I would be more into doing it myself and using one of these softwares that you can use on your own and really taking ownership of that. But I think it’s so great when you have someone else who can help you. In fact, my bookkeeper, who helps me in my business, does bookkeeping for us personally.

Ryan Inman:       I can tell you have one. I know you do.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes.

Ryan Inman:       It’s in a form of a bookkeeper-

Katrina Ubell:      He’s awesome.

Ryan Inman:       … for businesses, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Ryan Inman:       But you still actually keep one, and you still do some forecasting because that’s what your bookkeeper does, but when you’re at your stage … We have clients that make over a million dollars a year, and they have no reason to track things penny by penny.

Katrina Ubell:      No, it doesn’t make any sense.

Ryan Inman:       I don’t want people tracking it. It doesn’t make any sense. You have to understand stuff from the basics, but when you get to the point probably where you’re at where you don’t need to go, “Oh man, I’ve got budget everything out to make sure I can actually pay my credit card bill,” then you have a bunch of savings left over. You should be able to get to the point that you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to pay all my bills. My credit card should be $5,000 a month, and as long as it’s about that, I know that the savings is already getting automated. I’m good.”

You’ve done the pre-work ahead of time to get to that point, and it’s still cashflow planning. You still need it. I don’t care if you make $5 million a year. You still need to know where your money is going. It’s just how much time do you need to spend on it is likely what’s going to change.

Katrina Ubell:      I think it’s like so many things. It’s going to require more effort initially to get everything squared away so that all the accounts are set up properly, and the strategy is there, and you have everything automated and happening on its own, and then, like you said, then you don’t have to spend so much time on it, but you reap the benefits afterwards.

It’s similar to like not having the donut now and the pain and disappointment of not having the donut, but then losing a pound this week. You have this net positive effect later versus digging your head in the sand as the ostrich is like eating the donut like having that instant pleasure just being like, “Oh, I’m just not going to do it right now because I don’t want to feel the discomfort of actually seeing what’s going on with my money.”

But the net effect of that is negative for you because you don’t have the plan. If anything, even if you are all set money-wise, you don’t know that, so your thoughts are that of doubt, confusion, indecision, worry, all these things that you don’t know what’s actually happening. If you’re able to actually see that, then you can no longer create those emotions.

Ryan Inman:       It’ll free up a place in your mind to do and think about other things. We have a client that immediately when you said that it came to my mind is they have been saving for a long time. They’ve been doing all these great things. They didn’t think that they were financially stable enough to actually go travel abroad. They had never been abroad. They didn’t think that they could do that.

When we actually started showing them cashflow, how money flows in, where it’s going in their investments, and that we could siphon off a little piece of this, and it could go towards the travel fund, it was revolutionary for them, and within like four of five months, they took their whole family to Paris and had these amazing memories and send us pictures, and it was super cool.

But they were in a good place, but they’d never actually sat down and be like, “How does this flow from here to here?” It was like, “Well, if we just have extra, we’ll throw into some investment bucket,” and not really having a plan to do it, so showing them and very basic. He spends like 20 minutes a month now checking a couple of bills, making sure there’s no fraud, and he’s done. It’s not like it’s that bad once you actually work through that, but for someone that’s in debt, you’re not going to be there. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to go through and spend a little more time and do it, but at some point you’ll get to where you’re at, and 20 minutes a month and you’re good, or have a bookkeeper do it.

Katrina Ubell:      Have a bookkeeper do it. And then have call once a month where they just show you everything.

Ryan Inman:       You review for 10 minutes a month.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s what I like to do. I’m like, “That’s so good.” This is the first Christmas where we are … We’re recording this before Christmas. This is the first Christmas where we’re working with him personally, and he was saying like, “Well, how much do you usually spend on Christmas?” And we literally were like, “We don’t know. We have no idea.” I think it varies because some years you’ve got great ideas for guests, and some years you’re like, “Socks and underwear. I don’t know. I got nothing else.”

Ryan Inman:       But you can ballpark it, right?

Katrina Ubell:      That’s what we did. We ballparked it, and then what we’ll do is we’ll see at the end what ended coming of that, and then we are going to be able to plan for next year that much better. It provides so much freedom just knowing it’s all there. If I need any of that information, it’s all there.

Ryan Inman:       Oh yeah, of course. If someone is listening, and they’re in debt, or they don’t have the cashflow to be able to just kind of wing it, Christmas comes at the same time a year. The holidays are here. The birthdays are here the same time a year. It’s crazy. And you can kind of guess. I’m just going to throw out a number, “Hey, I need $1,200 for the holidays.” Well, $100 every month can just be earmarked, separate savings account literally titled holiday spending. Whatever holiday you celebrate, it doesn’t matter.

And then when that comes and it comes time to pay that bill, the 1,200 bucks, you just move the money you’ve saved for all year long. As you’re organizing your bank structure, because even that you want to make as simple as possible. Saving for a big trip, it should have its own savings account, “Inman family trip to Australia.” You can’t write all that in, but you can say like, “Australia trip,” or whatever it is. Create some emotion around the money. You know birthdays, and the holidays and everything are coming. How much do you need? 1,200. Save a 100 month. Just automate as much as you can, but you’re going to experience it in a different way.

