Mark Acierno MBA, DVM.jpg

Dr. Mark Acierno

Phoenix, AZ

Midwestern University 

I received my undergraduate degree in business with a minor in computer science from Skidmore College. While working and living in New York City, I attained an MBA from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. In 2000, I earned a DVM from Mississippi State. After internship, I completed an internal medicine residency at Tufts University where I developed a passion for nephrology and urology. In 2004 I arrived at The Louisiana State Univeristy where I developed one of the most advanced urology / nephrology programs. As of January 2017 I’m proud to call Midwestern University school of veterinary medicine teaching hospital in Glendale (Phoenix) Arizona my “home.” One thing that has increasingly concerned me is how the indebtedness of our graduates has increased in leaps and bounds while starting salaries have only inched along. Even more concerning is the lack of basic financial understanding today’s newly minted (and not so newly minted) DVMs possess. We teach veterinarians to be great doctors but we don’t provide them with the tools needed to understand student loan repayment options, how to buy a house, how to save for their children’s education or plan for retirement. In early 2018 I embarked on quest to improve the understanding of personal finance in our profession. First, I established a blog focused exclusively on personal finance issues facing veterinarians. From student debt to buying a house, important topics are covered in bite sized installments. Secondly, I developed a comprehensive personal finance class for veterinary students. It's a required class taught to our 3rd year students just prior to entering clinics. Although initially suspicious, students response has been overwhelmingly positive. While only a start, I believe this type of financial education should be considered core curriculum at every veterinary school.



Topic #1: Investments 101

Description: An introduction to basic investment instruments including savings accounts, stocks, bonds, money market accounts, and mutual funds. Integrated into the discussion is the concept of risk vs reward. We also cover common investment jargon.

Topic #2: The Time Value of Money (TVM)

Description: In this finance orientated talk we explore the concept of “time value of money” and the effect of compounding on monies over time. Using an App that is free to download, we discuss the basic math needed to answer many personal financial questions. Some of the questions that can be easily answered after mastering a few concepts include: If you invested periodically (e.g., 401K, IRA, etc.) how much will you have at a future date - due to the effect of compounding the answer may surprise you! How to calculate the amount needed need to save every month for a future event (e.g., tax on loan forgiveness). How much is $1,000,000 really worth in the future.

Topic #3: Retirement (Eventually, you’ll want sand not cat litter between your toes)

Description: This talk focuses on how to plan for our future. We dive into strategies for calculating how much we need in retirement and, using TVM calculations, how to invest enough to have this amount saved. We explore various investment vehicles including (401K, 403b, “Simple IRA” or a SOLO 401K, IRA, Roth IRAs) and why it's important to seek-out employers who offer employer sponsored retirement programs.

Topic #4: Student Loans. Ugh – Why is it so complicated

Description: We explore standard and income-based student loan repayment plans (IBR, PAYE, and REPAYE) and who should choose the latter. How to use student loan repayment simulator to estimate monthly payment, projected forgiveness and total payment for student loans is covered. We discuss the “tax bomb” associated with income-based repayment plans and how to develop a plan to pay it off. We examine why REPAYE and marriage are a terrible mix. A portion of time is spent demonstrating why income-based repayment plans are nothing to fear and the concept of "leveraging ones living."

Topic #5: Mortgages & Home Purchase

Description: In this discussion we cover everything related to home ownership. Topics include: When does renting make more sense than buying? How does the bank calculate how much it will lend me (front-end ratio and the back-end ratios). How much should I borrow vs how much can I borrow? The role of the realtor How much of a down payment will I need at the closing? What if I don't have the enough saved for the down payment (PMI & physician mortgages). Is Is a home really an investment? How much should I plan to spend on maintenance.

Speaker Fees: No honorarium; reasonable travel expenses requested

Phone: 225-772-7956

Topics Covered