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Money Talk For ER Docs™

Join your host Scott Wisniewski and a thriving community of ER Doctors who are learning to simplify money and make smarter financial decisions. As a hardworking Emergency Physician, it’s important to know the vital signs of your financial health, and the profession simply comes with complexities others don’t understand. This podcast is created to be your go-to resource for straightforward advice uniquely tailored for ER Doctors. Join us every week for new episodes, and you can find more tools, get personalized help and a free Financial Vital Signs Checkup at


Ep #104: 2-Year Anniversary Special: Reviewing The Financial Vitals™ Responses!
On this special anniversary episode, we take a dive in the responses to our free Vitals™ survey. We get into savings rates, East Coast vs West Coast comparisons, average mortgage and student loan balances for ER Docs, and so much more. This will be a fun one. Just remember, while data can be valuable, every individual’s circumstances are different. Keep an open-mind and enjoy it for what it’s worth!
52:42 10/04/2022
Ep #103: ER Doctors Are Getting Behind On Their Taxes
The IRS is a formidable force that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  So when you owe what are referred to as “back-taxes,” how those are handled is extremely important. Despite the plethora of options that the IRS gives to help taxpayers stay current with their taxes, all too often we find ER Docs are owing significant amounts from prior years. And back-taxes can have this almost quicksand like effect where you never feel like you can get back ahead once you get behind. On today’s episode, we get into the “why” and “how” ER Docs find themselves in this position, what the various options are to get back to current, and how a detailed cash flow plan may be the only way to truly avoid a levy or garnishment situation.
43:02 09/27/2022
Ep #102: The 5 Steps To Financial Wizardry
There are tried and true building blocks to a financial plan – areas where if you at least hit those, you can achieve a large percentage of what is needed to reach your goals. The key thing is this: you have to hit all of them… and do so effectively. Because over-concentrating or under-concentrating in one or another will inevitably wreak havoc on the rest of your plan. On today’s episode, we’ll present 5 “pillars” for becoming a Financial Wizard.
45:06 09/20/2022
Ep #101: A Nifty Way to Access Your IRA In Retirement
Retirement looks different for every ER Doc. Many plan to retire early. Others may reduce workload and extend their working years. Aligning retirement with a spouse is another common goal. Regardless of the way you retire, how you access your retirement savings should be a major point of interest, especially if you are being tax and investment allocation conscious. The traditional way of pulling money out of pre-tax retirement accounts by selling positions then distributing the cash proceeds may not be the optimal strategy for many. Yet, it’s the way most people end up handling things. On today’s episode, we discuss a different way – one that is often overlooked or unknown.
28:14 09/13/2022
Ep #100: Earn Too Much To Have Your Student Loans Cancelled? Look Again!
One of Biden’s campaign pledges was to provide student loan relief. Well that day has appeared to come… at least to some degree. Based on the overview of Biden’s three-part plan, most ER Docs won’t benefit because of income that surpasses the thresholds. While that may be true in some cases, digging into the details presents potentially a different story. On this episode, we get into how there is actually tremendous opportunity here for many ER Docs, even those with high income. So don’t rule yourself out just yet.
32:44 09/06/2022
Ep #99: Are You Clear On Your Vision For Retirement?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That couldn’t be truer when it comes to imagining your retirement. ER Docs get so busy and caught up in the day-to-day grind that it can be difficult to find time to envision a reality, perhaps 10, 20, or 30 years away. But thinking about it and discussing it can actually provide comfort and motivation in the present. On today’s episode, we’ll evaluate what “retirement” or “financial independence” means for different people and discuss why having a plan, even if that plan changes over time, is the best way to buffer yourself against all future uncertainties.
32:37 08/30/2022
Ep #98: Does The New Legislation Mean More IRS Audits?
It’s important to remember: The IRS is your partner in everything you do. We know ER Docs already pay a lot in tax. The last thing you want is to get audited and potentially pay even more tax. So will the IRS hiring 87,000 new agents over the next 10 years mean more audits and potentially more tax paid in the coming years for ER Docs? We’ll explore that question and take a look into the current state of the IRS in this episode.
37:14 08/23/2022
Ep #97: ER Docs, Use the 80-20 Rule to Master Your Finances!
There are several financial “rules of thumb.” Take not exceeding 28% of your gross pay on your mortgage payment or maintaining 6 months of spending as cash reserves, as examples. And while these may not be adequate for everyone, they can serve as a general guideline and promote action where otherwise action would not have been taken otherwise. In that sense, these guidelines carry positive influence. In the same vein, on today’s episode we’ll discuss a principle that not only applies to personal finance, but bleeds into all aspects of life. It’s called the Pareto Effect.
