A Fifth Physician: Dr. F & The Half Time Option

Today, I’d like to introduce a fifth physician, Dr. Findley. This physician shares a few qualities with our other 4 physicians.

Set For Life

Like Dr. A, his family budget is about $80,000 per year, and he shares her interest in part-time work. Like Dr. C, he found a job in an area and specialty with excellent pay, and is now earning about $400,000 per year.

We’ll pick up the fictional Dr. Findley’s story at the point where he becomes financially independent. Despite some early mistakes, he managed to realize his goal of having 25x annual expenses by age 40. A full-fledged multimillionaire, the financially fit Dr. Findley begins to contemplate his future.

With an excellent savings rate, and life of relative frugality, the totally imaginary Dr. Findley realizes he doesn’t necessarily need to work for money, but he mostly likes his job.

Still, he wishes he had more time to spend with his family, leisurely enjoy his hobbies, exercise, and generally enjoy life without the pressure of time constraints that come with a full-time doctor job.

Ever since the completely made-up Dr. Findley realized he was financially independent (FI), he started telling people about it. He rattled off the benefits of FI  to friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers. He proselytized to the uninitiated and made friends with others who shared his FI status or aspirations. He was most definitely talking the talk.


But was he walking the walk?


One of the key benefits of financial independence is the ability to create the job you want, to live life on your own terms rather than someone else’s.

Dr. Findley wasn’t exactly doing that. Dr. Findley, who doesn’t exist in real life, became financially independent and didn’t change a thing.

In fact, he started spending so much time discussing personal finance that he actually had less time to do all the other things he enjoyed. He actually enjoyed talking about FIRE quite a lot, more so than working a more stressful physician’s job, but his time was becoming more precious, and his kids weren’t getting any younger.


boys playing piano

they’re not this little anymore 🙁


Dr. Findley has an analytical mind, and he doesn’t make rash decisions. Dr. Findley can work a spreadsheet like nobody’s business. He realized that he might be able to create a half-time position and have two to three weeks off every month, but he was irrationally afraid of the financial impact of earning “only” $200,000 a year. After reaching FI. Seriously.

The imaginary doctor decided to take a closer look at how switching to part-time work might affect the balance sheet. He felt quite confident that such a change would improve his life, but he didn’t want to make such a drastic move if it would seriously delay his Über-conservative goal of having a 2.5% withdrawal rate.


Being familiar the Physician on FIRE site, he downloaded the calculators and went to work modifiying them to best fit his current situation. Here’s what he came up with.

Working half the hours will of course slash Dr. Findlay’s salary in half. However, Dr. Findlay will pay a smaller percentage of his salary in taxes, with an income tax burden of 19%, compared to 26% when working full time.

Working half time still allows him to contribute the maximum amounts to his retirement accounts and fully fund his children’s 529 education accounts.

His ability to contribute to his taxable account is severely diminished. Working full time, he can sock away a 5-figure sum every month. As a half-timer, it’s barely a 4-figure number. He’s not terribly concerned though, since half of his current ‘stache is in his taxable account.

As you can see at the bottom of the table, the good and entirely fake Dr. Findley will reach his number of $3.2 million within ten years in any of the presented scenarios. $3.2 million will represent 40x annual expenses, or a super-safe withdrawal rate of 100/40 = 2.5%.

If Dr. Findley continues to burn the candle at both ends, he should meet his goal in 3 to 5 years by working full-time. Of course, he’ll probably be afraid to quit cold turkey, and would likely pursue a part-time option, or perhaps a locum tenens position in an exotic location at that point.

By transitioning to a half time schedule, he can expect to meet his goal in 4 to 9 years with reasonable returns. The astute Dr. Findley notices that there is some overlap between the two scenarios. In other words, his goal could be met earlier with solid returns and a half time job compared to modest returns while working a full time job.

Dr. Findley takes note and ponders how crazy it is that the whims of the markets could so profoundly affect his future nest egg. Market returns could be a bigger factor than his efforts to earn money.


A More Detailed Comparison

Seeking a little more clarity than the few digits at the bottom of the first table could provide, Dr. Findley continued to crunch numbers. He created two more tables to evaluate the size of his nest egg if he were to continue working either part time or full time for the next ten years.





