Finding Financial Freedom, Being Grateful, and Feeling Fabulous with Dr. Latifat Akintade
The Fabled blog brings together diverse women in medicine to inspire uplifting conversations about life as a medical practitioner. We want to create an empowered community through open discussions about traditionally off-limits topics such as self-care and non-linear career paths. We hope that by participating in these conversations, our readers will go on to live more fulfilling lives. Our new interview series shines a light on the power of personal style, mindfulness, and more.
Our Women in Medicine Q&A series continues with Dr. Latifat Akintade, a gastroenterologist practicing at Kaiser Permanente and based in Sacramento, California. She is the founder of MoneyFitMD, a coaching practice that helps female physicians transform their relationship with money and achieve financial freedom. Last June, Dr. Akintade launched the MoneyFitMD podcast and a companion vlog to expand on her work as a money mindset coach. Read on to discover what graduating from medical school meant to her, how the skills she teaches as a coach translate to her clinical work, and how impromptu day trips keep her grounded.
What inspired you to become a doctor? We want to hear it all: The good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly.
I’ve wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember. My parents didn’t go to college, but they knew that education would give my siblings and I a better chance of success. My interest in medicine was based on my intent to do things differently. To be a different kind of physician. I moved to the United States when I was 18. I explored other options in the sciences, but the ability to heal and relieve pain kept drawing me back to medicine.
Can you share some of the proudest moments in your career?
The proudest moment was when I graduated from medical school. As someone who migrated here without my parents, I knew nothing about the process, and had to be self-sustaining for many years. It wasn’t always easy. I remember days of not being able to afford a Big Mac from McDonald's. To go from that to graduating from one of the top medical schools in the world was a dream. During graduation season, I was chosen to speak to an audience of UCSF alumni. My father was in the audience, and I shared how his interest in education contributed to my success. I remember watching him stand up for an ovation that included everyone in the room. Someone who helped me get here got a chance to be seen. Gratitude and community is a huge part of my life. When both of them happen together, there’s great beauty in it.
Representation is so important, particularly in healthcare. What do you hope your patients will feel when you walk into the room?
I want my patients to see a physician, a woman physician, and a Black woman physician who has trained extensively, who sees them, who hears them, and who will do everything in her power to care for them. Without bias.
Have you ever had to negotiate something at work, and what did you learn from that experience?
I think every day in medicine is an opportunity for negotiation. I’ve learned that if you don’t ask, you won’t get. A successful negotiation is one that makes both parties leave the table feeling like they won.
What inspired your decision to start MoneyFitMD?
MoneyFitMD is a platform that I wish I had five years ago. I was never taught about money growing up. As I went through medical school, residency, and fellowship, my student loan debt and credit card debt increased. By the time I graduated fellowship, my husband and I had two children, and I knew that working 80 hours per week was not how I wanted to live my life. I realized that there are two parts to financial education—the math, and the psychology. Once I discovered this, it all clicked for me. This led me to get my certification as a Life Coach. I felt a call to create a resource that other women physicians needed. Many of the physicians I’ve worked with say that their experience with MoneyFitMD has been life changing for them.
What’s one thing you learned running the business that helps you build rapport with your patients?
At MoneyFitMD, we pride ourselves on creating a shame-free, guilt-free environment where women physicians can express themselves freely. I truly believe the more deeply, genuinely, and fully we love ourselves, the richer our lives will be. My clinical patients can also expect a shame-free, guilt-free environment, and they can count on my honest, love-filled response. I think this has helped me receive consistently high patient evaluation scores, as well as a two-time nomination as one of the top local doctors two years in a row.
Women supporting women is a big theme in your work. Can you share one top money tip for young women entering a career in medicine today?
Your clinical income does not have to be your only source of income. Being optimally diversified reduces the chance of burnout. Having financial freedom is an option, regardless of your past, your family situation, or the color of your skin. It may not always feel like it—but I promise that if I can figure it out, so can you. I’m here to help.
Talk us through your favorite self-care ritual. Beauty regimens, affirmations, and date nights are all fair game!
Spontaneous day trips are one of my favorite things. My husband and I like to drop our kids at school and drive a couple of hours away from home to check out a local coffee shop, spend time by the ocean, or relax at a day spa. Then, we return to pick up the kids at the end of the day as if nothing happened! There’s something about it that makes us feel like we’re maintaining our individuality and being ninja parents all at the same time.
Where do you look for style inspiration, and how does your sense of style empower you?
For a long time, I disliked shopping. A few months ago, I attended a styling workshop that transformed the way I shop. Now, I enjoy shopping for pieces that I feel fabulous in. If I don’t feel fabulous when I try it on, I don’t buy it. I have finally come to a place where I can say I love shopping in a way that aligns with the value-based spending that I recommend for my clients.
Fill in the blank: Women physicians are ___.
Altruistic people who deserve to have money so that they can change their own lives, their communities, and the world.
What’s the #1 item in your self-care toolkit?
Aquaphor and coconut oil. They make my skin glow!
What’s your go-to move for turning around a bad day?
Prayer, music, and coaching.
What song can you not stop listening to right now?
“This is a Move” by Tasha Cobbs Leonard
What are three things that you can’t live without?
Coffee, God, and my hammock!
Photographs courtesy of Dr. Akintade.
We love talking with women in medicine who manifest self-care and self-expression. If you know someone who can teach us a thing or two, email us their details!