Feeling Trapped? 3 Steps To Break The Golden Handcuffs Or Your Hospital Salary

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In speaking to hundreds of doctors a month, it’s obvious that many feel trapped by their hospital salary, and that can lead to burnout, but it doesn’t need to be this way!

That’s why we went back into our past episodes to give you 3 examples of physicians like you who have broken free of the golden handcuffs put on them by hospitals.

You’ll see that they each had 3 commonalities:

  1. There was an “AHA!” moment when their priorities shifted. For these 3 physicians, it coincided with the birth of a child (not always the first), but for you, it’s important to validate that it’s ok when your priorities shift.
  2. Needing to take action became apparent thanks to a 3rd party diagnosis. As a doctor, everyone counts on you to diagnose things for them, and it’s ok to need that too. Whether it’s a mentor, a good friend, a coach, or a financial advisor, find people who can give you perspective outside yourself.
  3. No one got there with one step, but they all got started. You’ll see each of these physicians took multiple steps that eventually got them the freedom they desired. What is most important was that they got started.

You’ll hear from Dr. Mamta Kumar, Dr. Param Baladandapani, and Dr. Ronnie Shalev in this episode with a brief intro from Daniel in each one.


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Full Episode Transcript:

Pablo: Welcome back to finance for physicians. I am the producer of the show, Pablo, and we’re back with another installment of golden nuggets of specific topics that affect physicians. And this one is about that moment where you take control of your schedule, take control of your finances, stop being reliant.
To the system that is clearly broken and we’ve taken three excerpts from past interviews that we think will be of great value One with dr. Mamta kumar one with dr. Param balan dandapani and one with dr Rani shalev That explain the arc in a compressed way of when they went from realizing. Huh? This isn’t really working for me To then getting to the point where they, are fully in control of their finances, their schedule, of their life, right?
They are using money as a tool, not making money the goal. And you’re gonna find three commonalities in these stories, which I think is what’s so important about these episodes. The first commonality Is you’re going to hear that they each realized it right around the time of having children, right?
Not necessarily the first child, maybe the second child or the third child, but they all kind of had this origin of like, Oh man, my priorities have shifted. And this means I need to start seeking things. And what I want you to take away from this is it might not be kids, but just understand that when your priorities shift, it’s okay to start.
Looking for things differently. Second is they each surrounded themselves with a third party that helped them diagnose their situation. Some are mentors. Some are their network. Others. Specifically hired coaches, hired financial advisors, hired real estate coaches, things of the sort, right? But the value of the third party diagnosis is going to be very consistent in this.
And third is that none of them got there overnight. They each took incremental steps and at some point realized This is all working for me. It’s all snowballed. So what I want you to take from those last two things is one, if you don’t have somebody in your life, you don’t have people in your life that can be that third party diagnosis for you.
Hopefully this show, hopefully. Daniel’s team can serve as that for you, but if not go out and find that and then third is The thing that you need to do is take action, right? Like none of these doctors got there overnight They started kind of iterating right whether it’s like buying a passive income rental property and starting that way whether it’s Planning out how to go off on on their own to see if that could fix or maybe getting another job But it’s all So you’ll hear that in all three of these stories of doctors that have found their way to controlling their life to having control of their schedule and not being run by their finances.

Daniel Wrenne: Momta, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much, Daniel, for having me. I am excited about our conversation. you’ve had a kind of an interesting transition you started in traditional healthcare, working as a physician and had some burnout.
made a pretty big shift into starting your own integrative medicine practice. And now you’ve been focusing more on land investing and even teaching other physicians how to do that. there’s so much time dedicated to the training of becoming a physician, and after spending so much time And effort in training to become a physician, it had to have been some pretty big motivation to make a shift out of that into something, especially like completely different, like I can get like the starting your own practice thing.
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. But like investing in land, like. What’s the motivation behind like the shift to going a different direction like that? And then is there any like guilt around that? Does it feel you’re kind of like leaving something behind?
Dr. Mamta Kumar: Yeah, that’s a great question. And in fact, you have summarized it so well, Daniel.
This journey has been long. Getting into medicine, first of all, is not easy. And after all that struggle, getting into medicine, finishing the training. And I finished my residency in 2012, like exactly 11 years ago. And I never thought I would be ever pivoting out because I thought I always loved medicine.
I always wanted to continue to practice medicine, just being a dentical physician, have a boring job, and just live in a town where I initially moved to, and then just live in a beautiful house. And then that’s how life would be, but as life changes, right? At that time, I had just one little girl who had, I did have some complexities around that, but she was okay.
But the second child, which I had within two years of my attending job was a complex pregnancy and a complex medically complex child. So that’s what started that struggle feeling that I wanted to stay in medicine, but I didn’t have that much time. The time was something which was so scarce and I found myself just trying to kind of juggled and.
See, was medicine still a priority for me? Or is it these kids and their family? And with time that it was not like in a day I realized that, Oh no, I do want to kind of cut down my work in clinical medicine and do other things, but within six to seven years after switching back and forth, different jobs, different positions, different hours, self work, just to see if I was able to have more personal time, eventually in 2018, I switched to part time hospital job.
And then I had some more health issues, and then I started degraded medicine training. That was initially not for, it was not a career most, it was for my own health issues. And I was like, you know what, this is great. I feel like this has changed my life. And it’s very different from traditional medicine.
So how about let me start practicing that. Because I was still not contemplating going totally away from medicine. So that’s when I started this online telemedicine practice and pandemic. But again, I never had a business background, so I didn’t know how to kind of market, get clients and this and that, but also as a side gig, I had started in land investing that was in 2018 as well.
So that whatever changes I was making in my job position, I was just building out another side gig, which would have a solid income for me and provide some financial freedom for me and our family so that I could, I didn’t need to trade my time with work. As a employee. So that’s when I realized that even though now the traditional medicine was gone, and now the two things which were left was this integrative medicine and the land investing, and I was trying to work on both.
And I realized that with land investing, I was able to get results faster. And I started to develop a team around it. That business just continued to grow and integrated medicine, not necessarily, you know, it’s just different business, right? So it was, I started to just face those struggles of business owner, like how to run this business.
And it kept on learning the skills of the real estate side, which I kept on implementing. And it seemed like at one point I had to choose. And this was basically actually in February, 2023 this year. I was like, you know what? I cannot just keep on doing these two things. Nothing is making sense. A lot of positions were interested in learning land investing.
At that time, I made this hard decision that I’m not going to pursue. Integrative medicine at this point, at one point, that’s still a possibility, but right now I just want to focus on the real estate because this is not just a freedom for me for right now. It’s for my own future, my kids for the next generation freedom as well.
It was a little bit of hard decision to make, but I really think for, with all my past years of slowly just going into that road, less traveled. I think I was almost getting to the point where I just, I was conscious and I just made a decision that, okay, I don’t have to keep on doing the things which is just.
expected out of me just because I’m a physician.
Daniel Wrenne: Was there any guilt around that leaving medicine? There was a lot
Dr. Mamta Kumar: of guilt around that. Like throughout the pandemic, when I quit clinical medicine, the traditional and then integrative, I believe the integrative practice also came around with that guilt. I really think at my core, I didn’t want to do it.
And that’s why I would never market it. And I would keep on doing the real estate gig and it started to give me results. And I’ll do more and more of that. I have multiple life coaches. I’ve had worked with two multiple, yeah, two life coaches. And I think the main issue was this, I don’t know why I love medicine.
I want to continue to do medicine, but when it comes to action taking the, my whole day goes in the real estate, not in. Medicine. And that’s when they introduced this idea. What if you just don’t expect anything out of it? If you’re doing something each day, just keep on taking it that way. And there were a few instances when a lot of my friends who had met in the virtual world after the pandemic, we started to meet face to face and they started to say or notice that it seems like you get very excited when you talk about land investing.
But I don’t notice that excitement in the integrative space, which was something which was eye opening for me, which made me go back and rethink, why is that? Is that even true? And then I realized that, yeah, I mean, I do really feel a lot more passionate about plan investing now. That integrative medicine, and that was eye opening for me.
Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. We see that a lot in our, the families that we work with. So, I can’t remember how much we talked about it, but my day job, we work with families, physician families and their, with their finances, and you know how finances, like, you get into everything. But like, you can see, it’s hard sometimes to identify these things yourself.
And so as like the third party that kind of like knows all the stuff, we really oftentimes we’ll see these things where like, man, you just don’t seem very excited about this thing. Or like, you get really excited about when you talk about this kind of thing. That’s always such a great indicator of which direction you should go.
It’s also like an indicator of burnout. And like, if you’re just dreading something, it’s scary how many, Families we work with that are just like dreading their work. And that is like, that’s no good. Like, I don’t want my physician to dread their work. Like, that’s scary and on multiple levels. But then when you’re excited, that’s like where you get the passion and you can really knock it out of the park.
But like you have to. I don’t know what it is. I guess you have to be willing to, because it’s really, like I said, hard. It sounds like with you, you didn’t quite self diagnose that exactly.
Dr. Mamta Kumar: No, I didn’t. But one other thing you write, like, you know, on the same pod when I decided, like in February, no, January, I was like, you know what, let me look at some PRN job opportunities.
And I was working at the hospital. It was before that meant my shifts were going to be 12 hour shifts. And then I started to interview at some places and then I started to imagine how it would feel to wake up at five o’clock, get ready and leave at six o’clock and then be at work all day and come back at around seven 30.
Gosh, I couldn’t just digest that. I was like, I don’t want to be in that situation. I just don’t want that. Like, I really don’t like that. So coming from both places, when other people started telling me, Hey, you seem to get too excited when you talk about land investing. And I realized that I’m not too excited about these PRN opportunities at all.
And that’s what, it was just kind of so clear. I was like, you know, even though I have worked so hard for medicine, but it’s just so clear as day and night that I do not even though I love that clinical part of the patient and doctor relationship, but again, you know, it’s just no way possible other than me practicing on my own terms, which I don’t have time for
Daniel Wrenne: right now.
Yeah, when you have the other thing is when your time you mentioned earlier. Like, your time is so scarce. It’s almost compounds it, I think, when the time is limited. To be able to self diagnose things, on top of the fact that you don’t even have any time to, like, look for opportunities or whatever. It makes you almost more stuck when you’re So that’s the challenge, is like, you get in these hospi You were in hosp hospitals, right?
That was my last job. Yeah, so that’s like, all in, and then you got nothing, nothing left in the tank when you get home. So it’s like, how do you sh make a big shift? If it’s burning you out, when you got no, when you have no gas left in the tank, did you, you had some outside things that prompted you to kind of make that shift or you were able to kind of take some part time gigs and that kind of thing?
Is that, was your shift a little bit slower? It was
Dr. Mamta Kumar: very slow, as slow as I could. Because I definitely wanted to give myself enough time to think so between jobs had taken some time off. I was a nighttime nocturnist before then hospitalist, even though I was part time. So I have to, I know for physicians, when anybody is working full time all the time, they don’t have time at all.
But since I had taken breaks in between jobs, I was taking part time jobs. So I had like one week of like. A lot of work, 80 plus hours of work, but three weeks were off. It did have a little bit of time, way more than compared to anyone else would have to kind of ponder and go through that and create a plan, which worked for me and my needs and our family.
