5 money myths that dont pay off

February 24, 2017
Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP
Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP

Frequent Fetch dvm360 speaker Dr. Hilal Dogan practices medicine in Denver, Colorado. She started the Veterinary Confessionals Project as a senior veterinary student at Massey University in New Zealand.

From Time is money to Money cant buy happiness,, here are some huge money-centered myths that I believe veterinary associates should cash out soon

Show me the money (myths)! Photo: Getty Images.Here's the hard truth: There are powerful beliefs many of us have toward money that we're not always fully aware of. That's where money myths come from. They stem from patterns we learned in childhood from adults that, perhaps at some point, had value in helping society thrive-or helped moms and dads survive. But in this day and age, some of them might be holding you back. They're false beliefs and they hinder your ability to build a healthy relationship with money.

I first heard of the idea of money myths through Julie Ann Cairns' book The Abundance Code-which has the research to back up her assertions. Her solution is simple: Replace myths by turning them into truths. Let's try some of those myths as they pertain to veterinary associates …

Fear of scarcity

Money doesn't grow on trees. Waste not, want not. These are mantras we tell ourselves to strengthen a false belief. And this concept drives me crazy when it comes to the veterinary business world. To start, this way of thinking is based on the idea that everyone has to compete for a share of the pie.

I don't believe it. This discourages comradery between competitor clinics. Competition is good when it inspires you to be better (and who doesn't like a bit of friendly competition?). However, when competition comes from fear, it breeds harsh judgements and slanderous comments toward peers. I witness this on a regular basis between the clinics of our small island community in Hawaii. The truth that we all have to face is that there's enough to go around for everyone. That's my truth.

My work is my worth

We are automatically suspicious of those who don't work hard and often suspect they're privileged, dishonest or downright lazy. This especially comes up when you tell people what you do for a living. We as veterinary professionals are immediately catapulted to a higher and more respected standard solely based on our titles.

In other words, people judge our worth based on what we do. This is usually why, when you meet someone new, they typically ask what you do for a living. They want to know where you rank in comparison to them and how you may potentially be of worth to them (ahem-side note: there are many Veterinary Confessionals about our not wanting to share what we do for a living because we're tired of random people we've just met asking for free advice. You can read them here).

Yet herein lies the problem. Because our titles are considered so noble, we're also expected to give away free (or discounted, which I advise against, by the way) services to continue to prove to people that we are who they think we are.

The truth is, it doesn't matter what you do for a living as long as you're enjoying it. There's infinite worth in that. Think: “My worth is inherent. I can feel worthy because I am worthy, despite what I do for a living.”

Work hard and play hard-there's no in-between

Many of us feel like we don't deserve money or success if it came to us easily. Many of us (especially in the older generations) don't believe we, or anyone else for that matter, deserve to have money and success flow into our lives easily.

Personally, I'm a new graduate working in Maui, and I've been told on numerous occasions by multiple veterinarians that I don't deserve to be where I am at this stage in my career. Instead, I'm told I should go back to the mainland and get more experience or endure difficult internships (for low pay and long hours of hard work) and residencies (again, low pay and hard work, for someone like me who doesn't even want to be a specialist).

I forgive these comments, though, because I understand that these veterinarians are living in the old paradigm. This is what they were told over and over again by their predecessors until it became deeply ingrained in their subconscious.

If money flows easily to you, tell yourself that you deserve it. Then turn around and invest it wisely instead of depleting it quickly because yourself or others are telling you that you don't deserve it.

Happiness and money don't mix

Sure, it's hard to argue against the old adage, “Money can't buy happiness,” but can we say that money will make us unhappy? Especially for veterinary professionals who have high debt loads-financial freedom isn't exactly something you say you don't desire.

Then the unexpected problem arises once we attain what we've been seeking in veterinary school: You're finally living your dream, but you feel enslaved to it because you constantly have to sacrifice your quality of life in the process, which therefore makes you unhappy, and mixes with the nagging thought, “Money can't buy happiness, but helping animals will bring me happiness.”

To this, I quote Cairns to you on this subject. “Sure, money might not make you happy, but it's a great down payment!”

Money corrupts

We're all familiar with the story of miserable miser Ebenezer Scrooge. Some of you probably believe, deep down, that you'll lose all sense of compassion and social responsibility if you make too much or charge too much or have too much, inevitably transforming yourself into mean ol' Scrooge.

However, when looked at closely, it's plain to see that Scrooge's main problem was not that he was wealthy, but that he was afraid. In other words, he belonged to the myth that you cannot be spiritual and abundant.

The thing is, money can do a lot of good in the world. It can help you make a bigger impact. The true driving cause for corruption is when someone feels as though they are in the “wrong” system and abandon their own moral code.

How many of you have taken products or used services at the clinic and not charged yourself for them because you feel that it's justified? If you feel the system you're functioning in is corrupt, you yourself will become corrupt in order to justify it as good. This has nothing to do with how much money you have.

Here's a new belief: Money can and will make a positive impact in the world. That's a money truth I can live with.

Hilal Dogan, BVSc, is an associate at Home Animal Hospital in Maui, Hawaii. She started the Veterinary Confessionals Project as a senior veterinary student at Massey University in New Zealand.