What is the right career path for me?

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Derivative
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What is the right career path for me?

Post by Derivative » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:16 pm

Hi, since this forum is filled with a lot of people who are knowledgeable and give great advice, I am wondering if you guys would be able to give me some insight/views/advice on my career path:

I am 25y/o and after much soul searching, I have found that there are some things that I want to do/become:

1. Physician (orthopedic spine surgeon or pain management doctor).
2. Pharmaceutical/Clinical Researcher (I want to discover new pain drugs and treatments for pain and spine conditions).
3. Businessman (I want to run multi-million/billion dollar businesses).
4. Real estate investor (I want to own a lot of property and generate huge cash flow from my properties).

I have a bachelors in a pre-med major and have been running a successful tutoring business since graduating.

My thinking is that I should go to medical school, become a spine surgeon or pain management doctor, and then start my own private practice and grow it from there (satisfying both my physician and business owner desires). Then I would use part of my income to re-invest it into my own business and also purchase rental properties (satisfying my desire to become a real estate investor).

Basically, I have been reading a lot of Rich Dad, Poor Dad books and really like the idea of not working for your money, but having your money work for you. That is why I want to get into business too and not just become a physician. I am not sure how to best put running businesses and being a physician together. I don't want to be limited to 500k a year as a surgeon. I want to build a business that stretches that to millions/billions per year. I don't want to be limited by my own time and energy and just end up paying half of my hard-earned 500k in taxes. I want to work for myself and not the hospital. I want to build my own practice and brand. I want to be able to not work as hard when I need a breather and have other doctors in my practice take over for me. I am not sure if I can also build up a medical practice business and then transition more of (or all of) my time into drug research and have the ability to return to clinical practice business whenever I want to.

My desire to be a physician stems from the fact that if I had 100 billion dollars, I would still want to be a physician, treat diseases, and research new drugs/treatments. I would rather work as a physician with 100 billion dollars than retire and go on vacations all year. I would put all of the money into developing new pain drugs for chronic pain and surgical treatments of the spine. I also want to go into business and amass a ton of wealth so I can do "anything I want" without having to even think about my financial stability, and that is to successfully develop new pain drugs for chronic pain and surgical treatments of the spine.

Here is what I think I can do to acheive the above: (1) medical school --> (2) residency --> (3) start my own practice --> (4) grow my practice/invest in real estate.

I am not sure if I should get a MD/MBA dual degree, and MD/PhD degree, or just an MD degree to achieve all of the goals above. I am not sure if what I outlined above are feasible and whether my proposed action plan is the best for what I want to achieve.

Thank you so much.

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CAsage
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by CAsage » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:32 pm

How good were your grades? Step one - apply to medical school. Then see about the rest of it, or replan.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

Teague
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Teague » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:35 pm

You could start by taking the MCAT and the GRE, applying to medical and graduate schools, and take it from there, depending on what program accepts you. Might as well apply to top-tier business schools too.
Semper Augustus

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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Billionaire » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:44 pm

Dang, you are ambitious. Succeed at any one of the four thing you listed and you should consider yourself fortunate. When I was your age I wanted to be a celebrity.

Rupert
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Rupert » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:52 pm

Lots of scrutiny of the pain management industry right now. You need to read up on that a bit before committing to it. (Not saying we don't need doctors to treat pain, mind you, but too much entrepreneurial spirit has gotten quite a lot of pain clinic doctors in trouble with the DEA and federal prosecutors in recent years.)

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djpeteski
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by djpeteski » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:54 pm

I would say #4 is mutually exclusive to 1 and 2.

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bottlecap
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by bottlecap » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:59 pm

Rich Dad is junk, but it does amp people up. Perhaps it's had a positive effect on you, but know it's a fantasy.

Overall, my question is this:

If being a physician is your dream job that you would do if you had all the money in the world, why does the idea of not working for your money in real estate appeal to you?

You will already be "not working" as a physician.

A little hint, too, real estate is work and not easy work. If it were easy money, everyone would be doing it.

The first thing to figure out is if what you think being a physician means actually lines up with reality. Do you know any physicians (there are a few here)? Take them to lunch and ask what the best and worst parts of their jobs are.