A few facts stood out to Dr. Findley:

  • Working for 10 years half time with flat returns, he will not reach his goal.
  • The goal could be reached in 6 full time years with flat returns.
  • The goal could be reached in a little over 4 half time years with solid returns.
  • The goal could likely be reached in 5 to 7 half time years with modest returns.

There were other facts that occurred to the make-believe Dr. Findley. It would probably be easier to work 6 or 8 half time years than  another 3 or 4 full time years. Doing so would also provide an additional 3 to 4 years of health insurance for his family, and give him more time to build up his 401(k) and 457(b), although at the expense of the already sizable taxable account.

Additionally, Dr. Findley realizes that his knowledge and networking could be parlayed into some sort of a non-clinical endeavor that could potentially generate additional revenue.

The half time option would open up more time for such an undertaking, which could end up looking more like a three-quarters time option, but with additional “work” that doesn’t come with the risk and heavy demands of being a full time physician.

Dr. Findley and his family clearly have some thinking to do. Fortunately, I’ve given them some solid data to deliberate.

[Dr. Findley’s story is a dramatization. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.]

What would you do if you were in Dr. Findley’s shoes?


  • Enjoyed reading this.

    If you are in the camp of super safe withdrawal rate (as I am) I can imagine you will be realistic to plan for flat to modest returns. Therefore the part time gig seems a long drawn out affair. And how part time would it truly be?

    If markets do well, you continue with aggressive savings and you can lower your expenses by 10%, could it be a whole lot shorter period of working full time?

    At the end of the day, I don’t think any decision here is right or wrong. What is going to sit well with you and your family? I am sure you have read the recent posts of GCC and MMM on time, freedom and space. That I think is the essence of the equation and the decision.

    • I tend to agree with you here. I expected to see about 100% telling Dr. F to work less, but the recommendations are a mixed bag today.

      I can’t speak for Dr. F, but my wife and I have sat down and decided to go with the status quo for a few years and will reassess as we approach our goals.


  • CC

    Newly minted EM doc here. One of the best things about our specialties is the part time option. I look forward to cutting back to 8 shifts a month in 10 years or so. Having just started my “real job” I look forward to a full schedule for now. One of the best things about working part time is it allows you the flexibility to chase additional spending with additional work and not feel guilty. I plan on taking some pretty exotic trips with my kids when they are college age and taking some of their friends with us. If I am only working a couple of weeks per month, I can simply pick up an extra week to pay for the trip and not sweat it at all. The fact that you, errr…. Dr. Findley has such a great start means choosing between 2 good options, not working until it is no longer enjoyable out of necessity.

    • Congrats on finishing residency! Have you started your full time gig yet?

      EM is probably the ideal specialty for working as little or as much as you want. Dr. Dahle, the White Coat Investor is cutting back to three quarters time, and is the same age as Dr. F and I. Of course, like me, he does spend a fair amount of time with his website and related endeavors.

      I struggled with the time is money concept early in my career. As a locum, a day off is a thousand dollars (or more) not earned. So I worked a lot, and it paid off. I’m salaried now, so I don’t have to worry about that dilemma.


  • I am familiar with MMM, but not GCC. What is GCC? As to the very “fictional” Dr. F, it would seem that maybe a slightly riskier allocation can be put in place to seek higher returns in the short-term, and finish working out full-time for the next 4 or 5-years. Also, what about 3/4 time instead of half-time. Maybe work essentially full-time, but have opportunities for slightly longer vacations here and there or weeks where you work a day less.

    • GCC is Go Curry Cracker, another frugality/travel/early retirement blog http://www.gocurrycracker.com/

    • GCC is Go Curry Cracker. This post is the one Mr. PIE was referring to.

      I’m already 90/10 stock/bond with some REIT, small cap, and EM tilt, so I’m as aggressive as I wanna be. 3/4 time could potentially be an option, but the truth is I’ve got a relatively good full-time schedule, and any days I don’t work have to be covered by another anesthesiologist. It could be done, but I think I can manage to do this for a few more years.

