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My Financial Awakening: In the beginning…

on March 22, 2013

I’m a doctor; therefore, I’m rich.  This is probably the greatest misconception.

I come from a middle income family.  Both of my parents were government employees who were barely able to make ends meet.  Despite our grandmother sending us to school and saving my parents this trouble, there was little left after budgeting for basic needs.  Like many Filipinos, my parents had an employee mindset.  “You should study hard and get good grades so that you can get a well-paying job,” they told us.

When I was in preschool, I was valedictorian! Ahem.  My parents probably saw my potential and instructed me, “When they ask you what you want to be when you grow up, tell them you want to be a doctor,” and they continued to brainwash me until med school.  I knew I had a choice but I just didn’t want to disappoint them.  I knew they equated being a doctor to being rich.  I knew that they wanted me to give our family a better chance at life.  So, I studied hard, got good grades, got a scholarship in med school, and passed the board exams.

And guess what? I am now rich!  No, not yet.  Apparently, being a doctor does not equal to being rich like my parents thought!  What my parents didn’t know was that after passing the boards, they would have to support me for another 3 to 10 years through residency and fellowship.  What they didn’t know was that residents and fellows got meager wages/allowances during training.  What they didn’t know was that we needed money (a lot!) in order to buy shares of stock to be able to practice in a reputable hospital or have a clinic put up.  What they didn’t know was that the majority of patients were unable to pay our professional fees.

My mother died of pancreatic cancer during my second year of med school and my father retired right after I passed the boards.  It was my turn to support our family.  I decided not to pursue residency and proceeded to gain employment.  Like any new board-passer, I did my share of moonlighting in small clinics and hospitals.  I became a lecturer of microbiology and parasitology and later of medical transcription.  I was then asked to manage a medical transcription company which unfortunately threw in the towel due to internal conflicts.  After exploring the other faces of medicine, I decided to practice as a school doctor.

Six years into the wonderful world of employment, I woke up one day with a cold, heavy stone in my stomach.  Nothing was happening.  I chased every payday, sighed with relief upon receiving my paycheck, and chased the next payday.  I was officially in the rat race.  I had nothing saved.  I felt a wave of panic course through my body.  This was when I realized, “There must be a better way!” Hence, was the start of my financial awakening…

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One response to “My Financial Awakening: In the beginning…

  1. […] little later on, before my financial awakening, I realized that I was actually lucky to be in the middle because I had a choice.  It was up to me […]

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