016: From Burnout to Rich Life: Rethinking Your Money Goals as a Therapist

January 24, 2024
Joy After Burnout Podcast Cover Art

The money talk. Dr. Blanchette shares about the financial dance therapists engage in, recounting her own experiences. She breaks down the essentials – understanding your financial needs, conducting a financial assessment, and breaking free from the burnout-money cycle. πŸ’ΈπŸ’‘

Key Takeaways to Fuel Your Journey:

Financial Literacy:

Get cozy with your finances. Dr. Blanchette’s journey becomes a guide for understanding your financial needs, unlocking a path to joy and stability.

Toolbox Essentials:

Explore the wisdom of financial guru Ramit Sethi’s ‘I Will Teach You to Be Rich’ and the MIT living wage calculator. These tools are your companions to demystify your financial situation.

Curiosity in Action:

Dr. Blanchette ignites curiosity. Discover alternative paths to enhance your income. It’s not just a job – it’s a journey, and curiosity is your guide. πŸš€πŸ’–

Crafting Your Path to Joy:

Dr. Blanchette isn’t just sharing insights – she’s a guide to action! Craft a six-month income plan, take practical steps, and transform your financial landscape. Joy is within reach – seize it! πŸŽ‰πŸ’°

Grab the free money guide HERE!

Speaker A: This is the finding joy after Burnout podcast, a podcast for therapists and mental health professionals. Together, we unravel burnout and find our road back to joy. Here’s your host, Dr. Jen Blanchette.

