The Story of Dr. Moneybags

Today’s post is a guest post rom Tom @ High Income Parents. A fellow anesthesiologist and father of five, he has burst onto the blogging scene in the last few months with some wonderful and relevant posts for high income families.

 

 

A number of his articles have landed on the pages of The Sunday Best, and his writing was featured yesterday in a guest post @ The White Coat Investor. I encourage you to check him out!

Now, please tell us a story, Dr. Tom.


 

The following is a dramatization. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

The Story of Dr. Moneybags

 

So you’ve just finished residency a few months ago. You passed your boards (don’t even start thinking about MOC), and you’ve landed your dream job as a private practice physician. Since you’ve continued to live like a resident and your sugar momma/daddy paid the bills while you were in residency, you’ve come out with minimal student loans. You spent the past few month polishing those off and maxing out your retirement accounts.

Since you are a big time specialist now, you are making the big bucks. Let’s put you up near the top tax bracket taking home $470K a year.   So you’ve paid off your loans. You are maxing out your retirement plan at $54K a year (between your contribution, the match and profit-sharing), as well as your backdoor Roth IRA. You work for an amazing group that starts you off with profit-sharing the first year. Oh, don’t forget your HSA at $6,750 since you are married.

You’re an upstanding individual and give a portion of you income away to help those less fortunate than you. Let’s call that $10K donated. You pay 109K in federal taxes and another $14K in FICA.  Let’s say you live in Florida, an income tax free state. There is also $10K getting tossed into a 529 plan each year so your only kiddo can go to college someday.

 

Reviewing Dr. Moneybag’s Finances

 

 

You’re living high on the hog with $15K monthly spending. You have an extra $10,000 a month leftover. Maybe you’ll spend that other $10K on a bigger house or a Ferrari! But no, you are smart, and know that you will grow tired of these material possessions.

You decide to take on Wall Street. Hey, you just graduated medical school and residency in a highly competitive specialty. Plus you finished that fellowship. You are way ahead of your peers who still have $300K in student loan debt and spent their spring break skiing in Aspen drinking $20 cocktails.

Your IQ is in the top 0.1% of smarts.  How hard is it to find some quality companies or even sectors and blow away those pesky Bogleheads with their market returns?

Okay, devote an hour a day to looking at various company prospectuses, watching CNBC and combing the internet for the hot business that no one else has found.  That’s only 365 hours a year.  Nobody will even miss you and you will make millions extra!

So the first year goes by. You’ve been putting in your hour a day, and you pick a few companies to invest in. They are killing it! You are amazing! Some have done better than others but you pull in a solid 15% return.  Phenomenal!

 

You’re the Oracle of the O.R.

 

The market in general only went up 7% this year and you more that doubled that.

The next year goes by and you do another 15% return. Dude! This is going like clockwork. Who knew it was this easy?

The years tick by and before you know it, you have ten years under your belt. Your medical practice is solidified and booming. Continuing to jump in and out of the market, you pick the top performing companies almost every year. Well look at that, your portfolio just more than doubled the market return for 10 straight years! Who knew it was so easy?

I mean, sure, you spend a couple of hours each day. It was supposed to only be an hour, but you had to get up early and make sure your trades were entered. Also, you would get on the internet between procedures and clinic patients to look up company financials. Oh, and don’t forget the reading when you got home from the hospital and right before bed each night.

The years ticked by and sometimes you did better, sometimes you did worse. Over the last ten years you average a 15% return.  At the end of the first ten years of your investment career, since you had been putting in $10K a month, you have amassed $1.2 million in principle alone. That is nothing to sneeze at.  With compounding, that $1.2 million is worth $2.78 Million. Or is it?

You pop on the new social networking site SnapFace (which by the way was the IPO you bought last year that absolutely killed it) and see your colleague from residency. [PoF: Darn it! I bought BookChat and it tanked royally!]

He was the guy who told you about those pesky Bogleheads. Look at the poor shmuck! He probably mindlessly followed the Boglehead advice to just bet on the whole market. What an idiot! He probably spent all his time drinking craft beer and kayaking.

 

yes. yes i did. on land, even.

 

He averaged a measly 7% return over the same time. He was a good saver too, but he just threw his extra $10K a month in the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI). His taxable account is only worth $1.7 million.  You should have almost double what he has in his account.

 

The Rest of the Story

 

But wait. Something is wrong here. You look at your account and by your calculations there should be $2.78 million bucks in there.  Why aren’t the numbers adding up?

