As defined by Merriam-Webster, consumerism is the idea that the consumption of goods is desirable. Stated differently, buying new things will make me happier. If only I had that new coat, car, kitchen appliance, toy, if only…if only… if only. Then, you get that desired object and are happy, but only for a short while. Eventually, the novelty wears off, and the question becomes, what can I buy next to make me feel happy again? The cycle begins again.
This phenomenon is not new, and in the mid to late 1700s, a French philosopher by the name of Denis Diderot experienced this firsthand. He recorded his journey from poor to rich, and back to poor again. Wait…back to poor? How did that happen? Consumerism?
Dennis Diderot was one of the leading minds during the Age of Enlightenment, and one might think he is immune to issues around simple decisions of whether I should buy this shiny new thing. Turns out even a brilliant human is still just a human. In his essay, “A Warning to Those Who Have More Taste Than Fortune,” he gives experience.
“I was an absolute master of my old robe; now, my new one is the master of me.[i]” Diderot had the good fortune during his life to acquire wealth after working with a royal figure of the time. And with this wealth, he decided to buy a new beautiful scarlet robe of the finest quality to replace his well-worn older robe. He marveled at its beauty and its increase in social status until he realized some key facts about his house, which still showed the signs of his recent poverty. There is no more coordination in his life. His old straw chair, his stained rug, the empty, dusty spaces in his house, and his worn desk were all disgustingly insufficient when illuminated by the radiant glory of his new scarlet robe. The plain objects of his home, which he never thought twice about, were suddenly not enough compared to his new robe’s rich elegance. And his home had to change.
In a short time, Diderot had spent every penny of his fortune and went deep in debt to pay for his “upgrades.” All because a new robe clashed with his older furnishings and possessions. And yet, after getting everything he ever wanted and more, he was miserable because he was no longer the master of his life. His money was.
If you find your money is your master and want to regain control, you can reach me at email@example.com, or HERE and we will walk together on a path to success.
Graduating from veterinary school is a momentous occasion and one that any student should be incredibly proud of doing. As you leave the confines of your college campus and begin your life in the “real world,” the financial burden of graduating with student loan debt becomes a reality. Sitting at around $1.48 trillion nationwide, student loan debt can be scary to face alone – but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided.1 If you’re a recent veterinary school graduate with a significant amount of student loan debt left to repay, here’s what you can do right now to help.
Tip #1: Focus on Building Good Credit
For some recent graduates, paying back federal student loans will be their first entry into building credit. In fact, only 57 percent of undergraduates reported having a credit card.2 If you have gone without a credit score of your own thus far, paying back your student loan debt on time and in full is critical. Federal student loan lenders report to the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If you miss a payment or pay late, which can negatively affect your overall credit score. Building good credit now is incredibly important as you navigate life in the real world. Good credit is needed to secure loans like auto loans and house mortgages. If you don’t have a credit card yet, consider applying for one and using it to help further your credit score. Paying your credit card bill monthly can help boost it.
Tip #2: Always Pay On Time
Paying your bills late (including student loan repayments for any vet school or undergraduate degrees) can hurt your credit score and cause you to incur late fees or penalties. Pick a certain time each month to make a payment, and set a recurring alarm on your calendar. If you have the option, consider setting up an automatic payment plan – which would allow you to set it and forget it. This would eliminate the possibility of forgetting or missing a payment.
Tip #3: Consider Reprioritizing Your Debt
This may sound counterintuitive, but maintaining your student loan debt and focusing on other debt types could be beneficial in the long run. While you don’t want to let your student debt payments lapse, you may want to funnel anything extra toward other debts with higher interest, such as personal loans or credit cards. High-interest debt can get out of hand quickly because outstanding amounts earn interest much higher than low-interest debts like student loans, auto loans, and mortgages. Paying off your monthly credit card amount will help you avoid paying unnecessary interest and help avoid hikes in interest rates. It’ll take time to pay off your student loans. But following these positive practices can help you establish good credit, maintain your debt-to-income ratio, and help prepare for other purchases like a car or a home or even bigger things such as buying into a veterinary practice. Developing healthy financial habits now can serve as a foundation for financial wellness throughout the rest of your life. A good way to start is looking into loan forgiveness options, such as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, which will pay up to $25,000 per year towards educational loans if you serve in an area with a veterinarian shortage.
For the audio version and discussion of this article, click the Spotify link below.
