Christopher Guest Post: Gen Y Finance Guy

Today’s Christopher Guest Post starring Dominic, the Gen Y Finance Guy, is a bit of a two-for-one, or BOGO if you will. Please stick around here to learn a lot more about our half-millionaire friend and suffer my attempts at witty banter, then head on over to his site to read my Freedom Fighter Interview there.

While Dom is not a physician, he is a high income professional who got a head start compared to those of us who chose to wear the write coat. Like I once did, he has designs on accumulating a $10 Million fortune, and ihe is sharing that journey with us online via his website, Gen Y Finance Guy.

Generation Y guys are also known as millennials, but I don’t blame Dom for avoiding the term with all the negativity surrounding it. You know, the millennials are killing everything, wasting all thier money on avocado toast, and revel in their participation trophies. For what it’s worth, this Gen Y guy grew up in poverty, with drug addicts and dealers for parents. He has come a long way and I think you’ll enjoy his story.

 

 

What’s a Christopher Guest post?

 

Gen Y Finance GuyInspired 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.

 

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?

In the digital world, I like to think of myself as the Chief Freedom Officer in my little corner of the internet. In the real world, I’m a 30-year-old c-suite executive with a title and role that I designed. I’m the Chief Business Intelligence Office or CBIO for short. That’s right, I’m the one and only CBIO (in the entire universe as far as I know).

I got my start in corporate finance, wearing the traditional FP&A hat (financial planning and analysis), but I was fortunate to participate in some mergers and acquisitions. After a few years, I transitioned into trading, where I helped run all the hedging activities for a private $3B oil company, and traded west coast products (gasoline and diesel fuel) and options for profit.

I left the oil industry and joined a public $2B company in action sports. After doing a small stint in FP&A again, I weaseled my way onto the eCommerce team, where I helped launch a global analytics team to support the fast growing $100M business. I am fascinated with the online world because of how measurable everything is.

Presently I’m 8 years into my career working for a consulting company in the construction management space. So, what do I do for a living?

I get paid an obscene amount of money to play with data all day. I spend a lot of my time frolicking around a spreadsheet. I’m a lot more technical than your typical finance guy, but not so technical that I can’t interface with operations. My tentacles go far and deep throughout the entire organization and my job is to measure the things we want to manage in order to make fact-based decisions that will help increase both top and bottom line results.

My tentacles go far and deep throughout the entire organization and my job is to measure the things we want to manage in order to make fact-based decisions that will help increase both top and bottom line results.

If I were to do anything in the medical field, it would be to become an internal medicine specialist, like the character in show House, even though it’s probably a big stretch from the reality of a person in this role. It seems like you would get a lot of interesting cases to try to diagnose, and I would think that those guys/gals get paid some big bucks.

[PoF: Your job (or should I say jobs) sounds far more interesting than mine! A $2 Billion action sports company? Deep tentacles?

I think most internists wish their job resembled that of Dr. House, but the truth is they spend way more time managing well-known chronic diseases like hypertension, heart failure, emphysema, and diabetes. And while they make a decent living, they’re among the lower paid physicians.]

 

Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.

My Mission: To Humanize Finance, Build Wealth, and Reach Financial Freedom!

My blog isn’t so much about FIRE as it is reaching financial freedom at an accelerated clip. I truly believe that anyone can reach financial freedom if they’re willing to do things differently.


If you earn an average salary and have an average savings rate, then you can expect an average result! That means you will likely work a job you may or may not enjoy until you’re 65 and then maybe you can retire IF you’re lucky.

Hey, there is nothing wrong with average. If you’re happy with average, then, by all means, keep doing what everyone else is doing. Not sure how you feel about that, but I have no interest in living an average life, I want EXTRAORDINARY.

I am trying to humanize finance by sharing my own journey to FINANCIAL FREEDOM. I believe in total HONESTY and TRANSPARENCY. That is why before I ever started blogging, I decided that I would share all of my own financial stats. I do this not to brag, but instead to INSPIRE, MOTIVATE, and hold myself accountable.

[PoF: I’m with you. We can’t all be above average — this isn’t Lake Wobegon, but all of our readers can have the opportunity to live a life less ordinary if they make cetain choices.

I agree that real numbers are useful. I’ve shared our net worth online, but not on my own site. Eventually, I expect coworkers, friends, family, and neighbors may be reading this site, and I don’t know how I feel about having our numbers front and center. I do share our annual spending and talk about how many multiples of that we have, so it’s not tough to figure out if you are comfortable with basic arithmetic.]

 

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 never been good about keeping a journal, like the physical kind, but was really fond of the idea of memorializing my thoughts. I also believed that I had something unique and interesting to add to the personal finance conversation. When I started the majority of the blogs I came across were all part of this mass frugality movement, although interesting to read about, it wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to live my life.

