Though residents and fellows have a lot to think about when transitioning to practice, physician compensation is a biggie. We receive tons of questions from new physicians about the business side of medicine, and a good deal of them relate to money, whether directly or indirectly.

It makes sense — after all, you probably didn’t devote 10 or more years of your life to the pursuit of medicine just to make the world a better place. You expect a good salary, and you want to do what it takes to provide a great lifestyle for your family.

Part of our goal at Adventures in Medicine is to provide residents and physicians the education they need to make sound career and life decisions. Financial literacy is something we stress, because unfortunately, many physicians learn these skills too late. They become slaves to their work because they’re trapped in lifestyles they really can’t afford (even with a $300,000 salary).

We were excited to come across this post on Freelance MD, which ties into so many points we stress in the Finance Basics Stage of our guidebook. The post is an interview with Dr. Setu Mazumdar, founder of Lotus Wealth Solutions. Once a full-time Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Mazumdar now spends the majority of his time helping other physicians manage their wealth and develop financial literacy, though he still practices part-time. His story is incredibly interesting and inspiring

In this post, we’ll revisit a few key points Dr. Mazumdar makes about physician compensation and money management in his video interview for Freelance MD. Then, we’ll look at how they relate to specific sections of the Adventures in Medicine Guidebook and Online Resource Library. It’s never too early to start planning a sound financial future.

Physician Compensation: Avoiding the Spending Frenzy

As Dr. Mazumdar points out in his interview, it’s normal for physicians to come out of residency feeling like they’ve sacrificed and now deserve extravagant things — luxury cars, expensive vacations and high-end homes.

It’s fine to feel these things and indulge these wants, but you have to do so carefully. Otherwise, you can end up in tremendous debt, living paycheck to paycheck. No matter how much you make, you’re never free from the possibility of debt and financial burden. That’s why it’s important to create a plan early. Visit the Finance Basics Stage of the Online Resource Library for concrete tips on how to make your physician compensation work for the long term.

Determine the Relationship Between Money and Your Values

Aside from financial literacy, one of the main things we stress is the importance of work-life balance. You can have all the money in the world, but if you’re not happy, what’s the point?

In his interview, Dr. Mazumdar talks at great length about the connection between personal values and money. Early in his career, he realized financial freedom was one of his core values. He didn’t want to be a slave to his work or his wage. The peace of mind he and his family gained from having a substantial savings and solid financial plan was much more valuable to him than owning all of the latest and greatest.

We couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to lose sight of our values, especially when we have the ability to make a large purchase that we know will be (temporarily) exhilarating. But when you stay true to your values, you get to experience the long-term joy of living life intentionally.

Strong values are sometimes inherent, but often, we develop them over time. Get a handle on your convictions by exploring the exercises in the Life, Money and Career Priorities Stage of the Online Resource Library.

Physician Compensation: Money is Only a Tool

Perhaps the most important (and insightful) point that Dr. Mazumdar makes in his interview is that we don’t want more money just for the sake of having more money. Most of us want more money because it allows us to do things that relate to what we consider to be important: our careers, our families, our health and our interests.

The funny thing is that money can actually take away from our ability to enjoy these things. If you end up being a slave to your wage, you won’t be able to spend as much time with your family and friends. Like many physicians, you might end up frazzled and depressed, stuck in an endless cycle of working too hard for those things that were supposed to make you “happy.” It’s a catch-22 for sure, but something that can be avoided with foresight and planning.

We certainly commend Dr. Mazumdar for his commitment to spreading awareness about financial education and planning for physicians. Check out the video if you haven’t already seen it!

What role does physician compensation play in your idea of a balanced, fulfilled life?


Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Blanchard Valley Health supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Blanchard Valley Health is making practice purposeful.