When You Are Jealous of Other Medical Families (And How You Should Deal)

Community is where someone says to you, “Me, too!!!”

And that’s why medical families are who we hang out with and are a huge part of your community.

We implicitly understand what you are experiencing: the nervousness and complexities of the Match, moving around to a new place where you know no one, shelving or making sacrifices to your career, handling long-distance marriages, and solo parenting.

That’s why medical families are a rare breed.

At times, we find ourselves comparing ourselves to other medical families given all of these commonalities: We all come out of school with similar student loan debt, train at the same type of institutions, and have similar intelligence and skills. Because we come from the same background, it is easy for other medical families to become our Jones’.

You will notice some medical families just seem to HAVE IT ALL: a beautiful, perfect life. Their DrSpouse is home a lot, they make a ton of money, they’re young, or are on their sixth vacation this year (and it’s only March!).

Meanwhile…

…your DrSpouse works many more hours, makes less money, is taking their sweet time to finish medical training, and so on.

Seeing families that have it all shakes your confidence in your family’s success.

Sweet friend, FULL STOP THERE.

What you’re feeling is normal. But let me show you what to do with these emotions.

When You Are Jealous of Other Medical Families (And How You Should Deal)

1. “I Wish My Dr Spouse Chose A Higher Paying Specialty”

Your perceived problem:

Your DrSpouse chose a low-paying specialty. If only they were a sub-specialist making the big bucks, you would feel like they optimized their earning potential. Instead, you feel as if you’ll be making student loan payments for the rest of your life and never getting to enjoy nice things and experiences that other medical families do.

Change your mindset:

First, there’s really no price that can be put on a DrSpouse who loves what they do. Many seasoned doctors advise it’s much better to spend your life doing what you love for less pay.

Second, don’t get obsessed with salary 😉 There’s so much more to making money than that!

For example, you can start to invest for retirement a few years earlier. Or you can get other sources of income outside of their physician salary. You can start a business such as real estate investing. You can become partner and own part of a surgical center. Or you can go into administration and join the C-suite. The right opportunities have huge potential for tax savings and money-making.

Here are 3 examples of doctors with income outside of their physician income:

  1. Doc G of DiverseFI is a Primary Care Provider and his cash flow is over $900k a year
  2. Dr. Cory S. Fawcett retired in his 50s, has a vast majority of his portfolio in real estate, and wrote a book called The Doctors Guide to Real Estate Investing for Busy Professionals
  3. Drs. Leti and Kenji of Semi Retired MD whose passive income streams from real estate equal over $300k+ a year in cash flow

2. “I Wish My Dr Spouse Was A Traditional Medical Student”

Your perceived problem:

Your DrSpouse started medical school later in life so you have more in common with the attendings than your co-residents. You want to give your kids nicer things and experiences with an attending salary, but they will have already grown (and maybe even moved out) before training is done. It feels like the ship has sailed for your family to enjoy the fruits of your labor anytime soon.

Change your mindset:

It’s normal to want to give our kids the world and more. In fact, it’s so normal that wherever I travel on the globe, every parent I have ever encountered feels this way!

The good, honest truth is your kids don’t need a big house, luxury car, fancy vacations, go to a finishing school in Geneva, or to inherit a large estate.

What they need is a strong family foundation and skills to be independent, which is their greatest tool to be successful in the 21st century and the key to their happiness.

The type of connection you have day-to-day with your kids is much more important than what money can buy them. And you can have a strong relationship with your kids no matter where you are in your medical journey.

3. “I Wish My Dr Spouse Had More Free Time To Spend With The Family”

Your perceived problem:

Your DrSpouse purposely chose a specialty with a brutal work schedule. They’re home for dinner maybe a few times a month. They take call in the middle of family events. You covet those doctors with 4-day work weeks or who work 9-5.

Change your mindset:

If you believe that your DrSpouse purposely stay at work because they just feel like it, it will eat you up. Remember this truth: they are happy to go to work, but happier to come home.

In addition, you have more control over the hospital’s schedule than you think.

The answer is in changing your financial situation: reaching early financial independence (FI) aka fast FIRE.

Fast FIRE means that you reach a certain financial point where your cash flow exceeds your expenses. At this point, you no longer have to work for money. You work because you WANT to. Once you have achieved fast FIRE, you can re-negotiate your contract so that it fits the lifestyle you want.

These are some changes that could be made to their work:

  • Working four days a week (or even less)
  • Cutting back on holiday, night, and weekend shifts
  • Eliminating call days
  • Having more vacation days

Think fast FIRE is just a pipe dream if you have a million dollars of student loans and are in a low-paying specialty?

Think again!

Virtually all doctors no matter what specialty are able to reach fast FIRE. Fast FIRE takes commitment to be financially literate, not growing into your attending salary for the first 2-5 years after training is over, and investing often and early. But it IS possible for every medical family.

LASTLY: BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE

Take a look at yourself right now. Whether you realize it or not, you are somebody’s Jones’.

You may have:

  • A healthy body free from chronic disease
  • A DrSpouse and kids who are genuinely happy
  • Incredibly supportive parents and siblings

Guess what?!

Research shows that all of these things are what REALLY makes up the majority of a person’s happiness!

That reminds me of a saying:

“If you want to know how rich you are, find out how many things you have that money cannot buy.” – unknown

It’s in being grateful for what you have that you’ll be able to find happiness where you are. If not, you will never be happy no matter what you have.

In Summary

It doesn’t matter if your DrSpouse:

  • Is in a low-income specialty of medicine
  • Started medical school later in life
  • Has to work more hours than most doctors

Your medical journey WILL look different from other people’s medical journeys.

And that’s OK.

Lastly, having gratitude for what you have is the only way you can feel happy no matter what you have.

I’m a hugger. Hugging and supporting you, friend ❤️

To your strong medical family,