It’s completely normal to want to increase your spending as soon as you become an attending physician (you definitely earned it), but if your monthly expenses are forcing you to stay in a situation you don’t like, it’s a real problem.
The best way to free yourself from that burden is to live a little below your means until you find yourself in a sustainable situation.
That’s why we put together this compilation of advice from other doctors who have done this.
Transform your financial outlook today! Access our exclusive free resources for physicians and conquer financial stress. Access here.
Full Episode Transcript:
Hey, doc there. Next couple of episodes, we’re going to do something a little bit different. We realize that there is a lot of gold in all these episodes that Daniel has created over the past couple of years and we really want to dig some of it out and edit it creatively to help you understand a couple of concepts and bring it back into your life.
This one is about This idea that when you feel trapped by your monthly expenses, your paycheck, your employer, your current situation has just too much leverage on you. And to get that leverage back, sometimes it takes living a little bit below your means. But that’s easier said than done, am I right? So we’ve edited, uh, three episodes together to help you think about this problem and how to approach it and maybe a couple of tactics here and there that you might be able to adopt.
The first one is with Disha Spath. And Disha ramped up her lifestyle to the lifestyle of an attending physician real quick and immediately felt trapped financially. But she figured out ways to incorporate this living below her means philosophy into her life and paid off 750, 000 in debt in a really short amount of time.
After that, we go to Caroline Klerisma, who paid off 250K in four years with a starting salary of less than six figures, then published a children’s book about talking to doctors kids about money, and started coaching physicians on how to get out of debt. She explains a method she used that is called the debt snowball that you’re going to want to hear about and the last one is with Dr.
Latifat. And in this one, it’s really more about the mindset of really buying into this below your means living situation. Since everyone is always pressuring you to do the things in a certain way, but you need to look out for your own best interests. So I’m going to leave this. Daniel introduces each one of these doctors, so you know a little bit about them.
And then we jump into the meat of the content. Hope you enjoy this one. Hey everyone, hope you’re having a great day. Today I’m going to be talking with Dr. Disha Spath. Disha is a practicing primary care physician and hospitalist. She’s also a mom and a wife and a first generation immigrant. Early into practice, like many newly minted physicians, she really suffered from some major lifestyle creep early on.
And she actually ended up in a position where her and her husband felt really just stuck financially, even though salary had gone up a lot. But what was unique about her story is she made some brave and difficult decisions and ultimately made the big change. To kind of turn the corner there. And after this mindset shift in a relatively short period of time, her and her husband were able to pay off around 750, 000 in debt. And so through this journey, she’s become quite the personal finance geek. And even developed a passion for helping other physicians live more frugal and happier lives. She’s the founder of the frugal physician and a white coat investor ambassador. And as a regular speaker and writer.
Then we talk about why frugal living is a worthwhile consideration, I think even for very high income earners. So with that, let’s jump into today’s I love that you’re speaking up about frugality. It seems like there’s not a ton of people talking about frugality in the physician circles, at least I haven’t come across a ton. Has that been your read? Yeah, it’s not a very sexy topic to talk about for high earners, right?
Yeah. But it is a topic that really interests me and I find just fascinating because as we spend more money, as we have more disposable income, we also can super maximize like how we’re saving money and you know, wealth building and financial stability is based on having a delta between your income and your expenses.
And if you’re spending everything then. Well, unfortunately, you know, it doesn’t matter how much you’re making. You’re not going to make that much progress.
First of all, you’re in good company. Cause I love talking about frugality, so that’s always a good start. I’m super curious. how did you get to this point of talking about finances and especially frugality?
Yeah. Okay. So kind of a long story. Let me dive in. so I am a first generation immigrant. I moved from India back in 1995 to straight to Augusta, Georgia. And that’s where my uncle was. And so that’s where my family went, my mom, my sister and I, and we were like super poor. We were super poor when we moved.
We came with our suitcases and really nothing else, no other assets. Initially we lived in my very well off uncle’s mansion, and then we lived in his lake house. So we were in this like very affluent culture of Augusta, Georgia. Prince of Bill Air. Yeah. Right. . But we were like super poor and so we were, you know, dependent on the good graces of our, my uncle and thank God for him.
But you know, after a couple of years we moved out and mom found a job as a teacher. Mm-Hmm. . and so. Dutch. So anyway, we lived in like subsidized housing and then we were in like a completely different socioeconomic sphere. And my middle school years were just being super frugal. Like to the point where like, we couldn’t go to the grocery store and get everything we wanted.
