Why physicians, neglect their finances, to begin with?
Why do they fail to focus on finances?
Why as doctors are they so unwilling to own their mistakes, learn from them, and teach others how to avoid them?
There is not an easy answer to this question obviously.
But, let’s explore.
Here is why physicians fail to focus on finances to their detriment.
They are financially clueless
Physicians get no financial education at any point in their long sojourn through higher educational institutions.
So, once they stick their head in the sand, it becomes so intimidating to pull their head out and face their situation that they often decide not to do it until there is no other choice.
Often at this point, it is too late.
They dismiss the importance of financial well-being
If doctors are guilty of neglecting their own health and well-being, they are even more guilty of neglecting their financial well-being.
In fact, most physicians don’t consider financial well-being to be a component of their overall well-being.
But it is.
By creating a financial plan and getting their house in order, they feel better overall and even become a better doctor.
When they do focus on finance, they focus on the wrong things
As a field, doctors tend to focus on personal consumerism rather than personal finance.
They focus on what they make and what they buy/own rather than what is important.
What is important is their well-being, their fulfillment, their happiness, and their purpose.
But most of all, what is important is their freedom of time to pursue all of the aforementioned.
Physicians think money is dirty
Very few to no doctors go into medicine to make money.
They are all driven by something else.
By the desire to help others and make a difference.
So, they convince themselves that money doesn’t matter.
And they start to feel that if a doctor thinks about money, it takes away from patient care.
But that is not true.
The two are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, they are positively correlated.
Most doctors who are financially free or work towards financial well-being practice better patient care.
They are able to focus on the patient and their needs without worrying about their insurance, reimbursement, or need to see more patients to bill more.
Contrast this with a doctor who feels the pressure to increase RVUs to pay their bills because they are living paycheck to paycheck.
Doctors hate to admit they don’t know
Doctors hate to admit that they don’t know something, whether that is clinically or otherwise.
It’s presented to them as a sign of weakness.
In reality, when doctors admit that they needed help, it’s a sign of a personal and professional confidence.
But, this does project onto personal finance as well.
They don’t like to admit that they don’t understand investing so they don’t talk about it.
Or worse, they listen to whoever is talking about it the loudest without having any real idea what they are talking about.
Theye don’t have a lot of time
This one is pretty valid.
Their time in training and beyond is limited.
Doctors want and need to focus primarily on learning medicine and being the best doctor that they can be.
But, if they just develop and practice simple habits, like reading one financial blog post a day, they can learn the 20 percent about personal finance that they need to get 80 percent of the results.
They can also accelerate their progress through coaching or investing in themselves through courses.
So, how can physicians break this cycle?
After all of this philosophical debate, doctors need some actionable steps.
The first key is recognizing this blind spot in their life and education.
You are reading this so you have accomplished this critical first step that so many physicians do not.
That’s on a global scale. But what can you do individually?
The first step is to establish your why.
Why do you want the financial freedom to practice medicine because you want to, the way you want to instead of because you have to?
Without a why, even achieving financial freedom can be an empty victory.
After this, start your financial education.
Pick a personal finance book and read 10 pages a day.
Read one finance blog post each day.
Small efforts will lead to big rewards.
After this, you are ready to develop your own written financial plan and start your financial well-being journey!