Podcast Episode 15 | Facing and Dealing with Financial Infidelity in a Marriage

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The Prosperous Doc podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

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John: 00:00 Just entrapment and just I would compare it to somebody being imprisoned.

Shane Tenny: 00:09 Really?

John: 00:10 Yeah, a prison of one's on making.

Speaker 3: 00:16 From Spaugh Dameron Tenny, it's White Coat Wellness, a show for doctors who are ready to improve their financial wellness. We know you work hard to help your patients, but you can't be at your best if you don't have your own finances in order. In White Coat Wellness, we highlight real life stories from physicians and dentists to educate, encourage and inspire you to personal professional and financial wellness. Now from Spaugh Dameron Tenny, please welcome your host Shane Tenny.

Shane Tenny: 00:45 Welcome to another episode of White Coat Wellness. I'm Shane Tenny and glad to have you with us today. If you're married or know someone who's married, then you know that there are three tricky topics in most marriages, sex, in-laws and money. And today or we're going to tackle marriage and money.

Shane Tenny: 01:04 And I have to be honest, it's a tough subject for me, even in my home. And in the nearly 20 years of working with couples in financial planning, I can tell you that there are so many aspects of money that cause stress in marriages, maybe even yours, whether it's budgeting or the lack of budgeting, whether it's debt, standard of living, the roles that you play in your marriage or even just talking about it. It can be a really challenging subject, and the core issue is actually not even money at all. It's trust. How much do you trust each other in the decision making and the management and the value that you and your spouse place on money?

Shane Tenny: 01:48 One of the financial issues that can be really damaging in a relationship around money is what's called financial infidelity, when one spouse makes significant decisions about money in secrecy. It's a really sensitive topic that obviously we don't talk about a lot at cocktail parties or the doctor's lounge, but it's important and it has a big impact on relationships and marriages. And so we want to shine a light on the topic today in hopes that hearing the story of others who have gone through this can maybe help either prevent financial infidelity and secrecy in your marriage or give you the courage to address it if the secret is still buried between you and your spouse.

Shane Tenny: 02:35 And so I am joined in the studio today with two friends who are willing to share a little bit about their story, and their marriage and their journey through this topic. And we're going to give them a little bit of anonymity here. So I'm just going to call them John and Joan, and I'm not going to give you a complete CV. I think that would disclose too much, but suffice to say, John is a physician and John manages everything else about their lives. I appreciate you guys very much being willing to come in and tell your story to help encourage some of the folks listening today.

John: 03:06 Thanks for having us.

Shane Tenny: 03:07 Absolutely. Let's dive in the shallow end of the pool first here. Can you just tell us a little bit about yourselves, your marriage, maybe the role that money has played in your relationship, or at least early on.

John: 03:20 Well, it's hard to know where to begin exactly.

Shane Tenny: 03:24 I would suggest at the beginning.

John: 03:25 I would say it's just such a long story. So yes, I'm a physician. Joan and I met when I was still a student. And I would say I came to medicine out of a scientific and analytic type of background, that pool of interest. Thought about doing a lot of different things within science and wound up choosing medicine because I thought that would be a place of best fit.

John: 04:02 In terms of the role that money has played and our relationship, mainly I would say my focus on it over our whole time that we've been together has been being a good steward of it. I, just my own life history, saw the different mistakes that my parents had made in managing their money and was very focused on avoiding that. Maybe almost too focused and we can get into that later. But I would say being prepared, bringing a good steward of our financial resources has been the focus for me.

Shane Tenny: 04:47 What would you add to that, Joan?

Joan: 04:48 Well, I was a high school Spanish teacher when we met and I was in charge of my own finances and I had my money and my little investments going on, but it was nothing like now. And I was just mainly focused on getting a little bit set away for retirement.

Joan: 05:06 And when I met John, he was a student and I know his mother was helping him financially. He didn't have a job. So we were coming in from different angles. When we first started out in our relationship, his father had had issues with finances, whereas his mother was a really great bookkeeper or knew how to invest her money wisely. And I know John took it upon himself to not be like his father was and he was, I really trusted. Once he started taking the finances in hand, he really seemed to devour everything about it and really get involved with it, which I admired a lot and I really trusted his judgment.

