The Physician Philosopher Podcast
TPP #23: How to Have a Healthy Money Mindset
The psychology behind our relationship with money is so interesting. How we view money can make or break our finances.
It’s so easy to look at money and feel like we’ll never have enough or that we aren’t able to make the money we need to get where we want to go. People can have a negative number in their bank accounts or even a million dollars and they can both have those exact same thoughts.
Did you know our relationship with money is actually all about mindset? If we don’t think we’ll ever have enough money, then we won’t, no matter how big the number in the bank account gets.
Keep listening to learn how you can change that money mindset and learn how to have a healthy relationship with your money!
Today You’ll Learn
- Why your money mindset can change your finances for better or for worse.
- How to escape that negative money mindset (without changing the number in your bank account).
- How to view money as a tool that will get you where you need to be.
- And more!
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It's time to talk about the taboo topic of money. If you don't care about making more money or having healthier thoughts about finances it's time to turn back now. For those of you who want to learn the secret to making more money stay tuned.
This is the Physician Philosopher Podcast. I'm Dr. Jimmy Turner, an anesthesiologist, personal finance blogger, and life coach for doctors. The Physician Philosopher Podcast teaches you how to create the life that you deserve one thought at a time. Start before you're ready. Start by starting. Start now.
Hey, hey, hey, everyone. Welcome to episode number 23 of the Physician Philosopher Podcast where we take an uncurated and unapologetic look into physician life. Before we dive into the show I want to make sure that you are all aware that we're holding four free webinars as part of the Alpha Coaching Experience launch that's coming up in just a couple of weeks. So the webinar is called Physician Burnout, Three Essential Concepts to Freedom. If you are a doctor who feels overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities as a partner, parent, and physician, or you simply don't feel like you have the work-life balance you want in life this webinar is going to equip you with some of the tools that I've seen help a ton of doctors find the balance that they're looking for and to take back the autonomy that they deserve as a doctor.
Also, I recognize that many of you are busy doctors so if you look at the four times and don't think you can make any of them don't sweat it. We'll be sending out a replay to anyone who cannot make the webinar live. What I'm saying is that there's no reason not to sign up for this thing if you're someone who thinks this webinar might be right for you. But I don't also want you to wait because there are a limited number of seats for the webinar based on the platform that we're using so you can sign up for the webinar by visiting the physicianphilosopher.com/webinar, or by clicking the link in the podcast description in the podcast player that you're listening to right now.
All right back to the show. Today's thought is this, our past experiences with money may have determined what we think about money now but they don't have to determine our financial success in the future. So, I've been reading a great book called The Psychology of Money. It's written by a guy named Morgan Housel. And in the beginning chapters of this book Housel examines what may seem like common sense but it's something I've never thought about before that basically what generation you're born into determines a lot about what we think about money. And he gives examples of stocks and bonds and how people that were born into generations where bonds were wealth building machines, in their view based on what interest rates were doing at the time, have a very different view of bonds than those that were born into a generation, even if it was just 10 years later or earlier where bonds didn't really provide a lot of returns.
So the same has been true of stocks. If you were born into, for example, times where the market was doing very poorly you don't think stocks are a great way to make money, they're not a very good wealth building machine. But if you have grown up in your twenties or thirties during 2009 to 2020 for example, one of the greatest bull run markets of all of history, you probably think stocks made quite a lot of money. And in fact, you probably feel like investing in stocks you can't lose. It turns out that our experience with money though it only makes up a very, very, very small fraction of the overall experience of money in the history of the world, your experience determines a vast majority of what you actually think about money. And it's also the same way with how we feel and act with money. Your experience growing up and the thoughts that you have about money impact what you do and what you think about how much you can earn, about what good investments are. And this isn't true just with investing, it's also true with our life experiences about making more money.
And famous examples are, they're just really too numerous to count. So here's some common ones. Warren Buffet for example grew up in a household where his father was a U.S. congressman and he had access to a library where he happened to come upon a book called 1000 Ways to Make a Thousand Dollars. He was seven. Just to put that in perspective the dude was seven when he found that book. After that he had multiple successes with entrepreneurial efforts. Like in middle school and high school he had this pinball machine business that he ended up selling for a couple thousand dollars and he bought and sold things to other people. So for Buffet, it was clear that making money simply meant providing value to other people and he did that by providing opportunities that they may not have had through buying and selling or through pinball machines or whatever. And he would go on to amass a net worth of almost $90 billion as of the time this podcast is being recorded.
