In 2019, I retired from the practice of medicine, giving up my day and night job as an anesthesiologist for greener pastures.
I like to think of retirement as an action one takes rather than a state of being. When I hung up the stethoscope, I knew I’d be retiring at least one more time (from running this blog), and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s yet another retirement in my future.
As you may have noticed, there have been more than a few changes here over the last year or so, including much less input and essentially no output from me since this website changed hands approximately 10 months ago. I’ll touch more on that decision-making process and transition below.
Although I’ve been lurking a bit behind the scenes here, I have effectively been retired from blogging for the better part of a year, particularly from the day-to-day operations.
I asked the good doctors in charge of this place if I could come back to say hello, share an update on my life as an early retiree, and let you know what you can expect from Physician on FIRE in the coming months and years.
Where Does the Time Go?
A common theme I hear from my retired and semi-retired friends is that they don’t know how they managed life when 40 to 80 hours of their weeks were once occupied by a job.
I concur. How did I ever find time for a real job?
Over the years, I wrote several post-FIRE updates, but of course, I was still putting in maybe 20 to 30 hours a week writing for this site, managing a few key helpers who made running this business easier, and positioning the blog as a viable business that could be acquired and improved by the right people someday.
That day came in the spring of 2023.
At the time the transaction officially closed, my family and I had just finished spending a month in New Zealand and were in Tasmania of all places. We then headed for mainland Australia, eventually cruising back across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, visiting French Polynesia along the way before heading home to northern Michigan.
My summer was consumed with house projects as we prepared to move across the street into our new home on the lake that was in the final stages of construction. My wife and I built and installed cabinetry, put closets together, bought and hung televisions, made hundreds of small but somewhat consequential design decisions, and shockingly fought very little.
In September, after four years of worldschooling, our boys enrolled in 7th and 9th grade at the local public schools. They just wrapped up their first semesters, and they’re rocking it.
We started moving into our new home in October, and we’re about 99% done. I’m still putzing around in the garage, and I haven’t finished putting my office together; being retired from this blogging business, there really hasn’t been any rush.
I spent most of November touring around Vietnam with my very-much retired parents; my father had been there 52 years earlier as an Army dentist. It was a surreal and powerful experience, and I am grateful to have been able to join them for the journey.
December didn’t give us enough winter, but January more than made up for it. Back-to-back snowstorms brought a couple feet of snow in the matter of a few days, and the ski hills across the state got more like four to five feet of the white stuff in short order. I’ve been skiing on them ever since.
In February, I’ll spend a week in Orlando where I’ll be speaking once again at WCICON, and I’m looking forward to spending our first summer actually living on the lake!
Being retired means I’ve got ample time to take care of myself and my family. I’m still doing pushups, squats, and situps every day. I did take a month off late last fall, ending about a 1,300-day streak, but it’s hard to do that stuff with a broken rib. That’s another story for another day. My Duolingo language learning streak has remained intact at 1,500+ days, but that’s a bit artificial as they let you skip a day here and there without breaking your streak.
Most mornings, I ride along while my 15-year-old drives us and his little brother to school. Most evenings, I’m home to prepare dinner. For the first time in five years, I’m in a curling league, and it’s been fun to get back out on the ice. Now that our kids are old enough to be home alone, my wife has been able to get in on the curling action, as well.
We miss the days where we could travel freely as a family of four, but we know the time will come that the two of us have that freedom again.
The Anatomy of a Small Business Sale
I’d like to address why I sold Physician on FIRE and answer the readers who have asked why I didn’t even bother to say goodbye.
The second one is easy. I didn’t say goodbye because I didn’t exactly leave. I’ve been doing what I can to aid in the transition, and I was a paid consultant for four months in 2023. No formal announcement was made initially; the new owners wanted the transition to be as smooth as possible without disruption.
Astute readers certainly knew that something was different, and that became more readily apparent when the site underwent an overdue refresh with an updated look last year.