32:19 08/16/2022
Ep #96: An EPs Guide to K-1 Income
The K-1 is an animal. It’s the tax form that reports the earnings, losses, dividends and more in pass-through businesses like S Corporations and partnerships. A large portion of ER Docs receives K-1 income – either issuing their own via S Corp, receiving one as a partner in a small or large group, or even as an investor in a limited partnership venture. In any case, the form itself is highly confusing, not in the least bit cut and dry, and overall not something to be taken for granted. That’s why in this episode, we get into the nitty gritty of what K-1 income is, the different ways to handle and report it, of course, ways to reduce your taxable income when receiving it, and some landmines to watch out for.
45:55 08/09/2022
Ep #95: Invest Now or Wait?
It’s human nature to want to escape a situation that is worsening. House is on fire? It’s probably best to get out. Boat is capsizing? The saying “abandon ship” exists for a reason. Given this reoccurring theme, we as humans are “anti-deterioration”, if you will. But when it comes to the stock market, is that the right mentality to have? To answer that, it takes an evidence-based look at things that, once viewed, may paint another picture. On today’s episode, we’ll explore this topic and what the evidence says about what you should do with any extra cash you’re waiting to invest.
31:13 08/02/2022
Ep #94: Are EM Residencies More Competitive Than Ever?
Applying for a residency is stressful. There’s the matching process, applications, interviews, and looming questions like “Will I get my first choice?”, “Will I get at least somewhere in my top 5?”, and inevitably, “Will I get a match at all?” With a looming theory that EM is getting more and more competitive, the landscape for MS4s seems tougher than ever. But is that the reality? We’ll dig deeper into the theory of competitiveness and more on today’s episode.
17:15 07/26/2022
Ep #93: SECURE Act 2.0 Retirement Plan Improvements
With new legislation comes new opportunities… and sometimes hurdles. That’s why it’s vital we stay diligent in keeping up with the financial-related topics being tossed around in Congress. Sure, some Laws or Acts never end up seeing the light of day. But today’s retirement plan-specific proposals have received almost unanimous bi-partisan support positioning them as highly likely to pass later this year. We’re talking about the SECURE Act 2.0 and all of the very EP-specific changes it contains on today’s episode.
28:30 07/19/2022
Ep #92: Getting A Discount On Roth Conversions
It’s never fun seeing your investment portfolio go down in value. But with uncertainty, volatility, disruption, and shifts presents opportunity. In a previous episode, we referenced five action items to take during a downturn. In this episode, we’ll re-evaluate one of those topics: the Roth IRA – probably the most powerful, yet illusive type of retirement account available to ER Docs. We’ll get into how supercharging it during market downturns can add tremendous flexibility to an otherwise limited financial situation.
30:12 07/12/2022
Ep #91: I Bonds: 9.62% Guaranteed Return??
The most alluring investment is one that is guaranteed with a high rate of return. What if I were to tell you an investment option that checkmarks both of those boxes does exist right now? You’d probably be eager to get more information. On today’s episode, we’ll talk about I Bonds, give some background into them, and even inform you on how to buy them. But are they all what they’re cracked up to be? We’ll also get into the drawbacks that keep this from being a life-changing investment it appears to be on the surface.
20:48 07/05/2022
Ep #90: The Financial Personalities Of Emergency Physicians
We work with hundreds of ER Docs across the country all with different ages, personalities, beliefs, socio-economic backgrounds and even career paths within EM. It’s really a melting pot of people. But despite these differences, we have identified five financial personality types, we feel, encapsulate the majority of our clients.  Our goal for this wasn’t to put people in a box or make anyone feel judged; rather, it was to help ER Docs identify their financial strengths so they can feel great about those while also identifying their weaknesses to promote positive change if it’s desired. Where does your relationship with money put you on our list?
48:07 06/28/2022
Ep #89: More ER Docs Are Experiencing a Different Type of Burnout
We all experience that feeling when you make a purchase and you end up regretting it. It happens. Could be as small as spending more than you usually would on a dinner and you’re left feeling unsatisfied. Or it can be more significant, like in the case of purchasing a car and that car not living up to the experience you were hoping for. In either case, there’s a sense of regret and that regret is tied to your relationship with your income, expenses, and expectations. It can be difficult to assess whether the feeling is temporary – maybe in the case of a one-off transaction – or if it’s part of an ongoing trend that persists across your entire financial picture.  On today’s episode, we look into a different kind of burnout than the work-related burnout ER Docs are accustomed to hearing about and focus on ways to restructure your relationship with spending to help combat this feeling and reprioritize what’s important to you.
