Why spine surgeons should make investing a 2nd 'microcareer'


Physicians are up against several financial challenges in 2023, including recession fears and inflation that is ruining savings and retirement plans for many Americans. 

Thomas Schuler, MD, spine surgeon, founder and CEO at Reston-based Virginia Spine Institute, told Becker's why it is so critical for physicians to learn how to properly invest their earnings to combat rising inflation and declining reimbursements.

Dr. Thomas Schuler: Physicians are losing money from many factors, including inflation, declining reimbursements amplified by rising expenses, a flat investment market caused by recession fears and financial indecision. Inflation is the most insidious of losses and eats away at savings and salary. Worsening reimbursements cause a physician to work harder or accept less income. Income loss is compounded by higher business costs, especially in private practice. The turmoil created by the present financial unknown is impairing investment returns, especially for traditional stock market investments. As physicians, we are not typically well trained in investing, and this leads to either some poor investment decisions and/or indecision, causing our saved dollars to receive low yields in bank accounts while inflation eats away at the effective value. A good plan implemented will always outperform the perfect plan never executed! We must take the time to develop a financial plan and then re-evaluate annually to modify as new knowledge dictates. As physicians, we need to spend time learning how to invest and accrue adequate retirement funds so that we can enjoy a happy and healthy result of our substantial financial and personal sacrifices that our chosen career requires. This means that we must spend substantial time educating ourselves in investment matters, just as we did to become knowledgeable physicians. Competent investing becomes a second microcareer that our long-term health and happiness will depend upon. 

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