Which Doctors Have True Freedom?

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The outside world looks at the lives of doctors very differently than what doctors view of their own lives.

Outsiders look at the gates guarding the exclusive communities many physicians live in and envy the lives of those living on the other side. They think doctors are financially free – what with the big houses, fancy cars, nice clothes, country club memberships, private school education for their kids, exotic vacations and all.

What many on the outside don’t see is the personal stress, professional pressures, and financial strains doctors suffer through to maintain what the public perceives as a dream life.

What the outside perceives as financial freedom is anything but. It’s no surprise that physicians as a whole are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis – brought about from stress from corners including employers, carriers, patients, and even peers.

Many physicians dream of the day they no longer have to work to sustain their lifestyles – to choose to be a physician and not be obligated to be so.

They dream of having the financial means to not have to work 70-hour weeks, to be on-call 24-7, to see another year of carriers cutting compensation, to not have to worry about their online reviews, etc. They dream of the day of not being beholden to anybody or anything.

I know physicians yearn for something more because, at one time, I was that physician.

These days, I often get asked how I can only work 1 day a week in the clinic. My response usually goes back to the beginning of my career and how none of what I was experiencing was ever my ultimate goal. The money was great but the price wasn’t worth it.

The turning point for me was when I shifted priorities. It was no longer about chasing the buck for me, it was about chasing freedom:

  • Freedom from seeing 40 patients a day at the cost of not being able to visit my girls at school or go to their sporting events.
  • Freedom to be home for dinner (and breakfast and lunch too).
  • Freedom to give back without stressing about time or money.
  • Freedom to swap what I was obligated to do for what I wanted to do on a given day.
  • Freedom to travel wherever and whenever I wanted.
  • Freedom to not care about professional accolades.

I realized early on in my pursuit of freedom that I would never be successful in achieving my goal as long as I continued to trade time for money.

To work long hours just to meet expenses wasn’t going to cut it.

  • I needed to make my money work for me instead of the other way around.
  • I needed additional streams – in fact, multiple streams – of income and it wasn’t about taking on another job or side hustle that was just another trading time for money situation.
  • I needed streams of income I could make in my sleep.

I also came to an early realization that obtaining multiple streams of passive income would not come from playing the market.

I find it ironic that we as physicians are and have always been very deliberate and methodical in everything we’ve done to get to this point. Everything we did was very predictable and planned.

Many of us knew we wanted to be physicians from our days in high school. So we studied hard, got good grades, and juggled extracurricular activities to pad our admissions applications to get into a good undergrad college or university.

We knew that if we wanted to get into a good med school, we’d have to achieve such and such GPA in such and such classes and score such and such a score on the MCAT. And it goes on and on from there – from getting into med school to completing our residencies, passing our board exams, etc.

We as physicians are methodical and thrive on predictability. If that’s the case, then why do so many physicians turn to Wall Street and Wall Street advisors to pursue their financial goals?

Wall Street has become less and less predictable and more and more volatile as new investors flood the equity markets. Most financial planners and advisors can do no better than the market, so why do we entrust our financial fortunes with subpar professionals in completely unpredictable markets?

That is why I turned from Wall Street and gravitated towards the more predictable private markets. Your financial advisor may not be able to say that if they did this and this, then you should be able to see such and such return within a certain timeline. We all know that’s an impossible task in the public markets.

Nobody can predict the stock market consistently.

That’s why I like alternative private investments that offer predictability along with income, growth, and security.

Private equity managers and private investment fund sponsors have a plan and they have a strategy for executing that plan. These professionals are predictable and experts at modeling. They know what their target rates of return are and the steps they’ll need to take, the assets they’ll need to acquire, the personnel they’ll need to hire, and the time it will take to achieve their goals.

Ask yourself which doctors have true freedom and how they achieved it. The answer will inevitably relate to passive income streams generated through private investments.

The physicians with true freedom are the ones who are:

  • Spending time with their families whenever they want.
  • Doing the things they want to do at any time they want.
  • Contributing to their favorite charities and foundations to make the world a better place.
  • Volunteering to coach their kid’s sports teams.
  • Not caring about insurance billing rates.
  • Not worrying about the latest bills.
  • Seeing that part of the world they’d dream of in college.
  • Trying out the latest recipe of their favorite celebrity chef.
  • Etc.

Which doctors have true freedom?

  • The ones who broke away from the norm.
  • The ones who chased their dreams.
  • The ones who stopped trading time for money.
  • The ones who tamed their money and put it to work.
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