We went to McDonald’s for my birthday celebratory dinner. Cause that’s what we could afford. Right. so it was like, we’re super poor at that point. And then during that timeframe, all I did was like. Read and play outside, which was actually not that bad, but it was an uncomfortable frugality, right?
That’s when you’re like, you’re really grimping and saving every single penny and just looking at every single thing that you’re spending in this super scarcity mindset and then worked hard. Studied a lot, got scholarships to go to college and then worked my butt off in medical school and finally got done with residency and became an attending and finally was like, wow, I’m making the big bucks right here.
We are finally arrived, made it out of the projects and everyone told me like, all right, now you’ve made it. Now, you know, live the life, live the good life. And I took that and went with it and I got my first contract. We decided to move to Savannah, Georgia, and we bought a nice house on an island. The gated community is beautiful.
It’s a beautiful place and a beautiful neighborhood, but we quickly. went from living like residents to living like attendings, you know, before I even started my first job. So when I was in my first job, I realized that a hospitalist salary, 200, 000 a year, which I thought was like a ludicrous amount of money when I was not making that much, I found that.
Even though I was making this much and my husband at the time was going to school, I figured, you know, like I’m making a good salary. I can support the family while he goes to school because people have done this for years and decades. People have lived on one physician salary for decades, right? A decade centuries.
It has completely been possible. So, but you know what? We got there and I just found myself. Not feeling like we had it together. I didn’t feel like we were really making good progress on our financial goals. And I felt like we were living paycheck to paycheck. What I brought in every month seemed to go out every month.
And while we were making slow prodding progress at retirement savings and such, it wasn’t the pace that I would have liked. I felt like I was living in the scarcity mindset still, even though we were in. A much better surrounding my breaking point was when I was taking my maternity leave for my second child and I was so stressed out about money that I ended up spending most of my maternity leave sewing the cover to a couch.
That was my breaking point because I realized, because I was sewing this cover to the couch, I was downstairs away from my babies because there were like little sewing pins and needles everywhere. I couldn’t let them in. And I ended up spending my maternity leave away from my child, even though, you know, it was stressing me out.
I had taken the unpaid maternity leave because we didn’t have, as a hospitalist, we don’t, Really get maternity leave, or at least in my contract, there wasn’t one. So it was all unpaid and, you know, it’s just stressful. It was just stressful. And even though we had the means, I felt like I was not getting it right when it came to money.
I was spending too much on things that didn’t matter. I was spending too little on things that did matter, like spending time with my child and I had my priorities all mixed up and we were. Like 250, 000 in debt, we were worth negative 250, 000 at the time. And, I figured that out after I realized that how badly, like we were managing things.
There was just some things that we needed to change. We had taken on too much debt and there wasn’t enough and we were spending too much bottom line. Right. So my husband and I, we sat down and kind of. Took a, just a survey of our situation. We wrote down all our debts, interest rates, wrote down, you know, all our assets, and of course came up with a net worth number that was very depressing.
And so we said, okay, well, let’s take, you know, let’s make some extra room, extra 500 to a thousand dollars a month, and let’s just start putting it. towards our debt. And we decided to do a debt snowball. And as we were doing the debt snowball, we started to make other changes that helped us increase the delta between our income and expenses, such as like looking for sales, spending money where we actually wanted to spend money, doing budget dates.
At the end of the month, we would meet and actually go through our spending, right? I’ve tried, I’ve done this before. they’re fun when they work. Double duty. Double duty? What do you mean by that? You’re doing a date and you’re doing budgeting. Yeah. Yeah, it’s not quite as romantic as a date as you would want.
But like us finance geeks love that. Yeah, exactly. When we’re doing well, like when we’re saving money, and at the end of the spreadsheet you’re like, Oh right, high five, we did great. You know, that’s a good budget date. There are months where we’re like, Spent too much this month, you know, but that’s a good thing to also realize because then next month you can adjust for that and kind of watch it.
So yes, we started meeting monthly to go over our spending and soon we had paid off a hundred thousand dollars of student loans in six months. So first we paid off one car, then we paid off the second car. Then we paid off a hundred thousand dollars of my student loans, which were 238, 000 total. We paid off a hundred thousand in six months.