Shane Tenny: 05:54 How many years have you all been married?

Joan: 05:55 22.

Shane Tenny: 05:56 22 now?

Joan: 05:57 Yeah.

Shane Tenny: 05:58 And so Joan, tell me a little bit about as you navigated the early years of marriage through med school and then moved into residency, and you saw John's acumen for finances and just felt comfortable with that, what type of process did you go through in terms of just setting goals or talking about money? How'd you decide on those sorts of things and the type of planning?

Joan: 06:23 Well, I think we always were pretty good about, we were always a partnership trying to come together. We decided on a budget. I mean, I like to spend a little bit of money, but I was never really irresponsible with it and he wasn't either. We just naturally kind of came together with a good budget plan. I mean, we both had the same goals with having money for retirement, have an emergency fund. I'm not sure what else other than that.

John: 06:57 I think-

Joan: 06:57 I mean, the only difference I could say is that I've always been a little bit more careful about my investments. I don't want to be too risky in my investing and I think you were definitely always a little more aggressive.

Shane Tenny: 07:12 More risk taker, for sure.

John: 07:13 Yeah, I mean, what I remember was very early in our relationship, I was, compared to now, much less concerned about how much I was spending. And the good part of that was I had a lot less room to make some major error.

Shane Tenny: 07:35 When you're living on a residency income you don't have a lot of margin.

Joan: 07:38 We did have some credit card debt though too.

John: 07:41 Yeah, we had a substantial amount of credit card debt throughout med school throughout residency. And that was one of the first things that I tackled when I was out in full time practice. The other thing that I remember was probably midway through residency somewhere becoming just more aware of the need to have our finances in order and have some sort of pathway.

Joan: 08:11 Your biggest goal always was to not have any debt, never have debt, to get rid of the debt; pay off any school loans, any kind of debt, our cars. You were really on top of it and aggressive about paying off debt.

John: 08:27 Right, and I think we did a good job of that. We, I guess, just spontaneously evolved a framework where you were tracking our budget and-

Joan: 08:41 Just day-to-day spending and bills.

John: 08:44 Right, and managing all of that, which was a part that I did not typically manage well, all of that fine detail. And my job I guess was to look at our investments and how we were invested, which is where we got a lot of help from your firm in figuring all of that out. And that's kind of been the general framework we've pursued.

Shane Tenny: 09:15 You decided shortly after training to bring in a financial planning team and help you navigate that. Was that kind of a natural decision for you both or was that a big decision?

Joan: 09:27 Well, I think we had a fairly large discussion about it because we weren't really sure if we needed one or not. But when you start getting into the amount of money we're talking about, I didn't really know much about investing and I trusted John's opinion. I'm not really sure how we, if it was a recommendation initially that got us going in this direction from a colleague.

John: 09:54 Well, I remember the how we arrived at the decision to find a financial advisor and eventually how we came to work with your firm. When I was in my fellowship, I knew of disability insurance policies that were offered through your firm. I think that's how I originally learned about your firm. Then eventually when we were a bit more settled in the area and had purchased the home and felt that there was going to be some permanence to our being in the area, then that's when I sort of started to feel both overwhelmed, but just realizing that we needed formal assistance.

Shane Tenny: 11:00 So John, as the years went by and you developed a plan and executed on a plan and followed your innate hatred of debt and some of these sorts of things, as you began to realize, hey, we're making progress here, was it a feeling of relief? Was there a feeling of restlessness for what's next? How would you describe that?

John: 11:24 I would say a little bit of, not relief exactly. I think that would be the wrong word. I tend to be nervous by nature and in terms of future directions. There is relief in in terms of feeling a sense of accomplishment and being glad that we goals. But I've always been somewhat nervous in terms of how I felt we were doing in our planning, in terms of, is it conservative enough versus is it aggressive enough? And just trying to figure that out for myself.

