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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Financial Transitioning

Published January 14, 2010 8:23 AM by
Everyone knows being a student is a poor, poor life--literally.  You bring laundry home to save on quarters and live on Ramen noodles.  With all the credits, classes and clinicals, it's difficult to find the time to have a job in addition to other responsibilities.  While some students have financial support to pay the tuition bill, others rely on substantial loans to make ends meet. 

However, this all takes a drastic change when students transition into their jobs as therapists.  The first few paychecks I received were nearly impossible to believe.  First, I couldn't believe my bank account was about to exceed the $100 minimum it had floated around for the past years.  Second, I literally could not understand how someone would pay me for doing something I enjoy. 

There is a bit of a transition from learning how to handle class-work to managing a budget.   I started an Excel spreadsheet last year and wrote down where I was spending my money, so I could get a better sense of where I could cut back and not lose anything.  (For example, I budgeted $50/month for electric, but was only paying $35.) 

I reviewed my budget from 2009 and realized a few things.  First, I have become much more responsible with money this year than I ever have been.  Second, I am very, very lucky to have a job as great as mine is.  And finally, I spend way too much money on lattes. 


A friend shared her youngest son's experience with college.  When he began he told his mom he'd have $25,000-$30,000 in the bank when he graduated.   She didn't want to discourage him but she doubted anyone could achieve such a lofty goal in those circumstances.  

But he had listened closely to his father's teachings on finances.  He graduated last year with between $25,000-$30,000 in his bank account.  It can be done.  The earlier the foundation is laid, the better.  

But some people are just better with money than others.  This young man's brother and sister had the same counsel, but didn't apply it as successfully.

Lisa, you are off to a good start.  It is a lot easier to apply principles early, than to apply them after the downward spiral has already begun.

But Dean is right, enjoy a latte now and then.  If you don't afford yourself little pleasures along the way, you'll end up with a big splurge.

anonymous January 25, 2010 10:43 AM

An economics class is highly advisable and should be included in everyones formal class education.  I have encountered numerous health professionals who are not wise with their money because, 'the money will be there next week'.  

Because we are paid well doesn't mean we should spend well.

Karen January 17, 2010 7:39 PM

Lisa, enjoy a few lattes, you've earned them! Remember, money is to be spent (wisely) 'cause if you don't, your heirs will.

Dean Metz January 16, 2010 12:23 PM

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