5 reasons that prevent eyeMDs from being happier

December 24, 2016

After working with ophthalmologists across the country for over 20 years, Grande Financial Services have heard firsthand from hundreds of ophthalmologists about what stresses them out and what detracts from their happiness. We have outlined here five reasons why physicians deprive themselves of more happiness.

Money Matters

After working with ophthalmologists across the country for over 20 years, Grande Financial Services have heard firsthand from hundreds of ophthalmologists about what stresses them out and what detracts from their happiness. We have outlined here five reasons why physicians deprive themselves of more happiness.

 

1) Comparing oneself to another’s ‘perceived net-worth’

Physicians have a preconceived notion that by comparing themselves to other physicians who may be better off will give themselves a state of contentment. The funny thing is that most physicians who claim they are poor when compared to another ophthalmologist could not be more wrong.

Ophthalmologists are close in net worth and, in some instances, those physicians who worry about not having enough success have more than the average physician. We frequently hear, “If only I had twice what I have now, I’d be okay.” Then, there are some physicians who do have twice that amount saying exactly the same thing.

These are the same ophthalmologists whose short, intermediate, and long-term goals have been met–or will be met with a high probability of success. Yet, they insist on focusing on what they don’t have. What happened to living in appreciation? What happened to acknowledging oneself for “a job well-done?”

 

2) Attempting to retire too young

Over the last 22 years, we cannot tell you how many physicians have fretted over the thought that they may run out of money if they retire at age 62. However, so far, no one has done that without a medical reason.

We have worked with hundreds of physicians in their 40s or 50s who insisted they would retire at age 62. However, when the age of 62 drew near, they started pushing retirement out year after year.

There may be exceptions, but ophthalmologists love what they do. They love their specialty. They have attachments to their patients, office support, and colleagues. They do not want to retire to the age of 62.

We suggest physicians be realistic when targeting a retirement age. Why save a lot of money to meet that target, then give up a rewarding working life? Why not spend some of that unnecessary savings when you probably will not retire at age 62?

70 is now the new 62. Don’t retire too early, then find yourself saying, “I feel like I just don’t count anymore. I shouldn’t have retired.”

 

3)  Lamenting and stressing over investments

The best advice we can give to avoid this reason is to have a written plan. This includes a written investment policy statement, a written description of your goals and aspirations, a realistic expectation for a rate of return on your investment portfolio, an analysis showing and tracking the probability of success of your plan, and knowing you are on target.

Ask–and have the answers to–the following questions: When will I retire? How will I educate my children? Can I have a second home? How much will I need in retirement? How can I plan for long-term care? Am I taking too much or too little risk in my portfolio? Am I saving too much or too little? Is my portfolio diversified properly? Is it efficient? Do I have a will? Is my estate set up properly?

The bottom line: Physicians don’t need to add another worry to their life. To avoid such worry, organize your financial life. A month-long effort should give a lifetime of security and peace of mind. This being done, you can move on with your profession, your life, and not look back.

With a written plan, you have a plan to implement and monitor, making changes as they occur in your life or your portfolio. Investing should not be a fragmented, piecemeal process, nor a static one.

 

4) Not spending time on personal development

We know physicians are busy, but there is nothing wrong in taking time to read material that is uplifting and inspirational. There are countless books and seminars that address how to live a full, enriched life.

Suffering is caused many times by only a thought or idea held in one’s head. Learn to be the author of these thoughts rather than “being thought” by your mind–automatically and usually in a looped fashion, and thinking these thoughts are who you are. Living a happy life is more of a learned art than something that just unfolds naturally.

We have ophthalmology clients who have the exact circumstances: money, income, success, family, etc. Of these physicians, some are very happy, and some are so unhappy­ that it begins to manifest itself in their ill health.

What is the difference between the happy and the unhappy? The happy physicians are celebrating life and appreciating everything they have. They are uplifting to be around, and you can see the joy on their faces. What separates them are the concepts they hold true.

We can only guess it is the positive distinctions they have about themselves and life. Perhaps they have the realization that they are not their circumstances. They have freedom of choice of what to think or how they can feel.

 

5) Health

This brings us to a story of a wealthy client in Florida whom we visited many years ago for a financial review. This physician, in his mid-70s, was a very successful person. He asked us to join him in his recreation room and his garage.

He showed us his fishing rods, his bike, his golf clubs, and then he turned to us and said: “I am going to give you the only wisdom that I have learned in life that matters,” he pointed out. “Although, I have learned it too late. See these wonderful toys I have to play with. Well, I can’t leave my house. I can’t ride my bike, golf, or fish. I never took care of my body and now I am a prisoner here after earning my retirement. Please, don’t do this to yourselves.”

When you think about it, you have one body. Many physicians take better care of their cars, which they can replace at will. But you only have one body. We know firsthand how busy physicians are, but even 20 minutes a day, five days a week will reduce muscle atrophy and the aging process.

Today, we have healthy clients traveling the world in their late 80s, exploring and enjoying life like they did when they were teenagers. We wish you all happiness and health that life has to give. We have seen firsthand that it is not about how much money you have or don’t have.

Peter J. McDonnell, MD, chief medical editor of Ophthalmology Times, wrote an editorial in July entitled, “If you are so smart, why aren't you happy?”. Let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Let’s change the word happy to happier.

Our quote is: “Those who are happiest in life, win!” You all deserve to win in life as you have spent your lives helping others to see and reduce suffering as your life’s work. We think happiness is a decision of sorts. So, we suggest: Choose to be happy

 

This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of John J., John S, and Traudy F. Grande, CFPs, editors of the Money Matters column. They are owners and principals of Grande Financial Services Inc., Oakhurst, NJ, (www.grandefs.com) and registered principals of Wells Fargo & Co., member of SIPC. The Grandes advise doctors across the country on a diverse range of investment and financial matters. Readers may submit their financial questions to them at john.s.grande@wfafinet.com or call 800/722-1258.

The views expressed in the Money Matters column are the views of Grande Financial Services, and should not be considered as investment advice. Grande Financial Services does not provide tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, Grande Financial Services make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal.

Wells Fargo Advisors and its Financial Advisors provide non-fiduciary services only. They do not provide investment advice [as defined under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 as amended (“ERISA”)], have any discretionary authority with respect to the plan, make any investment or other decisions on behalf of the plan, or otherwise take any action that would make them fiduciaries to the plan under ERISA.

Wells Fargo Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice. Be sure to consult with your tax and legal advisors before taking any action that could have tax consequences.

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