It was very personalized thing. I don’t think anybody talks about like. It’s very hard to kind of have these kind of conversations of pivoting, especially in the physician world, because, you know, it’s just so hard to get into. And even that part, nobody entertains to leave or have life on your terms, like nobody entertains that part for long enough.
Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, it’s like you don’t have anybody to talk to, and it’s difficult to figure out yourself when you’re just talking to yourself or googling online or whatever. So who did you talk to about it? Who were some of the people that you were able to talk to? Because I mean, like, I can imagine, you know, your spouse or close friends, but like, the challenge there is like, maybe they don’t have the expertise exactly, or like, Your certain relationships are kind of like you’re yes, people like they just try to build you up.
Dr. Mamta Kumar: So it was very slow transition. And I was just being open to the idea that I could be somebody who is not practicing traditional medicine in the virtual world, just being an inter physician entrepreneur. And I really think not necessarily Talking to somebody, but seeing different role models during this pandemic when we were not able to meet in person, but there were multiple virtual groups out there where I could see and then connect virtually with a lot of other physician entrepreneurs who were not necessarily leaving the medicine per se right away, but we’re starting the side gigs.
We’re being more successful. We’re able to cut down their hours at the clinical role. I really think that was something which made it. possible for me to even think that that’s a possibility for me. And after seeing that, I was just kind of open to that idea. It took a long time to kind of think that, Oh, okay.
It’s good for them. Like they were able to do it. Like it’s not going to be possible for me. But after just seeing different examples again and again in different arena, even though nobody was in land investing, but other kinds of investment, even non investing other things. So I was like, you know what, if they can do it, then all I have to do is just persist and continue to practice what I know.
Time is what is going to compound things. And that’s what was kind of motivational for me to kind of, so that I could just
Daniel Wrenne: pursue this. Yeah, it was like a mindset, mindset shift.
Dr. Mamta Kumar: Yes, it was way more than a, yeah, mindset. It was not like a day decision where I decided, Oh, I’m going to be an investor.
Tomorrow. It was a very slow transition, which I could take. It was not an overnight, I wish it was overnight. Right. Then it would have saved me that many years of pain and agony, and then not knowing what should I do, should I even leave medicine, but why, these kind of things. But I’m glad that I went through that process, and now I feel very comfortable and at ease.
of whatever choices I’ve made in my life.
Daniel Wrenne: Baroom, thanks for joining me on the podcast today. I’m so excited to be on here, Daniel. Yeah, So you’re a practicing radiologist. You’ve been doing that what is it 20 years now?
Dr. Param Baladandapani: it’s 13 years since I’ve been out of training and I worked full time for the first 10 years and then the last three years I’ve been a day a week or less in medicine at this
Daniel Wrenne: point. Gotcha. So yeah, still practicing one day a week as a radiologist and your bigger professional endeavors here lately, you’re getting into real estate and I know you’ve built your own real estate portfolio, but have also started helping others.
With real estate and have built several businesses to kind of support all this. And that’s pretty cool to see all that. And I imagine that there’s a lot of balancing going on. I’m thinking like two kiddos, businesses, practices, medicine, life is a lot to kind of balance. And, but from my view, it looks like you’re doing a great job with all that stuff, and I’m kind of excited to dig into how you’ve gotten to where you are today and how you’ve been able to.
I know there’s never this perfect balance, right? Or maybe you’re this one person that I found that has the perfect balance. But I imagined
Dr. Param Baladandapani: the last person. No, you’re absolutely right, Daniel. So it wasn’t the plan, right? This wasn’t the intended direction. I, when I got out of training, I got these amazing jobs as a radiologist.
You know, I’m a high, high income earner. It was the definition of success that it had. For years where I had the million dollar house, I had the 12 weeks vacation negotiated and everything was going good, you know, traditional, what you, how you anticipate things to be. And I realized along the way, before you have kids, it’s, it’s very different.
But as you know, you have the first child and it’s still manageable. And then you have the second child and you realize you definitely need way more time if you really want to be intentional about being present for them. And that’s when I think I started to realize that I had a. Lack of autonomy. I didn’t have absolute control over my time.
Right. So I definitely wanted to spend more time with the kids, but oftentimes they were spending the day with the nanny or in daycare. And so it was something I was getting used to. And I always say status quo is okay. If it’s not super painful. So it wasn’t super painful. It wasn’t to the point where a change needed to be made.
And so I was just cruising along till there was a rough transition at work where. That’s when I realized that things couldn’t continue the way they were. And that’s when I had to pivot and pivoting for me was about accelerating my real estate journey. That’s when I really understood the impact that that would have.
And then when I got to financial freedom, that’s when I was able to cut back. So that’s a little bit about of the backstory in terms of how it worked
Daniel Wrenne: out for me. What were some of the reasons, like, if we could go all the way back to, I don’t know, like, right before medical school? I guess that’s kind of when you make that decision to go into the career, or maybe, maybe it was sooner for you, but, like, what were your main reasons, maybe two part question, like, at what age did you decide you were going to go into medicine, and then at that point in time, like, what were the reasons you decided to do that?
Dr. Param Baladandapani: Well, so funnily, you know, I’m Indian and my parents knew when I was born that they wanted me to become a physician. So growing up, I just knew that I really early, like at three, I knew I was going to become a physician. So it’s always been a part of my identity and looking back, I mean, you know, especially since I’ve cut back on medicine, a big part of my transition has been.
Really being introspecting, there’s nothing else I would rather have done. Right. So as, as a career is something that I spent so many years training to be, I just don’t see myself doing anything other than medicine. It’s just that the medicine was very different from the job that I had was more limiting.
Medicine is very fulfilling. I still feel that way about it. I think that the aspects of the job was. Those were the things that I wanted to see the change in, but medicine per se, radiology, the diagnostic aspect, being procedural, I’m a breast imager, all of that was very, very fulfilling and satisfying.
