Go Beyond Being Debt-Free and Build Your Wealth

Mar 19, 2024

Are you a high earner still struggling to pay off a huge student loan debt, and it’s holding up your professional dream?

Or maybe you’re in a professional study program, like medical school, that entailed a big student loan. But nobody is telling you in any of your courses, what the financial reality of debt payment is, and how to build wealth early.

The truth is your professional and financial dream won’t come true just because you’re a high earner. You have to know how to make it work. Join us in this episode of the Hidden Money Podcast as we talk with Kristin Burton. Kristin’s medical background, personal story of emerging from debt and experience in how to build wealth professionally, will give exactly the practical wisdom you need to build your professional dream.

In this episode, we discuss

  • The challenges faced by high W2 earners, particularly in the medical field, and highlight the effectiveness of the short-term rental tax loophole in reducing tax burdens.
  • The significance of having a supportive community and access to financial education for professionals, especially in fields like medicine, to discover opportunities like tax-saving strategies.
  • Kristin Burton's website, www.strivewithkristin.com, as a valuable resource offering free eBooks, white papers, and videos, aimed at helping professionals with a six-figure income to build wealth and financial freedom.
  • Kristin Burton’s free eBook, "The Secrets to Your Rich Life Post Graduation," focusing on guiding students in building key habits, managing debt-to-income ratios, and implementing budgeting strategies.
  • The pitfalls of credit card debt and the importance of smart credit card management.
  • The lack of financial education in professional programs, specifically in medical schools, with Kristin mentioning her efforts to address this gap by speaking to graduating classes.
  • The tendency in high-earning professions to associate lifestyle choices with job titles, cautioning against the financial pitfalls of trying to match the lifestyles of more experienced peers.
  • The expertise of CPAs, with Kristin reflecting on her unexpected interest in tax strategy despite early perceptions of it being boring.
  • Kristin’s primary service to medical professionals, but clarifying that her services extend to any professional with a six-figure income seeking wealth-building strategies.

To Learn More

If you are a high-earning professional worker, especially in the medical field, you can avail of the excellent free resources on wealth and asset-building on Kristin’s website Personal Finance for Medical Professionals (strivewithkristin.com).

You can also explore being coached in effective wealth-building as a medical professional here - Get A Financial Coach (strivewithkristin.com).

To access the bonus tax content mentioned in the episode, go to https://www.hiddenmoney.com/bonus

To start using the tax code as a tool to grow your wealth, schedule a call with Pine & Co. CPAs: https://www.pinecocpas.com/consultation



Kevin Schneider: [00:00:00] On this episode of the Hidden Money podcast, today, we have Kristin Burton with us, Kristin- now she's the owner of what's called strive coaching, and the really cool point is in her bio, she has paid off $200,000 in debt and accumulated over $1 million of assets in only six years. we are just extremely excited to have her on. Welcome Kristin!

Kristine Burton: Thank you so much for having me guys. I'm really looking forward to talking with you this morning.

Kevin Schneider: Yeah, and if you wouldn't mind, just tell us about strive coaching. Now, you dabble in a lot of areas. You are working, but let's just try to focus on strive coaching here a little bit and tell us a little bit about that.

Kristine Burton: Yeah. So, really, the whole purpose of the business is to bring financial literacy and promote financial independence to medical professionals. The whole thing was born out of my own struggles, essentially. 

I finished at graduate school and like most [00:01:00] people, assumed that having a six figure income would make me wealthy, and very rapidly figured out once I got it, that that wasn't exactly the case.

Between the student loan debt and taxes, I wasn't as pleased as I anticipated with what our finances actually looked like. I had $161,000 in student loan debt, which honestly, is pretty common in my space to come out with... multiple six figures of student loan debt... and I had no idea how to manage it, which also is very common in my space.

So, I ended up, basically without knowing anything, just taking the strategy of 'work solves most problems', and that's what I did- I worked and worked and worked. I worked 80 to 90 hour weeks. My husband and I lived off of about $40,000 a year, and I paid off $161,000 student loan debt in 16 months, and I thought I would be really excited, which it is- it's a big number and it's great.