      As an aside, I read that you are officially signed up for the Ultra Spartan. I’ll be Tough Mudding in a couple days, which is like a little fun run compared to what you’ve gotten yourself into. Have fun!


      • I have not done a Touch Mudder. Electro Shock therapy is not something on my bucket list. I have been asked to train our youth leaders (students and adults) for an event next year. So I may be facing that. :O)

        I have been training for about 6-months now for the UB and it is in October. I completed the Beast last year. But, I suspect this will be a bit more than just twice as hard. :O) Two of my boys plan on joining me, but one has had some knee problems so he may not. And to think we pay, and a pretty penny at that, to voluntarily put ourselves through this. :O)

        • The shocks weren’t all that bad, but I know some people hate that aspect. Spartan races are considerably more strenuous than the Tough Mudder, but the Mudder has some crazy obstacles, and at least a third of them require significant teamwork to complete. More on that in a post next week.

          I look forward to hearing about the Ultra Beast, a marathon with 50+ obstacles. That’s going to be beastly.


  • The choice becomes more difficult if Dr. F. doesn’t like his job. Is it easier to work full time for a few years or part-time for a few extra years? Sometimes working part-time makes the work more bearable, but sometimes having a better life outside work just drives home how awful and crazy work really is.

    • Very true. I’ve gone back and forth on how I feel about the option for myself. If I was working 60+ hours a week, it would be a no-brainer to cut back. I would say I’ve got an excellent schedule with lousy hours. It is what it is, but I mostly like the job.


  • Many of the more senior doctors that I have worked with have chosen to switch to part time either at the same job or locum tenens. I think part of why some doctors are able to do this is that they most likely have already started saving for a goal of FI before making this transition. Dr. Findley 25x annual expenses by age 40 positions him so that he can be able to make the choice to cut back to part time. Seems like this type of doctor is in the best type of position. Having the ability to choose to cut back on work if they want and still meet their retirement goals!

  • Great post PoF. This sounds a lot like me 🙂

    Having made the decision to go half-time almost three years ago here are a few observations:

    1. Tax savings can be significant, but are likely to be counterbalanced by embedded structural costs of being a physician (licensing, fees, CME, insurance, etc.). Overall I would say 10 years half time work is probably financially better than 5 years full time.
    2. Although it doubles your effective working career (more or less) it is a massive improvement in lifestyle, especially if you are burned out.
    3. It is terrifying to ponder giving up such a huge income stream so early in your life, especially after the massive sunk costs of becoming a physician. Going part-time is a hedge and a compromise. It forces you to work more years which psychologically I think can be a good thing.
    4. Half time is not really half time. There is still the nonclinical work that comes with medicine that is still there. The meetings, practice building, committees, etc. These are still there, although feel much more manageable with a half-time schedule.
    5. Is more difficult for some specialties. Shift-work lends itself to this model the best. Radiology, anesthesiology, pathology, ER, hospitalist, etc. Harder to do in primary care clinic based practice, although I know people who have made it work successfully.
    6. Part-time work frees up mental bandwidth to optimize other areas of your life, and potentially become more efficient with your finances. One reason physicians waste so much money it they don’t have the time to think through financial decisions, all of their mental energy is focused on the practice of medicine.
    7. There are many creative arrangements that a physician can peruse, especially in a larger group. There are likely hungry people in the group who will buy your call shifts. If your group is short a, but can’t justify hiring a full FTE (full time equivalent) you could offer to decrease your workload to compensate. ie: hire another full time person and cut back to an appropriate fraction that is of maximum benefit to the group.
    8. It is a great transition to full ‘retirement’ from medicine. Maybe some people would be bored retiring early. Going half-time allows yo to test this hypothesis.

    • Thank you for the comment / almost guest post! 😉

      Your points are well-taken. There is definitely a certain amount of non-clinical activity that won’t change one bit no matter how much or how little you work. CME, certifications, licensure, committee work,, etc… as you have mentioned. This is the stuff that I like the least. Working twice as long means doing twice as much of it.

      I take back the part about CME. I do like the reimubursed trips I can take for CME. Maui, here we come!


