Christopher Guest Post: Future Proof MD

Welcome to another Christopher Guest Post, a Q&A interview series that I will run every few weeks to get you better acquainted with some excellent fellow writers who have graciously accepted my invitation to be showcased here for you.

Today, I take great pleasure in presenting Future Proof, MD, a radiology resident who has been blogging about personal finance for roughly three times longer than me. We have communicated extensively over the past several months, and he has been very helpful in helping me figure out some of this blogging business. I like to think our correspondence has been mutually beneficial.

What’s a Christopher Guest post?

Inspired by Nigel Tufnel, the character portrayed by Christopher Guest in Spinal Tap, I took Mr. 1500’s ten questions, and amped them up to eleven. If you’re not familiar with the scene, take 50 seconds to watch this video and enjoy the dialog between Nigel and Rob Reiner.

I decided I’d start a Q&A of my own. Not satisfied with just ten questions, this one goes to eleven. Just like Nigel’s amplifiers.


Presenting: Future Proof MD


What is your specialty or subspecialty and why did you choose it? If you could turn back time, would you choose to practice medicine and choose the same specialty? Why?

I am a radiology resident in training. I will be applying for interventional radiology fellowship this winter. If I get to do it all over again, I would choose medicine and I would choose radiology – and I wouldn’t wait until 4th year of medical school this time around.

Why? Because it’s the best fit for me! The diagnostic side appeal to my inner puzzle solver – it’s challenging and fun to piece together what you see on an imaging study to offer a coherent explanation of a patient’s complaints. The interventional side appeals to my desire to see patients and work with my hands. Honestly I would recommend radiology to all medical students looking to decide on a specialty.

[PoF: I was interested in radiology until I did my radiology rotation. Diagnostic was not for me, but I can see the appeal of interventional radiology.]


Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.

My blog Future Proof, MD (formerly White Coat Money) is written for young physicians. Think medical students, residents, fellows and attending physicians early in their careers.

The focus is on providing digestible personal finance tips. Articles are designed to be succinct – something that can be perused in a short period of time. For example, between patient visits. Posts may not always contain actionable advice, but should always add to the reader’s fund of knowledge.

We live in a complex world. The financial industry goes to even greater length to make their sector especially so. It is completely understandable – the information pay wall is what keeps physicians in the high income bracket. But that doesn’t mean we can’t fight back. Knowledge is power.

[PoF: Right on! If you’ve got the brainpower to be accepted to medical school, you most definitely can figure out personal finance. It’s at least an order of magnitude simpler. The industry tends to complicate and obfuscate to their own benefit.]


What inspired you to start a blog of your own? Was there a particular event you remember that made you feel your blog had arrived? Any big plans for your blog in the future?

I have always been interested in/good at math – blame it on the Chinese genes. So finance naturally came easy to me. But I didn’t develop an interest in it until I took a course in college called “Intro to personal finance”.

I remember specifically one day our professor was citing an example of how a surgeon who came to him for advice wasn’t as smart as a squirrel.  I forgot how it went exactly but the idea is that squirrels knew to save nuts for the winter but this cardiothoracic surgeon in his late 50s only managed to save $150,000 on an annual salary of $1-1.5 million.  That was the moment when I became interested in finances.

In 2014, I attended a dinner presentation by a “physician-only” financial advisor group where some untruths were being spread, specifically regarding PSLF. That was the time I decided to start blogging on behalf of my colleagues. As far as big plans, stay tuned… 😉


Give me eleven posts you think Physician on FIRE readers might want to read.

  1. Pay as You Earn (PAYE) vs. Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE)
  2. 5 Bad Money Habits of White Coat Professionals
  3. Long Term Investment Returns – A Comparison
  4. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Revisited
  5. The Opportunity Cost of a Career in Medicine
  6. Invest Early or Pay Off Your Student Debt?
  7. Chinese Grandma vs. American Grandma, Which One Are You?
  8. Just Say NO to Whole Life
  9. Why I Never Short a Stock…
  10. So You Wanna Be Rich?
  11. Investing for Retirement – The Future Proof Way


At what age are you most likely to retire (or at what age did you retire) from full-time work? What are you doing to help realize your retirement target?

I don’t have an age target, but I plan to retire when I have a net worth of $5 million in today’s dollars, however long that may take. To achieve that goal, I do what I can to earn extra income and invest aggressively.

