by Vicki Rackner MD
If you have physician clients or family or friends, you’re in on a dirty little secret: physicians’ high incomes do not reliably translate to high net worth.
Practicing physicians earn top dollars. In fact, according to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, nine of the top ten earners in the U.S. call themselves “doctor.”
Indirect evidence supports the assertion that physicians fail to build wealth. In a recent survey, half of physicians are behind where they would like to be in retirement planning. Professional medical associations are exploring how to assess competency in older physicians who continue to practice medicine because they cannot afford to retire.
The Reasons Physicians Fail to Build Wealth
What keeps physicians from building wealth? Here are the reasons usually cited:
Further it fails to lead to sustained solutions that deliver different outcomes. Budgets work about as well as diets.
The Real Causes of Unrealized Wealth
I believe that physicians’ failure to build wealth is a symptom of a deeper financial ill: their dysfunctional relationship with money.
Physicians as a group are intelligent people who:
Here are three reasons physicians avoid conversations about money:
The Path to Wealth
Physicians have the ability to build wealth.
As Einstein says, problems are not solved on the level at which they are created. The solution begins with physicians’ willingness to tolerate the discomfort when discussing money.
Here are three steps to help physicians achieve financial freedom:
1. Coach physicians to have conversations with loan officers when they take out medical school loans, with patients about the costs of medical care and with financial advisors about what it means to thrive.
2. Explore --with compassion--the forces that drive spending. Here are some things that struggling physicians say to themselves.
3. Replace old wealth-eroding beliefs with new wealth-building habits. This is generally not a DIY job. Physicians are best served with a financial expert who can bring a fresh perspective.
Physicians can achieve financial freedom. With the economic stresses posed by Obamacare, now is the time for physicians to take a new serious look at wealth-building.
© 2015. Vicki Rackner MD. All rights reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this blog post; please include this with this paragraph:
Vicki Rackner MD works with physicians who want to thrive in the era of Obamacare and the financial advisors who help them get there. This author, speaker and consultant offers a bridge between the world of medicine and the world of business. Contact her at (425) 451-3777.