  • Anonymous

    If you are already at FI or very close and don’t want to quit but do want to go part time you have a couple of options:

    1. work part time to meet all your expenses.
    2. work part time for part of your expenses and draw from investments for the rest. When you do retire you should be able to draw from your investments for the entire amount and ss will most likely help as well.

    • Those are good options. Dr. F can work half time, max out his retirement, and still cover expenses with some money left over. He could probably cover his expenses working about 8 to 10 weeks a year as a locum.

      But… as The Happy Philosopher points out, there are structural and time commitment costs to remaining a physician that don’t change whether you’re working 1 day or 365 days a year.

      One more year full time makes a lot more sense to me than four more years of quarter time.

      Always good to think through the options, though.


      • Anonymous

        I agree. Part of being part time is because of SS. If you don’t work long enough you won’t be able to maximize it. Since it take so long to get our MD and get into the workforce it can become an issue if we stop too soon. It’s always nice to have that SS cushion.

        • Social security is an issue, but by the time you’ve got ten years of maximum SS taxes, you’re likely beyond the first bend point, and perhaps approaching the second, depending on what other income you had in non-attending-physician income years. See more info @ RootofGood.


  • Really interesting post. I was wondering about this in your work – “Half time is not really half time.” I did this last year and it was amazing how often I was asked to go to meetings and do work that really wasn’t a part of my schedule. There are definitely a lot of things to consider and your own personal goals (not just financial) would probably be very important to take a real look at before deciding.

  • I really enjoyed this post and your P&L’s are the best! The other non-financial consideration is the age of your kids. If they will only be home for a few more years, an immediate PT option becomes more attractive, I believe, so you can spend more time with them before they are off into the world. You can always ramp-up to FT again in the future if the markets don’t cooperate and you want to build up a bigger “war chest.” Not you I mean, but your “fictional” character… 😉

    • Absolutely, Jon. That is a great point. Family factors are huge in a decision like this. We’ve got some ideas of some great family adventures we can take when our boys are a bit older and will better appreciate them. I’m not sure about Dr. F, but it’s looking like a few more years full time for me.


  • Great post and great comments. I am especially impressed with Dr. Findley’s savings rate. From working with physicians all over the country, I agree that going part time only means you are getting paid part time, not that you are truly working part time because the administrative burdens do not decrease proportionately.

    One concept that I haven’t seen mentioned yet in the comments is that the future of medicine and physician compensation is very concerning. Factors such as burnout and spending time with young children have to play a part, but I would not take it for granted that you will be able to earn your same salary, at a full time or part time rate, in five to ten years. Anesthesiologists in particular are facing a multi-pronged threat. So I think Dr. Findley is making the right choice of sticking with it a little while longer.

    I also want to comment on the relationship between FI, withdrawal rates and using Monte Carlo simulations (or even more spreadsheets!!!) to think through some worst case scenarios before plunging into part-time or retirement. I need to go to bed though, so I hope to drop in tomorrow and bring that up.

    • Good point, Richard. “Make hay while the sun is still shining.”

      I’ve felt that way the first ten years of my career, and have been pleased to see compensation at least steady if not slowly increasing over that time. There could be drastic changes ahead, though. Might as well continue to enjoy the current levels of compensation, particularly for specialists. Our loftier salaries seem to be singled out when politicians and administrators lament the shortage of primary care physicians.


  • I have recently resigned from my full-time practice and could, at least in theory, retire. I am investigating some part-time opportunities, including staying in my current practice and working 55-60% the number of weeks that the full time partners work, for at least for one year. I am hoping to use the free time (roughly every other week off) to start investigating, searching for and training for the next phase of my work-life, possibly in medicine, possibly out of medicine.

    One thing that I have seen working with former partners who have gone part time is that they seem to have a shelf life. After two or three years, productivity tends to drop, the part-timers tend to shun meetings and practice building, and they are less motivated to sacrifice for the common good. I am not sure if this has been widely described or observed, but I am inclined to think that it is more typical than exceptional.