And I was like, Whoa, this is amazing. Like, I didn’t think this was possible. How did we do this? You know, like I saw, I mean, we did it, but like, wow. So I started writing about it. I wrote an article and I started my website, The Frugal Physician, at the urging of my husband. And it just sort of took off. That first article went viral.
And then I had, a lot of people encouraging me to keep going. So I kept going. So three years later, we got, that first year we got nominated for the Plutus Award for excellence. excellence in financial media for best new personal finance blog. And then started writing for CNBC a little bit, kind of just, it just sort of took off from there.
And four years now, I’ve been writing about finance, writing about my journey, writing about reading and just totally geeking out with other finance nerds. And it’s been really rewarding because, you know, I come from the perspective of physician who made the mistakes. And so I feel like I can help other physicians.
And it makes me feel so good because it’s so important for us, for physicians, for society, that physicians are financially stable, that our families are taken care of. And it’s one of the most rewarding things I did do. So I hope, I hope to continue to do it, you know. Yeah, there’s a ton of super important things sprinkled into that story.
So those of you listening, especially like if you’re, well, I mean, everybody really, but especially I think of like those of you that are in training or, you know, earlier in the career, it’s a lot of times. Like, when you transition to practice, there’s like a bajillion decisions that kind of tend to get compacted right, right in that little time slot.
And it seems like that’s, in your story, and in a ton of people’s, that’s where you’re, I guess, prone to some of these slippery slopes. Type decisions where lifestyle just really creeps up you realized it was not equating to happiness So that’s the part that’s unique is you kind of like realized it I think and I think a lot of people get stuck in this Mindset of you know, it’s gonna or maybe even just bury the head in the sand or it’s it’s gonna be okay It’s for the future or I’ll work my way out of it or you know that kind of thing, but you Recognize there was some equating to happiness And then you change things, and I think what I also thought was super important about when you decided to make changes is you did it the right way, you kind of, you involved your spouse, which is huge, and y’all had regular conversations, I imagine they were not all perfect, but like, you know, you, you know, date nights about budgeting and that
So my guest is a mom, a wife. She’s a dentist. She’s a fellow personal finance geek. She’s an entrepreneur and a coach. So she’s got a lot going on. She’s also an author of a children’s book on money.
So along the way of becoming a dentist, And as she started to pay off some of this massive student loan debt she had, our guest today realized that many in medicine don’t have a solid foundation and need help. This motivated her to start Doctors Out of Debt, to help coach other doctors on how to tackle debt and gain financial freedom.
She found through this experience that many doctors have never really absorbed or been taught some of these basic personal finance concepts. And that really where the issue is, is in childhood. So in seeing all this, it motivated her to take the initiative to write and publish a children’s book designed to help parents begin talking about money with their kiddos.
So my guest today is Dr. Caroline Clarese May. We had a great conversation and so we talked about. A lot of different things. We talked about how she paid off 250, 000 in four years. You know, that’s a pretty impressive feat in itself.
and let’s jump right into it.
Caroline, welcome to the podcast. so much for having me. Yeah, I’m excited for our conversation today.
I would love it if you could kind of share a little bit about how you got into helping doctors to pay off debt. I think that’s such an interesting business in itself, but like, how did you get to this point of helping other people pay off debt?
Absolutely. Again. So I’m a general dentist in New Hampshire, and I’m sure you guys can hear an accent. And yes, I’m from Haiti, but I’m in New Hampshire, But anyway, general dentist in New Hampshire. I’m also a wife. model to a toddler. And I am a co author of an amazing, amazing book, Lily and the talking piggy bank.
Let’s learn about money. And I’m also the founder and CEO of Doctors Out of Debt, where I help doctors to create generational wealth and get out of debt at the same time. And the reason all that happened is that when I graduated from dental school, I Long time ago, more like 11 years ago, I had a lot of debt.
I had about 250, 000 of student loans and coming from the Caribbean where growing up, we I didn’t really have any exposure to credit, student loans or any of that. And I’m 250, 000 of student loans. Like, but by applying a bunch of debt, we permit strategies. I was able to pay everything off in four years with a starting salary of less than six figures.
And shortly after I was able to go from one stream of income to seven streams of income. And I just really started talking to doctors about what I’ve been doing. And before I know it, I’m the founder of Doctors Out of Debt, where I’m really showing doctors how I was able to do that, to be able to get out of debt quickly, and studying creating wealth at the same time.
So how did you pay off 250, 000 in four years exactly? You said your income was below six figures. A lot of it was several debt repayment strategies.