31:01 06/21/2022
Ep #88: 5 Different Taxes You Pay (And How to Lower Them)
We find the average ER Doc pays about 28% in Federal income tax. That’s a good chunk of change. But that percentage doesn’t consider various other taxes that likely apply: state income tax (~5%), payroll tax (~5%), sales & local tax (~5%), and property tax (~1%). Combined, those add up to somewhere in the ballpark of 44% of an ER Doc’s income going toward taxes… and that’s before factoring in things like capital gains and estate taxes. With the average ER Doc earning ~$350,000/yr, after-tax income is somewhere just shy of $200,000 given these assumptions. And that’s before retirement contributions, insurance premiums, and other pre-tax deductions. In this episode, we’ll break down the main tax categories, give a little background into them, and discuss various “what can we do” scenarios to lessen the tax burden. Every bit helps.
47:15 06/14/2022
Ep #87: Setting Your Kids Up For Financial Success
An interesting thing about being a parent is that there is variation from person to person on how children are raised. The topic of money, and the way it’s viewed, understood, and managed is no exception. For some, parenting on the topic of money may revolve around financial acuity: making sure their child understands checks and balances and the value of a dollar. For others, it may mean pushing innovation and being an entrepreneur. And for others, it may mean saving a certain amount in a child’s name as a cushion for when they leave the nest. Regardless of your desires, on today’s episode, we cover the topic from various perspectives and provide methods that can make a tremendous difference, financially, on your child’s life.
44:28 06/07/2022
Ep #86: Five Actions To Take During a Downturn
We recently did a podcast episode titled, “Should You Be Concerned About A Recession?” where we got into the history of market downturns and what those tell us about what is going on today. The conclusion? Markets reward those who stay disciplined when it’s hardest to do so. Basically, inaction is the best course of action. But say staying put isn’t for you – are there actions that you can take when the markets are volatile to lessen the blow of losses and even position yourself better for when things improve? In this episode, we’ll go over 5 actionable tips you can do to improve your investment situation, even in a downturn.
38:27 05/31/2022
Ep #85: A Massive Expenditure That Nobody Talks About
There’s a particular expenditure that 70% of those 65 or older today will incur and that number is anticipated to only go up in the future. Saying that alone could mean a lot of things: potatoes, a new phone, maybe a walking cane. But the expense I’m referencing is the main culprit for why the elderly, aged 75+, make up the fastest-growing group filing for bankruptcy. To top it off, it’s only getting more expensive at a pace faster than even education costs and it’s very difficult, and potentially impossible, to insure for. What is this mystery expenditure? Long-term care costs. If you haven’t thought about it, you’re not alone. For today’s episode, we’ll get into the range of costs of care, who you may have to pay for it for beyond yourself, and how to pay, if necessary.
41:45 05/24/2022
Ep #84: Should You Be Concerned About a Recession?
Investors have grown accustomed to fairly consistent positive returns over the past decade. Have there been periods of loss? Sure. But overall, the positive trend has been staggering. And it’s that recency bias that can make it tough to cope with downturns in the market. Maybe you’re hearing the “should I be selling stocks?” internal dialogue a little louder than you remember hearing it in the past. If this is you, today’s episode may bring the perspective you need to focus on what you can control and make sure logic overcomes emotion, no matter how dire the situation may feel.
25:03 05/17/2022
Ep #83: The Reality of Financial Planning
Every professional service is different in terms of the customer and service provider interaction. It tends to be true that the more personal the product or service is, meaning the more tailored it is to the customer, by default, the more involved the customer has to be in the process. Take buying the newest PlayStation as an example. The product is what it is and the same one is universally bought by all. Now consider the opposite end of the spectrum where there’s a specific financial planning process, for a specific specialty, for an even more specific person or family. The dynamics are completely different in those two examples. That’s what we’ll discuss in today’s episode – what it’s like to be project managers to ER Docs and the workload requirement, on both ends, to successfully implement a financial plan.
27:22 05/10/2022
Ep #82: The Impact of Envision’s Woes On Your Finances
Envision is the 500-lb gorilla in emergency medicine. What happens to them sends ripples through the EM landscape whether you work for them or not. A question we’ve received of late is: What happens to tax-deferred money under an EDP, or more commonly referred to today as a DCP or defined contribution plan, if a company, like Envision, goes under? Do the same protections that exist for an IRA or 401(k) exist for a non-qualified plan? If you’re at all interested in the business-side, or private equity’s involvement in healthcare, today’s episode is a good one to tune in to as we’ll break down the structure that makes up a staggering 40% of US ER Departments and, ultimately, how that impacts the finances of ER Docs.
29:01 05/03/2022
Ep #81: Is It Dumb For ER Docs To Rent A Home?