There is nothing wrong with being frugal or liking a deal. I titled this the cheapskate’s way to stack bitcoin because today, there is an asymmetry to earn satoshis (what are satoshis?) or sats. All you have to do is adjust how you spend slightly, and the rewards over time are tremendous as we see bitcoin adoption increase. Rewards in bitcoin accrue value, while airline miles and cash back lose value over time. BIG difference and why this is even cooler.
First, the following resources should be checked out if you need to learn more about bitcoin. These will help you build my conviction that, eventually, bitcoin will become the world’s money of choice. If you consume some of all of the following resources, you will quickly become more educated than 95% of the people in the world. I’ve reached podcasts on this on my podcast HERE. For some of my favorite resources, check out the below.
Second, let’s get down to how to earn bitcoin on daily living. I conservatively think you can earn 3,000,000 sats per year following what’s laid out below. That’s $600 USD – but if bitcoin eclipses gold simply as a store of value (low bar), that’s $15,750 USD*.
We all have somewhere we call home. The Fold Card allows you to make every spend you make eligible for bitcoin rewards. On the go and buying gas – bitcoin rewards. Paying your mortgage or rent this month – bitcoin rewards. Dining out with friends – cover the bill and have them pay you back (earn bitcoin). Pretty cool, huh?
The best part of the Fold Card for us has been the mortgage rewards – how else do you earn 2% back on one of the biggest monthly bills? This has been incredible to earn money back on that expense.
Strike is a fantastic tool to use the bitcoin network in various ways. First, it allows a user to easily take dollars and pay lighting invoices (bitcoin layer two for commerce and sub – $500 payments). Strike offers a user the ability to buy bitcoin (KYC – which is normal for most exchanges) with only a small spread of 0.30% or so – which is super handy. You can also establish a direct deposit and auto purchase for bitcoin via Strike, which is cool. Lastly, Strike is building a commerce platform for payments – working to lower the costs, be more efficient, faster, fair, and for all.
One big issue that you might have experienced prior is an owner chargeback– when someone pays a bill with a credit card and then claims it as a fraudulent payment or unknown. The story I’ve heard used was in Miami, a high-end tattoo parlor did $7,000 of work on someone from out of town – they left paid via credit card and then claimed the card was stolen and even though there was camera footage of them in the parlor. The artist had to eat the $7,000 worth of work – with bitcoin and the lighting network, this doesn’t happen. You can download the app, but it also does have a chrome browser extension. If you use code I0IASX when you sign up, it’s $10 for you.
Shopping online and online bill pay is the norm – no one is mailing checks in for bills (sorry if that offends anyone that is 😂). Pay with Moon is an awesome tool for being able to use/leverage a strike payment to pre-load a Visa debit card and earn 5% back automatically every time (the reward is deposited in your Strike account as cashback – can instant convert to bitcoin or just trim the $ off the purchase price). The reward is through an engagement with Strike and Pay with Moon – but anything online – bills, Amazon, pizza, or shopping it’s an awesome tool. I had had one experience with our local utility billing that rejected the Pay with Moon Visa – but outside of that, I’ve used it 20+ times and had nothing but success.
Bitrefill and Strike, to me, is the ultimate pairing of fantastic rewards and flexibility to leverage the lighting network and earn rewards. So Bitrefill’s mission is to live on Crypto – replacement crypto with bitcoin, and now we are talking. Bitrefill allows users to use bitcoin or lighting payments to buy gift cards and bill pay. So the bill pay feature, which is my favorite, allows users to pay their credit card off using bitcoin or lighting. Now there is a 0.99% fee, but similar to Pay with Moon – Bitrefill and Strike have an automatic 5% back when paying a lighting invoice with Strike(the reward is deposited in your Strike account as cashback – can instant convert to bitcoin or just trim the $ off the purchase price). So you can literally earn rewards for paying your credit card bill – GAME CHANGER – the same can be done for student loans. If/as they come back as a bill – image stacking bitcoin as you pay bills. That’s Bitrefill – also, to give you an example, at the moment, they are running a special on Lowe’s gift cards – 10% back at Bitrefill – which means that’s 15% when paying with Strike to do your home maintenance. This is a duo that’s hard to beat – this is likely the best tool I can recommend once you get the feel for it. The mobile app makes it super easy to be out and buy gift cards on the go at restaurants and stores. Not that I’ve been that guy or anything.
