About Me


You can call me PoF, the Physician on FIRE.  I’m an anesthesiologist, family man, and supposed outdoors enthusiast who spends way too much time indoors.

Set For Life

I have a lovely wife, 2 lively young boys, and 1 lucky dog. In addition to working and writing, I enjoy photography, moderate exercise, background music, craft beer and homebrewing (also in moderation, of course).

I attained financial independence (the F.I.) at age 39, meaning I could afford to retire comfortably after a 9-year career.  I continue to work for various reasons, and I mostly enjoy my job, but do plan to retire early (the R.E.)  To learn more about me, please navigate to  My Story or My Path to FI. 


PhysicianOnFIRE.com is a web log a.k.a. blog site dedicated to the discussion of issues pertaining to personal finance, early retirement, medicine, and miscellany.  I will post new material a couple times a week as long as I have something to say, and readers to read.


The seeds for the blog were planted in my mind in 2014, I formulated a specific plan in 2015, and created the website with my first post on January 9, 2016.


I live, work, and write Up North, but I’ve lived and worked both north and south of the Mason Dixon Line, and east and west of the Mighty Mississippi. Most of the writing is done in a basement office overlooking the river, on a solid walnut desk that was once used in a surgeon’s front office.



my other office


I created this blog to enlighten, educate, and entertain fellow physicians and other people who may have similar circumstances (high income, late start, educational debt, etc…). My aim is to help those who want to help themselves and share some unique insights from the perspective of a practicing physician. I hope to leave you informed and inspired to look at life a little differently than you might have before.

Personal finance will be prominently featured in my writings on this blog. Being a physician, I will also discuss some physician-specific issues, such as physician burnout. You can also expect to find some stories and perspectives that are personal, or as personal as you can get from an anonymous writer.

You will see ads on the site. One of my goals is to build up a sizeable donor advised fund, and half of all revenue from this site will be diverted to the cause.

Thank you for your interest, your support, and for helping me realize the site’s charitable mission. If you like what you see, consider joining the e-mail list to receive notification of new posts and quarterly progress notes from me.

All the Posts

In reverse chronological order. Start your binge reading at the bottom and work your way up to the present day.

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  • Dr. Mo

    I think this is a wonderful website. Congrats on your accomplishment, achieving FI after 9 years means you were deliberate but from the most recent post it sounds like you are still enjoying a good quality of life.

    • Thank you, Dr. Mo! I’m glad you’ve found my site to e useful. I suppose I have been deliberate in my savings over the years, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I knew why. I’ve gone from “frugal without a cause” to a full fledged fan of FIRE.

      If you truly enjoy the site, be sure to sign up for e-mail updates, or follow on Feedly.com, and don’t forget to tell your friends!


  • PoF, great stuff here! My cousin is also an anesthesiologist and making a pretty penny these days. However, I was surprised after meeting some of his other fellow anesthesiologist friends that not all of them are taking the steps you’d think towards an early retirement. Some in fact were still swimming in hefty debt. Cash flow is the key. It just goes to show you that all types of individuals need extra help. So, kudos to you for helping to educate your fellow physicians! Congrats on your ability to FIRE by 39.

  • Dr med. József Szakonyi

    Compliments for Your article, of retiereing the docteur of anaestesiologist.My life is the same, in this case i.m working with 71 activ like rheumatologist and internal medicine. Thank You ! I recomended for every Collegeus!

  • Hi, I’m looking forward to reading your posts and learning more about your charitable mission. I’m sure your educational material fills a void in the physicians’ community. Congrats on your FI!

  • My I ask a funny question? How “easy” or hard is it for a patient to never wake up after getting anesthesia for surgery? For example, could I inject the patient with X ML of fluid in the IV then count on her to wake up in 3 hours after I inject her with something else?

    I remember watching Nip Tuck and wondering this. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Not a bad or funny question, Sam. The short answer is that the drugs we use are relatively short-acting. Unless you are actively dying when you enter the operating room, there is an extraordinarily good chance you will wake up shortly after the surgery is done. I recently wrote about a patient who didn’t wake up, but this was a patient who wasn’t expected to see the afternoon, let alone another day.

      As far as waking up on time, the good stuff we give through the IV only lasts a few minutes. We maintain anesthesia continuously with a steady infusion of IV medication or inhaled volatile gas for the duration of surgery. As the final sutures go in and the bandages go on, we titrate down and turn off the continuous flow and you tend to wake up in a matter of minutes. There are rare outliers, such as the patient with an unknown homozygous pseudocholinesterase deficiency who receives succinylcholine and remains weak for hours rather than minutes, but those are beyond the scope of this website. T

      There is also regional aneshesia, where we can give a one-time dose of local anesthetic next to nerves to make one or more body part numb for a few hours or more, but longer lasting numbness is a good thing, since patients can be awake and have reduced / no pain at the surgical site for awhile.


  • Anonymous

    Hi, a few comments and a question or two. I was actually looking for an e-mail address, but posting here is OK too.

    Really enjoy your blog, well written and the charts/scenarios are well produced. I think I’m in a similar situation as you, i’m almost 40- dual physician family, two young children. Investable assets about 2.8 million, paid off house (approx 900). I suspect we have similar frugal ways, low expenditures (public schools etc) I have been interested in early retirement and recent events have solidified that desire.