[PoF: That will give you $200,000 a year at a 4% withdrawal rate, or $150,000 at 3%. That’s a very comfortable lifestyle.]


What does an ideal retirement look like for you? What will you do with your time when full-time work is in your rearview mirror?

I’m not sure I have it all planned out, but I would like to be able to take at least 4 weeklong trips each year to destinations of our choosing with my friends and loved ones, preferably to international locations. I would like to be able to say I’ve been to all 7 continents before I lose my marbles. I want to remain active in teaching the next generation of physicians – hopefully working part-time at a medical center with medical students and residents.


Alaskan Glacier


I’ll give you eleven sentences to dish out advice to a young physician. Any and all advice is welcome. We talk about personal finance, so money is fair game, but if you have advice on being a better doctor, a better parent / spouse / friend / human, we’re all ears.

  1. Do what’s right, not what’s easy. (This is often remarkably difficult).
  2. You can learn from anyone and everyone, soak it up like a sponge.
  3. When it comes to investing, start early.
  4. Be respectful to those around you – you never know when you’ll need a bridge.
  5. You will make mistakes, learn from them. Same goes for enemies.
  6. You will be awesome at times, be humble when that happens.
  7. Learn as much as you can about as much as you can.
  8. Find a role model, or several.
  9. When it comes to money, remember it’s an instrument of your will, not the other way around.
  10. You most valuable possession is time – learn to use it wisely.
  11. Trust, but verify. (Applies to everything I write J).


You’ve got eleven days to visit anyplace in the world with an $11,000 budget. Where do you go and what do you do?

I would like to go to Africa, visit the great pyramids, cruise down the Nile, go on a safari and check out Casablanca. Not sure exactly how much that will add up to, but hopefully $11,000 is enough.

[PoF: Make sure you get your shots! Danger lurks in the form of infectious disease. Also lions. But you can’t be immunized from lions.]


Name eleven beverages you enjoy. You can be as general or specific as you like.

  1. Glass bottled coke (made with real sugar).
  2. Moscow Mule (served in a copper mug).
  3. Strongbow (from a British pub).
  4. Harbin beer (it tastes nasty anywhere I’ve had it outside of Harbin, but I gotta represent my hometown!)
  5. Budweiser (I know it’s generic, but I gotta represent my 2nd hometown – STL in the house!)
  6. Sugarcane juice.
  7. Long Island Ice Tea
  8. Canadian ice wine (any brand).
  9. Ramune (any flavor)
  10. Seven and Seven
  11. Rum and Coke

[PoF: Do not drink all eleven in one sitting. Unless you enjoy falling down and next-day headaches.]


Now, eleven foods.

  1. American BBQ – specifically burnt ends from Joe’s KC (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s) in Kansas City. If you haven’t had them, they’re worth a trip to KC.
  2. Shao Kao – Chinese BBQ skewers.
  3. Korean BBQ
  4. Fried chicken
  5. Hot Pot
  6. Watermelon
  7. Lychee
  8. Ramen (not the instant kind, the kind from a real Japanese kitchen).
  9. Dim sum – all varieties, but gotta have me some chicken feet!
  10. Pho
  11. Pig’s feet – the way my mom cooks it.


How did you first learn about What one piece of advice do you have for me?

I was introduced by my fellow physician money blogger Dr. Amanda Liu of My advice would be to keep up the great work! Also recommend abandoning that unhealthy obsession with the number 11. j/k.

[PoF: To be fair, I sent the questions before publishing the first Christopher Guest Post, or explaining where the Eleven theme came from. By the way, Future Proof MD is also published often @ Physician’s Money Digest ]

Previous Christopher Guest Posts:

My cell phone is on Republic Wireless. I pay closer to $25 a month for 2 lines.


  • FutureProof, thanks for participating in the PoF guest post series. I’m no physician (and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night) but I think your advice is solid and applicable to everyone and I now have a few new drinks I have to try!

    • Thank you so much Jon! And thank you PoF for this opportunity! I’ve always appreciated your advice in the fight against financial ignorance.

      • I enjoyed the article. I would be game for trying all 11 drinks in one sitting, but red hair, good genes and CO’s altitude have done wonders for my liver. I will never forget the first time I tried Strongbow in an English pub. It became my drink du jour for a solid three weeks in England. Even here I will pick up a case if I can find it in a bottle.

