Why Doctors Don't Get Rich

Hard working professionals often aren’t as financially successful as we think they are.

That’s for a variety of reasons. But a very large one is while very smart and often well-schooled, these folks were never taught how to properly manage and invest.

So as a result, they find themselves much more of a slave to their paychecks than they want to be. While the financial freedom they dreamed of when starting out on their career continues to remain an elusive goal.

This week’s guest expert Tom Burns, surgeon-turned-entrepreneur and author of the new book Why Doctors Don’t Get Rich, offers hope to professionals of all stripes – not just doctors – that there is a better path to success.

In the video below, he shares his formula for building financial resilience, over time, through creating income streams (and underlying equity) in parallel with keeping your day job.

As the cost of living continues to accelerate while the economy and job security become more volatile, having greater control over your financial destiny becomes more important than ever. Tom’s approach is highly worth considering.

And this is also why now, more than ever, is the time to partner with a financial advisor who understands the nature of the risks and opportunities of today’s economy, can craft an appropriate portfolio strategy for you given your needs, and apply sound risk management protection where appropriate:

[ Watch & Download This Video on Vimeo ]

Anyone interested in scheduling a free consultation and portfolio review with Mike Preston and John Llodra and their team at New Harbor Financial can do so by clicking here.

And if you’re one of the many readers brand new to Peak Prosperity over the past few months, we strongly urge you get your financial situation in order in parallel with your ongoing physical resilience preparations.

We recommend you do so in partnership with a professional financial advisor who understands the macro risks to the market that we discuss on this website. If you’ve already got one, great.

But if not, consider talking to the team at New Harbor. We’ve set up this ‘free consultation’ relationship with them to help folks exactly like you.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/why-doctors-dont-get-rich/

For professionals it should be required viewing/reading but the lessons are applicable to all. Far to many docs cannot mentally or financially retire when their age cohort is retiring, and could do well to follow his lead.

Another suggested read, but still containing timely advice IMO (my copy is circa 1997), is The Millionaire Next Door (Stanley and Danko). Seemed like some similar ideas also presented by Dr. Burns’ in the video.

I have two cousins, brothers. One followed in his fathers foot steps and became an electrician. The other went to medical school and became a doctor. The doctor has loans that would make Kim Kardashian blush. The electrician started out debt free.
After about 7 years, the electrician started his own contracting business. He now has about 5 employees. The doctor makes good money but even now after ten years his loans are not replayed. I would guess that the electrician makes more, though I’m not really sure. Even when the doctor finishes paying his loans, he’ll be nearly 20 years into his profession. He might make more than the electrician at that point but I dont think he’ll ever catch up.
It is also true that the doctor seems compelled always to drive a new Mercedes or BMW. He’s always in a suit, his kids go to private school and etc… The electrician wears blue collar clothing, which, frankly, seems more comfortable. He could buy a mercedes but bringing such a car out to a construction site is a recipe for disaster so he drives a Honda, or an SUV.
The electrician’s friends are blue collar guys, working guys. Cement men, plumbers, electricians and etc. So his kids go to the public school with their kids. They live in regular middle class neighborhoods. They vacation in regular places, go camping and etc…
The difference in the cost of living alone is make-or-break. I remember when they both graduated from their respective professions and the parents threw a party. It was like “HERE’S OUR SON THE DOCTOR!!!” …and “oh yeah, this is our other son the electrician, ahem.”. I thought it was so stupid, and turns out I was right.

Life’s a bitch and besides what you do for a living it is imperative that you take care of your cash because letting someone else do it is a dangerous game, besides, with some effort you can figure out the basics. 10% (or more, no exceptions) goes to paying yourself first and over time you win. I feel no emotions at all for someone who allows someone else to manage their affairs. I think it’s a risk not worth taking. I think this doctor is a fine Man but I am way to desensitized to give it much thought. I have my own problems. LOL…Not my absolute favorite Podcast of late. Would like to dig deeper into topics that will help the community exit this pandemic by investing in what will be one helluva ride after the vaccines raises the bar of recovery and all that money and demand that folks will want to spend some cash after being cooped up for a year. My thing is to pour into oil like there is no tomorrow. That market has treated energy very well the last few months and the better days are on the horizon. People comment all the time that oil is dead and I know this is all foolish talk. What fun it has been, no doubts about that! What I hope we can do is get Art back on every couple of months with his production opinion because the EIA’s of the world don’t see what Art does. If and I believe he is that Art is right then I don’t think Saudi Arabia has in reserves to make up what production loses Art is talking about. Oil will be $80 bucks a barrel if Art is right. I know this, if the Supply side of the equation proves Art right then oil will over shoot to the up side and that means a great cash upside profit picture. I think, and I really believe this that 2021 will be the best year for oil in a long, long time. Oh, for sure! Man, the dollar will start dropping and so many other upside tail winds in the space will be great for those who kept their nerve during this Pandemic. Jim Rogers first advice I think would be to look into a mirror and tell yourself, if you don’t have nerve then stay away from oil or any commodity. I love the space myself. Peace BOB