Katrina Ubell:      This just came up today where I was looking at something that I had to do later this week, and I opened up the task on the calendar. I opened it up, and there were all these notes to myself about what I was supposed to do there. I was so grateful to the me who set that up a couple of weeks ago who was like, “You’re not going to remember, so I’m going to put all that stuff in there and make it really easy, so you don’t have to ask. You don’t have to find it somewhere else.”

It’s like the same thing. You’re making it so easy for yourself. You’re thinking of your future self going like, “My future self is going to be so happy that $1,200 is sitting there waiting to pay off the holiday spending.”

Ryan Inman:       Oh yeah, and it’s setting the structure up. I don’t know all the tips and tricks you have when you’re working with clients, but I would assume there’s a plan that’s involved, and you’ve got some structure around it. When someone’s going through, it takes a long time for habits to build, but if you start just getting the emotion. That’s the hardest thing is just literally to start.

Katrina Ubell:      Starting, yeah.

Ryan Inman:       But once you start, it’s pretty easy to get it going as long as you have structure. With budgeting or cashflow planning, however you’d like to phrase it. I usually just refer to it as the dreaded B word. But when you do that, it’s literally just having the right structure around and then holding yourself somewhat accountable to go in and just see what’s happening. Again, those first few months just monitor. Don’t change anything.

It’s better to not change anything because you know the ones that go like, “I’m going to eat kale and drink water, and that’s it.” And then you crash and you add 20 more pounds on top of it. You don’t want to do that with budgeting where you go cold turkey, and then all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh, and then this sale comes and that sale comes,” and all of a sudden you blow up your finances.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally.

Ryan Inman:       And subscribe to all the emails that you get about sales and stuff.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, I 100% agree.

Ryan Inman:       Shopping.

Katrina Ubell:      I just bought something recently from companies that I don’t normally buy from, and all these emails keep coming, and I feel like I’m unsubscribing constantly.

Ryan Inman:       It happens when you’re doing holiday shopping. Usually, you do it online, and then you go and you’re like, “Oh, I bought something from Nordstrom,” and then you’re on Nordstrom’s mailing list, and then you’re like, “How did I end up?” No, unsubscribe.

Katrina Ubell:      It just happened with Sephora with makeup All of a sudden like everyday they’re like, “Look at this amazing new thing.” It’s so funny how my brain is like, “What is it?” Even though I don’t want it, and I don’t even care, but my brain does want to close that loop like, “What is the amazing thing I can find out?”

Ryan Inman:       30 seconds ago you had no idea you needed this product, and now you know that you need it.

Katrina Ubell:      All of a sudden there it is.

Ryan Inman:       That’s human emotion. You know that.

Katrina Ubell:      I do just want to say one thing. You and I had spoken earlier, and I had asked like, “Well, what percentage of your clients are female versus male?” Because I really do think, just being female myself, that especially in something that’s typically in a more male-dominated field like the financial world I think that it’s really easy as a woman to feel more intimidated or just to feel like, “Is this person going to even understand me or get any of it?” You told me what percent of your clients are women?

Ryan Inman:       Well, we only have like four single guys that we work with, so that’s 4%. But I’d say about between 75% and 80% are female physicians I work with.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, female physicians.

Ryan Inman:       For some reason, it’s out of just the scope of all the clients. We work with a lot more emergency medicine than anything else, but overall way more female physicians than male physicians.

Katrina Ubell:      I just wanted to bring that up because I think that speaks to your method of doing this. That obviously the way that you help people is attractive to women, and I just want to mention that because I think that if I were listening, I’d be like, “Well, hold on. I mean, he seems like a nice guy, but is this like a big bro-fest? What is this all about?”

Ryan Inman:       Total bro-fest. Me and my female partner.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, exactly. I just want to mention that because I think that if there’s anybody out there, I’m sure they’re going to be so many who are listening going like, “I’ve been saying forever I need to get this all squared away. I just don’t know who to work with. I wouldn’t even know who to go with. It just seems like such an awful experience in advancing. When I think about it, I’m not taking those next steps.”

I know that we share some clients, which is kind of how we got this connection anyway. When you told me who they were, I was just like, “Oh my God, I love her. They’re really nice normal people.” I know that you must be really someone who’s able to relate with them and give them the help that they need. On that note, why don’t you tell everybody how can find out more about you, especially your podcast?

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, just how you’re listening to us right now. If you just searched financial residency, it’ll pop up. Really, it’s talking to all of you physicians and just understanding your finances, taking control over your finances and making you feel comfortable without industry jargon, without being confusing, clearly not talking down or anything like that. I look at it is it going five feet down in a mile walk.

I want you to be armed with all the knowledge you possibly need with respect to your finances, so you don’t get taken advantage of and so you feel more empowered to do something and take action in getting something done. And then our fee-only financial planning practice is called Physician Wealth services, and we work with physicians all across the country.

Katrina Ubell:      Awesome. Well, Ryan, thank you so much for coming on and sharing all about how you can help us.

Ryan Inman:       Yeah, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

Katrina Ubell:      Did you know that you can find a lot more help from me on my website. Go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.



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  • María José Valenzuela

    Hi Katrina!!
    I am Maria José, from Chile. My specialty is diabetes and clinical nutrition.
    I adore you.
    Thanks for all your tips… there is like a religion for me.

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