And you know, there was, they had the debt snowball debt avalanche. I used multiple ways to pay off the debt, but five ways actually. I even refinanced. There’s so many things that I did, but the first thing that I had to realize was I had to, I had to have a proper mindset. And what I mean by that is that I have a goal.
I want to pay off the debt and invest at the same time. So I cannot be using my salary to be buying liability. So I had to be very intentional. The first thing was to figure out where my money goes every single month and to reallocate that money to us with that. Okay. So it’s just about organizing my finances, pretty much telling my money where to go.
In other words, having a budget, the B word that everybody hates, but pretty much telling my money where to go. And then from there starting investing. And I wasn’t, if you’ve been able to use some investments to be able to that, but what I really did was. Using my nine to five, and then I had a weekend job, and then I had the loan repayment program that I was in, where they gave me 50, 000 towards my student loans.
So I had that as well, and then I refinanced. I had a lot going on, a lot of repayment, debt repayment strategies that I had to implement to really pay all that off in four years. So you basically made your mind up, you were going to do it, and then you did it by budgeting, managing your money, making it do its thing, essentially.
I’m going to say yes and no. Originally, I thought I was going to pay it up in ten years. That was my plan, ten years. And then some things happened a little Let’s just say embarrassing things with money, you know, and I was like, you know what I have worked way too hard. It’s ridiculous for me to have like overdraft fees or whatever it is.
I’m like, let me really get it together, you know? So, and I, when I really sat down and wrote down my goals and really told my money, this is what I want you to do because I want to have seven streams of income. I want to have a seven figure portfolio. This is what we’re going to, we’re going to do. I was a little late.
I was talking to the money. This is what we’re going to do. So, from there, I was like, okay, maybe I can pay it off in seven years. And then, once I really started seeing that, that that is just literally, Reducing and drastically reducing. I was like, I can do it faster than four years. But the plan originally, it was my plan.
Yeah, that’s good. And most people set goals that they don’t hit. You set a goal and then you got made it even more aggressive. Like, Oh, yes, absolutely. Because the thing is that sometimes when you see that it’s working, you get energized, you know, and that’s for me. We’ve worked. That’s why the debt snowball works well, as you know, wins.
And that’s something that I talk to my clients about, celebrate always, always. Yeah. Well, do you want to explain the debt snowball versus like, you know, the, what’s the other way of doing it, like interest rate targeting or whatever? So the debt snowball, that’s one way that I did that. So pretty much you look at all of your debt, whether you have student loans, credit card debt, whatever kind of debt that you have, and then you list it from smallest number to largest number, and then you just pay the smallest amount first.
Everything that you have you pay towards the smallest amount and then you pay it up and then you go to the second smallest and then to the third smallest and then pretty much everything gets paid up so quickly and the reason why is that you get so excited and I must say at first it might be a little bit discouraging because as um Doctors, sometimes we have a 2, 000 student loan, so we’ll have different loans, and then we’ll have a 2, 000 student loan, and then right next to it is 2.
8%, and you have 25, 000, 7. 9%, and you’re like, shouldn’t I be looking at the interest rates first? But sometimes when you just pay off that 2, 000, you just get excited, you’re like, oh my gosh, let me keep going, let me keep going. So that’s one way that I did to pay off the student loans. And another way is the debt avalanche, which is when we look at the interest rates.
So you look at the highest interest rates to the lowest interest rates, and then you add that from highest interest rates to lowest interest rates. And remember earlier I said that I had loan repayment money that I was getting. So 25, 000 boom towards the highest interest rate. Next year, highest interest rate, 25, 000 boom paid off.
What was the loan reimbursement program you were in? So I spent two years working at a health center, and for that they paid me 50, 000. Like a stipend? Yeah, well, and you have to show that, you have to prove, like, okay, I paid 25, 000 for student loans. Yeah. And you have the, I don’t think that’s something you have to apply for.
It’s a long, really, like it was a very tedious process to be able to get into that program. But that’s something that I recommend because it’s state based. So that’s something that’s worth looking at. But again, it’s very important to make sure that you’re going to be happy somewhere for two years.
Because some people, they’re like, I cannot stay there anymore after like nine months, and then you get into default, you have to pay fees back, penalties, you don’t want to get into all that. Yeah, so the debt snowball approach is really good because it’s super motivational. So like psychologically, it’s a great way to do it.
