10 Reforms That Would Improve Our Retirement System

baja highway

Do you get an employer match in your 401(k)? How about profit sharing? Do you have decent investment options? Or are you stuck going with the least crappy investment in a crummy 401(k)? Is a 457(b) available to you? Is it governmental or non-governmental and do you know the difference? And why do two very different accounts use the same number / letter combo? Do you understand the fees in your retirement accounts, which may be more or less hidden […]

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Buffer Assets, Bucket Plans, and Sequence of Return Risk

David Graham, MD is back. The FI Physician recently addressed the effect of asset location on making your money last. He has clearly done a lot of thinking and modeling on how to avoid running out of money in retirement. The easiest way is to have an extremely low withdrawal rate, but that could mean working additional years and shortening your retirement or making frugal choices you don’t want to (or necessarily need to) make. Today, Dr. Graham looks at […]

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Six and a Half Ways to Bridge the Early Retirement Gap to Age 59 and a Half

Fire Pit

If you’ve been piling money into your retirement accounts, maxing out every tax-advantaged option available, and spending what’s left over, you’re likely to end up in good financial shape. There’s a problem, though. A lot of that money is not easily accessible, especially for the would-be early retiree. How do you bridge that gap if you plan to stop working in your fourth, fifth, or sixth decade of life? Dr. James Turner has some answers. Six and a half of […]

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Six Reasons Nothing Matters More Than Your Retirement Date After Age 50

Blue Chairs

If you’re a follower of both Physician on FIRE and The White Coat Investor, you already know that WCI is not as big a fan of early retirement. In fact, his post entitled 14 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Retire Early was instrumental in my decision to actually start a blog. I could easily refute most of those reasons (and he readily admits he has a counterpoint for each one, as well). Today’s Saturday Selection from the good Dr. Jim Dahle […]

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The Epochs of Early Retirement

Jaco Beach

When discussing the funding of early retirement, I’m guilty of being fairly vague. Save at least 25 years’ worth of anticipated expenses and you should be good to go. That’s what the 4% Rule says, right? The vagueness is intentional. Everyone’s situation is different, and you have to customize the way in which you’ll access your money, based on how much you have, in which accounts it’s located, and what income streams you might currently have or expect to benefit […]

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Asset Location and Making Your Money Last in Early Retirement


Optimize. Optimize. Optimize. My pal Dr. James Turner at The Physician Philosopher likes to write about the 20% you need to know to achieve 80% of the results in personal finance. He even wrote a book detailing that 20%; I recently read it on vacation and I highly recommend it. Here at Physician on FIRE, we spend a fair amount of time exploring the other 80% you might want to understand to eke out the most optimal results. Today, we’ve […]

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Healthcare Costs in Retirement – Don’t Make this Big Mistake

safety first!

Today, we’re going to talk about the healthcare costs all will face in retirement, at least under the system we currently have for traditional-age retirees, which is Medicare. If you were hoping to read about healthcare costs in early retirement, I had a guest post on that last year, and I plan to share more as I learn what’s going to work best for my family and me. I should have an answer later this summer, but I’ve got a […]

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8 Steps to Retire Comfortably Despite a Late Start


It’s great if you learn about investing and retirement planning early in your career. If you start reading sites like this one as a medical student, trainee, or early in your physician career, you’re likely to start making smart choices right off the bat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t often work that way, and most people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the retirement piece until mid-career or later. Often, there’s a sentinel event like the implementation of an Electronic […]

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How to Design Your Personal Retirement Glide Path

A “glide path” describes how your asset allocation is expected to change over time. The traditional sentiment is that the percentage allocated to stocks should decrease as you approach and enter retirement. That’s the approach taken by Target Date Funds and traditional financial planning. Does that make sense for you? William Bernstein, MD is often quoted and paraphrased, having stated that you ought to stop playing once you’ve won the game. In other words, once your financially independent and beyond, […]

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My Life Costs $220 a Day. A Realistic Budget for a Post-FI Family of Four.

