I'd like to highlight a couple of things going around the internet today. The first is one of my favorite new blogs. It is written by the financially successful spouse of an emergency physician. The blog takes the somewhat controversial tone that “I'm in the 1% and you can be too and there's nothing wrong with that.” It's called I Am One Percent with the subtitle Personal Finance Tips to Be A 1 Percenter From A 1 Percenter.
At any rate, he published a guest post from me about how you can still get into the 1% (well, the bottom of it anyway) as a doc. It's a bit of a contrast to the post I did here months ago called You're Not The 1%. I hope you enjoy it. While you're there, check out the rest of the well-written blog for some good stuff. He's seeing a lot more growth in his first few months than this blog did.
Now, for a bit of the societal reaction to doctors making a good living. I participated recently in the Medscape physician income survey, which you can find here. It had a lot of disappointing results, including that my specialty had an 8% paycut in 2011 (general surgery, orthopedics, and radiology were worse.) MSN took the survey, wrote a couple of paragraphs about it and published it under the provocative title of Doctors Bemoan Paychecks That Most Plebes Would Kill For. In asking for comments, they ask “Does this survey make you feel a little sick?” Surprisingly, many of the comments were quite supportive of docs actually making a living. I tried to post a comment but the comment machine broke after half my comment was published. Perhaps you'll have better luck. On a different section of their site, they posted a slightly more positive article, but again with a title that focuses on one of the dumber questions in the survey: Are doctors rich? They don't think so.
The articles really focus on a question in the survey that I thought was pretty poorly written anyway. Little did I know it was a gotcha question the MSNBC journalists could get some mileage out of. Here's the question:
Do you feel rich?
The possible answers were:
1)Yes, I feel that description applies to me. (11%)
2) No, my income is no better than that of many non-physicians. (A true statement for all docs the way it is written.) (33%)
3) Not really. My income probably qualifies me as rich, but I have so many debts and expenses that I don't feel rich. (54%)
I answered # 2. Many of the people I associated with in college make more money each year than I do, took out fewer loans than most docs, and have been at it for at least 5 years longer. Not to mention I think there's very few people with any income who actually feel rich. We naturally compare ourselves to those who make more, not less, whether we should or not. I mean, if we compare ourselves to the entire population of the planet, just about everyone in America is in the 1%.
Given the reaction to this survey, I think I might just cut my income by 3/4 the next time I do a salary survey. Just one more way to do the stealth wealth thing. I've written before about some issues with having a higher income than others. It gets old having to justify my income to others. There's nothing keeping them from doing the same thing, if they can.