Now, if you compare Buffett's experience to someone who was born into a family with very little, that had this scarcity mindset that the next meal may not be on the table and who felt that they had to work really hard to scrape pennies together, that person's experience may teach them to believe that even if you work hard things will always be difficult. And that's exactly what I want to dive into today. What are some commonly held beliefs, specifically we're going to talk about two of them and how they hold us back from having a healthier money mindset and they hold us back from making money and they hold us back from basically becoming what we can become.
And one area of coaching that should be surprising to no one that I really enjoy coaching people about is money. I've been a personal finance blogger and podcaster for three years. Many of you probably came from hearing my voice on Money Meets Medicine Podcast which is a much more popular podcast by the way. If you haven't checked it out go on and do that. You get to enjoy a Ryan Inman and I'm making fun of each other. Money is one of my favorite topics to talk about. I find it absolutely fascinating. In particular, I find behavioral finance and the psychology of money fascinating. Which is why Morgan Housel's book by the same name, The Psychology of Money, is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I'm on chapter six right now.
But I will for example, ask you some questions about money. I like coaching people about it. So if I were to ask you to press pause after I ask you this question and think about your actual answer, in fact I encourage you to do that, press pause after you think about this. What are your thoughts about making money? When I ask you that, what are your thoughts about money? What are your past experiences about money? Just think about it out loud. Say it out loud. What are your thoughts? For many, we have thoughts about money that really don't serve us and that's exactly what we're going to dive into today.
So here are two of the most commonly held beliefs about money that are going to cost you tons and tons of money in the longterm and potentially prevent you from coming up with alternative ways to think about money that could earn you a lot more. So if you want to learn how to earn a bunch of money keep listening. Number one, making money means working more. This is a belief that so many doctors have. We have this idea that in order to make more money we have to work more hours. And I'm going to be honest with you, before I became an entrepreneur I used to have this idea myself. I'm an anesthesiologist, I earn a W2 income as an academic anesthesiologist and so I have a shift work mentality. It was very clear to me that a shift was worth a certain amount of money and that time meant money. And if I wanted to earn more money I had to work more shifts.
So for example, if I wanted to make an extra thousand dollars let's say, that meant working an extra shift. So if I wanted to take a beach vacation that was going to cost $5,000 I'd have to work five extra shifts. If I wanted to build a back porch renovation that was going to cost $30 grand I guess we should include my average tax rate of 25%. So it wasn't just 30 shifts, in fact if you do the math it's 43 shifts. I'd have to work 43 shifts to be able to build that back porch renovation that Chris and I had been talking about for two years. That's how I thought about money.
Other ways that this money mindset can impact doctors actually I've seen work in the opposite way too where I can't believe people say this to me but they do they'll be like, "Yeah Jimmy, I haven't taken a vacation in four years. I haven't taken more than a week off in four years, five years." And we'll dig into why and it's because of their thoughts about money. So the shift work mentality comes back and bites them. They'll say, "Well, I'm in an eat what you kill model and so if I don't work I don't make money. So if my spouse comes up and says, 'Hey, do you want to take that $5,000 beach trip?' They think it costs $5,000 but in my mind that's $5,000 I have to pay for the beach but it's also $5,000 I wouldn't make from working five days of work that week so it's actually a $10,000 beach trip. I just can't afford to do that. And so my family goes to the beach, I stay and keep working."
I know doctors that this is their way of thinking about money and they don't realize that all of that comes from this idea that money and time are tied together. So, when you can't separate those two things that working shifts or doing procedures or building RVUs, all of that is tied to the same thing, it's the same concept, then that's how you're stuck. You're always going to think about money that way, that time and money are linked. But they don't have to be.
So for example, what if you use some of that clinical income that you make to build non-clinical income through more passive income streams where time and money are not linked? That could be like the most common example of this is real estate where people start investing in syndications or crowdfunding, or they decide to go more active and have a short term rental property as an active property, an Airbnb. Both of these things do require some work upfront but as you build your systems it potentially requires less and less work. You might do some due diligence upfront but then you get mailbox money, it just comes in the mail. So, you can separate your time and your money.
