Dr. Shelly Meyer: hi everyone and welcome to the Dr. Shelly Meyer YouTube channel and the women in medicine be the change podcast I’m so excited to welcome Dr. Elisa Chiang to our channel and to our podcast um she is an OCU oculoplastic ophthalmologist and has kind of shifted also into helping women negotiate or helping women with a healthy and wealthy my money mindset so I’m going to let you tell your story Dr. Chiang about how you got to where you are and kind of what shaped it and then we’ll talk a little bit about burnout too but go ahead and tell us how you got where you are.

Dr. Elisa Chiang: Well I’m going to go back to when I was in med school so I went to case western reserve university in Cleveland Ohio and I actually grew up in beechwood which is a suburb of Cleveland so my parents were actually my father had taken a job in California so my parents were actually in the process of selling our family home and I ended up talking to them about actually buying it from them because I was doing an md PhD program and that typically is eight years and I actually did get a stipend I got married really young right uh out of college so I dated my husband he didn’t quite have a job yet but he eventually got one but he’s a high school teacher and so basically we got the largest mortgage we could afford and my parents kind of helped us with the down payments so we could afford the house and that’s when I first started learning about personal finance was just reading about all these different type of mortgages what was libra what was an arm you know what kind of mortgage sched do you get 30-year 15-year or one of these like hybrid products and what all that means and so then I just started reading about personal uh finance in general and investing and you know also books like think and grow rich a million near next door and really just developing that wealthy mindset back then and I also started thinking about what’s called fire of financial independence retire early you know it’s a term I’m not exactly sure when it got popularized but I don’t think back then it was necessarily something that really people thought of so at any rate I read rich dad poor dad during my graduate school years and enriched by graduate school was the first time I ever had burnout and was partially just from being micromanaged during my research and so I uh actually Rich and pour dad they had these conferences in town so I attended the free conference which led to a 300 two-day weekend so I did that of course that weekend was all selling their like real estate courses and so buying their real estate courses and spending 18 000 on my credit card for it

Dr. Shelly Meyer: wow !

Dr. Elisa Chiang: so then I was super motivated to actually make this work

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah and you put the money and you got to make it work for you right

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yeah I definitely did I finished my graduate school kind of off cycle so I either had the option of going back to med school and like losing a lot of elective time or just taking like eight months off and so I took the eight months off and I really just like worked on trying to make back that eighteen thousand dollars and at first it wasn’t going anywhere I ended up taking another real estate course that had a money back guarantee um that was better than the original right yeah and that one came with mentorship which I think is really important and so um with that the help of um bob Campano and the mentor and person who did that program I was actually able to flip a house and make back the 18 000 and a little bit more just on that first slip and then I went ahead and did it again and I started investing in a few other projects with other people lost some money on some of them made money on others overall came out ahead but really that’s what showed me kind of like a whole different world out there

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah that’s so interesting because I have just I can only speak for myself but I have no experience with knowing any of that you know my luckily my husband already when I met him he was already doing a lot of real estate and we had he had some houses he had bought so we were able to sell those and use that money to purchase the place where my office is which is an old house and so real estate investment is really huge and then money mindset I never learned any of that and of course it’s not really put into our medical school curriculum right

Dr. Elisa Chiang: it’s not any of our curriculum right high school college you know med school residency like none of it I remember one of the other md PhD students in my program he’s like you know you can still get more loans and so you have more money to spend and then so he literally got more alone because we were lucky enough that we got a stipend it was 20 000 a year so you know it was low but you know we could live on it and so he bought more money just so that he could live a higher lifestyle as a student

Dr. Shelly Meyer: wow I don’t know if I’d recommend that

Dr. Elisa Chiang: no, I definitely don’t recommend that at all because of course you’ve got interest payments on that and I think as doctors were really kind of there’s this idea of like oh we’ll make plenty of money as a doctor so

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah you’re always like waiting for that day to arrive where you’re going to make all that money and pay everything it doesn’t happen quickly if it happens at all right the way you can pay everything back especially if you know get on to gotten a lot more debt so

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yeah especially if you keep increasing your lifestyle you know even as a medical student

Dr. Shelly Meyer: right because you think I mean I didn’t do it as a medical student but as a doctor you think well I’m supposed to be making a certain amount of money so I should be living this lifestyle but I really believe in a low overhead lifestyle in the beginning you know until you kind of get your feet on the ground so circling back a little bit to your history in your specialty is are you and your specialty getting affected also by the RVUS and the like or were you I know you’re not doing you’re not totally

