The business of medicine is unlike any other type of standard “business” in that health insurance and hospitals confound what would appear to be a simple exchange of services for a set price.  You know that the confusion is bad when neither doctors nor the patients fully understand how the insurance system works.  I have seen patients going into surgery for a lap chole being quoted a price that ended ...

Read more...

When I finished my training, I wish that I had known all of the options I could practice medicine.  Most of us categorized our options as either “academic” practice or “private practice,” but in reality, these two options only cover the tip of the iceberg.  Was my limited understanding a shortcoming of my medical training?  Perhaps.  I doubt that many medical schools back then actually had seminars on practicing medicine. ...

Read more...

It’s OK to make mistakes in life.  That’s the only way to learn.  Hopefully, the major mistakes get made earlier in life so that we have less to lose and more time to “make up” for faltering. But hey, life wouldn’t be interesting if challenges aren’t presented to us.  Let’s look at ten of the common doctor financial blunders that have either happened to me or my coworkers: 1. Borrowing too ...

Read more...

Health care is big business, with medical practices vying for contracts, hospitals undergoing facelifts in order to cater to patient experiences, and insurance companies making deals with pharmacies.  Some of these arrangements are negotiated in the name of reducing health care spending, but there has to be some skepticism when for-profit entities are implicated.  Physician salaries aren’t exactly growing with inflation—some fields have had massive cuts in spending over the ...

Read more...

The transition from medical school to internship is both an exciting and traumatic period for doctors.  As a fully anointed “MD” (or DO), the new doctor has a well-deserved and distinguished title to her name.  No more “student doctor” anymore.  Most orders won’t have to be cosigned anymore.  Want to place an order for 100 mg of Lasix? Prime those kidneys, and have at it.  On the flip side, being ...

Read more...

One of my coworkers who grew up in India told me that their teachers in grade school would post everyone’s scores in the hallway after every exam.  This comparison of grades and objective testing further extended to cities and even regions in the country.  There are people going through the hierarchical ranks with “gold medals” in science or engineering.  Throughout this process, it was relatively transparent who the smartest or ...

Read more...

I would have thought that all doctors are on the same page about being overworked and underpaid, but I was surprised to read on a recent physician forum that some doctors claim that our profession overall is compensated adequately.  Complacency tends to kill innovation, but hey, to each her own.  Online forums certainly leave a lot of variables on the table -- we’ve all seen trolls or even just people ...

Read more...

Two incomes are better than one, right?  As we all know, the answer isn’t clear cut.  If we have to actively “work” to generate income, we have to balance exchanging time for money.  Nothing comes for free.  When you throw in a tax system to convolute matters, certain households are actually punished for going into the workforce.  There is a delicate balance between each income-earning member and what each profession ...

Read more...

A large percentage of doctors end up switching jobs within the first five years of practice.  This really isn’t surprising given that the medical training experience doesn’t necessarily correlate with the medical practice experience. Many doctors work hard throughout their entire training only to realize that their expectations do not necessarily align with reality.  Is it our fault that we don’t really know what we got ourselves into? Perhaps taking q3 ...

Read more...

The Hippocratic Oath says nothing about taking out a bank loan to outfit your own office to start your practice, nor does it include investing in real estate to diversify your income.  Of course, most doctors didn’t opt to enter medicine with the intention of building an empire of medical care (although some end up doing so anyway).  Large hospitals, insurance-run medical groups, and entities that operate with high revenue ...

Read more...

Wealth accumulation can follow many trajectories, depending on discipline and external factors like stock market health or economic fluctuations.  With a proper financial plan, doctors can stick to a game plan that should allow them to reach financial milestones rather predictably.  The adage that wealth begets wealth certainly does hold true most of the time, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee financial victory.  One of the issues with wealth accumulation is ...

Read more...

Geographical arbitrage is a huge component to being able to build wealth in a timely manner.  For doctors, the formula for rapid wealth accumulation calls for geographical arbitrage even more strongly as our salaries do not have wide ranges across the country.  A doctor in Texas will probably command a similar salary in Arizona (maybe slightly less).  A doctor in the midwest might earn more, spend less, and work less ...

Read more...

Apart from a minority number of academic physicians, nearly all of the physicians openly discussing finance matters online are either retired or in private practice.  The data might be skewed since most practicing physicians don’t work in academia anyway.  What might be interesting is to compare the percentage of financially literate academic physicians to that of those outside of academia.  I would venture to surmise that academic physicians might be more financially ...

Read more...

Thanks to the internet, collaboration has never been so easy.  If you need to learn about how to install a new irrigation system in your lawn, the resources are a few clicks away.  You just need the time and motivation to make happen.  On the medicine front, there has never been a time in the recent past (aside from a failed managed care push in the 1990s) that doctors have ...

Read more...

There was a recent news brief stating that the average internist generates about $2.4 million annually for the hospitals that they work for.  While it’s no surprise that doctors help others make money, seeing a figure to your worth hammers home how much we sustain the health care system, often at our own expense. This means that a hospitalist making $240,000 ...

Read more...

We all have either experienced the fears of starting our first job or will eventually do so at some point in our careers.  It only happens once for everyone.  Those of us who are in the market for a job change will end up reliving some of the challenges in job hunting; hopefully, we all have learned from our past mistakes. As I am advising upcoming graduates during their job ...

Read more...

Most doctors well into their tenure of medical already have a general idea about how other specialists spend their days (except for radiation oncologists, where no one else knows what they do).  However, as a medical student, I had incredibly limited insight into the variety of means to practice medicine. Even as an attending physician, I am still discovering how creative some medical specialties allow one to be.  For instance, ...

Read more...

In an ideal world, we should all be compensated fairly for our services and skills.  The reality, as we all experience, is an amalgam of mistakes and victories.  One hopes that with time our skills will translate to a greater number of victories.  Most greenhorns entering the workforce are unfortunately poorly equipped to assess their worth.  I certainly was. Greenhorn doctors stand to lose a financial lot from mistakes simply because ...

Read more...

It’s easy to judge when you don’t experience the same difficulties that others do. The classic scenario in medicine is an internist, who runs marathons and bikes to work, tells his morbidly obese patient to lose weight.  How would the scenario work if the doctor were mildly overweight, or has a body mass index of 30.5? The same judgment is frequently seen in the online financial blogosphere.  Why does a doctor ...

Read more...

A retirement plan isn’t usually a top priority for fresh doctors looking for their first jobs, whether that final date is in five years or thirty. Perhaps knowing when to hang up your hat is immaterial so early in your career since most doctors will end up leaving their first job within the first five years anyway.  However, I do wish that I had some inkling about the career paths ...

Read more...

2 Pages

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories