The Whole Veterinarian

Personal Finance for Veterinarians with Dr. Meredith Jones

June 25, 2020 Meredith Jones, DVM Season 1 Episode 4
The Whole Veterinarian
Personal Finance for Veterinarians with Dr. Meredith Jones
Chapters
The Whole Veterinarian
Personal Finance for Veterinarians with Dr. Meredith Jones
Jun 25, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4
Meredith Jones, DVM

Join me as I have a quick chat with my colleague Meredith Jones, DVM. We cover a few personal finance basics and Meredith also shares how the upcoming Veterinary Financial Summit is geared toward helping veterinarians with all things finance!
...

Contact Info for Dr. Jones:

Instagram: @vetfinancialsummit
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DebtFreeVets/
and https://www.facebook.com/VetFinancialSummit/

Dr. Meredith Jones is an emergency veterinarian in the Richmond, VA area. She is a self-professed “money nerd” who attends financial conferences and reads about personal finance in her spare time. In 2016, she completed training to become a financial coach and founded the Debt-Free Vets Facebook group. She is a co-founder of Veterinary Financial Summit, a financial conference and online community for veterinary professionals.

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Topics that we cover!
-Debt Snowball Method
-I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
-Uncharted Veterinary Conference
-What Do You Love Spending Money On blogpost
-How to Save $1400 blogpost
More info about the Summit - https://vetfinancialsummit.com/summit/
Summit registration - https://vetfinancialsummit2020.eventbrite.com
...

Ways to connect with The Whole Veterinarian!
Instagram: @thewholeveterinarian
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewholeveterinarian/
thewholeveterinarian@gmail.com
www.thewholeveterinarian.com

....
Music Credit: Journey of Hope by Alexander Nakarada

Show Notes Transcript

Join me as I have a quick chat with my colleague Meredith Jones, DVM. We cover a few personal finance basics and Meredith also shares how the upcoming Veterinary Financial Summit is geared toward helping veterinarians with all things finance!
...

Contact Info for Dr. Jones:

Instagram: @vetfinancialsummit
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DebtFreeVets/
and https://www.facebook.com/VetFinancialSummit/

Dr. Meredith Jones is an emergency veterinarian in the Richmond, VA area. She is a self-professed “money nerd” who attends financial conferences and reads about personal finance in her spare time. In 2016, she completed training to become a financial coach and founded the Debt-Free Vets Facebook group. She is a co-founder of Veterinary Financial Summit, a financial conference and online community for veterinary professionals.

...
Topics that we cover!
-Debt Snowball Method
-I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
-Uncharted Veterinary Conference
-What Do You Love Spending Money On blogpost
-How to Save $1400 blogpost
More info about the Summit - https://vetfinancialsummit.com/summit/
Summit registration - https://vetfinancialsummit2020.eventbrite.com
...

Ways to connect with The Whole Veterinarian!
Instagram: @thewholeveterinarian
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewholeveterinarian/
thewholeveterinarian@gmail.com
www.thewholeveterinarian.com

....
Music Credit: Journey of Hope by Alexander Nakarada

Stacey Cordivano :

Hey guys, welcome to The Whole Veterinarian. My name is Dr. Stacey Cordivano and you know we've got some stuff going on in this profession of ours. On this podcast I will speak with outside of the box thinkers to hear new ideas on ways to improve our day to day life. I want veterinarians to learn to be happier, healthier, wealthier and more grateful for the life that we've created. Now let's get started. I'm so happy to be joined by Dr. Meredith Jones today. Dr. Jones is a 2008 graduate of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and has worked as an emergency vet in the Richmond area for the past 10 years. She founded debt free veterinarians Facebook group in 2016, and has more recently co-founded the Veterinary Financial Summit, which we'll definitely talk more about in a bit. Meredith, thanks for joining me today.

Meredith Jones :

Oh, thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

Unknown Speaker :

The first introduction I had to you and the Facebook group I was perusing around, someone mentioned the group and later in the comments, several people said, Do debt free veterinarians actually exist? And it seems like a common comment when I share the group, I have to imagine that was part of why you formed the group. And I was hoping you could go into your goal when you first started and kind of where it's at now.

Meredith Jones :

Sure, so the name of the group was aspirational. And so because I believe that every veterinarian will be debt free someday and so that's whether you are paying off your student loans in a short period of time or whether you're going for the 20 to 25 year plan and going for forgiveness, that every vet will be student debt free someday, and so aspirational from that aspect. After graduation, I did an internship. And then first year that I was out of internship and was in practice, I had a lot of debt. And we bought a house anyway, even though I knew that I had student debt that I was going to have to start paying on very soon, we moved into this house and then all of a sudden it hit me that I had 120,000 in mostly student debt, and there was a little bit of consumer debt. And of course that number is, because I'm a 2008 graduate, that number is a lot lower than a lot of today's graduates. I ended up coming up with a plan and ended up actually using the Debt Snowball to pay off my student loans in three and a half years once I got serious about it. After that, I started thinking Well, I'd like to help other people who are in the same sort of situation that I'm in and ended up taking a financial coaching course in 2016. And that was the year that the Fix the Debt summit happened. That was the year that there were a lot of articles and a lot of conversations out there about veterinarians and student debt and how it's such a big problem, but that weren't talking amongst themselves about it. And so I decided to form the Facebook group and create this place where vets and vet students could talk about student debt and also talk about personal finance in general.