    • I think there are two basic groups of physicians that go part-time: Those that are older, at the end of their careers and using part-time to slow down and transition to retirement; and younger physicians who are doing it for lifestyle and/or burnout related issues that anticipate a longer career. In my experience the first group have a shelf-life as you described and the latter group do not. Some of the most productive physicians I’ve known have been part-time. Curious if you have noticed this dichotomy.

      • I have seen all variations. I have seen what you have described above. I have also seen the part-time, older partner who is the most engaged, interested, and motivated colleague well into his 70’s. I have also seen younger partners go part-time for lifestyle issues and sort of fizzle out. In general, however, my experience has been that part time seems to be a transition to “no time”, for one reason or another.

        I am familiar with your story (am in the same field as you), and if you are able to pull off a long term, part time practice arrangement and continue to be productive at a high level, I believe that you will be the exception, rather than the rule.

    • I’ve said it elsewhere, but once again, congratulations on making your decision! I imagine you’ll be living a happier life going forward.

      Part-time work is frequently a transition to full retirement, and I can imagine most physicians in that scenario might have one foot at least partway out the door. I can’t blame them for feeling and acting as though they’re less engaged.


  • Interesting point from VagabondMD about part-timers and their effort level. I believe that what he is describing is fairly typical but that the reasons vary significantly. I’ve seen physician burn out, rebellion from administration over-stepping, a strong interpretation of work-life balance, mental or other health issues, and the physician truly phasing out and therefore not being vested in the future of the practice. Of course, plenty of full-time physicians have these problems too.

    I am scared for anyone thinking about retiring in the near future. I do not have a crystal ball regarding equity or bond price movements, but both are pretty close to extremes, and stress-testing your savings/retirement plan should include at least a 50% price drop in equities in the first few years. I believe that true FI comes when your passive sources of income (interest, dividends, side-ventures, pensions, social security) can meet your living expenses such that you can pass pretty much all reasonable stress tests (short of living in a bunker type stuff).

    • Good point. Also liked your blog, really good stuff. Another scenario that would get people in trouble during early retirement is not a 50% drop but a 5-10 year phase of sub-par returns, where equity valuations slowly grind back to normal (profits grow slowly at nominal GDP rate, price moves sideways, thus getting PE back to normal). And bonds getting hammered when rates rise again. That is a big concern even without another crash. HaveAGreatSunday and Cheers!

      • Thank you for the kind words. I look forward to reading through your website. Bill Gross and many others have been writing for years about the “New Normal” of sub-par returns. However, with the “E” of the U.S. stock market’s P/E ratio continuing to go down, driving the P/E up even without a change in price, a smooth reversion to the mean would take even longer, if it happens that way.

        For people in retirement that have some money invested, sub-par returns for 5-10 years may be preferable to a crash and recovery because the drawdowns will not be as painful and the retiree is more likely to stick with his or her investment strategy. Historically, stock market outflows reach their peak near the bottom of a crash, and the inflows do not resume significantly until the stock market recovers significantly, meaning that many people are selling low and then buying higher. It is hard for a retiree to recover from such a mistake.

        • Very true that a crash / recovery scenario is better for those continuing to work and invest. Years of flat returns would be more beneficial to those living off their portfolio alone.


          • That’s the conflict! I have a long time horizon, and we are just now entering our peak earning years, so I would welcome a bear market relative to my personal investments. My clients, on the other hand, would not be so happy…

          • One of the years when the 4% rule failed miserably was the retirement date 1966. No crisis far and wide until 1973. 1973 would have been a better start year for retirees despite the crisis. The difference: Flat real returns between 1966 and 1973 that depleted the portfolio before the crisis hit. Something to think about…

    • I am more concerned that a financial advisor would be be “scared” for anyone thinking of retiring in the current environment. You can always make the argument that it is a bad time to retire.

      In fact, people retire (quit, get fired, get laid off, etc.) everyday. Physicians especially should prepare and steel themselves for all eventualities: retirement, early retirement, illness, disability, death, loss of job, loss of contract, change of control, burnout, etc.

      • Those are great points. I have tried to structure my business to avoid such conflicts and motivations, by charging flat fees and/or hourly fees instead of strictly based on AUM, and by not selling insurance or any other products. I even send my clients a quarterly or other periodic bill rather than take fees out through an account debit, that way my clients know exactly what they are paying. That said, I understand what you are saying in terms of what could be an adviser’s motivation.

        Regarding your last point, estate planning, proper insurance, a sufficient emergency fund, low debt and especially frugal living are all important pieces of the puzzle for handling those eventualities. That is why websites such as physicianonfire are so great, because they motivate people to think long-term, live well within their means, save aggressively and strive for retirement as a goal, rather than just some amorphous idea that may or may not happen.

  • As a fellow Excel/number crunching fan, I love seeing analysis like this. This is a very impressive study!!! Did you take into account that the HT vs. FT Dr. Findley have a different mix of investments (pre-tax vs. after tax), so the potential after-tax stream of income might be (slightly) different upon reaching $3,200,000. The Full-time Dr. F would have more after-tax money (with potentially high tax basis, and small capital gains portion taxed at 15% rate), while Half-time Dr. F has more 401k money (fully taxed as ordinary income)? It probably wouldn’t make a huge difference, but something to think about. 🙂
    If you can actually pull this off, and *truly* work only half time (as opposed to getting only half the money but still spend 80% of energy on the job), the half-time gig sounds quite appealing. Consider yourself lucky to work in medicine, where this seems to be still feasible! I haven’t heard of many folks in finance who do this.
    I wonder, how difficult is it for people who quit cold turkey in medicine to keep their credentials. Just in case they want to go back to work after a few years again (half-time or full-time). Would the medical board of the state require you to still take classes, etc.?

    • Dollars in a taxable (or Roth) account are *almost* always worth more than dollars in a tax-deferred account. The caveat being the sneaky Roth conversion ladder available to those who keep living expenses low and are able to make Roth conversions in early retirement while remaining in the 15% federal income tax bracket, thus paying no tax on the conversion.

      We bloggers tend to ignore the location of the dollars, but it can make a real difference. For example, I would have more than $160,000 more in my net worth calculation if I hadn’t done a Mega Roth Conversion, but it was probably worth it, or at least not the wrong decision at the time I made it.

      To answer the question about going back, it can be Very difficult if you’ve taken much time off. Every application I’ve seen for credentials or a state license requires an explanation for any gap of more than about 90 days. If you take more than a year off, you may be asked to do some remedial training with a willing residency program. I imagine this would vary some by specialty, state, and hiring institution (hospital, group, etc…)


  • I agree that part-time is not often really part-time. My employer structures overhead costs to discourage part-time work by having you cover a larger portion of the expenses. For instance, if you worked half-time, you are responsible for covering 75% of a full-time share of the business expenses! Then you’re also stuck with various administrative meetings and other non-revenue producing tasks simply because people assume that you have to time for it!

    • Do you still have the same benefits as a half-timer compared to a full-timer? It might be fair to be paying 75% of the business expenses. Or maybe it’s simply set up that way to discourage half-time work.

      • Very good point. As a part-timer, you still get full 401k access with the same 3% contribution by the practice. Health insurance is available but the income tiers for premiums is adjusted. Overall, I’d imagine that the 75% business expenses is created as a buffer for just these costs of doing business.

  • Jacq

    I’m not a doctor. But as is noted the _completely fictional_ Dr F’s kids are young, and so is he, relatively. I would recommend the 1/2 to 3/4 work. His kids will forever remember the family trips, him being there for/ making dinner, or dad being the one taking them to / cheering on for sports & activities. As the kids spend more time in school & on homework, perhaps working more then, when the visibility changes, and they are more ‘independent’ (i.e. don’t want mom & dad at every single practice *sigh & eye roll*, just the games, when homework can be done more independently).
    I am super lucky & my mom was a stay at home mom, most of my childhood. Memories of afternoons with her cooking while I wandered between talking her ear off and playing with blocks, or doing homework (as I got older) are cherished. My dad worked a job where he could be home for dinner around 5, 5:30, 6 at the latest. That meant on spring & summer evenings I’d be ‘helping’ him in the garden, or we’d have time to play catch, or have him push me on the swing. His work would have a ‘shut down’ every few years that meant all hands on deck in August, when we’d typically take our family vacation. We’d still do something, but closer to home, or just a long weekend trip, and I remember that, vs the 2 weeks of getting from Salt Lake City to Kansas City, or camping our way up the Virginia & Maryland coast.
    As for Dr. F being young, I think of Mr. 1500’s idea to hike & bike ride etc while the kids are in school. I know I’ve gotten creakier the past few years & I’ve watch my parents bodies slow them down (mentally they’re still plenty young & have the drive to do more). If you’re got the funds to do it, and the ability to have a flexible schedule, I 100% think you, I mean Dr. F, should! When Dr F is older with that wonky knee, and the sore back that makes it less appealing to do a half day hike, but doctor paper work, or paper reviews or something like that perhaps makes more sense.
    Best of Luck to Dr. F with his decision. 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Jacq!

