Doctors need to care about money. Not only because we deserve it, but it also helps provide a roof over our heads and keeps our bellies full. Those who say that money doesn’t buy you happiness are misled or lying.
Being Poor is no fun.
One could say that all college students are impoverished, but that is simply NOT TRUE. There are plenty of wealthy kids in college, especially elite private colleges. I was by no means poor in college, but felt like I was financially disadvantaged being surrounded by kids with huge bank accounts who could go to parties and enjoy expensive meals every weekend (I had no bank account). There were a lot of wealthy college kids in the U.S.
In medical school I felt the same way, except that I had borrowed money sitting in my bank account at 6.8% interest. Since my medical school class was smaller than my college class, the concentration of wealth surrounding me seemed magnified. My classmates planned weekend ski trips and international spring break trips. I skipped out on those trips (as did many other people) simply because there was not enough money to go around.
In contrast, the business school students put the medical students to shame—their weekend and holiday excursions consisted of jetting to Europe, South America, and the Pacific. I’m sure that many business students have pre-existing bankrolls to fund their trips, but perhaps they are exercising financial leverage for their future self. Who knows?
Money Solves Problems.
I can recall that money would have solved many of the problems I have faced in my career. If I had more money to order food as a student, perhaps I could have spent more time studying or networking instead of making spaghetti for dinner! If money were not a concern, I would have sprung for a more expensive direct flight for my job interviews instead of taking a more budget friendly multi-layover flight. If I had more income, I would not have had to live in a roach-infested rent-stabilized studio during my residency.
Even as a practicing physician making a comfortable low six figure income, I would say that having more cash reserve attached to my name would give my family a larger buffer of reassurance. You never know when you might lose your job, get injured, or suddenly have large expenses.
Use The Power of Money As A Goal
Just because you understand that money buys you happiness doesn’t make you a greedy pig. You can use its allure to drive your success as a doctor. Make yourself rich doctor. Once you reach your goal, use your experience to guide others in your field, care for your patients, and make the world a better place. After all, isn’t that why you went into medicine?
(Photo courtesy of Nick Ares, Flickr)