You could also try on the entrepreneurship route, start an online business building online products. And I'll tell you, in my life that's by far and away the most passive income stream that I have is my book. So I've got a book called the Physician Philosopher's Guide to Personal Finance. That's a great book if you haven't read it. If you aren't savvy about personal finance I highly encourage you to pick it up. The subtitle says exactly what the book is which is The 20% of Personal Finance You Need to Know to Get 80% of the Results. And that book was published two years ago, almost exactly to the date that I'm recording this. It took me three to six months to write and so at that point it was time and money.
I was putting time in but then since then it's been completely passive, I haven't done anything with that book since it's been written and it's 100% completely passive. I literally make money on that book while I sleep. I just get sent money each month when people read the paperback version or the Kindle version of the book or they listen to it on audible. Amazon pays me a paycheck every month at the end of the month and I haven't put any time into that book in two years. Now it doesn't mean it's not a good book, I obviously put the time in for three to six months to write it. But now after the product was made I don't have to put any active time into it. So that is the best example of separating time from money.
Now I'm not telling you to everyone listening to this should go write a book, I'm just pointing out that time and money don't have to be linked. That's probably the best example but this is also true for my coaching business. I've been able to scale my coaching business to help as many doctors as we can get the coaching they need to help them deal with their overwhelm, defeat their burnout or to build non-clinical income streams, online entrepreneurs, coaches, course builders, bloggers, podcasters, whatever. Our job, our calling is to help as many doctors as we can.
And as I've scaled this business I've done it in a way that separated time from money and that's so important because that's my mission is to help as many doctors as I can. And if my time was inherently bound to the doctors that I'm helping I could only help so many. And in order for me to help as many doctors as possible we had to separate time for money. Otherwise there would be a finite number that we could help and there'd be some doctor out there who feels trapped in their job or who feels overwhelmed, not being able to get the help that they need, and that's just an unacceptable conclusion for me.
So I had to rack my brain, "How can I get out there and scale a business to help as many doctors as we can?" It turns out the only way you can do that is by separating time from money. Separating time from money was important just for my ability to make more money, it's also important to accomplish the goals and the missions and the purpose in my business and in my life, the things that we're trying to do. It's important for me to be able to do that.
So, the sooner that you can separate this time from money piece, which is super important for one of the reason that I'll mention which is that money is almost an infinite resource, we're going to talk about that for number two, you'll have to just take my word for it at this point in the podcast, time is not. All of us realize that we only get so much time. And so, the sooner that you can separate your time from your money the sooner you will be able to enjoy more of your time doing what you want as opposed to tying it to hours, meaning work paid. So go earn your time back by separating time from money. All right, that's number one.
The second money belief that I think really just dramatically impacts doctors is this idea that making money is hard or that the other version of this is that there's only so much money that I can make as a doctor and this is super, super, super common. I can't tell you the number people that are like, "I'm a pediatrician. I can only earn so much money." Well, I can give you a number of examples of pediatricians who ended up starting their own business whether in clinical medicine or non clinically as a coach for example, or an online course builder for example, who make a lot of money. This is super common to hold this belief though. Is it true? Is making money hard? Is there really only so much you can earn? People will say stuff all the time like, "Jimmy, I'm a doctor. I work in a hospital. It's just what they pay me. There's nothing I can do about it. This is the standard paycheck that people get for doing my job."
And it's all goes back to a different money thought which is that money is made from work, in other words you have to do a job to earn more money. And that's not really how money works if you think about it. You make money not by providing a product or service, it's not by doing surgery, it's not by prescribing medication in the clinic, it has to do with providing value to people. So the sooner you can wrap your head around that idea that it's not about work, it's about value, the sooner you can realize that you have levers you can pull to provide more value to people to make more money.
So, if you're an employed physician this means providing value to your hospital administrator or to your department chair or to the patients that you care for or if you're a doc with a side gig and making non-clinical income on the side this means providing value to your clients or your customers or your readers or your listeners. 100% of the money that you make has to do with the value that you provide and how much money you make from that value is completely 100% up to you and the sky is the limit. So when you look at money this way it means that there's actually this rather limitless amount of money that you can make. So money is not hard to make, it's not this idea that I can only earn so much, that's not really true. That's a limiting belief that you're telling yourself that prevents you from making lots and lots of money.
