Spend Money On Experiences… And Some Things, Too

Acuaria Inbursa

We spend the first 40 years of our lives acquiring stuff, and the next 40 years trying to get rid of it. Well, not exactly, but I read a quote similar to that somewhere, and it rang true. At some point in my mid-to-late thirties, I realized I had more belongings than I needed, and I was wasting time storing, maintaining, and looking for things that I now had little use for. We’ve been actively downsizing as we squeeze our […]

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Mrs. Physician on FIRE Speaks! A Guest Post by Request

Mrs PoF

Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I am thankful to be married to my lovely wife. We have been together for 15 years, married for 12, and partners in parenting for 11 years now. She is more than I could ask for: an outstanding mother to our two boys, a loving and understanding wife, and an all-around fun and joyous person. She knows how to keep me and the kids in line, and she’s always game for our next adventure. And you’ve never […]

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Take the High Low Approach to Your Spending

high low fashion

Are you familiar with the High Low motion offense on the hardwood? The Golden Gophers employed it masterfully earlier this year to take advantage of Jordan Murphy’s talents, defeating Purdue twice down the stretch and Louisville in the NCAA tournament. For better or worse, this post has nothing to do with that high low approach. It was fun to watch, though, at least it was for me! The high low approach, as described by guest author Dr. Barbara Hamilton, the […]

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Your Complete Guide to House Hacking

House Hacking

House hacking as a concept is not exactly new, but the term is relatively new to me. If I knew then what I know now about the strategy, I would have been more inclined to implement a house hack as a college student, medical student, or resident. I saved money on rent by having roommates throughout my eight years at the University of Minnesota, but it never occurred to me that I could actually live for free and possibly make […]

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Spend Money On What Makes You Happy

heli skiing

Several years ago, I wrote a post called Happiness is an Early Retirement. I wrote about the things that studies have shown improve our happiness and it turns out early retirement can facilitate each and every one of them. One thing early retirement does not give us, though, is more money. The relationship between spending and happiness is not a linear one (we don’t make ourselves incrementally happier with each additional dollar spent). There is a point of diminishing returns. […]

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Top 5 Reasons Tracking Spending is Problematic

You need a budget! No. No you don’t. OK, fine. But then you need to track your spending. Every dollar! Yeah, I’m not so sure about that, either.   If you’re a born spender and have never met a credit card you didn’t like, you would benefit from both a detailed budget and the tracking of every penny going out the door. Personally, I’m more of a born saver. Or maybe I learned to save. Frankly, whether it’s nature or […]

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The 10 Percent Rule: Limiting Lifestyle Creep


We have the 1% rule for rental properties, the 4% rule for safe withdrawals in retirement, and now the 10% rule from Dr. James Turner for limiting lifestyle creep. Lifestyle creep, also known as lifestyle inflation, keeps many high-income professionals from obtaining the wealth they deserve given all the sacrifices and hard work involved in their careers. What I like about Dr. Turner’s approach is that he doesn’t say you can’t have more, he just tempers the amount of extravagance […]

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Living Rich Can Keep You Poor

When people think about what it’s like to have a lot of money, they tend to envision what it would be like to spend a lot of money. Of course, having a lot of money and spending a lot of money are not the same thing; in some ways, they’re the exact opposite. Every dollar you spend is a dollar that someone else now has and you don’t. There are people who have a lot of money and can afford […]

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Calculate Your Debt Slave Ratio

Dahle Mountaineering

Today, I’m featuring a classic post from The White Coat Investor discussing the role of debt in your financial life. Personally, I’m not a fan of using the word “slave” to describe a financial relationship between entities. I often read, but never repeat (well, except in this instance) the term “wage slave.” Having to work to pay your bills or owing money to someone is very different than the slavery that was once commonplace in our nation or the human […]

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Avoiding the Hedonic Treadmill

Yacht Hedonic Treadmill

Most high-income professionals are getting a never-ending workout on this contraption they don’t even realize they’re on: the hedonic treadmill. Some are going at a manageable, comfortable pace and still managing to set aside plenty of money for their futures while slowly increasing their standard of living. Others are at a sprint, taking on additional debts to fund the lifestyle they’ve been dreaming of for years. Why not? The income will always be there, right? Right? And then there’s Ludicrous […]

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Ether to FI: Frugal Spouses: The FI Superpower & a Net Worth Update

Nutella Crepes

Today, Ether to FI checks in with another of his bimonthly updates. Despite some unpleasantness in the markets, his family’s net worth continues to climb, as they’re now worth more than five times what they were when we first met them when he was fresh out of residency in July of 2017, an increase of nearly $400,000 in 17 months. At this pace, his goal of $3.3 Million in ten years looks like it’s only a matter of time. One […]

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Should You Try to Spend Less or Earn More?

