My experience tells me that most physicians consider themselves to be middle class typesâ€"disdaining the "wealthy" title. And there's much to support that claim todayâ€"thanks to declining incomes and rising costs in medical practice.
“It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.”—President Thomas Jefferson
My experience tells me that most physicians consider themselves to be middle class types—disdaining the “wealthy” title. And there’s much to support that claim today—thanks to declining incomes and rising costs in medical practice.
Still, the designation “middle class” has much to be said for it. My understanding of a middle class existence means you’re a regular person—considerate and respectful of the ways of everyday life. That’s an enormous benefit for a doctor.
In his new book, The Middle-Class Millionaire: The Rise of the New Rich and How They Are Changing America, Russ Alan Prince found that despite its commonality, a middle class mindset can be quite advantageous. The fact remains—hard work, sacrifice, discipline, thrift, and commitment pay off in the end.
Prince, the president of a leading market research firm specializing in private wealth, is the author of many books on affluence, including books for doctors like, Wealth Preservation for Physicians: Advanced Planning for Affluent Doctors and Physician Financial Planning in a Changing Environment.
In the course of his research he identified several traits that make up the Middle-Class Millionaire. They include:
• Non-stop workers—Members of this group work an average of 70 hours per week (often through weekends and holidays) and claim to be “always” available for business. Sound familiar doctor?
• Big networkers—This group say it pays to know a lot of people and to keep up on the their industry’s news and events. Who’s more learned than a doctor?
• Unafraid of failure— This group knows that a business error isn’t fatal; about 75% say they have rallied from a serious mistake. Who’s tougher then today’s doctors?
• Not corporate types—More than 80% own their business and see it as the chief means to their success. Most physicians are or want to be business owners.
• Follow the money—Most in the group say they don’t work for the love of the job but rather for the compensation opportunities. Perhaps doctors can learn a thing here—or not.
• Self-perception differences—Even with a high net worth, group members consider themselves to be “middle class.” They’re fundamentally satisfied people. Again, physicians need to do some work here; most are unsatisfied.
• Family, not community, comes first—As it pertains to the truly important things in life, this group rates obligation to loved ones above all others. The too-busy physician might want to prioritize.
• Seek out help—A large majority of this group has worked with some type of business coach/advisor. Again, too many doctors refuse to seek or admit the need for financial assistance.
• Vacation is family time—If you’re going to put in the long business hours, you’ve got to make it up to the family. Take it easy sometimes. The wise doctor knows how to relax.
$13.4 million—Net worth the average American says is needed to feel “wealthy.”(The Middle-Class Millionaire, 2008)
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