Physician Moms and Their Finances – Podcast #183

Our guest today is Dr. Hala Sabry, the founder of the Physician Moms Group on Facebook. Who better to ask about physician moms and their finances than a physician mom managing a group with 75,000+ other physician mom members! We delve into lots of topics surrounding finances as a physician mom including infertility, child care, career changes, and the gender wage gap. We talk about women in medicine. Over 50% of medical students are now women. What implications will that have for the physician workforce? Women are often hesitant to negotiate when getting a new job. What can be done to encourage them to negotiate harder and avoid any negative consequences that could come from doing so?

Not everyone has an Instagram perfect life with no struggles. Our lives are hard, layered, and dynamic. Not only is medicine your profession, but it is your identity. Your worlds kind of collide as a physician mom and it is a lot of pressure. The truth is, it is not just women who are struggling. Men have the same issues, balancing life and work, but today’s episode really focuses on them from a woman’s perspective.

2020 is coming quickly to a close, and thank goodness, because we could all use a silver lining. Now is the time to start thinking about whether your current tax plan is truly tax-efficient and keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. At Cerebral Tax Advisors, they focus on all year PROACTIVE tax planning, and, as the spouse of a physician, their founder, Alexis Gallati, has over 18 years of experience using court-tested, IRS approved tax strategies to lower your effective tax rate and increase your wealth. She began Cerebral to help docs have a clear path to success through tax efficiency while eliminating surprises. Her services are flat rate, and she will show you your return on investment before you invest in Cerebral’s services. With 2020 coming to a close, NOW is the time to see if you are missing vital strategies in your tax plan. If you’d like to find out more or schedule a free consultation, visit their website or check out Alexis’ new book: Advanced Tax Planning for Medical Professionals.

Our quote of the day today comes from Thomas J. Stanley, who said,

I think that is really the truth. We have lived in several different neighborhoods and in every one of them, we acted and bought like our neighbors did. I suspect you do, too.

I want to make sure you know about one of the resources we have on the website. If you are in need of legal help, like reviewing your contract, some fraud issues, asset protection, or estate planning we have a recommended page that you may be interested in. If you need your contract reviewed for next year, this is a great resource. For a few hundred dollars you can know you’re not getting ripped off. They can help suggest what you should negotiate more on. Most of them, if you’re interested in having them negotiate for you, will even do that. Check those resources out if you’re in need of contract review or attorney services.

Our guest today is Dr. Hala Sabry. She is a DO practicing emergency medicine in California. She is also the Chief Executive Officer at Physician Digital Services. But that is probably not where you know her from. You know her as the founder of the Physician Moms Group on Facebook. That is the reason I asked her to come on the podcast. Who better to ask about physician moms and their finances than a physician mom managing a group with 75,000+ other physician mom members!

Dr. Sabry was planning to go into hospital administration, but, after having her children, that all changed. She fought really hard to have her five children, spending a lot of money for infertility treatments. We discussed spending and investing on your family. With doctors waiting to start their families later in life, many find themselves in similar situations. She has more experience than most with fertility treatments, so I asked what tips she had for our audience. When you decide you want children, and fertility treatments are the way you want to make it happen, she suggested a few things.

Dr. Sabry points out that these clinics are not like an emergency room where all the resources are similar. They have different types of technology and specialists there to address it. She had seven failed treatments before she started to look at who was the best in the field for her.

I think a lot of people struggle because the time they want to have the kids is also the time they don’t have any money. They are coming out of residency. They owe $300,000 or $400,000 in student loans. All of a sudden, they’re like, “I’m way behind everybody. I want to buy a house, and we want to have kids. Oh, wait, our kids are going to be $30,000 apiece.” They get a little bit of sticker shock when they start looking at IVF and other treatments, and I empathize with them. We talked about financing infertility treatments. Dr. Sabry put the cost on credit cards and worked A LOT of ER shifts to pay for the treatments and student loans. At the time, there were not a lot of opportunities, but now they have companies that do fertility loans. They usually partner with the clinics.

Why did Dr. Sabry start a group for physician moms? She shared about when she was pregnant with her first set of twins and was going to have three kids 18 months and under. She was one of only four women that worked at her hospital. She didn’t feel like she had a lot of women to crowdsource and ask questions to. The mom groups on Facebook were not physician-based, and she didn’t want to ask them, “how many nannies should I hire?”

So she made a group that night, invited 20 physicians she knew who had children, asked them her questions and had answers within seconds. Then they wanted to add their friends to the group. It grew from there.

She now also has a Covid-specific group that does allow men. Not knowing how long we would be facing this pandemic, she didn’t want that discussion taking over the PMG feed.

I looked up the data in preparation for this interview, and it is a couple of years old, but basically it said there are about 292,000 women physicians in the country. 75,000 of them are in this group. Why do they find it so attractive?

We all know that men struggle, too. It isn’t just women trying to balance life and work. But the group became a safe venue where women felt like it was okay to say, “I don’t have all my crap together and I’m not going to be apologetic for it. Just teach me how to be better.” Then the women are learning from crowdsourcing one another.

Dr. Sabry said that initially they talked about diapers, formula, and nannies. Then the conversation started evolving into, “Hey, I was passed up on this job because they said to come back when my kids were older”. Or sharing, “I was in the OR and this anesthesiologist and the surgeon were making sexist comments to me. I don’t feel like I can report this. What do I do?” The women are finding many others who have had similar experiences. Dr. Sabry thinks the first part of solving any problem is identifying that there is a problem. PMG was providing proof of the problems. They started collecting data, creating a research committee and publishing their results. Their first research study was on discrimination of women. It was published in JAMA, on Mother’s Day weekend. They are working to make change. She feels like this is why it is so attractive, that it is great to see physicians breaking away from the traditional expectations of what medicine and the community want women to be like and seeing what they are really like.

It isn’t a finance-specific group, and Dr. Sabry admitted that financial investment is not necessarily her expertise. She has read my first book and others and is continuing her financial education through online sources. She shared that it led her to think more creatively. They sold their home, paid off student loans, (after all the fertility expenses were paid off), and downsized homes, taking advantage of the equity in the bigger home. They are preparing their family for the generational wealth they can build. That is exciting. In regards to the concern voiced in the group about creating an investment portfolio, I do have recommended reading.

We discussed the barriers women may feel from accessing financial information in the physician finance “blogosphere.” She put them into two categories, personal and professional. Personally, she did not really have a role model of someone who had invested successfully. For many readers and listeners, they are paving the way for their family to financial success, the first person to do so. That can be intimidating. We also discussed the scarcity mindset, feeling like you don’t have enough money and you’ll never have enough. That mindset can be a barrier to seeking information. Professionally, Dr. Sabry found that the men talked about investments, their real estate portfolio, etc. with each other but she wasn’t really included in the conversation. She only worked with men. As more women are entering the medical workforce this will hopefully change.

