I love Facebook groups. I’m a member of several – one of them is focused on investment ideas/questions for medical professionals of all types. It’s fascinating reading… the schemes and plans and questions and complaints and distractions abound. Anything but focusing on doing the work we were trained to do! The biggest takeaway from this group, in my opinion, is the ubiquitous small mindedness of participants (this is true for almost all the peer-to-peer fb groups where medical professionals advise one another on things we were not trained to do). These professionals have incredible earning potential and most earn many times the average annual household income in the US but they constantly focus on and discuss things with minimal value. To be clear I’m not saying that one shouldn’t try to save money or plan to maximize one’s investments but I am suggesting that by choosing to focus on the dimes one tends to step over the dollars.

To my way of thinking there is real danger in engaging with medical/dental professionals who prefer to focus on saving pennies on supplies, worrying about maximizing their social security benefits decades from now and obsessing over nominal things like credit card points instead of spending that time and energy on maximizing their clinical prowess, people skills and earning potential. It is very easy to join in the groupthink and lose perspective on who you are taking advice from. Not only are fellow medical/dental professionals rarely well versed in matters outside of practicing, you usually have no way of vetting the advice you’re given in these groups or the people who claim to be experts.

While reading the posts in this and other groups where there is desperation to save a couple bucks I’m often reminded of one of my favorite sayings (though I can’t remember where I heard it):

“You cannot shrink your way to greatness”

The implication being that there is far more to be gained by growing ourselves, our abilities and our earning power than by pinching pennies for the sake of doing so. Of course living well within one’s means as a baseline status is necessary if one ever hopes to achieve wealth or the ability to retire but this is a core philosophy and lifestyle rather than randomly expending tons of time and energy seeking to save a few bucks by soliciting tips/tactics from fellow, small minded professionals who are also squandering their potential.

“Stay in your lane”

This is another of my all-time favorites and a rule I’ve violated to my detriment in the past. I see lane violations often if not constantly in the investment group but in other groups as well. We dentists and medical professionals tend to want to do anything and everything other than work on our craft or our business. There is something sexy about real estate investment, investing in other businesses and even offering oddball treatments that are outside our training though we have much better chance of success focusing on and doing what we know how to do. Somehow we think that the grass is always greener but it seldom is. Before you fall for these distractions as I’ve done in the past, remember that for every one alleged success story there are hundreds if not thousands of failures on these sidetracks that no one bothers to share with the group. It’s like listening to a gambler talk about how often they win – every single one of them are up if you believe what they say. Of course there are outliers who crush it outside of their lane but the odds are greatly against any one of us doing so. Stick to what you know. Stick to what you do well. Take care of each and every individual to the best of your ability and you cannot help but be successful in both professional and monetary currency.

I know this post will be unpopular with many and that’s ok because it’s likely to upset those don’t like what I have to say, those who are falling prey to the above distractions, and those who hope to take advantage of doctors’/ dentists’ financial naiveté while hocking their wares. Those who get the ideas presented here will smile to themselves, know they have way more than they need in terms of patients and savings because they stay in their lane, and continue to seek out and associate with those who do more than they do! I’m fond of saying:

I always want to be the dumbest and poorest person in the room!

Once you can grasp the advantages of such a mindset you will thrive beyond your wildest dreams. But if seeking out and learning from those who have done what you aspire to sounds like a bad idea, you’re unlikely to achieve great success while commiserating/associating with those struggling to get by.