Prioritize your savings efforts

Disciplined savings will help you reach your financial goals, but to balance multiple priorities, use the Rule of Sixths. This strategy helps you put more of your savings toward the goals that are most immediate -- simply put, you save most for what happens first.

Younger doctors, for instance, might prioritize their savings goals as: (1) house; (2) children's college education; (3) retirement. Using the Rule of Sixths, the allocation might look like this, based on saving $600 per month:

1.    House: $300 (3/6)

2.    Education: $200 (2/6)

3.    Retirement: $100 (1/6)

Five years later, having purchased the house, and earning much higher pay, the doctor's allocation might change based on now having only two goals and saving, for instance, $1,200/month:

1.    Education: $800 (4/6)

2.    Retirement: $400 (2/6)

For four goals, modify the rule to the Rule of Tenths, which gives you the ability to weight the four items differently (1/10, 2/10, 3/10, 4/10); for five goals, to the Rule of Fifteenths.

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