This article serves as the beginning of a series on growing your net worth without having to increase your income.
- Do not have more house than you really need
- Save on Groceries and Control Your Restaurant Expenses
- Maintain your professional clothing yourself
- Analyze fixed costs and destroy them – utilities, phone bill
While you are building your medical practice and getting out of debt, your net income from your job may not rise. It takes years to acquire patients and vest into a practice. You may be in a permanently employed position where your salary may never increase. As insurance reimbursements tighten, you income as a physician may actually decrease!
All isn’t lost, however. You can still grow your net worth during these times. Invoke the strategies that you used during residency to survive. One foundation for growing your net worth is to control your costs. The lessons you learn from cutting costs help regardless of income. As you rise from poverty to upper middle class, the same principles apply.
The toughest aspect of each step of income transition for a doctor is that the time and effort we’ve invested in our training and education revolves around delayed gratification. Now that I’m making $43,000 while working 77 hours a week, can I afford Loubs? Do I go for the jumbo mortgage McMansion now that I am an attending? These are real questions that doctors go through. Practicality often comes in second to idealism.
The problem with doctors is that once we obtain a good income, most of us do not do a great job converting it to net worth. It is also easy to assume that the good income stream doesn’t end either. Unexpected events do occur. Your hospital may cut its staff. Your practice may employ you for two years and then decide to make partnership unattainable. You lose your job, have to relocate your family thousands of miles away, and start over. Without a net worth to buffer life changes, your decade of hard work may become fruitless.
Don’t let this happen to you. Develop a strategy to control your costs while you grow your net worth. Make your money work harder than you. Read on to see what strategies I’ve used to help grow my net worth.
Have you gone through life changes in your physician career? Comment below!