And so I'll give you some practical samples here. So as an employed physician I was having that mindset before and then I realized that there are some things at my institution that I could really provide a ton of value at that other people couldn't that I have exceptionally rare skillset when it comes to personal finance for example. And so I get paid now to teach a personal finance curriculum at Wake Forest for fourth year medical students and the hilarious part about this is it's my favorite part of my job. I love doing it. In medicine we always say we're living the dream like, "Hey, how are you doing?" "I'm living the dream." And we usually will say that sarcastically or jokingly. I actually get to do that. I get to live my dream by teaching personal finance to medical students so that they can learn how to practice medicine because they want to and not because they have two and I get paid to do that.
Now the reason that I get paid to do that is because I'm providing a value to my medical school that very, very, very few docs can. And in fact, Wake is probably one of three for medical schools, maybe less than that, that have a curriculum as expansive as the one that I have here at Wake. So Wake Forest can say, "Hey, this is making us look really good. We're able to recruit students that we wouldn't otherwise get and prepare them for their future financially." And the value that's there is massive because this has been studied. I can talk to administrators and I have about this where we know that higher debt burdens impact everything that doctors do. So it impacts whether we choose private practice or academics, it impacts when we start families or buy a house. We know that higher debt burdens lead to lower in training exam scores during training. So in other words, people aren't able to learn and glean the information as well if they have higher debt burdens. It increases our residents burnout rates and our attending faculty physician burnout rates.
So when I went to them and had this conversation about the value that could be provided it was a no brainer. And this has been shown outside of medicine too. The American psychological association did a study in 2015 that showed that money was the number one stressor in American households. We know this is true. And so, when I showed somebody that I had these skills and ability and passion to teach this subject to our students to help solve some of these problems and help increase financial literacy so that they lowered their burnout rate and could focus on other things because they had a plan in place to help take care of this stuff it was a no brainer for them to pay me to do a job that very few other people can.
So I realized that I could provide value and even as an academic anesthesiologist who had this prior shift work mentality I realized that I could provide value. Now it's going to look different for everybody. Maybe that's not your thing. Maybe your way of providing value at your institution or for your private practice group or whatever is very different. But the same has also been true for me as a business owner at the Physician Philosopher. I used to get tied up in thinking that there was only so much money we could earn like I could only blog and podcast so much in that I can make money from sponsorships and advertisers and affiliate payments and that there is a limited amount of money that I could earn because it was dependent on the number of page views I had.
So I used to focus on metrics like page views to determine how much money I can make and there's a problem with that because you could only get so many page views. Every month that number just gets determined based on your outreach and you can work harder and harder to increase the number of page views so that indirectly you'll be able to go back to people and say, "Hey, I've got more of an audience now. Can I charge you more for the value that I'm giving you?" The problem was is that my number one goal with the Physician Philosopher has always been to help other doctors and to do that in a way where it's done with the least conflict of interest.
So, I got screwed by an insurance agent when I was in medical school so when it comes to personal finance my number one purpose is to help other doctors with actual good recommendations, not make the most money. That's never been my goal. And so with this sort of mindset I was limited. I'd have sponsors come to me and be like, "Hey, we want to sponsor your site. We want to pay you five or $10,000 to be on your site." And I'd have to tell them no because they didn't have a business model. I could recommend to other doctors or I knew that they worked for a company that has a history of not helping other doctors and in fact doing the opposite. And so I had so many financial advisors and insurance agents and whatever come up to me and said, "Hey, we'd like to sponsor your page," and I had to tell them no because it wasn't accomplishing my number one goal which is to help people get non conflicted advice or I should say advice with the least conflict of interest.
So there was only a limited amount of money I could earn with that sort of mindset, page views, and the few people that I actually trust to recommend to people. And if you go on my pages you'll see that. I only have two insurance agents that I recommend now. I have less than five financial planners that I recommend for people. And that's because those are the people that I'd recommend even if they didn't pay me. I could earn a whole lot more money if I put a bunch of people on my page that paid me money to be on there but that I didn't trust or wouldn't recommend. So I was a little limited in my mindset, it was all tied to that idea. And it was when I switched this mindset away from page view metrics and sponsorships and advertising to providing value to other doctors that's when my business took off.