[00:02:00] Then, at the end of it all, 

 I realized, pretty quickly after achieving that goal, that what I actually wanted was time freedom and the ability to control my work schedule, reduce hours, maybe even retire early, and all of those things actually required assets, not just being debt free.

And so, I eventually transitioned to- Okay, how do you actually build wealth in medicine? 

And along the way I realized there's a lot of other medical professionals exactly like me with the same exact goals, and no idea how to achieve them, and so, that was really the beginning of this whole business.

Kevin Schneider: Yeah. And the medical industry, kind of like the public accounting industry- you have to put in your dues, trade your time. That's what you trade- you trade your time to get experience, to get your money, and so, you realize that really quick. So, how many hours a week are you a practicing PA?

Are you 40 hours? Have you toned that down?

Kristine Burton: So, I actually am still a 1.0 FTE as of this minute, and so, I work nights, and I work an atypical schedule, [00:03:00] but I do practice, technically, full time starting in January, 2024. I actually just reduced to a 0.6-ish FTE, and so, I'll have more time to dedicate to this and still be able to do medicine with, hopefully, fewer weekends and holidays involved.

Kevin Schneider: That's awesome. Yeah, you're really gaining because financial freedom is great, but if you don't have freedom in your life and in your schedule, what's the point? That is a good outlook. So, on Strive, tell us a little bit about that day to day of what you do there, and how you are helping these people in the same situation that you are.

And this doesn't just apply to the medical industry- anyone listening who may be in this kind of rat race, and you're on the wheel and you're just spending time and you feel like you're just not gaining ground, is that something you help people with?

Kristine Burton: we have a variety of ways that we do that. 

Things ranging from like an eBook all the way up to someone who says, 'Hey, I need someone keeping me [00:04:00] accountable and checking my budget every month.' --That's in our full coaching program, and all sorts of things in between. What I most often find is people come in and into our realm, and say, 'I really would like to be able to go part time when I have kids.' --Or, 'Gosh, I just can't see myself putting another 30 years in medicine.

I'd like to be able to call it quits at 55.' --Or all sorts of different kind of variants. But the means of getting there are pretty similar- like, you need to learn how to invest, whether that's in the stock bond market or in real estate or another asset class, you have to be building assets that can replace the income, and most people, just out of sheer lack of knowledge, don't know how, and so, they'll enter saying, 'Look. I'm putting 4% of my 401(k).' --and that's it. 

Well, I get to break the news of, 'Okay, well then, you'll retire... never, let alone early. But then, we actually start diving into- what does this actually look like?

And everything we do is education based, so we're genuinely just teaching people- How does this stuff work? And how [00:05:00] can you, then, go and apply it to your own life, and change what you're doing so that you get a different outcome. 

Mike Pine: That's great. 

Yeah, I think social security was a wonderful thing that we brought out right after the depression, or during the depression, and it offered security to people who had nothing then, but it's also messed up our society a little bit, in the way that people plan. Everyone thinks, or a lot of people come out of school thinking, ' Even if I don't invest well or if I don't have a great 401(k), I can rely on social security.' -- And when you see people relying on social security today, it's not enough- it's not even close. We need to help people understand that it's our own individual responsibility to take care of ourselves. We can't expect someone else to take care of us, and financial planning is huge, but most people don't think about it until it's way too late,

especially when you consider time value of money. 

You're 30 years old doing financial planning for yourself. You've got a ton and a tremendous amount of opportunity to set your retirement up in a [00:06:00] reasonable way that you'll find rewarding, but if you wait until you're in your 50s, or God forbid, in your 60s, it's really tough.

So, I think it's awesome that you're out helping physicians and other professionals start thinking about it while there's still time to build the future they want, and then, they're the ones in control, right?

Kristine Burton: Yeah. It is, like you said, tremendously more valuable to start early, and unfortunately, it's not cool or fun to talk about this when you're 28, hanging out with your friends, but if you start when you're 28, it becomes pretty cool and fun pretty quickly. It's just a matter of getting the knowledge and having an interest, because for a lot of people, these topics sound kind of boring, and things that they would rather not worry about, or not think about.