But then like the debt avalanche from a numbers standpoint, it makes more sense, but maybe not as motivational because if your highest interest rate debt takes a really long time to pay off, it’s kind of like, man, we’re not making any progress here. Yes. And for me, I think the only reason why it worked for me is because I had a big chunk of money to put towards it.
I mean, I’ve had 25, 000 to put towards it for two years. If not, it would have been very discouraging, you know, but with that snowball, I’m telling you, for me, it’s like working out sometimes. And again, sometimes Or some things that we do with money does not always make sense to someone else. I don’t know about the psychology of money, but when we get those wins, we’re like, Oh my gosh, I lost five pounds.
You know, it’s the same thing. So you just keep going. But if you’re like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been working, I’ve been doing this and that, I’m not losing weight, not seeing any results. So same thing again, the death snowball works because you just get into a momentum. You just want to keep going. And if you are working on your mindset at the same time, you’ll be amazed.
You’ll have opportunities or doors open up. You’re going to have people bring you jobs, promotions, um, bonuses, whatever it is. It’s pretty exciting. Mindset is key. Yeah, I agree.
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Welcome Latifat to the podcast. Great to have you. Thank you for having me here. For those that I haven’t met, I’m Dr. Latifa, I’m a physician. I’m a gastroenterologist. I live in California.
I’m the mama of three little ladies and they keep me alert and oriented most times and extremely sleepy many times, but they are truly, and I know it sounds cliche, but they’re truly the reason why I do a lot of the things that I do. They’re the reason why I’m here in a lot of ways, not in like weird.
Unhealthy relationship with parenting kind of way, but they’re my motivation to get up and do more of what I do because I truly want this world to be better for them. They are girls. The world hasn’t always been friendly towards girls. The money world hasn’t always been that way. So my goal is to help create a world where girls can have a better.
better opportunities when it comes to money. But my journey didn’t start as a mom. I started as a, you know, I grew up in Nigeria. I moved to the U. S. about 20 something years ago. I knew zero about money. And in fact, the only thing that I knew about money was this. educational piece that I got, which was there’s this amazing thing called a credit card.
You can use it whenever you want and you don’t even have to pay everything. It’s pretty awesome. Like that was all my financial education right there. Right. But you know, I went through undergrad. I went to UCLA. I did two years of a community college in LA, El Camino College, shout out to an amazing school.
And then I did two years at UCLA, graduated with a, with a major in microbiology, immunology, After that, I went to UCSF and then eventually Internal Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York. Fellowship at UC Davis in Sacramento, and then I stayed here locally in Kaiser to practice gastroenterology with an emphasis on IBD.
But, you know, the longer the journey you are to your destination, the more broke you are. So for me, I was literally broke it broke. I knew zero about money except for that all of that amazing financial education that I just summarize for you went through med school had student debt. And no one ever talked to us about how we’re going to pay it off.
It was just like, I looked around and everybody was acting like it was normal to have all the student debt. And so I was like, okay, well, I’m not going to complain. So I took the student debt. And for me as well, to be honest with you, like my parents spent a lot of time in Nigeria back then. And so my siblings and I lived together in the Bay Area.
And out of all of us, then I was the one with a guaranteed source of income and my guaranteed source of income was my student loan. So as much as student debt gets a lot of hate for me, I’m so glad that I had access to it because that’s how we’re able to pay for rent. That’s how we’re able to make sure like the PG& E wasn’t disconnected like the really.
practical things. And at that point, there were five of us. So my older brother, myself and three younger sisters, the youngest was in high school. So literally, I’m just glad that we had money to eat. And again, my student debt was the reason why we were able to do that. But I had no plans on how I was going to tackle it or take care of it.
And then I went to New York for residency. My youngest sister went with me, lived with me. So we were here living in Manhattan, two adults on a resident salary. Honestly, I wish someone had told me about government support, because I think we would have qualified for it. We were a heck of broke. I wasn’t like out partying.
I was not traveling, but I also didn’t know what to do with the money stuff. I just hoped that I would be in a place in future where I would be able to take care of it. And then I went through, I had my, got married in residency, had my first kid in residency, had one in fellowship and one as an attendant.
And I remember going through fellowship, knowing that I was finally was accomplishing my dream, which was to be a physician, be a GI doctor. And I was like, Oh my goodness. I finally, right. And then I just had this moment where I looked around and a lot of my attendees were burning out. They were burning out.