Yeah, it’s interesting to read how some guy retired at 33, has a family of 4, and lives off of like $30,000 a year. However, that lifestyle has absolutely no appeal to me.

I practice what I have coined relative frugality. In this alternative approach to frugality, the focus is on the income side of the equation. You still need to be prudent about your spending (i.e. don’t spend money that doesn’t’ bring you joy). But by focusing on increasing your income you can significantly decrease the percentage that spending makes up of your total income, while at the same time increasing your savings rate.

I also noticed that a lot of other bloggers out there were working towards achieving a $1M net worth. Since I like the finer things in life, my big hairy audacious goal is to build a net worth of $10M by the time I am 48 (you can keep track here). And to be honest, I probably won’t stop there, because that’s not how I’m wired.

As far as the moment of my blog arriving, I still think I’m waiting for that moment, but a guest feature here on this blog will get me that much closer to “my moment”.

[PoF: My family’s spending ($62,000 last year) is relatively low among my physician colleagues, but it’s double to triple that of some popular FIRE bloggers. I know I would have a hard time justifying and explaining how we manage to spend that much to Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache. I know because I actually tried and started stuttering when I got to the part of all the driving we do to and from our second home.

I no longer plan to keep practicing medicience until I reach my $10 Million Dream, but when I run the numbers, it’s still possible with or without paid work if the markets treat me kindly.

Oh, and as far as I’m concerned, Dom, you’ve arrived. Welcome!]

 

Give me eleven posts you think Physician on FIRE readers might want to read.

I really do love the obsession with the number 11, as it happens to be my favorite number as well, so here goes:

  1. From Welfare to Well-Off: My Rags to Riches Story (in the Making) – As you are about to discover, it doesn’t matter where you start in life, what matters is how you play the hand you were dealt.
  2. What The GFYG Blog is All About – Simply, this is a blog is about BUILDING WEALTH REACHING FINANCIAL FREEDOM!It’s not your run of the mill “Get Rich Slow” type content, but instead, it’s aim is RAPID WEALTH BUILDING.
  3. The Freedom Fighter – Are you interested in Time Freedom, Location Freedom, and/or Financial Freedom? You’re in the right place. Read the post and see if it resonates with you.
  4. The Email That Lead To A $60,000 Increase In Compensation – This email I sent to the CEO shows that when you do the work, you earn the right to make the ASK. It’s uncomfortable, but FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD. 
  5. Everyone Has a Number, Mine is $10M, What’s Yours? – Do you know what your Freedom number is? A million isn’t nearly as much as it used to be, plus everyone is shooting for that. Remove that glass ceiling and shoot for something that will allow you to live life by design. In this post, I detail my own “rough” blueprint of how I plan to get to $10M. It is still a work in progress and will be evolving over time.
  6. Savings Rate – The Most Important Variable to Wealth Building [and the math to prove it] – When it comes to wealth building there are many variables to consider, but it’s the savings rate that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
  7. Looking at Savings Rate through the Financial Independence Lens – Your savings rate will determine how long it takes you to reach financial independence. Do you realize that if your savings rate is 5%, that you have to work 20 years before you have enough saved to take 1 year off of work?
  8. Earning Your First $1 Million – Earning your first million is the hardest and takes the most time. But your next million and each subsequent million will be easier and quicker to achieve. This is especially true if you focus a majority of your effort on the income side of the equation instead of the expense side. Mrs. GYFG and I have had a laser focus on building our incomes and that is why in 2017 we are on track to earn $440,000 and plan to be earning in excess of $600,000 by 2019.
  9. Net Worth Conversion Ratio – A Measure of Wealth Building Efficiency – There is a saying that it’s not how much you make but how much you keep that really matters in wealth building. That’s why I developed the net worth conversion ratio.
  10. The Reality of The Overnight Success – From the outside success can appear to be something that happens overnight, but the reality is that in most cases every overnight success is 10-20 years in the making. Check out my own overnight success story, where I spent 7 years working 70-90 hours a week to accelerate my climb up the corporate ladder to the C-Suite.
  11. Using Life Savings to Save a Life – A Financial Decision Made From The Heart – Most days I truly believe that “the path is all math,” but then there are situations that come up that remind me that not every financial decision can be mathematically optimized by intellect of the brain, sometimes it’s okay to make decisions instinctively guided by the heart.

Do you see what I just did there? You asked for eleven posts, so I gave you a list of 11 items, but managed to over-deliver with a baker’s dozen.

[PoF: Clever. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

You’ve done an excellent job identifying posts that we physicians can understand, like putting in 70 to 90 hours a week to make something of ourselves. Been there, done that!]

