Good morning and welcome back to Working Women Wednesday – the day that I share a story about an amazing, real mom (or mom to be!) who is the family breadwinner, earns six figures, is a millionaire – or any combination of the above.

As usual, today I have another great and amazing story to share. After reading my interview with the amazing Hatton1, Drsan1 reached out to me to share her story.  Remember, just last week I talked about the forces that keep doctors, who people usually assume are wealthy, from achieving financial success. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that all doctors come out of medical school with a golden ticket!

So without further ado, lets get to know Drsan1 – and hear her story.

  1. Tell us about yourself!
I am a thirty something Hospitalist that is married with 3 kids. Hospitalist are Internists that only see patients admitted to the hospital. I work a 7 days on/ 7 days off schedule. I have been married for 16 years and we have 3 kids ages 10 – 15. I’m from western NY but have been living in NC for the past 9 years.

2. Let’s get some details – how much money do you make, and how long did it take you to get there? And are you a millionaire or are you on the way?

I make around $300K per year. When I started in this field after residency, 9 years ago, my salary was $185K but it has steadily gone up..life is good. Net worth is about $600K. Unfortunately high student loan debt, other debt and lifestyle creep has me a bit further behind at this stage in my life than I would like to be.

3. How did you get started in the workforce?

As a physician I actually wanted to do this since fifth grade! No one I knew ever became a doctor, or even tried to become a doctor. Sickness and mental illness that ravaged my family made me want to help. I studied, and prayed, and studied more, and eventually my dream came true.

4. How did you get from where you started to where you are now?

To become a physician you have to get a bachelors degree, then go to medical school. To even get an interview for medical school you have to have awesome college grades and good MCAT scores (the test to get into medical school). I actually never took the MCAT as I was accepted into an early acceptance program where I was accepted into medical school second year of college as long as I kept a 3.2 GPA. After medical school was a 3 year residency in Internal Medicine then I became a Hospitalist. One interesting twist is that the CEO at my dream job retired and fast forward 2 years and 2 different CEO’s later my group collapsed and I resigned, commuted an hour each way for two years then returned to my “original job” even though it was not my dream job anymore. It was a job near home and my family.

5. Where do you want to go in your career – and your financial life?

Ideally I would like to be able to semi-retire by age 55. My youngest will be 22 and hopefully out of college by then. As far as my career I’m not exactly sure what’s in store. The money is good with what I am doing right now, but there may be teaching or locums (as needed doc) work in my future. The politics and mandates from administration is getting tiresome. I would love to take advantage of my 7 days on/ 7 days off schedule.

6.  What’s the biggest challenge in being a breadwinning mom? What’s the best part?

I am the breadwinner. My husband was a stay at home dad for years when I started working my full time job as we had a 1 yr old a 3 year old and a 6 year old. Once the kids were all in school and more self sufficient my husband went back to school to get us masters which he will be finishing up this year.
The biggest challenge is the weight on my shoulders/fear if something happens to me… what happens to my family? Even though I have disability and life insurance it remains in the back of my mind. The best part is making a great salary and living a very comfortable life, for me and my family.

7. Have you ever experienced issues in the workforce because you’re a woman? What did you do in response?

The main issue I notice is that there is this unspoken good ole boys club in the corporate world. I love medicine and one of the reasons I love it is because patients and colleagues gauge you on how good a doctor you are. To move into the administration side is doable but my experience is you have to be an awesome female or a mediocre male.
CMO side note – Ugh, I’ve seen that too where I work, and it’s so frustrating!

8. Chief Mom Officer is primarily a personal finance blog – tell us about your saving and investment strategy.

My current financial goal is to be FI by 55. I’m not sure about retiring early,  but a semi-retirement is a definite possibility. At this point my strategy is to save 20% of my income via maxing out my 401K, 457, and doing a Roth IRA for my husband an a IRA for me. The rest in a Vanguard brokerage account with index funds. I now love personal finance. I learned the hard way I need to watch my money and educate myself. After an encounter with a church member “financial advisor” at (not reputable company) and getting a stupid whole life policy, and he moved my Vanguard account to (same company) and put it in the same fund so he could get a commission, I knew I needed to do my research.
The final straw was when he switched companies and suggested I start a different whole life policy at the new company. I then really knew I made a big mistake dealing with him at all and parted ways.  I was forced to study and learn. I bought books and read blogs, but the most influential was White Coat Investor.
I don’t really budget, I save the appropriate amount to reach my goals then I spend how much I want on whatever I want.

9. What’s the top three pieces of advice you’d have for someone just starting out in the workforce, struggling with their career, or just looking to improve how they handle their money?

1. For finances: Use debt sparingly. Save up for what you want. Spend at least 20% less than what you earn
2. For struggling in your career: set yourself apart. This can be achieved in many ways including, get more education, learn a skill, be willing to arrive early and stay late. Be willing to volunteer for committees or events to get your foot in the door and meet people above your pat grade.
3.For those just starting out: observe and listen. Don’t talk to much, find out how the people who are in the position you want to be got there.

10. Where can people connect with you?

I don’t have a blog, but I comment over at the White Coat Investor forum and blog, as well as Physician on FIRE.

CMO Here Again

Thanks so much to Drsan1 for stopping by to share her story!  Her story about getting taken by a financial advisor is unfortunately pretty common among high income earners.  I have a co-worker who experienced the exact same thing with the exact same company – he was sold a high value whole life insurance policy, paying thousands of dollars for it each month – and he didn’t even have kids! It was horrible.
I also agree very much with her assessment of the hardest and best parts of being the family breadwinner. Her husband was a stay at home dad, like mine is, and all the “what if’s” do weigh on your mind.
Be sure to leave Drsan1 a comment below!

If you haven’t already, be sure to swing by my new one-stop shop page for Breadwinning moms, featuring all my prior articles and interviews (plus some updates on prior interviewees!).

 If you know anyone who would be a good candidate for this series (or if that might be you!), drop me a note at liz@chiefmomofficer.org –  I’m looking for moms that are breadwinners, earn six figures, and/or are millionaires.  I’d love to connect and share more amazing stories like this!

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2 thoughts on “Breadwinning, Six Figure Moms – Drsan1

  1. Well Drsan1 I have noticed your comments on WCI and POF and I did not realize you were female. When I first started commenting at WCI I remember that DrMom thought I was male. I guess it is possible to comment about personal finance in a gender neutral way. You know I worked very closely with the neonatalogists in my hospital for years. I think they make a lot of money. They owned their practice and sold out to a national company about 2 years ago. The groups leader is a very good businessman. I will look for your comments on WCI and POF.

  2. I love that you knew you wanted to be a Dr. at such a young age and fulfilled that desire.

    Your 3 tips are great, I especially like the suggestion to volunteer for committees and events, and #3. Finding a mentor would be good too.

    Thanks for sharing your impressive story, Drsan1.

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