Now over 50% of medical students are women. What implications will that have on the physician workforce over the next 10 to 15 years as they come through the training pipeline?

Getting more women into the workforce to make a case for needing equality and equity will help, but Dr. Sabry points out that we need women in leadership positions to help make those decisions.

She said that medicine is doing about the same as other professions, according to the data. She is partnering with leaders across industries, as a team approach, to elevate women.

Even when you control for profession, hours worked, and experience, a gender pay gap still exists, and that’s been attributed mostly to two factors. One is just out and out discrimination. The other big factor seems to be negotiation. Women are less likely to negotiate and negotiate hard. What can be done to encourage them to negotiate harder and to help them avoid any negative consequences that could come from doing so?

I think a lot of women like to be seen as a team player, and they feel like if they’re going to negotiate, they won’t be seen as a team player as much. It is helpful to remember and actually point out the reasons why they’re negotiating for more money or more benefits, so they can give patient care, pay off their student loans, or help their family more.

I give each of my guests an opportunity to say anything we haven’t covered in the conversation so far that they think our listeners need to hear. Dr. Sabry wanted to focus on mindset and how that affects our wellness.

 If you find yourself having some of these same thoughts, Dr. Sabry found great success with coaching. A large percentage of executives of successful Fortune 500 companies have executive high-performance coaches. This is something just hitting the physician world recently. I know we covered a lot about coaching in the last couple of weeks with Alpha Coaching. Dr. Sabry is also a coach, and here is another witness to the benefits of coaching.

I hope that you found this conversation interesting and helpful, regardless of whether you would qualify to participate in a physician mom group. We also have a place for women to discuss issues faced by female high-income professionals in our Women’s Forum, so check that out today.

Transcription – WCI – 183

Intro:
This is the White Coat Investor podcast where we help those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street. We’ve been helping doctors and other high-income professionals stop doing dumb things with their money since 2011. Here’s your host, Dr. Jim Dahle.
Dr. Jim Dahle:

This is White Coat Investor podcast number 183 – Physician moms and their finances.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Welcome back to the podcast. We’re recording this on October 22nd. It’s going to start running on November 5th. Hope things are going well for you in your neck of the woods. If you’re like most of us in the country, I think you’re seeing an awful lot of coronavirus right now. We’re actually seeing it in our yards, multiple patients a shift, which is kind of new for us here in Utah.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So far so good, but we’re sure looking forward to getting through this and getting back to normal life at some point in the future. I’m hoping and praying for those vaccine makers to be successful and quick.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now is the time to start thinking about whether your current tax plan is truly tax efficient and keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. At Cerebral Tax Advisors they focus on all year proactive tax planning.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
As a spouse of physician, their founder, Alexis Gallati has over 18 years of experience using court tested IRS approved tax strategies to lower your effective tax rate and increase your wealth. Her services are flat rate, and she’ll show you your return on investment before you invest in cerebral services.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
If you’d like to find out more or schedule a free consultation, visit their website at www.cerebraltaxadvisers.com or check out Alexis’s new book, “Advanced Tax Planning for Medical Professionals” available on Amazon.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right, our quote of the day today comes from Thomas J. Stanley, who said, “The greatest detriment to building wealth is our home and neighborhood environment. If you live in a pricey home and neighborhood, you will act and by like your neighbors”.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And I think that’s really the truth. I mean, we’ve lived in several different neighborhoods and in every one of them, we acted and bought like our neighbors did. And I suspect you do too.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks for what you do out there. Life is not easy these days, especially in the middle of a pandemic, many of our incomes are down. Certainly, we have a lot more hassle at work. It’s more difficult to connect with patients through all the PPE we’re wearing. If nobody’s told you thanks today, let me be the first.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I wanted to make sure you knew about one of the resources we have on the website. If you are in need of help, legal help, like with your contracts to review or some fraud issues or asset protection estate planning, we have a resource at the White Coat Investor that you may be interested in.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
If you go to whitecoatinvestor.com under the recommended tab, you will see a page that says legal and contract review. And on there you will find, well, we’ve got three contract review services listed there right now. If you need your contract reviewed for next year, this is a great resource for a few hundred dollars, you can know you’re not getting ripped off.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
They can help suggest what you should negotiate more on. And most of them, if you’re interested in having them negotiate for you, they will even do that. So, check those resources out if you’re in need of contract review or attorney services. That’s where we have our recommended resources.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right, we have a really great interview today. I think you’ll enjoy it. I’ve been looking forward to doing this for a number of months and we’re going to have a great conversation. So, without further ado, let’s get our guest on the line and introduce her.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. So, today we have a special guest on the podcast. We have Hala Sabry who you may know from clinical practice. If you’re in emergency medicine, she’s a DO, still practicing medicine in California. She is also the Chief Executive Officer at Physician Digital Services.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But that’s probably not where you know her from. You know her as the founder of the Physician Moms Group. And that’s the reason I asked her to come on the podcast. Welcome to the podcast, dr. Sabry.

