My last blog post received a great deal of reaction. I had at least 35 people registering at my blog site to subscribe to future posts. I also had local medical community reaction to my thoughts on the meeting discussed in that post.
Several of the older docs who had started out in private practice, and were continuing to fight the fight, thought my comments were common sense. Like a lot of service professionals, doctors in private practice “eat what they kill”.
They have to be productive to meet the payroll and pay the bills before they get their pay. They are more realistic about money, business, and finances.
A subset of the doctors who have been practicing for some time did tell me that they thought that it was easier for me in that I “had always been entrepreneurial.” These docs remind of Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories, always complaining about their lot in life.
They lament not getting paid enough, although they generally do not act on fairly simple suggestions to enhance their income by working smarter. They also do not seem to have much left over from their paychecks to save or invest, despite their income being much higher than their average patient.
Their comments about me having it easy because I have always been entrepreneurial is sort of like when my overweight patients would dismiss my recommendations about weight loss because “you don’t know what I’m going through, doc. You don’t have a weight problem!”. The person who does the recommending gets blamed because they have been successful; because they have walked the talk. Like the recalcitrant obesity patient, some doctors will not listen to financial recommendations.
I have had several doctors I have known personally and professionally who have not set aside sufficient funds away in their 401K funds in order to fund their current lifestyle expenses. These docs are unfortunately going to turn around someday (when they’re in their 60s) and finally figure out that they cannot afford to retire because that nest egg is not there.
Then, I predict with a high degree of certainty, they will complain about their lot in life again and talk poor mouth about their situation. All of this is predictable. It is not rocket science. It just takes a long-term perspective and some discipline.
What astounds me is that these individuals obviously had to think long term and have discipline for at least a portion of their lives in order to become doctors. Somehow, once the medical degree was obtained and the residency finished, these individuals thought the finish line had been crossed and they had it made.
Psychologically, I think that many of the doctors who reach this point after residency feel that they deserve some payback. Justifiably, they want a house, they want cars, they want a family, and they have student loans frequently to pay back.
They can do all those things and still have money to invest and save if they approach it the right way. Maybe they didn’t receive the right advice at the right time. Maybe they are just tired of delayed gratification.
Whatever the reason is, they are strangling themselves by their financial inertia. They will also get no mercy from the general public who feel that doctors make lots of money and should have lots of money left over when they retire.
So, basically, what I am saying is that the general public impression that all doctors are millionaires is a myth. However, all doctors should be, by mid to late career, multimillionaires and they MUST be multimillionaires to afford a successful and comfortable retirement.
That mindset is the reason for the ultimate delayed gratification. As a well-known financial guru says, you have to spend some years living like nobody else so later you can live like nobody else.
- How I enhanced revenue
- How I set up savings mechanisms
- How I invested wisely
- How I invested for the future
Let me know what you think, and if these comments strike a chord with what you see indoor medical community.