Ether to FI: Mrs. E.T.F., Are We on the Same Page?

Today, we have the fifth installment from our anonymous friend E.T.F., an anesthesiologist out there in the ether working his way to FI. His goal is $3.3 Million in ten years, and he’s been documenting his journey roughly every other month here on this site. Today, he invited Mrs. E.T.F. to answer some money questions to gauge how compatible their financial intentions are. How is it that I’ve written hundreds of blog posts and haven’t had my wife chime in yet? I may need to follow his lead and change that! The floor is yours, Ether to FI.   Ether […]

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How to Achieve Financial Independence Spending $200K Per Year

FI 200k

Today’s Saturday Selection is a bit of a jaw-dropper from Passive Income MD. I’ll be honest. It’s a lot easier to become financially independent when spending $60,000 to $80,000 per year than it is when your annual expenses are two to three times that! There are some reasons that PIMD’s numbers are much higher than mine. He lives in southern California; I live in Minnesota. He pays absurd southern CA prices for everything, including a mortgage and childcare. I own my home outright and my children are in elementary school. Most of our flights are practically free using travel rewards […]

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Six Months of Part-Time Work. Or How I’ll Save $60,000 on Taxes in 2018.

Reykjavik Duck

Today is  Tax Day. To commemorate the event, I’d like to share with you how I plan to slash this year’s tax bill by upwards of $60,000, or nearly double what my salary was 13 to 16 years ago when I worked about three times harder as a resident physician. Half a year ago, I executed a bold move based on a decision I couldn’t have imagined I’d be making in my early forties. I made an intentional choice to slash my income by 40% while showing up for work quite a bit less. I had been contemplating such a […]

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What is fatFIRE?


Four years ago, I didn’t know what FIRE was. I mean, I knew what fire was — something to gather ’round to drink beers, tell stories, and burn marshmallows. But I was oblivious to the acronym that has since become life changing: Financial Independence, Retire Early. Now, four years later, you could say FIRE is my middle name. Except you’d be wrong. It’s my last name — “on” is my middle name. But that’s neither here nor there. I’ve learned what it means to be financially independent. I’ve taken advantage of my FI status by working less and adventuring more. […]

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One House. One Spouse. One Job.

PoF Second home

Today’s Saturday Selection comes courtesy of The White Coat Investor. I believe the title may be Dr. Dahle’s version of One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer. Picture yourself around a campfire near Lake Powell and sing it with me, “one house… one spouse… and one job. Now ain’t seen my wakeboat since I don’t know when…” To be honest, I haven’t followed this advice very well. I’ve had several jobs and we once owned five homes at the same time (we’re down to two plus some additional lakefront property). Thankfully, I’ve got one spouse, and I plan to keep her […]

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Rest in Peace, E.T.F. A Love Letter from a Dead Man and a Net Worth Update

Today’s post is the fourth installment from the anesthesiologist in his first year of practice with a plan to reach financial independence within a decade. He’s got a goal of $3.3 Million, or enough to have an allowance of $100,000 a year with a very safe 3% withdrawal rate. He’s seen hardship in his personal life lately, which prompted him to pen this piece. Read on for his love letter and an update on his progress towards financial independence. Rest in Peace, E.T.F.   Did I get your attention? Good. Breaking news! You are going to die. Sorry to be […]

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Be an Owner, Not a Consumer, to Achieve Financial Freedom

wallet tape measure

This week’s Saturday selection comes from WCI Network member Passive Income MD. He has recognized that a change in mindset and habits can make financial freedom much more likely. This post was originally published on Passive Income MD.   Recently I read a book on finances and entrepreneurship, The Millionaire Fastlane by DJ DeMarco, and the author gave an excellent piece of advice. He said, “Be an owner, not a consumer.” Already, I’m sure you have some ideas in your mind what that might mean. The phrase sounded like good, solid advice, especially in a book on finances. The author mentioned this phrase […]

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14 Milestones to Celebrate on the Path to Financial Independence (and Beyond!)

Steak Dinner New Orleans

I’ve got a great one for you today. The White Coat Investor gives you lots and lots of reasons to party as you advance in your career surpassing one financial milestone after another. If I had celebrated this often, I’m not sure I’d actually be financially independent, but one can certainly celebrate without breaking the bank. Most of these waypoints passed us by unnoticed. That’ll happen when you stumble into financial independence like we did. Where are we now? At least at #13 and probably at #14. Where are you? Today’s Saturday Selection was originally published at The White Coat […]

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Ether to FI: Home Days & Net Worth Update

Home Days

Welcome to the third installment from Ether to FI, an anesthesiologist chasing financial independence. He finished residency and started his first job as an attending physician just over six months ago, and he has a goal to hit his FI number of $3.3 Million within a decade. The floor is yours, E.T.F.   Let’s get philosophical for a minute. Do you have a why?   It took a conversation with my toddler to define why I am chasing financial independence.  My canned answer: to have choices. I want to wake up without an alarm.  I want to look at a […]

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Ether to FI: Obeying WCI’s Ten Commandments & Net Worth Update

ETF portfolio

Back in July, we met Ether to FI, an anesthesiologist, father, and husband just starting his career as an attending anesthesiologist. Several months have passed, and the good Dr. E.T.F. has updated his net worth worksheet and written an excellent article detailing his compliance with the Ten Commandments of my business partner and mentor, Dr. Jim Dahle of The White Coat Investor. As you may recall, E.T.F. has a goal to reach FI faster than I did (which was about 10 years into my career), and I’m rooting for him. He’ll benefit from a second household income and a wealth […]