They were sort of like accepting and not resisting any decisions that were being made. I was like, well, that’s what we’re told to do. So we just got to do it. And I’m like, I did not suffer all of this journey. My parents didn’t sacrifice all they did. I went like five years without seeing my mother, like we did not do all that nonsense so I can be burned out in medicine.
And at that point, I also knew that I wanted to do. I wanted to have a focus in inflammatory bowel diseases, which is best done in settings like academia or large hospitals like Kaiser. And so I knew I was going to be working for someone. And if you look at the data, there’s a lot of burnout in medicine.
And if you’re employed, you may be at higher risk of burning out. So here was. Looking around, my attendants were burned out. Smart attendants, amazing humans, but burned out by the culture of medicine. Here I was, a mother that spent so much time in hospital as a resident and fellow Nazi in my kids, and I knew that the worst thing that could ever happen to me was to lose my voice.
The worst thing that could ever happen to me was to leave life half assed, is what I called it, with one butt cheek. I’m a G. I. Doc, like, leaving life with one butt cheek and not both butt cheeks. And that was just the worst thing that could happen. So, that was my motivation to figure out my money crap.
And this is literally just seven years ago, so not a Long time ago. So I went from knowing zero about money to really learning the basics of money, learning how to translate it in a language that makes sense for me. And, you know, we started investing in real estate diversifying our income sources. And over the last couple of years, I’m really grateful for what we, I have created personally.
And then now I help women physicians by teaching them the fact that it doesn’t have to suck. We don’t have to defer to a spouse. We don’t have to think we don’t have a choice in how we live our life. Because I truly believe that if we want to change medicine, we need to figure out how to give physicians their voice, help physicians strengthen the power of their voice.
And for me, money is a vehicle or a tool in that.
Money, I agree. Money is a completely a tool to help improve life. And. Your story is a good example of, you know, you saw this challenging situation you’re in with wanting to go into this world where they were burning out and you’re like, man, I gotta, so you found this motivation to start digging into money.
Was it like a flip of the switch? Like. How did like that actually happen? Like, did you just, you know, slowly come to that point of like connecting this whole, like money is my solution or one of the solutions to kind of, or was it like a slow progression or, and then also like, how did you start to do that?
Like, once you realize like money’s the thing, how did you then.
Yeah, the way that I, you know, a thought that I have is a lot of change and decision actually doesn’t take time. It takes a second, but it’s warming ourselves to the process that may take some time or chewing the risk and benefit or not deciding, but deciding itself takes a second. You just decide and you do or not do.
And so for me, it was, it kind of was like gathering data that led to that point. So the data was, um, People are burnt out. The ones that tend to have their money together seems to have a stronger voice or a healthier voice than those that don’t. And then I looked at my kids and I’m like, what is my part in their life?
Like, how am I going to, you know, I believe that the work of every generation is to elevate the next generation. That’s part of the work of course you don’t do it in a way that’s like suffering, but I believe that my work is to make sure that my kids have better opportunities that I have had, so they don’t always have to start from scratch, right, my parents right they tried the best that they could and I have a, I had a better platform to start with, then someone that may not have grown up with parents or someone that grew up maybe with a single family, Or someone that grew up homeless.
So I definitely recognize my own privilege, but for me, I thought that my goal and my work was to help my kids not start from where I started from. Make it a little bit less hard for them. That was my goal. I don’t want them to have to support their siblings. Like if they don’t have to do that, I feel like that’s already a huge deal.
So all of that together was what made me realize that, okay, Latifat, when are you going to start learning your money? Like, when are you going to even figure out how much you owe? I didn’t know what I owed. I, you know, my student debt, I signed whatever crap gutted out of my face, like forbear, defer, I don’t care.
Like auntie Sally, I don’t care. Just don’t bother me and let me, cause I don’t even know what I’m signing. Right. So it really was a split moment of deciding that, okay, I’m going to start. And once I decided that it was literally starting from the basics, like, what do I owe? How much do I owe? What interest rate?
How do I know when my money is going budgeting? Okay, I’m gonna try that budgeting thing. Oh, I hate budgeting, right? And then figuring out like ways that were kinder in my opinion to me. The other thing that happened was unfortunately when it comes to money, there’s a lot of shaming. And guilty when it comes to money, we’re at a shame ourselves, right?
And when you cannot find a community that is supportive, a community that acts like, how don’t you know that like you should, how can you practice medicine when you don’t know what a freaking 401k was like, I save it’s automatic information that should just come to us without someone taking the time or us taking the intentionality to learn it.
