Let’s assume that you’re a partner in a practice or an emergency medicine doc or a hospitalist somewhere. Let’s also assume that I own a pencil manufacturing plant. We’re also assuming that this is a scenario to illustrate a point. Thanks for playing along…
I get an order for 100,000 pencils. I fulfill the order and profit. I leverage my employees to create pencils for me and fill the order. If I need extra help for the order, I hire it.
You get an order for 100,000 patients.
You can only feasibly see 50 patients per day, so you tell approximatelyÂ 99,550 patients to go elsewhere. You can’t hire extra help to see the patients because the extra help eats all of your bottom-line profit.
The Service Business
My point is that medicine is a service business. You can only do so much yourself when you’re serving others. If you want to progress beyond a certain income level, you’ll need to figure out a way to duplicate yourself. We can’t duplicate ourselves, so game over. Service businesses lend themselves to income caps. Income caps don’t play nicely with large (very large) incomes.
In other words, if you want to get rich, you need to get out of the service business. Which means, getting out of medicine. Sure, medicine will give you an incredibly “comfortable” life. I got tired of watching my parents be “comfortable” and decided to change. Will you?
There’s nothing wrong with banking a couple hundred thousand per year in medicine and living comfortably. But, you’ll never be rich so get used to that now. People all around you are making 5 times your income and working less than half of the time of your favorite attending. It may not seem like that or that cut and dry, but just trust me when I say that it’s true.
It’s all about passive income, and medicine alone doesn’t afford a passive income. You’ll always need to see patients or sign out a case to get paid.
And, that’s not the way to live. In my opinion, anyway.