Good luck,

JT

matthewmon
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by matthewmon » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:07 pm

is running a tutoring business the only job you have ever had? Does it pay really well? Do you have ALL the intelligence and skills it would take to reach those big goals? I was a big dreamer until my mid to late twenties also. You can end up wasting a lot of time and money that way. My suggestion is to get a good paying job (at least median income) and work 40+ hours a week...as many hours as you can. This way you are building up your retirement accounts while you figure out what you want to do. It's almost impossible to reach a big goal like you have listed without having something to fall back on if it doesn't work. The more years you waste dreaming the harder it becomes to actually catch up financially when you do get a job. and I found out that no job would make me happy so I eventually decided on getting a median income working 8-5 monday-friday along w/ my wife so we have a lot of free time, 2 pensions, and are managing our money to retire in mid fifties.

dreaming big is easy and most people do it when they are young...just dreaming big doesn't make you special...and its nothing without action (LOTS of action and hard hard hard work). I was a big dreamer and would never want to kill somebody's dream....but realize attaining a job like you described would be almost impossible...almost everybody has to make sacrifices and doesn't get everything they want in their job. If you haven't worked several jobs before then you don't know what its like living in the real world...and a lot of the time the real world sucks and isn't all roses and doing exactly what you want all the time. :)

You say you don't want to make $500k a year and pay taxes on it? That is a lot of money! Why do you have to make so much money? Money will not buy you happiness. Finding the right wife will be a much bigger factor in your happiness. You don't have to make as much money as you are talking about to be very successful and happy.
Last edited by matthewmon on Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

xrvision
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by xrvision » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:17 pm

Something to think about- the landscape of medicine is changing rapidly. It is very different than what it was 16 years ago when I started medical school, and I anticipate it will be very different 16 years from now. Physician autonomy, compensation, and burnout rates are both not necessarily what they used to be. Not trying to deter you. Just trying to make sure you have realistic expectations.

bigred77
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by bigred77 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:27 pm

Derivative wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:16 pm
I don't want to be limited to 500k a year as a surgeon. I want to build a business that stretches that to millions/billions per year. I don't want to be limited by my own time and energy and just end up paying half of my hard-earned 500k in taxes.
I lol'd at having such a limited income and not liking the part about paying taxes :mrgreen:

In all seriousness it sounds like you should focus on only 1 goal, get into med school.

Then you have 8+ years to figure out the rest. You can definitely work for yourself and own your own practice as a doctor if you want to (I hear it's getting tougher these days though). If that's what you would want to do if you were already independently wealthy than even better.

As for the rest: we all want to run billion dollar empires, but I don't think that's a very realistic plan. Investing in real estate isn't all that hard. Getting better returns (risk adjusted or otherwise) than the equity markets is pretty tough but you don't have a very hurdle to just participate as an individual real estate investor.

Focus on the MCAT. Good luck.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:10 pm

Physician route is a very long route. I thought about becoming a physician at age 25, but I backed out because I thought I would be old by the time I'm done. 3-4 of my nephews and nieces are physicians or becoming one soon. It took them about 10 years plus. I remember one of nieces started at 17, and now she's 27 and still just an intern. Not a full blood physician yet and if she just want to be a regular physician, not a specialist. More training if she doesn't want to stop there.

Teague
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Teague » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:20 pm

You mentioned combined MD/PhD. Do you have any interest in space or rockets? There have been a few MD/PhD NASA astronauts. So you could always do that.

Not sure that would meet your income requirements, but you could do the real estate thing on the side, I suppose. And from orbit you could really get an awesome view of your holdings.
Semper Augustus

financeidiot
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by financeidiot » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:57 pm

Derivative wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:16 pm
My desire to be a physician stems from the fact that if I had 100 billion dollars, I would still want to be a physician, treat diseases, and research new drugs/treatments. I would rather work as a physician with 100 billion dollars than retire and go on vacations all year. I would put all of the money into developing new pain drugs for chronic pain and surgical treatments of the spine. I also want to go into business and amass a ton of wealth so I can do "anything I want" without having to even think about my financial stability, and that is to successfully develop new pain drugs for chronic pain and surgical treatments of the spine.
Sounds like you want to be rich and valuable.

I used to want to be a foreign service officer, so I went to school to study international relations. Then I met everyone else who wanted to be a foreign service officer and I couldn't stand them. I also had a problem listening to authority. Turns out, hanging out with other foreign service officers and doing what you're told is a big part of that job.

