Making successful personal finance decisions: 4 spine surgeons share advice


Four spine surgeons weigh in on how they have handled their personal finances.

Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses.


Next week's question: What are some opportunities for maintaining a private spine practice?


Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at by Wednesday, June 7, at 5 p.m. CST.


Question: What is best personal finance decision you have ever made?


J. Brian Gill, MD, MBA. Nebraska Spine Hospital (Omaha): There are various investment philosophies from equities, bonds, insurance to annuities, etcetera. I only invest in things that I understand. If it is too complicated, then you won't understand how it fits into your investment portfolio. The best advice is to start early and commit to a plan no matter what. The power of compounding interest is a powerful force.


Zafar Khan, MD. Co-Director of the Robotic Spine Institute at Coastline Orthopaedic Associates (Fountain Valley, Calif.): I think the best advice I ever received is to live under your means. And believe me, this is easier said than done. However, it's a decision that will lead to a great deal of success financially. It requires planning and saving, which after years of training and delayed gratification won't come easy. But it's good advice.


Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: Finances have always been a team effort. When I decided to go with a floating line of credit rather than an SBA loan it gave my incredible flexibility and freedom. In addition, I have consulted my accountant and book-keeper with regards to any larger purchases.


Richard Kube, MD. Founder and CEO of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute (Peoria, Ill.):  Without a doubt my best decision was to start my own spine practice. It has certainly had its challenges, but it has been overwhelmingly rewarding. I have been able to focus on spine without the distractions of general orthopedic trauma, and have been able to use that time and energy to grow the practice. I have gained knowledge in business and the experience of owning a company has helped with other business decisions and investing. Besides building rehabilitation departments and a surgical facility and some of the more familiar verticals, I have been able to branch into the business world beyond spine and medicine in general, and I have made contacts and relationship I would have never thought possible. Starting my practice eight years ago set the foundation and put me on the trajectory I am on today.


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