So it was not you. Pretty. It was not fancy. It was literally like Googling. Like what is a budget? I hate spreadsheets. Okay. How do I figure this out? Like what’s a 401k. I literally tried to learn what a 401k was like 5 billion times. And I’m smart. I’m a freaking physician. So it had nothing to do with my level of intelligence.
It was like fear. And pressure that I was putting on myself. And honestly, it wasn’t until I told myself I did not have to memorize anything that I started to really get the knowledge. I just told myself, all this stuff exists as a reference. I know what I want to do. I’m going to reference what a 401k is until I It gets implanted in my brain.
So it wasn’t a matter of like memorizing it, like I’d memorized a lot of things in medicine. It was literally having a better relationship with my learning experience. And that way my, you know, I sort of lowered my defenses and I was able to gather the information a little bit easier and smoother and more productive.
Because again, it doesn’t matter how much, you know, if you’re not doing the work, if you’re not taking the action, you know, people say knowledge is power. I disagree. I think knowledge plus action is power, right? So it’s sort of like, with the little that I may know, how do I actually implement that, take action on that so that I can create the result that I want to see in my life, which is have money, be financially liberated.
Create wealth, and not, and be able to live life really on my terms. So, that’s important stuff, I think. it seemed like you were in touch with what was most important to you, which was like, you know, Helping your kids to, you know, be for it to not be quite as hard for them and setting them up really well.
And then also there was this thing about like not getting into this burnout setup and your professional success tying to it. And then also this whole living life on your terms and then the flexibility provided and you tied into those things. As like the motivation to do the money thing or learn all the money stuff.
And I think a lot of people, it takes them a while to get to that place. Like a lot of us, like me, I had kind of got, I got in a relationship directly with the money for a while. I was like, the money is the thing. Like my goal was the money for many years, you know, like I was like. Like, you know, if you looked at my goals, I had these goals that were like, you know, get this amount of money, but really it was just like, our relationship was, or my goals were tied to more money.
And I think a lot of us struggle with that. Was that ever like a thing for you that you had to go through or did you just kind of naturally connect straight to these more personal goals? It was a personal goals for me because my relationship with money wasn’t good. It was ignore each other. We’re like not even roommates.
We lived in the same house, but we never talked. He took rotations in the kitchen and didn’t like, it was like, you know, that was my relationship with money. So I could not let that be my motivation because it wasn’t going to work. So I had to find out what literally what gives me a life. And that’s going to be different for different people.
But when I found my thing, which was. I truly believe that we’re all here, and I, whether you agree with that or not, I truly believe that we’re all here for a purpose. Right. I also know that in order for us to be able to do what we’re meant to do, which is going to be different for different seasons. It’s going to be important for us to be able to Speak with confidence.
And if you look around in our culture, the way that life for money people is structured doesn’t help us live a life of purpose, right? Because the way the system is run is paycheck to paycheck living, right? You make money, you pay the bills, and you rely on the next paycheck coming, which is why people don’t have time to do things like it.
Sleep, rest, take care of themselves, be present with family, be present with kids, think about, like, have time to think, and so you literally just have to decide what do I, like, what do I want in my life? Do I want the status quo, which there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you want, but if you truly want to Um, and I’m going to be able to leave a life of purpose.
And for me in this season, my purpose has been taking care of my patients. I love what I do. It truly is a gift to do what I do. But in order to be able to do that, I need to be able to say as many. Can I say S word? Sure. All right. I need to be able to say as many as I want to do. And I cannot say as much as I want to say.
If I’m worried about my paycheck and the, you know, the, and for me, it’s like being able to speak the language of my patients. Right. And so not just even like about life outside of work, but even life within work, like to be able to tell my, yeah, this shit sucks. I agree. And just speak in a language. I mean, this is fact not brag, but I honestly don’t think it’s a.
It’s a coincidence that I have one of the highest like physician rating in my specialty in our region. And it’s really because I don’t give a shit. And because I don’t, I can really give a shit where it matters, which is where it takes care of my patients, tell them the truth like it is, be there with them.
Cry. If I want to cry with them, tell them, listen, do you sure you want to hear what I got to say? Cause you ain’t going to like it. Right. And not have to worry about the things that are not important. It’s helped me be a better physician. And so it’s not just about like wealth creating outside of work or diversifying income source.
It literally is a tool that helps us live. the purpose that we’ve been created for.