The problem with careers is that you can have a cool job in a cool field and still hate it. You'll hate it because most of any job is grinding away, putting one small success on top of another, until you achieve something you can be proud of. The happiness comes from enjoying the little parts of your job, how your tiny accomplishments grow, and how the people you work with support and grow with you. For example, if you love medicine, but hate people, working with patients will be miserable.

I wish I had taken more time in college to contemplate who I was, what my values were, the importance of money in my life, the importance of relationships, and identified the small tasks that I took joy in. Instead, I focused on popular and prestigious goals that did not fit who I was as a person. I'm still not where I need to be, but I'm happier than I was. I also wish I had discovered Boglheads and MMM sooner, because I can afford the life I want with far less money than I thought I needed.

Consider these questions completely independently of money:
1. What chores or menial tasks do you most enjoy doing? Do you enjoy recordkeeping? Proofreading? Cooking? Cleaning? Why do you like these tasks? Why do they make you happy?
2. What chores or menial tasks do you hate the most? Why?
3. What menial tasks do you want to spend most of your day doing? Stereotyping here, but physicians are touching sick people and filling out paperwork all day. Researchers spend a lot of time in the lab repeating experiments, peer reviewing, and writing papers. Businesspeople make a lot of phone calls, read contracts, and have a lot of late nights in the office. Real estate professionals spend a lot of time in their car and deal with broken stuff and annoying tenants.
4. What types of people do you like to hang out with? What jobs and fields are these people attracted to? Why?
5. What types of people do you not want to hang out with? What jobs and fields are these people attracted to? Why?
6. If you were locked inside a library for a month with only non-fiction books, what would you read? Why?
7. Conversely, what books would you completely ignore? Why?
8. What times in your life have given you the most anxiety and fear? Why? How would potential career paths affect your anxiety? For example, if all of your income was commission-based, could you handle it?
9. What times in your life have given you the most confidence and strength? Why? How would potential career paths affect your confidence?
10. How important is recognition and prestige to you? For example, if you owned a successful port-a-potty rental company, would you be happy?

Now consider these questions completely ignoring career paths:
1. How do you want to feel in your desired lifestyle? What was the closest you have ever felt to that before? What were the conditions that created that feeling?
2. What does your ideal lifestyle look like outside of the purpose of your job? For example: married to a significant other, 2 kids, house in the country, work from home, near a fishing hole, 1 bedroom for parents, 1 room for kids. Kids have enough to go to state school when they're 18, etc. Be specific and think about what you want for yourself and your current/future family.
3. What materials and experiences are absolutely necessary to achieve that ideal lifestyle? Calculate this out in dollars.
4. How much do you need to earn and save to achieve that ideal lifestyle over 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? 40 years?
5. How should you feel when you go to work and come home? What would you need accomplish to be satisfied with a day of work? Where do you derive your value, pride, and self-worth in a job? Reflect on past jobs and how they have made you feel.

Pacman
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Pacman » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:08 pm

Excellent post above by financeidiot. Attaining anyone's definition of success other than your own is failure.

malabargold
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by malabargold » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:35 am

Most orthopods I know
are also #s 3 and 4 !
One path nets you 3 of your 4 options!

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:46 am

How good are your grades?
1 can lead to 3 and 4. 3 can lead you to 4, but not to 1 and 2. You need to decide which is more important, then focus only on that. Competency in your field is what leads you to more opportunities, the right opportunities. There are plenty of opportunities in life, but going down the wrong path can lead you to places you never want to experience or visit. Forget about Rich Dad - the author knows how to sell books and seminars, that is his competency, snake oil salesman.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Valuethinker
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:59 am

Derivative wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:16 pm
Hi, since this forum is filled with a lot of people who are knowledgeable and give great advice, I am wondering if you guys would be able to give me some insight/views/advice on my career path:

I am 25y/o and after much soul searching, I have found that there are some things that I want to do/become:

1. Physician (orthopedic spine surgeon or pain management doctor).
2. Pharmaceutical/Clinical Researcher (I want to discover new pain drugs and treatments for pain and spine conditions).
3. Businessman (I want to run multi-million/billion dollar businesses).
4. Real estate investor (I want to own a lot of property and generate huge cash flow from my properties).

