Welcome to the first Annual Letter for Doctor in Debt.  Now that 2016 has wrapped up, and we are just hours away from a new year, I cannot help but get excited to see what 2017 will bring.   Before we kick off next year,  let’s see what this year brought us.

What I Accomplished in 2016

2016 was a year of action for me.   I tend to be a perfectionist by nature, and this trait worked well for me in school and at my day job as a physician,  but waiting for perfection as a writer is counter productive.  I had started then stopped the process of blogging at least a dozen times, but 2016 was the year that I sat down and made it happen.

Just Ship It

I have become a huge fan of Seth Godin and his prolific writings.  His principle that I embraced this year was the principle of just ship it.  Shipping is hard.  Shipping exposes us to criticism.  Shipping exposes us to the possibility of failure, to wasting money, to making a fool out of ourselves.   All those items are what makes shipping hard.   Because it is hard and because it makes us afraid is exactly why we should ship.

RESULT:  I started this blog in May.

No More Excuses.

Another key point this year was that I finally decided to stop making excuses and started to get all facets of life in order.   Now,  I will say,  life was never in complete disarray, but I could see that seven years out from training,  we were starting to head in the wrong direction.  I was getting nauseated by the amount of debt that we had amassed and we were just starting to lose our edge.  We were making excuses.  I hate making excuses.  There is always going to be a reason not to do something.  There is never a perfect time to start.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.

That has been my quote for 2016.  It has applied to so many things in our lives. Starting a blog,  I should have done it in 2006 when I first thought about it.   Saving 60% of my income, I should have started as soon as I finished residency.  Exercising and eating healthy,  I should have done that as soon as I was on my own.   Not borrowing over $1,000,000,  yeah let’s not go there.  It doesn’t do any good to beat myself up over these past “mistakes.”   I have embraced the power of today and embraced the fear of shipping.   You know what,  things are looking up!

RESULT:  I embraced the blog and spreadsheet and began tracking my financial progress.

Enjoying the Community and Success of Others

One of the underappreciated benefits of writing that I have enjoyed is connecting and following along with other like-minded individuals who faced the same fears and took the same step that I did this year.   I remember taking note of a rush of new personal finance blogs in the 2006-2008 timeframe when I was a poor sleep deprived resident.  I was killing time online stuck overnight in the hospital waiting for the pager to go off.   Many of these blogs that I was following that have become mainstays in the online personal finance community today.     Perhaps the Class of 2016 will see a similar degree of success as time goes on.

Regardless of the extent of future success that we may achieve,  it has been very encouraging to start and share the journey with some wonderful human beings.   Here’s to the freshman class of 2016:

I am sure you all know some other bloggers who started this year that we could add to the list.   When I started making this list, I was amazed at how it kept growing as I listed the sites.   Then I put it in perspective of my daily life offline.   At work,  there might be one other person who shares the similar approach to learning, spending and investing that I find in this community online.  This community is just getting started in spreading the word to the 300 million plus citizens of the US, not to mention the rest of the world.

RESULT:  An awesome community of like-minded individuals helping each other along on their journey;  each telling our unique story and perspective.

Have a happy new year and thanks for a great 2016!





Warnings & Examples

A Wise Man Learns from the Mistakes of Others: Be Wise and Sign Up

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