Mike Pine: Let me ask you a personal question. Do you love doing what you do in the physician world as the PA? Do you enjoy that?

Kristine Burton: So, I actually, do genuinely like medicine, and I do genuinely like my [00:07:00] job, but COVID changed things quite a bit, as you can imagine. I worked in an ICU through every single wave of the pandemic. I think I might've missed, like, one month of one wave due to maternity leave, but outside of that, we were in it every single day.

That changed things a lot for me in terms of longevity, but also... even I will say, relatively early into this profession, as much as I enjoy the day to day, I thought I don't know if I'm in it till 65. It's stressful and high demand, and that's a lot of years to put into that, and so, I think really, even from the beginning, I knew I enjoy this, but it's for a season for me, and I'm not going to be able to do 35, 40 years of this.

Mike Pine: Yeah.

Kevin Schneider: Did you know that going to med school?

Kristine Burton: Oh, no. You don't know anything. You, you're, like,

19 years old, and they're like, 'Get a good job!' --And you're like, 'Okay, where do I sign up for loans in grad school? Here we go.' -- Yeah, no

Kevin Schneider: $200,000 a [00:08:00] debt just to get... yeah, I don't know if I want to do this my whole career. Yeah. That's hard.

Mike Pine: Yeah, I think a lot of us professionals, we learned that we might have gone into this career because we have a passion for it. I certainly did.

But when you are required to work just to put food on the table, to keep the mortgage paid off, it makes it a little different. It gives you a different relationship with your career when you're being forced to do it and you have no choice, but to do it versus if you can build financial freedom, and you can work when you want to work, and you have some flexibility, some freedom, to do different things and focus on other parts of your life while working, it can make your job and your career completely different, a whole different animal. 

It can be something you actually love to do, and are looking forward to do it because you only have to do it for 24 hours this week instead of 80. 

Kristine Burton: Yes. And in medicine in particular, there's so many options in terms of redesigning your career within medicine, but some of the options pay less, and so, [00:09:00] if you are sitting there like a slave to needing every single dollar of the maximum paycheck, you don't have the option necessarily, to take the lesser paying job or do the telehealth because you wanted to work from home, and those kind of things.

So, exactly as you said, it doesn't have to be all or nothing, like, I'm totally financially independent or I'm 1000% living paycheck to paycheck- you can find a happy medium really along the way, and just be able to take some ownership and some control over your life and your setup, that does a lot for your day to day happiness without even saying- ' I'm totally financially free. I never need to get paid again.'

Mike Pine: -- I love that. So how long does it take? Let's say someone calls you up- they're in their early 30s, they are not financially free at all. They need that maximum paycheck every day, but they're willing to plan and work with you. How long until they start having choices and opportunities to start creating that path that they want in [00:10:00] their career?

Kristine Burton: Yeah, I think it depends on the modality by which you want to build your wealth. You can do it faster with real estate of course, because it's a leveraged asset, and so, you don't need as much in order to build the level of cashflow that replaces your income. But again, it's a leveraged asset, so there's additional risks that comes with that.

If you are doing like traditional stock bond investing, it is a little bit more straightforward in terms of timeline. Offhand, like one of the rules of thumb you can use is if you're going to have a 50% savings rate, a. k. a. investing 50% growth, you would be financially independent in about 15 years.

The thing of it is most people aren't willing to do the 50%, but if you are, then you could, in a very short time horizon, go from 100% needing the paycheck to 100% not needing a paycheck ever, just based on a stock bond portfolio. Again, if you're willing to incorporate other asset classes, the timing changes, but it takes some [00:11:00] time and there's no get rich quick scheme. You're not going to invest twice, buy a couple shares of an S and P 500 index fund, and never work again-

it doesn't really work that like that, but I do think people underestimate, in general, the percent of gross income that has to be allocated towards investments to actually make a move, and actually tip the needle, and for that reason, no matter really the goal, I tell every medical professional- You do need to be putting 20% of gross towards assets, whether, you want to retire sooner than that-

great. It should be more, but all the time, you should just flex that muscle of at least allocating that percentage of your income towards building assets, so that maybe down the line you can back off a little bit, but for most of us, that's going to end up being the thing that, at least, creates a secure financial retirement, and the sooner that you want all that, the more you have to do.

