Ether to FI: Home Days & Net Worth Update

Welcome to the third installment from Ether to FI, an anesthesiologist chasing financial independence. He finished residency and started his first job as an attending physician just over six months ago, and he has a goal to hit his FI number of $3.3 Million within a decade.

The floor is yours, E.T.F.


 

Let’s get philosophical for a minute. Do you have a why?

 

It took a conversation with my toddler to define why I am chasing financial independence.  My canned answer: to have choices. I want to wake up without an alarm.  I want to look at a menu from left to right and choose my meal based on my desire instead of the price.

I want to live in a different part of the world every few months and explore this beautiful planet we call home.  I want to solve challenging societal problems. These thoughts were the word salad bouncing in my head when someone asked my reason for pursuing financial independence.  Then my son asked a simple question.

 

Working on a Home Day

 

“Daddy, why do you have to go to work on a home day?”

 

Home Day = Toddler speak for the weekend.

 

This simple question caused me to sit and reflect.

 

Home Days

sitting. reflecting?

 

Financial independence = Freedom from the hamster wheel. 

 

Brad and Jonathan from Choose FI define the “hamster wheel” as working all the time to pay for a lifestyle you do not enjoy.  My mission is to choose work based on the happiness that I receive from the work, regardless of the paycheck.  I appreciate my work now, but it is stressful.  I look forward to doing other things once I build my magic, income producing nest egg.  Part-time, here I come (Looking at you PoF).

 

Financial Independence = Happiness.

 

I am referring to the type of happiness toddlers experience when they laugh from their belly, rolling around on the floor.  Happiness best experienced on a Sunday night with your family on a beach in the Caribbean, because Monday does not exist.  The type of joy that comes when you stop trading your time for money, and mandatory meetings mean breakfast with your whole family.

True happiness is the absence of clocks, places to be, running at full speed only to repeat the cycle the following day.

 

Financial Independence = Health.

 

High blood pressure, stress headaches, body aches and fatigue are all symptoms of a more significant problem.  The to-do lists created for one day long enough to be completed over one week.

However, this is my only day off, so laundry, cleaning the house, doctor’s appointment, pet grooming, play with kids, take the car to the mechanic, grocery shop, and the list extends.  Your day off is much harder than your day on.

Then you ask, “why am I so tired?”  Compound this with an average night’s sleep of five hours on a good day, and it is very understandable why pharmaceutical companies have such large buildings.  Financial independence gives you control of your most important asset, your time.  Time allows you to prepare healthy meals, exercise daily, and most importantly, slow down.

 

Financial Independence = Home Days.

 

The weekend is defined by Merriam-Webster as the close of one work or school week and the start of the next; especially: Saturday and Sunday.  For many people in medicine, this definition is a foreign concept.  Hospitals are open 365 days per year.  Illness does not recognize Thanksgiving or New Years. It is similar to interest on debt; there are no days off.  Therefore, many medical professionals end up blurring their work week with their weekend.

Financial Independence can make any day a “home day.”  I will work when it is convenient for my family and me instead of what works best for my employer.  It will allow me to prioritize date night, soccer games, choir recitals, and algebra tests.  My schedule will mirror my stated priorities.

This more vibrant and fuller life provided by financial independence will allow me to answer the universal question, what do you do?

I am a husband, father, explorer, philanthropist, humanitarian, striving to leave the world better than I found it.

 


You're still not using Personal Capital? That's how I track the PoF portfolio.

 

Net Worth Update:

 

Moving in the right direction.  After 5 months of progress, we have made an almost $89k improvement in our net worth.  We are excited to try to accelerate our progress in the New Year.  The goal of is to make an improvement of $200,000 or more in 2018.  Tracking our net worth has provided extra motivation to save and invest.

 

ETF Net Worth

ETF Net Worth

 

[PoF: That’s an increase of more than double since E.T.F. finished residency and started working as a full-time attending anesthesiologist about six months ago. Great work! The goal remains $3.3 Million within ten years, and to more than double the net worth again in 2018. Go get ’em, E.T.F.!]

 

Follow Ether to FI’s progress to FI:

 

36 comments

  • Your first two are my main why’s, happiness and health. To me, those are two fundamental pillars of life that you should always try to maintain even know the latter will of course go away one day.

