Dare to Dream Physician Podcast

Ep 26: Abundance is Not a Number with Dr. Elisa Chiang

November 04, 2021 Episode 26
Dare to Dream Physician Podcast
Ep 26: Abundance is Not a Number with Dr. Elisa Chiang
Show Notes Transcript

This is part 3 of a 3 part conversation with Dr. Elisa Chiang, MD, Ph.D., who is a practicing ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon. She is also a Life Coach and founder of Grow Your Wealthy Mindset. 

Dr. Chiang shares: 

  • What is "abundance mindset" and how physicians can cultivate one at any time, regardless of their current net worth.
  • How a simple change in words can empower physicians, instead of “I have to”,  think “I get to.” 
  •  Why starting the uncomfortable conversation on money, even for physicians who may feel unequipped to do so, will empower them to take the next step needed to achieve their dream life. 
  • What is the FIRE movement and the one thing that is even more important than financial independence for physicians to find.

And more about the often taboo topic of money… 


Dare to Dream Physician Resources:

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Resources for Dr. Elisa Chiang, MD, Ph.D.:

Dr. Elisa Chiang, Grow Your Wealthy Mindset Website: https://www.growyourwealthymindset.com/

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/WealthyMindsetMD


Grow Your Wealthy Mindset on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/GrowYourWealthyMindset

Grow Your Wealthy Mindset on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/GrowYourWealthyMindset


Women Physicians Creating Wealth Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/862065417721814

Elizabeth Chiang on Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-chiang-0582a432


Vision Health International:
https://www.visionhealth.org

There's exciting news at the Dare to Dream Physician! For those of you who wish to get clarity on your own "why", and get energized as you explore, envision, and create your dream life, I am taking on a limited number of one-on-one clients for Life Planning! To get the complete details, visit my website at Dare to Dream Physician https://daretodreamphysician.com

Note this document may have human or computer-generated errors in transcription. Refer to the audio file for the actual conversation.

Dr. Weili Gray, Host 00:00

This is the Dare to Dream Physician Podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Weili Gray. Many physicians today are feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled living a busy life based on someone else's terms and expectations. My mission is to help physicians figure out what they really want out of life, and how to make their dream life come true sooner than they ever imagined. My fellow physicians, your time to live your only life now. Become a dare to dream physician. Great things are going to happen. Make sure you hit subscribe and share this podcast with another physician you care about. 

[00:00:48] Dr. Gray, Host: Welcome back to another episode of the dare to dream physician podcast. I'm so excited today to continue part three of a three-part conversation with our guest, Dr. Elisa Chiang. She is an MD PhD, an ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon, she's also a life coach and founder of Grow Your Wealthy Mindset. 

If you missed the last two weeks episodes, please add those to your queue. After you're done listening to this one. In episode 24. We talk about her journey as a medical student, a graduate student, a resident fellow, and attending, the struggles she had along the way and how she was able to change her mindset and find transformation and contentment without changing any of her circumstances yet, she did eventually decide to change her job, but that was really the icing on the cake after she changed her mindset. And in episode 25, we talk about how our society as a whole views money as a taboo subject, and how, if we dare to open up a dialogue about money and be more transparent with each other about money and be willing to learn about money. We can stop feeling frustrated, helpless, stuck, all those negative emotions around money and start really looking at money more objectively that it's just a tool that it doesn't have power over us. And the other part is mindset is as important as the numbers, because somebody may have an astounding amount of money in their bank, yet still not feel secure, still not feel like they have enough, still feel worried about money. So, episode 25 is about growing a wealthy mindset and how that can contribute to finding more joy and fulfillment in our lives without yet changing the numbers in the bank. Today's episode is a continuation of that amazing discussion we were having on money. And I can't wait to share this with you. Enjoy.

[00:02:57] Dr. Chiang, Guest: 

When I talk about having scarcity around money, just the mindset that there's never enough money, or it's always going to be hard to have money or get money, you have to work hard for money.

Those are the concepts around people who have just have a scarcity mindset around money, as opposed to abundant mindset about money is, well, I can always earn more money. There's always enough money. I have enough. Someone who has a scarcity mindset towards money, they could be making a ton of money, but their money could be, it just flows, flows away from them just as soon as it gets to them or maybe they actually have a ton in their bank accounts, but they still just don't feel secure for that money.