Mike Pine: So, let's say, I started and i'm putting 50% of my income into real estate, and in 15 years i'll have, [00:12:00] mostly, financial freedom, but I don't have to wait 15 years, right? It starts tapering- you can start tapering off in 8 years, and 5, right?

Kristine Burton: That's the thing is that, yes, you can create your own path- like, maybe, partway down the line, because you have built so many assets. Let's say your portfolios hit a point where you can coast, never invest again, and be able to retire comfortably at a traditional age. Well, maybe, rather than continuing that investing pace, you just take a job that pays 50% of the last salary because it's less hours and you like it more.

You way back off what you're investing, and you still have that secure retirement. 

So, there's definitely not a one-size-fits-all path. It just depends on what timeframe you want things to look like, but the sooner that you actually start doing the process of building assets, the more options you have, more quickly, I guess.

Kevin Schneider: So, the commonality I'm hearing here [00:13:00] is- it takes action on your part. It takes strategy on your part. You can't just put your head in the sand, work your tail off and hope it all pays off, but if you can take control, you can start making choices very much sooner.

Mike Pine: You can start having more financial freedom. There's the hidden money or hidden freedom in just being strategic.

Kristine Burton: Yes, absolutely. And the thing is, working really hard isn't a great long term strategy. No one wants to have to put in that level of hours for 10, 20 years, and so, if you decide to do that for a short term, but then, you're really smart about how you allocate that income, you can position yourself to then have choices, and work much less in a short period of time rather than working really hard, putting your head down, but then spending all the money on random lifestyle stuff, and kind of looking up and just having nothing to show.

Kevin Schneider: That's that intentionality- you don't just stumble into wealth like you were talking about. You have to also bring people [00:14:00] around you to coach you, and so, what Mike was saying earlier is- don't rely on somebody else to get you there. Well, you're not going to fully rely on the government to give you social security.

That would be foolish, but we want to bring in people like Kristin, or other advisors around us, tax people, attorneys- there's people that are going to get us on the right road, and going forward. That is not fully relying- you're taking the initiative with your own life, but there's things you just don't know.

You may not know taxes. You may not know estate planning, or generational wealth building, and all this kind of things that we need to talk about. You're going to need to bring in those experts, and that's perfectly normal and actually very wise, and we just don't want to just outwork, like Kristin saying, you don't want to just keep outworking bad habits either.

That will burn you out. If your lifestyle creeps with your income, at some point, you're going to have to stop. You have to say, 'No. I'm going to live below my means, and as I make more income, that's just going to generate more disposable [00:15:00] income to which I can invest. And if.. Oh my, if we invest into real estate, and we could reduce our taxes while growing wealth, now you're starting to see the momentum kick up and start, now, you're pushing this thing up the field. And so, lifestyle creep is always big. I see that in a lot of people who are just- they have a very big year, especially in the sales side or consulting side where they have a jump in income. First thing they're going to do is- 'Oh, I've always wanted this. I've always wanted this car!' --And all this kind of stuff.

There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with upgrading your lifestyle, but don't let it keep driving your budget. At some point, you're going to have to make a stop.

Kristine Burton: Yes, for sure. Actually, I really genuinely live that out. 

Our income has continued to increase every year, which we've worked very hard to do. And example- I literally drive a car worth about $12000 or $13,000, and this past year I was like- 'I think I might replace the [00:16:00] car.' --And then, it's- ' Or we could buy another short term rental, save a bunch of money on taxes, have another cashflow in property,

and so, yeah, let's do that, and I'll keep driving the $12,000 car.' --And that's what I did. It gets me from A to B, and that's a better long term move and a move that lets me work less hours, and has a whole bunch of compounding benefits. And so, making those strategic decisions, and keeping the lifestyle in check enough that you actually can build this stuff, is really the key to getting it done.