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yeah so in ophthalmology typically it is one of the um fields of medicine where there is still a lot of private practice however there’s been a lot of private equity buying the private practices the older doc doctors who are partners selling out to private equity and so the younger people coming in kind of often getting screwed up to be honest yeah and a lot of the models of reimbursement are based on collections and that’s what your compensation is and so it’s a battle just to keep seeing more patients where you know you’re reimbursed less per patient so increasing what you’re reimbursed for and increasing whatever you can get for cash payments so in ophthalmology there are specialty lenses and uh so selling specialty lenses or doing things like refractive surgery I’m a ocular plastic surgeon so I guess the push for me would be do more cosmetic surgery or like you know and Botox injections and fillers because pain is really based on yeah on productivity

Dr. Shelly Meyer: right I hadn’t thought of you doing that kind of extra work to bring in that extra money so it’s affecting all fields we all know that right and so burnout is kind of inevitable in some ways unless we find some other we have some voice in it or we find some other way or outlet um so when you work with women tell us about the coaching that you’re doing around mindset financial mindset and what kind of mindset you’re seeing in the beginning with particularly women in medicine with their finances

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yeah so it is all over the place so as women we’re often conditioned that we’re not good with numbers you know the man’s the head of the household as a woman physician you know we may be the primary breadwinner earner right

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah because my husband’s a teacher too so we both are kind of in that situation

Dr. Elisa Chiang: right and a lot of women kind of leave their husbands just take care of the money which you know if that’s his propensity and that’s what you know works for you as a couple you know it’s fine but I do really recommend still at least knowing what’s going on you know having at least annual but probably better quarterly like money days where you can kind of just discuss like you know where’s the money going how much are we saving how much we’re investing where are the accounts you know because god forbid something happens to your spouse and you don’t even know what accounts or investments that you have

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yes yeah I was in that position a while I mean nothing happened to my spouse luckily but I realized I was in that position and I hadn’t gotten very aware of the finances and so I think having those check-ins and meeting and being a team about it and then some women aren’t married so some women physicians aren’t married so you know just knowing that that money piece and where their money’s going is really important so checking them themselves and where their money’s going and then what about

Dr. Elisa Chiang: um well and just to also add is that women typically outlive men right so there’s going to be a chance where we’ll probably have to take care of the finances ourselves and we don’t want to start picking that up you know in our 70s or 80s or 90s right we want to have some sense of it beforehand

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah and unfortunately

Dr. Elisa Chiang: I’ve seen situations where you know uh you know people get a divorce and the woman had no idea what was going on with their finances until the divorce comes and then finds out just how bad of a position they were in and of course divorce is probably the worst thing that happened to anyone’s finances as well because now you’re dividing everything up into two

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah especially if you’re the primary breadwinner then you’re you know as a woman then you’re responsible for a lot of that that burden falls on you financially when there’s a divorce

Dr. Elisa Chiang: right and often as a woman you also end up taking care of the children from the marriage and you know college it is astronomical these days to send kids through college

Dr. Shelly Meyer: I know that’s I have three kids that are 10 11 and 12 so I’m a bit scared about college tell me or tell us about um negotiation skills in women like for especially women in medicine we know that that discrepancy still exists right between

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yeah there’s a 20 gender pay gap it is really significant it’s really there and what’s crazy is that so there are certain specialties like ob. gyn which have more women in it and but there was a time where actually it was still male dominated right because there was a time where women didn’t become doctors and what happened is as more women enter a specialty the payment for that specialty tends the average compensation actually tends to go down

Dr. Shelly Meyer: really yeah wow we’re bringing the money down that’s crazy yeah so we don’t get any training men or women in in negotiation skills but it seems somehow that either the men in medicine don’t have to do it or they’re better at doing it have you found that or have you

Dr. Elisa Chiang: men are more likely to ask men are more likely to ask for what they want they’re more likely to uh to actually negotiate and not just take you know what’s offered they’re more likely to argue and there’s a lot of societal perceptions about that right so you know a lot of times if a man says something it’s like oh he’s standing up for himself and if a woman says the exact same thing there are you know other names that can get other things

Dr. Shelly Meyer: we don’t want to mention here but yes they flow freely when that comes up

Dr. Elisa Chiang: I mean there is there unfortunately is sexism um you know still around and there’s just underlying biases that people just don’t even recognize right so when um physicians are on the on a podium and they’re all speakers you know how often is it Dr. male whatever Dr. male whatever and you know and shelly because some reason we’re women then we used our first name instead of our title Dr. Meyer

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yes I had just had a discussion with another female physician recently and it was a recent experience they had in the um in the hospital just everyone assuming they were a nurse they’re a woman I’m like does this still exist I haven’t worked in a hospital in a long time but it’s just kind of

