Christopher Guest Post: B.C. Krygowski

It’s been some time since I published a “Christopher Guest Post,” the series with the tongue-in-cheek name featuring fellow bloggers. I’m proud to bring you the latest in the semi-dormant series, a Q&A with B.C. Krygowski.

Dr. Krygowski is not only a blogger, but also a physician, author of a non-fiction book on physician finance, and an aspiring fiction writer, too. Add mother, (doctor’s) wife, and world traveler to her list of hats. She’s a busy woman with a story worth sharing.

I’ve known B.C. and her family for several years now. She first emailed me to introduce herself and share gratitude for the introduction to our now-mutual-friend Jillian Johnsrud. Not long after, we found ourselves at a potluck dinner in her living room, spending the night at their place while on vacation in their neighborhood.

I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her as well as we have! Without further ado…

 

An Interview With B.C Krygowski

 

CGP_bc_krygowski

 

What in the world is 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.

 

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’m an inpatient Palliative Care Physician. Ever since I learned what Hospice was in medical school, I knew that eventually, I’d become a Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician. I’ve just always felt this calling deep in my soul to work with the seriously ill and dying.

If I could turn back time, I’d still practice medicine and choose the same specialty—I just would have made wiser choices about where I practiced along the way. Thankfully, I’m finally in a job that’s a perfect match for my skills, schedule, and temperament.

 

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

The tag line for my blog is “Helping you Aspire to FIRE from a dual physician perspective.” There’s a dearth of FIRE blogs out there from dual physician couples, let alone female physicians. I’m the one who mostly blogs on the site, but DH (Dear Husband) blogs on occasion. I like the perspective he brings to the site as we approach financial issues from different perspectives. He’s the Bogleheader and I’m the frugalista. We’ve also written openly and honestly about some of our struggles that led us to go down the FIRE-life path.

Our blog also covers how to do prolonged international travel from a cost savings perspective. This allows readers to check off more of their bucket list locations. (yes, we’re insane enough to do prolonged international travel with two young sons. Not sure I’d redo climbing Machu Picchu with a six-year-old though…)

We also share practical, yet perhaps outside-the-box, thinking about finances—like how busy physicians can actually save money (and sanity!) with quick fixes like hiring a person chef, etc…

[PoF: We share B.C.’s zeal for international family travel. In fact, we traveled with them, taking our combined 4 young sons to Cuba a few years back!]

 

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 blogged all through residency, back in the day when people didn’t even really know what a blog was. I kept it private and only shared the url with friends and family.

After residency, I gave up blogging and started taking writing classes. About a decade went by. I could feel that we needed to explore FIRE more, so I started to inhale everything I could about FIRE. But it was rare to find what I was searching for: the FIRE perspective of a dual physician couple. So I figured I’d start blogging again to fill that void.

My blog ‘arrived’ when it caused me to write a book on FIRE spending habits. I wrote it to answer the questions I kept getting from my blog readers. Producing that book the summer, we lived in Medellin, Colombia, which was a total blast. I’m grateful to the blog for giving me that opportunity.

During the early days of the pandemic, it was a struggle to get any writing done, as my husband and I are front-line workers. The current plan for the blog is to keep it running with a goal of twelve posts a year.

[PoF: Thank you for the work you and DH have been doing on the front lines! I can only imagine how stressful that must be. 

And thank you for filling the void in the FIRE blogosphere; there are plenty of males and anesthesiologists writing in this space.]

 

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

  1. FIRE: Our Midlife Crisis: This blog is about how FIRE was our midlife crisis.
  2. Why We Moved Our Family to Medellín, Colombia for the Summer: This blog is about taking a sabbatical in Medellin, Colombia.
  3. How a Physician slashed her spending: This was the blog that talked about our 85% savings rate. (I still wince with discomfort when I think of that year.)
  4. How a Physician Cut Her Food Bill by 63%: This was the blog that talked about how we cut our food bill by 63%.
  5. Student Loans: a 14-year argument resolved: This was the blog that talked about finally becoming debt free (no more student loans!).
  6. Why Two Physicians agree to a massive pay cut: This is the blog post that talks about the realities of being a two-physician marriage and why we decided to take a massive pay cut.
  7. What it feels like when both spouses work part-time: This is what it’s like when both spouses work part-time.
  8. Frugal Travel-The-World and Stay-for-free Option! (Part I): This blog talks about home exchange, something we love to do.
  9. 9 Reasons Why you Should Have a Donor Advised Fund—and 1 Reason Not to This blog talks about having a Donor Advised Fund.
  10. 4 reasons to tax loss harvest—and 1 reason not to (Blog from DH): This is a blog from DH about Tax Loss Harvesting.
  11. How to Make Yourself Happier by Stopping Yourself from Checking Your Portfolio too Often: A blog by DH talking about how you’ll be happier if you stop checking your portfolio so much.

[PoF: I love the juxtaposition of frugality and generosity. That highlights an excellent reason to save where you can. There are others who could use the money more than you!]

 

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’ve only ever worked full-time during residency and fellowship. Aside from that, I’ve made it a point to work 3/4 time or less. Time is life.

