10 Things That Rich Doctor Across the Hall Isn’t Telling You


You've heard of the Millionaire Next Door. But have heard of the Rich Doctor Across the Hall? She's heard of you, and she's not impressed.

Today’s Classic is republished from White Coat Investor. You can see the original here.



Guess what? You're surrounded by rich doctors. You probably didn't even know it. You know why? Because doctors don't talk about that filthy lucre known as money. So while you're assuming that all the other doctors in your group, office building, and hospital are in the same position as you, you're wrong. Some of them are rich. There are 10 things they're not telling you, but which you probably need to know.


# 10 Rich Doctors Don't Care About Your Tesla

You know that Tesla you drive? It goes so fast. It's so environmentally responsible. It shows people that you're a doctor now, and a successful one at that. Guess what? The rich doctor across the hall doesn't care. She really doesn't. In fact, almost nobody does. You're buying things you don't need with money you don't have to impress people you don't like. Would you really want to hang out with someone impressed by your Tesla anyway?

# 9 They Don't Care What You Think About Their Beater

They don't care what you think about their spending choices either, whether it's their car, their house, their clothes, their vacations, their kids' schools, or their favorite restaurants. They're immune from keeping up with Dr. Jones.

# 8 They Never Owed as Much in Student Loans as You Still Do

You know that $300K student loan you're keeping under the bed? That rich doctor down the hall doesn't have that. She lived like a bum when she was a student, like a student when she was a resident, and like a resident for 2-5 years after residency. Her student loans were only 2/3 what yours were and she paid them off by Halloween after residency graduation by living like a resident.

# 7 They Don't Have Payments

It's not just the student loans. Those other docs don't have any payments. No student loan payments, no car payments, no credit card payments, no residency relocation loan payments, no timeshare payments, no ski condo payments, and not even a mortgage on their primary homes. There are lots of great mathematical arguments showing that you should drag out low-interest loans as long as you can, but most of those rich doctors stupidly paid them off early. Idiots. That lack of payments, however, did improve their cash flow and gave them the confidence they needed to take risks in their lives and their careers, and often times those risks paid off with higher incomes and better investment returns.


# 6 They Have a Written Plan

Guess what else those dorks down the hall have? A written financial plan. Silly, huh? Some of them wrote it themselves after reading some books or taking a course, but lots of them met with a financial planner and some of them still do regularly. They could actually tell you where their money goes each month, about how much they have and will need for retirement and college, and what their investment returns have been. Weird huh?

# 5 They're Not Afraid to Take Ownership Risk

Rich people tend to own stuff, and that includes doctors. Owning stuff can be risky, whether that means a high stock allocation in your portfolio, owning a practice, owning a side business, or owning some rental real estate. But since they apply the same intelligence and hard work to ownership as they did to get into medical school, those risks generally pay off with more wealth.

# 4 They're Financially Literate

Not only does that rich doctor across the hall have a written financial plan, but she's also financially literate. She knows what a Roth IRA and a mutual fund are. She knows the difference between a savings rate, an expense ratio, and a safe withdrawal rate. She can calculate her investment return and the payments on a 15-year mortgage. She knows the going rate for financial advice and why a capitalization rate has nothing to do with a mid-cap stock. Do you? Would you like to? There are ways of learning this stuff almost effortlessly.

# 3 They Buy for Quality

If you went to their house, you might be surprised at some of the old furniture and sporting equipment they have. But when that stuff wears out and they replace it, they do so with top quality stuff. They want something that will last a long time. They have saved up for it and shopped for it and aren't afraid to spend money on it. They have plenty of money and are ready to enjoy it. But they're still going to wait until the old one wears out. They might be driving a 15-year-old Accord, but the next car will be a brand new Audi paid for with cash.

# 2 They Like Their Work More Than You Do


The doc down the hall likes her job more than you do too. How do you know that's true? Because she's there. She doesn't have to be, you know. She has enough money not to work at all. So if she didn't like it, she'd be off mountain biking, home with the kids, running a business, or pursuing a different career. Some people are surprised when they reach financial independence and find out they don't enjoy their work more. But guess what? They're not in clinic down the hall. They're somewhere else. The rich ones down the hall want to be there. But they don't put up with the crappy parts of the job. They can tell the administrator cracking the whip to shove it. They can pay someone else to work their night shifts or take their call. They no longer do procedures they don't enjoy. They've figured out how to eliminate most of the parts of their job that they don't like.