Kevin Schneider: Yeah. And being mindful of debt too. Having a $12,000 paid-off car is a lot better than a nice new car where you have $80,000 of debt. There could be tax deductions on that, but it's not going to outweigh the debt that you're taking on, and there's always good debt and bad debt. You'll hear Mike and I talk about how debt can be utilized and leveraged in a position where it actually accelerates your wealth building, i.e. real estate. 

You're not going to go buy a $500,000 rental property, more than likely, with cash, but that's going to [00:17:00] start developing a portfolio for you, so there is good debt out there. 

The bad debt out there is going to be, what Kristin said- 'Hey, I'm going to go buy a car...' --Consumer debt will be a weight around your neck, and that is when you start seeing a creep of consumer debt. You want to check your lifestyle and see if you're living above your means, and that's always very important when trying to budget, and budgeting is not fun. It's not a good topic. It isn't. It's hard to get excited about it.

I get it. It really is, 

but there's people like Kristin who are going to help you. So, how in the details do you get with someone's budget? If someone comes in and they land a really nice job out of med school, and they're going to be making $250,000-$300,000, their eyes get really big,

and now, they're like, 'Okay, what do I do?' -- Where do you even start that conversation with someone?

Kristine Burton: Yeah, I'm one of those people that thinks that you really do have to intentionally spend money throughout your whole process on the things that bring you joy. 

You know, you can't have everything all at once, but you should be [00:18:00] able to have some things. Otherwise you're going to hate the process and you're not going to last very long.

So, I tend to not nickel and dime people on the small stuff like, 'Oh my gosh! You shopped online again.' --Or 'You went to Starbucks again!' --Honestly, you can really create a lot of shame around basic spending. Like, some people just like a latte- it's not a big deal, but I really try to focus on like the key overhead expenses that actually do take up 10%, 20%, 30% of your monthly take home pay, because those are the things that really do

move the needle on whether or not you can get ahead. And so, things like- what are your housing expenses? What are your transportation expenses? And then, under miscellaneous spending, the way that we format things, there's a representation of percent take home pay for every category, and so, I'm really looking at- what are the things outside of those key, large overhead expenses that are actually taking at least 10% of your take home pay monthly? Because those are the big opportunities for you to actually make a shift, [00:19:00] and most of the time it has nothing to do with you took your grandma to eat or you went to Starbucks.

It's usually a big habit, maybe, someone has- example, like an emotional spending coping mechanism, and so, there'll be shopping a lot. Like, I had one person spending 27% of her monthly take home pay shopping, and that has nothing to do with a desire for clothes and everything to do with probably some type of coping habit for stress or anxiety or something else.

And so, if you just look at the big stuff- where's the bulk of things going? It actually isn't that hard to make a big shift without having to cut out all the fun stuff. 

I'm a big travel person. I've always travelled throughout this whole process, and so, I have my category that, kind of, gets left untouched.

Most people do too. I think that's okay. You've got to spend and you've got to have fun along the way.

Kevin Schneider: Agreed. You can't just eat ramen every day,

Kristine Burton: Yeah. Right.

Kevin Schneider: and take your spouse on vacation.. It will wreck your [00:20:00] life more so than just budgeting for a nice vacation every now and then. Completely agree.

Kristine Burton: It's true.

Mike Pine: It seems like you're just shifting the thought process to being intentional versus just doing as things happen, as the day goes on- yeah, I want that, or I need that... but actually planning, being intentional and deliberate- that's so hard to do for some of us. It's easy for people like Kevin, but for me, that's hard.

Today's the day I'm living. I don't want to think about what I'm doing three days from now.

Kevin Schneider: Yeah. So, a simple exercise I sometimes do with people is- let's say your W2 is $300,000. Ignore taxes- that's why it's going to be a very simple exercise. Instead of getting paid every other week, or every two weeks, what if on January 1st, you got $300,000 handed to you for that year's work?

