My monthly column in Physician’s Money Digest for June was all about physicians and the forces that encourage them to spend more than they should. Here’s a couple of excerpts:
Your patients, your family, your friends, and probably even you have expectations of what your financial situation should look like. That is usually imagined in terms of what you spend—i.e. how large your house is, how nice your car is, where you vacation, how many toys you own, where your kids go to school, and what you do on your weekends. In fact, there are entire industries that wish to propagate this idea. I was once asked to write for a magazine aimed at physicians. They asked me to write my first column on what I felt was my best financial tip for doctors. I told them my best tip was for new attending physicians to spend dramatically less than they earn by continuing to “live like a resident” for a few years after residency. They actually told me I could not write on that topic because they were afraid it would hurt their ability to sell ads to their advertisers, all of whom wished to sell expensive items to high-spending doctors.
Society has a bit of a taboo about talking about money. However, that general taboo is nothing compared to what medical students experience from the time they start filling out medical school applications all the way through their careers. In most academic hospitals, any discussion of financial topics is looked down upon. You weren’t supposed to have gone into medicine for money.
You try very hard to divorce the ability of your patients to pay for care from the care they actually receive. Being called “a rich doctor” is actually an insult. This attitude bleeds over into our personal financial lives, and leaves us vulnerable to our own natural tendencies to spend and also the tactics of unscrupulous financial professionals. Learn to fight against it! Learning how to properly manage your income will not make you a lesser doctor.
Read the rest here, then come back and tell me what you thought.
What have you done to ensure your spending is aligned with your financial goals? What pressures do you feel from family, friends, and the medical establishment to spend more? How do you resist them? Comment below!