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This website, now in its 5th year, exists to help physicians and others improve their financial picture and overall wellness. My goal has been to educate, enlighten, and entertain my readers.
I have a second and equally important goal, and that is to make the world a better place by donating a large percentage of my profits from this venture. As of late 2020, I’ve donated over $390,000 dollars as a result of this charitable mission.
Some of the money is donated directly to charities. For example, we’re funding the salary of one physician at One World Surgery in Honduras, a wonderful site where my family and I have also donated our time.
Some of the donated money resides in a donor advised fund where the money can be invested and granted to charities when a need arises.
A great need is now upon us on this Giving Tuesday Now.
COVID-19 has ravaged its way through populations across the globe, pushing healthcare systems beyond their capacity and putting tens of millions of people out of work as we isolate ourselves and our families in our best attempt to stem the tide of the rapidly propagating virus. Others place themselves in harm’s way all day every day to care for the gravely ill.
Although I retired early from my career as an anesthesiologist in August of 2019, I do possess skills that can be useful in this fight, and those skills are spoken for.
When my father graduated from dental school in the midst of the Vietnam war, he enlisted in the Army rather than wait to be drafted. While he took a greater risk and made a bolder decision and a larger sacrifice by spending a year in Vietnam, I’ve taken a similar approach and have offered up my services to my most recent employer before they might be requested.
As of now, my services have not been requested, but I chose to help out in another way.
$25,000 Donated to COVID-19 Relief
In March, I announced that I would be donating 100% of the next month’s site profits to charitable organizations participating in some form of COVID-19 relief.
I kicked off the giving on St. Patrick’s Day with $1,000 grants to each of the following:
I followed up in late March with a $1,000 donation to Get Us PPE. Our healthcare workers are in desperate need of basic gloves, masks, gowns, and other protective materials.
By the end of April, with your help, my online profits totaled $24,235. Feeling charitable, I rounded that up rather than down, donating another $19,000 for a total of $25,000 in the name of COVID-19 relief.
The $5,000 Reader Award
As promised, $5,000 would go to the charity requested by one reader who left a comment on this post. That reader was WC, and $5,000 was granted to Friends of Tenwek, a U.S. based charity that supports the Tenwek Hospital in rural Africa. WC and his family have been living and serving there since 2016.
They are preparing for an anticipated influx of patients and have purchased the last large oxygen generator available in Kenya. You can read more about their COVID-19 preparation here.
The Rest of the Money
We gave an additional $5,000 to the Red Cross. They have been collecting plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19, and we’d like help further those efforts to potentially develop life-saving treatments from convalescent plasma.
When my alma mater announced that donations to their Vice President’s Emergency Support Fund would be 100% matched by TCF Bank, we sent $1,000 to the University of Minnesota. This resulted in $2,000 supporting the following efforts:
“The fund will provide for items including ventilators, external life-support equipment, and N95 masks and other personal protective equipment. Additionally, it will help advance clinical trials at the University of Minnesota that are already underway to treat COVID-19 patients.”
The remaining $8,000 went to local charities providing meals and housing to people in need. With substantial job losses, some of which may not come back, the need for such services is significant. We granted $2,000 each to the Alpena Senior Center, Sunrise Mission, St. Bernard Friendship Room, and Feed the Need Alpena.
Altogether, that’s $25,000 donated, and I could not have done it without your support. Thank you!
But Wait. There’s More! [Giving]
At the risk of sounding like a crappy infomercial, this post is being published on #GivingTuesdayNow, and I can’t think of a better time to reaffirm our commitment to One World Surgery.
In my working days, my family and I spent a week with them in Honduras in 2018, and we returned for another brigade in 2019. The days were busy, but rewarding. The patients were in dire need and eternally grateful.
In 2019, we decided to fund the annual salary of one of the four physicians I worked with at the surgical center. In honor of Giving Tuesday Now, we have sent in the funds to support another year’s salary for one of those dedicated Honduran doctors.
While we didn’t announce any particular initiative to raise these funds, your readership and support throughout the year allows us to make these meaningful gifts.
How This Site Makes Money
While the opportunity to help raise funds in April, 2020 has passed, it’s never too late to help with our charitable mission. I will continue to donate much of my profits from this website as I always have. Below you will find a number of ways you can contribute, most of which won’t cost you a dime.
A. Register to Receive Surveys for Medical Professionals
We work with a number of market research companies that regularly survey physicians and other healthcare professionals and compensate them for their time and expertise.
The number of opportunities you’ll receive will vary by profession, specialty, and company. The referral fee we receive may be small or zero depending on those same factors, so I ask that you consider registering for at least two.
I’ll add that Curizon will add a $250 cash credit to one lucky new referral from Physician on FIRE this month.
B. Track Your Spending and Investments with Personal Capital
I’ve been using Personal Capital’s free app and online software for longer than I’ve been a blogger, so more than five years. You can track every dollar you spend by category, and it’s quite powerful for investment data, fees breakdown, retirement projections, and more.
