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The Physician Philosopher Podcast

TPP 56: Money is the Great Amplifier

There are many people out there who think that money is not only the root of all evil, but that it is a taboo topic that should not be discussed.  Particularly in medical education.  Maybe this is because of the “rich doctor” identity that our society places on us (even when most doctors have a net worth in the NEGATIVE six-figures).  Or perhaps, because our medical system is like any other… we just don’t like change. 

Larry Keller

In fact, I remember the first time I approached someone about teaching physicians in training about personal finance. The person – who was well meaning – looked me in the eye and said, “We can’t do this.  I know they need to know about money.  But what if we teach them the wrong thing?  What if we hurt them more than we help?”

Money is such a polarizing and taboo topic in medicine.  And in this episode, I’m going to lay waste to that and talk about why I think every physician should be madly in love with money.  

Money is a Tool

When I say, “madly in love with money” I don’t actually mean being in love with money.  I mean being in love with what money can provide.  See, most people have a fundamental misunderstanding about money, which is that they think money is the goal.  Yet, that’s not exactly right. Is it?

Money is a tool.  It is the means to the end, not the end itself.  And this is an important realization about money.  

Money is a surrogate for many things we want in life, which is why we often confuse the idea.  Money means freedom. Autonomy. Control. In fact, financial independence can even help burnout.  

Yet, when money scarcity is large, it begins to feel like everything.  Why? Because when you don’t have money, you don’t have any of those things I just mentioned.  You completely lack freedom, autonomy, and control over your life. And, if you are burned out in medicine, it will make you feel trapped.

2) Money Gives Physicians Options

Another reason that I think money is awesome is that it gives doctors options.  Inside of ACE we teach about The Hybrid Model to Financial Independence.

The Hybrid FI Model teaches you to not only be a good steward of your money by saving for tomorrow but to also consider creating non-clinical sources of income to provide some freedom for today.

Why?  Because it turns out that becoming independent of your situation financially provides a lot of options for doctors.  Some decide to stay in medicine. Others may decide to leave.

Personally, I’m all about anything that empowers doctors. And financial independence is definitely one of them.

3) Money is The Great Amplifier

Some people hold the thought that money is the root of all evil, or that when people start making a lot of money it changes them. But, I don’t think that’s quite right.  

I think that money is an amplifier. It takes who you are and shows you more of who that person is.  For example, people who give to charity often give when they inherit money.  They don’t stop giving when they get more money.

In the same way, money also amplifies our situation. Doctors often clamour for financial independence so that they can finally make the changes they need to enjoy their job.

Ironically, many doctors find that when they become financially independent this creates a magnifying glass on the things they don’t like about their jobs.  Again, money serves as an amplifier.

So, we shouldn’t fear money. We should build good character habits and principles now, because they will only be amplified when the money is greater.

Financial freedom has allowed me to have more time to do the things I want, to be present for my kids soccer games and hard times, and it has allowed us to give generously when needs arise.

Yet, I am not in love with money… I am in love with what money can do, because money is a great amplifier.

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