I’ve said many times that I really believe a world of financially free doctors can change and improve healthcare in ways that we cannot even imagine. It would be that powerful.
And most of my blog is sharing how I am working to reach financial freedom and how you can too.
But my goal in reaching financial freedom is not to leave medicine. I really love what I do. But I know myself and know I will be happiest working because I want to not because I have to.
Now, you may want to reach FIRE to leave medicine. And that is ok. It’s a personal choice. But I bet if you really think about it, if you were one of the financially free doctors in the world, you may actually find a way to practice medicine that you love as a result of that freedom.
What does it mean to be one of the financially free doctors?
It’s important to get this definition set before we move on. Being financially free means that you do not need to work anymore.
You have enough of a nest egg and/or passive income that you do not need to work clinically to cover your expenses. (This is a guide to figure out how much you need to retire.) You can wake up in the morning and do whatever you want.
And you may decide you want to practice medicine. Or not.
If you decide you do want to keep practicing medicine, as I likely will, then we can make some pretty powerful changes for the better…
9 ways that financially free doctors can improve healthcare
1. Better patient care
Increasing my financial knowledge and well-being made me a better doctor. It just did. And this was while I was still a resident and hadn’t made an extra dollar.
All that happened was I created a financial plan. But having a plan to get out of debt, live and spend intentionally to increase joy, and improving my financial well-being took such a huge weight off of my shoulders.
And it allowed me to focus more on one of my greatest passions, helping patients through plastic and reconstructive surgery.
More focus made me a better doctor. And being a better doctor means more time and better care for your patients.
This cannot be overstated.
2. Freedom to move on
How many doctors across the country and world feel stuck in a bad working situation because they need the money that the job provides?
It has to be in the tens of thousands.
But financially free doctors do not have this problem. If they are not happy where or how they are working and it is affecting patient care, they can just move on. They don’t need the money.
Not only does this help that individual doctor. But it creates market pressure on the whole healthcare system to create a better healthcare environment for patients and doctors alike. Because if they don’t, financially free doctors will just go somewhere else that does.
3. Telling administrators to kick rocks
Similar to above.
Financially free doctors do not have to accept unfair “asks” handed down by non-clinical administrators. Being financially free gives you as the doctor the leverage in that situation.
You can negotiate from a place of confidence without worrying about losing your income since, actually, you don’t need it.
4. More ability to enact positive change on a systems level
Financially free doctors do not need to worry about being as clinically or academically (if applicable) productive. Because you don’t need to worry about jumping through hoops if you are not worried about the carrot on the other side of that hoop.
So, what can you do with this time?
Well, if it interests you, you can take a more active role administratively either officially or unofficially.
Frustrated that your non-clinical superiors don’e have enough experience on the floors to make the best systems-based decisions? Well, do something about it!
5. Inspire other non financially free doctors
I’m not financially free yet. But I’m on the road. And I love the look that other physicians get the first time they hear about financial freedom.
It’s something that for me did not even ring a bell or make sense the first time I heard it. But once I realized its potential impact, it made so much sense and led me on my current journey.
And I realized something else. The happiest doctors seemed to be those that were financially free or on the way to that end. The most unhappy seemed to be those working beyond what or how they wanted to because they had to.
I’m not saying to proselytize. But share what you have learned to those who are interested.
Spread the message and its benefits.
6. More medical research
I think we can all agree that medical research is very important for the future of healthcare.
But financially, it is not always very viable. Clinical, patient centered outcomes, and basic science research are all limited by the amount of downstream revenue that they can provide for the system sponsoring it.
That becomes much less of a barrier for financially free doctors. Yes, equipment and tools and supplies are still needed. And these still cost money.
But the physicians designing, planning, performing, analyzing, and publishing the research are financially free. In this situation, again, you worry less about the hoops needed to jump through and clinical productivity. You can focus on research. And the life-altering findings that it can produce.
7. Better mentorship and teaching
I love teaching medical students and residents. And I would argue that I have one of the higher patience levels for them compared to most other attending physicians I know.
But still, I have to admit, I get impatient or put teaching to the side at times because I am too busy. Usually I’m too busy again focusing on administrative or clinical tasks necessary for productivity.
Without these constraints, I argue we would be much better teachers and may even find more time to focus us on helping the next generation of doctors be better than us.
8. Better EMRs!
Show me a doctor who loves electronic medical records and I’ll show you a liar. These systems are clunky at best and time sucking at worst.
But, could a group of actual physicians with real world and clinical experience work together to create a better EMR? I bet so!
And who better to do this than a group of financially free doctors?
9. More national and international access to healthcare
These 9 items are in no particular order. However, this last one may be the most impactful way that financially free doctors can improve healthcare.
We all know all too well the issues of healthcare disparity in the US. We also know that this gap grows exponentially as we expand the view to the entire world.
I get fired up when an insurance company won’t cover a necessary plastic surgery procedure. But the though that some child in the US or world isn’t getting necessary basic medications, vaccines, or even has enough food…unfathomable.
And there are plenty of ways for non financially free doctors to improve these disparity gaps.
But, financially free doctors can make an even bigger impact with larger reach either directly through patient care or indirectly through advocacy, system based or policy work, and philanthropy.
I don’t know about you. But I get pretty excited thinking about all of these possibilities and even more!
If it motivates you too and you are looking for ways to accelerate your path to financially freedom, you can learn about these simple habits that will make a huge change, check out this 5 step retirement calculator for physicians, or let me show you the best physician side gigs to make passive money!
And make sure to check out my free masterclass webinar on The 12 Steps to Financial Freedom for Physicians!
What do you think? How can financial freedom help doctors? And how can financially free doctors help the healthcare system? Let me know in the comments below!