The Real Reason Why Doctors Are Successful (And It Has Nothing To Do With Smarts)

Many people outside of medicine see the Forbes headliner that “doctors are in the top 1% of income-earners” and assume they must be rolling in it.

The REAL sacrifices it took to get there don’t ever cross their minds.

They don’t see that it meant spending their 20s and 30s in school and training to become educated, skilled, and compassionate — and while doing so, missing kids’ games, Christmas, and family weddings. They also don’t see the ludicrous interest rates on six-figure student loans. They also don’t see how you don’t have a dime in your retirement savings even a decade after college.

Likewise, they don’t see YOU and the sacrifices you made as a doctor’s wife. Instead, you are casted as a “trophy wife” and “entitled gold-diggers,” which is not you. It’s unfair.

But I see you. And I know the truth. I know how much you are a part of your success.

I know that your DrSpouse hit the jackpot — not because they got into medical school — but because they married you.

In the book The Millionaire Mind by Stanley, many self-made millionaires polled attributed choosing the right spouse as the source of their success. And they named these traits: supportive, resourceful, responsible, loving.

Four Traits You Possess That Make Your Dr Spouse Successful

I will go through all of these traits YOU possess:

  1. Supportive
  2. Resourceful
  3. Responsible
  4. Loving
  5. Supportive


A friend said during a speech at a wedding that marriage is never 50/50.

“It is 100/100,” he said.

And I completely agree with it. (Ironically, 50/50 is how you split things in a divorce!)

Doctors are the kinds of people who leave their families so they can take care of other families, and it takes an incredible amount of devotion carrying the load at home such as:

  • Shoveling the driveway
  • Cutting the grass
  • Taking the kids to church and activities solo
  • Packing and moving
  • Taking the kids to visit grandparents alone

If it weren’t for you caring for all of that, they wouldn’t be able to do what they have to get done for work.


Because you’re left alone to figure out solutions to your problems, you have to be very motivated and resourceful.

  • You figure out where the good schools are for your kids.
  • You determine what neighborhood to move into that’s safe and has good home resale value.
  • You watch YouTube to learn to clean the lint built up inside your dryer that’s causing your clothes to take forever to dry.
  • You find banks willing to refinance or lend to you despite your incredibly disproportionate debt to income ratio.


With an attending income, society will expect you to buy doctor houses, drive doctor cars, and take nice vacations. And with a huge raise after medical training, it’s incredibly tempting to do so.

Instead, you realize your family has debt and late retirement savings, and that if you don’t handle that for your family, you will never be free. If debt = bondage, then getting out of debt = freedom.

So you go against society’s expectation for you to YOLO and don’t increase your spending (at least much) for a few years after training so you have plenty of cash left to throw at student loans and retirement and catch up on building net worth.

You build financial stability for your family from which your family’s dreams can come true.


It’s sad but true that your DrSpouse is particularly at high risk for burnout as a doctor. That’s the feeling of being angry, frustrated, and helpless with their workplace.

Maybe they’re being sued for malpractice. Or their employer is forcing them to do procedures they don’t like. Or they’re being buried in administrative duties and paperwork.

Whatever they’re facing, these problems feel huge and inescapable, especially when they spend all day at the hospital.

But you listen, support, and don’t judge them for what they’re going through. And you remind them how proud you are of them that they get help when they need it.

That kind of love reminds them that these problems aren’t the end-all of life and that their professional identity doesn’t define their core being or their identity. So they feel hopeful that they will live to a better tomorrow.

Let’s Review

  1. Supportive — you handle everything so they can focus on being the best doctor
  2. Resourceful — you learn how to solve problems
  3. Responsible — you plan long-term growth to build net worth
  4. Loving — when they are at risk of burnout, you remind them of the bigger picture outside of work

In Summary

Anybody who has ever been successful knows the spouse is just as important to their success as they are to themselves.

So if people turn to your DrSpouse and wonder, “How can this doctor do all of this??”

To find out the answer, people need to turn to you. The answer is — they could do it because of you. Your DrSpouse is a great doctor because of all that you do.

I’m a hugger. I’m hugging and supporting you, friend.

To your strong medical family,


Your Turn

What has been the hardest for you during the medical journey?