    And you should definitely go part-time like POF! I started halftime last October and my happiness and health have rocketed up! Working 20 hours a week and having those other 20 hours back is quite frankly blissful.

  • Looks like things are going well on the financial plan. If I were starting out I would be hoping for a big crash or bear market soon to give some wind at my back.
    “My schedule will mirror my stated priorities.” I love that. I try to do that on my “home days.” I have a lot more time to reflect on my priorities now that I too am part-time.

    • Completely agree on the Bear market! Hoping for one in the next few years so I can buy my index funds on sale!

    • Ether to FI

      I am looking forward to the bear market, but I will just keep steadily investing till then. When it comes, I plan on plowing as much money into the market as I can.

      • I feel the same way. WCI has criticised that as being “Just a market timer….” Part of me agrees. Part of me disagrees. Noone can time the market. Even Bogle and Buffett say that. On the other hand, Buffett wasn’t buying much in 1999 but he sure did in 2009. There is some overlap of the concepts of timing the market and valuing the market.

  • hatton1

    I love part-time. I have not had any pressure to go out in the snow because I am not doing OB.

  • $100 bonus on your first RealtyShares investment with Code: Partner100

  • Nice growth! In just 6 months too, that 3.3 million will be within reach in a blink. The first $100k took me almost forever!!! 🙂

  • Freedom, happiness, and health…sound like great reasons to me. Congrats on your net worth growth thus far and all the best for 2018!

  • Strong work EFI! I am on the same track as you. I am doing my net worth update after I get paid at end of January. Hoping I’ve made as much progress as you on my net worth! My investments are not to your level yet as I came to my financial eightenment in fellowship when I started saving 20%.

    Way to set a good example for all of us young docs (and trainees coming behind)! Keep up the good work.

    P.s. what percentage of your AGI are you planning to save each year?

    • Ether to FI

      Thanks for the comments. I plan on saving around 50% of my gross each year. I don’t know what that will be in AGI. The goal is to increase the amount as some of my major goals are met.

      • Saving half of gross is a lofty goal, but with the lower tax rates, it might be a bit easier.

        I’ve been saving about 50% of gross the last few years, but that was without a mortgage. 32% or 33% went to taxes, and we lived on the other 17% to 18%.

        Best,
        -PoF

  • The freedom to choose what I want to do will give me happiness:)
    Great update

  • That is my motivation too.
    Time to spend with not just my son and wife but my brother and father too. Life is so fleeting and those moments go by in a flash. So figuring out how not to work so we can spend more time with family is a very valid goal.

  • Happiness and health are mine as well even if I skip the er part. I can currently work from home nearly at will do my workload is less stressful then most. But it’s the value of not stressing over funds that is the big provision.

  • The headaches and the hypertension are sure signs it’s time to find away to enjoy more and work less!

  • Xrayvsn

    Just curious. Do people count the 529 plans (college education) as part of their net worth?

    Personally when I calculate my net worth I have let out the 529 accounts and not included my home (which is fully paid off).

    Reason for the 529 account is I don’t really consider it as money that I can ever tap into in retirement and will be used for my child not me.

    As for the home not being included, I know there are tons of differing opinions on this. I feel that I could come up with a number that it would probably sell for but who knows if I ever get that number. Plus I really don’t think I will ever sell it as it is my forever home and hope to pass it off to my daughter one day. Plus figure real estate commissions, etc that come into play and any number I assign to it really is a guess.

    • Gasem

      If the 529 wasn’t there, what vehicle would pay for your daughter? I consider it part of my net worth and FI because it’s money earmarked for a future expense, but not part of retirement

      • Xrayvsn

        Definitely a good point. I agree if I didn’t have a 529 it would reduce my current net worth by the cost of education I would have provided to her regardless.

        I guess for me and my quest for early retirement/financial independence I don’t use my net worth as an end point that let’s me FIRE but rather like to use those assets in my net worth that are going to be able to be income producing or financially support me by selling off when I no longer draw a regular paycheck.

        It is definitely nice to see net worth climbing but don’t want to inflate the numbers (by including assets that I can’t tap in retirement).

        I’ve really jumped on the passive income bandwagon and hope that the assets that I am trying to accumulate will let me live a retirement lifestyle I want without tapping into capital.

        • I agree with Gasem. I count it in our net worth, but not in our retirement savings. Just like our home.