But the job was very different from how I wanted to practice
Daniel Wrenne: medicine. Yeah, I have heard that like a zillion times. Unfortunately, this whole idea that most physicians I interact with seem to have got into medicine for the right reasons and have this vision of how they would ideally want it. Take care of patients and do healthcare, but there’s this, that vision.
And then you look at the actual reality of how they’re doing it. And it’s completely different. And that seems to have, I mean, it seems to be a big part of all this stress that exists with the profession. Cause when you know the right way to do something and you’re kind of like forced to do it a different way, that’s like incredibly frustrating for some people, some people have different tolerances for that, for me personally.
Like I have very, very low tolerance for that. I’m like, I got to get out immediately. Cause it’s, it’s extremely frustrating, but has that been your experience? Is that like,
Dr. Param Baladandapani: yeah, you’re absolutely right. Daniel. So there are a few components to it, right? Burnout is definitely a huge component and burnout can be because the workload, what you’re expecting to your expectations at work, that there’s a mismatch over there, right?
That’s not what you want to do. That’s not what you have capacity to do. And those expectations aren’t resetting. Burnout could be because, and I’ve seen this with physician friends who are sometimes commuting. Four hours a day to get to a job that they like, but then it’s taking away so much from quality of work.
I remember during the pandemic, you know, right after that rough career transition, you know, where it was a six month period, I didn’t have autonomy. I realized that if I didn’t get back into another job, you know, I wasn’t financially secure at that point. So you have that, all of that transition. But right after that, when I got settled in and I had another job lined up and I was settling in.
There, the pandemic happened and a lot of physicians experienced burnout during the pandemic because suddenly, you know, workload shifted the way we were practicing medicine had to shift and pivot and all physicians listening to this will understand. It was a time of huge transition. I went through that transition and fortunately enough as a radiologist, and I think many of us were able to work part time from home, but being at home with the kids, being at home, and then suddenly, you know, shifting in terms of what your workload used to be and what you’re expected to read and a shift in that workload.
Also, all of those things. actually contributed to burnout for me. I remember there were days where I wanted the next day to be better. So I would stay up late at night after the kids went to bed to catch up on additional cases so that I would ensure that the next day was better. But in the process I was burning out, right?
There’s so many reasons why. You know how your job in medicine actually contributes to burnout. And then there are two aspects to that. A lot of that is also your ability to set boundaries and to adapt to the situation. The big part of it, like you said, if you’re not the kind of person and many of us are in situations where we aren’t thriving in medicine.
The ability to make a shift, right? That ability, the shift could just be staying there and really defining your boundaries, negotiating better. But if you want to get into a better situation, a lot of physicians are in a position where they’re able to make that shift. And that’s where I think financial freedom comes in.
That’s where whatever you’re doing, right. Everything that you talk about, financial planning, all of that contributes to your ability to make that pivot if you need to. Yeah, we
Daniel Wrenne: always say using finance or your money as a tool is the key. Like it’s not the money in itself. Like money doesn’t act like having a million dollars or a billion or whatever that does nothing in itself.
Like, yes, it’s how you use it is the question mark as a tool. I’m curious about some of the big decisions along the way, like maybe before you shifted out like. starting in practice, selecting a practice, selecting a specialty, even like before you were kind of into real estate, maybe how did finances play into into some of these big career decisions?
Or did they, to some
Dr. Param Baladandapani: extent, they did, I wouldn’t say finances per se, I would say more lifestyle, because I did decide to go into radiology, which is one of the lifestyle subspecialties in medicine, I did decide Um, to pick breast imaging, which again, um, is, is a better lifestyle choice because oftentimes you’re, you have the ability to say, I don’t want to do weekends.
I don’t want to work overnight. So you do have that ability. I think that was an intentional choice. It’s also something that I was really good at and that helped, but I think looking back, having that time for my family and being able to balance it, like you said, now, how do you balance it? How are you supposed to balance it?
If you are one person and you are full time in multiple things, right? So it’s not possible. And so if you don’t have that freedom of time, then everything else falls apart. So I think I’ve been very intentional from the beginning about the choices I made, but even with those choices, I realized that I wasn’t really where I needed to be and, you know, people ask me all the time, how did you pivot from medicine to real estate?
I don’t think that’s what happened. And I think this is the core of what you speak to also, Daniel, when you’re making money, you know, as a physician, as any kind of professional, anyone who’s making money, you need to be investing it. Cause if you aren’t investing it, then you’re constantly trading your time for money, but you want your money to be making money for you.
And for me, real estate was just that bagel. It was just a bagel I chose. To really make my money work harder for me, essentially, that’s essentially it. And, and the rest of it was just a passion project. It started off as, okay, I want to talk about this because you know, this Daniel, I’ve listened to your podcast and the topics you pick, right?
These are such important topics. A lot of us struggle with this, but there’s never a. space to talk about it. No one’s really at the workplace. You’re not talking about it. You, you interact with friends. Oftentimes people are very tight lipped about finances, but all of our struggles are so similar. When I got to the point, I realized that, well, I could have done this 10 years ago if I, if someone had walked me through this whole process.
And so it was just a question of talking to people about, Hey, what are you doing with your money? How are you investing it? Because if we’re not intentional about it, we’re going to land up somewhere where we don’t want to be.
Daniel Wrenne: Do you think financial literacy is a Was a big
Dr. Param Baladandapani: part of it. So I don’t think there’s ever a focus on financial literacy, right?
So right now, listening to your podcast, there are so many people talking about it. I think 2010, when I came out of fellowship, I think it was a different world back there. I don’t think there were so many people talking about all of this. I don’t think it was part of our curriculum in school. It’s not something we talked about as a family, especially if you’re a physician.