Taking care of your own investments, yes, but recognizing the value of solid investment advisors/managers, yes also. I feel that keeping my hands off a big portion of my investments, has often kept me from being stampeded by various narratives (bullshit baffles brains). Docs often have been drawn into bad financial commitments by good (and deceptive) marketing, chasing returns, or believing prospectuses for example. So for me his message rings true (having had a similar life trajectory). In my case various traumatic events (injuries) forced some reassessments, rather than cerebral competence, but I did get some sense knocked into me; and led to being able to retire when I chose to.

This Commodity Might Soon Reverse Direction

By Jeff Clark, editor, Market Minute

It’s time to take the other side of the oil trade.

The price of the gooey black stuff closed at $55.69 per barrel on Wednesday. That’s the highest price in over a year. And, it’s more than 30% higher than where oil was trading when we made our “redemption trade” last October.

As a result of the rally, it seems as though just about everyone has now turned bullish on oil. And, you know what that means… It’s time for us to turn bearish.


When it comes to commodities in general – and oil in particular – it pays to be a contrarian. Back in October, for example, most folks were looking for the price to fall. So, we took the other side of that trade and bet on a rally.

Today, after a monstrous rally, most folks are looking for even higher oil prices. Heck, one analyst on a financial news network spoke on Wednesday about a $100 per barrel price target.

Nobody was talking that way last October. And, it has me thinking that the next move for oil is most likely to be lower.

This chart seems to support that view as well. Take a look…

Oil is currently trading about 13% above its 50-day moving average (MA – the blue line). That’s an extended and overbought condition. Oil rarely gets more than 10% away from its 50-day MA before snapping back towards the line.Also, the most recent move higher over the past month has created negative divergence on the MACD and RSI momentum indicators. As the price of oil has made a higher high, the indicators have made lower highs. This sort of negative divergence is often an early warning sign of a reversal in trend.

So, it seems to me that oil is more likely to be lower next month rather than higher.

Traders who bought oil last October should consider taking profits on that trade. Aggressive traders might consider betting on a lower oil price over the next several weeks.


The big question is, what does Barb think about all this?;-)

