Christopher Guest Post: ESI Money
Welcome to the latest Christopher Guest post. Today’s post is a page turner from a veteran blogger and recent early retiree. His latest opus is the site ESI Money. That’s Earn Save Invest. Easy enough.
The former corporate president is a man physicians can identify with. He didn’t retire at 28 on a shoestring budget, but rather at 52 with a healthy 7-figure portfolio.
Read on to learn more about the man, and if you’re willing to share your e-mail address, he’ll gladly share with you his free e-book: Three Steps to Financial Independence. Can you guess what they are?
What’s a Christopher Guest post?
Inspired by Nigel Tufnel, the character portrayed by Christopher Guest in Spinal Tap, I took Mr. 1500’s ten questions, and amped them up to eleven. If you’re not familiar with the scene, take 50 seconds to watch this video and enjoy the dialog between Nigel and Rob Reiner.
I decided I’d start a Q&A of my own. Not satisfied with just ten questions, this one goes to eleven. Just like Nigel’s amplifiers.
Presenting: ESI Money
What do you do (or did you do) for a living? What do you like best about your job? If you were a physician, what type of a physician do you think you would be? Why?
My 28-year career was spent as a business executive, initially in marketing and then in general management later in my career.
After college I got an MBA, then worked for a combination of Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller businesses. Eventually I became the president of a $100 million company with 800 employees.
If I was to become a doctor there are many specialties I’d be interested in: anesthesiology, dermatology, and cardiology are a few I would consider. But alas — while I love the body and health I hate science.
[PoF: Hate science? You’d be a great orthopedic surgeon. I kid! I kid. Those guys (and gals) love science and brute force.
Very few of us docs will ever know what it’s like to be in charge of that many people. I’m not even in charge at home and there’s only four of us.]
Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.
My blog is about reaching financial independence in three steps. They are: Earn, Save, and Invest. Hence “ESI.”
I think a physician seeking FIRE would like ESI Money for several reasons:
It’s written by someone who has actually achieved FIRE. I use my real-life experiences, not some set of theories, to explain how to get to FI.
Most physicians have a high-income and just need to manage their savings and investing to be successful — which was exactly my life and career.
The blog focuses on the 20% of tips that get you 80% of the results (or more)! I don’t waste time writing on things that don’t work or are meaningless.
My advice and writing style is plain and the content is mostly based on common sense (which isn’t very common these days). There’s nothing too complicated about becoming wealthy and I don’t make it that way.
[PoF: That’s great! When I started this blog, I wasn’t aware of other FIRE / personal finance blogs that focused on high-income individuals. You’d think it would be so much easier to become wealthy with a healthy six-figure salary, but there are so many ways to be separated from your money that it’s really not the case.]
What inspired you to start a blog of your own? Was there a particular event you remember that made you feel your blog had arrived? Any big plans for your blog in the future?
I’ve achieved FI and it’s really not that hard to do. I wanted to share the key steps to becoming wealthy so others could do the same.
I don’t feel like I’ve arrived yet. Not sure if I’ll ever feel that way.
As for the future, I simply plan to keep writing, helping people, and (if things progress) supplement my retirement income so I can give more money to my favorite charities.
[PoF: You probably won’t see it this way, but I’ll give you credit for arriving on this very day. Of course, that’s giving myself way too much credit.
I love the focus on charity. I have a pledge to donate half of my profits from this site to charity. I’ve been asked what I’ll do if this site someday makes WCI type money. My answer: “I’ll donate a lot of money.”]
Give me eleven posts you think Physician on FIRE readers might want to read.
Only eleven? 🙂
Here are my favorites:
- Millionaire Interviews — Interviews with wealthy people about how they became wealthy. [PoF: I did one of those! Here’s mine.]
- Not Experts series — There are a lot of people out there who hold themselves out to be financial experts when they really know very little about managing money.
- Working the ESI Scale to Financial Independence — Gets to the heart of the various ways people can reach FI.
- The Only Five Money Books You’ll Ever Need — If you’re new to personal finance, these are the only books you ever need to read. Forget the rest.
- The Gap is the Key to Wealth — Simple but powerful money truth.
- The Value of Growing Your Career is Worth Millions More than I Thought — Yes, MILLIONS more.
- How Small Spending Can Add Up — Small spending is often a hidden, financial killer.
- The First Million is the Hardest — Sometimes “old sayings” are true.
- Real Life Example of Saving a Bundle on a New Car Purchase — How to save hundreds if not thousands when buying a new car.
- Managing College Costs by Offering an Incentive — A smart way to incentivize your kids to spend wisely on college.
- About ESI — All the posts about my personal, financial life. People like reading real stories about real people.
[PoF: That’s a list tailor made for the high-income professional. Well done, friend. I love the idea of the incentive for your kids. I plan to have plenty of money available to my boys, but also to ensure they have some “skin in the game.”]