 

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 think I will retire when I am dead!

I actually hate the phrase. The word retirement causes me to cringe and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This is likely because I watched my grandparents, who were retired, waste their golden years on a recliner in front of the TV. That has absolutely no appeal to me.

I realize that retirement means different things to different people, but I personally just don’t like the word. The only plan for retirement I have is to retire when I am “kicking daisies” as my grandfather used to say.

Retirement: the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work. – Google Instant Search Result

I get the whole “leaving one’s job,” but what I don’t get is the “ceasing to work” part. People tend to overestimate the fulfillment you get from living your life in the pro leisure circuit.

I get leaving the JOB, but once you stop working, your stop contributing. And I believe that contribution is a large piece of the fulfillment puzzle. Too often, work is mistakenly synonymous with the JOB. Yes, your job does require work, but work does not only apply to the effort you exert on the job.

Work: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.  – Google Instant Search Result

Okay, so maybe I’m taking the definition of retirement too literal. How about this, I plan to reach financial independence by 37, when based on the plan we should have accumulated $2.5M in net worth and financial freedom by the time I turn 48 and have accumulated $10M in net worth.

[PoF: You make an excellent point. As WCI says, retirement is squishy. When I leave the JOB, I plan to preemptively fend off the internet retirement police by stating I am retiring from clinical medicine. I’ll contribute to this site, my kids’ education, and assuredly other ventures that I don’t know about yet.

Like you, I view financial freedom as being above and beyond financial independence. We’re somewhere in between based on your numbers, but are awfully close to the financial freedom I described as the ability to double current discretionary spending.]

 

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?

When I “retire” (there’s that word again), I will make it my job to live life by design.

My wife and I do have plans to live 3-months by the beach, 3-months in a foreign country, and 6-month at home base. We’re excited to blend work, travel, culture, and freedom. However, this is not going to require me leaving my job, but it probably won’t happen until the 2nd half of our 4th decade. I tend to be very routine oriented, so you can bet that a lot of my days will look the same, which is probably true for most people (whether they realize it or not).

 

driftwood beach

 

We will spend more time doing the things we already do. But instead of fitting our lives around our work, we will fit our work around our lives. Some of our favorite pastimes include reading, working out, writing, water skiing, snow skiing & boarding, food (we love food), travel, business building, and spending time with friends and family.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the things we enjoy. These are also things we already do as often as possible.

Something we don’t believe in is suppressing every indulgence in life for “someday”. Don’t wait until you reach FI to enjoy life because none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.

[PoF: Your future sounds delightful, and I wouldn’t be surprised if ours ended up looking something like that once we have an empty nest.

Your point to enjoy life along the way is well taken. It’s important to have a high savings rate if you want financial freedom, but you should also feel free to check some items off the bucket list before you reach an imaginary finish line.]

 

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.

From my vantage point, there are two ways to become wealthy: The Slow Way OR The Fast Way

Which one do you prefer? This kind of seems like a no brainer question right? Our natural unfiltered response is likely “The Fast Way.”

As my grandfather would say “we want to get there immediately, if not sooner.” There is no right or wrong answer and you may come to find out that “The Slow Way” is the right choice for you, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Before you answer, you need to know that “The Fast Way” is going to require more HUSTLE, DISCIPLINE, and FOCUS.

YOU need to ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price to ACHIEVE substantial wealth in 10-20 years instead of 40 years plus. Are you willing to live your life like most won’t for a couple of years so that you can live the rest of your life like most can’t?

Simply put, do whatever it takes to maximize your income, your after-tax savings rate (I recommend 50%+), and your knowledge. And then take all that money and knowledge and invest it wisely in the market, yourself, and the people who matter to you.

The most important thing to avoid is focusing too much on building your wealth that you forget to build a life!

[PoF: Yes, sir! I too recommend a 50% savings rate to achieve FI in a reasonable timeframe. It’s not easy or even possible for everyone, but it should be for high income professionals like you, me, and many of our readers. I’ve issued a Live On Half Challenge, which should lead to financial independence in under two decades.]

 

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?

I’d go back to Florence, Italy and eat and drink my way through the city with my wife.

[PoF: Florence sounds lovely — we’ve been to Italy’s Amalfi coast — but wouldn’t you want to go someplace you’ve never been?  The option to explore this world is a driving force behind our desire for freedom.]

 

amalfi coast

 

 

Name eleven beverages you enjoy. You can be as general or specific as you like.

