Your money is your wellness…
Financial health is a personal wellness issue.
Don’t believe me?
How do you feel when you don’t know what’s going on with your money? Relaxed or anxious?
How do you feel when you buy something, but you feel like you “shouldn’t” because it’s expensive and you don’t know if you can afford it? Do you enjoy your purchase or feel guilty and small?
How do you feel when you get your monthly credit card bill and you know it’s going to be a lot? Gut-clenching or at-ease?
If you wanted to get a mortgage, would you feel comfortable knowing that you’re not getting taken advantage of because you understand the product? Or would you just cross your fingers and hope for the best: that your mortgage broker put your needs ahead of theirs?
When you think about how you manage your money overall, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Harsh self-criticism? A self-berating about how irresponsible you are? A wave of calm and joy? (It’s possible.)
When we don’t have a system for managing our money, we just flail about, alternately worrying about it and ignoring it, harboring a low-grade gut churning nausea that simmers in the background and flares every time money comes up. Or we go hog wild, declaring “I deserve it!” and spend whatever we like, in a hedonistic release from the days of residency financial lockdown.Then we freak out, because that credit card bill is coming…
The constant mental strain of worrying about money is exhausting and anxiety provoking.Even worse, you’re probably so used to this situation that you don’t even notice the mind games running in the background.
Poor money management doesn’t just make you feel like shit, it can also have serious consequences. If you haven’t saved an emergency fund, you are vulnerable to losing your home if you lose your job or get sick.If you don’t know where your money is coming or going, you don’t even know what to save each month for an emergency fund.If you don’t know what a stock is, how can you understand a good investment vs a bad one?Not knowing will lead to losses. You may get taken advantage of by advisors who sell overpriced and underperforming investments. You may overspend on mortgages because you don’t know what you can afford and the mortgage broker sells you the product with the biggest commission for them, instead of the best rates for you.There are loads of “advisors” who are more than willing to take your money off your hands for you; quite literally.
So when you don’t take care of your financial health, you feel terrible and you suffer physical & emotional consequences and monetary losses.That is why caring for your personal finances is a wellness issue.
When you care for your finances, you put yourself in a healthy situation. When you control your money, you’re calm about it. It’s up to you what you decide to do with it, and you can trust yourself to make the best decisions on your behalf.
I think doctors have a bit of a wealth block.We feel guilty for prioritizing our wealth, like it’s bad make a lot of money, and, shudder, even worse to want more money or put effort into growing our money. We may think it’s wrong because we didn’t go into medicine for the money; we wanted to help people.
But here’s the thing: those two things are not mutually exclusive. You can help people and make money. These are both good things. In fact, the money you make helps you help yourself, your family, and others. When you take good care of your money, you feel good about your money, and that security and confidence is healthy. When you nurture your money, you have more money to give to yourself and to others.
Now that I think about it, doctors don’t just have a wealth block, we have a wellness block. The very process of training to become a physician teaches us to put our needs last. We learn that not only is this expected, but it’s right. It’s noble. “Eat when you can, sleep when you can, shit when you can,” is a classic surgery motto passed down from resident to resident. When I first heard it, I thought of it as a badge of honor. Like, yep, I’m so tough, I don’t need anything! I can stand for hours, sleep standing up, go without water and food for who-cares-how-long, I am immune to my own suffering, in fact, I don’t even need sleep—that’s valuable time I could spend working. Etc etc etc. The list of self-care denials go on and on. As a resident, endurance and grit were points of pride. You pushed through all forms of discomfort: mental discomfort— the fear that what you don’t know might kill someone, the fear of being yelled at, abused, or shamed if you don’t know something; physical discomfort—denial of your needs to eat, sleep, relax, sit down, or use the bathroom. By the time you’re an attending, this mindset is totally ingrained. It’s the way you learned to learn how to be a doctor: by putting yourself last.
It’s time to shift that mindset to a healthier one. It’s time to put your needs first. Physical needs: eat nutritiously, exercise, sleep, rest and relax. Mental needs: find joy, protect your time, think about what you really want in life, and establish boundaries to protect your dreams.
It’s time to have an abundance mindset: there is more than enough for everyone, and we can all benefit together. Putting ourselves first doesn’t mean putting others last. By prioritizing our personal wellness, we show up strong and authentically for ourselves, our families, our friends and our patients. We charge our batteries, so we can show up with energy and present our best selves in any situation.
You can have an abundance mindset. You can let go of the constant mental strain about money. You can become calm and confident about your finances. I’ll teach you how in Money Medical School, where you’ll learn a Personal Finance System and get cracking caring for your financial health and personal wellness.