So, you have to use that $300,000 wisely from January all the way to December, because if not, you may not be eating in December. So, think of it as being intentional with your [00:21:00] dollars- that intentional with it, and giving a dollar a job everywhere you go. And if you just put that mindset on there, because people always just try to say, 'Oh, I'm going to get paid-

waiting for that paycheck, waiting for that paycheck.' --You shouldn't be living that way whether you're making $300,000 or $30,000. Now, you have the latte thing- totally agree, some people just want to eat out. That's perfectly fine, but if you're making $30,000, your percentage of income going to coffee is going to be a lot higher than someone making $300,000.

That percentage is a lot different. So, every situation is different, and so, you need to look at your own financial situation because a $5 a day latte for someone may be nothing to where it might be a big financial shift for somebody else. So, just be aware of those things and take hold of your money, be a good steward of it,

and taxes are a big part of that. That's where Mike and I's passions are. that is a big component, because if your W2 is $300,000, instead of getting handed $300,000 on January [00:22:00] 1st, you're likely getting handed $220,000 or $230,000. So, just eliminate some off the top already going to Uncle Sam. Then when we get to December, we could tax plan...

maybe we can get some of that back that you paid in January, in this exercise. That's always what tax planning is. And so, Kristin, you've mentioned short term real estate being one of your major tax plans. Do you go down that road with some of your clients of tax planning, and your success story of- 'Hey, I utilize real estate and it offsets my taxes.'

--Do you get into that with your clients?

Kristine Burton: I do bring that up a lot because for people who do still want to stay in a full time practicing medicine. As a high W2 earner, there's not that many. I shouldn't say that- you guys are the tax strategists. In my experience, there's not that many things that massively move the needle in terms of your tax burden, but the short term rental tax loophole is one.

And if you wanted to invest in real estate anyways, then you might learn about that, think about that and go, 'Hey, look, this can [00:23:00] save me a ton of money.' -- So, we've done it twice now. Our long term plan is for my husband to pursue a real estate professional status, and so, that would be a whole different approach from a tax standpoint...

but right now, we both have W2 jobs, and as of this moment, we're both 1.0 FTEs, so the short term rental tax loophole is, kind of, the main thing available to us, and we had an appetite for real estate, anyways, so, we decided to take advantage of it. 

And I will say that of all of the real estate investing things, that is one of the kind of things that piques interest more for medical professionals than anything else, because they hear high cashflow and potential tax savings for a high income earner, and that tends to get people pretty excited. 

Mike Pine: It is pretty exciting.

Like you said, there's not a lot for W2 employees.

Plain and simple, there are not nearly as many tax planning opportunities as there are for someone who owns their own business, or a contractor, but there's still some. But the ability to go buy a rental property, and have [00:24:00] the deductions or the depreciation from that rental property actually decrease your W2 income on your tax return, everyone can't do it, but if you do it right, you can do it. That is amazing. I mean, we saw back in the times of 100% bonus depreciation- only two years ago, but we saw, I remember, one physician who bought a property in Destin, it's probably about three and a half years ago, $1.1 million, they spent on it.

They were receiving a $1 million a year W2. So, they were paying a lot of tax, and they, instead of going on a trip- a $200,000 trip, this guy would go on- instead of going to one of those this year, they said, 'Let's go buy this $1.1 million beach property, and in Destin or right near Destin on the I-30 corridor- and 

they bought it. Put 10% down, $110,000 came out of their cash, out of their pocket. Put 10% down, and they got a $400,000 plus tax deduction. Ultimately, that down payment was completely covered by their tax savings, and they got [00:25:00] $11,000 bonus on top of it. 

So, just by taking those actions, and it's not only SDRs, but by taking 

 that deliberate approach of saying, 'Hey, what am I going to do with my money this year?' -- they put it into a good ROI asset. That's a great investment on its own, but they had the IRS actually pay for it. Nothing came out of their pocket when it was all said and done.

And now, it's growing and they're making something like... about two years ago, they were making over $160,000 in income from that property. That's amazing.

Kristine Burton: Yeah, that is incredible. I do think, though, stuff like that, if you don't have the right people in your circle to know that these things exist, these things are options, and other people maybe are doing that too, you could spend 20, 30 years just like practicing medicine and have no idea that that's on the table.

