The Physician Philosopher Podcast
TPP #69: Money and Mindset with the Prudent Plastic Surgeon
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in an 8 week all-hands-on-deck course on personal finance built for physicians by a physician, make sure to check out The Prudent Plastic Surgeon’s online course Graduate to Success!
I recently spoke with Dr. Jordan Frey. He and I share a lot in common in terms of putting our heads in the sand about money during training, and making a bunch of financial mistakes like deferring our student loans… and, yet, once he picked his head up and started learning about money, it provided him and his family a ton of freedom.
Dr. Frey started his training in New York City in plastic surgery and by the end of his 6 year fellowship he was already experiencing burnout.
He started asking questions like, “why is this happening?” One of the key reasons, he uncovered, was due to a lack of financial security. Dr. Frey was half a million in debt, had no savings, no investments, 2 young kids, a family and he just couldn’t see how it was going to get better.
Bigger salary, bigger bills is all Jordan saw.
Once he realized this was a major component of his burnout and stress, Jordan and his wife decided to get educated on what they could do to get into a better financial situation.
So he started digging into financial content, specifically what teach here at The Physician Philosopher, to understand how to invest and put a plan together to get out of debt.
This plan alone gave Jordan hope and allowed him to shift his focus from one of stress over money, to one that allowed him to focus on his business and family. His mindset really began to shift overall.
How Money And Burnout Are Connected
I have experienced burnout early in life as Dr. Frey explains. For me, money was the first thing I also realized was an issue. In the beginning my lack of understanding when it can to finances led to stress and burnout.
So I can really relate to what Dr. Frey says when he states, “Money is a tool and can do good for ourselves and other people. When people misuse or are not intentional with money this is what leads to burnout.”
Obviously not happy at their job or work, but they keep doing it for the pay check to pay for the external things that are obviously not making them happy either. But this is the cycle of burnout. Doing the same thing that does not bring you joy, peace, or happiness over and over again so that you can keep up a lifestyle or things that are also not bringing you happiness.
Money is not the end all be all, it is a tool that allows you to accomplish things.
Money is a double edged sword. If you decide to bury your head in the sand an ignorant your financial situation then it will absolutely lead to burnout.
On the other hand, if you decide to really become educated about your finances you can build wealth, reach financial freedom, and use the other edge of that sword to fight back and claim your freedom – claim more autonomy.
When you think you are not at financial independence yet, so you think you have to wait to get there to really experience that freedom.
This is just not the truth.
As Jordan notes, the freedom actually comes in the process. Just knowing that you are on the path to financial freedom, making decisions that are going to allow you to more freedom in a few years is and of itself freeing. You should not be so frugal and strict with it that you have no joy.
How Dr. Frey chose a job, for example, was based more on making intentional money choices in alignment with his family’s financial goals which has led to more happiness and less burnout as well.
Why Start A Business As A Doctor?
Like myself, Jordan started a business to help other doctors in the financial area as well.
He wanted to help show others that you can get out of debt, burnout, and experience the evolution that comes with these things – the freedom that Jordan and I are experiencing.
So is this because we started a physician side gig? And should you?
Often times physicians think that a side gig will accelerate their path to financial freedom, but are not sure where to start or if they should take this path.
So the advice I want to give you right now is the same thing that happened to myself and to Dr. Frey. When people start to ask your opinion on a certain topic. They seek you out and value what you have to say, then this is a signal that you could start a business supporting people in this way.
Jordan notes, “You have to have this passion and purpose because it isn’t something that happens overnight.” When you enjoy it and you don’t care about the side stuff, it will naturally grow into something more.
Reaching $1 Million In Net Worth As A Doctor
How is Dr. Frey reaching $1 Million in net worth?
- Traditional savings and stock investments
- Max out their 401Ks for retirement
- Pay off debt a lot, about a 1/3 of make we make each month goes to paying off debt (a huge part of our mental health)
- Invest in real estate
The real estate part is really what has snowballed Dr. Frey’s ability to build his wealth and assets in just over a year. The first property they purchased was a small duplex for $170,000, fixed it up, and rented it out. They started making money and let it grow. Then they bought a second one and let it snowball the same way.
This has really helped accurate things, but they do not have all of their eggs in the real estate market. There is still the traditional investments as well as the real estate business.
This is what I call the hybrid model, where you want to combine the traditional savings and investments with a business that brings in that additional cash flow.
As Dr. Frey says, it is really about looking at your financial goals and what is going to get you there.
Should You Invest Or Pay Off Debt?
It’s not just about the math. We are all human and we all are irrational. There are mental benefits to paying off debt. I have personally never met someone that is like, “Man, I regret paying off that debt!”
Dr. Frey and I are on the same page that we are big fans of paying off debt alongside of investments.
It is a guaranteed return. But better yet, paying off debt is all cash flow coming back to you. Once you go to retire or go part time, you don’t have those holes in your bucket that are draining your income and still limits you.
Pay yourself first by paying off your debt. Give yourself the physiological benefit of paying off your debt – especially your student loans.
You are not the only one going through burnout and feel trapped by money and medicine. And you don’t have to keep trying to figure out what to do alone. As The Physician Philosopher was a factor in helping Jordan make significant changes in his life to end burnout and gain control of his finances, we are here for you too.
Start by booking a call here and learning how you can reach physician freedom too.
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