Episode 65: Eliminate This Common Ball And Chain To Be A Wealth Building Physician

Sep 21, 2020

This Episode

Solo Episode

You Will Learn

– Why a sense of inadequacy or shame can be very a major hurdle on physicians
– For almost all physicians, there is no class to prepare you for the financial complexity that you could experience
– Physicians are their own best advocate when armed with the facts and resources to understand proper financial strategies

Resources & Links

Coming to you solo this week to encourage, and strengthen physicians who are unsure or unaware of strong financial strategies. Many physicians are their own hardest critics, and can be weighed down by the thought of be unequipped to handle a situation such as finances. In this episode, I want to help give guidance to anyone who is feeling inadequate. 

Justin (00:04):
Hey, it’s Justin Harvey. Thanks for tuning into the anesthesia success podcast, where we take a close look at important topics pertaining to business, practice management, personal finance, and careers for anesthesiologists and pain management physicians on the show. I work hard to take your critical questions straight to the experts. Thanks for listening.

Justin (00:25):
What’s up everybody. Welcome to episode 65 of the anesthesia success podcast. Very pleased to be coming to you. Solo today from the outer banks, North Carolina, currently squirreled away and the corner of a crowded beach house with the Harvey family, perhaps in the future, I’ll have my content calendar a bit more organized, so I won’t need to get quite this creative, a couple of announcements before we dive into this week’s content. First starting next week, we are doing something exciting, which is going to be a little bit of a rebrand of the podcast currently called anesthesia success. We’re going to be changing the name to anesthesia and pain management success to more reflect the scope of the content on this podcast. When I started this journey almost two years ago, I didn’t really know where things would be going and as tends to happen in life and things have been more interesting and awesome than I could have expected.

Justin (01:11):
And I’ve also taken other twists and turns that have been a little bit unanticipated, but what started as anesthesia success is now going to turn into anesthesia and pain management success also known as APM success for short, little more about that next week. I’ve got some really awesome interviews coming up in the next one to two months. A couple specifically that I’m really excited about the first will be chronicling a physician’s journey as an associate at a pain practice. Eventually structuring a deal for buy-in and partnership. This physician is now thriving and enjoying a very rewarding practice and has essentially gotten the equivalent of an accelerated medical mini MBA in the meantime, and they’re going to share about that journey. I have another guest who’s going to come help us look at and understand mergers and acquisitions in both pain management and anesthesia. We’re going to answer questions like who owns anesthesia companies.

Justin (02:04):
What does it mean that private equity is taking on more and more ownership of the bottom line of these companies? What are the implications for different practice models, career trajectories, et cetera, we’re going to tackle all of that. It’s going to be really awesome. Now for today’s content. We’re going to talk about the ball and chain that you need to eliminate to commence financial progress. This is going to be a short and hopefully punchy episode designed to spur some subset of listeners to action. You’re going to know who you are out there. This is going to be drawn from the things that I think, but can’t prove in a white paper category, but some things that I’ve seen anecdotally as a financial planner, again and again, as recently as a couple of days ago that have sort of spurred my desire to tackle this topic today and this ball and chain that you need to leave behind or eliminate two commands, financial progress as a physician, something that I’ve seen a lot, is that a sense inadequacy or even shame is a major hurdle for physicians specifically with regards to personal finances.

Justin (03:07):
It forces you to look at something you may not be good at, and this can stir this feeling of not being competent in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. And obviously we were hardwired to try to avoid those feelings whenever possible. Here’s a little bit about what I’ve seen after being married to a physician after having worked with hundreds of them and having countless conversations about the key drivers of personal financial wellness. I frequently talk to doctors who feel ashamed in this way in this area. It’s sometimes comes out at the very beginning of a discussion. Physicians work hard, they’re high achievers. They have skills that save and sustain the lives of other humans. And as such are well respected by their peers and in society for their role in healthcare, because physicians hold themselves to this very high standard. And in fact must hold themselves to that standard in order to achieve you know, competency in their training and get through the boarding process, et cetera.