Oh, yeah, you remember now. You had to withdraw some funds each year to pay those taxes. Well that couldn’t have made that much of a difference. They are capital gains, right? Oh, short-term capital gains. Wow, so those are taxed at your marginal tax rate. That’s pretty big. What is it, 39.6% plus the other 3.8% ACA surcharge. Ouch!

Hmm, well that Boglehead guy probably had to pay some taxes. Let’s calculate that. Since he invested everything in VTI, the dividend yield was 1.7% and that was taxed at the long term rate. That drops his 7% return to 6.6% after taxes. That is only a 0.4% tax drag.

What about your return?

Well, you made 15%, but when you took out your 43.4% of gains, your account dropped that years return down to 8.49% . Okay, okay, that hurts but you still did better that the average. If you put all the years together that still is a better profit of over $216,000 than the Boglehead.

Or was it? How many hours did you put into all the research and trading? How often did you get up early and stay up a little later just to research your trades and companies? If you are honest, the average was two hours a day worrying about trades and researching.

You start wondering what the hourly rate was on all that time. Aren’t you are a doctor for goodness sake! You have a certain set of skills that is highly compensated. Your time spent on stocks should at least be worth that!

 

Right?

Well, $216,789.02 / 7300 hours is $29.70!

What?

 

That’s a small fraction of what you earn at your day job. There are lots of people making that much an hour, but they don’t have an M.D. after their name. Since you earn about $200 an hour right now you could have worked about a quarter of that 7,300 hours seeing patients and made the same amount after taxes.

 

Dr. Average Versus Dr. Moneybags

 

 

I know that this is only one example, but I think it’s is a reasonable one. The takeaway lesson here is yes, you are smart. You passed thousands of hours of training and tests. But….

The percentage of return here is arguably better that 99% of fund managers who look at the market and businesses for a living. Their entire day is devoted to researching and trade execution. They have a team of analysts combing the world for the next hot company. It’s rare that any of them beat the market over a ten year stretch.

Even if you are the next Warren Buffet (who didn’t make his money by buying stocks from a brokerage account), you don’t have enough money to leverage when you first start for it to be a worthy endeavor.

Over the first five years the return is $11.42 an hour. Would you take on a part time job for that wage? I don’t think so.

There are much better ways to spend your time and the odds of losing money are much greater than making a profit when you attempt active management.

Go volunteer your time somewhere. Go read a book to your kids an hour a day. That will truly pay way more than researching individual companies and getting up early to make sure your limit order is placed correctly.

What do you think of this scenario? Does it ever make sense to actively manage an account?

 


You’re still not using Personal Capital? Track all your accounts in one place like I do.


 

[PoF: Were you as relieved as I was when we got to the end? It started to read like a pro-stock-picking, anti-index-fund post. Of course, Tom came to his senses and recognized that repeatedly destroying the indexes is an extraordinary feat that mere mortals fail to do time and time again (just like the pros).

Not only do stock-picking fund managers and individuals usually fail to beat the indexes (and / or fail to replicate that success after they do), but the tax implications for the high-income professional make buying and selling stocks even more likely to be a loser’s game. Be like my current houseguest and Learn to Stop Picking Stocks and Love Index Funds.]

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51 comments

  • I think the only way that I would actively manage my investments is if I used my Roth IRA which would shield me from the taxes involved. Otherwise the time spent along with the taxes involved would probably deter me.

    Now if the Doc uses it as an excuse to have fun and exercise another part of their brain, I say go for it. Otherwise definitely not worth it for me.

    • Dr. Money Bags did better than pretty much anyone has ever done over a ten year period and it still only made him about a tenth of his regular job hourly wage. He potentially could of worked one extra hour a month as a doctor over ten years and come out about the same.
      If someone tried this and did actually beat the market, it’s more likely he only beats it by a percentage point or two. Then the hourly wage is abysmal. What’s even more likely is he does worse.
      Personally I don’t think it’s worth the time no matter how much it flexes your brain muscles and I’m one of the ones who made this mistake when I started out after residency. I wish I would have know the facts then.

      Tom @ HIP

  • I was so seeing the direction going a different way on this post for a while. Ultimately if smart people who devote their life to it can’t get ahead, there is no way a smart person who spends a couple hours will.

    • Sorry to scare you. Didn’t mean to get anyone’s blood pressure up this morning.
      As PoF would say, taxes are a real drag and the likelihood of doubling the total stock market return is very small.