I have a bachelors in a pre-med major and have been running a successful tutoring business since graduating.

My thinking is that I should go to medical school, become a spine surgeon or pain management doctor, and then start my own private practice and grow it from there (satisfying both my physician and business owner desires). Then I would use part of my income to re-invest it into my own business and also purchase rental properties (satisfying my desire to become a real estate investor).

Basically, I have been reading a lot of Rich Dad, Poor Dad books and really like the idea of not working for your money, but having your money work for you. That is why I want to get into business too and not just become a physician. I am not sure how to best put running businesses and being a physician together. I don't want to be limited to 500k a year as a surgeon. I want to build a business that stretches that to millions/billions per year. I don't want to be limited by my own time and energy and just end up paying half of my hard-earned 500k in taxes. I want to work for myself and not the hospital. I want to build my own practice and brand. I want to be able to not work as hard when I need a breather and have other doctors in my practice take over for me. I am not sure if I can also build up a medical practice business and then transition more of (or all of) my time into drug research and have the ability to return to clinical practice business whenever I want to.

My desire to be a physician stems from the fact that if I had 100 billion dollars, I would still want to be a physician, treat diseases, and research new drugs/treatments. I would rather work as a physician with 100 billion dollars than retire and go on vacations all year. I would put all of the money into developing new pain drugs for chronic pain and surgical treatments of the spine. I also want to go into business and amass a ton of wealth so I can do "anything I want" without having to even think about my financial stability, and that is to successfully develop new pain drugs for chronic pain and surgical treatments of the spine.

Here is what I think I can do to acheive the above: (1) medical school --> (2) residency --> (3) start my own practice --> (4) grow my practice/invest in real estate.

I am not sure if I should get a MD/MBA dual degree, and MD/PhD degree, or just an MD degree to achieve all of the goals above. I am not sure if what I outlined above are feasible and whether my proposed action plan is the best for what I want to achieve.

Thank you so much.
Work on getting the MD. The MBA/MD is an odd beast and it will not teach you more about building your own RE business than working in a RE company would.

Be warned about Artificial Intelligence. It's going to make a lot of the clinical diagnostic side automated. That will put pressure on MD's wages. The healthcare sector is a large and rising cost for every government in the world, and they are going to look for ways to reduce that. Deskilling is one strategy and they will pursue it.

Conversely the hands-on stuff, that is much harder to replace with a computer. And people are not Toyota cars, it's hard to automate treatment.

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Watty
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Watty » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:42 am

Derivative wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:16 pm
My desire to be a physician stems from the fact that if I had 100 billion dollars, I would still want to be a physician, treat diseases, and research new drugs/treatments. I would rather work as a physician with 100 billion dollars than retire and go on vacations all year.
With that in mind it would be good to look at how you ended up tutoring instead of going straight into medical school.

As others have said the first step would be to get into a medical school.

Spend some time reading some of the articles that are critical about Robert Kiyosaki to make up your own mind about how much his writings can be trusted. You need to be skeptical about someone that claims to have found ways to make a lot of money, but instead focuses on making money by selling books and seminars.

Simple Simon
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Simple Simon » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:46 am

"3. What menial tasks do you want to spend most of your day doing? Stereotyping here, but physicians are touching sick people and filling out paperwork all day. Researchers spend a lot of time in the lab repeating experiments, peer reviewing, and writing papers. Businesspeople make a lot of phone calls, read contracts, and have a lot of late nights in the office. Real estate professionals spend a lot of time in their car and deal with broken stuff and annoying tenants."


That's brilliant

I'm a family physician in the UK, or GP as we like to call it. Here is what I spend my day doing:

1) Sleeping. I like 9 hours.
2) Returning phone calls to people who need medical advice, but cannot get an appointment to see me because I book up 6 weeks in advance.
3) Seeing and touching people who are ill, or think they are.
4) Planning an escape from this madness
5) Running. I feel so much better after exercising for 1 hour per day
6) Dressing, eating, urinating, defecating, having sexual intercourse, brushing my teeth, undressing. Not always in that order.
7) Advising my children to choose their careers carefully

and that makes 24 hours, voila.