Justin (04:07):
I have frequently seen a self-imposed expectation that this high achievement will translate over into every other area of life, money being chief among them. We have an assumption in our society. If you make a lot of money, you must be good at it. And obviously we know that physicians, once you adjust for the level of debt that you need to take on in order to become a high earner, you could argue whether or not physicians are actually well or fairly paid depending on the specialty. But the point is this can sort of catalyze this vicious cycle of anxiety and shame for doctors when it comes to money, because they feel that others perceive them as people who should be good at money. So if they’re not, that can weigh on them. I had a conversation last week, literally last week with another physician couple who was interested in working with my firm to do some financial planning work.

Justin (04:58):
And I asked just a very basic, what brings you here today? And the wife spoke first and the first words out of her mouth. And there were both physicians. The first words out of her mouth were I’m ashamed at my lack of financial understanding and progress to this point. Now she was a fellow completing training. And, you know, she’s only just beginning her fellowship year. So I would actually argue she she’s a little bit ahead of the curve, as far as her financial understanding and progress, knowing that she should engage in this conversation with someone that can help her early on. But, but the fact remains that this is a very common theme when I was in high school way back in the day I, I was on the mock trial team, maybe some fellow mock trial nerds out there can relate to this. And we had what we called it, stipulated facts in the mock trial case.

Speaker 2 (05:46):
Yes, these are the facts to which both sides

Justin (05:48):
It’s the prosecution and the defense will agree the truth of which no one disputes. So at the outset, I want to lay out to you three stipulated facts when it comes to physician finances. If you can agree with these stipulations, I think you may see the validity of my conclusion when I try to constructively help you think about how do we put off shame and anxiety and make progress with personal finances as a physician stipulated fact, number one, two, which we can all agree. Physicians have an immense personal financial complexity that is uncommon among them complex of any professional pursuit, expensive med school, student loans, extended training period, delayed earning power, windfall of income, the necessity to make up for lost time while simultaneously in many cases, moving across the country and or having kids. There’s just a lot of moving parts. Doctors have a lot to deal with, and we should acknowledge at the outset, it’s a tough thing that you are situationally facing.

Justin (06:49):
And so to be able to deal with that appropriately, it takes a lot of knowledge that doesn’t just fall out of the sky into your brain stipulated fact. Number two, for almost all physics, there’s little to no preparation in med school or residency for this financial complexity, which they are bound to experience. Now, maybe you had a like that financial drive by weekend during the, you know, your PGY four year of like, we’re about to kick you out into the world. Here’s all the things you need to know. But the fact is these topics are broad and deep. And in order to reach a baseline level of competency to be a do it yourselfer, I mean, I would say to reach a baseline level of competency, even to select an advisor, to help let alone being a do it yourself, or it just takes, it takes a while to get comfortable with concepts that are foreign and to understand the best way to proceed.

Justin (07:40):
So this model is just setting you up to fail and there’s you’re you’re inadequately prepared. So we should all acknowledge that. Number two, inadequate preparation by the system. The third stipulated fact physicians are incredibly intelligent people who when presented with appropriate education and framing will be their own best advocates with regards to personal finances. They can absolutely can understand enough to either pick a trusted advisor with whom to work or to manage their own finances. These are the three stipulated facts. Let me briefly review them. Number one, you’ve got a very complicated situation, uncommonly complicated. Number two, the system fails to adequately prepare you for this level of complexity. And number three, you’re a really smart professional who if presented, presented with the right data in the right context, can absolutely understand this situation and either pick an advisor to help you navigate it or navigate it yourself with, you know, sufficient competency to get you to financial freedom.

Justin (08:47):
So today’s discussion on these points is going to be very short and practical. I want you to first acknowledge it is unreasonable to expect that you’re going to be good at this without any formal training or preparation, no one has prepared you. So don’t be so hard on yourself. This should allow some of that shame. Some of that anxiety to hopefully be dispelled, no one has prepared you. There should be no expectation of competency. Number two, my friend, Aaron Lewis is a huge advocate of this idea, dr. Lewis, an anesthesiologist and private practice out of Beaumont in Detroit has been a friend of the show and has been on a couple episodes. You are smart enough as a physician to know what’s in your own best interest. If you are armed with the facts and an understanding of the context of those facts, then there’s no one that’s going to look out for you better than you.