The understanding is that your income in medicine is your financial security, which is completely not true because that job is not in your control. And therefore that income is not on your control. And you’re creating a time for money, right? If you don’t put the time in, you’re not getting the money. So financial literacy is important, but there really isn’t a focus on it in school, in families, in our circles.
And so I had mentors who taught me what they knew, which kind of got me started. So 2014, I got my first rental. I got a couple of rentals along the way, but I didn’t really know what I was doing with them entirely. Right. I was. Somewhat financial literate and people taught me what they knew, but there was so much more to learn.
And as soon as I learned that I was able to pivot. So financial literacy is absolutely imperative. I mean, for anyone, right. But there aren’t really conversations about it. And I would say 15 years ago, the resources weren’t there. I think it’s easier now if you want to go in and read blogs and understand, but that’s where having someone assist you with the planning, or maybe I think mentoring and coaching in that space is so helpful because just.
Listening to things here and there. It’s kind of hard to have a, you know, a systemized road map, right? So if you have someone who can actually look at things holistically and help you build that road map, I think that’s really important.
Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, I know you’re probably experiencing well, you’ve experienced it on both ends.
You were saying like you had a mentor and I imagine we haven’t talked about this yet, but I imagine you’ve kind of experienced it on the other end of being the mentor, helping someone kind of learn or make a plan or whatever. I’ve experienced that working with families. It’s like the light bulb goes off or it’s like connecting financial literacy to like.
Your ability to enjoy time with family or like, you know, there’s a lot of different ways this kind of plays out. But like, one thing I have noticed is similarity to a lot of these people like you that have had success here is that there’s some component of another person that helped them kind of like get over the hurdle.
In other words. It’s really difficult or maybe impossible to go at it
Dr. Param Baladandapani: alone. I think so, Daniel. I mean, I remember one of my colleagues at my first job out of fellowship. He was a third generation real estate investor and he kind of got me started. He connected me to his team. He told me how to invest in the stock market.
He told me what to do with real estate. And I think if he hadn’t really guided me and I would teach him breast tomorrow, which was something he was learning on the go, he hadn’t actually trained to do it. And so he taught me how to invest in the stock market and real estate. And I, I don’t think I’d be here.
If I hadn’t had the perspective shift that I had because of interacting with him. Right. And so that’s what oftentimes, and you understand this, right? What we’re doing is we’re just presenting people with multiple different options. So they have different perspectives to pick from. So, and they’re more intentional about what matters to them.
And it’s not a one size fits all, but really being able to see what your options are is really important. And I think having someone who kind of shifted that perspective for me and got me started. If I hadn’t started, if I hadn’t seen the impact of that 150, 000 property had over six years. I would never have taken the step to really accelerate when I did.
Right. And so I think it’s really important at having those people at the right time, the earlier, the better, because then you have the compounding effect of
Daniel Wrenne: time. Yeah. And so you originally started out, you had, you were doing the real estate while also practicing medicine full time. Right. So I
Dr. Param Baladandapani: was, and so the, funnily, and I say this all the time, it’s like when I didn’t have kids and I had all the income and all the time in the world, and I was in academic medicine, I didn’t realize the impact of real estate investing, right?
So I, I bought this, my first rental property. It was putting 500 bucks in my pocket every month. And I thought, well, how is this ever going to get me to 10, 000, 20, 000. Right. So I was like, okay, well, this doesn’t make sense. I put it on the back burner and then I purchased something without leverage. So again, doing things, not really doing them the right way, I would say, looking back, but I at least
Daniel Wrenne: got started.
Was your first turnkey, like a outsourced, like you had a manager and the whole thing. Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Param Baladandapani: And so my mentor would invest out of state with a property manager. He’d never laid eyes on his properties. And so that gave me the perspective that I could do that. And I was living in California. I wasn’t sure if we were going to settle down here.
So I started investing in Texas. Um, right. And I didn’t have any barriers around that because I saw him do that successfully. But I would say even then I didn’t realize the impact, but then looking back in 2019, like I said, status quo is fine. You know, as long as everything you’re sealing, it’s okay. But when I had that crash, that’s when I looked around and I was like, okay, so what’s my stock portfolio looking like?
What does real estate look like? And then I saw that with a third of my money in real estate. I was getting twice as much in passive income, because at that point, I was thinking, what about passive income, right? So what if I don’t go to work tomorrow? What happens to my family? And that was like the light bulb moment for me, like, so six times the passive income.
Why is that? And then that’s when I learned about the 4 percent safe withdrawal rate. And I was like, wow, I need to have two and a half million in my retirement accounts if I want to pull out 100, 000. But real estate, it was like, you know, a fraction of that invested in real estate. Even doing what I was doing, which was just buying them trunky, keeping them super passive, and having someone manage it, I could get to that point so much faster.
But then along the way, I learned so many other strategies, you know, for high income professionals, we’re paying multiple six figures in taxes. There are ways that, depending on what you invest in, right, short term rentals, you may be able to, some of our members shelter a half a million dollars of income from taxes just.
By virtue of investing, um, in short term rental. So, so many different ways to do it. That’s when I accelerated, but yes, when I was doing that, I was still working full time, uh, and I had, that was during the pandemic, right? So the kids were home, I’m working full time, uh, and I was still able to get to financial freedom within a year.
My plan was a three year plan. I got it within a year just because of getting more literate in terms of, okay, what is this and what can I do and how can I accelerate? So I say I did it. When I was working full time and I had two kids during the pandemic, I didn’t really do it when I had all the time in the world and, you know, didn’t have kids.
So a lot of that has to do with the fact that, you know, when your mindset shifts, that’s when you’re able to do it. When you see those, have those different perspectives, when you have the knowledge in terms of what you can do with it.

Daniel Wrenne: Ronnie, welcome to the podcast. Thank you.