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Financial Independence With Kids: How Procreation Impacts FIRE

Ecuador Galapagos Beach

Having recently spent nine days away from home at not one, but two mega conferences, I was happy to be home and eager to wake up last Monday morning to get my boys ready and off to school. It’s not often I look forward to a Monday morning, but after a long stretch away like that, I start to feel disconnected from my normal life. My wife joined me at FinCon, which was awesome, but our boys are such a huge part of our lives that I feel off-center without them. We’re planning to bring them with us for next […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Work After Financial Independence

Holmsvollur Golf Course

I was browsing the Bogleheads forum last night, and my eyes naturally gravitated to the thread titled “What is FI if you love your job?” The short answer is that FI is financial independence. Nothing more, nothing less, and it doesn’t look any different if you love, hate, or feel indifferent towards your job. The long answer, after learning that the man asking the question is about 10 years away from FI, includes the fact that the person or the job is quite likely to look and feel quite a bit different in 10 years, and Fi is a smart […]

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The X Factor

WCI meditation

Today’s Saturday Selection is a re-publication of the first “instant classic” post after more than five years of White Coat Investor posts. There were numerous comments that it deserved the immediate promotion. Read on and I believe you will see why. As always, this post originally appeared on The White Coat Investor. Dr. Dahle, please tell us about this thing you call The X Factor.   I spend a great deal of time on this site imparting knowledge. You know, how the PSLF program works, how to do a backdoor Roth IRA, the best way to use an HSA and […]

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Second Generation FIRE

2nd generation FIRE

A couple months ago, I was chatting with Jonathan and Brad of ChooseFI just before we started recording a podcast. They asked if I had been listening to their shows, and I really, really wanted to answer in the affirmative, but the truth was I hadn’t listened to a single episode. I have since rectified that situation, first listening to my own interview, and subsequently listening to most of the material they’ve put out so far. I haven’t been much of a podcast guy in the past, but with the amount of driving I do back and forth to spend […]

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Can a Bear Take Away Your Financial Independence?

bear market alaska

You did it! You worked, you saved, you conquered. Your investments add up to 25 times your expenses, or 30 times, or whatever your magic number is. You have achieved financial independence, however you have chosen to define it. What’s that low rumbling sound I hear? Is that a bear coming out of hibernation? I won’t pretend to know when it’s coming, but I promise you I haven’t seen my last bear market. It could start next month, next year, or perhaps in the next decade. If you are convinced a bear market is imminent, you may want to read […]

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Introducing Ether to FI: A New Attending Striving for Financial Independence

ETF Net Worth

This is the first of what I expect to be many posts from a reader who reached out to me eager to share his path to Financial Independence in real time. I’m excited to introduce you to our new online friend who will be known as Ether to FI (E.T.F., for short). E.T.F. and I have a lot in common — we are both anesthesiologists, husbands, and fathers with an interest in personal finance. The big difference? E.T.F. is just launching his career while I am starting to wind mine down. E.T.F. has a keen interest in attaining financial independence and he […]

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10 Reasons to Go For Early Financial Independence

rapelling in sand

Today’s Saturday Selection is a classic post from The White Coat Investor. In this post from about 9 months ago, the good doctor is speaking my language, although I was only good enough to come up with the Top 5 reasons to Achieve Financial Independence. As per usual, this post originally appeared at the WCI network partner site The White Coat Investor. Here are the good Dr. Dahle’s 10 Reasons to Go For Early Financial Independence.   I’ve written before about some of the reasons you should NOT retire early. The early retirement crowd savaged it a bit on Reddit, which I thought […]

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Make Your Declaration of Financial Independence

kids american flags

In 1776, our nation’s founders made a bold choice. They made a statement with the Declaration of Independence, and the rest, as they say, is history. Why did John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and company declare the original Brexit? They had grown weary of increasing taxes. They wanted to create their own rules. They didn’t feel their master had their best interests in mind. They were prepared for freedom.   I’m paraphrasing, but these gentlemen felt that Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness were unalienable rights, and they were prepared to fight for them. What are you Prepared to fight […]

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Dr. E’s Path to Financial Independence: A High-Income Case Study

I’ve shared my personal path to FI and we’ve explored a host of scenarios for our hypothetical 4 physicians. Today, I’d like to take a deep dive into the finances of another real physician who we’ll call Dr. E. The name has been changed (it’s not short for Dr. Evil), and the details rounded off, but we’re talking about one of your fellow readers and his actual finances. The good Dr. E is a hard-working physician, a few years into his post-fellowship career. He earns a handsome salary, but boy, oh boy, does he work hard for the money. In […]

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Financial Independence versus Financial Freedom

Financial Independence is a wonderful thing. I frequently sing its praises, and I am proud to have achieved the milestone for myself and my family. Having attained FI completes half of the FIRE acronym, and I’ve got plans for the RE part soon enough. I haven’t pulled that trigger yet, though, have I? Why not? After all, by definition, I’ve got Enough. I could have given notice a year ago and maintained our lifestyle indefinitely. But the truth is I’ve been straddling the fence, and each time my toes graze the grass on the other side, I retreat. I’m still working, […]

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