They think that having more money will give them security, but it's really your thoughts about security that actually give you security. Right? So for some people, they think, oh, if I had a million dollars, then I would be rich and everything would be great and secure. And then there are other people like,well, a million dollars isn't enough. If I had a million dollars at a 4% withdrawal rate, that's only $40,000 a year. How could I possibly live on $40,000 a year? Well, I can tell you, there are a lot of families in the United States that live on $40,000 a year or even less. So, you know, it's, it's all really relative, but it's all goes back to our money mindset and how we think about money.

And also, I mean, some of what we want in this world, right? There are people who love cars and they may die, like whatever Tesla model or whatever, fancy Porsche or Ferrari. And that, that does bring them a lot of happiness because they just really love cars.

And maybe that is an appropriate place for them to spend money. Whereas, for me, I'm not a car person. So it would not make me happy to spend a hundred thousand dollars on a fancy whatever car. But there may be some physicians who, as an attending physician, think, well, well, what would it look like if I drove a Honda Civic, which is actually what I do drive.

And they feel like, well, no, I should have a BMW or an Audi, or, some kind of fancy luxury car to show off my attending status, but what's that really getting for them? If. Purchasing something just to what's that phrase living up with the Joneses 

[00:05:05] Dr. Gray, Host:   keeping up with the Joneses.. 

[00:05:07] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah. So if you're just trying to keep up with the Jones, I mean, are you really going to be happy? Are you, is that a good way to actually spend your money? So, I mean, those are all the things you can think about when it comes to money mindset. 

[00:05:20] Dr. Gray, Host: Hmm. Yeah. That's, that's great. So the first example that you gave, that this money scarcity mindset, how, there's never enough money that, there's never secure in your money.

I mean, I can see a situations where that would be true for somebody. Right. And not necessarily when they become a physician or I could think of a physician, if they have half a million dollars in loans, with a high interest rate. Maybe they would feel like that even with a physician income, but how does one, depending on whatever their story that they're telling themselves, I'm thinking of the physician with the high loan burden, or maybe a physician that just came from a really poor family, right.

That just, that was their upbringing. They didn't really have food on the table. Is it really just their thoughts or I'm just really curious about, what is the role of mindset in that, should someone who currently has this high loan burden, start having an abundance mindset? Tell me more.

[00:06:14] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah. So debt is a neutral circumstance, right? So having, let's say what's the average that in med school, like 200,000 now, maybe it's even higher. I think it's higher. I was like, I think it was 200,000 when I graduated. Yeah. 

[00:06:32] Dr. Gray, Host:  Yeah, I had about a quarter million dollars in loans and then a lot of that was at 6.8% interest, which is a big stress factor for me at the time.

[00:06:40] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Right. So, but that debt is still a neutral circumstance. And so, and actually to back up, you know, there are a lot of times where we say like, we can't afford something, but is that really true? That's really just a thought because who can afford $250,000 of debt from med school? Right? But we take on debt for med school because we think that it's worthwhile.

So, the  I can't afford something really goes more to a scarcity mindset as opposed to, I choose not to spend on that. Right? And that's more of an abundant, empowering mindset, right? So when you understand that everything you do is a choice and you're choosing not, and maybe you don't love that choice, but you're choosing not to buy one thing so that you can have the money to buy something else.

And that might be that, you know, you're choosing. To buy something or not buy something that you really want because you're choosing that it's more important to have healthy food on the table and the rent paid and pay for the utilities. It also goes on to , when you get a bill, you get the bill for your water bill, your electric bill.

And some people, when they look at those bills, oh, you know, all the money's pouring out. That would be more of a scarcity mindset. But if you think about it, when your power goes out, you hate it. Right? We are lucky to have clean running water that comes out of a tap.

 There was a time where that was a complete luxury, right? There are houses who only have one bathroom because the bathroom was such a luxurious thing to have even mansions back in the day. And now we're at a point where we have tons of bathrooms cause modern plumbing is plentiful.

So if we actually think about when we're paying our water bill or electricity bill, I am so happy that for this amount of money, I can flip a switch and have electricity. I can be up all night if I want to and still have light instead of having to be by candle light. I have internet, I have my computer.

I can get on the worldwide web because I have electricity. And if your local electric company suddenly decided, Nope, we're not selling you electricity anymore. You go figure it out. We'd be really unhappy. We want to pay that utility bill. And so, even things even thought changes like that.

