Dr. Barbara Hamilton is an interventional radiologist and owns a blog called “Tired Superheroine”.
She initially started her blog because she felt that women were discounting themselves and wanted to see more women in a field like hers.
One night Dr. Barbara woke up to attend to a trauma patient and the next night she was tired from waking up with her little baby. She realized that both work and her baby were really worthwhile and wanted to share her story and empower the other women she saw around her. And that was how the ‘Tired Superheroine’ was born.
Stocks4docs invited Dr. Barbara to talk about her blog and share her experiences with their audience.
One of the interesting things the “Tired Superhero” talks about is creating “Money Momentum” early in your career
It talks about creating your wealth early on in your career and building your ‘empire’ so to speak. Dr. Barbara says doing this early on can be huge because of the compounding effect and all it takes is to learn the basics of personal finance.
This thought process is exemplified by the decisions she made in her early years as a doctor.
The first thing she focused on was making sure she was paid the same initial salary as her male co-fellows. Her reasoning was that the people on the other side of the table were business people and expected her to negotiate and if she didn’t, she would probably be accepting a lowball offer. She feels it is really important to realize this because medical students are not ‘raised’ to think like that.
Dr. Barbara goes on to share the top 5 money moves that got her husband and herself to their first million dollars of net worth
1. Minding Career Longevity – she got burnt out pretty early in her career
2. Delaying the purchase of her primary residence – delayed it for a couple of years before buying
3. Making a plan for her student debt
4. Being intentional about lifestyle creep
5. Being selectively cheap – she is of the opinion that you can really spend your money intentionally and be selectively cheap.
Renting versus Owning
Dr. Barbara discovered that the costs of owning a home were a lot and amounted to nothing but lifestyle creep. She and her husband had moved into a new place and wanted to learn about it before buying because she didn’t want to take the risk of buying in the wrong neighborhood.
“Just the transaction alone of buying and selling is really expensive; it costs 5 figures. There are costs like the landscaping bill, the garbage bill, water bill, and if anything breaks, like pool equipment, for example, it can set you back by a few thousand dollars. You don’t have to deal with any of that if you rent”.
Pull all the figures down instead of just talking about them and listening.
They had been living for a year in Palm Springs, within walking distance of downtown and she badly wanted a beautiful home like the ones she saw around her. But when she sat down to do a spreadsheet, she found she had underestimated their expenses.
The spreadsheet showed that they were renting for $24000 a year but with owning, expenses would mount to an additional $100,000 within a couple of years.
Dr. Barbara recommends a couple of great resources that helped her understand more about the finances involved in buying versus renting.
Home buying for dummies – showed Dr. Barbara that yearly maintenance for the house was supposed to be budgeted at 1 to 3 percent a year, which meant that if she were to buy a $700,000 house, she would have to budget $14000 per year, just for maintenance. This made her feel she wasn’t really throwing away money on rent.
New York Times Rent vs Buy calculator – helped her discern how long she was going to be in a particular area, whether it was worth buying or renting in that area.
“Buying a house is wonderful in some ways but it’s a luxury and a drag on your money momentum, especially if your goal is to retire early or do something non-traditional. In that case, you might want to not buy or at least put it off until you are better off financially”.
Being Selectively Cheap
Dr. Barbara is inspired by the podcaster, Paula Pan’s motto, “You can afford anything but not everything”. She thinks it’s a brilliant concept that applies to both time and money.
She gives an example of how she could definitely afford a new car but is happy to drive around in her 2009 Mazda.
To her, it’s buying a car versus the opportunity cost of spending that money somewhere else; like property, for example.
She has purchased a rental property; a duplex. Every time she thinks of buying a new car, she reminds herself that the cost of the car might be equal to a down payment on another rental property.
It could also mean money lost if the market fell and there was a great deal on a property, right after she bought the car.
“Doctors today have more choices than they think they have. We have a stressful occupation with a lot of pressures and a lot of people believe they deserve a lot of things and they do, but it’s up to them to choose what gets them the most bang for the buck”.
Dr. Barbara strongly feels that being a property owner is something that’s going to generate passive income for her and build generational wealth and is definitely more useful to her family than buying a new car.
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Upcoming projects for the “Tired Superhero”
An audio resource on Her “Tired Superheroine” blog talks about all the failures she has endured on the road to becoming a successful doctor. A lot of trainee doctors have found this to be helpful and comforting. It also helps them realize that while the journey is not easy, it is totally worth it.
Some of her upcoming projects are:
1. A retreat in October for women in male dominated fields.
The emphasis will be on bringing together women who face similar pressures and challenges, working in male dominated areas and empowering them to come together and mastermind some solutions.
Go to www.tiredsuperheroine.com/retreat to register.
2. A Beta version of her first course, called “Broke to breadwinner and beyond”.
Although the course is also open to men, it focuses on the empowerment of women working in medicine and the STEM fields. Dr. Barbara has written it from the perspective of a female breadwinner
In the course, she talks about:
- How to get out of the hole of educational debt
- What to do with the money you earn and how to thrive
- How to get the credit you deserve
- How to promote your accomplishments and build your “career capital”. Dr. Barbara is of the view that once you do that, every time you ask for a raise, you get it, because people already know you’re worth it. She supports this with examples of how she herself has successfully done it.
- The basics of personal finance from her perspective of a female breadwinner who’s figured some stuff out.
It’s a fabulous course in a much-needed niche where there isn’t a lot of information specific to women in medicine and will definitely prove invaluable to doctors, especially those in training and in their early years.
Want to learn more from Dr. Barbara? Visit www.tiredsuperheroine.com.
Barbara Hamilton, MD is an interventional radiologist, leader, and the author of Save Lives, Enjoy Your Own: Finding Your Place in Medicine.
She helps aspiring & early career doctors succeed in the surgically-oriented and traditionally male-dominated fields by pulling back the curtain on what it looks like to be a woman and parent in medicine. Ultimately, she strives to be an example of what is possible for those who would follow in her footsteps.
Through her writing, speaking, and coaching, she aims to patch the leaky pipeline of women aspiring to the male-dominated fields, so more talented people of diverse backgrounds can join her as they transition into fulfilling, multifaceted lives as attending physicians.