Apple Market London

Our Saturday Selection from Passive Income MD presents a choice: Is it better to focus more on reducing your spending or increasing your income? In some ways, I believe the answer to this question is similar to the answer to another often-asked personal finance question: Pay off Debt or Invest? In both cases, the correct answer is Yes. Too often, people create a false dichotomy and assume the options are more or less mutually exclusive. The fact is, most high-income […]

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Why Many Doctors Live Paycheck to Paycheck

Doctor Surfing

Happy Saturday! Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? This tends to be an expensive time of year, but I pray you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. A high-income professional should be able to do better, but sadly, some have locked in lifestyles that make the situation all but inevitable. How is it possible to burn through a quarter million dollar salary? Passive Income MD, living in a high cost of living area, sees it firsthand. In today’s Saturday Selection, […]

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Your First Attending Paycheck: White Coat Rumspringa!

Spread Eagle WI

I’ve got a fun post for you today. The Crispy Doc, who I imagine is crispy from either burnout, the California sun, or some combination thereof, makes an excellent analogy using a phenomenon with a fantastic name. Rumspringa! That sounds delightful — let’s order a round for the whole table and don’t forget the little umbrellas. What’s that? You don’t serve those here? Is this because Bo forgot his ID? He’s over 21; I promise you. Apparently, I have a poor […]

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We Are Often Frugal, But Rarely Cheap

Beer Lacing

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a frugal physician. Frugality has served me well, and I wouldn’t be financially independent without that quality. Yes, I refer to frugality as a quality, and as far as qualities go, it’s a quality quality to have. While not everyone thinks of frugality as a decidedly positive quality to possess, it just might be that others confuse frugality with its ugly distant cousin who is just plain cheap. You see, frugality […]

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When the Hedonic Treadmill hits Ludicrous Speed

Disney Castaway Cay

If you are a reader of personal finance blogs, you have probably been introduced to the idea of the hedonic treadmill. The concept, which I referred to in posts about having enough and financial freedom, essentially means that the benefits of lifestyle inflation tend to be short-lived as you rapidly reset your baseline to the new normal. The shine of the new and improved object or experience tarnishes and the only way to get it back is to upgrade again. […]

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Drive a Beater… Get Rich

WCI minivan

Today’s Saturday Selection from The White Coat Investor is a classic post that plays nicely off a recent guest post from Dr. Cory S. Fawcett — When the New Car Bug Bites. Although this post was originally published at WCI just over five years ago, the message still holds true. Dr. Dahle drove beaters, got rich, and guess what… he bought a new vehicle when he could easily afford to do so. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I’ll […]

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When the New Car Bug Bites

Acura NSX Black

[PoF: Today’s guest post comes to us courtesy of Dr. Cory S. Fawcett, a general surgeon who quite recently retired early from clinical medicine in his mid-fifties. Notice I didn’t simply say he retired. The good Dr. Fawcett remains busy, having published The Doctors Guide to Eliminating Debt, The Doctors Guide to Starting Your Practice Right, with a third book in the series due out soon. He also writes at his own site, provides one-on-one financial counseling, and is a […]

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Minimalism versus Frugality: Can They Coexist?

Minimal San Francisco

For centuries, most people were both minimalist and frugal. Not necessarily by choice, but out of necessity. Go back a century or more and you’ll find smaller homes, goods that were more expensive to produce and transport, and a whole lot of people that couldn’t afford to be anything but frugal and minimalist. Today, many American families have the luxury of choosing to be frugal, minimalist, or neither. Minimalists are a small but growing subset of the population, and many […]

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That Time I Was Broke and Spent $1,000 on Beer

Recently, a post celebrating a homeless woman buying a $7 candy bar was featured on Rockstar Finance. I shook my head, read the post, shook my head again, and left a comment to the effect that such wasteful spending was nothing to celebrate. My comment was deleted. While I don’t agree with the censorship (perhaps it was unintentional / spam box) — dissenting opinions lead to compelling conversation. I will admit that my snap judgment was rather harsh. At first, […]

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