Realizing, yes. I want to pay for this electric bill. I want to pay the water bill. I love that I have running water in my home. That also builds that more abundance mindset instead of that. Oh, money's just running from me everywhere and all these bills to pay. So I think that abundance versus scarcity mindset goes in, in multiple ways.


So yes, you may have a lot of debt, but you can also look at, do you have food on the table? Do you have a roof over your head? And like I said before, I used to read those books on gratitude and things like this is all fluff and this isn't all helpful, but looking more in that mindset, if we actually realize how much we're choosing on spending our money and we want to spend it, then we may realize, I really don't need that Louis Vuitton purse, but when I see the joy that, my child has, when they get their birthday gifts, then I'd rather spend my money there. Hmm, and, and while the, huge amounts of debt and then since, you know, it does feel like it's crushing working as a physician. Generally, we can find ways to pay off that debt and it may take a long time. And so that also means that we need to find ways to be happy in practicing medicine, because I do think it'd be a lot harder if you go through medical school, have all that debt and then realize, I don't want to be a practicing  physician. I want to be a high school teacher. Then it's probably going to be a lot harder to pay off that, $250,000 of debt. But if that's really what you want to choose, you may be able to still make it work for you. I don't want to say that nothing's not impossible, but that is where more financial planning can really help you make the decisions on where to go.

But if you run through the model, it's almost never useful to have really negative thoughts because when you have negative thoughts and have negative feelings, you're usually not doing actions that are helpful to getting a result that you actually want. So the result that you actually produce is probably not something that you actually want to have, right?

Like when you're feeling down and depressed or frustrated, the kind of actions you take are not usually things to fix the situation. When you're feeling empowered and motivated, then you can actually take steps in order to fix whatever situation you're in and get the kind of results you want.

[00:10:57] Dr. Weilli Gray, Host:Hmm..I love that. Wow. As you're saying these things, so many things have come up for me and so I don't even know where to start. I was getting light bulb moments, as you're saying, just giving. same situation, there is a fixed amount of money coming in each month and you can't buy everything, which actually no matter what your income is probably true. And, you can choose the way you look at it. You can choose the thought, which may be the default thought for some people, that, oh, I can't have this, everybody else can have this, but I can't have this.


And this is pretty terrible. I just don't have enough. Or you could also choose to say, well, I get to choose where I put this money coming in. Maybe something as basic as electricity or clean water, but I get this . I have the money to pay for this, and now I get electricity and water and That makes such a big difference. And because it actually, as you're saying that it, I started thinking about my grandmother. And this is a story from probably like the seventies or eighties in communist, China. I wasn't even born yet, but I hear these stories from my mom, you know?

So in communist China, my grandmother and most families would get ration food. I mean, people had very little money, if any, they had some currency, but mostly it was just stuff that was rationed from the government. So, there's a ration of food that they get every week.

My grandmother, she had four kids. It's a fairly big family, 6 person family. And she would share the food with people. When she would get the ration at the beginning of the week, she would just give it out to other families that may actually have less food.

And she was very happy about it. She liked doing that. And of course at the end of the week, they always ran out of food. I think that was a gift of hers that she. Well, one was that she was very generous, but I think that generosity came from an abundance mindset.

I mean, they survived, I don't think her kids were malnourished or anything. They were fine, but basically, she felt like there was an abundance, like, wow, I have food that I got rationed and, there are other families that are actually more in need than they are because maybe they got a smaller portion.

And so I think of my grandmother could have had that abundance mindset, back in the day when nobody had any money in communist China and the government just gave you these ration portions that I could adopt this mindset the other thing that resonated with me as you had mentioned that, if you're a physician, but then you hate your job and you have this big loan burden that could potentially be a problem. And as you said that, I said, oh, I remember feeling that way. I was a resident at the time, but I was looking at my quarter million dollar loan and kind of accumulating and with the 6.8 interest for a big portion of it. And, oh, actually to be honest, I was not looking at it, but I knew that it was accumulating.

I didn't want to look at it because it was too painful. And I had a tough time during residency because we had a baby during my intern year .I was definitely a burned out resident at one point. I remember. going in for a call shift and there's nothing, I've actually had a wonderful program.

I love the people I worked with and I actually love what I do. It was just the demands of both, having a young kid and being a resident. I just remember looking at the cafeteria workers and I thought, wow, I want to be like them. Why can't I be a cafeteria worker? Like, why do I have to be a resident?