Speaker B:Β Hey, therapists. Welcome back to the program. I’m excited today because I’m talking to you about money. So I think a lot of the focus for many people is trying to get out of one to one and increase their fee somehow. That’s what I tried to do. I tried to do that many times working in my practice. So we’re trying to figure out our practice by making small changes, raising our fees. If you’re an agency work, you might consider private practice as your answer. You’re like, oh, my gosh, I can make so much more money in private practice. Let’s do this. Before you start delving into like, I need to change all the things, increase my fees, redo my website so I can have these different offers on there, like intensives and group offers and all the things at once. I know this because I did this. This is a knowing laughter because I was trying to find my way out. But you’re likely experiencing the emotional upheaval that comes with realizing, you know, the path that you’re on in your practice or as a therapist isn’t sustainable, right? There’s a local, I live in the state of Maine and there’s a psychotherapy peer group. And I see these posts from time to time. However, I just feel for anyone who’s dealing with this because likely, if you’re running your own practice, you’re dealing with it. If you’re in a group practice or agency, not a problem for you. But if you’re not and you’ve dealt with it, you know what I’m talking about. So I walked into this post and someone was posting, has anyone had a problem receiving payments from X Insurance company, from this insurance company as they’re facing the new year? Last episode, that would be episode 15, I talked about issues with burnout coming into the new year. Part of that was clinical, so likely your clients already coming. And depleted as you may be, my voice is still like, I just woke up voice, but I’m going with it. That’s better. Okay, there’s the water. So deductible season is here. So if you haven’t, I always want to tell people, like, check your clients deductible because you need to collect. If you’re not collecting in January, you may be really depleting your own funds. So if you haven’t checked deductibles do it because you need to start collecting money this week, likely if your clients have a deductible or insurance. Okay, so anyways, so in this Facebook post, they were sharing about how they hadn’t been paid by certain insurance companies. One person shared, I haven’t been paid for two clients since November on this particular panel. And it’s something I lived through as well, both when I was a paneled member of that. Is that right? When I was paneled with the insurance company. So I was part of that panel. I would have insurance companies just not pay me. And this is post pandemic, so I don’t think I had that many problems before the pandemic. I don’t know what happened to insurance companies during the pandemic where they just started playing with our fees, but they did. I didn’t receive payment from a couple of clients during the pandemic for months. No, that was like, for a whole panel, and that was the biggest majority of my practice. And it was crazy making. Yeah. So they hadn’t received payment for November. It’s now January. And what that entails is constantly calling the insurance company, having the client call the insurance company, escalating the call, being on the phone with insurance companies for hours. Luckily, I had a billing person that would do that work for me, but I was paying them to do that work, which I recommend because me doing that call and getting so flustered that I ended up cussing at an insurance person. I am so sorry. Not at them, but just cussing because it’s just messed up, right? It’s just messed up that we have to fight for our money after we’ve already provided that service. So I always have been posting lately that that’s the reason I quit my practice was because I couldn’t reliably know when I was going to get paid. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why there was also burnout. There was also being a therapist in the pandemic. All those things were true. But also this issue of insurance. Even when I went off most of the panels, I still had to deal with insurance companies because my clients wanted to bill their insurance afterwards and they would have me call, say, like, oh, they didn’t receive the claim. Can you change this piece on the claim? So then my billing person was dealing with that. So either you go to a policy where you’re like, I don’t call insurance companies. I don’t do any of that. It’s up to you. It’s on you. If they don’t get the information. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t do that because I’m human and I was like, oh, I really want them to get their money back. So it’s still an issue even if you are not taking insurance, just FYI. But it’s better 100% because you don’t have to deal with it all the time. Okay, so let’s talk a little more about money. So for most therapists, getting a stable, predictable income is where we need to start. Okay. Put most simply, we need to understand your income, minus your expenses. Really don’t take too long to do this calculation. I have a guide that I’m going to link in the show notes that’s going to, it’s very simple. So just try to add up your expenses. Don’t think too much about it. Try to get 80% of the way there. 