Justin (09:35):
That doesn’t mean that an advisor may not be able to help in this process. In many cases they can, but the best advisors are going to help you understand the facts and the context and equip you to make an informed decision. And they won’t just tell you what to do in a way that essentially keeps you in the dark. The third idea that I want to unpack here is you really need to just put this idea out of your head that you ought to understand at this point, if you’re a resident, if you’re a fellow, even if you’re far along the track into attending hood one, three, five, 10 years out, it’s never too late to start. And in order to make progress, to be able to work through the shame, the anxiety, the fear associated with this topic, you need to just give yourself permission to say, like, there’s no reason that I should know these things.

Justin (10:19):
I’ve never been presented with this information in any kind of format that I can understand. And the best day to start is today. And I need to just start making progress into embrace the discomfort. And I need to take that first step, that first step of self-education, there’s a lot of great resources out there. And I want to point out a couple here in a moment, but before I do that, I just want to say you, dear listener, you can do this. You can make progress. You can’t do it on your own time, in your own way, in a way in which you’re comfortable, you can make progress. It’s going to require you though to take the first step. It requires you to begin to inform yourself either. So you can put systems in your own life to build wealth or so you can identify the right advisor who can help you do that.

Justin (11:05):
I always recommend a fee only advisor fee only means no commissions associated with the way that you render financial advice. So if somebody is not feel only either what we would call fee and commission or fee based or working on exclusively commissions, they’re incentivized to be a, a salesperson of financial products rather than a comprehensive advisor. So you want the only means no commissions. They’re maximally objective, maximally, transparent and fiduciary. Change can start today, but it requires you to dive in and take control. So if you go to my website, anesthesia success.com/resources, I’ve made a list of a bunch of different resources, websites, and blogs books, different online calculators, a starting point for you to be able to get to, you know, just a baseline understanding. There’s a lot of great financial educational content. You’re not gonna you know, absorb it by osmosis.

Justin (12:00):
It’s going to require initiative, but once you press through this little bit of discomfort on the front end and it helps to recognize no one has equipped you the way that frankly this system should have. So you’ve got to just take control of your own destiny here. You’re going to be much better off once you start this process, if you want a little more guidance, here’s what you can do for a couple people who want to leave an honest review of this podcast in iTunes. Go ahead and do that. Take a screenshot, send it to me, justin@anesthesiasuccess.com for the first three reviews I get, I want to send a copy of this book, the one page financial plan, which is itself an excellent starting point. If you want to look that up and you know, grab that off Amazon or whatever, we’d recommend that it’s written by a guy named Carl Richards who has a real aptitude for taking the essential elements of financial progress and wealth building and distilling key principles into something digestible and actionable.

Justin (12:57):
Your financial future is going to require you to push through the discomfort at the outset. At some point like if you’re at zero, with regards to financial knowledge, getting from zero to one, it’s going to be the hardest part. You’ve got to have this baseline understanding. Definitely. So you don’t get taken advantage of. Cause the fact is, if you’re a doctor, people know financial advisors in air quotes, this isn’t a video episode, but I’m putting this in air quotes. Financial advisors know that you’re, you’re going to make a lot of money one day and you may not be building a lot of wealth, but you’re at least going to have a high income. And as a high income earner, frankly, you’re vulnerable and you need to have this baseline level of understanding. So you don’t get taken advantage of this book. The one page financial plan is a great place to start.

Justin (13:38):
I’ll send three of those out to anybody who wants to leave a review. And if you go to anesthesia success.com/resources, that’s another great place to start with a bunch of a list of free things. You can just start reading, but the most important thing, if this is a source of shame, if this area is a source of anxiety, the most important thing is that you do in fact, start take that first step. Hopefully this is helpful. I’m sure there’s somebody out there that needed this message today. So please drop me a line. Let me know what you think. If you’re taking the first step, email me and say, Hey, Justin, I’m taking the step. Here’s what I’m doing to start to take control of my own personal financial destiny. That would make me really happy as always. Thanks for joining me this week on the anesthesia success podcast, You liked what you heard this week. Head on over to anesthesia success.com, where you can find more content and free resources to help you build a successful career in anesthesiology and pain management. If you wanted to leave a review in iTunes, I would also really appreciate it. Thanks for using some of your valuable time to join me today on the anesthesia success podcast.