Lolli if you are familiar with Rakuten or Honey, same idea here with a twist. The mobile app can be connected to a credit card, and you can earn 10% + back – the one that is my wife’s favorite is the Starbucks connection. For those who might not be familiar with Rakuten or Honey, Lolli is a mobile app or Browser extension that allows you to earn rewards when shopping – and there are many stores and retailers out there. It does negate if you use a gift card – so you cannot double stack, but you could use Pay with Moon to double stack rewards. I use Lolli most for travel bookings – whether it’s flights/lodging/car rentals, it’s an easy way to earn rewards. There is next to no effort needed, so this is likely the easiest one to implement.
So how do I use the above tools?
Fold is for all spending out in daily life where there are no gift cards – think local places you love and pay my mortgage. If Bitrefill has your mortgage payment available – you might want to check that out, as your rewards might be higher and more consistent there. Strike and Bitrefill I use the most as this is for paying for any gift cards for purchases and spending, plus paying off my wife’s student loans (refinanced them – I know foolish), credit cards, and others. I use Pay with Moon – when/if it’s an online bill pay or purchase and I cannot get a gift card for it or if I want/can stack with Lolli (remember the reward is negated by the gift card usage). Lolli for me is travel mainly – the stores offered are not frequented by our family but might be some great options for gifts for you there.
Does the above feel a little gimmicky? Sure – I can appreciate that view, but I’m often able to be earning rewards on almost every spend. Often I can find a way to earn high single digits back on spending I’m already doing or never could earn rewards on prior. If you aren’t a dye-in-the-wool bitcoiner like yours truly – the StrikeBitrefill stack is great as the bulk of those rewards are back as cash and can then be withdrawn back to your bank. The only bitcoin rewards would be from Bitrefill. Also, the credit card payment makes this worth it!
What do you think what option do you like best and want to implement? Did you learn anything – jump in the Facebook group and let me know!
*The bitcoin price to eclipse gold would be $525,000 and have a market cap of $12 Trillion.
Julie Squires a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Certified Life Coach & Podcaster interviewed Isaiah Douglass, MBA, CFP®, CEPA to talk about money. She asked, “What’s one non-consensus view you have on personal finance for veterinarians?”
Meredith Jones, DVM, and Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, FFCert asked Isaiah Douglass, a Certified Financial Planner, to weigh in with his expert advice on burning financial questions we’ve received from vets. Isaiah is a partner in Vincere Wealth Management and the host of the Veterinarian Success Podcast.
– How do financial planners get paid?
– When to know if you need a financial planner / advisor
– What are the purposes and benefits of seeking financial advice?
– How to save for the “tax bomb” at the end of income-driven student loan repayment
– What is the difference between compound interest vs. simple interest?
– Why Isaiah is such a big advocate for practice ownership
– What self-limiting beliefs keep vets from building wealth?
In this episode, I’m joined by Dan Routh, CFP®. The episode is unique in the fact that Dan will be an on-going presence on the show, so I wanted to interview him first. Dan shares his story of why did he decide to be a financial advisor, and how it wasn’t a life long passion. Why veterinary medicine is so important to him (Spoiler: His wife). The unique challenges that veterinarian students face, as he witnessed it during Kelsey’s time at Oklahoma State University. What is specific to the planning needs of veterinarians. What good financial advice looks like. Finally, listen to the end where we touch on success and time, and how that matters to Dan and his family.
Isaiah’s mission: • Change the dynamics of advice and how it is given to dentists and veterinarians. • Focus on the most significant assets dentists and veterinarians have, which is their skillset and businesses. • Identify and grow net worth for clients to help them accomplish their goals in life.
• Support the community of Fee-Only and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ advisors who are changing the industry of financial advice.
*Isaiah’s Note – Clint Latham is a great interviewer and this podcast certainly had a lot of different areas of my background that I’ve not shared prior anywhere else. Highly recommend checking out Clint’s podcast The People of Veterinary Medicine.
In this episode, it’s a bit of a hybrid with Dan Routh, CFP®, and Isaiah Douglass talking with Ashley Foster CFP® founder of Nxt:Gen Financial Planning. Ashely works with veterinarians nationally and is the third founding member of the VETERINARIAN FINANCIAL ADVISOR NETWORK. Ashley shares his journey and path in financial services and his “why” for serving veterinary medicine. He shares:
How starting in the insurance world shaped his view for what is financial planning.