[00:14:21] Dr. Gray, Host:  It’s like any job, my job would be like, I could work at Starbucks or I could be a farmer. Cause I would go to the farmer's markets and buy food from them. I stayed in medicine. There was definitely a period where I felt really, really desperate.

Like, I don't know what to do. This is hopeless, I'm stuck. I felt trapped and stuck. I wanted to finish my residency, the achiever in me, it was like, you know, you don't quit anything. And I'm so privileged that I'm in a great residency, that there's no reason not to finish it.

But then the other part of me was like, okay, I'm really struggling in life. And I'm in survival mode every single day, in the end I was able to get out of that burnout mode.

But I think that there are physicians that can feel that way. Right? Even now as they're listening, even attending physicians where they feel very stuck in their jobs. And I'm wondering like, maybe I could just be a cafeteria worker or, maybe I could work at Starbucks, but I wouldn't be able to pay off my loans.

You know, what do I do? I think I would say my message for them is you have options, right? There are so many options and you don't have to stay there, please don't stay there because we know that there is a very high epidemic of physician suicides too. And I think that we have to take our mental health really seriously and not tell stories to ourselves that we are stuck because nobody is ever stuck. They certainly should go get help, but you are not stuck. 

[00:15:41] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah. And this is where language is important, right? Like you can think, oh, I have to see 30 patients a day or I get to see 30 patients a day. There's 30 people that I can help today.

And it may still feel overwhelming to have that many patients that are scheduled. But you know, there are other doctors who might see 30 patients who are scheduled. Least it’s not 40, well, at least it’s not 50, right? I mean, I do know doctors who see 50, 60, even 70 patients a day. So some people actually, I know one physician where like 70, 80 patients a day is their norm and they're happy because that means that that's all the patients that are helping.

And honestly, also that's all the income they're getting. Right? The more patients we see typically the more production we'll have, but yeah, it's physician suicide, I think is a real problem. I think a lot of people don't realize just how high the physician suicide rate is. And it's, it's super sad. There was a physician who committed suicide, was found in their office that in my hospital, I think it was last year.

[00:16:42] Dr. Gray, Host: Yeah. And just to be clear, we're not saying here that coaching or changing your mindset is, is going to fix everything. It depends on the individual and the situation that they're in. It may be right for them to seek psychiatric care or, see a therapist and coaching is certainly not the same thing as therapy.

[00:16:59] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah. I’m so glad you're saying that. Yes, definitely. And, you know, coaching may still help you, even if you're getting therapy, I think they play different roles, but yeah, some people need therapy and there is no shame in getting therapy. There's no shame in getting help. And I think that's another message that we have to have in the physician community.

I think so many physicians are afraid of getting psychiatric help and we need to make mental health a norm and a priority. Right. Like I know, I think my mind is my most powerful resource, and to lose that is it's really in a way to lose everything. 

[00:17:33] Dr. Gray, Host: Hmm, yeah. Yeah. I didn't really necessarily plan to talk about physician suicide, but I will say that money can speak to a powerful subject. Right. And I think that's why it's taboo in our society because it can just bring them so many different things.

And I share my story of how I, at one point, felt really desperate about my student loans. And I felt like I was stuck and, in many ways, hopeless. And I was fortunate because I was able to get out of that place and actually part of what helped me was actually just learning more about finances.

So I was able to take more control of my personal finances, but I think the other part is that there are many tools to help us, one is, changing our mindset, right? Changing something as simple as shifting our mindset from, I don't have enough to, there's actually a lot going around and I don't have unlimited resources in my bank, but what I do have, I get to choose what I do with that.

But it may also be across the spectrum. Right? It's some people may feel so hopeless about it and that actually, maybe, part of the symptom of their depression or, , something more serious where, where they may need to seek psychiatric care. And that is all ok. 

[00:18:49] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah, it is. And just to go off your point again, some people probably don't talk about money because it is a depressing subject to them because they do have that scarcity mindset, but then them not talking about money, they're never going to learn the personal finance and how to invest and how to actually make their what  money they have grow and make their money situation better. 

[00:19:11] Dr. Gray, Host: Yeah. Right. By avoiding it, which I was certainly trying to do as a resident. It doesn't that that stress doesn't go away. It's something that still is a burden and eats away at, at some one, right?

[00:19:22] Dr. Chiang, Guest:  So when we hide away from something that's stressful or burdensome to us, then we can't actually think of like, well, how are we going to solve this problem?