And so, exactly like you've been saying, having the community or having the professionals around you to go- Hey here's an opportunity! Otherwise, I think really, this kind [00:26:00] of opportunity isn't, by any means, common knowledge amongst the medical community, and so, you got to have those people in play so that you can go-

'Oh, look. This is what's possible for me- hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax savings from one single real estate investment...'

Mike Pine: So, for a physician that doesn't know anything about that, I see you have this free eBook. Is it 'The Secrets to Your Rich Life Post Graduation'?

Kristine Burton: That is actually specifically for students. I get asked all the time, 'Hey what should I be doing while I'm still in school?' --which is hard because you don't have an income yet. So, I did put that together, though specifically for students to build up key habits.

Mike Pine: Sounds like it should be required reading for every graduate in some kind of professional education.

 Can you give us a quick two minute synopsis of that book for students?

Kristine Burton: Yeah,

I walk through how to figure out like what your debt to income ratio will be post graduation, and then, try your [00:27:00] best to then create a debt to income ratio less than one, post graduation- meaning that your total student loan debt would be less than your first year annual income, and then, walk through how to implement budgeting strategies using your student loans as your source of income, so that you can ensure that you don't run out of money until the student loans disperse again, but then, be also so that you have that habit in place and can minimize the student loan debt overall. We talk about credit cards in there, as well.

That is one of the things that has really, I think, derailed my kind of world of people is that a lot of folks come out with high debt to income ratios, as is, but then, we have all these gaps, and before we can get employed with licensing and credentialing, people will stack like thirty thousand dollars of high interest credit card out on top of it. 

So, I just walk through how to plan appropriately for all of those things, and allocate enough cash towards the necessary licensing and credentialing, so that you're not in that [00:28:00] position when you do finally get the job, that you have $30,000 of debt at 23% staring you in the face, plus your massive student loan.

Mike Pine: Yeah, it's funny how credit cards do that- how that does that when you don't need the money, people, banks will throw credit card offers to left and right, unsecured loan offers when you don't need the money, but when you need it, it's hard to find those, and then, they are high interest, but then, as soon as you graduate, they start throwing these at you because the banks know you can pay.

They want you to get in debt. They want you to use their money because you're a good investment for them. They're not a good investment for you though.

Kristine Burton: I know.

Honestly, credit cards are terrifying. I use them for almost every single financial transaction that I make, but I obviously never carry a balance, and meet people all the time that have $70,000 in credit card debt, all of which is above 20%, and it's just heartbreaking, honestly, because, it just really will destroy their financial life for multiple years trying [00:29:00] to navigate that situation.

So, it's like such a double-edged sword, and there's a lot of people are starting that process of accruing credit card debt really young. Your frontal lobe is not even developed yet- fully developed, and someone's handing you a credit card in college saying, ' Hey, be good with this.'

-- It is sad what can result. 

Kevin Schneider: Yeah, this isn't a charity, guys. They are investing in you to take your money,

and so, I'm in the same way. I carry credit cards, don't carry the balance on them. 

 There is actually more protection with the credit cards. That's why we use them, but they get you in trouble. 

So, I think, just be smart with them, but I'm curious, on the medical side, because I always tend to think of athletes too, because in these higher earner fields, they don't have the financial education, because I see a lot of doctors who are making a lot of money, and they just don't have a lot of money. You know what I mean? And so, athletes can be in the same boat. Is there, when y'all are going through college and med school, is there any financial [00:30:00] class requirement at all, like any Finance 101, Accounting 101, anything?

Kristine Burton: 

Essentially, no. I have talked to a few people that had something built into their program. It's pretty rare. Actually, that is one thing I do within this business is I'll actually go and speak to graduating classes. It'll even just be a virtual presentation with just resource of how to get started,

but in general, no, it's kind of like, 'Hey, here's all this debt. And here's this big income. Go out and figure it out.'

Kevin Schneider: --Good luck.

Kristine Burton: 

And in medicine, too, there's this general thing that we do where we equate lifestyle with job title, and so, what you see is someone finishes training and says, 'Well, okay, I am this type of person.'