DH retired from full-time work when he was forty. I left a job with benefits when I was forty-three and just work per-diem now.

 

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?

Our definition of retirement has shifted from when we first started down the FIRE path. At first, we visualized retirement as not working at all. That mindset changed with time and more life experience. Thankfully, ideal retirement now looks like our current life.

I’m in an intense, multi-year-long writing program, so I work daily on writing a medical fiction book. DH found a part-time job he likes that provides our healthcare. It’s about 8 shifts a month.

We’re both happy with our current work situations as it provides us with fulfillment and adult interaction (we love our kids, but it’s good to get out of the house…). The jobs also allow us to leave our savings alone. We still somehow manage to stick money in retirement accounts, but we don’t obsessively max every avenue like we used to.

[PoF: Congrats on the writing program and accolades you’ve collected. It sounds like Coast FIRE suits the two of you very well.]

 

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.

Learning how to live up to your fullest potential is the best gift you can give yourself, your family, and the world, so invest in self-improvement. I always highly recommend getting a coach for whatever area of life you might be struggling in.

Always save at least 20% of your income—until you don’t need to anymore. Don’t fight over money with your significant other—it’s not worth damaging your relationship for (that is, if you’re in a healthy relationship…if not, you should speak to a therapist, then a lawyer).

Take care of your health—mental, physical, and spiritual. Look at the time you invest in meal prepping as an act of self-care.

If you’re a parent, read Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Gibson. Even if your kids are grown and out of the house, it’s worth a read. I take care of so many senior citizens estranged from their kids because the parents lack self-awareness that their behavior is toxic.

 

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?

PoF, That’s a great question and a tough one to answer! It’s a toss-up between hiking in Bolivia with the awesome guide we used for Machu Picchu or going back to Iceland so we can van-camp the Ring.

I would say hike Mount Kilimanjaro, but you didn’t give me enough time or money. 🙂

[PoF: Did you read the interview from the early retirees who did hike Mount Kilimanjaro? That might be something I would consider. Never Everest, though. That sounds miserable and is undeniably dangerous.]

 

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

Colombian coffee, water, herbal tea, Le Croix, Dr. Pepper, Barq’s Root Beer, fresh-made Latin Fruit drinks. Gin and Tonic, preferably made by my brother-in-law (those Royal Air Force guys know how to make a great G & T). Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

POF, you’ll have to handle the beer recommendation department. 😉

[PoF: The hoppier, the better. I thank you for the IPA you had set aside for me when it ended up in your cooler after Camp FI!]

 

Now, eleven foods.

Anti-cancer Pumpkin-turmeric shakes from the recipe section of Kelly LeVeque’s book Body Love. Cuban black bean soup. Salads. Bolay bowls (it’s a Gluten Free food chain, not sure you have them up by you?). Tacos. Fresh, wild-caught fish. Nachos with fresh salsa. Charcuterie boards. Sushi. Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie burgers from Trader Joe’s with a side of broccoli. Dark chocolate covered almonds from Aldi’s.

[PoF: I don’t believe we have Bolay bowls. We do have bowling balls, for what it’s worth. Tacos, too!]

 

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

I first learned about PoF from a White Coat Investor blog. I really like your writing style, so I tend to stick with reading your blog over anyone else’s. I usually take a tech Sabbath every Sunday, but your Sunday Best is my one exception to that rule.

As far as advice goes, you’re doing great—keep doing you. But a small area of improvement could be to consider dropping the ‘Christopher’ from the title of these posts. A casual blog reader might skip over the post because of the confusion about ‘Who’s this Christopher guy?’

PoF, thanks for asking me to blog here, much appreciated. Keep up the strong work you do for the FIRE community.

[PoF: Thank you for taking the time to share your insights, allowing us to get to know you better, for the kind words, and for reviving this series! As for the name of these guest posts, it’s one of those quirky things that came to me, and at this point with 50+ interviews under my belt, I can’t see it changing.]

 



 

Interested in hearing how other top personal finance bloggers have answered these questions? Check out additional Christopher Guest Posts from many of the top personal finance bloggers:

 

If you’ve got a comment or 12th question for B.C. Krygowski, let us know below!

 

5 thoughts on “Christopher Guest Post: B.C. Krygowski”

  1. I love that you included BC in your series. She has great insights into Life and FI. I ascribe to her work less, time more philosophy (finally!). I just read Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents and would say it is a must read for everyone. No doubt everyone will find at least a piece of themselves as well as their parents in there. I am lucky to count myself as one your of BC’s friends.

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  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Thanks for the guest post and I had a blast reading the editorial comments. 🙂 Yup, not only read that Kili post, but I emailed it to DH and myself so I could easily find it in the future for a reference. 🙂 Had a blast cruising to Cuba with you all, glad we did it when we still could! Cheers.

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    • All medical specialties are something I’m grateful for, but I have to say that the hospice work is top of the list. Having people that are so empathetic and caring at what is typically an extremely stressful and painful time – losing a loved one – is something I will be eternally grateful for. The comfort of knowing your loved one’s pain is managed as much as it can be is a huge relief.

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