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: I’m so excited to be here. Yeah.
Daniel Wrenne: I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but it feels like there’s. A lot of interests in the physician circles in real estate. Have you kind of felt that or maybe a growing interest or greater interest, or is it always been this way that there’s been an interest? I think over the last
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: three years, there’s definitely been an increase.
And I think it has a lot to do with physicians always thinking that they had, yes, we’re treated terribly and there’s no respect anymore and our salaries keep going down and reimbursement is down and administrators are telling us what to do. But we always had a sense of job security and COVID proved that wrong.
COVID proved that physicians, even during a pandemic, can be let go. Their hours can be cut, their salaries cut, they can be told you have to go in to see this patient that has an incredibly infectious disease. And you might die, but you have to go in because you have to get paid. And so they started thinking like, Oh my God.
Okay, well, what if I don’t want to do this? What are my options? I’m tied to this job. What happens if I get really, really sick? What am I going to do for income? And I think that it was just kind of a wake up call and it’s not limited to just physicians. There’s the great resignation now. Like. People are leaving corporate jobs and it’s not limited to that, but there was a big awakening during and after
Daniel Wrenne: COVID.
Yeah. I feel like you could call it physician burnout or moral injury or whatever frustrations with your career, or there’s this like increased desire to, and people even say it this way to get gain freedom. Freedom is like a big kind of buzzword. Physicians are looking for like freedom or alternatives.
And typically what I see coming up is real top. Of the list solutions, real estate’s usually on it, but it’s like side gigs, real estate, or I’m going to retire early, right. Or maybe a career shift of some sort, which kind of, there’s a lot of overlap on those things, but it seems like all that’s interrelated.
It sounds like you’re on the same page with that. And that’s my first thought is like, so freedom. I think is a key word, like, and my thought is like, what are you needing to get freedom
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: from? Yeah, that’s a great question. And it depends. It’s a personal question, right? Every person has their own idea of what freedom is.
Is it freedom of their time? Is it freedom to travel? Is it freedom to practice medicine? How they choose to practice medicine? Freedom from financial worries? I mean, there’s so many ways to look at freedom. And it’s a personal definition, I guess. I
Daniel Wrenne: think though, it seems like a lot of physicians in training kind of like feel like going into practice is freedom.
Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, on the, on the back end, they usually don’t say it that way. They’re like, no, no, no, no, it’s not freedom.
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: Oh yeah, I mean, for sure. Like residency is almost like military. There’s an intern and then it’s a second year resident, third year resident, chief resident, fellow, attending.
You’re constantly being told what to do. And what you chose to do is wrong or not wrong or right. There’s no freedom. Your, your schedule is given to you. You’re told when you go to work, when you come home, uh, if you come home, because most of the time you’re sleeping in the hospital and you’re doing call.
And so there’s, when you’re done with that, people are like, yay, I’m free. And then they hit the real world when it’s got its own shackles.
Daniel Wrenne: Yeah, I think a lot of times that’s what we’re after is like getting free from the shackles. I mean, the opposite of freedom I think of is like slavery. Now, I know physicians are not slaves necessarily, but I mean, you can be a slave and be compensated.
That doesn’t have to be intertwined, but freedom is a, I think a high priority for a lot of people and they don’t feel that in healthcare today. I feel like healthcare is kind of like squeezing the freedom out of people. It’s like taking away. Your freedom, especially when you sign like a really, really long non compete or you overcommit on your finances and you’re really locked into working or you’re in just especially high pressure job.
Or like I was, we were talking about the videos. What was his name? Dr. Glocken, Glockenflicken. Lock and flicking. I had to bring that up because Ronnie recommended it. And if you haven’t seen his videos, they’re hilarious, but he has all kinds of videos about stereotypes with different physicians, but he also has some about like problems and healthcare and insurance and distress and all that kind of thing.
And they’re real. Things, and a lot of times driving you to want to get out of medicine. But was that, so do you feel like that is what really was the underpinning to why you got into real estate? Were you seeking that freedom? Yeah. So,
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: I mean, I was really a victim of the golden handcuffs. I was making a ton of money, but my time was directly related to my income.
So if I wasn’t working, I wasn’t making money. I wasn’t making money unless I was in the hospital taking care of patients. Doing what I need to do. So one day my husband’s like, yeah, you’re an hourly worker. I mean, I knew it was an hourly worker, but he’s like, well, you’re a high paid hourly worker, but you’re, you’re just an hourly worker.
And cause I would come home from these shifts, exhausted physically, mentally, and say to myself, well, what else am I supposed to be doing? Like, I don’t know how to make this type of money anywhere else. Like we’re not taught anything else. Like I, I went into a profession that I was taught a trade. I was taught how to do it.
I spent years and years and then I was deep into my career and I was making a lot of money, which I thought would make me happy and it didn’t. And so I tried to cut some shifts, right. Or take more vacations or, but every time you take a vacation as an emergency room doctor, you’re required to do a certain amount of shifts per month.
So if I was taking a vacation, that means I would be front loaded. Before and then backloaded after my vacation. So I would get killed before the vacation, take the vacation, takes me like four days to recover. And then you’re in the vacation and you blink the vacations over. And then you’re working like crazy just to make up for the time that you weren’t working.
That was what I did for 16 years. It was like, well, there isn’t any other option. And that’s why we started looking around like, well, how do other people not do this? How do other people make money? Because making money can’t be that hard. And really with this journey that I’ve been through, I realized that my mindset has switched from scarcity to abundance and it’s actually easy to make money if you know where to look and what to do and how to do it.
So really. The first switch is mindset and the second switch is education.
Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. So more money did not make you happy. I think that’s important to reemphasize. When you started, I don’t know, earlier in your career, did you think more money was going to make you
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: happy? I just thought if I was going to make a ton of money, I could work less.