John: 12:07 So I would say rather than relief, just more of a sense of accomplishment, glad that we had made progress, but having made the progress then looking for, okay, what is the next thing to do now? And so I think the term restlessness is actually a good description for that. I have a lot of different interests in different things and part of the restlessness is curiosity.

John: 12:40 Just to kind of an intellectual curiosity about other things now that we've checked some of these off the list.

Shane Tenny: 12:46 Exactly.

John: 12:48 I want to ask you a little bit about that intellectual curiosity cause I think that plays a big part in your story and story of others out there right after we get back from this break.

Will Koster: 13:01 I'm Will Koster. On this episode of White Coat Wisdom, I want to speak to all the residents or fellows who are approaching the transition from training to practice. If you're already an attending, don't skip ahead though because this could also apply to you if you ever change practices. Oftentimes the transition comes with questions and knowns. In this short segment, I want to list a couple of tips for transitioning physicians.

Will Koster: 13:23 One of the biggest things that tell someone who is nearing a transition is that cash is king. Usually there'll be a gap in income between training and practice, sometimes a couple of months with no income. This is often coupled with interviewing expenses or relocation expenses. Sometimes there are sign-on bonuses or moving allowances, but there is no need to add stress by running low on cash or having to use a credit card to float you until your next paycheck. Especially if you use the downtime for travel or getting credentialed, having cash saved is a good idea to have a cushion between roles.

Will Koster: 13:58 The next consideration for physicians who are transitioning either from training to practice or from one attending role to another is the change in benefits from one employer to another. What will you do with your previous retirement plan? Are there any benefits that you could take with you like your disability policy? Do you know what the options are for electing benefits at your new employer and how to best utilize them? Something that is often overlooked when it comes to benefits and transitioning is the potential for gaps in health insurance. It is important to know when your benefits from one employer end and the benefits from the next begin. If you will have a gap in health insurance coverage, what are your options?

Will Koster: 14:41 Transitioning can be a busy and stressful time. Being prepared and knowing what to pay attention to can be the difference between a successful transition and one that is filled with risks and mistakes.

Will Koster: 14:52 For this episode's White Coat Wisdom, I'm Will Koster.

Shane Tenny: 14:58 So John, you were mentioning right before the break that as you and Joan progressed financially towards your goals, there was a sense of accomplishment but also now kind of more blank canvas to be thinking about and exploring other things. I think you used the word intellectual curiosity. How'd you handle the intellectual restlessness? How did that manifest in your financial decisions?

John: 15:27 Well, I would say that it started off as most of these stories do. They start off with a good intention. I was looking basically for more and additional success. It started off with me reading everything I could get my hands on, on various topics having to do with investment. And like any good plan or any good venturing into learning more about a topic, you get to a place where you feel like you know enough that you want to start doing or trying something.

John: 16:13 I had always been interested in doing some investment on my own and a lot of that intellectual curiosity sort of focused in on that. I started looking at various things that I could do that were different.

Shane Tenny: 16:37 What sorts of things could you?

John: 16:39 The main things that I looked down or things such as, I would say more active types of investing, specifically things having to do with private equity types of investments, particularly real estate. And then things having to do with trading types of strategies in the stock market and looking at single stock investment and looking at trading strategies and trying to do those.

Shane Tenny: 17:17 And Joan, did you know where John's interests lie and kind of what was happening there?

Joan: 17:27 I had some abbreviated knowledge of it. It never was really spelled out to me in detail what he was doing clearly. I really trusted him. I always figured he knew what he was doing because he was so informed about everything. So I pretty much just left him to it, especially since I didn't value my own knowledge of investing.

Shane Tenny: 17:54 And so you started your answer by saying like a lot of good stories that start out with good intentions. I think it started out small and innocuous and then grew with some-

John: 18:05 That's exactly right. I think somewhere in our earlier conversations about this that either you or I brought up the word hubris. I think that's a very good word for what eventually came about. Yeah, I started out well-intended, this was going to be something on the side, limited in scope.