  • Not a Dr., but valuable tips none-the-less. I did hop over and read a couple of your favorite articles. When I took my securities exam we learned to never leave our shorts naked. :O) I don’t short stocks or deal with options either.

    The life-time returns are always interesting, but for most people a bit irrelevant as they don’t have a 100-year window to invest. I must confess to being amazed at such a large difference between the total stock market return and the treasuries. Although, I think you can beat treasuries with other Fixed Income and still not have to worry too much about risk. I know many don’t agree, but if holding some bonds or fixed income keeps me from selling stocks at a low, I think I’ll still come out ahead.

    I have two sons pursuing Engineering, one Mechanical and one Architectural. My dad’s family has a long history in Medicine, but he didn’t pursue it and no one in subsequent generations has either. My dad’s brother and wife were both oncologists one for children. Both retired or semi-retired early, but very difficult to deal with so much loss.

    Thank you for being a guest for POF.
    cd :O)

    • Thank you ChrisCD. I agree most people don’t have a 100-yr window. But as physicians, we benefit from a long working life with very high average incomes. I would like to think I’ll leave something for my children and grandchildren when I pass on. If you view it from that perspective, then 100 years becomes somewhat reasonable.

  • ChooseBetterLife

    Thanks, FP! I especially love your 11 sentences of advice.
    Best of luck in your fellowship.

    • In my daily routine, I have found #1 to be the most difficult thing. Just this last week, I waited til the next morning to update a patient on a procedure. I’m not proud of it but I was soooo tired after a full day of cases. 🙁

  • Great interview, love the 11 sentences of advice as well. Freshly picked Lychees are really good. 😀

  • Thanks everyone for your kind words. Also really appreciate PoF for introducing me to everyone. I look forward to checking out your articles.

  • Wow a 1.5m salary but saved just 150k of it?! If I had a 1.5m salary, I would quit after 1 year of working. Talk about hitting a continual lottery but spending even more. Just saving for 1.5 months would save more than what he had saved.

    I’m Korean so I also love Korean BBQ 🙂

    • While that savings rate is indeed pathetic, you’d probably want to work more than a year with that salary. You have to remember that to put yourself in such a rare position, you worked your tail off and devoted your life to medicine from about age 18 to 33, then spent years working day and night and all weekend long to get to the pinnacle of your career.

      Also, on a salary of 1 to 1.5 million, take home pay after the government’s take is closer to $600,000 to $800,000. It wouldn’t take many years to build up a nice nest egg to live and give comfortably with a salary that puts you in the 1% of physicians, but one year wouldn’t cut it for most.


    • It’s apparently not all that uncommon. In the radiology department I work in, I’ve met many who are financially independent. But just this last week, I overheard an attending telling a tech that he “lives from check to check” and if that he doesn’t get paid in 2 weeks, he’d be “in the negative.” Crazy.

      • Passive Income M.D. (@PassiveIncomeMD)

        Unfortunately that’s a reality in most cities with a high cost of living. Housing alone can crush you if you’re not careful what you take on. Just because the bank says you qualify for a certain amount doesn’t mean you should.

        Thankfully we have sites like yours and PoF’s to help guide physicians.

  • “If you’ve got the brainpower to be accepted to medical school, you most definitely can figure out personal finance. It’s at least an order of magnitude simpler. The industry tends to complicate and obfuscate to their own benefit.”

    so wisely put, can’t agree more!

  • JSA

    Really enjoyed your 11 pieces of advice, especially 1 & 2:

    1. Do what’s right, not what’s easy. (This is often remarkably difficult).
    2. Be respectful to those around you – you never know when you’ll need a bridge.

    I went to a big name University Program followed by a competitive fellowship at a reputable program. I wasn’t the smartest or most accomplished person during med school and residency, but I believe I was very well-liked and respected because I followed those pieces of advice and I think that’s what set me up for success. It was surprising, even at a big time hospital where supposedly the best and brightest train, how many people couldn’t accomplish #1, and they earned a bad reputation for it. Similarly for #2, the way you treat everyone, from attendings to janitors, can go a long way to defining your reputation. The medical community is small and word gets around and can stick with someone for life. There are people I worked with whose bad reputation I’ll remember for years.

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