So, I'm pretty transparent about finances if you don't know me. And so, the first year that I ran the Physician Philosopher I brought in about $10,000 in revenue. So I put it in 10 to 20 hours a week of work and brought in $10,000 a year. If you're a doctor listening to this, which you probably are, that's not a very good return on your investment in terms of time and money. The next year I made I think about $87 so I think it was $90,000 give or take. And in 2020 this last year, we brought in close to $400,000 in revenue. So my first two years I made a relatively small five figure number of money and then I went from $90,000 to $400,000 in a year. So what happened? What changed? What changed was my mindset, my focus on providing value to doctors.
Now the numbers that I just mentioned, our revenue numbers, that does not mean that's profit so don't be confused in here that, "Oh wow, $400,000 in revenue. That's a lot of money he made." The vast majority of my money goes back into growing the business to help more doctors and to paying the coaches that work for us to help more doctors. And so that said I'll tell you my revenue goal for 2021, we're going to make seven figures and we're going to make seven figures so that we can help more doctors. Because that is always the goal, it has always been the goal and it always will be the goal.
Now these are again revenue numbers so don't get caught up in them but the numbers may seem large but they didn't get large until I changed my mindset and focused on bringing in more value. The answer is a shift from a limited scarcity mindset. So a scarcity mindset is worrying where the next paycheck will come from or that there's a limited amount of money in the world or that you can only make so much money, that comes from a scarcity mindset. An abundance or a growth mindset is one that's focused on value. So in other words, I no longer believe that there's a minute amount of money this business can earn.
Money is made by providing value and there is a limitless amount of value that the Physician Philosopher can provide doctors. And if you don't believe me, go check out the video testimonials for the Alpha Coaching Experience. Listen to other doctors just like you, who have had their lives changed who are no longer burned out, who have found it balanced as partners, as parents, as doctors who have defined their priorities and now can say yes to what matters and say no to what doesn't. This is changing doctors' lives and that's the reason that this business has taken off is because the value that people are getting is so massive.
Two of my favorite comments in those video testimonials I just mentioned there's one from Joe Mehan who said, "The ROI, the return on your investment is off the charts." That's literally the way that he put it in the testimonial video and I loved it because what he recognized as a client was the value that he got from this. Even if it just extends his career by a year or two because he's less burned out in medicine how much value does that provide you? That's actually measurable value.
And I've had other client testimonial videos that say, "He could charge two, three, four times as much as he does," because they recognize the value. And that's what I'm trying to get into your head here is that this limited scarcity mindset where you have this idea that you have to produce surgery or prescribe medicine or work for hours to get paid that's not how money is made from the value that you provide people. And when you wrap your head around that the amount of money you can earn whether it's at your W2 job as an employee, or as an entrepreneur, as a 1099 contractor, as a business owner, that amount of money is limitless.
So your past experiences with money may shape how you have previously thought about money and making money and wealth in the past but those past experiences do not have to determine your future with money. So you might have a scarcity mindset coming into this thinking that there's only a limited amount of money you can earn. And I just want to expand your horizon to realize that it's all about value and if you can figure out how to provide value to people that it's a limitless pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So, even if you're someone like me who went through bankruptcy as a kid or made a ton of financial mistakes in medical school and residency like I did you can choose to have an abundance and wealth mindset, a growth mindset, when it comes to making money. You can choose to separate your time from your money. You can choose to believe that providing value is what makes you money, not providing a service or doing a procedure or creating a product.
Think outside the box because the amount of value you can provide all comes from between your ears. Your brain, and the ability to provide value to other people that's how you make money in this world. And I have no doubt that the listeners who listen to this podcast are easily among the brightest, the most intelligent, the most educated listeners in the entire podcast world. So get out there, go create value and claim the wealth and money that is waiting on the other side. Because if you can wrap your head around that concept, separating time from money and that value is what makes money the sky is the limit. So today's thought is this, our past experiences with money may have determined what we think about money now but they don't have to determine our financial success in the future. Until next time my friends start before you're ready, start by starting, start now. I'll see you next week.
My dad, Dr. Jimmy Turner is a physician first, personal finance blogger and a life coach for doctors. However, he is not your physician or your life coach. He also isn't a financial advisor, financial planner or accountant. Anything discussed in this podcast is for general education and entertainment purposes only. Life coaching is not a substitute for therapy, medicine or medical treatment. However, if you're a doctor looking for a life coach you can reach out to my dad at editoratthephysicianphilosopher.com.
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