    I would say for me personally, some other physicians might look at my schedule and think I am working less than a full time schedule as it is. I keep lousy hours, but do have a great schedule. In my group, we tend to be very busy and productive when we are working, so our productivity is above the average full-time FTE, but I do get enough time off to enjoy family vacations, dinners most evenings, and I somehow find time to keep up with the blog.

    I won’t be able to do it all indefinitely, so eventually something will have to give. I think the full time job will be the first thing to go, but I’m currently looking at a few more years at this pace. If I feel I can’t do it all, I have the option to make any necessary changes, having already reached the coveted Financial Independence status.


  • Good one PoF… I couldn’t stop laughing as I read this..

    I’m going with half time Dr. Fire. Nothing is for certain but the great thing about the skills we acquire as physicians is that if for some reason HT doesn’t cut it for Dr. F, there will be a line around the block to hire him on for FT work!

  • tigeri

    Ever thought about being a high school STEM teacher or something or similar after you retire? Maybe just a class or two? And just for a few years. Also, if your kids are still in school you would potentially see them daily, they would see you working, and you would generally be off when they are. Sounds like a great way to give back to your community and potentially inspire more to be docs.
    Then you could retire from that when they are all in college. Since you wouldn’t need the salary, you could just take benefits or even donate the salary back to the science dept. I know my school always seemed to need money in the science department. You might even inspire some young kids to be doctors. I believe that when you can show kids practical applications for what they are learning, they are more likely to learn rather than just memorize stuff.
    My mom did something similar while my brother and I were in high school. Her kids would love when I would send her practical ways to use the algebra or trig they were learning.

    • That’s an interesting thought, tigeri.

      An opportunity to make an impact on youngsters, a great benefits package, and not be tied down to anything more than the school schedule. I’ll file it in the folder of possibilities. Cool that you Mom did that with you guys.


  • MM

    Hahaha! I have been following your blog since inception POF and as much as you like to say otherwise, the similarities to your situation and Dr. F are striking! I loved this post… Am somewhere past the halfway point to “comfortable” FI, got another 4-6 years to go, but this post gives me a lot to think about… I dont think I ever want to stop working but going part-time might be the best of both worlds!

  • I’m glad this doctor #5 got added. It is the one that I relate to the most at this point. I pretty much am Dr. F. except I already reached his “number.” My investment income exceeds my expenses so I don’t need my job income. I love my job and don’t want to quit. On the other hand I would love more time to sleep, read, exercise, travel, spend time with my family, etc. I went down from 60+ hours (God knows why I ever did that!?) to a reasonable week. I’m 70% clinical and so if I reduce the non-clinical work I will end up at about 3/4 time. I’m not sure where the perfect balance is. I think blogs like this one will inspired readers to work towards FI and that allows a lot of options, power, and flexibility when exploring as Dr. F. is doing. Keep up the great work!

    • It’s great to hear that you not only love your job, but have been able to modify it in an attempt to create the perfect work / life balance. I think if my boys were older, I might look at a longer term part time option, but doing so would prevent us from doing some of the bigger family adventures we have planned. I honestly have no idea how long I’ll do all that it takes to maintain credentials once I do set aside the laryngoscope and Tuohy needles. By then, I will have significantly overshot the typical 25x number, so we should be able to live comfortably ever after no matter what I decide.


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