Dr. Hala Sabry:
Thank you so much, Jim. I was actually so like fan growing, I guess or fanboying you. When I got the email, I was like, “What? You want me on your podcast?” I never get asked to be on podcasts anymore. And so, I get excited. So, thanks for even having me in your space.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It’s awesome to have you on here. We had a great conversation before we started recording here and we’ll probably cover some of those subjects as well. But I think you’re going to make a great guest on the podcast and people are going to love this interview.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I hope so.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your upbringing and how it affected your views on money.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Oh, that’s such a good question. I grew up in a family where my dad… Well, both my parents were immigrants to this country. My dad came when he was 23. He had just finished medical school in Egypt. And he got onto a lottery system and got an acceptance of a visa out here to the United States. And he was about to enter into his residency for ophthalmology.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, it was kind of a big leap of faith for him. So, he came over here, how to start kind of from scratch and getting his boards done and things like that. And while he was here, he actually met my mom. My mom immigrated here independently when she was like 14 with her family. And they met because their brother and sister got married. So, it’s like brothers and sisters, they got married. And so, why be creative and find another family? Just marry into the same family.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Right. You got double cousins now.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I know. Now I have like, no cousins. I told them like, they cheated me in a gene pool. But yeah, so, that was in the 1970s. And my dad was born in an emergency medicine right at the start of it, in the 1980s. I was born in 1978. So, that was kind of my upbringing. I only knew medicine.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And it’s interesting because my views on money were… I guess I just didn’t really worry about money because my family was actually pretty well off. And in the 1980s, I remember my dad asking him one day, like how much money he made. And I think he said something like a little over $200,000, like $216,000 or something like that. And I remember thinking like, “Oh my gosh, that’s so much money”. And in the 1980s it probably was. I don’t know if you extrapolate that for inflation, what that would be now. But I remember not really being worried.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
However, my parents moving here, they may have been okay or well off in Egypt, but when they came here, they weren’t. The dollar is strong compared to the pound in Egypt. And so, they lived very like much like resident life for the first bit of their life here in America. Eating out of like corn and like canned food and anything to be really cheap. My dad was a super hustler. He was a taxi driver while he was doing residency and things like that.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I kind of grew up knowing there were somewhat humble beginnings, which is very different than other people’s humble beginnings. But we became more established as a family. We would go traveling a lot. Traveling was really big for my dad. We would go on like three big vacations a year.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And every time we’d go on a vacation, we would have what we’d call family day. And the family day would be that we would go do something that’s not touristy and really support the community that supports the tourist industry.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, for example, one time we went to Jamaica and we had hired a driver. And on our family day is that we went with him to where he shops for food. And we basically bought a whole bunch of food for a lot of people who really didn’t normally like eat meat and things like that, that were a little bit more of a delicacy at the time because of economics. And we played with the neighborhood kids next to his house and he had kids around the same age as my brother and I.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And so, that was kind of my upbringing, kind of just bringing it down like, “Hey, this is a nice vacation, but really look who’s supporting this industry. It’s all the other people. And so, let’s celebrate them and really give directly to them and not like an hourly wage type of thing”.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I kind of grew up with this altruistic kind of foundation that my parents built. So, for me, I had the idea that money was kind of infinite in a way, but it was also our responsibility to give back to community. So that was kind of how I grew up. And that’s kind of what I do now. I don’t think it’s really like changed that much.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
But I will say that some of my money issues kind of changed when I got into college. So, my dad, he passed away three weeks into my medical school career and I started realizing how much my dad did not invest. He lived by the motto of like “You can’t take your money with you when you die so let’s have all these experiences”.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
My dad had a really great life insurance policy and great disability policy, but when he passed away, I realized that a million dollars does not last a long time. And then that kind of changed my money beliefs as an adult of legacy. Like, what am I going to leave for my children and my children’s children and build that generational wealth?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And I think what my dad did for me is he got me to a point where I didn’t have to pay for college. Like he paid for my college. I had to pay for medical school, but that’s more than what other people have. So, how can I level that up for my children and for my grandchildren to come down the line. So that’s kind of where I’m at in my head now.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Of course, in his defense, it sounds like he did die fairly young. So maybe that wasn’t such a bad attitude to have. It sounds like he really enjoyed the time he had. He had a great career and had some great times with his family.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. He died really unexpectedly. He was 52, so pretty young. But yeah, I think that in itself has kind of humbled me in knowing that life is short. And even now within Covid how many of us have heard about colleagues that have been sick or have died? I’m seeing it on my group on PMG and it makes me think like, “What am I doing this all for?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I have a huge vacation plan when the world opens and I’ll continue my dad’s traditions with my children. And also, kind of level it up and invest and do things that my kids can remember me by much more than the memories that I’m creating, which those are infinite in value.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. Well, take us up through your education and your training and your career so far.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. So, I went to medical school in New York. I did a dual program. I did a DO MBA program. I actually never really wanted to be a doctor. Well, I said I want it to be, but then when I really thought about it, I was like, my dad kind of had some mixed reviews on being a doctor. So, I was like, “Oh, I don’t know if that’s really for me”. And then 9/11 happened and my dad was like, “No, you’re going to medical school”. So, I was like, okay.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I kind of went to medical school because my dad told me to, but I really wanted to go to business school. I worked for the Disney company and I loved operation management. So, I really loved the idea. It was kind of like a really mental Tetris of like how to move people around and how to do it efficiently within a budget. I love that.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And so, my dad was like, “Well, what do you think hospitals are? Like that’s what they are”. And so, I was like, “Oh, okay”. He’s like, “Right now we have administrators that are not doctors. Why don’t you go to medical school and then kind of be an advocate for doctors?” And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds amazing”.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So literally in my medical school interviews, they would ask me like, “Why do you want to be a doctor?” And I’d be like, “I don’t, but what I want to be is an advocate for doctors”. And all of the interviewers were like, okay. And then they let me in. That’s how I got into medical school.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Because it was so unique. Nobody says that. They all say I love science and I want to help people.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I know. It was so intimidating even in the interview and the interview trail. I would be talking to other people that are interviewing them, they’re so nervous and I’m not nervous because I actually don’t care if I got in at that time. And they’re like, “I wanted to be a doctor since I was a fetus”. And I’m like, “Gosh, that’s crazy. I just want to work for Disney forever”. That was kind of my mindset. I’m not going to lie. Every time I watch Disney Plus I still have those creeping thoughts, like “What if I went back?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I went to medical school and I fell in love with medicine during the process and chose emergency medicine because I really do like every aspect of medicine. And it’s the biggest money maker for hospitals, right? There’s only two entry points for hospitals, that and surgery.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I went through it with a very business aspect, like business-minded kind of aspect. And I was on my way. I was on my way to being an administrator for a hospital. So, I like rose my hand for any opportunity that would get me more experience or insight into hospital management.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I was chief resident. I sat on the MAC as the resident representative in my residency. I really took advantage of everything. And then I became a mom and it all changed. So, I’m not doing that. So total like detour in my career path, but I’m still advocating for doctors, just not as a hospital administrator.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It all changed. Isn’t that the truth, right?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah, who knew?
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Tell us a little bit about your kids.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. So, I have five kids. I have two sets of twins. So, I have a seven-year-old, two five-year-old’s, two two-year-old’s. A lot of people go like, “How do you do that?” And the answer is I outsource everything possible to try to make my life as efficient as possible and bring other people into my life and my family circle. So that’s been really fun. They’re amazing.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And I fought really hard to have them. I hit a lot of infertility issues. I talk about money. People don’t really think about spending and investing on your family. They kind of think it just all happens because usually it does.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Although much less often for docs, right? Because we start in our thirties often.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Crazy, right? Crazy how many professional women and men hit infertility. I had to pay $150,000 out of pocket to have these five kids, but they’re paid off. So, it’s the best investment ever.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Do you appreciate it more after they cost $30,000 a piece?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I’d have never had kids in other ways. So, I guess I have no idea, but I love them to death. But it’s really opened my eyes a little bit about the struggles that women have. A lot of times I think to myself, when situations happen, like “Why is this happening to me or how can this happen for me? How can I make this happen for me?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And I really truly think that all these experiences that I’ve even laid out here, I think just makes me more realistic about what a normal physician is facing. Not everybody has this Instagram perfect life where they’re beautiful and have no struggles and they’re putting out these inspirational quotes. Our lives are hard and they’re layered and they’re dynamic.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Not only is your profession, but it’s your identity. It’s so different that all of these worlds kind of collide and it’s a lot of pressure. You don’t really see like a librarian taking that same responsibility. I know it’s not life or death, but think of anything else. Like a lawyer or anything else. When there’s an emergency somewhere. An airplane, a restaurant, out about where you’re walking and something happens. They call a doctor. That’s the first thing that they do and that’s your identity. And then you are the call to action at the service that you have.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And so, I think when we went through medical school, nobody really prepares you for that. Especially for someone like me who didn’t really want to go to medical school. So, I had this idea of a house with two and a half kids and a dog and all these other things. I didn’t realize what I’d have to do to get there and how much my career would not only be an obstacle but also be the resource that makes it happen. So, it’s just really confusing I think, as you’re going through that process.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And I think also most people enter medical school. I say most, not all, but they enter soon after college and they really haven’t had a lot of life experiences. And then they’re in this vacuum for 10 years and then you get out on the other side and you kind of have to figure out who you are because you’ve kind of been told who you are for 10 years. Like you’re a medical student, you’re a resident.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You have to reestablish all of those relationships you had before. Now, since this is a financial podcast, I should ask for any financial tips we can get. You have more experience than most with fertility treatments. Do you have any tips for the audience that you can tell them to watch out for or to do or anything like that?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. It’s funny. The infertility mindset it’s so important. And I think that a lot of people become resistant. There’s a lot of layers. Like one is, “I don’t really want to have to go through these treatments”. And then when you kind of get over that and you’re like, “Well, I want a family and this is how I’m going to get my family”, you start looking at the cost.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And most insurance companies do not pay for infertility treatments. There are a few mandated states that require the insurance companies to cover, I think three cycles, but I never lived in any of those states. But for the people who are lucky enough, that’s great.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And so, I think for people who either know that they may have infertility issues or for people who know that infertility runs rampant in their family, maybe start looking at your insurance policies and start looking strategically what you’ll do if that ever happens. Kind of like any other investment that you would make.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And also, view it as an investment. I see so many people go, “Oh, there’s no way I would spend $10,000 on a treatment”. But those same people will spend $2,000 on a dog born in the Midwest to get it flown out to wherever they live like without a thought. So, it’s more kind of why are we resistant to spending money on that?