Family of Four

Two hundred and twenty dollars a day. That seems like a lot of money! It’s pretty rare that I actually go out and spend $220. We couldn’t possibly be doing so day in and day out. Or could we? While I may not be handing over eleven $20 bills to someone every day, or charging $220 on our credit cards on a daily basis, expense tracking has shown us that, as a family of four, our burn rate is in […]

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FOMO, Cancer, and the Practice of Medicine


Today, I’m honored to publish a guest post from an anesthesiologist who has an amazing story to share. She reached out to me in the fall of 2018 to say a few kind words as a reader. We had some things in common. She had lived frugally relative to many of her colleagues. She was now working in a part-time capacity. Her path to this point, however, is very different from mine. I simply realized I no longer needed to […]

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Know Your Enemy: Investing for Retirement

In today’s Saturday Selection, I’ve got a classic selection from The White Coat Investor. It should come as no surprise to you that succesful investing requires you to vanquish several enemies. If you don’t know who they are, you’re unlikely to win, and you may have a tough time realizing the retirement you’ve envisioned and deserve. While Dr. Jim Dahle alludes to a fourth enemy in a way, he deosn’t exactly call him or her out. Instead, he calls out […]

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Physician Retires Early and is Met With Scorn

Retirement Scorn

I read or write about early retirement on a more or less continual basis. Most of the news is positive, although it’s not uncommon for people, particularly physicians, to fail their first go at retirement. I came across a story that had a surprisingly negative component to it, and I hoped I could share that story with you here. The DocNextDoor was kind enough to oblige, writing the story that follows. After reading the thread he started on the WCI […]

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Top 5 Reasons Not to Ignore Social Security

Today, we bring you a Saturday Selection from The White Coat Investor, touching on a topic that I haven’t ignored — Social Security. While I don’t necessarily factor in my future Social Security benefits when determining how much money I need to retire early, I do plan on having it someday. As you will read, there are lots of reasons to expect it will be there, even if it’s not in the same form or with the same rules that […]

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Mainstream Media Misses the Mark on the FIRE Movement

Queens Bath Kauai danger

In 2018, my third year as a FIRE blogger and four years after I first discovered the concept via a Marketwatch article, the topics on financial independence and early retirement have become increasingly more visible in the mainstream media. This is wonderful! Realizing that I could afford to live the rest of my life in a different manner was life-changing, and I want more people to benefit from that message. I started a site of my own to help other […]

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The Concept of “Being Done” Saving for Retirement

Retire in Roatan

I’ve been thinking about writing an article on the beauty of being done saving for retirement. I wonder if I came up with it on my own coincidentally or if I came across this post years ago and it left an impression on my subconscious mind. Either way, I’m happy to share Dr. Jim Dahle’s take on what it means to be done saving for retirement and what it takes to get there. As is his style, he uses easy-to-understand […]

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Retired Not Retired

Retired not Retired

As my quote-unquote “retirement” approaches — I plan to leave my job as an anesthesiologist in August of 2019 — I’ve been thinking more about what my life will look like after that. I don’t think “retired” will be a great word to describe my existence as a husband, father, blogger, and traveler. I’ll be retired not retired. What do I mean by that? It’s kind of like when someone makes a phony public apology, a tactic known as saying […]

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Living the Good Life on a Small Budget in Mexico

I’ve written about stateside geographic arbitrage, the ability to earn more money while living in a lower cost of living area. It works quite well, particularly for physicians, who tend to command higher salaries in places where non-medical jobs don’t pay particularly well. Today’s guest author is taking advantage of a more global variety of geographic arbitrage. He left the life he had built north of the border for a more peaceful life south of the border. My family and I […]

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Retired at 34. How One Physician Quit Her Job to Live Her Dream.

Lake Tjornin Dusk

Today’s guest post comes from a young physician who became disillusioned with medicine by the time she was able to practice independently. Through a combination of creativity, budgeting, investing, and adopting a minimalist mindset, she is now in a place where work is optional and she can travel extensively with her children. Although her husband chooses to continue working as a teacher, Eliza the dermatologist was clearly the main breadwinner of the family. Although she didn’t work more than a […]

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Geographic Arbitrage in Retirement: Five American Cities for Budget Retirees

Texas Mural Austin

I sing the praises of geographic arbitrage for physicians during their working years. Doctors have the somewhat unique ability to earn more money in places with a lower cost-of-living. A true win-win. You don’t have to be a physician to take advantage of lower cost of living as a retiree. If you’re no longer working or holding down a job that’s location independent, you can live somewhere that costs less, has good access to healthcare, and meets the other criteria […]

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