It is good to have ambitions but do reality-check these with people/mentors who are doing what you think you want to do. Maybe spinal surgery or pain management in the USA is a whole different game. Running billion dollar enterpises and managing rental properties, those are clearly different games.

Derivative
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Derivative » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:03 am

Thank you guys so much for your posts :) I have been reading each one as you guys post them and each and every one is extremely helpful for me. Any other posts will be extremely helpful as well. Thank you!

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market timer
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by market timer » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:11 am

Make a 5-year plan but no more. You become a different person roughly every 5 years. No sense making detailed plans for someone whose tastes will be different from your own.

You say you don't want to be limited to your own time and energy, which suggests avoiding a career in medicine or research. Based on the bit you've written, I'd suggest looking into project management positions at a biopharma company. Rise up the ladder on the business side and perhaps you can decide which research projects get funded. In the meantime, save some money so you can invest in rental properties later, if you are so inclined.

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Jazztonight
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:26 am

Derivative,

At 25, I too had tremendous ambition, and that's a wonderful thing. After 14 years in college, I spent 37 years in a career in health care while pursuing a parallel career in music. I'm now 70.

I don't have millions of dollars, but I have "enough." Along the way I learned that having millions is not as important as having a life well-spent.

As I write this, I'm in Morocco, sitting poolside at a "luxury" hotel across the street from the ocean. Trust me, you don't need a fortune to lead an interesting and meaningful life.

Go for your MD degree if that is part of your plan. Then pivot along the way, and do as much good as you can. I suspect you'll make and manage plenty of money, too! Just remember that you can't take it with you 😎
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

J_Markov
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by J_Markov » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:41 pm

To the OP: Keep in mind that if you go the MD/ortho route you will need 4 years of med school + 5 years of residency (and possibly 1 additional year of fellowhsip). When are you planning to apply to med school? You'll need time to get your application ready. Did you take the MCAT? In any case, you will be well into your late 30s before you start to make decent money. I'm not trying to discourage you, all I'm trying to tell you is the while as a physician you will be well compensated, you will have to make a lot of sacrifices to get there. So go for the right reasons. Good luck.

Zendelta
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by Zendelta » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:36 pm

It would be good to talk to people who are actually doing these jobs to understand their reality.

For example, your #2: to do research you have to train (MD or PhD) and then navigate your way to running your own lab. Not easy in academia. If you have your lab, you need to write for grants, etc to fund your research, and will have postdocs and grad students who are closer to the bench work.

Or, as one friend did, you leave your university professor position to do research in industry. The business development/funding piece is outsourced to other job functions so you may be able to focus more on the research.

In either case there has to be a valid business model to move any science forward through development and commercialization. And throughout that process, finances drive decisions, not just the basic or clinical science. There are a lot of personal agendas, and a majority of the people you work with may not understand or even value the science and its implications for patient care.

Many doctors and scientists put up with this because they have a passion for trying to solve some of the most challenging problems, but the complexity only increases as you get out of training.

Med school is the tip of the iceberg. Pursue your dreams with eyes wide open to the reality, and be willing to be honest with yourself about the tradeoffs you're comfortable with.

At 25 I graduated with my MD and had made the decision to pursue a different path in industry-- based on the advice of multiple department heads at a top 5 med school. All of them unequivocally said that they would have chosen a different path if they could go back 20 years. So, I listened.

I'm grateful I've been able to help influence commercial decisions from a clinical perspective. I enjoy what I do and am fulfilled but miss clinical care. You can have it all, but not all at the same time.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: What is the right career path for me?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:09 am

Derivative wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:16 pm
I am 25y/o and after much soul searching, I have found that there are some things that I want to do/become:

1. Physician (orthopedic spine surgeon or pain management doctor).
2. Pharmaceutical/Clinical Researcher (I want to discover new pain drugs and treatments for pain and spine conditions).
3. Businessman (I want to run multi-million/billion dollar businesses).
4. Real estate investor (I want to own a lot of property and generate huge cash flow from my properties).
That's a lot of ambition for someone who is already 25 and not yet in med school. Not saying it can't be done, just saying that those who are likely to do those four things are already MS3s at 25.

That said, it's completely doable. I know someone doing precisely all four of those things who lives fewer than 8 houses away from me. I think he was in med school already at 25, so you'd better get hustling!
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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