You don’t have to become a doctor to get rich

No, this isn't a cave. It's the inside of a septic tank!
No, this isn’t a cave. Hint: it does hold everything that leaves your home’s plumbing!

This post isn’t intended to deter future physicians of the world—the world already has a shortage of healthcare professionals and will continue to see a greater demand for all healthcare workers in the next decade.

This post also isn’t to condemn all of us doctors who entered this career path to make the world a better place. In fact, we can all live a happy and wealthy life as doctors. WCI and PoF are two great guys in the medical field who have publicly documented their trajectory in building a comfortable financial safety net relatively early into their careers. I’m sure that there are thousands of other like-minded doctors out there who are doing the same thing but aren’t as easily found since they don’t have a web footprint.

Those of you who are still building into your careers—medical students, residents, fellows, law students—can start getting prepared to become a rich doctor by riding the wave and getting psyched mentally.


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The background: there are a lot of rich people out there. 

According to a report by Credit Suisse in 2015, there are 15.7 million millionaires in the United States alone. Last I checked, there were only roughly one million doctors (MD’s and DO’s) in the United States. What this means is that among the ranks of millionaires are plenty of other professions: lawyers, businessmen, CEOs, computer programmers, writers, politicians, and both professionals of the like.

Some of the wealthiest people whom I’ve met are everyday guys you would see on the street (On the flip side, I don’t take care of any celebrities or high profile people, so the likelihood that I would run into anyone else is slim!) These multi-millionaires include the general contractor who owns his mega-home inspection business, the professional blinds installer, the septic-tank installer, the concrete manager, the car dealer, and the loan dispersement agent for home mortgages.

Sam from Financial Samurai recently featured a janitor in San Francisco who was able to earn more than $271,000 a year! That’s more than what a starting Hospitalist can earn!

What does all of this have to do with me if I am already a doctor?

We can all learn from others who have succeed before us. My view is that we all inherently have traits that can help us get what we want. What traits do you need in order to be rich? Why, the same ones that got you where you are now!

Motivation. You have to want something badly enough. Most doctors worked relatively hard and long hours to get to where we are right now. That requires motivation, whether internal or external. If you want to be rich badly enough, you should be motivated enough to get there.

Resilience. You will fail. But we can learn from our failures. Figure out what set you back, and what you can do to avoid failing next time. In medicine, setbacks come in the form of patient adverse events, administrative snafus, illness amongst family and ourselves. But we have ways to learn what to do next time and bounce back stronger.  In finance, you will take risks and you will lose money. But we still use these experiences to help make us stronger.

Flexibility. We have to adapt to situations, learn from our mistakes, and keep forging ahead. We cannot be too proud of ourselves, and understand that we are not correct all of the time. You have to ‘own up’ to your mistakes. That is how we learn and improve.

Acknowledgement of your limitations. Just because you are a doctor doesn’t mean that you are the smartest person in the room! It almost has no bearing to you getting rich either, if that is your goal! You do, however, possess unique skills that you can leverage to reach your goals.

What have you done recently with your skills to improve your financial situation?


(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

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7 thoughts on “You don’t have to become a doctor to get rich

  1. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the amount of non-clinical work required is becoming more burdensome as the years go by.

    Good luck with the side hustles! This website also generates no income yet, but perhaps one day it will.

    Does your current job utilize your MBA?

    1. Unfortunately not. I am exploring other career paths at this point but I think it will probably stall until after the holidays. A lot of companies have put a hold on hiring while people are in and out of the office. Hopefully sometime in 2017 I will have a better idea of what I’ll be doing and utilizing some of the skills that I picked up.

      1. Hey, you’ll find a way. Keep hustling and learning. You can’t go wrong there. What line of work are you in right now?

        1. I’m currently an accountant but getting a little burned out from putting together financial statements. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do next but we’ll see.

  2. Interesting post. I agree that, as docs, we already possess traits that can help us become financially successful as well. I would also add “Be a self-learner” as a trait. A lot of times in residency I would have to learn about cases I saw on my own as teaching from attendings can be quite variable. Same with personal finance. We get no exposure to anything finance-related in med school or residency. In that sense we also have to be self-learners when is come to educating ourselves financially. No one’s going to do it for us. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I agree. I would say that there was almost no direct teaching in residency. Sure, we had grand rounds, presentations…etc, but you really had to be proactive to get anything out of our teaching staff. YMMV depending on your training program and field.

      The threshold to learning more really isn’t that high. You just have to carve out some time, ask around, and learn it. Finance actually wouldn’t even be in the top 5 things I would do myself in my free time, but hey, necessity dictates what you should do.

  3. I truly believe the vast majority with a job, who saves and invests will become wealthy by the time they retire. If you don’t want to be rich and would rather play, all is good too. Everything is rational!

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