For the same amount of money. So I kept saying like, okay, now I’m working 17, 18 shifts a month. So when I make partner in my group and I’ll make more money, I’ll be able to go down to 12 for sure. I’ll be able to last many, many years to do that. Well, I went down to 12. And I was still just as miserable. So then I went down to 10.
I was like, I’ll just make less money. But then I couldn’t go down any lower. We had to pay our bills to me. It was, it was just the stress of everything that I just felt. I mean, I was in the, you know, in the emergency. You’re told you’re it’s like a thankless job. Really? You’re the patients are angry.
You’re, you’re really helping them on their worst day. So you’re not getting the best side of them. It’s a high stress. The consultants are angry with you. There’s a high, it’s like a fishbowl mentality. Everybody’s coming in and telling you, why’d you do this? Why’d you do that? You’re fighting with everybody to get patients admitted or discharged or.
Go to surgery. You’re constantly just trying to take care of the patient and every interaction is possible when a Hey, when it goes smooth. It’s amazing. You’re like, Oh my God, I love my job. But the reality of emergency medicine is You’re constantly trying to convince someone of what you’re seeing. So if I had a patient that had severe abdominal pain and the CT scan didn’t show what I thought it would show, but this patient looks terrible and something’s wrong with them and they need to go for exploratory laparotomy.
I would have to convince the surgeon to do that. They weren’t in house. So I would have to give the clinical picture. I would have to say like, something’s going on. Like, I can’t just send this patient home. Something’s wrong. I don’t know what it is, but something’s wrong and that’s just one example. We could see 50 patients a day.
Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. Was there like a breaking point for you? Like, did you have a moment in time where you’re like, Oh my, I, or did it kind of like get slowly worse to where you’re like, I need to, I
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: had, I had some major like breaking points. But I kept pushing through, I had a shift really early in my career, two years into being an attending, where I had two pediatric deaths in one day, in one shift.
It was like, I, I, it was awful. Plus you see the other 40 patients. So after that shift, I said, Oh my God, how do people do this for 30 years? Like, what if I have tomorrow another shift like this? Right. So, but then I continued, I said, Oh, well, let me try it. Maybe it’s the environment. Maybe it’s the clinical setting.
Maybe I need to be less urban and more suburban. So I switched around in different clinical scenarios. Uh, went to a freestanding emergency room, kind of work where you do. It’s kind of very low volume, less stress. But it’s very long shifts. It could be a 24 hour shift that you’re working. But I also worked shorter shifts that were very, very high intensity where I could be taking care of three or four dying patients at the same time.
So you realize where you’re like, at some point it starts weighing, it’s like, it starts just weighing on you and weighing on you and weighing on you. And really my final end was in COVID. I saw no ends. It was nine months into COVID. There was no end in sight. It was just. I was like, this isn’t going to end anytime soon.
I can’t do this anymore. Like I’m in a respirator. People are just dying everywhere. There’s just bad patient care, bad healthcare. I was at risk. My family was at risk. And I said, that’s it. And that’s when I stepped away from medicine. Yeah,
Daniel Wrenne: that’s hard. Both are different. Those are two kind of different flavors of challenges, like, all of it’s hard, but dealing with a death, I don’t care who it is, like, the pediatric death, to me, sounds just super challenging or stressful, or that’s not the right word, terrible to go through, but first thing I think of is, like, therapy and, like, resources and, like, the worst thing to do is to, like, bury it, I would think.
I’m not an expert at that kind of thing, but I’m curious if they were, like, Resources in the system you’re in that were like, Oh, it’s been a terrible day. Like, here’s some, like somebody to go talk to you. You should probably have like an unwinding session. Yeah,
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: we did not have it at that facility. When I moved, that was in New York.
When I moved to Texas, that was the first time that I had heard of those types of sessions where you just kind of talk about what happened because, I mean, we had obviously more, more pediatric deaths and so those do happen, but, you know, It’s just assumed that the physician, we’re supposed to just like bottle it back up and go see the ankle sprain that’s still waiting to be seen.
You know, after you deal with that, you have to, and then you still have to walk into that room and say, Hi, how are you? What brings you in today? After. What you just did, right? You just tried to resuscitate a child and you had to tell the family and you had to talk to the police and you had to, I mean, there’s just like so many levels.
And then there’s people that are still waiting to be seen and they don’t know what’s going on. I’m just, you know, I don’t need to tell them, but whatever it is, there’s just so many levels in the emergency room. You know, every patient that gets discharged from the emergency room gets a prescani survey.
Do you know, have you ever heard of that? No. How was your treatment? Did your doctor pay attention to you? How patient was your doctor? Did they smile? Did they greet you? Did they sit down? Did they shake your hand? So those, the ankle sprain is the one that gets those surveys and our salaries are tied to those surveys.
Not the people that we spend hours with trying to save their lives. So like the whole system is just very broken. I could go on and on for hours about how broken it is. So I don’t want to depress you.
Daniel Wrenne: Well, I’ve, if, if I have had many, many conversations about the problems within healthcare, and if you’ve listened for a while, if you’re listening, you’ve heard many conversations about a lot of the problems, it is good to talk about them and understand them and start to work towards solutions.
But I’m shifting towards more of the bright side. Like let’s pretend like things had been better. Like I imagine you had some kind of like roses and sunshine view of how things were going to shake out in medicine. Or like hypothetically, if you were to have gone into practice and things had not been so stressful and it would have been like you could have provided the care that you had always thought was the right way to do things and all these stressors hadn’t occurred.
Do you think things would have played out the same? Would you have stayed in? Yes.
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: Practice. I would have stayed in. I would have stayed in and I would have stayed in my little bubble of this is how you do it. You save money, you pay off your house, you put money in a 401k, and you should be fine. Right? I have till I’m 65 to make sure I’m fine.