brushhog said: The difference in the cost of living alone is make-or-break. I remember when they both graduated from their respective professions and the parents threw a party. It was like "HERE'S OUR SON THE DOCTOR!!!" ....and "oh yeah, this is our other son the electrician, ahem.". I thought it was so stupid, and turns out I was right.
Most people don’t become doctors to become rich. Most doctors are ultra focused on caring for patients & making money often isn’t on the radar....believe it or not. Doctors might look like they have great lives via conventional terms. Many times their families might, but many doctors themselves suffer immensely. Partially opting out like the gentleman on the podcast isn’t a realistic choice for most...patients are sick as hell 24/7/365, and most aspects of medicine have been taken over by large corporations with the singular goal of squeezing every penny out of each process and every doctor/nurse/etc they can. Student debt is equivalent of having a mortgage without actually owning a (nice) house. Few people are willing to invest as heavily in *themselves* as doctors do. Not everyone makes it through the minimum of 7 years of med school & residency, and becomes a viable money making doctor. Well beyond financial debt there’s a time, energy, & effort investment at great personal sacrifice....countless missed b-days, holidays, family gatherings, weddings, etc...which only about 0.001% of the population could understand. Investing that much in just about any other profession would reap tremendous financial reward. Personally, I drive a Honda Accord. Paid off my med school loans after a little over a year out of residency by working my ass off & living like a pauper. I have never lived with debt otherwise. Fortunately I’ve saved my pennies over the years & I’m not forced to work because of money/debt. So in your quote above you thought they were so stupid *before* life played out? ? And you were right about what exactly? I’m definitely not saying anything disrespectful of any other profession. My “second dad” with a 7th grade education shoveled asphalt for 40+ years to support his family of 6. I loved and respected that man dearly. His son & one of my best friends, also became a doctor after his passing, but only after being a teacher first. That quote above reflects you don’t know what you don’t know and it’s beyond offensive. Btw, my family was adamantly against me going to med school as I was an engineer previously. I could give two shits about anyone’s thoughts about me being a doctor, and don’t shed a tear for me as I’ve had a great life in ways few could understand. I went into the medicine for the right reasons....as most do, and I’ve done my very best while never causing harm to a single patient AFAIK. I’m trying to deal with my personal burnout after seeing nearly 100k patients and the huge number of unwarranted very disrespectful interactions that goes along with that especially in the context of ever declining levels of societal behavior over the past 20 years. (Good) physicians are burning out at an unprecedented rate. Few people have any idea. I would caution anyone from giving a physician unwarranted disrespect because someday you or a loved one might be in great need of care & it might not be there. As for the podcast, I thought it was excellent. More doctors need be much more frugal, and instead of trying to give their profession 100% of their energy try giving just a few % to their finances. Doctors have a tough time saying no. Doctors are can-do types. If they have to work 36 straight hours that’s what they do. If their spouse presents an extra expense, then they think “fine, I’ll work 27 days this month instead of 23”. It’s easy to not realize one is nearly mortally wounded after 100,000 very small cuts. Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading the book. Greatly appreciate it.

My older sister is a doctor. Spine surgeon. Man. Tough life. She once told me that both her kids, having watched what she went through while they were growing up, wanted no part of being a doctor.
Just the process of med school, internship, residency, and then - finally - a working life, just doesn’t seem reasonable. 36 hour shifts were routine. 36 hours!!
What profession finds this reasonable?
Medicine, apparently.
At least its recession-proof though. :slight_smile:

I agree with the premise of the entire podcast but I prefer my method. I do believe that you should seek out the very best Fiduciary but Folks don’t do this for some reason I don’t think. They end up hiring these guys and girls that have no idea even how to manage stop loses but they know how to schedule appointments to go over your account because they get a handsome fee for the exercise. Additionally, most all of them seem to think the economy is doing so well on its own when it’s a Fed supported, thin air scheme to float all boats. They accept all accolades for showing their clients balance sheet as up as though they had some great wisdom. The truth is most all these financial advisers are just good salesman and have no clue about being a broker. I know quite a few of them and honestly when I hear them speak I just shake my head.
The good Folks at Harbor Springs are first rate and ARE Fiduciary’s and if I had a need I would hire them but, this is my life and I love doing this. I never want anyone managing my affairs as it is always it seems too slow for me. If I want to Sell or Buy I punch in order of things that can take a few days to complete. Not good enough, especially when I can do it in 30 seconds by punching a few keys and it’s done. I don’t want to pick up the phone, small talk and then due business. Usually when giving a Buy or Sell order it’s a first in line process or who has the most cash invested in the brokers business get the first order performed. Peace