Dr. Elisa Chiang: it still definitely exists I remember at some point where I was feeling like I had to dress up really nice to be a doctor like I couldn’t just wear scrubs because otherwise they would my patients would think they never saw the doctor

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yes I’ve heard that when I remember that back in residency they’re like I never saw a doctor I’m like yeah you did you just don’t know that you did yeah it’s crazy that that still exists well I know some in some of your um coaching with women that you do now there’s something called the arrival fallacy can you tell me what that is

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yes I think a lot of physicians kind of fall in survival fallacy because we have so much delayed gratification in order to get through all of our education so the idea of arrival policy is like I’ll be happy when you know whatever accomplishment happens or we get to a certain place so you know even as a med student and you know you’re a med student and you’re thinking like oh it’ll be better when I’m a resident that’ll be a real doctor like I’ll actually be able to put in real orders I don’t have to have everything cosine right and then when you’re razzing you’re like oh it’ll be better when I’m a fellow or I’m in attending I’ll be making like real money like you know there won’t be someone above me every and then when you’re in 10 you’re like okay is this it okay what’s the next thing that I need do I you know if I’m in academic medicine oh be better when I’m you know a full professor or it’ll be better when I get this research grand or I’ll be better when I finally have that doctor house that luxury car or I’m married you know I have kids like if you’re always waiting for something to be happy then you’re missing the point of life it’s the journey in getting there

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah it is and I think a lot of us because we’re set up as physicians to think of I didn’t know the term before I met you about a rival fallacy in that yeah there’s always the grass is greener and it’s eventually and you can never reach that state it seems like right it’s totally unachievable because there’s always something else there

Dr. Elisa Chiang: because you know when you get to whatever accomplishment I mean it does feel great at the time but that just becomes your new norm and there’s still going to be things that happen on a daily basis that cause frustration or cause you to be annoyed or angry and hopefully things that cause you to be happy and feel joy or peace or you know any number of feelings

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah I agree well share with us your website and your however you want to be contacted because I think what you’re doing is really interesting and I think it’s a very important message and um training that especially women in medicine would need

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yeah so my website is grow your wealthy mindset and I am on Facebook Instagram I have a YouTube channel you can find links to all that social media from the website I also you know do master classes as well as you know some free coaching sessions so if you sign up for my email list you’ll always be notified of when those are happening

Dr. Shelly Meyer: oh great okay that’s good information to have and then what would be like one little nugget you could share of either self-care in general or um financial self-care for the women listening to this or watching this

Dr. Elisa Chiang: yeah so any physician has enough brain power to build to manage their finances um I do what really want to warn you know I don’t want to say all financial advisors are bad people but very few financial advisors are actually what’s truly called fiduciary and doing what’s best for you they’re often kind of selling you financial products where they make a lot of commission and it’s not necessarily in your best interest so you no one cares about your money and your financial health more than you do and therefore you really need to at least get the bare minimum education so that you know that you’re in a good place and I do really feel like if you’ve got financial security and then you can have be in a better place to negotiate for like terms at work if you’re not so tied to that paycheck right you can you know work less hours or you know you know your best next option and that that’s not option maybe leaving um and you know doing locum’s work or finding another job that better suits you know what your values are and what you really want

Dr. Shelly Meyer: yeah that autonomy is there and that you know that creates freedom that that wealth creates freedom and then you’re not tied to a job that will keep you in the burnout stage so that’s so important well that was some great information I thank you so much for that and thanks so much for joining us here and sharing your message of having a wealthy or a better financial mindset and everyone reach out if you if you need help with that and appreciate you joining me today

Dr. Elisa Chiang: thanks so much for having me on

Dr. Shelly Meyer: I hope you enjoyed that episode with Dr. Elisa Chiang and I hope you learned something about financial freedom and financial mindset and money mindset I definitely learned something there so if you want to further support the mission on this channel and to help women in medicine reclaim their mental and physical health and rediscover their love of medicine through learning what others are doing and avoiding burnout please consider becoming a patron on my patreon page I’m going to link the information for the patreon page and what that in the show notes on the podcast and in the YouTube description on the channel what that does it helps the mission grow by a small financial monthly support for the channel and with that we have a private forum we have private live streams further resources to come a welcome gift at certain levels so I’d love for you to check that out and if you want to help the mission or the channel and the podcast grow without becoming a patron I would love that too so please like subscribe and share the video out if you know of anybody who could benefit from it please comment and give a review on the podcast outlet that you listen on and that’ll help it grow as well so thank you for joining us today and I hope to see you next see you and hope you can listen next week.