Taking the First Step in a New Beginning

Physician's Money Digest, September 2005, Volume 12, Issue 13

Physician's

Money Digest

With this issue of , we mark anew beginning. The teambehind this magazine has feverishlyworked to redesign, reformulate, andrejuvenate this publication to betterserve you, our readers. In this spirit Ihave been called to contribute myinsights and experiences to the editorialdirection of this magazine. Likeyou, I wait for every issue to arrive;like you, I read it eagerly; and likeyou I am a practicing physicianmaneuvering through the wilds offinancial planning. To do this newpost justice, I have retired my PRNcolumn, which previously ran in theBulletin Board section.

Positive Changes

I want you to know that I do nottake this change of hats lightly. I willstill endeavor to give useful information,amuse a bit, and offer opinionfrom the trenches. Our world is gettingpretty darn complicated, and at anuncomfortable pace. So we're going todo our best to try to make sense of thepersonal finance part of it, whichtouches most of our lives.

Take financing our kids' education,for example, the central theme of ourmagazine this month. Looking back, Istill don't really know how my parentspaid for three colleges and professionalschools. To help out, I worked summerjobs and reluctantly turned over tomy parents the then-popular savingsbonds that all of my relatives gave mefor all occasions, instead of spending iton the stuff that I really wanted.

But even then we knew that all of itwas a drop in the bucket for the loomingfinancial earthquake that wasabout to hit: college. And today, as somany are painfully aware, the financialburden to families is even worse. Thecost of undergraduate and graduateeducation has nicely out-gained theconsumer price index, the estimatedincrease in family incomes, and certainlyour national savings rate.

Active Solutions

What is a hand-wrenching parent todo? Right or wrong, it is a core belief ofour society that you cannot be successfulwithout a college education. EvenBill Gates and Steve Jobs, who have nodegrees other than honorary, wouldadamantly tell you so. Financing a$50,000 to $150,000 education is anational problem, so there is no end ofinformation available. There are statemandated 529 plans, beneficial grandparents,and loans against inflated realestate values, thank goodness.

Physician's Money Digest

Any way you cut it, education ispricey, and it will take considerableeffort to pay for it. But this issue ofcan give youa new perspective on how to handlethis problem. Now if you will excuseme, I have to get back to work so I canpay off my medical school loans.