Having grown up on the kitchen counter while my gourmet chef mother cooks, surrounded by the aroma of her 24 hour simmer chicken broth, and her 200+ types of wines jam packed in our 1,000 square foot apartment, cooking is in my DNA.

Feeling powerless when the Taiwanese creditor/mafia shows up at our door, banging and shouting to see my dad, the debtor, and worrying about my dad losing an extremity each time he leaves house to re-negotiate pay back terms with the mafia, personal finance resourcefulness became a survival necessity.

Today I love equally sharing financial tips and cooking up a storm to entertain my friends. On my walk this morning, after yoga, I had an epiphany. Cooking and personal finance work stunningly the same.


  1. A little goes a long way.

5.5k I put in Mini Wise Money’s (my 9 yo kid) Roth IRA today in 2016 will be worth more than 300k at her retirement (assuming 8% annualized return and retirement at 62.)

Similarly, the most delicious and popular part of my 4 hour slow baked baby-back ribs are the caramelized sweet delicious onions, which brings life to any ordinary starch like mashed potato or quinoa or wild rice.


  1. Healthy ingredients may not be the cheapest

Healthy financial habits, such as saving, discipline, and patience seem costly, at the opportunity cost of not doing retail therapy, not buying a sports car the day you get your residency or attending job contract. Yet, if we look closely inward, we know that investing our money and finding our happiness from within rather than purchasing temporary ecstasy is not only healthy for our finances, but more importantly for our inner peace and joy.

Many Americans are lead to believe that healthy foods such as produce and un-processed/un-tampered meats are more expensive than TV dinners/ fast food. That’s not true. When you buy seasonal local fresh veggies and fruits on sale and on credit intentionally, you can get great deals. Not to mention the exorbitant lifelong medical bills you save by eating healthy.


  1. Homemade is always better and cheaper than restaurant made.

Financial advisers who charge AUM (asset under management fee = a % of the amount of money you turn over to them to manage) are like restaurants, their primary goal in business is to make money off of their clients. Your dollar goes to supporting their family (rightfully so, as they too have to make a living, but it sure is easy to make 13 million over 6 decades from sitting on just One average physician’s assets!), to the advertising, to the facility/building, to their time preparing a portfolio or a meal for you.

Homemade is always better and cheaper in the long run if not immediately. DIY cooking and finance alike, you cut out all the expenses not related to the actual quality and quantity of the food, and you make a delicious healthy meal for your family out of such love and care that no one who’s trying to make a profit can surpass.


  1. A little knowledge goes a long way.

Watch 1 documentary on food (I recommend hungry for change), watch another one, you start seeing repeating themes and principles. So is finance. Just because we study and train really hard for 26 years to become a fully boarded physician, does not mean other professions demand the same dedication and qualification.

Majority of financial advisers had 2 weeks of training before showing up at your door, selling you financial products with commissions they hunger for as most of them have little to no base pay. Their bosses know how low the educational/professional threshold is to get another swarm of financial advisers, so they are paying these salesman as little as they can. I know this because I was recruited to do so as a college junior at UC Berkeley. And my father, with all the love and respect, who’s financial idiot, was taking such a 2 week online course in hopes of making it big in his 60’s! The fact that my dad was in a training class of financial advisers tell you a lot.


  1. It’s simple.

As much as the workers of the financial industries want you to believe finance is complex, it is SIMPLE as hell. Use 1% of your giant central processing power that got you through 26 year of schooling/training and beyond, you will be the best financial adviser to your loved ones and yourself in no time. I’d say in exactly the time it takes you to read your first investing/personal finance book.


Personal Finance, Investing, Retirement, Lifestyle More articles like this on Physician’s Money Digest.

5 Ways Good Finance Parallels Good Cooking
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