And, for some people, the problem of not having enough money might actually be just learning a little bit about personal finance and figuring out where their money's going and how they're spending in and where they can make changes in that in order to actually have enough.  

[00:19:45] Dr. Gray, Host:   Yeah, well, that's a great segue to maybe having you explain to the listeners, what's one way that they can do to start.

If they are in that position where they feel overwhelmed or just scared, fearful, or in pain, when they think about money, what, what do you suggest? What should their next steps be? 


[00:20:04] Dr. Chiang, Guest: It depends on where they're at and where they want to go. Obviously I'd love to coach anyone who wants to work on their money mindset, but if they don't feel like they want to get into coaching, they want to start something smaller, just starting and reading and, or podcasts, whatever kind of medium they like to consume the most.

So there are lots of great books out there and there's a lot of great blogs. There's a lot of great podcasts and just embracing the education of money, money mindset, and.. and how to manage money. And I think it all just starts with education because when you don't know about something, you fear it a lot more, right?

There's a lot of fear that is wrapped around the unknown. And so if we can shine some light on the subject, I think that's a really great starting point.

[00:20:49] Dr. Gray, Host: Hmm, yeah, and that just reminds me because, my goal is to help physicians dare to dream and imagine the life that they want. And then to go out and get that as soon as possible. And I think money is a big obstacle for  most people, because people will often, they don't even let themselves dream because they're like, oh, but I don't have money. I actually I can't do that because I don't have the money to, and think that, if we can start working on our money mindsets. And I'm not saying that, once we were working on money mindset, then they're going to be able to get everything they want. But it, it really does, help them. I think That really will be empowering for them, including in pursuing their dream life. 

Because we've talked about it in our pre-interview chat. How both of us are familiar with the FIRE Movements, the Financial Independence Retire Early. That term and how, when I was a resident, that sounds totally undoable and I'm certainly, not financial independent right now, but even being introduced to that concept, after I became an attending, I think it was actually empowering because you see on the internet space, some physicians that have become financially independent at a fairly young age, in their forties.

And I think, okay, there are physicians, if they can do it, why, why can't I try to do it? And I'm not saying that everybody has to pursue it, but I think also that fire movement is a mindset as well. Because it's not like they're doing anything magical. There is some math involved, but some of it is just prioritizing, what's important to you. Like you were saying, is a Tesla important to you, or is your freedom and not having to work 80 hours a week, even as an attending, is that important to you? And if you figure out well, what is important to me that can also help you redirect your energy and redirect your money and redirect even your earning.

And so I think that learning about money, learning about personal finance, starting to figure out what is your money mindset. Right. I think that will really help people in their personal growth journey. 

[00:22:53] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah. And I do want to say about the FIRE Movement. So I really do think financial independence is great.

Empowers physicians to build, to live the life they want, but I'd like people to rethink the retire early, and think more like, well, how can I make the practice of medicine such that I enjoy it now you don't have to retire early. I mean, Some people, that's what they want to do and that's great. And that is their choice, but I just wanted to have physicians open up, what does it really mean once I'm financially independent, I can do whatever I want. Well, now I can practice medicine the way I want. And I say this because, back in grad school, when I was burned out, I basically started looking about finance, __ finance, and get into real estate investing with this idea of fire even before fire really became this well-known term because my idea was, I don't want to be stuck.

 I want to build up enough walls so that I can just live my life and I don't have to necessarily do something I don't want to do because that's how I fell in grad school that was doing this. I didn't really want to be doing it, but now I've realized that, to back up part of my coming back to Cleveland,not only that I have a great friend base here, but this is also where I did that real estate investing.

And so I knew I wanted to get back into real estate investing and I have gotten back to real estate investing in Cleveland. Part of that motivator was that FIRE Movement I've been following the physician FIRE since its beginning. But I realized at some point that I had some arrival fallacy that once I got to financial independence and I could retire early  then I will have arrived, but I think as physicians, we all have a little bit of arrival fallacy, right? We think, as a med student, that residency will be better and residency fellowship will be better and fellowship, oh, one more attending, it'd be great. And then at least for me, when I got to be an attending, I'm like, is this it?



 You know, at some point with coaching, I actually realized that, well, once I got to financial independence and it if I just retired early, I think I'd also feel like, well, is this it And, and so now I'm really thinking, well, okay, life is what we do every day.

