In the article, the writer describes the journey of a hematologist-oncologist, Dr. Robert Glassman, from his academic aspirations (including winning a Nobel Prize) to having a seat on Wall Street as an investment banker specializing in biotechnology and new drug investments.
In the article author's words:
What Dr. Glassman represents, along with other very rich people interviewed for this article, is the growing number of Americans who acknowledge that they have accumulated, or soon will, more than enough money to live comfortably, even luxuriously, and also enough so that their children, as adults, will then be free to pursue careers “they have a hunger for,” as Dr. Glassman put it, “and not feel a need to do something just to pay the bills.”
I particularly enjoyed the on-the mark observations in a follow-up e-mail from my physician reader:
I thought it (the article) was interesting because: first, it does show that some physicians (and probably more than before) are leaving academia and practice to, for example, work for Wall Street. Nothing new, but it seems like this is a more prevalent situation.
Secondly, medicine for a lot of physicians does guarantee a steady paycheck, most of the time. However the paycheck is nowhere near - in terms of financial security - where it used to be, even 10 -15 years ago, especially for young i.e. just starting physicians and in non-surgical specialities.
Thirdly, it shows that most of physicians can easily transform into other type of work and be successful.
And lastly, most of them still want to practice medicine for the joy of it, not the money.
And of course the gap between well-educated professionals who work hard and overall do OK and those that do not necessarily have any more education or work any harder and still strike it rich, is rapidly widening.
Since we are talking about money, a lot of starting salaries for non-surgical specialities are in the low $100,000's. A starting internist salary at a university I used to work at is $115, 000. With escalating housing costs, it does not even allow one to save enough money for a down-payment in any reasonable time, not too mention comfortable living. I am not saying $100,000 is not a lot of money, because by global standards it still is and American MD's make more than their Europeans counterparts ( although in Europe education is less expensive and the work week is much shorter, so the real gap is less than most of us think - average physicians' salary in the Netherlands is I think $160,000). However, for a lot of physicians - pediatricians, internists, family practitioners, psychiatrists etc. - living with "no financial worries" just because "they are doctors" is no longer true.
I could not have analyzed the article better.
I do confess to having experienced a moment of hypocrisy about whether to highlight this topic or not!
I'd like to believe that there resides in the hearts of all physician entrepreneurs the pure desire to continue to do good in the world. And I'd like to avoid the focus of my efforts with The Entrepreneurial MD being merely about how to make doctors wealthier. That purpose makes me squirm - as if I and my business have somehow lowered myself to some crass, money-grubbing standards (can you see how alive and well my Inner Critic is? <smile>)
And yet, I too want great wealth, for many reasons. Some are personal and others I'm willing to go public about, such as "embracing philanthropy as an alternative to a life of professional accomplishment".
What are your thoughts about great wealth??