John: 18:30 And what happened was the more I learn, the more confident, falsely confident, I became and what I could do. Soon I had grown a number of accounts that had gotten bigger and bigger. Some of them fueled with debt. And within probably about a 18-month to two-year time frame, got in deep enough certainly that I became uncomfortable.

John: 19:07 So one of the things that I wanted to do was, in doing the project was give it enough power and I didn't have enough spare cash lying around to provide that power. And so one thing I did was take out a fairly large home equity line of credit on our house, which had been paid off prior to that point and was using that to meet things like capital calls to finance, certain trades, et cetera. And at that point when I had maxed out the credit line, I realized this is a huge problem. I'm in way too deep.

Shane Tenny: 19:52 And this whole element that started out as kind of, I think I might say, just a fun hobby that might be additive to your overall plan, instead began to threaten your overall plan. Is that-

John: 20:12 That's fair, yeah. That's exactly what would happen. I think I was fortunate in our case that I got in deep enough to realize, okay, I'm in trouble here and I need to do something different. And because had I gone beyond that point, then the risk of having a really massive loss that would have had a very negative long-term impact would have gone way up. The odds of that happening would have gone way up.

Shane Tenny: 20:45 If you could clarify, did the investment decisions that you were pursuing, you mentioned like a private equity, real estate, things like that, did those investments themselves turn south and become detrimental to you? Or was the complexity of it exhausting? Or was it the juggling of those things hoping it would work out but not working? I guess I'm just wanting to understand and help our listeners kind of understand what was the stressful part of it?

John: 21:21 Well really it was all of those things. So first of all, what I was trying to do was very ambitious, and while I had certainly learned a lot compared to what I knew before, by no means, and I realize this now, I didn't realize it then. By no means had I accumulated enough knowledge to really put the type of plan that I wanted to do into practice in a sound kind of way. And I just did not really have a good appreciation of my own limitations of knowledge and really just developed a blind spot about how much risk I was taking on exactly.

John: 22:12 The way that worked was everything was fine for a few months, no problems. Then some of those investments did start to take on losses. Then I became concerned about, well, what should I do to make up the losses? And the way I dealt with it was by taking on more risk in order to increase the chance... If you don't risk anything, you won't make anything. Of course, the more you risk, the greater the chance of loss, at least in the short term.

John: 22:50 So that meant that I was taking on more complexity, more risk, more complexity. The more risk and more complexity, the more danger, the more I became uncomfortable with it, the more I felt like I needed to not say anything about what was going on to Joan. And at a certain point, I got in deeply enough that I really just wished I could get out and take the moderate losses that I had sustained up to that point and just stop. But at the same time I felt a lot of shame about where I had gotten us already and really wanted to make up for it, turn it around. So things went on like this for close to another year.

Shane Tenny: 23:49 And what were you feeling? What was the growing emotion within you during this time?

John: 23:53 Just entrapment and I would compare it to somebody being imprisoned.

Shane Tenny: 24:02 Really?

John: 24:03 Yeah, a prison of one's own making. But it was beginning to occupy enough of my attention that it was really almost, well not almost, it was becoming an obsession and really pulling a lot of energy and enjoyment from every other area of my life.

Shane Tenny: 24:33 John, I've heard other folks in the financial field working with physicians and intelligent clients talk about the bias towards complexity. I think you and I have had a conversation about this at one point. Explain a little bit of your understanding of that concept and kind of the role that it played.

John: 24:55 Right, so I think that physicians, generally speaking, certainly operate in a complex environment and an environment that has a lot of uncertainty within it. And you do that long enough, you become comfortable operating in that environment through years of training, years of learning about things.

John: 25:22 For me, the error was to think that, well, if I can deal with that kind of complexity and uncertainty, then I should be able to handle another area of complexity and uncertainty in, again, a completely different arena in which I had none of those years of training or background or practice to navigate the pitfalls. Part of it is a fascination, for me is it is a fascination with complexity just due to my particular biases and interests. The background that brought me into medicine, a lot of scientific, analytical, almost engineering type of interests. So this was an appealing type of problem for me to try and solve.