# 1 One House, One Spouse

Remember that rich doctor in the lounge that you would have never guessed is rich? He's been married for 25 years. To the same person. I know, right? He's also in the same house he bought when he moved to this town. It's been paid off for 18 years. No lake house or ski condo either. Maybe those decisions have something to do with his net worth. Or maybe it's just the X Factor.

What do you think? Why are some doctors richer than others? Is it genetics, environment, better decisions, sheer dumb luck or some combination of the above? Are you the rich doctor next door? Do you know any? Comment below!


  1. I think it comes down to good parenting. If your parents modeled good money habits and discussed family finances openly then odds are you will be financially successful. Mine did so it was no surprise that I had one job/wife/house and retired early, from engineering, not medicine.

  2. Correct! I had a friend who made about a million dollars a year. He was a very popular hardworking general surgeon. He told me that he would never be able to retire because if he made a million his wife would spend a million and a half! On the other hand I retired from private practice at 60, traveled the world for a year and then did another five years as a locum and then retired permanently. I agree with everything the writer said
    1) Don’t spend more than you make.
    2) One house, one car and one spouse. No cottages on the lake, no boats which you use a few times a year.
    3) Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Not worth it and the Joneses may have lots of problems of which you are not aware.
    4) Teach your kids the value of money and help them with their school fees but make them work the summers to pay for the extras they need or want. If you spoil them they get affluenza which is a horrible thing.
    5) Try working your way through College and medical school. Aim for grants, bursaries and academic scholarships instead of borrowing from the government trough. I did and it helped me. I worked as a lab tech all through medical school nights and weekends. Helped me understand and learn medicine from a different point of view. Feel free to respond anytime.

  3. These are ancient principles. 3000 years ago King Solomon wrote: “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life.” (Proverbs 22:4.) The rich doctor serves others as they would want to be served. He loves his patients and his work. It’s all a gift. And he seeks to have integrity. When he does those things, he is not just a millionaire. He is really “rich” in the best sense of the word.

  4. These are ancient principles. 3000 years ago King Solomon wrote: “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life.” (Proverbs 22:4.) The rich doctor serves others as they would want to be served. He loves his patients and his work. It’s all a gift. And he seeks to have integrity. When he does those things, he is not just a millionaire. He is really “rich” in the best sense of the word.

  5. Well I’m rich and I own a Tesla…but the point is Im gonna own it for at least ten years and I’ll never notice the expense. Also it took me 17 years out of training to work my way up to it, and I gotta tell you, it was worth the wait. Also I don’t have a paid up house, but the mortgage rates are so low it is like free money to invest (not spend) every month, so I don’t even notice that either. That aside, i spend my money on experiences and other people; I get too many expensive toys and then I do have to notice expenses and that I do not like.

  6. All true. Also, I would suggest pre-nuptial agreements so that when things don’t work out, there is a better than 50-50 chance that they won’t, you don’t get raped financially. Your choice of a spouse is the most important decision that you will ever make and there is a better than 50-50 chance that it will be the wrong choice. Your spouse can make you or break you.

  7. Agree wholeheartedly with Steveark. My parents came of age during the great (or not so great) depression, and they impressed upon my brother, sister, and me that “if you can’t afford it, don’t sign for it.” They paid our way through college, and then my sister and I earned our way through med school, sharing living quarters with house-mates and eating peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for lunch. After I went into practice as an internist/infectious-disease specialist, I bought an old house and fixed it up, adding a new furnace, double-paned windows, and A/C, while driving basic 4-wheel-drive jeeps that would get me to the hospital despite snowy roads. By being frugal, I was able to pay off my mortgage in about 10 years and had no debt after that. Now retired, I’m still frugal, but am able to support my favorite charities and eat well and healthily. Avoiding places like coffee shops, pop machines, and fast-food emporiums saves LOTS of money, which is a lesson that so many have not learned. I’m not wealthy but am comfortable and always will be, since I follow my parents’ wise advice.

  8. Agree^^My dad explained mortgage interest to me when I was 10. I started talking to my daughter about financial skills when she was 3. Made a chart For zoo visits with 4 quarters for a balloon, 8 quarters for an ice cream, 12 quarters for a pony ride. 12 quarters per visit. Choose wisely. She’s 19 and just started her Roth IRA.

  9. It is a combination of financial self discipline, along with financial education. Having one spouse helps too, esp. in community property states. I agree with all 10 things listed.

  10. Ha! My parents were spendthrifts and I never knew if we were driving a Cadillac to the country club or I’d hitch a ride for a day job catering for my next meal. 100% debt out of school and 4 times more than an average person. I learned finance quickly but it took 30 years for freedom and not keeping up with the girls. Yes, I love what I do and not quitting yet!


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