They will contact you and they’d like to sell you on their advisory services, which I politely declined years ago, and they no longer reach out to me.
If you sign up and track six figures of investments via their software, this site will receive a commission. If you can do that, please check out Personal Capital.
C. Register to Explore Alternative Investment Platforms (Crowdfunding)
I have personally invested anywhere from $500 to $50,000 with most of the following companies, but I’m not asking you to invest a dime. Only to create a login to explore what they have to offer.
Some only reward a referral fee for investments; others pay out for a simple registration. Please consider registering for more than one to ensure your action(s) benefit our cause.
If you can be considered an accredited investor (income of $200,000 as an individual, $300,000 as a couple, or have a net worth of $1,000,000 exclusive of your primary home), the following platforms are available for you:
- AcreTrader (farmland)
- Alpha Investing (commercial real estate)
- Crowdstreet (commercial real estate)
- EquityMultiple (commercial real estate)
- FarmTogether farmland)
- PeerStreet (residential real estate loans)
- Roofstock (turnkey real estate)
If you do not qualify as an accredited investor (i.e. EVERYONE), the following companies have real estate investment opportunities available to you. I have invested with each of them (and own shares of Compound).
- Compound (residential condominiums)
- Diversyfund (commercial real estate / eREITs)
- Fundrise (commercial real estate / eREITs)
- RealtyMogul (commercial real estate / eREITs)
- VinoVest (wine)
D. Consider a New Credit Card
Please, please do not consider a new card if you are not certain you will be able to pay your balance in full each and every month. The rewards can be substantial, but they will be more than negated if you carry a balance from month to month.
The Chase Sapphire cards are two of the most commonly recommended cards and for good reason. They offer generous welcome bonuses, great perks with flexible points, and in the case of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, a very reasonable annual fee under $100.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent first (or only) rewards card. $50 annual hotel credit for bookings via the Chase UR tavel portal & 5x points for all travel via the portal. 3x points on dining, 2x on other travel. Flexible rewards good for cash, travel, or transfer to travel partners, great travel protection & new Peloton, Lyft & DoorDash perks! $95 Annual Fee
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers great travel perks including Priority Pass lounge access, a credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ and a $300 annual travel credit. When using Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, get 10x points on hotels and car rental & 5x points on air travel. 3x points on other travel & dining. Elevated Peloton, Lyft and DoorDash benefits. $550 Annual Fee
E. Enroll in a Course to Improve Your Financial Situation
When I refer readers to an education personal finance course, a portion of your tuition payment comes back to this site.
On March 31, 2020, The White Coat Investor released Continuing Financial Education 2020, a course with dozens of presentations from thought leaders in the investing world. Numerous physicians gave talks, including me.
The course gives you 10 credits of CME, potentially making it eligible for reimbursement from a CME fund or as a write-off as a business deduction.
The White Coat Investor’s Fire Your Financial Advisor Course is a comprehensive walk-through that will have you creating your own thorough financial plan. Investing, insurance, asset protection, and estate planning are all covered.
Two couples that took the course have shared their detailed plans with my audience.
Learn more about Fire Your Financial Advisor here.
F. Refinance Student Loans (IF it Makes Sense for You)
Last month was perhaps the best time in history to refinance student loans. Now is still a good time, but we have seen interest rates start to climb as uncertainty sets in.
If you are pursuing loan forgiveness via the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program you should definitely not refinance, as it will make you ineligible for future forgiveness.
If you have federal student loans that might qualify for a reprieve from interest payments (a plan has been mentioned but not finalized), you may want to consider waiting to learn the details and whether or not the plan might benefit you. There are also discussions on one side of the aisle of canceling some student loan debt. If you think that has a chance of happening, you would also want to hold off right now.
If you already have refinanced student loans or have private loans, you should definitely see if you can lower your rate and / or your monthly payment. The latest rates and cashback bonuses are listed below, and this table is updated every time a partner sends us new information. Several companies have raised their rates significantly in the last few weeks, but the interest rates remain incredibly low from a historical perspective.
G. Get Started With Your Legacy Binder
If you have time on your hands, this pandemic has shown us how important it is to fill out the ever-popular In Case of Emergency Legacy Binder.
How You Can Help spread the word?
The more people who know about this site, the bigger a difference we can make.
A. Share this post to social media or email with a quick click!
Another way to share is copying and pasting the URL:
into a post on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever. Consider sharing in a Facebook group if such a post would be allowed. Thanks!
B. Subscribe to this website.
You’ll receive notices when I publish a new post, and you’re guaranteed to learn something. You’ll be given an option to receive an email from me once a week, instead, which you can request her.
C. Tell Your Friends
Before we had social media, texting, and a few dozen other ways to communicate without making a sound, word-of-mouth was a primary method of communication. It’s true!
And it still works. Tell your friends about this site. They might learn a thing or two. I’ve published hundreds of posts, and they’re all free to read.
Thank you so much for your generous participation in making our charitable mission possible. The $25,000 we generated for charity will impact the lives of tens of thousands of people worldwide.
Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.