View From A Surgeon – Money

View From A Surgeon – Money

“Money makes the world go round” – “If I were a rich man” – “Money isn’t everything”.

I could go on about all the comments and quotes about money and whether you need it, whether you need lots of it, whether you don’t need much of it.  The fact is that without money you would find yourself in a very difficult position.  Certainly people that don’t have money find it difficult to survive since there are bills to pay, food to put on the table and children to look after.

My father once said that when you are a single man a tuppeny bun costs tuppence.  You get married and a tuppeny bun costs fourpence, then you have a kid and a tuppeny bun costs sixpence, and so on.  He is quite right as you move from a single life to a partner / married life to a mortgage to kids to school fees, suddenly the need for money and the chase for wealth increases.

I have found over the years that it is certainly true that you spend what you earn.  It is very easy to get into a trap of spend, spend, spend and then suddenly you have to earn, earn, earn.  And the only way you can earn is to work.  There are very few legal ways of earning money by just sitting around on your backside doing nothing.  99.9% of the population that want to earn money get out of bed every morning.  Because of that sometimes it is very difficult, knowing that perhaps that day you weren’t feeling very well and you wanted to take a day off, even just take a psychological break day, you can’t do it because there is money to earn.

Certainly if you are self-employed that is a major factor in pushing for you to get out of bed.  It is all too easy if you are employed by somebody else just to phone in sick or just phone in for a “duvet day” when it is not your money at the end of the day that is on the line.

It has taken me a long time to realise that money is important, but so is my health, and so is my sanity.  It is important to realise that there is only so much work you can do and only so much money you can earn.  There has to be a balance point between quality of life and quantity of work, and that is where unfortunately some people fall foul of the rules. They work and work and work and work more and more and more and spend more and more and more and the tax man takes more. That is another thing to bear in mind – the more you earn the more you owe the tax man.

Getting involved in “Tax Mitigation Schemes” nowadays will only fall foul of HMRC rules, so bear that in mind when the chap in the smart suit and smart shoes getting out of the expensive car comes in and tells you he knows a way of reducing your tax to 0, there is no such scheme.

Money, as I say, is important but it is not everything.  Having a good quality diverse work is important.  Something that keeps you interested and ensuring at the end of the day you go home and forget about work.

Vacations are important they give you the break that you need and the rest that your brain needs.

Private practice is about making money, make no mistake about it.  There is no other reason to perform private practice other than that it gives you autonomy to practice the way you wish, but at the end of the day it is about earning money.  Don’t give things away, always make a profit.  There is a chap I know who is a billionaire and all he has ever done is make a penny profit on the sandwiches that he makes.  It sounds bizarre but it is true.  And that is true in life.  If you work and it costs you £1 to run your business and all you ever make is £1 then you are not going to make any profit.  If you spend £1.01 and you are only every making £1 then you are going to go into debit, if you spend 99p and you make £1 then you will make profit.  All these things sound simple but it is just often the penny profit that you need to see in order to make sure that you are making money.  So don’t give things away.

The other thing to think about is what will make you most efficient? Most of the time, if not all the time, doing things yourself is not the way you will ever make money.  Delegation, and having staff around you that can earn you money is often the way to go.  Doing your own accounts, doing your own billing, doing your own bookings, is not an efficient way of using your time.  Delegate that to someone else, that may cost you money but you will make far more money by doing what you are good at and what you can charge for, so hire somebody that can do that work for you rather than doing it yourself.

That is called Smart Money and Smart Working.

So what is the moral to the tale? Basically money does make the world go round, if only I were a rich man, but money isn’t everything. At the end of the day you have to be happy with what you are doing. You have to have time for yourself and your family. You have to make sure that everything you do earns you a profit and hopefully then, not only will you be a rich man, but you will be a happy man too.

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