Dr. Hala Sabry:
And the other thing too is that I spent a lot of money, but mainly because I didn’t really know that much. I didn’t know what differentiated clinics and what made a good clinic a good clinic and a bad clinic a bad clinic. And there’s no such thing as a bad clinic. It’s just what is not right for me. And I think that that’s kind of where I do a lot more of my advocacy is kind of telling women, have a great relationship with your REI or reproductive endocrinologist. And if it’s not working in a clinic, it’s just not working.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
It’s not like in an emergency room, where every resource is the same. It’s not the same, as any other specialty. Every REI that I’ve ever met wants their patients to get pregnant. And even if that means it’s not at their clinic. So just like any other specialty, there are sub-specialists within that specialty, that deal with certain things. Like people who deal with diminished ovarian reserve or sperm issues. And they have different types of technology and specialists there to address it. And so just being more aware.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
The way I picked my clinic at the end, just to share that story is I had already seven failed treatments. And I was like “Who are the best in the field for me?” And I started looking up reproductive endocrinology medical conferences. And I started looking like, who are their keynotes? Like, what are they talking about? How can this work for me? And then the same clinic, the same physicians in the same clinic kept coming up. And that’s how I chose my clinic. I did one cycle there and I made six embryos and five of those are my children.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, part of me kind of feels like, “Gosh, I should have done that first”. But then the other part of me is like, “Well, if I did that first, what I had been outspoken about IVF? Would I have been outspoken about infertility?” Probably not. I would have probably just been quiet about it and be like, I’m so lucky, I have two sets of twins. You know, whatever it may be, like how a lot of people do.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I think a lot of people struggle with it because the time they want to have the kids is also the time they don’t have any money. They are coming out of residency. They owe $300,000 or $400,000 in student loans. All of a sudden, they’re like, “I’m way behind everybody. I want to buy a house and we want to have kids. Oh, wait, our kids are going to be $30,000 a piece”. I think that’s what a lot of people get a little bit sticker shock. I think when they start looking at IVF and other treatments and I empathize with them.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. Let’s turn the page. Why did you start PMG? The Physicians Mom Group on Facebook. Why did you start it?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. I shared that I had some infertility struggles. So, I went and had a child. My first one is a Singleton. As soon after that I went back to go have my next child, which ended up being my first set of twins. And when I was pregnant, I was about 31 weeks pregnant and I started facing some anxiety, for financial reasons, actually. I was like, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to pay my student loans? I have a pretty hefty house note”.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
We lived pretty modestly otherwise but I was like, “I can’t afford to hire another nanny. Is it even worth it for me to work? Like, should I just stay home?” And I just kind of started having a panic attack.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
At that time, the hospital that I worked at, I was like only one of four women that worked at that hospital. So, I didn’t really have like a lot of women to crowdsource and ask questions to. So, there’s other mom groups on Facebook, but they just are not physician based. So, I kind of thought about maybe asking them.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And so, I drafted my first post and my first post went, something like this, like How many nannies should I hire? I’m going to have three kids under 18 months”. I read it back for typos and things like that. And I was like, this sounds really elitist. I don’t know, I’m about to get torched. And so, I deleted it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
At least you recognized it in advance, right? Those of us who have not recognized postings like that in advance have learned to regret it.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I know, I know. I was like, wait a second. So, I deleted it. And then I was like, you know what? Forget this. I’m going to just make my own group. And I had been part of another physician group that wasn’t parent based. So, I kind of knew it could happen that physicians could communicate together in a Facebook group.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So yes, I made a group that night, 11:00 PM, 20 girls that I just knew from their pictures on Facebook and my interactions with them that they had children. That was all. And I made it and I just said, “Hey, how many nannies should I get?” And they answered me within five seconds. And then they were like, “Hey, can I add a friend?” And I was like, “Sure, let’s do it”. Now over a hundred thousand people later, here we are.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Wow. It’s over a hundred thousand now.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Well, I have the two groups. So, between the two groups. PMG is 75,000 and some change. And then Covid is 40,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Is the Covid subgroup? Are all of those people in PMG or some of them not in PMG?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
No, not all of them are.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, they’re totally separate groups.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. They’re separate groups. There is some overlap, I think probably about 10,000 of them or something like that. But we allowed men in that group. And we made that group because when Covid was happening, I honestly didn’t know how long this thing was going to stay or how big it was going to be.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
But I knew it started taking up my content of my feed on PMG. And I was like, “Look, women’s issues, women empowerment, women equity, women equality, always take a back seat to anything else that’s hot and trending. I’ll be damned if I let Covid do that to us”. So, I made another group. I was like, “Hey, put all your Covid stuff over there. We’re still going to be talking about women issues here”. So, there’s a little bit, I mean, obviously there’s overlap.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I looked up the data in preparation for this interview and it’s a couple of years old, but basically it said there’s about 292,000 women physicians in the country. And you got 75,000 in your group. That’s over a quarter of them.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I know.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Why do you think physician moms found your group so attractive?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Well, I think when we start medical school, it’s like this non-verbal rule that we are to act like men and we compete with the men. I remember when I was applying to emergency medicine residency, I just knew that they only took like one woman per class. And so, our competition was each other. It wasn’t really men. It was the next woman.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I think that despite all of the other organizations and efforts beforehand to bridge that gap, I think what happened is that we didn’t really have an environment that wasn’t sterile and formal to actually let down our guard and be like, “Hey, like I’m struggling too”.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And the truth is, it’s not just women who are struggling. Men have the same issues, balancing life and work and all these other things like men, especially now this generation of men who are a lot more involved with their family because of traditional roles being changed and all this other stuff. Like they have the same issues, I think. At least the ones that have reached out to me.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I think that it became like a venue where women felt like it was safe to say, I don’t have all my crap together and I’m not going to be apologetic for it. Like just teach me how to be better. And just learning on crowdsourcing from one another.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
The issues we talked about initially were diapers and formula and nannies. And then the conversation started evolving into, “Hey, I was passed up on this job because they said to come back when my kids were older”. And sharing, “I was in the OR and this anesthesiologist and the surgeon is making sexist comments to me. He said, X, Y, and Z. I don’t feel like I can report this. What do I do?” And the slew of women going, “Oh, that happened to me. That happened to me”.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And so, I think that the first part of solving any problem is identifying that there is a problem. And I think that’s what PMG did. It’s really not conceptually talked about these problems with them but like, “Hey, this is proof”. And then we started collecting data. We have a whole research team. We have a research committee. And one of our first research studies that we put out was on discrimination of women in JAMA, on Mother’s Day weekend. And that’s how you start change and that’s what we’re doing.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I think that’s why it’s so attractive. But there’s tons of groups now. I mean, before, that was kind of one of the first big parenting group. And now there’s tons of groups, not only about parenting, but basically about every niche. And I think it’s just so great to see physicians breaking away from the traditional expectations of what medicine and the community want us to be like and what we are really like. So, I think that’s really neat and inspiring.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now, one of the interesting things about Facebook compared to a lot of social media and forums, is that you have your real name attached to your comments. Do you think that was good or bad when it came to PMG? You think it’d been better if it was all totally anonymous or worse?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Oh, no, worse. I’m happy with our names. I mean, obviously there’s ways of not having a real name on Facebook, but I use my real name. And I think that being vulnerable and authentic are kind of the two ingredients to making these kinds of changes happen. If we’re going to keep hiding and keep having these protections, then if you’re not willing to risk the reputation and everything to make medicine better, then it’s not going to get better. It’s not.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
It’s funny that you say this. Facebook just recently released a feature for groups to allow members to anonymously post themselves. And this is a product tool that they consulted with me on a couple of years ago. So, I already knew it was coming down the line and I’m against it. I’m against it because my whole thing is… I mean, I do anonymous post in my group, but really honestly, my goal is that there’s no anonymous posts in my group.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Because I feel like that’s what the power is. The power of vulnerability. And obviously there’s some people that don’t feel that comfortable or there’s something that’s super sensitive. Like, “Hey, like I just got diagnosed with breast cancer or I’m having a miscarriage” and that’s not something that they really want the whole world to know in that moment and I get that.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
But sometimes there’s some issues that people post anonymously just because like that’s their go-to to hide and that doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. So, I’m glad. And I know Sermo it’s all usernames and stuff like that, but I think the quality of those discussions are just a little bit different because people could be keyboard warriors and not really care about who’s receiving the message on the other end. Whereas on other platforms, you may be a little bit more careful and just being more thoughtful in how you communicate with people.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What other issues have you run into running such a large group?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Oh, gosh. Like all of them. Let’s see, fraudulent fundraising. I had to go testify in court about a fundraising issue that was fraudulent and the person who was doing it was actually charged with Munchhausen by proxy. And how many years I’ve been doing emergency medicine, I haven’t even had to go to court for that. Yet I run a Facebook group and that’s the first lawsuit that I have to kind of be present for.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And then everything else is just kind of like a mirror of what’s happening in society. Like the arguments about racism, the arguments about politics. I don’t know if they are problems, but they are issues that community organizers have to face. And I think I’ve changed my mindset a lot about how I approach them.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
When I first started the group, my mindset was like, just, “I want this group just to succeed”. Like any sudden move or any wrong move I make is going to be fatal to the group and the group is going to implode and demise. And now I am not like that. First of all, if the group implodes and demises, I don’t define myself by my group, so I’m going to be okay.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I’m just happy for the ride of however long PMG lasts and runs, but I’ve learned just like I was telling you earlier is when we define ourselves as just a doctor or this is your only claim to fame or success, then you almost become like a little bit desperate and you lose yourself in it.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
For me now I’m a little bit more mature as a community organizer and I’m not so reactive and not so worried. And so now I’m more like steering the boat more than I am just trying to manage and make sure nothing breaks. So, it’s a little bit different than how I have approached things.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now, I’m obviously not a member of the group, but I’m sure they have some financial discussions in there from time to time. What would you say are the top two or three financial concerns of your group members?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
How to pay off my student loans. That’s a big one. And how to negotiate for more money. That’s the second one. And three, I think women are becoming more vocal about their curiosity, about how to invest outside of medicine and realizing that to be financially successful, just having like a portfolio where you can invest in a number of things is really important.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
But maybe they have never had that experience and they don’t really maybe have people in their family that have had that experience to be an example of what can be. So, it’s a more like crowdsourcing each other of how to do that. Those are probably the top three things I see.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Are people getting good advice on the topics? Can you tell?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Well, I don’t think financial investment is like my expertise. Actually, my first time ever delving into anything like that was actually reading your book. And I read your book on a vacation. I think in 2016. And that started my thought process of like, what can be, what can I do? And at that time, my ideas were, “How can I pay off my student loans?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I kind of started off with kind of where a lot of these women are kind of starting to talk about that. And I was like, okay. And the natural answer I had for myself is work harder. If you just put your head down and you just work more.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Classic doctorism.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. You’ll make more money and then you’ll pay off your loans and then you’ll be free to do whatever you want. So, I did that for five years, and this is also paying off my infertility loans, which were like $150,000. So, I had $150,000 I owed for student loans and I had $150,000 I was owning for fertility.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So yeah, I worked 23 days a month for about three years thinking if I just work harder. I did make more money. And I did make a little bit of a dent, but I actually caused myself more harm, I think. I started getting burnt out a little bit. I was like not really pleasant to work with. I was like, kind of mean, I think.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
23 days a month might not sound to a lot to a lot of people, but in an emergency medicine full-time is 15 shifts a month. So, you’re basically working one and a half times rotating shifts, et cetera. I mean, 23 shifts a month is literally working all the time in emergency medicine. You’re basically at the hospital every day.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah, it’s a lot. And I just wasn’t even enjoying my husband and already your marriage is kind of a little bit different because you’re doing infertility treatments. So, it’s not really like normal. And then you’re working all the time. And then he started picking up all of the extra things that he could do at work to maximize his income.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And it’s funny because we did that for three years and then I read your book around that same time. And then I just started thinking outside the box. And the next book I read was “How to be a Badass?” I read that book again on vacation. I’m not sure why I do all my reading on vacation, probably because I just don’t have time or I don’t think I have time at home.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And that’s when I started thinking of being more creative. And I shared this story on PMG earlier this year, but I started realizing, “Who said we have to have a house? We’re going to live somewhere, but why do we have to have this house?” And I was sitting on a lot of equity. So, I was really lucky.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, we sold our house and I was able to pay off all my student loans. I had already paid off all my infertility stuff with working all of that time in the hospital. And then we had another 20% down on a downside home. And that’s where it became very addicting to invest. And that’s kind of where my mindset changed.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
This is right after the last election. So, for the last four years, my husband and I have been all about investment and in the weeds of taking every course possible of just learning more of how to prepare our family for the generational wealth that we want to build.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Let me pause you just for a minute. Where do you get an infertility loan? Do you get it from the clinic? Do you go to a bank? Are there organizations set up specifically for that? You just put them on credit cards. What is an infertility loan?

Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I say loan because I actually borrowed from credit cards. That’s what I did because at the time there wasn’t really a lot of opportunities. But now they have actually companies, I don’t know all the names of them or anything like that, but they have companies that do fertility loans. I don’t know all the terms of it, but I know that they exist specifically for that product. And they usually partner with the clinics.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, there are a lot more options, but I remember at one point and it’s so crazy, it feels criminal to even say this. But at one point I owed like $92,000 on credit cards.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Most of it for infertility.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Oh, all of it almost. Yeah. Because my husband and I, we were like eating top ramen and popcorn. Like we had it down to a science. Like I was eating at the hospital, like residents got food at that time and I don’t know if they do now. But I did that and we just try to live spending like no money. Like I remember having contests with myself if I can live off of $20 for the week.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That sounds like our budget for medical school.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
You know how they tell you like live like a resident, right? Live like a student. So, I tried. I tried really hard. I don’t really suggest that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It’s a little too extreme, huh?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
It’s a little extreme but I made it through. But actually, where I made the most strides is actually being more creative and realizing I don’t have to trade my time for money. And that’s what started my path in investments.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It sounds like you came into contact with the physician financial blogosphere for lack of a better word in 2016 or so. In your opinion, how is this blogosphere doing, serving the needs of women physicians? What are we doing well and what are we doing poorly?

