5 Limiting Beliefs Physicians Must Overcome on the Path to Financial Freedom
Mindset is the most important factor that determines your financial well-being. I will never believe it. I know this is a fact because I saw how much my financial well-being improved once I started working on a healthy money mindset. And the enemies of a healthy money mindset are limiting beliefs.
What are limiting beliefs?
Beliefs, in a way, are the stories you tell yourself. They are the narrative around a topic that you create. These beliefs can empower you. Or they can limit you.
And no one has 100% enabling beliefs or 100% limiting beliefs.
As humans, we are quite interesting and contradictory beings. We may have certain beliefs that are so empowering while others are completely limiting.
For example, I believed so much in my ability to succeed as a plastic surgery resident that it empowered me and propelled me to accomplishments I never imagined.
But at the same time, I had major limiting beliefs about money that caused me to make mistake after mistake, all while feeling incredibly scared and intimidated.
Why would I consider myself so capable in one area of life and so incapable in another? Is one harder than the other? Certainly not. Did I have an innate ability in one but not the other? Let me assure you that is not the case.
The reason is that I have created a belief system around these areas of my life. I then accepted these belief systems as fact. One helped me. And one hurt me.
I’m sure we can all think of various belief systems we have about ourselves and categorize them as empowering or limiting.
The Top 5 Limiting Wealth Building Beliefs
1. Money doesn’t matter
People say money is not important. And I agree with that. The paper or electronic “1s” and “0s” of which it is made are worthless in themselves.
But the good that money can do… for you and for others… has a very important value. Whether you want to admit it or not.
In fact, if money didn’t matter, why would we work? We wouldn’t. Yet we are here, working for the money. Hopefully we use this money to invest in our financial freedom. (This underscores the importance of having a “why” in your journey to financial well-being. Without a “why,” it will feel empty when you get there.)
Whether we do it or not, we only work for the money, it doesn’t matter. But then again, aren’t we really working to give ourselves, our loved ones and even complete strangers the best life possible?
That’s what money does.
I used to say that money was not important. I said it when I struggled with money. At that time, I was making less money and struggling to keep what I was earning, let alone make it work for me. Saying money didn’t matter was a rationalization to make me feel better.
But that didn’t really help.
I finally felt free when I learned there was nothing wrong with caring about money…again, not for itself, but for the amazing things it can do. TO DO !
2. I’m not good with money
This is the other major limiting belief I hear from everyone. I told myself that too.
But seriously, why would we tell each other these completely negative and unfounded stories? As if we believe and willed ourselves in far more difficult personal and professional circumstances and have the rocks to tell us that we can’t understand something as simple as money?!?!
If you have this limiting belief (and we all do to some degree), you need to learn The Simple Path to Wealth for Doctors: Back to Basics.
3. It’s too complicated
I mean it when I say money is easy. I remember sitting down to read my first financial book and feeling like I was about to open a book on nuclear physics. A few days later I finished the book and wondered why I thought it was so difficult. Now I look back and am amazed at how easy it can become with a little education.
The bottom line? Don’t be intimidated by money or personal finances. Don’t let others intimidate you. They do this because when you are scared, you use their worthless services and they make money… through you, not for you.
Relax, get informed and get started! So many idiots made a lot of money. University dropouts, etc. You can do it.
4. I don’t have enough time
First of all, we have time to do anything in our lives. But we can’t do everything. Prioritize what is important. And then we have to set goals on those important things. Then we create intentional plans to achieve those goals.
Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. Why do some people do a lot more in those 24 hours than others? Because they prioritize, set goals, plan and execute.
I was incredibly busy in residence. But I had time to play video games. I got a retro Super Nintendo for Christmas one year and played almost every game on it. (Nerd alert!) I made time for this. The problem is that video games weren’t a real priority for me for obvious reasons. I wasn’t intentional with my time or prioritizing what was important.
I could have used that same time to learn a little more about money and create some simple habits that would revolutionize my finances for the better. That’s what I finally did and it changed my life.
And that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to relax and play. We absolutely need it. These are also priorities.
What I a m say is that if we are intentional about what we do with our time, we can and should prioritize, even maximize, our rest and play time. People are surprised when they find out how much I sleep each night or how long I spend with my family despite being a full-time surgeon, blogger, podcaster, real estate investor, etc. It’s because I/we prioritize, set goals, plan, and execute.
5. I’ll find out later
Procrastination is normal. I do. We all do.
But most of the time, we procrastinate because we’re too scared or intimidated to face all that we have to do.
For example, I knew my finances were in a mess long before I seriously looked into them. I knew I made mistakes and sometimes I made them because I was too nervous to see how they really affected us.
So I procrastinated.
The problem is twofold. First, by procrastinating, we let that shadow sit over us and feel like we can never really shake it off. We feel unstable or insecure because we have no control over our finances. One has the feeling that the rug underfoot can be pulled out at any time.
By facing our fears or intimidations about money, we free ourselves from it. For example, when I finally opened my eyes and took a hard look at our finances with my wife, Selenid, I didn’t like what I saw. But it still felt good to resist.
And then we developed our financial plan. Now, even though I didn’t earn a penny more, I felt much more secure financially. Because I had a plan that I knew would get us there. My financial well-being has improved, as has my general well-being. I also became a better doctor.
Second, there is something called compound interest. Most of you are most likely familiar with this.
Basically, when you invest, your interest is compounded. Invest $10,000 and earn 5%, you now have $10,500. The interest you will earn the following year will not be on $10,000, but rather on $10,500. And so on.
Simply, the earlier you start, the better off you are. In fact, at the start of your investing career, the amount of money you save and invest is far more important than the rate of return you earn. Once you start saving, you can build your nest egg to make sure it provides for your retirement.
So don’t procrastinate and jeopardize your financial future. The best day to start was maybe yesterday or 20 years ago, but the next best day is today. The next worst day is tomorrow!
How can we improve our limiting beliefs?
This is a topic that would fill pages and pages and could be discussed for hours. But here are the most important steps to improving limiting beliefs in all areas of our lives.
Recognize and define your limiting beliefs:
- “Deep down, I don’t think I can get a raise.”
State the real, true and objective facts surrounding your situation:
- “I work very hard. I exceeded expectations for my position. Mary got a raise last year from my position.”
Determine if your belief system and your facts align. You’ll be shocked how often they don’t line up.
Engage in a positive inner dialogue:
- “I deserve a raise.” This will sound and sound very cheesy at first. But it takes practice. Don’t give up even if it seems awkward. This is how you develop an empowering belief system.
Take action. Use your empowering new belief system to create positive change in your life.
Disclaimer: The author is not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. His expertise is in the field of medicine. Any information contained in this editorial and its links should not be considered personalized financial advice.
Jordan Frey, MD, is a plastic surgeon at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, New York, and founder of The cautious plastic surgeon.