Finding a new home

It takes time to find a place to call your own. For Dr Karim Ghanim, it took a little longer.

  4 minutes


Born in Iraq and studing medicine there, Dr Karim Ghanim explains “Iraq at that time was under the rule of Saddam Hussein. I was supposed to serve in the army as an officer, but I refused. And for that, the punishment was the death penalty.” So on New Year’s Eve, 2006, he fled on a false passport and headed to Jordan. He developed a vague plan to reach an English-speaking country.

“Traditionally, Iraq is quite closely linked to the UK,” he says. “The medical textbooks and the syllabus are all English and some of the courses are overseen by the colleges in the UK. But at that time, the UK was not accepting any Iraqis under any circumstances, and the only country that was taking Iraqis as refugees was Australia. The attraction was mainly to get somewhere safe to start with, and then later to think about what I was going to do.”

After arriving in Australia, he completed his surgical training in Perth (with some overseas training in Singapore and London). That was in 2010, and he was happy to be working at all. That’s when he discovered he was missing a vital bit of knowledge—how to run a business. “One of the problems that face all the graduates in all medical fields is the lack of business understanding,” he explains. “Medicine as a business has never been addressed in our syllabus at any time. So, when you graduate and you’ve got your fellowship from the college of surgeons or physicians, then you’re basically thrown into the water. You have to learn how to swim by yourself.”

The nomad comes home

Around that time, he met a financial adviser who gave him a book about business structures. “The idea of the self-managed super fund appealed to me,” he says. “With the help of other surgeons, I started to slowly grasp the concept of medicine as a business. I was consulting in four different places. I had to carry my own bag, with all my stationery, from one place to another, like a nomad.”

By 2014 he was sufficiently well-established to start thinking about having his own space. “The self-managed super fund idea was very fresh in my mind,” he adds, “and I set up my first practice and my business based on that model of a self-managed super fund.” The practice was in the Wexford Medical Centre. “I called it my home, because in the other places I didn’t even have keys,” he says.

When he looked for financial help setting it up, BOQ Specialist was his preferred option simply because they lend to self-managed super funds. “And that’s how I came to contact them. And it’s a nice feeling that you can sit somewhere that is yours. You’re in charge, so this is your home.”

A new home

Of course, what you need out of a home changes over time. It was the same for Dr Ghanim’s practice. “The Wexford Medical Centre become very crowded,” he explains. “With COVID-19 and restrictions in terms of access to the car park and lift, it became suffocating to a certain extent.”

He found another site in South Perth—a renovated house. “The question was at that time for me, whether to sell the practice in the Wexford Medical Centre, or to rent it out and get funds for the new place. After a long time thinking and consulting with people and BOQ Specialist, an offer came from another surgeon to rent rooms for quite a good rate for the next eight years.” That was the push he needed.

“The street is very nice and easy to get into, the parking’s free, and it’s only one level, so there’s no lift up and down. So it’s easy for patients. For my practice, there’s five consulting rooms, so the potential to get more people to join me and rent from me is another option. And I’m already in contact with three people who want to join because the location is quite good.”


Thinking about starting or growing your practice? Click on the link to find out more about our tailored financial solutions for setting up a practice. Or ready to take the next step? Contact us to find out how we can tailor a practice finance solution for you, or call us on 1300 160 160.

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