I became Chief Medical Officer of one of the premiere regenerative medicine clinics in the world at 34 years of age.
With it, came a significant increase in my income. Followed by an equal increase in my expenses. I traded up my car (with less than 20k miles in 3 years), we moved to a larger place, and we spent more on vacations, restaurants and just everyday stuff.
I never really thought about it but looking back I guess I just assumed my income would continue growing at the same rate.
Turns out I'm not alone
After coaching more than 200 physicians, I have learned this pattern repeats itself in more than three quarters of us.
And there's a point in our late 30's, early 40's where we realize how "unprotected" we are as practicing physicians. One mistake and we could lose our licenses. One differing opinion and we could lose our jobs. Suddenly we find ourselves without leverage when it's time to negotiate our contract extension or a new position.
Either we take what we're offered or we look for work elsewhere.
"If only I had another source of revenue…"
That's a comment I often hear when I interview a physician looking to work with me.
And "what's stopping you?" is my go-to response.
There's usually a brief pause, as their eyes look up and to the right, and then the excuses come out:
- I don't have any extra money right now.
- I can't take risks like that anymore.
- I don't know where to start.
- I need to do x first.
Life is different in your 40's.
In your 30's you likely had few expenses, dual full-time incomes, and the feeling that you still had your entire life ahead of you to make up whatever you lost.
But just a few years later, things look wildly different. Kids are getting older (and more expensive!), pay increases are becoming rare, not to mention reimbursements are declining. Oh, and you're probably fed up of putting in 60-80 hour weeks!
Unfortunately, that's where my Gen-X (and early millennial) peers are right now.
Don't let this be you.
If you're in your 30's, take action and start a side gig as soon as possible.
There are several benefits besides making more money. And it's easier than you think. Even if it does not work out, you'll have developed new skills, learned about sales, marketing and managing people. Not to mention the new connections you'll make along the way.
It really is all upside.