I know there has been several threads in the past on investing, and what others out there are doing with their money. I figured with the stock market surging (every US index at all time historical highs) it was a good opportunity to discuss. I am always amazed talking with family, friends, and patients at how many people still do not allocate funds for retirement, or contribute the bare minimum to obtain some kind of company match.
Anyhow here are my thoughts, in which are by no means expert thoughts. (A couple general thoughts about saving for retirement followed by questions about how others are investing for their futures)
1) I always think it is important to contribute the maximum you are comfortable with towards 401K/403B retirement plans. Most employers offer some kind of match (our hospital will patch half of up to 4%), and all contributions are tax deductible. Therefore you should be contributing at bare minimum enough to receive the company match. Statistically speaking those who invest in 401K/403B plans early/often retire very comfortably. I recommend low cost index funds (a lot of the actively managed funds charge huge premiums, and no evidence to suggest they outperform the market). Currently I have 75% in US stocks and 25% international. I hold no bonds at all (I am 31 years old, and a huge advocate of Warren Buffet. He basically said he doesn't understand young people holding bonds, when you have 30-40 years ahead of you until retirement. Over time stocks have always outperformed bonds, and therefore I am allocated for higher risk/higher reward)
2) I hold a Roth IRA, which I am almost positive this will be my first year I am not able to contribute due to mine/wife's combined income. Limits are $133,000 for an individual on $196,000 combined household income. You can contribute $5,500, and $6,500 if over 50. The advantage to the Roth IRA is it is "pre-taxed dollars" and therefore you don't pay any taxes on your earnings as long as you hold them past the age of 65. (I know that there is such thing as a "back door Roth IRA" that a lot of the doctors I work with do, however I haven't looked into this at this point)
3) I have my individual investment account, which I use for a lot of the extra money I have set aside. I have it all invested in major use companies (Pfizer, PayPal, Bank of America, Facebook, Nvidia, JP Morgan, a few other individuals, and a couple of exchange traded funds (ETFs). Again a pretty aggressive approach/portfolio.
4) Outside of stocks I hold a couple of US Government Bonds (that pay essentially nothing) and have some money parked in a CD which pays 1.50%.
So anyhow, I have never been an investor in a "down market" and obviously things can't keep skyrocketing forever (though it would be nice). Has anyone adjusted their allocations to more conservative investments anticipating a downturn? Bonds, Cash, Gold, Etc? I know it is impossible to time the market, but it has gone up so far, so fast, it almost feels inevitable. I feel like if I change over a chunk of these investments, I will miss out on the continued rise. My father would always say "buy low and sell high" which I have done my best to accomplish... but now it feels like playing with fire.
Anyone invest in anything else? Real-Estate? Side Businesses?
Hopefully not to much rambling, and all makes sense. I am just curious if everyone does a "set it and forget it" mentality and if the market crashes it crashes... or if you try to out-think and outperform the market.
If I had to do it again, I would definitely brush up on anatomy and physiology. I also would have tried very hard to master/practice ECG. I wish that someone would have told me a little more about what studying would be like and how important it is to stay ahead. So in conclusion, personally, my advice is to alternate between looking into the various body systems and relaxing. Stay on top of both, you won't regret it. Much luck and success!
Yes, it's better to approach the process from the point of view of understanding the material, rather than memorizing it. And due to this approach, you will be surprised how much you can eventually know. I think this method is the basis for mastering any subject. Also, you can read the Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry or go to answershark.com to see the frequently asked questions and chemistry answers on this topic.