“If you can survive medical school, you can learn to handle your finances, you just need someone to point you in the right direction.”
- Started Investing in Stocks and Mutual Funds 1999.
- Sold all mutual funds, stocks, CDs, Bonds 2004.
- First Real Estate investment 2005.
- Graduated Medical School 2006.
- Board Certified in Anesthesia 2010.
- Founded Investment Club 360 in 2010.
- Obtained Real Estate licence 2011.
- Founded FundingNest.com 2015.
- Published “Make It, Keep It” 2016.
- Founded Baluch Bulletin in 2016.
I knew from an early age I wanted to follow my father into medicine. As the son of an internal medical specialist, I always felt like I had the inside scoop, so I was going in with my eyes open.
Anesthesia appealed to me because it’s acute in nature, intense, and unique. As an anesthesiologist, I deal with one patient at a time. There isn’t the mass volume of other medical professions. I’m able to comfort people when they need it the most, right before a scary surgery, after a serious trauma, when they are having the worst pain delivering a baby, etc. Being a laid back kind of guy, I must admit I also enjoy basically wearing my pajamas to work and never having to worry about a bad hair day!
There was always one aspect of my dad’s life that I didn’t want to imitate, though, and that was financial. Although he did some basic stuff like building a savings account, and was able to provide a college fund, lack of planning and understanding investments let to me having to pay my way through med school. My parents did everything they could to give me the best start in life, and I’m eternally grateful and proud to be their son, but I was determined to educate myself financially from the outset.
Since they don’t teach this stuff to medical students in college, I learned from the street, and from reading over a hundred books, listening to audiobooks and studying executive summaries. By the age of nineteen, I had two financial advisors. (also a maxed out Roth IRA, twenty-five thousand dollars saved for emergencies, a CPA, and a financial planner!).
I had some small business failures when I was twenty-one and twenty-two, and learned from them. I tried to get in on real estate fix and flips, but with no experience and no mentors, I made some expensive mistakes. I’m glad I made those mistakes early on, and haven’t had any setbacks since.
Some of the best teaching I had came from mentors who had been there, done that. I soon realized that none of the financial advisors were retiring early, diversified into alternative asset classes such as real estate or hard money lending, business, etc. In 2005, at the age of twenty-seven, I dumped all my stocks, paying the ten percent penalty, and went all in on multifamily real estate. I started making closer to twenty percent returns consistently and have never looked back. I got my series sixty-three and twenty-two securities licenses, and set up Investment Club Realty, LLC, and later, Funding Nest.
It wasn’t until I started talking to other investors, financial advisors, and asset managers, I realized my father wasn’t unique, or even an anomaly, amongst doctors. Rather, he was a product of the medical training establishment.
Among financial professionals, the consensus is that doctors don’t know anything about money. Most of them invest in failing businesses and are too busy to practice due diligence. The issue with most medical professionals is that they just don’t understand how money is made or lost in the investments, making them easy targets for scammers.
Investing is a learned art and many people fall victim to these mistakes, it is not limited to one profession or another.
Coupled with this prevalent lack of financial sophistication, I started to realize that the majority of physicians, from surgeons, consultants, dentists, to family and general practitioners, are living a precarious lifestyle. Many have crippling debts. Despite high incomes, most have little to no safety net. When that income relies on showing up every day, working long hours, and an ability to perform specific highly skilled tasks, what would happen to the majority of them if they burn out, or become incapacitated? How would they financially survive?
And so the need for financial education for medical professionals became apparent. I spent months thinking about the various questions my colleagues regularly ask me, and compiled them into the core framework that became the outline for the book, “Make It, Keep It.” It quickly became apparent that some subjects are just too vast to cover in any great depth in such a short financial primer, so I’ve set up BaluchBulletin.com with a resource section to provide more in-depth explanations.
It is my sincere hope that between this and following books, and the resources available on the website, you will develop sound financial management skills, escape the “clueless doctor” stereotype, and create a solid financial future for yourself and your family.
Adapted from the preface of Make It, Keep It: The New Rules of Wealth Preservation for Medical Professionals.