Stacey Cordivano :

Gotcha.Yeah. It seems like it's really active and has a ton of great questions. It's a neat place to interact, I think,

Meredith Jones :

Yeah, it's become that's become really big. And it's actually become a lot bigger numbers have tripled in the past year, which is a little crazy. People are just sharing it, I guess, all over the place. And it's nice to have those conversations happen where they weren't happening before.

Stacey Cordivano :

I know you said you had obviously vet school debt, but have you always been finance savvy?

Meredith Jones :

In some ways Yes, and in some ways, no. I I grew up in a rather frugal household. My parents never had credit card debt. And it wasn't because they were rich people. They were middle class people, but they just didn't believe in accumulating debt. When I was younger, I was somewhat a saver but then I became more of a spender as I got older.

Stacey Cordivano :

Speaking of saving and spending, budgeting is obviously a huge part of personal finance. And I don't like the word... I know a lot of people don't like the word. I recently heard a phrase that I like a little bit better. I'm curious if you've heard it, instead of coming up with a budget someone suggested coming up with a spending plan, which I am attracted to. My husband who is our budgeter doesn't like that, because he says what about the savings part? Anyway, let's talk about why a budget or a spending plan is important place to start for people with their finance or student debt or any aspect of this.

Meredith Jones :

Sure. So if you feel like you're out of control with your finances, getting on a budget or I like to call it a cash flow plan. So that's another another term and that way, that way you have that spending word out of it. So a cash flow plan, getting a plan together and figuring out where your money is going, and then figuring out where are the places that you can cut. Subscriptions that you're not using or if you're spending too much money on pet supplies or h stuorseff, or who knows what. If you're spending too much money in one area, you can see, okay, this is how much and of course the big one is, how much money you're spending on eating out at restaurants or doordash these days. So figuring out where can I cut and then also figuring out where your priority so you can use your budget and maybe you have something that is important to you, and maybe you look at your spending and you realize, gosh, you know, if I wasn't spending so much money on restaurants, maybe I could spend more money on this hobby that I really wanted to get into. Then you can also use that information to set goals and say, Okay, this is how much I could save each month and put toward that goal, whether it's paying off debt, or whether it's saving for a big vacation or whether it is saving for a practice, if you want to start a practice. So there's there's a lot of different goals and different size goals that you could potentially use that information for. That's why it's really important is that it's a way to get control over your finances.

Stacey Cordivano :

Gotcha. I think for me, personally, at least, that long term thinking was what helped finally get me on board with coming up with the plan. My husband finally realized that the way to get me to sit down and look at it was, you have these goals or we have these goals as a family unit, just like you said, like if you can figure out a different way to allocate that money, you'll get there quicker rather than just hoping. As far as spending and saving, and allocating How do you advise people when they say, I have all this debt, but I'm a doctor, now I want to be able to do things. I feel like I deserve X, Y, or Z. How do you advise people when that topic comes up?

Meredith Jones :

Well, there's different ways of looking at it. And certainly lifestyle creep, which is what you're talking about becomes a huge thing. If you have a big financial goal. So if you have a goal to start a practice, or you have a goal to actually pay off your entire student loan balance, then on one hand, you do have to make some sacrifices. And it takes a lot of discipline and discipline over an extended period of time, in most cases for a big financial goal like that, however, and we have a blog post about this called what you love spending money on, I think there's a balance, and so, Ramit Sethi, who wrote I Will Teach You to Be Rich, he likes to talk about what he calls money dials. If you take a look at what you absolutely love spending money on, to some extent, it's important to make sure that you're enjoying your life and that life isn't just all about making cuts in your budget everywhere you possibly can. And I mean, it's within reason, right? So if you if you love spending money on lattes, well, that's four or five bucks, or for all of us going on vacation, some of us don't go on vacation enough, right? I think for those folks who are saying, Okay, well, I'm trying to pay off my student debt. So I'm not going to go on vacation for five years or eight years. I think that's a long time to make that level of sacrifice where you're not actually spending time away from work and maybe you're going to get burnout and maybe you're not going to actually reach the goal that you wanted to reach. I think there's a balance with it. I don't think that we should just go out and buy the most expensive car. For example, so those bigger purchases going out and buying the most expensive car, the most expensive house and the most expensive neighborhood, that's where you're really going to move the needle in the wrong direction if you've got a major financial goal, but those those smaller things that we can do, that may actually sustain us over a period of time. I think there's a balance there where you can spend a bit of money and have some fun.