    My question- as you know, typical physicians (and I know quite a few who fit this stereotype) are not financially savvy, and tend to have high expenses however there must be quite a few physicians who don’t fit this stereotype. Why don’t we see more early retirement physicians, in fact I do not know a single physician who has retired early, in fact I know quite a few who plan on working until 60.

    I am also curious as to whether this blog has been “profitable” I know you probably would rather keep that private.

    • I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the blog, and you are correct in that we do have quite a bit in common. I do have an email address. The Contact page is accessed at the very bottom of the screen. But this is a perfectly acceptable place to have this discussion, also.

      Like you, we’ve got a couple young children, are mortgage free, and can call ourselves multimillionaires. We’re doing it on one income, so haven’t amassed quite the nest egg that you’ve got. I haven’t revealed my net worth online, but that will change tomorrow when my guest post @ Investment Zen goes live tomorrow.

      I also haven’t revealed our exact annual spending, but I’m working on a post that I hope to be ready by Tuesday that will detail our spending in detail. We spend about triple what the MMM family spends, and far less than most physicians.

      Why don’t more physicians retire early? The luxury lifestyles are one reason. Some physicians truly love their jobs, and can’t imagine life without them. There are certainly plenty of financially independent physicians still working full time. Maybe its because they love the job, or maybe they want to grow their net worth further.

      For me, I like my job for the most part, but it can be quite demanding and stressful. I also have family plans that are not compatible with a full time job. For more information on my plans and thoughts on retirement, I can recommend the following posts if you haven’t seen them yet.

      Top 5 Reasons I Chose Not to Retire at 39

      Top 5 Things I’ll Miss When I Retire Early

      The Top 5 Reasons I Want to Retire Early

      50 Ways I’d Like to Spend My Time in Early Retirement

      Announcing My Retirement

      There will be plenty more to come!


      • p.s. The blog has started to earn an income, half of which I give away. I reveal actual numbers to e-mail subscribers quarterly.

        • Hi POF, I wonder what ‘multimillionaire’ means from the community of FIRE seekers’ perspective. Does net worth of $2 million qualify or do you need much more? Mainstream financial community seems to use $5 million or more as minimum to qualify as multimillionaire. What is your definition?

          • Is that the same Mainstream that says you need to replace 80% of your pre-retiremnt income to retire? There can be many different definitions of what it takes to be considered wealthy, and I can understand why it might take $5 million for some to truly feel wealthy.

            As far as a definition of multimillionaire? 2 is a multiple of 1. If you have 2 things, you have multiple things. So, yes, in my mind, a $2 million net worth qualifies someone as a multimillionaire. As does $Ten Factorial.


  • HF

    We are a two physician family in our late thirties. We will be coming up on a public school vs private school decision for our two kids. Would love to know your thoughts on that.

    • Great question, HF.

      As a product of public schools, I do have a bias. I grew up in a town with a good public school system, and attended undergrad and medical school at a public University. Naturally, I am a fan of public schools, and that’s where my boys are.

      I do realize that not all school systems are created equally, and I hear from other physicians that, in some places, private schools are more or less necessary for a good education. However, I can guarantee that some of the public high school grads in those places are going on to college and better things. Also, I wouldn’t put much stock into data comparing outcomes between public and private schools. The private school kids generally come from a household with higher socioeconomic status, and the willingness to pay shows an emphasis on education in those families.

      Private school tuition can run from a few thousand at a local parochial school to as much or more than college tuition at prestigious schools. I would not want to pay college tuition prices for each child for 13 years prior to college, but that’s just me! Also, consider that there may be more pressure to spend on your kids to have nicer clothes, computers, vacations, etc… to fit in with peers at a private school. Ultimately, it’s your money, and you’re free to spend as you wish.


      • Doc

        Financially I would say public schools are definitely the way to go. With 3 little ones in private schools I could buy a new luxury car each year with the money I spend on tuition. My wife and I were both publicly educated and received good educations.

        Our situation is different than PoF in that we live in a major metropolitan center where the vast majority of public schools are failing and are schools in name only. There are a few good public high schools that you can test into but there is no good school district you can send your kids in kindergarten all the way through HS. We may switch over once our kids are in high school.

        I do wish the private schools were a little more diverse, A little too much “competition” from all the folks with nothing better to do with their time or money. They do have smaller class sizes, and probably have more balance and non-academic education opportunities.

        We do have nieces and nephews the same grades as our kids in public schools(different city) and they are at the same stage and learning the same thing. If you are bright in public school you will be bright in private school. As some point the difference academically is going to be up to what the kid does with the resources….

        just my 2 cents…. I just chalk it up to an expense associated with my job and living where I do. I have been giving serious thought about looking in a better state for a new job but this is “home” for our extended families.

        • That’s quite a conundrum, doc. Proximity to family is huge, but the cost of many years of private school tuition for three could keep you in debt for a very long time. Do you need to leave the state for the situation to improve? Surely there are suburbs or exurbs that have schools with a decent reputation? Of course, you also have to consider the job prospects of the location as well. I hope you find the best of all worlds!


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