      Tom @ HIP

  • Hatton1

    In a bull market it is easy to pick winners and feel smart. I think figuring out the value of the time involved in stock picking is eye opening. You could add a third column for Doctor Merrill Lynch who does even worse by paying all those commissions by buying or selling based on advice in between or cases.

    • Those are excellent points! I’ve shared my prior Merrill Lynch advisors portfolio performance on my site and I think it’s up about 2% over the last 5 years. Not 2% annually but 2% total. Thankfully I dropped it long ago. Thanks Hatton1!

      Tom @ HIP

  • The Skipper

    Would it be worth it if Mr. Money Bags did this in his self directed retirement account or Roth account? I mean, there has to be at least some positives for making 15% annual returns.

    • I’ve got a couple guest posts coming up on self-directed IRAs next month. Stay tuned.

      Of course, you could do the trading within a traditional IRA (and some 401(k) plans. To me, the moral of the story is that it’s exraordinarily unlikely you’ll consistently beat the market, and if you do, the tax burden (in a taxable account) will devour most of that edge you think you gained.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      • Zaphod

        Trading is best reserved for tax deferred accounts. Taxables paradoxically are where not much should occur.

        Why in this example was there so much taxes eating returns? No one has to cash in every year, it could be decades before you realize any actual gains and long term taxes, etc…

        Also ignored was this was after only ten years and say this guy decides to just go passive while working another 10-20 years and never spend another second. Well….that much larger asset base is going to be exposed to compounding and become much larger, making his early efforts even more profitable.

        If someone enjoys this and doesnt see it as work then Im not too sure it matters that they spent time on it. I mean I dont calculate the cost of pushing my daughter on a swing or playing in the pool everyday. If I did it makes it seem like a total waste which is nuts. Also, there is a point where one cannot simply work more.

        Overall, I agree on the principle, but this was a very straw man style argument that took away from the broader points. Which is too bad since it doesnt need that.

        • Zaphod

          In the end its similar to the dont work and make more money discussions because….taxes. Makes little sense when packaged differently. No one would turn down 1 million dollars extra just because they will only have 700k after taxes. If you reframe arguments and they then sound a bit ridiculous, well then.

          Also this disregards that our profession and every incremental patient seen is a bit like going naked short stock or options. Each encounter has some x dollar premium and comes with litigation downside. At least you can only lose what you put in with investing.

  • Great write up, Tom. I’ve read three good books this year on passive investing: The Simple Path to Wealth, The 99 Minute Millionaire, and The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read. You hit one of the key points for passive investing – everyone can do it and it doesn’t take that much time to do!

    • Thanks Taylor. When we talk about “passive income” I always try to factor in hourly wage. When you’re a doctor or other high wage earner, it takes a higher hourly wage to make it worth while. Also, factoring in the education required to make an informed investment decision, and the hourly wage to do something outside our expertise is even lower.

      Tom @ HIP

  • Interesting example. I haven’t seen a similar example scenario. And this is with a 2x return vs market which is basically impossible over time.

    Investing is one of my hobbies and I (maybe wrongly) believe it’s possible to get a slightly better than market return through tilting (sort of an amplified rebalancing) over long time periods. But this would be on the order of a 1-2% better return and it takes some effort.

    Once you have a good portfolio, a 1% better return can certainly be worth it. Especially if you’re retired with a lower taxable income and do it with longer term investments (very possible to be at a 0% investment tax rate).

    But I agree that while working, it’s better to simply focus on income from your job and saving a lot, while investing in index funds. That is the best use of your limited time. Thanks for the perspective your example gives!

    • I always figured I would make more as a physician than a stock picker but I never actually figured out the numbers.
      I wanted to figure this out for myself. I decided to use an example that is basically impossible without a huge amount of luck and it still isn’t worth my time. Gives me more of an excuse to go ride bikes with my kids than study stocks 🙂

      Tom @ HIP

  • I’ve never seen a break-down like this related back to an hourly return. That’s a very interesting way to present it! It’s good to have another perspective/angle to help people understand that active trading just isn’t worth it.

    • I’ve done this with doctor buddies when they talk about investing in the next big thing. I feel kinda bad when we do the numbers and they see the hourly wage. The air deflates out of the balloon, but hopefully, it steers them in the right direction.

      Tom @ HIP

  • sonnar28

    Just do high conviction/ truly short term trades in qualified account. Others go into a non-qualified account with active tax loss harvesting, hedging non-qualified trades (covered calls, married puts) into long term tax status whenever possible.