The fastest-growing renter segment of our population goes to high income earners. That seems counter-intuitive; high income earners are able to overcome the barrier to entry associated with home ownership – e.g.: down payment, loan qualification, and credit – better than low income earners. So if it isn’t a choice, what are the factors at play that are leading to this upward trend? And if it is a choice, why are more and more high income earners, like ER Docs, choosing to rent over buy? We’ll get into that, the tax implications of each as it pertains to the decision, and all of the emotional elements that are at play in today's episode.
34:46 04/26/2022
Ep #80: Have A Robinhood Or Webull Account?
The perfect storm of events led to a significant rise in what we call “meme investing.” That’s where you throw caution to the wind and take a stab at hitting it big through risky or speculative investments. It started with the pandemic – people bored at home; no sports on TV; Vegas shutdown. Then the headlines of GME and AMC stock “get rich quick” stories led to FOMO. All while, waiting there only a download away, were online trading companies, like Robinhood and Webull, ready to accept anybody willing to play the game. Did you take part in “meme investing?” Are you still taking part in “meme investing?” With recent volatility in the markets, we’re seeing more and more ER Docs reconsider having side accounts. But does holding money aside for YOLO’ing really have much of an impact on a financial plan? We’ll look into that on today’s episode.
35:50 04/19/2022
Ep #79: The Perfect Mixture of 1099 Vs. W-2
ER Docs have a unique characteristic of being “hybrid earners,” meaning accepting income both as an employee earning a W-2 and as a contractor earning 1099 in the same year. And we find a large percentage do exercise this ability; if not in most years, eventually at some point in their careers. So that begs the question: is there a perfect mixture of 1099 vs. W-2 that yields specific advantages, like tax savings and retirement deferral opportunities? And is there a point where earning too much of one over the other yields diminishing returns? Nobody wants to work more to earn less, so we’ll look into those questions in today’s episode and get into what that hybrid-earning “sweet spot” could look like.
37:16 04/12/2022
Ep #78: What Is a Reverse Bucket List?
It’s apparent that the happiest people in life have learned how to achieve balance. But achieving balance is one of, if not the most, challenging thing in life because it’s embedded in every decision we make: our relationship with work; our relationship with food; spending time with family; and the list goes on. ER Docs have to be masters of balance when it comes to work because if they aren’t, the long hours, intense conditions, and high-stress environment, repeated 15+ times a month for 20-30 years will eventually take its toll somewhere over that period. So while it may be a requirement to find balance career-wise, it’s another to find it in spending.  That’s why today’s episode is focused on the concept of a “reverse bucket list” and re-evaluating our personal satisfaction equations to make future spending more intentional and fulfilling.
28:05 04/05/2022
Ep #77: Navigating Geopolitical Events & All Eyes On The Fed
Feeling a never-ending sense of unrest with today’s current events? There was COVID that shook our world for a couple of years. We caught some semblance of normalcy with the Winter Olympics. But today, we have the Federal Reserve planning to hike rates in an effort to combat the prevailing high inflation we see all around us… and a war, with an uncertain outcome. While it can feel raw and emotional, we have to be reminded that this time is not different. Events like these have happened several times before. Can we draw upon our past to arrive at logical conclusions for our present? That’s the topic of today’s episode: bringing rationale to an otherwise chaotic world we’re living in.  
37:05 03/29/2022
Ep #76: 2 Financial Cheat Codes That Could Add Up To Millions
“The road to success comes through hard work, determination, and sacrifice.” This is a quote from Dolzinski and it paints a picture that we must give up things in order to achieve a better, larger thing eventually. Delayed gratification, if you will. In many cases, that’s true, especially when it comes to financial planning. Saving a little bit extra now instead of spending it means longer compounding interest on that investment, as an example. Or, delaying retirement a couple of years means a more comfortable retirement down the road. But does that always need to be the case? That’s the topic of today’s episode: two specific non-behavioral strategies available to ER Docs that, when implemented correctly, can impact financial success as much as behavioral changes.
39:59 03/22/2022
Ep #75: A Post-COVID Job Market With Barb Katz
The Godmother of the Emergency Physician recruiting world – Barb Katz – joins Scott on this special edition of the Money Talk For ER Docs podcast. Barb shares her unique perspective on the job market Pre-COVID and her anticipation for what is to come. She gets into hourly rates and sign-on bonuses, where opportunities seem to be popping up, the pay discrepancies from location to location, and what residency programs are, or are not, doing to prepare new graduates entering the workforce.  Ultimately arriving at the answer for: Has a new norm been set for the job market and if so, how long will that last? Everybody will find value in listening to this episode, but especially those who are soon to graduate or those looking for a new job or worried for the security of their current job.
49:33 03/15/2022