John: 26:17 And the more complexity, the way I viewed that was, that means while there's more options to succeed, losing sight of the downside of complexity, which means yes, there's more options to succeed. But there's also more opportunities to failure, to fail.

Shane Tenny: 26:34 And you'll be assured of not really understanding why, because the complexity.

John: 26:37 Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Shane Tenny: 26:41 And so the year and a half or the period of time you're describing where you got intrigued by some outside ideas and began to educate yourself, began to pursue them, sustain some losses, I guess pulled a classic double down, let's try to recapture that. And then you just ended up in a cycle that I think you described as entrapment. At some point, you got to like this has got to stop and you just had enough. And that was, I think when you decided just to come open up with Joan about it [crosstalk 00:27:19].

John: 27:18 Right.

Joan: 27:19 Well, he had run some investing ideas by me, which I opposed in a big way. And I think that was the breaking point, the last one that you ran by me and we got into an argument about it and it was over the phone. And then you decided you needed to get some advice from someone else. And then it came became clear, it was out in the open how far this really was going, which was a surprise.

John: 27:58 So eventually this built up to the point where certainly I was in way too deep in terms of a percentage allocation of my investments; way, way over-allocated to these projects that I had come up with. And what I observed was I began not only doubling down but then making extremely unwise decisions, both with trading and selecting certain of these private equity types of investments that I was interested in.

John: 28:48 And then just became apparent to me how stressed out I was over it. What I noticed with that feeling of stress was that I did not really exercise good judgment there. And that's not something I would ordinarily have done under other circumstances. And it just began to dawn on me that this was now dangerous. Not only was it too much of a good thing that had grown too big and it was getting stressful, but it was also getting to a point where it was financially dangerous and it needed to stop.

Shane Tenny: 29:39 And is that when you came to Joan and said, here's what's happening or what happened then?

John: 29:46 Well, I came to you at first basically just sort of out of a sense of crisis. Okay, this situation I'm in, what do I do about it? And I almost had an idea at the time that I could somehow still dig my way out of that. And what I remember was you took a look at sort of the whole big picture of all of the different types of investments.

Shane Tenny: 30:22 Because I didn't know either.

John: 30:24 Yeah, you had no idea. And I didn't highlight it in our meetings, did not draw any attention to it. And I really worked hard to keep a lid on just exactly what was going on and how extensive it was. And basically, I mean, we talked a good half hour to an hour about it and he just said, look, this has got to stop. You're going to get destroyed by this.

John: 31:06 I think beyond just that, we talked a lot about how this had sort of become intellectual curiosity on steroids and that it had become almost an addiction, definitely an obsession, and that it had reached unhealthy levels.

Shane Tenny: 31:32 Especially when it's a secret from your spouse.

John: 31:34 Yeah. And that was the other major thing that you pointed out to me. The first thing was the financial impact. The second thing was the stress of it and what that was doing. And the third thing was Joan has no idea any of this is going on and you need to tell her about it.

Shane Tenny: 31:58 And what happened then? How'd that conversation go, Joan?

Joan: 32:03 Well, I was pretty angry and there was a lot of yelling. I think the thing that really stuck out to me is well, I always knew he was pretty obsessed about finances, but I always trusted his judgment. And learning about these choices, I still find it hard to believe, like how could he have done that? Because he always was so focused on paying off debt and saving for the future. And they seemed like such a contradiction, like just not something he would do.

Joan: 32:38 But I can definitely see it in his personality, he can get over confident about something like that and it can become an obsession and hard to let go. And it's also hard for him to admit that. And so when he did that, I was actually, despite all of the anger, I was really proud of him for stepping up to the plate and saying, I made a mistake and I want to do better now. And that was probably really difficult on for John.

John: 33:15 I think the most difficult thing about it for me was realizing that it was I had gotten to a point where certainly a massive violation of my own principles and it was out of character for me. And that not only did I feel ashamed by it just for having gotten into that situation in the first place, but also the long period of time where I just was not, I was keeping everything very close to the vest and not telling anybody anything, very secretive and about things that really should not be secrets.

Joan: 34:08 And that's true. I mean, I would ask questions about our finances and I would sort of get these-

John: 34:14 Vague answers?

Joan: 34:14 Yeah, which is really, really frustrating because I mean, on the one hand, I wasn't really that interested. On the other hand, I was getting such vague answers. It was...

John: 34:24 Yeah. Well, you just wondered what was going on.

Shane Tenny: 34:30 On the one hand it was a violation of your own character and a violation of the trust that Joan had in your decision making.

John: 34:39 Exactly. Everybody has their slip-ups and areas of vulnerability, but I just felt like I should have been better than this, that it was a real violation of my own feeling of integrity and my own actions. So once I got past the shock of holy cow, I've arrived at this point and never thought I would wind up in this situation, I really wanted to make amends and do the right things, fix the situation.

Shane Tenny: 35:22 Yeah. And it sounds from your comment, Joan, that it was very hard to hear.

Joan: 35:29 Yeah, certainly.

Shane Tenny: 35:30 And at the same time you appreciated the courage it took and the humility that it took to come together and the impact on your marriage after John opened up to you.

Joan: 35:42 The thought that I keep thinking when you say that is just, I keep thinking everything's good, but we always need to be vigilant. I'm always a little afraid because I do have some lost confidence and it's hard to... it's not like I have that same trust and confidence in his investing ability anymore. And yes, we'll work towards it. And I know he's very honest now, but there's always that fear.

Joan: 36:14 So infidelity is a good word for it because once it happens you always have that kind of in the back of your mind like could it happen again? And I think we just always need to be vigilant and stay on top of it and talk and be transparent and understanding and also know when to stop.

Shane Tenny: 36:36 And now have you agreed on any change in decision making procedure or anything like that to just help the communication and help the trust?

John: 36:48 Well, one of the first things that we did in the wake of all of this was decide that all decisions would be transparent ones. I had enough integrity remaining that I didn't want to continue to keep secrets, and that if there was something that I wanted to do financially that I would run it by Joan and discuss it with her.

Joan: 37:18 I think it's good that we have your firm, or you, involved in this as a third party being more objective because our investing natures are different, our strategies would be a little bit different and then we sort of have you as a referee.

John: 37:35 Yeah, I would agree.

Joan: 37:37 Our investing infidelity marriage counselor.

John: 37:44 I totally agree with that and it is a tall order. You've been very, very patient with us through that process. But I really think we are in a much better place now. And the benefits extend beyond restoration of integrity in that part of our relationship. The decision making is more sound for starters and none of the, what I would describe as very negative energy around it is there anymore. That was becoming very distractive and very destructive.

Shane Tenny: 38:32 I want to ask is we're, I guess, nearing the end of our time, Joan, what's been the best part of all this for you?

Joan: 38:42 Well, I always realized that I was completely dependent on him to make all of these decisions or just be in charge of that. And for me, I think it's important that I know. I think both people in a relationship, whoever the holds the reins of the investing, they need to be more transparent and open with their partner because it really does that other person a disservice. I just think that's something that's come out of this.

Joan: 39:10 And just to be open and to see what can happen and to know how we can grow together, learn about this, understand. I mean, it is a weakness, but it's also a strength to step up to the plate. And so even though there were several bad decisions, at least John owed up to it and I admire that a lot.

Shane Tenny: 39:34 I do too. John, what's been the best part of untangling this whole thing to you?

John: 39:42 The best part of it for me has been, first of all, getting out of a bad situation. Getting out of a situation where I started to feel and did feel very bad about myself for some time and now feeling that I am in a better place, functioning according to a better framework. Also, realizing that I'm more than these financial decisions and financial status. I think I had become entirely too caught up in that and needed to have a different focus.

Shane Tenny: 40:29 What would you, as we wrap up here, I'm sure there's somebody listening to us who either is living in secrecy in their relationship. Either they've got a secret investment account or they borrowed money from their parents without telling their spouse or they told their spouse they paid cash for the car and they didn't, or all kinds of things that take place. What words would you have for someone who's kind of in the midst of this now?

Joan: 41:01 I'd say the mental burden of it all isn't worth it and they need to talk with someone about it and share what's going on. Either just to get advice or to work with someone on how to get out of the problem. Because as John has admitted, the obsession, it was overwhelming. He was imprisoned and I could see that. I mean, he'd spent a lot of time up in his office working on investing. It was kind of ridiculous how much time was being spent in it. But now I know what was going on.

John: 41:36 Yeah, exactly. I would say that in terms of encouragement, the good news is if you're in a bad situation or you're in an area where you feel like you're not behaving with integrity, you can change that. It's enough. It may not be pleasant and it won't be pleasant. It'll be painful. But it can be changed simply by stopping the behavior and valuing your relationship with your spouse more than whatever happens to be the focus, be it a secret account or money that you've borrowed from somewhere without your spouse's knowledge, and that you can work in a more transparent way. And that's a better partnership.

Shane Tenny: 42:36 I think so. I think so. Well, I'm proud of you, John, for the courage that it took for you to call me and then to talk to your wife because your relationship is way more important and that then unwinding things yourself. I think you're on a better path, but you're back on a great path. And I think there's a lot of sunny days ahead. So I'm proud of you and I am so grateful for you guys coming in to just share your story and hopefully be a real, a genuine encouragement to other couples out there, maybe younger than you, maybe older than you who would need a good word today. So thanks for being here.

Joan: 43:21 Well thank you.

John: 43:22 Thank you for having us.

Will Koster: 43:27 I'm Will Koster, and on this segment of White Coat Achievement, a segment that highlights noteworthy achievements by your friends and colleagues, we're featuring a physician wellness advocate who is dedicated to improving surgeons' well-being, practice performance and patient outcomes.

Will Koster: 43:43 Dr. Jeffrey Smith is an orthopedic traumatologist in San Diego, California and the founder of Surgeon Masters, which offers a vast array of resources for surgeons. Dr. Smith is on a mission to support and empower surgeons to create highly successful and sustainable medical practices with a heavy focus on treating burnout in surgeons' careers. He runs the Surgeon Masters Podcast to share tips and insights with fellow surgeons. This physician advocate also developed a Wellness Edge, a wellness and resilience training program, designed to help surgeons through self inquiry and find opportunities for growth in their lives and practices. Dr. Smith is not only doing his part in raising awareness of these key issues in medicine that impact wellness, he also presents formidable burnout prevention strategies.

Will Koster: 44:32 As always, if you know someone who is wearing a white coat and as achieving something noteworthy, feel free to drop us a line. We'd love to hear about it. We might even featured them on a future episode. But this episode White Coat Achievement goes to Dr. Jeffrey Smith for recognizing the need to promote wellness in the surgeon community.

Shane Tenny: 44:52 Thanks for joining us for another episode of White Coat Wellness. Appreciate you being with us today. Remember, there's plenty of more episodes coming out about every other week if you'll subscribe through Google Play or the Apple Podcast App where you found us. We've got show notes below with more information.

Shane Tenny: 45:08 You can also join our private closed Facebook group called White Coat Wellness, where the conversation continues. You can interact with other colleagues from around the country on any issues that are wellness related. If you have any suggestions for topics or questions or reviews, feel free to email me directly, shane@whitecoatwell.com. Thanks so much for joining us today and we'll see you back your next time.

Speaker 3: 45:33 This episode of White Coat Wellness is over, but you're not alone on your journey towards financial wellness. Spaugh Dameron Tenny has been helping physicians and dentists with their financial planning for over 60 years, and we'd love to answer any questions that would be of help to you. Visit sdtplanning.com today and take your financial wellness to new levels. Once again, that's sdtplanning.com, and we'll see you on the next episode of White Coat Wellness.