    If you happen to be a gifted investor, especially one with a contrarian/value tendency, you can do quite well with regard to after-tax return, and provide significant downside portfolio protection as well.

    In bear markets, investors/traders become irrational, and a non-index long term investor has a significant advantage. Individual stock risk can be countered by buying a basket of similar stocks, or by using a focused index fund. Selling cash covered puts in bear markets (when volatility is high) on stocks/ETF’s that are desirable purchases really enhances long term returns. One can also keep a core of broad index funds for diversification.

    At least some active management makes one a better money manager, more suited to going from accumulation to distribution of assets when retirement occurs.

  • VagabondMD

    Loved the article. Well done! I needed to read this when I was starting out 20 years ago. I still buy/sell stocks but only for sport on Robin Hood (no commission) and with about 0.1% of my portfolio.

    • Thanks, VagabondMD. I needed to read this about 20 years ago myself.
      Not everything we do is going to pay a doctor’s hourly wage. I wish I got that to clean out the garage. 🙂
      If you like trying to beat the pros, I don’t have a problem with it. Some people really love picking stocks and consider it a hobby. We all spend money on hobbies and a few of us make money. Hopefully, you are one of those that makes some!
      If you aren’t at least you have the lion’s share of your retirement funds tied up on the higher probability bet.

      Tom @ HIP

  • Hmmm this makes me think I should blog less and spend. Thus far I am negative, so in fact I am paying to hang with you guys!

    Set it and forget it. Nothing like simplifying life with a 3 fund portfolio.

    • The lives you’ve touched and the enjoyment you bring to all of us can’t be measured in dollars!
      If we ever meet up, I’ll buy you a beverage and you’ll make a little back. 🙂

      Tom @ HIP

  • Wow I didn’t know anesthesiologists made such a good income! I have to be honest that I was first confused where the post was going. Nice to see such a great conclusion and lesson learned!

    • It depends on who is paying. If you are talking about Medicaid rates, then $29 buck an hour would be a pretty good hourly wage.
      Anesthesiologist average nationwide is about $270,000 so most are making over $135/hr.
      Glad you liked the ending. 🙂

      Tom @ HIP

  • Thanks for another example that makes us feel better about what we’re already doing 😉
    For us, this is a lot like owning rentals: a lot of extra hassle that’s probably not worth it in the long run.
    So, we keep it simple with index funds, and with years like this one we’re pretty happy.

    • My brother in law has made a small fortune with rental property, but he knows his market backward and forwards. He was also able to exploit a niche that no one else did for several years. Plus, it’s a less efficient market.
      It’s his full-time job though and I’m sure he hasn’t calculated his hourly wage or the years of life his tenants have taken from him 🙂

      Tom @ HIP

  • I agree that most doctors have no business trying to beat the public markets. Plus it takes time, money, and taxes to do so even if you are effective at it somehow.
    Private markets may be a different matter though. I don’t want doctors to think the only option is passive index investing. Although that is fine for most, it isn’t the only way to invest. My ROI for private companies, commercial real estate, angel investing, imaging centers, clinic ownership, surgery centers etc. have FAR exceeded my passive investing returns.

    • VagabondMD

      Agree. I pull considerably more out of my imaging center investment, every year, than I initially invested in it–and the value of the investment has also grown substantially.

    • I’m glad to hear that WealthyDoc.
      I agree with you, that index investing should be the staple of a public market investing strategy.
      I can definitely see imaging centers, clinic ownership, ASC’s, etc as great investments, but the docs I know that have success with those all had a very hands-on approach when it came to the decision-making. They usually worked at the places they invested in.
      With more creative investments, I’ve heard of too many other docs around me get burned investing in a “great opportunity.” The ones that let the “business people” handle it seem to all lose.
      I’ve made money over index investing rates with commercial real estate (my group’s building), and single family homes. I haven’t calculated my hourly rate of return for those though. Maybe it’s better I don’t but I do value the business education from those transactions.

      Tom @ HIP

  • If you take one person and ask him to to flip a quoter 10 times I am pretty sure the result will be something like that: x – tails, 10-x – heads. But if you ask a lot, A LOT of people to do the same, probably you will get couple of people who flipped 10 times with head/tail result.

    Did they bit others? Oh yeah, they did. But if you ask this lucky people to flip the same quoter again, will they get the same result, ten out of ten? I don’t think so.

    My point is, of course there are people who can bit the market in a certain year, but the are almost none who can do it every single year over the course of 10+ years.

