I was taking a salary compensation survey the other day for Medscape. They asked my age, my specialty, years out of residency, and finally, my annual salary. One of the last questions on the survey was, “Do you feel rich?” It offered three, and only three options.
- 1) Yes
- 2) Yes (with some vague qualifier I no longer recall)
- 3) “No, many non-physicians make as much as I do.”
I wasn't sure which to pick. Personally, I define wealth by net worth, not annual income. By my net worth, I do not consider myself rich. If I quit working my portfolio would provide me a meager existence that qualified me for Medicaid, food stamps, and other welfare benefits. I'd be way below the poverty line. And I'm already 19 years out of high school. If I'd joined the military instead of going to college and medical school, I'd be on the cusp of retirement with a pension that would be worth a million bucks.
Rich can also be defined in non-monetary terms. I have great health, good friends, a faithful wife I am in love with, wonderful children, and a wonderful country to live in. By that measure I'm certainly rich.
I picked the third answer, since many non-physicians do make as much as I do. In fact, Mitt Romney makes nearly 200 times what I do. I'm not rich, but I do have a plan to be rich someday. Unfortunately, far too many doctors never become rich, which is a shame. They work too hard and go through too much stress not to be rich eventually. Hopefully this website will help more docs get rich while they're dedicating their lives to healing others.
Nevertheless, if someone decided they wanted to define “Rich” by income, then I think I'd have to admit that most doctors are pretty rich. Most of us aren't in the reviled top 1%, but the average doctor is well within the top 5%, and a few do creep into the basement of the 1%. Of course, when you look at the population of the entire world, most Americans are in the top 1%, so relatively speaking, we're all rich, right?
I discovered while looking at the statistics for this site that more people find it searching for “Are Doctors Rich?” than just about anything else, except for variations of “white coat investor”, the number “72” (this query lands on my Rule of 72 post), and excel xirr. So I thought I'd design a page and see if I can't help more doctors, and those who want to be doctors, find this website early in their careers. Then maybe they'll learn that most doctors aren't rich, but that they can and should be eventually.