          If our kids become flunkies, I suppose we could use 90% of it to fund our retirement, but that doesn’t seem too likely, and we’d probably use the 529s to educate other family members, perhaps even grandkids.

          Cheers!
          -PoF

    • Ether to FI

      I count 529s as part of my net worth because when my kids get their full rides, I can take out an equivalent amount penalty free, but I will have to pay taxes. Unless they want to become little anesthesiologists, then I might need more money than I will have saved. No pressure little ETF 1 and 2. I also might become a student during retirement and use the money to study in Italy, Greece, France, Singapore, Thailand. I hope no one notices I am choosing places I want to visit, but as long as I am a student and taking courses, why not?

  • That net worth growth is amazing! I’m trying very hard not to compare my own (which is totally awesome in its own right), because everyone’s circumstances are different. But still!

  • Well said. FI gives people freedom, and option to live the life they want to. Work is rewarding, but could also be very stressful. Wish you the best, E.T.F. (a nice initial)!

  • Gasem

    My perspective is a little different. FI provides life long security. That’s why they call stocks and bonds etc “securities”. I think if you come at it from that perspective work and saving becomes a both/and instead of a either/or. If you make work part of security and FI part of security you loose some of the hatred of work. Tracking FI as above also helps

    When I retired my goal was to actively forget what day it was. The weekend was merely an extension of the work week and entirely defined by the work week, and I no longer wanted my time to be defined by work. Initially I slept 10-12 hours a day which is evidence of the sleep deprivation of work. It was amazing! Now I sleep about 7 hours, which is apparently my need.

    I would not call it happiness but satisfaction. I’m satisfied with my work life. My work life made a difference in a lot of lives. I say that objectively. My work life created security for me and my family. It’s allowed me to accumulate wealth, enough to last 50 years without feeling in any way “pinched” or worried. It’s allowed me to send my children to college and graduate debt free, and get them cars and get them started in life, because debt is the bane of independence. It allowed me to put a new roof on my house, literally the roof over my head, so I’m very grateful for my work life. Now it’s time to spend my time, no longer encumbered with the need to turn my time into cash. I do what I like and I miss work not at all.

  • Combining a physician income, especially a high physician income, with a knowledge of basic financial principles and a little discipline is like having a super power.

    I mean- $3M in 10 years? That sounds crazy but it’s entirely possible.

  • That is an impressive start. You are very wise in prioritizing now and aggressively building towards your goals. Being a bit further down the road, I can definitely say older you will thank younger you for being proactive.

  • TX Yooper

    F.I. = “My thoughts are my own.” Borrowed from a wise, old farmer who was very happy and content with his life.

  • ETF, you are deliberately and thoughtfully starting where it took me 15 years to arrive. With a partner with shared goals and values, I expect you’ll be an unstoppable force (PoF 2.0)?

    I enjoy your updates and will refer my newbies to your posts as a model of how to exit residency with the wind at your back.

    With admiration,

    CD

  • Millennial Doc

    Congrats PoF, it has been fun following your story.

    I must ask, do you plan to “loosen up the purse strings” given that your current spending is like a 2% withdrawal rate, and you have income beyond that?

  • Dannnng ETF. 3.3 million in 10 years! That’s a great goal. Sounds attainable on a high-income salary with a 50% savings rate.

    I’ve never really set a number to achieve, but maybe I should. If I can maintain a high level of frugality in my household, I think my wife and I can achieve a similar net worth in 10 years 🙂

    Good luck with everything!

    • I don’t think he’ll be saving $330,000 per year, so his success will depend upon the friendliness of the markets over the next decade. The past decade has been a good time to make money; it’s unlikely returns will be as solid over the next decade, but I won’t argue if it happens.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      • Ether to FI

        I am hoping this market cools considerably for about 5 years, and then comes roaring back over 5 years. Either way, it will be staying the course and investing more over time.

  • I love your reasons for FI. They echo my own. When I work and Work is good I can’t see me retiring early, but when I read these posts I can’t think of not retiring early.
    So I’ll work full time for now but with our newfound FI, like you say, I have options. The money is lagniappe now.

    It’s like the 50 year old IR guy at my hospital said yesterday to me. He is a boss with an amazing practice. He said “I saved my money for years, now I act with administrators like they need me and I don’t need them, works every time”. That is options in action, and happiness is the result.

    Save on Ether!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *