We’ve all heard a therapist say it: “I didn’t become a therapist to make money, I did it to help people.” And while that’s noble and true, it doesn’t mean that every mental health provider should resign themselves to a life of financial destitution. Therapists everywhere have found a million excuses to not care about money because they think it equates to being a good provider, but that is far from reality. You work hard, and you deserve financial security. So, what can you do? There are plenty of steps that therapists can take to plan for a sound financial future, it just takes some initiative and some strategic goal-setting.
Determine What Matters to You:
Sure, making a huge income might not be a priority to you, but financial security likely is – so how do you get there? First, you need to determine what matters to you. Some things to consider include:
Your Hours – Do you like the hours you work? Do you wish you could work less? Do you feel like you can’t work less without compromising your security? These are important questions.
Your Place of Employment – Are you in a private practice? Would you like to be? There tends to be more freedom to increase your pay in a private practice setting, but what does that even mean? Is that more secure? Would you like to work somewhere else?
How Many Patients You Have – Do you see a ton of patients but feel like you don’t make enough for the amount of work you do? Do you need to grow your patient base? How do you do that?
The Work You Do – Do you like the type of services you offer? The niche you’re in? Do you wish you could focus on continuing education (CE)? Do you wish you could change specialties?
Your Personal Life – Do you want to buy a house? A car? Do you want to grow your family? Do you want to travel? These things cost money and you’ll need to save up.
Where are you and what are the things that matter most to you? These are the factors that will influence your financial goals. Ultimately, your financial goals need to be centered on where you want to end up in the future. If you have plans that would involve more income, then you need to plan now for how you’re going to acquire that income.
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Financial Goals You Can Set as a Therapist:
Increase Your Fees – This is a common financial goal for many therapists every new year. It’s common because the new year is when fees are most expected to increase according to the cost of living and other factors, so patients won’t be as caught off guard if it happens. Things to consider when increasing your fees include:
How many hours do you work
How many clients do you service
Your work expenses (do you rent an office? Do you commute?)
Your salary (how much do you want to take home each year
Other (if you’re running a practice, other fees like staffing costs will factor in as well).
Diversify Your Work – You can do more than just offer therapy! Your skills make you an expert in the field, which makes you suitable for a wide range of valuable services including consulting, teaching, writing, public speaking, and more. Consider diversifying the type of work you do to bring in extra income.
Invest – If possible, talk to a financial advisor and learn about opportunities to invest your money wisely. This could help you grow your income without taking on extra responsibilities.
Increase Your Patient Load – Depending on how many patients you see currently, taking on just a few more might make a huge difference to your financial security. You never want to stretch yourself too thin, but if it makes sense for you and your life, it could be a great option.
Adjust Your Working Hours – It seems simple, but if you want to take home more income, then work more hours. In the same vein as the patient load, make sure not to stretch yourself too thin, but it is an option.
A Combination of Options – If you want to work fewer hours without compromising your income, you can increase your fees while decreasing your working hours. Whatever is going to make the most financial sense for you and your life.
Therapists deserve financial security just like anyone else. By setting strategic financial goals, they can better prepare for the future they want for themselves.
TheraNest can help therapists reach their financial goals by streamlining practice management tasks. From intelligent scheduling to custom note templates, TheraNest provides a variety of time-saving solutions for solo and group practices. If you want to see how Theranest can help you get more time back with clients, sign up for a free 21-day trial today.