One of the most common questions I hear from physicians is, “Is there anything I can do to decrease my taxes?” Especially at this time of year, taxes are on many people’s minds.

While there are some practical or technical answers to this question, I am more curious about the underlying questions.

Are physicians asking because they feel they pay too much in taxes? Probably. Did they hear about a foolproof plan from a surgical colleague about how to hide their income? This happens more often than I’d like to think.

When this question is asked, I often hear a notion of fairness and how much is enough to pay in taxes. What many physicians are asking is, is it not enough that we sacrificed for a decade to train, then take care of all patients, regardless of insurance, declining Medicare reimbursement, or the time of night we are working?

Yes, I can answer the technical questions and encourage you to maximize your pre-tax space, ensure you’ve accounted for all your business-related deductions, and tax-loss harvest when you can. These all help move the needle and reduce your tax burden.

But to address the issue of fairness, of what’s enough, of what society owes physicians, that’s a more challenging question to answer.

One area I’ve been working on lately is mindset and reframing. What if, instead of being concerned about how much you pay in taxes, you knew you had enough money right now?

What if you knew you had a financial plan that accounted for the ups and downs in the market and helped you live a life you’ve always dreamed about?

What if you knew the path forward was showing up and doing the work daily? It’s not about being perfect or giving a massive 110% effort. You create an extraordinary life by showing up every day and doing good work.

I am here to help you with all of this work. The technical aspects are ensuring you are appropriately invested, saving enough money, and paying the least taxes you legally owe.

The more interesting and important work is creating the habits and practices that allow you and your family to flourish for years to come.

I wish I could tell you we could change the tax code together so you would pay fewer taxes. Unfortunately, that is not something either of us controls. I can’t tell you if tax rates are going up or down. I encourage you to let this one go. And focus on the things that matter most to you and are under your control.

Many of our clients look forward to the day when they can give away calls and spend more time with their families. What small actions can you take today that get you closer? Is it paying more attention to your spending, aligning it with your values? Is it giving away one call shift a quarter to see how that feels? Earn a little less, but more importantly, feel how nice it is to be well-rested and know… this is enough?

This intersection of what matters to you and what you control is powerful. Focusing our limited attention on this narrow band is a superpower. Focusing here magnifies your effort and compounds into building an amazing life over time.

More than anything, focusing on what you can control is liberating. Instead of worrying about the tax code – which is my job anyway – or what the stock market is doing this week or this year, let’s work to focus on how much you are saving. How much you save is clearly in your wheelhouse and under your control.

Stay the course!

Reach out here if you want to chat about your current situation.

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