Well, Barb is really good at nursing and I have oil down. Regarding Barb, she don’t really need to invest, she makes a high 6 digit income with a benefits package that yields a great savings to our lives so, we start from a great place every day, so the stressors are not really there, there. Thanks for asking! LOL
Yeah, I stopped listening to Folks talk their book many moons ago.
As you know many of the really smart people have been wrong on so many things for such a long time. Surprisingly I have not and oil and natural gas are my passion. You know, you can short these commodities too so you must pay attention to a lot of moving parts. Weather!? It seems I have a knack for getting in and out at good times. I’ll go with my stuff, my gut and intuition.
Here are reason’s I like oil right now. Before sharing a few reason and I could list many so please understand that I try to keep things as simple as possible so that takes a lot of research and daily data reads to get a firm hold on where the market should head at that time in space. I am not a buy and hold investor but one that just tries on a daily bases to read and think a lot about what the tea leaves say.
Reason’s I’m in:
The correlation to GDP is so profound and it is expected the this years GDP will run hot, 5 to 6% and this most definitely will effect oil consumption in a HUGE way. I put it first on my list because this will really matter the most IMHO
Oil is always the first into a Recession and first out so Demand is absolutely going up near term and the share price with it
The Fed has our back, BIG TIME and until it breaks, if it breaks, it’s a confidence game and the ““market”” still believes the Fed has this! Plus, if things get silly like with GameStop then the regulators work overtime to make things very uneasy for the Retail investor. This game is run by the Elite, the status quo. The game is theirs, they own the house so it’s just a matter of time before the percentages get re-routed back to their favor. This is a given.
Every shot in the arm is Demand going forward
Supply issues because of no Capex
All that cash sitting on the sidelines
All that stimulus cash waiting to be spent at an unprecedented pace because we have all been cooped up for a year now.
Demand in everything will be way up
Car’s will be driven, replacing public transportation for a good while after the Pandemic and the economy opens up
I believe an Infrastructure plan will take shape if just to employ folks and this will create unbelievable demand for oil. Imagine an electrical infrastructure. It will have to replace or restore our entire electrical grid and that means every nook and cranny of our nation will be rebuilt and is why a great deal of oil will be used. Lets face it, electrical wires are strung up in all area’s, remote and easy access. Every community will have cash sloshing through it and their spin off economy will be many times greater than the build in my opinion.
Art isn’t the only one believing that Supply will be an issue but Art is my go to expert. If he is correct about production or even close in the US then by June we will have a big problem with Supply. If Art is wrong then oil still goes much higher with every vaccine shot. With every car that heads to their new job. I firmly believe that if Art is correct that oil will overshoot in prices and I will benefit from this. These are the times I look to soften and take a lot of cash off the table because now we are in a precarious position.
As you probably know and I think it’s conservative but Goldman Saks has oil at $65, they have 100 boe a day. all by August too. I have tried to punch holes into this but I can’t. We just haven’t spent any capex into oil for a long, long time world wide and that MATTERS. Plus, oil is THE commodity and the economy is oil. So, if you believe this too then you see what I see, especially the next 2 or 3 years. as far as share price going up! The beauty in all of this is I have long since been playing with house money and I have only utilities for my home as debt. Right now or actually by May 1st I will have no rent payment as I live on my 12 acre farm/woods in my awesome RV until my Cabin is built with no debt or rent /mortgage payment. I am paying cash for my cabin and then plan to get every penny of equity out before housing crashes/corrects and I lose with housing going down while my equity sits. No thank you. Housing prices are way up so I want the equity, pay the mortgage which is a tax write off, historically low interest rates and sit on the cash or invest it. I owned a home that was $250 in value. Waited too long to get that cash out and ended up with a $150k home so lost $100K. This during the 2008-09 crisis and lost a boat load as that equity would have been in the oil space and would have made even more from oil’s rise again to $100 a barrel. I had to wait for the Fed to start pumping and help all boats to rise again. I won’t make that mistake again.
Too conclude: I am aware of my circumstance and could list many more tail winds but why? I just believe that we are heading into a terrific year so why try to time this. I can always hit the Sell button but I’ll just hedge my position which has been completed and for now watch some truly great profits roll on in.
Oil has been on a moon shot since November (plus 200%!!!) so it has been great times for us suckers, you know?! LOL! I believe this year will be one for the ages and I get all giddy with every 1 million plus shots given every day for the next 100 days because that is oil DEMAND. Nothing frankly do I see will stop this march forward except a virulent virus that makes all vaccines useless.
Thank you for your time on this and reminding me that I cannot let up on my work. I will never let my Biases interfere with reality. I certainly would never let another Man or Women make my mind up for me no matter how brilliant. Got to do your own work and see the world for what it is. Near term, I see very few negatives for buying oil so cheaply. Peace
From Art Bermen, an excerpt of a truly superb opinion piece:

Price-volume excursions have occurred at least once per year since 2014. They usually last 3 to 4 months and may involve price changes of 30% compared to the yield curve. The latest excursion in 2020 has been extraordinary. It has lasted 9 months so far and prices have varied up to 60% from the yield curve. Price formation in oil markets is all about supply. Demand is of course important but markets cannot control demand. They can, however, use price as a lever to encourage drilling when there are concerns about under-supply and to discourage drilling when over-supply dominates. In 2020, markets sent the strongest possible message to producers with a negative daily price in April to stop drilling. It worked and thousands of wells were shut in. Prices have been relatively stable since June with WTI averaging a little more than $40 per barrel. The announcement of promising Covid vaccines in November led markets to consider supply security for 2021 and it doesn’t look good. Certainly OPEC+ has ample spare capacity for much of the coming year but U.S. production looks bleak. U.S. output has accounted for nearly all supply growth over the last 10 years. Production is down from almost 13 mmb/d in early 2020 to less than 11 mmb/d in September. EIA forecasts an average rate of 11 mmb/d for 2021 but that is optimistic. Current rig counts are approximately 1/3 of what is needed to maintain that level and I am skeptical that drilled uncompleted wells will make up the difference. The recent increase in WTI futures price to about $45 suggests that markets agree with me. What has happened so far is that the ~10% Covid discount has been removed. Price and projected volume data is back on the green yield curve in Figure 3. I believe that markets will continue to send a strong price signal to producers to drill more wells. It will take time before more drilling translates into enough oil production to offset legacy declines. Markets know this. I do not anticipate substantial decline in U.S. production until April of 2021 based on the long lag between drilling and output. Production will not increase until next summer if rig count continues to increase from its apparent bottom in July. Previous price-volume excursions suggest that WTI could go as high as $60 per barrel if markets continue to feel supply urgency. At the same time, that history does not suggest that prices will be permanently higher. The real question is whether or not investors will get the price signal and provide capital for oil companies to drill. The response so far is not encouraging. Figure 4 shows 2020 normalized share prices for key E&P companies and normalized WTI prices (“Permian” is the average share price of Concho, Diamondback, Pioneer and EOG). Despite the recent increase in share prices, all sampled companies are under-performing WTI price. Figure 4. All sampled E&P companies are under-performing WTI price despite recent increase in share prices. All values are normalized for 2020 prices. Source: Yahoo Finance, EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc. The economy runs on oil. Perhaps a major energy transition has begun in which the role of oil will be progressively diminished in coming decades. Markets do not think in decades. I am surprised that this opportunity for profit is apparently missed or ignored by investors. The market knows that investment is needed immediately. The consequences of ignoring what the market knows may be economically disastrous for a struggling world economy.


Not to me or anyone else. If you’re happy with your life thats all that matters whether you are a Dr, an electrician, or a street sweeper. Nor is it necessary to list your personal accomplishments before making your point…it doesnt make what you say any more true or false. I will give equal weight to your position regardless of your personal circumstances [ I promise ].
As to what you quoted, I thought the parent’s exaltation of the one son becoming a doctor, and the obviously reduced enthusiasm for their other son’s profession was stupid. And, yes, I WAS right. It was stupid.
But you know, this is the internet. I always have to remind myself of that, and whatever anyone writes HAS to be refuted by someone. If I came out and wrote that the sky is blue, somebody would have to contradict it. Write that the earth revolves around the sun and you’ll get “well ACTUALLY…”

Brushhog, my lengthy post above was not written for you. It was written for the broader audience, and an attempt to give further insight into doctors lives & the topic of why doctors don’t get rich. I agree, no one should feel compelled to justify choices they make & I certainly wasn’t attempting to do that as “I could give two shits”. Looking for external validation is a fruitless pursuit.
As far as the internet goes, it’s good for people to give their perspective & move on. I genuinely hope you have a good day.

You replied to my comment and asked me several questions;
"So in your quote above you thought they were so stupid before life played out? ? And you were right about what exactly? "
I answered.

When choosing any profession one needs to keep in context the 8 forms of capital: Financial, Social, Material, Living, Emotional, Knowledge, cultural, Time.
Myself and my whole family are in the medical field and watching and listening to MD for many years you have to ask yourself is the potential financial, +/- emotional, and knowledge capital equal to or greater than the huge cost of TIME and physical/living, +/-emotional.
In the game of life, loss of time capital is the big one.
side story - my brother-in-law is an Interventional Cardiologist. A couple years ago an active heart attack came in. He was able to successfully place the stent/s saving the mans life. The first thing the man said to my brother-in-law (when he came around) was “what took you so long”.
I can attest to the decline of human decency, being cordial, understanding etc in patients. It makes the days much more difficult get through.