--We'll make something up- ' I'm an orthopedic surgeon and therefore I have to drive this type of car. I have to live in this neighborhood because the other orthopedic surgeons do.' --But we negate the fact that maybe the other one has had that income for 10 years, and you've had two paychecks...

and [00:31:00] so, we all skip any kind of lifestyle ramp, and you go up to- ' Well, I'm going to match everyone else.' --which creates a lot of problems in the first few years, financially, of practice. It's an odd thing. It probably happens in other worlds too, but I know it happens in mine where people just

skip the line and go, 'Yep. I live in the mansion and I drive a Porsche because I have the job title that I've had for a week.'

Kevin Schneider: Yeah, and if you've been in that situation, don't feel bad. I think it's all education. We learn from our financial mistakes, and just because we, Mike and I, are CPAs, people look to us like we've never made tax mistakes or we've never made financial mistakes-

so far from the truth. The reason that we know what we know is because we've probably stepped into a lot of traps along the way, so do not feel guilty. Do not feel bad if you've found yourself in this situation, or if you do have consumer credit card debt, this isn't a shaming thing, and it's just education.

It's just pointing out some [00:32:00] analytical facts of here's how to become independently financially free, and as long as you can know today, it's better than knowing tomorrow, and then, you can make changes today and you can adjust. that's the good thing of how we 

Kristine Burton: said can be undone. Yeah.

Kevin Schneider: Yeah, you're not stuck, you're not trapped, and part of it is just education, accountability, which Kristin and her team can provide- that accountability on a budget that someone would need.

So, it's a very needed skill set.

Mike Pine: I'd even go further and say mistakes are some of the best education you get. Yeah, you pay for them, but you pay for your college degree as well. Real practical mistakes that you learn from, you can learn a lot and they're valuable and they have a return on your investment. You can get a positive ROI.

If you look at mistakes as an opportunity to get better versus as something to pretend never happened, you can get an ROI versus just losing whatever you lost on that mistake.

Kristine Burton: Yes, absolutely 

Kevin Schneider: Very wise, Mike. [00:33:00] 

Mike Pine: After all my mistakes, I have to look at them as a possibility, an opportunity, otherwise, it'd just be depressing. So, www.strivewithkristin.com- I've just been checking out this website as we're talking. Man, you offer so much free, good stuff on here. There's great stories, great white papers, free eBooks, lots of videos.

I couldn't recommend strongly enough to check out www.strivewithkristin.com. This is a great site. 

Well, Kristen, thank You for sharing all this with us today. It's been a really good learning experience for me. I appreciate it, and I hope we can have you on again. Any final thoughts you'd like to leave us with, Kristin?

Kristine Burton: I don't think so. I really appreciate your time overall, and I hope your listeners got some value out of this. I am laughing to myself a little bit. I'll have to call my mom later. My mom's a CPA actually, and I spent my whole life listening to tax pearls at the dinner table and I thought it [00:34:00] was so boring and I would never have any interest in it,

and now, here I am talking to a couple of CPAs for fun. So, I'll have to let her know, but I really appreciate what you guys do and your time, and obviously the world of tax strategy is a world that many high incomers of all types are not familiar with and a service that we all need. So, very much appreciate your expertise.

Mike Pine: We appreciate you. And you don't work just with medical professionals. Really, any professional who's receiving income that they're paying tax on, anyone who needs and wants to build and focus on financial freedom, you can help them, right?

Kristine Burton: Yes- we do really focus on the wealth building aspect of money, and so, for that reason, we typically serve people with at least a six figure income, and because we do serve so many medical professionals, we're really used to people with a lot of debt, and so, if that's you, high debt to income [00:35:00] ratio, particularly if you have a six figure income or above, I definitely think we would be able to help.

Mike Pine: There you have it. Again, that's www.strivewithkristin.com. Please check it out and thank you for being here on the Hidden Money podcast, Kristin.

We're grateful for you,

Kristine Burton: Thank you guys. I appreciate it. 




Disclaimer: The content of this podcast is not legal advice and is meant for educational purposes only.

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