80%, that’s fine. Understanding these requirements helps you know if you need to alter or change your career or your practice because you’re not making enough money. For me, this is one of the biggest things that helped me, helped me know my number. So I sat down with my partner and we did a calculation of how much money that we needed from my practice or my business. And I think that calculation came out to about 45k, like take home. So net that was making that, just making that in private practice wasn’t quite full time in private practice, but I was just making that and even that was just demoralizing to me because of the toll that that 45K took on me. And I was like, I can just go get a job anywhere doing that. I can just work at the library, read books while I’m waiting. I could do lots of things. Okay, so I get three steps to get your financial game in order. Okay. So I want you to, number one, conduct an assessment of your income needs. It’s important to know how much therapy income you need to replace. So if you want to stay doing some therapy work, good, do it. That’s awesome. But make that calculation. Okay. So to stabilize your income first, adding things onto your practice while being overwhelmed is really hard. I’m speaking to you from personal experience, very, very hard. To stabilize your income, first three, consider in the immediate future, getting a job on the open market or raising your fees, taking a non related job or tightening your cancellation policies that can cost you thousands every year if we are not being tight with our cancellation policies. So in the short term, that’s what you need to do. That number three right there, raising fees, that can take some time if you’re insurance based, it did take me time because it takes a long time to get off insurance panels. It was a long time, but, like, typically 90 days, sometimes it’s 180 days with some of them. Oh, my gosh. I heard of one person that it was six months, so that can take some time. But it is much more quick to get a job on the open market, which is what I did and what I’m still doing, honestly. I mean, the podcast isn’t making me money, necessarily, a lot of it, but maybe one day we’ll see. It’s my slow burn. So. Also, starting an online business, not your answer. To get your financial game in order, I just want to highlight financial stress is one of the biggest areas of strain for therapists. If you look at research, it is higher than many other highly trained professions. We, for our level of education, make one of the lowest salaries. Understanding your numbers is key to determining your next career and money moves. All right, I’m going to talk to you about the financial tools and experts that I love because it literally changed my life to read some of these materials and to make the shifts that I made. So I want you to have them, too. I’m giving you three. There’s more than. There’s like, I could list a million, but I’m doing three because it’s too much information. Right. Number one, Ramit Seti, I will teach you to be rich was probably the most mind blowing financial book that I’ve read. He has a Netflix series, which I’ve watched all of. I’ve listened to nearly all of his 100, and I don’t know how many we are now with his podcast, let’s say 130 something. So what he does is have couples on his podcast and talk with them about their money issues and what they need to do to have their quote unquote rich life. So I’m going to pause there because, therapist, you are not thinking about your rich life. You’re not thinking about living. I think we become so serious as therapists, we forget what did I even want when I started this career? Like, what did I want out of life? What do I want to do in my free time? And I feel like this year, in 2024, I am really just trying to live into my human body and figure out what do I like to do again. I know I love to play tennis. I know I like to dance. So dance is going to try to become more part of my life again. It always has been part of my life, probably since I was about 17 or so. When I would just. In college, I went out clubbing every weekend, all weekend to house music. That was just something I did. And I actually listened to some house music this weekend and got on the dance floor and that was so fun. I also taught Zumba for a while and so probably more like going to Zumba classes more often because I get serious about my tennis and then I don’t just let loose. So think about what is that for you? I like gardening in the summer, so I’m looking out. It’s January in Maine and it is like icy. But I do like skiing and I’m going to push myself to try to get better because I have these glimmer moments where I’m like, ooh, I love skiing. I just don’t want to die. So I need to get better at skiing so I can enjoy it more and also enjoy the main winter because it’s long. And so that needs to happen. I digress. However, please check out ramit SeTi. I will teach youtoberich.com. He also has a great calculator, which I highly recommend that can help you calculate your conscious spending plan. So that’s what he calls. He doesn’t call it a budget. Well, it’s kind of a budget, but it’s not because what he wants you to do is think about what do you really want to spend your money on? So we’re making this money for a purpose, right? Number one, it helps us, sustain us, right? It sustains our lives. But we want to think about what is our long term goal. And he talks about having your rich life today and tomorrow. So saving for the future, making sure that we have enough for the future. But also what is going on next month? Like, I’m going to the Bahamas with my family. I want to play tennis on a grass court and be warm because it’s cold. So for me, it’s like taking that warm weather vacation in a winter month because I live in a cold climate is really important for you, it might become something totally different. Maybe you want to climb a mountain or I don’t know what you want to do, but I want you to think about what do I want to do? Let’s get really existential about it. Why are we here? What is the purpose of all this? Because that is the driver that’s going to drive you towards this money goal more than anything. For me, it was, my bathroom needs a renovation. It’s like a 30 or 40 year old bathroom that there’s like mold and stuff. You all. It’s like circuit 1989. It’s got to go. But I have to plan for that. I have to plan. We have to save all of that. Having a house is expensive. Number one is remit safety. That was a long, long interlude that I just gave you. Number two, the MIT living wage calculator. So this is really illuminating as well. It gives you an estimate of what you need to make a living wage and incorporates average expenses in your particular area in the US. So my particular area in the US is pretty high. And for my international folks, I don’t know where to send you, but I would think know is there a calculator that calculates a living wage for your particular community? That would be helpful. So think about that. So that’s livingwage miT.edu and this will be all in my guide that I will have in the show notes mindset is number three, Rachel