And I don't want to just wait, obviously I'm still going to invest my money wisely and grow it. But part of my going to this new part-time job, I came to the realization of well, I want to live the life I want to live now. I don't want to just keep trying to earn more money to invest more so that I can retire early. I'm making a conscious decision where I'm going, part-time obviously I'm going to earn a lot less and I'm going to have less than bus and that's going to push out my timeline for, I will be completely financially independent and could potentially retire early, but I'm working toward making every day closer to my ideal life now, instead of, okay, once I get to financial independence, then I can make an ideal life.

And part of me also realizes is that, have this number in mind that once I have this net worth, that I can then retire, but. That is also mindset, right? Because, maybe when I reach the number, I'm going to be but what if this happens to the economy, I need more of a cushion. And once you leave medicine, if you stop practicing for a few years, it becomes really difficult to come back to practice.

But if you practice part-time, you can do that indefinitely. And so I really want to encourage physicians who are thinking the FIRE Movement to think about, well, how could I make the practice of medicine, what I actually want to do in my every day and how can I work every day to make my practice closer to that practice?

[00:26:07] Dr. Gray, Host: Yeah. What you shared is a beautiful example of how money mindset and pursuing the dream life intertwines, because that's exactly it, right? If we're doing a certain thing, so like FIRE is okay, I want freedom. Financial independence. Retire early, I want freedom. If I have enough money, so I don't have to work anymore, I don't have to worry about working. I have that freedom of the income freedom. But, there's the, where the money mindset comes in is, well, when is enough enough? What is enough, right? Because, especially with retire early, there could be 50 years ahead of you that you have to fund.


And, there could be much higher inflation rates. There could be market crashes and yeah, we do the calculations with the model saying, okay, this should be all okay. But there's still a leap of faith there, which is fine. And people do it. But then the question is, okay, so now you're retired.

Well then what, what are you retiring to, is that your dream life, is your dream life to escape medicine because a lot of people maybe just thinking I just needed to escape medicine because there's so much pain right now, but it could be maybe it's the pain like you were describing, like maybe it's the system that you're in, right?

Like maybe if you practice as a ophthalmologist in a more efficient practice where you feel like you have more control of your schedule and it may not even need to be part time, but that person could be much happier. And so also just imagining, what are the elements that we really want in our dream life.

If it's just having more control over your schedule and maybe, you know, starting work a little bit later or earlier ending earlier, if that's all it is, you don't have to quit medicine to find that, those options are out there, that you have to know that's what you want. And you may even be able to negotiate that if you feel strongly about that's what I want.

And even if it doesn't exist yet, you might be able to create something like that. And so I, I love how you use that example as how money intertwines with that, because it's true. I think it's great. I mean, Both you and I feel the same way about the importance of physicians learning about finances and mastering their finances, no matter what.

[00:28:11] Dr. Elisa Chiang, Guest: So, when a lot of people talk about, I can't afford it. So I remember even during med school, grad school residency, I love international travel and I always actually made a point to, to continue to travel. And I did a lot of international traveling during all those years, even when I didn't really have that much money. I wanna bring that up for twofold. One is that I think in doing a lot of the international travel, I went to third world countries. I went to places where people had so much less and I actually spend some time living with a family in inner Mongolia and their two bedroom or not even a bedroom, like two room house. And I mean, they did not have running water. There was just a shed out back where you did your business. And I think doing that traveling really exposed me to just how much we have in the United States. And it does bring some level of gratitude, um, and coming back and, and the other reason I want to bring that up is that, yeah, even as a med student grad student, I still found the means to be able to do these trips.

It doesn't have to be expensive, but you can have great experiences at, not such a great price tags. I remember talking to some other friends trying to, other med students trying to convince them to go with me somewhere. And they're like, oh, I can't afford that. And yet, they went and did a ski vacation in Vail.

I'm pretty sure that ski vacation in Vail cost just as much, possibly even more than whatever trip I was trying to, to get them to go on with me too. Yeah, I think that's such a good reminder. And you know, what's so funny. I, this is I think a college trip, but I, I went to inner Mongolia too. I love that area. And I remember we lived in a yurt. I didn't get to stay with the family because I traveled with a group of other college students, but I can picture exactly what you're saying about how they really didn't have much, but you know what? They were some of the happiest people I ever met, she said, oh, come back and visit me. I didn't know was I was going to be able to come back, but she's like, oh, but when you come back, we'll slaughter a lamb or whatever it is that they do in their culture to celebrate. And, she was just so happy to connect with another human being. And actually that was, that was one of the moments where I thought. I want to be a doctor. I want to go into medicine because I love connecting with people in the purest way. 