Stacey Cordivano :

Yeah, I know, we do share a love of Ramit's book, as we've discussed, the basis of his thing is know what you're spending, allocate it appropriately. And then like you said, pick those couple categories that you really do want to spend money on. It's good advice. You mentioned a blog post. And that leads me into the Veterinary Financial Summit, which is a online community, website, I know you have a great newsletter. Tell me a little bit more about how that came about and what the plans are for that.

Meredith Jones :

Sure. So the way that we got started with that is I met Phil Zeltzman, who is a traveling board certified surgeon in Pennsylvania & New Jersey. I met him at the Uncharted Conference, which is a business and marketing conference that Andy Rourke started. We met last year at that conference. And we exchanged some emails beforehand where we, we accidentally found out that both of us are interested in personal finance and then met in person at the conference. And then we started asking each other questions like, how can we help more colleagues? How can we clear up some of the confusion that is out there about personal finance and about practice finance as well? So we started talking about ways that we could do that. And we ended up coming up with the idea to start Veterinary Financial Summit, which has two components. It has, as you said, the online community and then we also have the summit, which is a virtual conference that is coming up in September 26 through 27th. The goals with the online community are to have a supportive community where like minded people come together and talk about financial topics and learn together and also hold each other accountable. And so that's the goal we're going to have along with the conference, we're going to have some accountability groups and some ways of following up so that the the conference itself isn't just an event that happens and then you never talk to anybody before. After that people can get to know each other in the community and then after the conference support one another and in the community. We have monthly videos with financial experts and practice management experts as well with the summit itself in September there are going to be two tracks one is going to be more personal finance related and then the other one is going to be more practice finance related. We're going to have not just lectures, but also some panels, which will be interactive. And we'll have some workshops and some roundtables. So the goal is to have conversations and have education surrounding financial topics that is not boring and is engaging. And we've got some really exciting speakers that we're talking to and getting lined up for that.

Stacey Cordivano :

Awesome, that sounds great. I didn't realize that there was going to be the accountability group part. That's huge. And I mean, for me, personally, it's really helpful. That's great. So speaking of another blog post that you guys have on that site, it's called How to Save 1400 dollars in one year, and I want you to explain it and it may sound simple, but I think it could also be life changing for someone who hears about it.

Meredith Jones :

Sure. So what you do is each week you save a different amount and so week one you save $1. Week two, you save $2. Anybody can do that, right? Yeah. And so you do that every single week. And so you go up to week 52. And you're saving $52 that week. And this can be automated, by the way, you can actually do this in your bank account and get it set up and set it aside in a savings account. All of that adds up in the course of a year to $1378. So basically 1400 dollars you can save in a year just by saving a few bucks a week that end up adding up to 52 at the most.

Stacey Cordivano :

Right. It's brilliant. I love it. I think for someone who's never even thought of saving or come up with a plan. It's so simple. So I love that and I'll definitely put a link to that blog post to the summit to the conference, everything in the show notes. So I love on your website, there's a section called Why This Why Now it talks about how the financial pressure of everything vets face, especially recently with increasing student debt load is just overwhelming. So my goal for this is to help people find different ways to make their lives happier and find joy. So I wanted to ask you, what is one small thing this week that has brought you joy?

Meredith Jones :

Well, we were lucky enough this week to actually be able to use my husband's parents lake house. And so we weren't, we weren't social. We didn't. They weren't there. But we were able to go out there and spend a couple of days away from everything else and just spend some time together and with cookies, and playing games and that sort of thing. I found watching movies hanging out walking around the lake. So that was something this week. That was a lot of fun.

Stacey Cordivano :

Okay, great. I love that. I'll definitely link everything we talked about in the show notes, but just for people listening, where can they find more about you or the summit? Where's the best place to contact you?

Meredith Jones :

Sure. So for the summit, our website is vetfinancialsummit.com. And so you can find us there. We have a weekly blog, and we will have more and more updates as the conference approaches.

Stacey Cordivano :

Great. Are you on social media?

Meredith Jones :

Oh, we are. Yeah. So we have a Facebook page and you can look us up there under veterinary financial summit. And then of course, I've got the debt free vets Facebook group as well.

Stacey Cordivano :

Great. I really appreciate the time you spent with me today, Meredith.

Meredith Jones :

Well, thank you.

Stacey Cordivano :

Thanks again so much to Dr. Jones for joining me this week. It was fun to have a quick chat with you. I really encourage all of you listeners to check out the veterinary financial summit. The online community has been really helpful. There's so much content available, and I am really excited that I just signed up for the virtual summit. So I hope to connect with some of you on there. Because Meredith, and I share such a Love over Ramit Sethi's book, I will teach you to be rich. I'm going to do another giveaway. So anyone that leaves a review on Apple podcasts will be entered to win a copy of his book. I'll send it to you if you DM me or send me a Facebook message that you left a review. Let me know how you're enjoying the podcast. This concludes the first month! Talk to you guys soon. Transcribed by https://otter.ai