Dr. Hala Sabry:
I read your book and I read “You are a Badass” and I started kind of reading different blogs, but what’s funny is I don’t know if I’m really the most committed blog reader. Like I’m not like the kind of person that’s like I’m going to sign up for one blog and I’m going to read every single thing. I kind of just started searching for topics. And I would just kind of surf the web like, “Oh, this is really interesting. I don’t know what this term means. Let me look it up.” And then just go down the path of like Wikipedia and a whole bunch of things.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, it’s not like I just really understand the whole blogosphere so much, but I love that there’s variety. And I think what’s really exciting for me is blogs really focusing on women, because the issues of the mindset of a lot of women of getting into financial investments it’s just a little bit more of a barrier when we already still have a wage gap and we have so many other fights to fight a lot of us are exhausted.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, to kind of look into investing and kind of break that barrier is for me, at least, that was a little bit hard, that was challenging for me, but I was excited to do it. And so, I think for the blogosphere, I think just having a lot of different opportunities for women to read, especially articles written by women. I don’t know. I think that for me, articles that were written by women, I just think I took it a little bit more to heart. Like I felt like that woman understood me. So, I think that just having more diversity in the authorship was really good for me.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
But I will say that at some point, just knowing that you have to figure out your “why” and that you’re going to take every resource, whether it’s a blog or not, to get that knowledge to get there. So, I don’t know if that really answers your question.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
No, I think it does. I’d like you to explore or explain a little bit more of the barriers that you felt. Whether real or not, what barriers did you perceive that there were as you were getting started that kept you from maybe making the jump initially?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. If I wanted to put them in two different categories, personal and professional. I think my personal barriers were my dad didn’t really invest in a lot so I didn’t really understand how that worked. I think oftentimes when you’re challenged with something, you start thinking of all the times that you’ve won at that. Like if I say, “Hey, can you drink this glass of water, Jim?” And you’re like, “Sure”, because you thought about a million times that you drank a glass of water successfully.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, if it’s like, “Hey, I have a good investment for you”. And you’re like, “Oh, crap. I have nothing to pull from right now”. And when I think back to my previous experiences, which I until recently had never invested in anything. And then looking at my dad, I don’t really remember him investing in anything. My mom was a homemaker. And then I’m like, “Well, crap, what do I do now?” And that’s scary. That’s scary, when personally you don’t have anybody in your family, that’s like walked that path before and you’re paving that road. I mean, it’s just the barrier of something new.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And then when you live in money scarcity, when you live in that money scarcity mindset of like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have enough money and I’ll never have enough”. And when I say that for people who don’t understand what I’m saying, think back to when you were a student. And when you were a student, you thought you were poor. And you probably thought you were poor because you made no money, because you were paying money to go to school.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Then you became a resident and you got paid anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000. So, that’s like a lot more money than you were making before. But then you still thought you were poor, right? Because you realize $30,000 to $50,000 is not a lot of money. And then you’re like, “Oh my God, when I get to be an attending, I’m going be so rich”.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I remember telling my husband when I was about to start residency, he was like, “Hey, how much does ER doctor make?” And I was like, I don’t know. I Googled it because we don’t talk about money. I Googled it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I found this amazing. I polled students and doctors once and asked them, how many of you knew what doctors made when you left medical school? And there was a huge percentage that had no idea what doctors made. It was amazing to me.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. I mean, I Googled it and Google says emergency medicine doctors at that time made $200,000. And I believed it because my dad, I remember asking him when I was like eight years old, how much he made. And I think it was around $200,000. So, I was like, “Oh, that makes sense”. Not really accounting for inflation and all that.

Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I told my husband, we were out to dinner and I was like, “I think $200,000”. And he was like, “No, that’s so much money”. And he’s like, “No, I think you’re wrong. I think we need to look it up again”. I said, I don’t know.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So anyways, when I was a resident, I thought I was poor. And then I became an attending and a spoiler alert for anyone listening, ER doctors make way more than $200,000. Double that if that, or more.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Especially if you’re working 23 shifts a month.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah. I mean, there’s been years I’ve made triple that. But it didn’t matter what I was making, I still thought I was poor. And so, if you have that mindset of scarcity, it does not matter how much money you make at all. And I think that, that was the biggest shift for me, is dealing with my scarcity mindset.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
The personal situations of obstacles were just really mindset issues and not really having anybody to use as an example. The professional mindset of obstacles that I had where, “Oh my gosh, if I do this, my abandoning my career, what about the patients? What about this? What about that?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And then I would see my colleagues all investing in real estate and all the other stuff at work. They would be talking about it. And I’d be like, “Oh, well I only work with men”. So, I’m like, “Oh, is this what men do? They buy like apartment buildings and they do this and that?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I don’t know, they never really included me in the conversation. They were kind of talking amongst themselves and here I am just listening as I’m charting. Professionally, it’s just not something that’s celebrated. It’s like, almost like you’re a cop-out. So, I was like, “I don’t want to be a cop-out, I want to be the doctor”. So, I think those were a lot of the mind drama I had, but I got over it really quick.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It sounds like you did. Now over 50% of medical students right now are women. What implications do you think that is going to have on the physician workforce over the next 10 to 15 years as they come through the training pipeline?

Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah, first of all, I think it’s going to make the workforce better and more diverse. And I think patients need that. And I’m glad that we’re focusing on equality and that’s been a long time in the making. So, I’m really glad to see that in my lifetime.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Now, I think that what people do is that they mistake that equality means equity and it does not. So even though we’ll have 50% of women and men representing the fields of medicine and having some diversity of the workforce that women at this present day and age, even though we’re around 30% of equality in the workforce, we are not getting paid the same. So, we’re not equal when it comes to our paychecks for the same hours, same service. And I know there’s people who will fight me on this, but there is data. It’s not something that I’m just making up.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And maybe that’s for a lot of reasons. One is as employers hire people, they’re trying to hire people for the cheapest that they can. And if they think that women are not going to negotiate, or they’re going to put a lot of other issues on it. Like I’ve seen employers say, “Well, you’re going to have maternity”. And I was like, “Well, why am I going to be punished for that?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And everybody should have parental leave. It should be for men and women. I don’t think dads want to be away from their children either. Like, give everybody the same opportunity. And now even with same-sex couples, we don’t have those traditional roles dad-mom. Sometimes it’s two dads, sometimes it’s two moms. So, let’s be a little bit more inclusive here.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
But that’s kind of what brings me to my new kind of detour in my career is really focusing on equity of women. And I think that there’s a lot of ways to try to fix this. One way is getting more women into the workforce to make a case for needing equality and equity, but also there’s companies out there like equity quotient that are doing analysis on companies to find out if they’re being equitable.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
But I think ultimately getting women in leadership positions to help make those decisions. Right now, there’s even less women leaders than there are in the general population of the workforce. And even when they are in leadership positions, the data tells us they’re not in the most decision-making leadership situation. So, they might be in like the softer leadership roles and just can be given a title and not really the actual authority.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So what I’m trying to do, at this point, not only through PMG, but also through Physician Digital Services is to work with companies to make them more aware and inclusive of recruiting and retaining women in their products and their services, but also really helping women with coaching of knowing their worth and whatever they decide to move forward with and kind of demanding that equity for themselves.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And that’s how we make change. We address the system, but we also elevate the people within that system. And so, I don’t know how far we’ll get in my lifetime, but I’m hoping far enough that when my girls and your kids grew up to make the decision, whether they want to be in medicine, this won’t be an issue that they’re talking about.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now, do you think medicine’s doing better or worse than other professions?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Well, the data shows us that we’re doing the same. The data on lawyer women, on politician women, dentistry. Those high-powered fields that are all male dominated, the data is almost all the same that we’re approaching equality as far as numbers, because schools are being really proactive, but the equity is not there.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I think we’re doing very similar. And so, I partnered with leaders across those industries because I think that we need to do this together. It can’t be where we just elevate medicine. It has to be kind of a team approach. So yeah, that’s what I’m actually doing now with members of those fields.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now we have talked a little bit about the gender wage gap, and even when you control for profession, you control for hours work and experience and everything, a gender pay gap still exists and that’s been attributed mostly to two factors. One is just out and out discrimination. The other big factor seems to be negotiation. That women are less likely to negotiate and negotiate hard. What can be done to encourage them to negotiate harder and avoid any negative consequences that could come from doing so?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Well, one is just knowing that you can always negotiate and knowing that you can renegotiate in the middle of your contract. There are no rules that say that you can’t. So, I think just knowing that you have that power. And I think when you don’t know what your opportunities are, I think you just close your mind off to them. And then a lot of women, when I do mention this, they go, “Oh, well, I don’t have money to hire a lawyer”. And then we get into that money scarcity. So, it’s really mindset. Like we got to fix our mindset first.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
The other thing too is of waiting negative consequences. Like what are the negative consequences that are going to happen? What’s the worst that’s going to happen if you try to negotiate? They say no? Then you’re back to square one, right? Or what? They fire you? Okay, fine. Then you’ll get a new job, you get a better job.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
I think we can’t live life being so scared to make change because we’re scared. That part of growth and change is pain. And sometimes that is what we think is failing or something negative, but it’s really growth. So, I say be bold and don’t be apologetic about it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I think a lot of women like to be seen as a team player and they feel like if they’re going to negotiate, they won’t be seen as a team player as much. Do you think it would be helpful to kind of remember and actually point out the reasons why they’re negotiating for more money or more benefits or whatever, so they can give patient care or so they can pay off their student loans or so they can more help their family? Do you think that would help the mindset more?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Well, yeah. We always want to be team players, but if you’re an unhappy team player, then what kind of team player are you? It doesn’t really matter. Maybe that’s just not the right team. People switch teams all the time. Look at the NFL. Why do people switch teams? Because they’re unhappy with their contract, they want a better contract.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So why can’t you just play your life and your career like you are an NFL player? That’s just what we have to do. I’ve been part of a lot of teams that I’ve grown out of. And I still love my team members and I still communicate with them and I still send them Christmas cards and things like that. But I don’t really think that there’s one team I have to stay with for the rest of my life.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I think that’s a good mindset. Okay. It looks like your PMG is starting a blog. At least it will be soon. What are you hoping to accomplish with that and what subjects are you going to cover and who will you accept posts from for that blog?