Rogers. I love her book, we should all be millionaires. A women’s guide to earning more, building wealth and gaining economic power. Most of you listening to this are women. There is some startling research about women entrepreneurs. Most of us don’t make over $50,000. Okay. And so her book is really illuminating about why we limit ourselves financially and having the mindset of really exploring, making more and what we can do with more. It’s not that we all want to be rich and rolling in it, but that we want to be sustained and taken care of. So I highly recommend her book and it’s just a wonderful read. I think she’s a millionaire now and her website, rather is hello seven. So check that out. And that’s her program as well. So that’s your top three financial tools and people remit safety, MIT living wage calculator. And number three, Rachel Rogers. So I shared a little bit about my money goal was for my dream bathroom. It hasn’t happened yet. And I will sing the praises and take pictures and put it up on my website and all that. I don’t know that I made this money goal because it’s the thing that has been kind of driving me to make more. I think the place I’d like you to think about moving towards is curiosity about your career. Many times when I talk to therapists, they see their career as one way. I was trained to do therapy. That’s what I’m trained to do. I have this practice. What else could I do? What happens if I close it? What happens if I change it? It’s a lot of fear and gripping very tightly because I know that’s what I was doing. But when I started to open up, when I took a contract job and part of my income was coming from somewhere else and that income was close to my private practice income, it really became more achievable to think, oh, I could just do more of this. And I do evaluations for a school. That’s what I do right now. And that didn’t completely like therapy did. There was a different stress of going into a system and starting all that. That was different, but it wasn’t the stress of therapy, running my own business, all that stuff. So I’d have you think about being curious, being curious with your career, being curious about where can I make more money? Because it doesn’t have to come from therapy. It really doesn’t. In the guide, I have just a very simple income and expenses and a summary and how much you need. Okay. If you want to do a deep dive, I’d recommend remit Sat’s conscious spending plan. It’s a nice excel. If you like Excel, then just grab on that. If you don’t, ours. For my partner and I, it’s just in a Google Doc that we have together that he does that because he loves to do it. So I’m like, fine, you do it, but we talk about it together. So once you know your number, it’s time to brainstorm. What are some creative ways you could replace money, either with a traditional job therapy or otherwise? We are in a hot job market, y’all. Okay? So do not sleep on this job market. You could just get a different job, maybe make way more than you’re making now. Consider that. Just have it be a possibility. I would not recommend. I’m going to say this again. I would not recommend you starting a coaching business from scratch as a main way to produce income. I did. That did not work for me. I’m making some money with this. But it is a slow burn, very much a slow burn. So I want you to think about aiming for a six month plan to increase your income or stabilize it. So let’s think six months. If you are depleted, you’re like, change needs to happen now. Six months, how do we replace that income? And that’s what I’d help you do. If I work with you, I help my clients say, right, six months, we’re going to look at your income. We’re going to figure out what is the next step. What could bring you the desired income without contributing to your stress or burnout. I’m going to say that again. What could bring you the desired income without contributing to your stress or burnout. I’m going to pause and just have you think about that. If you’re in my guide, I have you do a brain dump about all the ways you’re going to make that money. So you’re just going to dump it out. What is it? Walking dogs, waiting tables, ubering. Just think of all the things, all the ways to make money. So I want you to grab this guide, if you haven’t grabbed the guide and go back through the podcast, I’m walking you through this guide in this podcast. So I want you to think about if you calculated your numbers, your steps that you need to take to replace your therapy income or drastically reduce it. The main points here are changes that can stabilize your income in the immediate future. It doesn’t have to be permanent. So a lot of times we hold on to if I’m not doing therapy, what am I doing? I want you to be curious. I want you to hold it lightly because I don’t know if you’ll like the next thing you jump into. I didn’t know that doing evaluations would be the next thing I wanted to do. And I’m actually, for the first time just after a year of doing this, I’ve told people I like doing what I’m doing. Crazy idea. If you want to quit therapy, you can start to make a plan to leave your agency or private practice or keep it very small. Again, you don’t have to have that answer either. Forward progress will often reveal the answer. So as you start to take these steps, you will start to understand where you need to go. All right, I hope this has been helpful. Download the guide if you just listen to me, go back and do it. All right, take action today. Don’t just be a consumption *****. This one podcast I listen to always says that, and so I’ll leave you with that. I look forward to hearing from you. Reach out to me. So if you download the guide, so grab that link in the show notes. If you download it, let me know what’s going on. You can just message me. Say like, I went through this. This is what I came up with. I want you to have some wins. Have a good one.

Speaker A:Β Thank you for listening to the joy after Burnout podcast. Be the first to hear new episodes by following the podcast and your podcast player. This is an informational podcast only. Any information expressed by the host or guest is not a substitute for legal, medical, or financial advice.


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