What do you do for a living?

These hands save lives, or something like that. They do place endotracheal tubes, epidural catheters, peripheral nerve blocks, and NG tubes. I’m an anesthesiologist, and I’ve been in practice for a little more than ten years.

I’m not a big fan of the phrase “for a living.” I would never want my job to define my life. I am Living in many ways that have nothing to do with the way I earn money.

 

Rio Camuy Caves

 

Why do you blog?

Physicians earn a lot of money. Physicians spend a lot of money. Physicians burnout and have no good escape. I would like to open other doctors’ eyes to the idea that they might be better off without the lifestyle dictated by the “delayed gratification” mantra.

I want everyone to be happy, and I’m not here to say you’re doing it wrong. But we’re taught to practice evidence-based medicine, yet we’re not living evidence based lives.

I was inspired by Mr. Money Mustache and the White Coat Investor, but there is a wide gulf between their philosophies. While they do share some common ground, I’m essentially here to bridge the gap.

Also, I love to write, and the blog is a great creative outlet for me, which is something I haven’t had before.

 

Why is your blog awesome?

It’s not. But if it was, it would be from some combination of life experience, attention to detail, humor, a love of numbers, and beer. I have a 4 physicians series that I’m proud of, I write about taxes, frugality, lots of Top 5 lists, investing of course, and some physician issues as well.

I put a lot of time and thought into each post, including this one. When I care about something, I put a lot of effort into it. The blog is like my third baby, but I would drop it in a heartbeat for either of the first two if necesssary.

 

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How many days left until you obtain financial independence?

T-plus about 11 months. I didn’t start the blog until a few months after I was able to declare financial independence. I started tracking our family’s spending about the time I believed I could declare FI, and I’m happy to say that I was right.

I figure a FIRE blog (Financial Independence, Retire Early) would be more meaningful coming from someone who has walked the walk. Of course, following someone beginning their own journey, and chronicling their progress, can be powerful as well.

 

Any sage advice on money and marriage?

While opposites may attract, it’s best to be on the same money page as your partner. It’s no secret that finances are the number one source of conflict in a relationship.

When you get married, spend more on your guests and friends in the wedding party and less on the flowers and fleeting nonsense. When married, don’t let small money matters interfere with the things that really matter. If you want to be on a fast track to financial independence, learn to be frugal without being cheap.

I would add that my wife is eternally grateful that she has been able to stay home to raise our children without any need to earn a living. She is well educated with a couple bachelor’s degrees and a masters, but her efforts over the past eight years have been directed towards family matters. I believe our boys have benefitted greatly, and you can’t put a price on that.

 

yes,, that’s us. no stock photos for me.

 

What are the top 10 things you’d tell your younger self?

I’ll refer you to The Top 5 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self for the first five. Those were things I would tell myself as a new attending. I’ll open it up to any age for the next five.

  1. Don’t burn bridges or hold grudges. Neither will make you feel better.

  2. Branch outside of your comfort zone in college. I had two majors: Biochemistry was one. The other, Genetics & Cell Biology. I was probably a few classes away from adding Biology and Chemistry majors. A quad major would have made me a huge science dork. I wish I had minored in something different, like Spanish or Literature or Kung Fu.

  3. It’s best to plan ahead, but remain flexible. Your plan can, and will, change. I took a meandering path to be where I am today.

  4. Don’t get too excited or distraught over any real or potential romance in your first 29 years. I only know that in hindsight, but the Right One for me came into my life just after my 29th birthday.

  5. Don’t get too excited or distraught over any real or potential Bowl / Playoff aspirations for your hometown college and professional football teams. They will eternally let you down. Expect the worst, and be pleasantly surprised with mediocrity.

 

 

What is the #1 money mistake you’ve made that want your readers to avoid?

Don’t build or buy too much house right off the bat. We overbuilt for the area, lost my job due to an impending hospital bankruptcy, and lost a boatload of money on the house. You’re a real doctor now, but that doesn’t mean the “starter home” shouldn’t apply.

An attending of mine gave a lecture to final year residents. He repeated three times: “Rent. Don’t Buy. Rent. Don’t Buy. Rent. Don’t Buy.” He knew what he was talking about. About half of all physicians leave their first job within the first couple years.

 

What are the 3 most important money lessons you teach your kid(s)?

  1. Daddy works for a living so we can have all that we have. Eventually, that will change to “Daddy used to work for a living, and saved most of what he earned, so that we can live the way we live.”
  2. Save. Invest. Repeat.
  3. Eventually, they’ll be more aware of my site’s existence, and of all the other wonderful sites on my growing blogroll. They will be very well versed in personal finance before they begin careers of their own.

 

What are the 5 smartest money moves you’ve made in your life?

  1. Married a beautiful woman more frugal than me.
  2. Lived and worked like a resident for a couple years after residency
  3. Read personal finance books. I’ve got a list of recommendations, many of which I’ve read or have come highly recommended from respected authors.
  4. Learned the Rule of 72 at a young age, and have applied it when making spending and saving decisions.
  5. Kept my fees low. Learning enough to be a DIY investor can pay dividends if you do it the right way. There’s also a way to DIY terribly.

 

Rule of 72

 

What are 3 things you’d do if money is no object?

  1. Learn to hunt and gather, because without the object called money, how would I buy anything and survive? Or feed my family? Although, that’s probably not exactly what you meant, so…
  2. Start traveling the world yesterday. Hire tour guides everywhere we go.
  3. Buy and drink a Sam Adams Utopias. I’ll probably do this eventually anyway, even with money being an object.

 

When did you first start contributing to your own Roth IRA?

Roth IRAs did not exist when I started investing in an IRA back in high school. My parents helped set this up, but I did earn the money, working my way up the ranks at the local grocery store. We converted to Roth when I was in college, when I was in a negligible tax bracket.

 

When did your child first contribute to his/her Roth IRA?

They haven’t earned any money yet, so that hasn’t happened. Get to work, kids!

 

What does financial independence mean to you?

The question sounds so simple, but it’s really not. Mathematically, I’ve gone with the definition of 25 times your family’s anticipated annual expenses.

Financial Independence has many benefits, and I’ve got a Top 5 list for that, too. For me, financial independence makes work optional. I continue to work, and yes, I’ve got a Top 5 list as to why I continued to work after achieving FI. I’ve got a lot of Top 5 lists.

I think it means I’ve won the game, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop playing. In a few years, I’ll have more than Enough, and if I feel ready to leave medicine for good at that point, I imagine I will. There will be many things that I will miss (here’s a Top 5!), but a whole lot more that I look forward to doing. Here’s 50.

 

Any questions you want to ask and answer to lend more insight to our readers?

How can I connect with you?

Well, I linked excessively to my site throughout this Q&A, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding my site. But if you’re still struggling, here’s a link.

I am also active on Twitter and Facebook. My Friendster account doesn’t see much action these days. Do I use what? I have no idea. What’s Tinder?

Financial Heroes: PoF #1 Champion for Physicians Seeking F.I.R.E.

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