  1. Smart water; because it feels so good on the tongue.
  2. Coffee; preferably brewed in a french press
  3. Vodka Gimlet; because I’m an old soul
  4. Thai Tea; because you need something to neutralize level 4 spicy
  5. Coca Cola; probably because of all the subliminal messages I saw in the movie theaters
  6. Champagne; mostly because I like using my saber to open the bottle, makes for an entertaining party trick
  7. Red wine; we do live in the Napa of southern California
  8. White wine; because in the summer it is so much more refreshing
  9. Hot Tea; when I’m sick or need to cycle off the caffeine
  10. Sweet Tea; when it’s too early to start drinking alcohol
  11. Pink lemonade; especially with a little Grey Goose (if you know what I mean)

[PoF: Sounds like you know how to have a good time, but I have to point out that southern California makes some outstanding beers. Ballast Point’s beers are so good they were able to sell for a Billion Dollars.]

 

Now, eleven foods.

  1. Sushi (with lots of soy sauce and wasabi)
  2. Panang Curry (level 4 spicy; on a scale of 1 to 5)
  3. California Burrito (drenched in Tapatio hot sauce)
  4. Carnitas tacos (house hot sauce)
  5. Rib Eye Steak (medium rare)
  6. Pizza (with red pepper flakes)
  7. Pasta (with red pepper flakes)
  8. Hot Sauce (because I can’t eat anything that isn’t spicy)
  9. Sourdough Bread (best for making sandwiches)
  10. Pad Thai (spicy hot, essentially a level 3 on a scale up to 4)
  11. Double Double from In n Out (with diced chili peppers)

[PoF: Do you drench that sourdough bread in Sriracha? Season the steak with ghost peppers?

I can’t believe ice water wasn’t on your list of beverages. i love me some spicy food, but I drink about 2 ounces of water for every spicy bite I take.]

 


You’re still not using Personal Capital? Track all your accounts in one place like I do.


 

How did you first learn about PhysicianonFIRE.com? What one piece of advice do you have for me?

You kind of made it impossible not to hear about PoF. All of a sudden you came out of nowhere, made a huge splash, and some how found the time to be omnipresent across the web, while also playing doctor (which makes me wonder if your just a PF blogger playing a doctor online???).

As far as advice to you, don’t ever let that FIRE burn out (you see what I did there?).

Thanks for having me.

p.s. brevity is not my strong suit 🙂

p.s.s. so, I have one more thing before I leave (I’m really trying to milk my 15 seconds of fame here), as if PoF hasn’t been gracious enough already by letting me puke all over the page, but this time there is something in it for YOU! PoF has allowed me to share my book giveaway with YOU. It’s in celebration of my blog’s 3rd birthday.

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN MY FAVORITE MONEY RELATED BOOKS!

Here are the books I am giving away:

 

[PoF: Thanks for taking the time to indulge my eleven sets of questions! You’ve done an outstanding job. Not just with this post, but with your site, and life in general. You realize you’re out-earning most anesthesiologists at an age when most of us were still in residency.

Happy 3rd blogiversary! And thank you for hosting me in your freedom fighter interview series. It’s been awhile since I wrote it, so I’m going to head over and read it right now, and I recommend you all do the same.]

 

 

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8 comments

  • My wife and I do have plans to live 3-months by the beach, 3-months in a foreign country, and 6-month at home base.

    I love this idea! My wife and I enjoy traveling and we are on a path towards a schedule like this ourselves. At one time, we thought it would be nice to have several modest houses around the country or world, as opposed to one very nice house in our hometown. These days, though, we like the idea of a nice, comfortable, low-maintenance home base, plus the financial ability to slow-travel and explore the world for a month or quarter at a time. A quarter there, 6 months here, a quarter someplace new – this seems like perfection to me. I am adding this to our Life Plan!

    • We are right there with you Matt. By the time we start that schedule our house will be paid for, and then we will look to have the flexibility to slow travel and stay wherever we want.

      We didn’t want to be tied down to any one location with multiple houses (besides our home base).

  • Another great story! $10M is a lofty goal but with a c-suite income and a high savings/investment rate, you can for sure do it!

    I too love the idea of living in different areas during the year. I’d love to travel for 3 months out of the year, relax at a beach house 3 months out of the year and live at a primary home the rest.

  • Man that was fun to r as. $10 million is a nice goal and what I would have aimed for in the past. Now I have become more modest and am shooting for $2.5, at least for the time being.

    • Well, you do have to hit $2.5M before you hit $10M, but no reason to stop if you get there and find you want to keep playing the game 🙂

      $2.5M is our Financial Independence number, but $10M is our Financial Freedom number.

      Onward & Upward!

  • GYFG, always learning something new about you, great interview! Vodka Gimlet? Really?!?!! I love it! Proof you can be ‘classic’ at any age.

  • Yes, the Vodka Gimlet is my go to drink, a drink that originated in the 1920’s and originally served with Gin. I will admit that I have started to prefer it with Gin after trying it for the first time at a speak easy style bar.

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