    And I have more important things to do than reading and analyzing quotes and flipping the coin

  • That’s interesting about the 15% return over the past 10 years because I had a similar experience. 15%+ returns on average, over the past 10 years. Granted I graduated in the end of 08′ and started working (outside of my side hustle) in the mid of 09′ so I was able to take full advantage of all of the bargain-bin prices in the stock market! And then the past couple years, I was fortunate enough to be proved right by tilting heavily towards emerging markets. Up 35%+ in my emerging market allocation (roughly $200K in emerging market allocation alone) in the past year or so.

    • Like you, I’ve benefitted from starting my career about 11 years ago. The first couple years, I maxed out retirement accounts, but really started investing larger sums in about 2009 / 2010.

      Going back to the nadir in March of 2009, the S&P 500 has returned 17.5% annualized (assuming dividends reinvested). See S&P 500 calculator here.

      I have 10% of my portfolio in emerging markets. They’ve done well lately, but that hasn’t always been the case. I do like the diversification and can stomach the volatility for the potential for higher returns.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • What a beautiful tale for people who read about finance! Enough chutzpah to raise your heart rate and then the ending with a flourish. With solid numbers. The reader has to suspend reality with a waited breath, with the most fantastical fantasy that someone can beat the market for that long, and the ending ties it all together. Tom@HIP has the talent that can make even such an unapproachable subject accessible to the masses. I will make use of this tale in many coaching sessions to come. Thank you!

  • Mike H

    Call me contrarian but I think it was likely time well spent. You see, investing knowledge tends to compound over time and you become a better investor the more you do it. As someone who strives to be a lifelong investor, I’m happy to get as much learning in as possible. It’s all about balance, though. I still have enough time also to work a normal day job, exercise and take care of myself, and spend time with my wife and daughter.

    -Mike

    • I agree with you that learning what works and what doesn’t investing is a worthy pursuit. I definitely read more than I probably have to when it comes to personal finance, but I enjoy it.
      If Dr. Moneybags loved picking stocks and he continued on the same path for another 10 years, his return would be quite high and arguably “worth it”.
      I think most of us would agree that doubling the market return over a ten year period is incredibly difficult and no guarantee. What if he had only matched the market returns, or worse yet lost money? Then would the knowledge he gained of stock picking be worth it? We have to make that decision for ourselves.
      I guess I’m thankful that not everyone is an index investor because they help make a market but with the big guns an individual investor is up against these days with the huge supercomputers angling for the smallest arbitrage opportunity, it’s an uphill battle.

      Tom @ HIP

  • Boring Investing is sexy Investing. I was fresh out of school with a hot off the press finance degree and knew I would be the next great trader. What a dumb idea that was.

    The best guys in the world don’t beat the market successfully all the time, and after taxes and fees, no normal person will do it.

    This is an awesome breakdown of active vs. passive management. I wish I could have saved many former clients when I was an advisor but some just never learn. I love my passive fund account now and it will one day be the overflowing source of my early retirement income. I can then drink all the beer I want knowing that my investments are just fine and I can continue doing whatever I want.

    Great article!

  • Good post but there are critical assumptions made here that wouldn’t apply for many: High marginal tax rates and frequent trading. For most investors who retire early, marginal tax on capital gains and dividends are either zero or at worst 15%. Second, frequent trading aggravates the problem and introduces both buy and sell side errors. Indexing wins because there is low turnover (not zero though) and low expenses. In a diversified portfolio of high quality Dividend stocks, you can achieve even lower expenses than indexing and turnover could be as low or lower than indexing. Dividend investing doesn’t guarantee superior returns but what it does is protect the extreme downside scenario compared to indexing because volatility is often lower in severe bear markets. Dividend investing is more of bear market insurance rather than bull market outperformance. 15% return is not required in the above approach, just matching the index 7% return would suffice if you can sleep better during bear markets. Indexing is the best strategy for >90% of the people out there but they should understand it can be more volatile than a defensively structured stock portfolio.

    • Good points TFR. I’m definitely writing this from the bias of an investor in the accumulation phase and not really caring if I have to work a few more years to ride out a bear market.
      I’m definitely not an expert on dividend investing and I would have to see the numbers and the historical perspective of a dividend portfolio vs an index total market portfolio to make some conclusions.
      It sounds like reducing costs is another important aspect of your strategy and that has been shown to be very important for individual investors to do well in the markets.

