The True Cost of Healthcare in Early Retirement: A Guide to Open Enrollment

Healthcare Spending

Today’s timely and insightful guest post started as a post in our fatFIRE Facebook group. A generous soul named Mike Magruder, an early retiree in his late forties, shared his actual healthcare expenses from the prior year, along with an outlook for 2020, giving us his true cost of healthcare in early retirement. Open enrollment via is underway, and you’ve got about a month to enroll in a plan before the window closes mid-December. For the first time since […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Retire With Less Than 25 Years of Expenses

Guanajuato Mexico

Not long ago, I shared the top 5 reasons one might want to accumulate more than 25x of anticipated annual expenses before retiring. The reasons are legitimate, but if you’re more willing and able to be flexible or take chances and want to retire sooner, there are a number of reasons that a 25x target may be overkill for you. Where does 25x come from? It’s the inverse of 4%, which was determined to be a safe starting withdrawal rate […]

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Retire Early With Real Estate


Today, I’m sharing my review of “Coach” Chad Carson’s first book on how to retire early with real estate as the primary investment vehicle. It is primarily a how-to book, but also serves as a bit of a memoir, as it echoes what he has done in his life. He started in real estate as a 22-year old who put off his med school dreams after injuries made an NFL career unlikely to pursue entrepreneurship instead. Initially, he was a […]

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How Did I Get Here? What I’ve Learned After 4 Years of Early Retirement

4 years of FIRE

I first connected with the Man Overboard Man Overseas online back in May when I was visiting Costa Rica with my family in May of 2019. It turns out that he and his wife had spent quite a bit of time in the picturesque nation, the site of their 2018 honeymoon, and he and I exchanged a few emails about our travel experiences. I learned that the couple had actually spent a lot of time in a lot of places, […]

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Retired from Medicine at 43: Why, How, and What Now?

Heir Apparent

On Monday, August 12th, I woke up in a call room, gathered up my belongings, and stepped through the back door of the hospital out into the world for what may very well be the last time. I wasn’t fired. I simply FIREd. As in, I realized several years ago that I was Financially Independent, and I’ve now chosen to Retire Early from medicine. At age 43, I should be in the prime of my career. It’s a position 25 […]

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Early Retirement Checklist Part Two: Insurance, Family, and Social Considerations Prior to FIRE

Friday Fireworks Waikiki

We recently reviewed the many monetary considerations one must entertain before choosing to retire early. For one, you must have enough of it, but there’s a lot more to it than that. For the details, please revisit Early Retirement Checklist Part One: Money Considerations Prior to FIRE. Retirement is much more than solving a math problem, and today we shift our focus to some of the other items that should be on the forefront of your mind if you’re considering […]

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Early Retirement Checklist Part One: Money Considerations Prior to FIRE

Bracken House

Two short weeks from the date this post is published, I will be enjoying the first of many, many days as an early retiree, at least from medicine. I’ve got big plans to sleep in that morning, but after that, I’ll be busy moving into our new house. More on that in an upcoming post. In between packing boxes, I’ve been checking a lot of boxes on a pre-retirement checklist. Some items were taken care of months and years ago; […]

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Which Assets Should You Spend First in Retirement?

Self Improvement Books

Which assets should you spend first in retirement?  When I was just a few years into my medical career, I didn’t once consider how or when I might access the money I was saving. I was just saving for a later date and figured I’d sort out the details later. Dr. Jim Dahle, on the other hand, read a book on the subject and created an excellent critique full of caveats and what-ifs. As I’ve inched closer and closer to […]

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The Financial Burden of a Rare Cancer

Paris Catacomb Skulls

“Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – modern day philosopher Mike Tyson. A cancer diagnosis is one of the most devastating mouth-punches there is. It can drastically alter or rapidly end your life or the life of loved ones. The effects on the body and mind can be overwhelming, and sadly, the financial impact can be equally dire. I’ve contributed to the Gofundme campaigns of several friends and family members over the years; I’ve seen […]

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Social Security & Early Retirement 2019: Know Your Bend Points!

Today’s post is anupdate to a previously published post. The figures have been updated for 2019, and the Social Security projection spreadsheet has been improved and updated with all new indexing factors. Note that the results are your projected benefit in today’s dollars. It will rise with inflation each year, preserving your spending power. If the calculator suggests you’ll have a monthly benefit of $2,000 and your 2 to 3 decades away from collecting, you can assume your benefit by […]

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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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