Quick post before I have to go clean the chicken coop & walk my dog.
Everything in life involves risk, and when it comes to investing it’s all about assessing risks. And, keep in mind the strongest human emotion is fear…excessively so IMO. For such a long time I hear people saying “the stock market valuations are ridiculously high and it’s going to crash”. Combine this with the fact that the stock market and the real world economy have never been as divergent as they are now. I would suggest one need to step back and ask why this is. When the “obvious” isn’t so obvious then something is being missed. Yes, the markets “should have” cratered years ago. The mother of all markets is the UST market. It’s the most liquid market in the world & up until this year was considered by many to be the safest asset class in the world. The fact is the UST market is at the core of the melting down nuclear reactor which is fueling the everything bubble. People are fleeing the largest asset class in the world as that is a sinking ship. I’ll spare you the details, but just read a little bit of financial news which reflects the “crazy” things that are going on in the financial world…explosion of BTC, ever higher stock markets, TSLA to the moon, Put/call ratio at lowest point in over a decade, etc. Sure, gold/silver havens exploded but that’s because those prices are completely manipulation in the futures market. Long known precious metals manipulator whale JP Morgan just happened to come out with a downgrade of silver miners last Monday after the physical silver short squeeze was on put on over that precious weekend. There are physical silver shortages around the world, and silver just happens to be one of the most important industrial metals going forward in our highly technology driven society as silver is the best conductor of electricity and is in most electronics. So, if anyone still thinks the metals markets aren’t manipulated, then nothing else will ever convince them. Back to the markets. Stocks are required to go up or the US financial system would implode. Again, it’s the bond market that’s most important & if stocks go down, the bond market goes down. The US economy became hyperfinancialized via the USD being the reserve currency: US exported USDs and its manufacturing base to the rest of the world, and imported real stuff. It seemed like a great deal for such a long time…printing USDs in return for things like real oil, the most important commodity in the world. Over 66% of the economy is based on consumption. A large part of tax receipts come from the stock market. It’s not by happenstance that all things financial have gone up over the past 35 years: stocks, bonds, housing, etc. All rules, laws, incentives have been to keep propping up the system. The system is now hallowed out & empty…”can we have some N95 masks, please…pretty please?” Up until this past year the US debt was largely financed by foreigners, but Covid changed that and now < 5% is bought by foreigners. Bottom line, IMO stocks, commodities, EMs, farmland, cryptos, etc are all going much higher while the USD goes much lower over the long term. There might be some short term zig-zags, but long term I think the direction is clear. A word of caution on the cryptos, while they have tremendous upside potential the right side of their chart could end up looking like the graph a turkey prior to Thanksgiving of the the West ever outlaws/highly regulates them as there is a concern China, etc could weaponize them against the US. The control are would be the on/off ramps of the banks. That worldwide semiconductor shortage didn’t just pop up out of nowhere in Q4 2020, it paralleled the explosion of BTC. China & other countries have been massively mining the cryptos. All that doesn’t give me a good feel.

I’ve suggested to Adam that Luke Gromen might be a good interview for PP regarding the financial markets.
Here is a sampling of some Luke Gromen interviews. IMO he’s the best Macro guy in the business.

Disclaimer: did not watch the podcast. That said If you became a doctor to get rich then I don’t feel sorry for you if you didn’t.
In general doctors are the highest paid people in the US. I am glad they are. They do much good and go through a lot to get there. But I don’t feel sorry for any doctor who does not get rich. Getting rich off the misfortunes of others is misplaced priorities.

There’s a german doctor, Prof. Winfried Stöcker, who developed a cheap an easy to produce vaccine working with over 90% effectiveness, this confirmed by well known Prof. Drosten and Prof. Streeck, who is now charged for “possible criminal action” because he tested it on over 60 volunteers. He wants to make the recipe open source.
He says:‘If it turns out that my method works, the the patents of the others will be obsolete. Because anyone could produce the vaccine.’

I imagine the electrician is more relaxed and happy. Primary care physicians have a tough go, paying off student loans. They don’t have the gargantuan incomes that specialist do to offset the cost of their education. Corporate clinics take their piece of flesh too. Medicine isn’t what it used to be.