      Tom @ HIP

      • Thanks Tom. My article published today talks about “stress testing”, which may be of interest. http://tenfactorialrocks.com/stress-test-your-financial-independence/

        Unlike the uniformity of one S&P 500 index, there is no one single dividend portfolio, as each DIY investor structures it according to their expectations and risk tolerance. So, each investor must do the bear market ‘simulation’ on their own portfolio and be comfortable with the outcome. Otherwise, they will not ‘stay the course’, which is critical for long-term success.

  • John

    I think the author is right if the investor is truly jumping in and out of stocks in less than a year and is in a high tax bracket then he is definitely taking a big hit in taxes, however if he was doing that in an IRA then that 15% is truly doubling the 7% index return. Index funds are best for the majority of all investors. However the returns just aren’t high enough for me. Personally I like to buy and hold at least a year which definitely lowers my taxes. I also use options to juice the returns that I then exercise rather than sell or trade. In my tax deferred accounts I have both index funds as well as stock picking. In my taxable buy and hold account I have an aggressive portfolio with options and stocks that average is about 35% per year over the past 8 years, and the conservative account is at about 15%. Since I don’t jump in and out of stocks, I’m only taxed at the dividend/capital gains tax rate.

    • I’m not trying to be a jerk when I write this. I honestly love to explore other investing options and if they are easily duplicatable (is that a word) I’m more than willing to admit I’m wrong.
      According to the calculator here the S&P return over the last 8 years with dividends reinvested is 15.2% so in the conservative account I could have bought VOO and maybe had a slightly better return than your conservative account with 10 seconds of time spent.
      As for the more aggressive account, I would be interested in your hourly rate over that time period and how it compares to your regular job.
      It might be worth it to you regardless of the rate but its just the way I try to look at things as a doc.
      I spent a long time acquiring these skills and thankfully people value them. It’s always difficult for me to do something else that I might not like as much to make money. I personally love taking care of people and helping them improve health and get through a tough time. I know other people don’t have that luxury but thankfully I do. If you believe that your time spent analysing investments and options is worth it, then more power to you.
      The main point of the article was to make sure your efforts are worth your time. Thats it. Thank you for reading.

      Tom @ HIP

      • John

        No, I completely agree with you. But I basically just kick back watching tv and play on my computer looking at stocks and talking with a few other good friends about them. For me I just enjoy doing it and I do well at it. Not to brag but my 1 yr return is 92.06% aggressive, and 34.66% conservative portfolio this year. So I’ve steadily learned more and gotten much much better at it. I think if you don’t enjoy reading about stocks or If you are putting a ton of time into it then you should just invest in index funds. For me its a fun hobby that I profit about half of Dr. Moneybags salary. So for the 1-2 hours a night its worth the time. I typically do stocks stuff as I watch the bachelorette or some other chick flick with the wife, so its my out sitting with her on the couch. I’m not near making my day job salary, but as a plastic surgeon heavily into cosmetics and medispa it would be hard to do.

        • If you can make money while getting credit for watching chick flicks with the wife, you are a better man than 99% of the husbands out there. 🙂 (tip my hat to you sir)
          You need to write a guest post for PoF titled “Watching the Batchelorette for fun and profit.”

  • Matthew Sedgley

    We have not had a serious recession in a while. It would be instructive to run this scenario with an alternative course where the market is flat or is in a recession for a while. Same conclusion would be drawn but the hourly wage would be most likely negative.

    • IF I ever get the time I wouldn’t like to run the numbers with variable returns for Dr Moneybags. If the index investor could take advantage of tax loss harvesting, he might do even better.
      It would be interesting to see how the average active investor does compared to the index in a recession.

      Tom @ HIP

  • Laura

    You lost me at the tax rate. Paying$123K on an income of $506 means this Dr. Moneybags is not living in America. The federal rate alone is 39.6%, not to mention state etc. I know the effective tax rate is lower, but a 23% effective rate is impossible.

    • He’s not taxed on profit sharing & match, deduct $54,000 in tax deferred contributions, $6,750 in HSA, $10,000 in donations. Taxable income is just under $400k. Plug that number into Taxcaster, married filed jointly with kids, and I’ll bet you’ll get numbers very similar to what Tom came up with.

      I believe Dr. Moneybags, like Tom, lives in a state with no income tax. These numbers aren’t pulled out of a hat.

      Best,
      -PoF

      • Couldn’t have said it any better myself PoF. That’s exactly what I did. If I recall correctly I think I plugged everything into tax caster exactly like Dr. moneybags. If not, it’s close enough to still prove the point.

        Tom @ HIP

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