 Like you were saying, I was, especially in the first five years of my attending career, I'm not at financial independence yet, but I really I focus so much on okay, let me see if I can invest this, every little amount of money that came in. I want to invest in this.

So, I can reach FIRE. And I got to the point where I reached one milestone, even though it wasn't F I was like, Ooh, this is one milestone. And I just remember looking at my spreadsheet. I don't really feel happy. One is, like you said, people don't really talk about money.


So aside from my husband, I didn't really have a lot of people in to share this milestone with. And then two, is even when I did share with my one friend who I felt comfortable sharing with. It was anticlimactic. She was happy for me, but I'm like, this is just a number on a piece of paper.


I think I was certainly happier the moment of when I was traveling in inner Mongolia and really connecting with this woman and her daughter, who's from a completely different culture, different part of the world, but yet she was human and I was human and we were able to connect.

And that's actually what I love about medicine. I love being able to connect with people who may be from a completely different walk of life and I still enjoy it. So, I actually, I am not so much focused on fire anymore. I'm more just focused on what can I build now?

How can I design my life now that I just want to live it forever. Right? Or, as long as I can still do it, And that also brings up another point, which is that we, we don't know, right? We could plan for FIRE and maybe five years or 10 years, but we don't know if that day is going to come.

Even if we have the resources, then we might not be in the same health condition that we are, we may not even be alive. Right. Because we can't predict the future. And so I do have more of the, let me live more in the moment and let me enjoy the moment.

And yeah, I do want to invest in, I'm not saying to just go out and spend everything and say , seize the moment, but I think there should be a balance. And so thank you for that reminder. 

[00:32:24] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah, I have loved our conversation today. It's been great. 

[00:32:27] Dr. Gray, Host: You can find Dr. Elisa Jong [email protected] 

[00:32:31] Dr. Chiang, Guest: you can sign up for my email list there, or you can even sign up to a chat with me. I'm also on social media. So I do have a Facebook group called Women Physicians, Creating Wealth. It is only open to women physicians, but if you are a woman physician, I totally welcome you there.

I'm also on Instagram and YouTube and probably the easiest ways to get there is just to go my website and then click on. 

[00:32:53] Dr. Weilli Gray, Host: Great. So you have a YouTube channel where you have lots of content on there talking about money mindset, and tidbits about personal finances.

And then I am in your Facebook group and you post a lot of great content in there as well. What are some of the posts you've put on there or, yeah, 

[00:33:13]Dr. Elisa Chaing, Guest: So, I I've done a post every day. I started the group on May 12th and so every day there's been a daily posts and I I've been posting a lot of places.

So, some personal finance stuff, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, but also investing in real estate, different types of real estate things to think about when investing in real estate and, posting, some questions, to think about money mindset. Every Saturday I'll post a poll in order to have people answer. And some of the polls will help me think of what topics to post more on and some are more just to see where people are at. And then every Sunday I post a quote about money or money mindset. 

[00:33:49] Dr. Gray, Host:  Yeah. Oh, that’s so great. So we'll put all that in the show notes and if you're a woman physician, I highly encourage you to join her Facebook group. Yeah. 

[00:33:56] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Yeah. I'm on YouTube. I've been putting out videos every week. Most of it has been more on just mindset in general and coaching in general, as opposed to actually educating on personal finance or educating on investing.

But I definitely plan to do some more videos, focus more on money mindset. 

[00:34:11] Dr. Gray, Host: Great, thank you so much again for coming on and. So loved our conversation about money and life and how people can build that dream life. 

[00:34:22] Dr. Chiang, Guest: Now. Thanks so much for having me on this. Isn't great. 

Dr. Weili Gray, Host 

Thanks for listening. Make sure you hit subscribe so you don't miss another episode. If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend and give us a five star review so we can help more physicians dare to dream and create their most abundant lives. There's also exciting news at the Dare to Dream Physician. For those of you who wish to get clarity on your own why and get energized as you explore, envision and create your dream life. I'm so excited to announce that I'm taking on a limited number of one on one clients for life planning. To get the complete details and sign up for an exploration meeting. Go to my website, daretodreamphysician.com. I really look forward to working with you. And it would be such an honor and privilege for me to be able to help you create your life plan. I truly believe that life planning will transform your life and will give you that energy to pursue your dream life sooner than you ever imagine. See you next week

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