The job’s not going anywhere. I like it. There, you know, I have, I’m highly skilled. Right. I enjoyed it. Initially I went into emergency medicine because you have the flexibility. No one’s calling you and you’re never on call. You don’t have a pager. So, you know, when you’re off, you’re off. So I was planning on traveling and taking up hobbies and doing all kinds of things on the days off.
Daniel Wrenne: interesting. As a patient, I am a little uneasy about that statement because I’m like, I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot of people say that. And then usually it’s like the smarter people that I know, or they’re like successful people that kind of have a lot of good things going. And it’s frustrating that those you and those others are leaving healthcare and therefore are not able to be my physician selfishly or my kiddo’s physician.
But I also I also get it like that, so I assume there’s probably a little bit of like guilt feeling in the back of your, or maybe there was at some point where you’re like, and then I could imagine that would make it even a little harder to, I’m sure people feel that, not to say that that’s a reason not to.
I’m guessing that was a factor as well.
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: I’ll tell you, first of all, I am very scared of when I’m older, who will take care of me? Who’s going to be in the emergency room? Who’s going to be in the hospitals? It’s not going to be physicians. There’s going to be nurse practitioners. There’s going to be PAs, the physicians.
I don’t know who’s the supervising doctor going to be. I, there’s going to be a massive, there’s already a shortage of doctors, but it is going to be really, really bad unless we find some AI. That takes over, but it’s going to be awful. Do I have guilt about leaving? No, I took care of so many people and I’ve saved so many lives and I was amazing.
And I put my heart and soul into it. I don’t feel guilty about completing that chapter in my life. And now I help people in another way before I help them in their life emergencies, with their wellness, with their health. Now I’m doing it with their wealth. I’m helping them with their finances. I’m giving them options that they’ve never learned about.
And they’re just as scared. They’re just as scared with finances as they are in the emergency room. People are fear what they don’t know. People fear that what they don’t have control over. So I feel like I’m still helping people and I’m still making an impact. And I’m never going to stop that.
Daniel Wrenne: Yeah. And I think a lot of people, that’s, that’s good that you were able to get to that point.
I think a lot of people stay in a painful situation because of the guilt and that’s like unhealthy in itself. And then they forget about that whole, like they’ve served patients for years and years and years. And it’s a huge deal that in itself. And at some point, the other thing too, so the brighter view, or at least my brighter view of that problem, I just pointed out, like, I think the more people that leave, like you have, are they.
Like call somebody out or like do something about it, the more somebody’s going to wake up or more likely somebody’s going to wake up or do something different. So this is a good thing. Like, you can’t just like go with the status quo and like give into the guilt because that doesn’t do anything about the problem.
It really actually compounds it. And so. Hopefully, things start to change. I think they are starting to change and it’s a slow progression. But, but yeah, in real estate too, you can help people in that regard. You can help people in a million different ways. And I think most physicians got into practice to help people for the right reasons.
But you don’t, like you’re saying. You can help people with their finances and gaining freedom from whatever it might be to them. Was that like a huge transition? I feel like some people are intimidated by that, or I see that in people, the idea of going from medicine to financial. Well,
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: if you just say, I never said I’m going to wake up and I’m going to be a finance expert.
I’m going to learn private equity. I, if you would have asked me that five years ago, I would have been like, what does private equity mean? It’s been a journey and the only thing that would have forced me to get there is I had to be forced. I had to have hated my life, hated my current situation enough for me to look for alternatives.
And believe me, I looked for so many. I was looking to start a yogurt franchise or Chick fil A or start a car wash. My husband and I, we started two CrossFit gyms. I was part of two freestanding emergency rooms. So I did start doing a lot of this. I was very business oriented without knowing I was business oriented, even in 2015, where I opened two freestanding emergency rooms with several other physicians and we were running our own business.
But again, it was healthcare related and a lot of the same problems that I was seeing in healthcare made me just say, you know what, I want to learn more about this other world. Um, and so it wasn’t really a, I went from here to here. So it scared me.
Daniel Wrenne: You were getting into entrepreneurship within healthcare already.
So therefore, I mean, there’s a ton of carry over. I mean, like entrepreneurship in healthcare is very similar to entrepreneurship in anything. I mean, entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship and you have to know. finances or have some level of financial literacy, in my opinion, to be in business, or at least it forces you to focus on that a little bit more than, I mean, in healthcare, you can kind of not pay attention to the economics and the financial aspects.
And so you were already in that. So why didn’t you have a million CrossFit gyms? What about like the freestanding ERs and the I guess you already mentioned that, like the issue with those is it was kind of pulling you back into the healthcare related issues, but I’m curious about the
Dr. Ronnie Shalev: other. I still own them.
I still own my freestanding ERs, but you know, they’re, they have their own issues where government’s not, there’s all kinds of healthcare reform regarding reimbursement and insurance declining, freestanding emergency rooms and not paying bills and so there’s their own like healthcare related issues.
Regarding that business. So to me right now, I’m staying away from healthcare related businesses. It’s just so highly, highly, highly just scrutinized, regulated. And I don’t invest in hospitals. I don’t invest in even healthcare related real estate. I just, I’m just avoiding that whole sector in terms of the CrossFit gyms.
COVID killed the gym business. People we had to shut down so those businesses really dwindled because We had to turn away our clients and then we had to rebuild everything back. I mean, it was not fun. So even though we thought like, Hey, you know, we got some diversification and entrepreneurial businesses.
It really wasn’t enough diversification, but really, and it was enough for me to say, we have enough money coming in for me to leave medicine. We had diversified into real estate that that sector had still continued to provide that I was able to say, okay, I’m leaving medicine and then we’ll figure the rest out.