Dr. Hala Sabry:
Yeah, I’m really excited. For many years when I look back to posts that I’ve had for like the last five years, I have said the mission of this group is to support women professionally, educationally, and socially that are women physicians. But also, it’s to rebrand what it means to be a doctor to the public. We can’t do that if we don’t have a public facing website.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You can’t do that in a private group. I agree.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
No, you can’t do that in a private group. There are times that we come out publicly, like we made a holiday, we’ve come out and we do news, media stuff, but it can’t be sporadic. You would need like some consistent presence for you to make some changes within the community.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And I also think that now a lot of women in the group are getting these questions. I mean, not just now, but for a long time. But it’s more awareness for me now is that our patients actually care what we have to say.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Oftentimes when I’m in the ER and I have a mom with their child, they’ll often ask me, like, “What would you do? Are you a mom? Do you have kids?” And I was like, “Yeah, I have five”. – “But what would you do in this situation? Would you glue or would you suture? Or what bottle are you going to use? What nipple is the best?” Or whatever. Whatever the question is.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And now I actually have a little bit more life experience to share that and so do many thousands of women. So why don’t we make our presence there? If we’re so upset at all these other blogs, putting out misinformation, why don’t we put out a blog that promotes information?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And the other thing too, is that there’s a lot of women in the group that are super, super talented. And our group is not really an advertising board, but I want to give space for these women to advertise themselves. So, what better than a blog that will have hopefully tons and tons and tons of readership. And like I said I’m all about teamwork. So, the more that we can elevate each other in our voices, then the better.

Dr. Hala Sabry:
And as far as like who I’m accepting articles from, honestly, it’s more of the subject matter. We have a couple of different categories. And if it’s a man that wants to write for our blog, that’s fine too. It just has to stay kind of within our scope and our brand. And maybe that answer will change in a year when I have a little bit more blogging experience because I don’t have any, but that’s kind of where we’re starting from.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. Well, we better wrap up here. But you’ve got the ear of 30,000 or 40,000 high-income professionals, mostly doctors. Those are the numbers that will eventually listen to this podcast. Most in the next month, but we still get lots of listenership after the first month. What have we not covered today that they should know?
Dr. Hala Sabry:
The part that I think that I want to double down on right now is more of mindset. I think in medical school and throughout residency, we learned a lot about diagnosis and treatment. It’s all very patient focused and not much about our own, what they call wellness.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And when we talk about wellness, oftentimes there’s a picture of somebody doing yoga or a hike or some kind of vacation, and that’s nice and I’m all about all of those things. But I think that what really contributed to my wellness is my mindset. And I talked a little bit about scarcity. I talked a little bit about kind of the thoughts, the limiting beliefs that we can have and the ones that we can choose to have.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
What I really want to challenge everyone today and what we didn’t really get into on this podcast is there is a period of time during this whole process of me making PMG that I was really unhappy. I mean, literally a time that I thought I was going to press the delete button on the group because I lived in thoughts of victimhood and just sadness. And not really depression, not that, but more of like “Why am I doing all of this? It’s not getting me anywhere” versus “Hey, how can this elevate my situation? How can I get where I need to be?”
Dr. Hala Sabry:
And the honest answer is I didn’t even define where I wanted to go. So, I think a lot of doctors are like that. Like once they get out of that funnel of medical school, residency, pay off your school loans and they get to that part, then the rat race is over and they’re like, “I don’t know what to do now. Nobody’s told me”.

Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, one of the things that I started doing that kind of helped me on my path is like I started receiving executive coaching. And I was shocked, Jim, I don’t know if you’ve covered this in your previous podcast, but a very large percentage, a super majority of executives of successful fortune 500 companies, they all have executive high-performance coaches. And there’s a reason for that.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
People who have mindset are successful with anything that they do. Truly. And I think it’s such a disservice that physicians don’t have access to this, or they think that they don’t have access to this.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So, I think now that I’ve kind of realized that world and all that I’m creating now is because of my mindset, not by chance or by reacting to people or anything like that, but my own mindset and being in control of my career, I want other physicians to do that.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
So if you’re listening to this and you’ve been interested of how to get to the next step, you’ve been stuck on the same goal that you’ve made for yourself in the last year or the year before, you find yourself telling the same stories or complaining to your friends about the same thing, whether it’s a toxic situation at work, or “I don’t have enough money” or “Only if I had this, I would be happy”, any of those things, please invest in yourself.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Just like you invested in yourself to get a medical degree, invest in yourself of getting a high-performance coach. There are tons of physician’s coaches out there. There are tons of people who are not physician coaches. I’m coaching. And I think that that’s just the best way to get back to the community is making these physicians even more independent to help them, especially women, pave their path to even be more with a steady foundation for the women that are coming behind us. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what I dedicated the rest of my career so far to do. And I’m excited about it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Thanks so much for giving me the platform to say that.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
It’s great. And actually, when this run, we’ll have been talking about coaching a lot on the blog and the podcast in the previous week, so that’ll fit right in. I appreciate you sharing that.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Oh, that’s fantastic.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Anyway, thank you for your time. I appreciate you being on the podcast. I think this episode will go great.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Thank you so much, Jim.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Bye-bye.
Dr. Hala Sabry:
Bye.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Hope you enjoyed that interview. I sure enjoyed talking with Dr. Sabry. If you are interested in coaching, that’s a product line we’ve been working on developing here at the White Coat Investor. I know the majority of listeners probably aren’t going to be interested in that. It’s a relatively high-ticket item to have a physician life coach.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But if you think you might be interested, go ahead and take a look at whitecoatinvestor.com/coaching and you can learn about the opportunities available there.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Also, we talked a lot about negotiation and if you are interested in having some help with your contract, getting it reviewed, getting it negotiated, you can go to whitecoatinvestor.com/contract-negotiation-and-review. Or just go to the recommended tab at whitecoatinvestor.com. Lots of resources there to help you.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now is of course the time to start thinking about whether your current tax plan is truly tax efficient and keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. At Cerebral Tax Advisors they focus on all year proactive tax planning.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
As a spouse of physician, their founder, Alexis Gallati has over 18 years of experience using court tested IRS approved tax strategies to lower your effective tax rate and increase your wealth. Her services are flat rate, and she’ll show you your return on investment before you invest in cerebral services.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
If you’d like to find out more or schedule a free consultation, visit their website at www.cerebraltaxadvisers.com or check out Alexis’s new book, “Advanced Tax Planning for Medical Professionals” available on Amazon.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks to those of you who have been leaving us five-star reviews and telling your friends about the podcast. Our most recent review came in from Lollipop Lover. Lollipoploverlulu was the name put on the review who said “Beyond expectations. I have learned a lot from this podcast. I emailed Jim today with a question about Roth. He responded within one hour on a Saturday Morning! The answer to my question was already addressed in one of his great blogs. I just needed to look harder. Thank you, Jim, for all you do”. Five stars.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Keep your head up and your shoulders back. You’ve got this and we can help. Stay safe out there and we’ll see you next week on the White Coat Investor podcast.

Disclaimer:
My dad, your host, Dr. Dahle, is a practicing emergency physician, blogger, author, and podcaster. He’s not a licensed accountant, attorney or financial advisor. So, this podcast is for your entertainment and information only and should not be considered official personalized financial advice.

→ Save time. Save paperwork. Save dollars. Esurance ←