Many Physicians Play A Shell Game With Their Finances

I used to be embarrassed to admit this, but now I’m proud of it.

I drive a 10 year old minivan.

And I love it.

I remember when I’d park it in the doctors lot next to BMWs, Merecedes, and Range Rovers as I was starting my ER shift.

It felt kind of awkward at first.

I mean, shouldn’t a doctor drive a fancier car?

That was when I was naive and thought that doctors made tons of money and knew how to build wealth.

But as I talked to more and more of them, and especially when I delved down into their finances as I transitioned out of practicing medicine to helping physicians with their finances and investments, I realized that their cars and big houses were mostly just empty shells.

I distinctly remember a cardiologist who I admired greatly because he’d always promptly return my phone calls for any patient that needed admission to the hospital for chest pain.

He was the kind of guy who I’d want as my physician if I ever showed up to the ER with an MI.

He was around 50 years old, lived in a $1 million home, and drove a Lexus.

My thought at the time was “Wow. I’d like to be like him. Seems like he enjoys his career, he’s financially successful, and he’s probably built up a large amount of wealth after working nearly 20 years.”

When I launched my financial planning and investment advisory firm, he approached me to review his situation.

My first reaction was that he probably wants to retire early and enjoy what he’s built up. After all the guy was working 60+ hours per week.

Unfortunately what he revealed is that he’s very dissatisfied with his life, can’t stand that he has to work so much, he’s stressed out, and there’s no way he could retire anytime soon because his investment portfolio was less than $750,000.

A rough calculation told me that if he’d saved around $40,000 annually for 20 years and achieved an 8% average annual rate of return, his portfolio should be around $2 million. Quite frankly it should be WAY more since his income was over $600,000 for the past 5+ years.

He certainly isn’t the only one with this predicament.

I’ve reviewed many physicians finances and investments, and many are in above their heads in debt and aren’t saving nearly enough for their retirement.

There’s a vast amount of empty space between that outward shell of fancy cars and big houses and what should be the core of your finances -- liquid wealth and savings.

If you’re 50 years of age or older and you haven’t built up enough liquid assets, what is your plan to do so? Remember you can’t eat your house and your cars.

If you’re early in your career, have you started creating a big empty financial shell with no solid core like many of your colleagues? If so, what are you going to do about it?

In case you haven’t experienced it yet, medicine isn’t getting easier to practice and something tells me you aren’t going to enjoy memorizing all those ICD-10 codes.

Straightening out your finances and investments at least gets you started down the right path and gives you more control of your life down the road.

If that interests you, start your personal financial training here:

Financial Strategy Consultation