At what age are you most likely to retire (or at what age did you retire) from full-time work? What are you doing to help realize your retirement target?
I’m still trying to find a rhythm to daily live, though I’m not trying too hard. 🙂
I spend my time exercising, taking walks with my wife, blogging, and spending time with my kids. My daughter heads off to college in the fall 1,000 miles away so I really want to get in as much time with her as possible. We travel frequently as a family and live in a tourist town in Colorado, so there’s always plenty going on.
[PoF: Congrats on the recent FIRE! Sounds like a great way to live. I wonder how life will change when you become true empty nesters.]
What does an ideal retirement look like for you? What will you do with your time when full-time work is in your rearview mirror?
As noted above, I’m still figuring it all out and am not sure what “ideal” looks like for me at this point.
We still have kids at home so things will be much different once they move out.
My wife and I do want to travel and we’re hoping to get my parents to move to our town.
And of course blogging will keep me busy.
[PoF: I’m sure it will evolve as your family situation develops over time.
I recently blogged about blogging and talked about the importance of white space and short paragraphs.
This exchange embodies that recommendation quite nicely.]
I’ll give you eleven sentences to dish out advice to a young physician. Any and all advice is welcome. We talk about personal finance, so money is fair game, but if you have advice on being a better doctor, a better parent / spouse / friend / human, we’re all ears.
Regarding money, simply earn, save and invest. The more you do of all three of these, the faster you’ll hit financial independence.
As for advice about life, here’s something that’s always worked for me:
Small gains over a long period of time add up to big things.
You may have also heard it described as “eating an elephant one bite at a time.”
No matter what the issue, if you make a bit of progress every day at it, you’ll see tremendous results over time.
This applies to everything — money, kids, relationships, health, etc.
I have a list of tasks each day that I check off. Many are small and even somewhat trivial. But over the course of a year they add up to some pretty big accomplishments.
Take that effort over years and decades and you can really make an impact.
[PoF: Solid advice, but I don’t think anyone should be eating elephants. Or 800 pound gorillas. Or any metaphorical animal, for that matter.]
You’ve got eleven days to visit anyplace in the world with an $11,000 budget. Where do you go and what do you do?
No doubt: the Caribbean.
We’ve been several times and especially love the Eastern Caribbean islands of St. Martin, Antigua, Barbados, and the US and British Virgin Islands.
We LOVE the water, the warmth, and the relaxing pace of life.
Since you’ve given me $11k to burn through, I’d live it up, probably rent a private boat, and have the crew sail my family from island to island for eleven days.
[PoF: You could have a marvelous time with $11,000 in the Caribbean! I’ve been on a few cruises and spent a week each in Jamaica and Puerto Rico, but have yet to experience the islands you mention as if this were a Beach Boys song.]
Name eleven beverages you enjoy. You can be as general or specific as you like.
- Sparkling water (La Croix)
- Coffee (Lattes — make my own)
- Protein shakes made with almond milk
- Izze’s — Once in awhile
- Soda — Enjoy it, but don’t drink it any longer
- Icees — Limit these to maybe one a year
- Juices — Limited, too much sugar
I drink the first four 99% of the time.
[PoF: I could drink you under the table. In skim milk. I was probably the only person in my dormitory that bought it by the gallon even though I had access to it three times a day in the cafeteria.]
Now, eleven foods.
These are eleven foods I enjoy — not ones I eat often. Otherwise I would be HUGE!
- Pork Ribs
- Ice Cream
- Cake (yellow cake with chocolate icing)
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Mexican food
- Chinese food
- Pancakes with real maple syrup
[PoF: I’m with you on the maple syrup – I make my own, but my parents have perfected the art (my Dad built a sugar shack, for crying out loud), so I usually just enjoy theirs.]
How did you first learn about PhysicianonFIRE.com? What one piece of advice do you have for me?
I read about 200 personal finance blogs to keep track of what people are writing about. I ran into yours along the way and it’s become a favorite. Certainly within the top 190. 🙂
My advice is to be sure you have something to retire to (something to do). If you do, retirement is better than you think it is. If you don’t, I’ve heard that it’s pretty empty.
[PoF: Thank you for the thoughtful advice, ESI Money. I hope to crack your Top 180 some day.
And thank you for humoring me and answering all of my questions. It was great to get to know you better, and I look forward to hearing more from you over the years as you delve further into your post-FIRE life.]
Readers, do you have additional questions for the former executive? Let us know in the space below!
Did you enjoy this interview? Stick around for Christopher Guest posts from:
- Smart Money MD
- The Retirement Manifesto
- J.L. Collins
- Johnny K. Johnson
- Early Retirement Now!
- Son of a Doctor
- The Happy Philosopher
- Future Proof MD
- Dr. Wise Money
- The White Coat Investor
- Mr. 1500 of 1500 Days
- The Green Swan
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