Shortly after that, Dr. Nirav Shah and Dr. Jorge Sanchez, both medical doctors who have achieved financial independence on their own, introduced themselves as two of the primary owners of Physician on FIRE. I encourage you to read their stories, and I hope you get to know them better through their writings here.
Why Did I Sell?
A “cold call” email from Quiet Light, a broker of online businesses, piqued my interest. I had already written much of what I wanted to write, and I know I had built a valuable company by doing so.
For at least a couple of years, Physician on FIRE was begging to become something bigger, but I never found the time to grow it into something more. I thought about starting a podcast. I considered offering online courses. YouTube? Tik Tok??? I wanted to write a book and I still do.
But… there was no way to do these things while living the semi-retired life I was enjoying. Our boys will only be young once, and I wasn’t about to hinder our travels by promoting myself to a CEO role of a media company, which is essentially what my role in an expanded Physician on FIRE would be.
A team would be needed to help PoF reach its full potential, and through good fortune, I was introduced to a group led by two physicians who already had the experience of building a team and growing a startup. In just two busy years, they launched Alertive Health, a remote patient monitoring company, hired dozens of employees, and accepted an offer from Carbon Health, the nation’s largest primary care clinic, who acquired the company in 2021.
Drs. Shah and Sanchez were readers and fans of the site, and I was thrilled that we were able to come to an agreement for them to lead a team to take PoF to the next level.
There were other suitors. One was a publicly-traded company. Others were businesspeople with no strong ties to healthcare. I preferred that this site for doctors (and other high-income professionals — I see you, too) continue to be led by one (or more) of us, and am continually grateful that we were able to make that happen.
Also, I got paid. AC⚡DC tells no lies when they perform “Moneytalks.”
What to Expect From Physician on FIRE
As much as we tried to provide a seamless handoff, there may have been a SNAFU or two in the SBAR communication, and anytime you have an abrupt change in care for a machine with many moving parts, there are bound to be hiccups.
That said, as the new regime has settled in, I’ve recently noticed improvements in the writing, better quality control, and a number of important topics have been covered that I neglected over the years.
There remains a possibility that you’ll continue to hear from me on occasion. Retired people are still allowed to contribute to society, in spite of what the Internet Retirement Police may say. I’ve definitely let the anesthesia ship sail by allowing my licensure and certifications expire, but I can still type away on the ol’ laptop whenever I like.
More importantly, I expect you’ll see Physician on FIRE offerings that haven’t existed before and may not have been dreamt up yet. I teased some of the possibilities above, and as the team grows, I expect you’ll be able to connect with PoF in a number of different formats beyond this basic blog.
I can’t promise anything — it’s not my baby anymore — but among the possibilities are audio and video content, course offerings, in-person events, new and improved calculators and spreadsheets, and maybe even an app to bring it all together. Let us know what you’d most like to see with a note in the comments below. Your feedback, both positive and negative, is valuable in shaping the future of Physician on FIRE.
An Attitude of Gratitude
I thank you, reader, for your time and attention over the years. Your comments, emails, and loyalty over the years made this endeavor a particularly rewarding experience for me. I would not have stuck with this for more than seven years if I hadn’t heard from you and known that you’d found value in what I had to share.
I’m thankful for your patience and understanding as the site evolves. Yes, there have been minor growing pains, but the end result should be a more robust Physician on FIRE that reaches a wider audience. I would love to see the message of financial independence reach as many people as possible.
I am grateful for Drs. Nirav Shah, Jorge Sanchez, and their partners for coming along and allowing this website to remain in physicians’ hands. With doctors at the helm who have faced many of the same challenges that you have, I think the site has a great chance to keep a sense of collegial familiarity while growing at the same time.
Finally, I’m grateful to my family for giving me motivation to retire to something and particularly to my wife for holding down the fort at home throughout these overlapping careers I’ve had as an anesthesiologist turned personal finance blogger. In 2015, when I told my wife I was seriously thinking of starting a blog, I implored her to tell me if and when I started spending too much time on it. She told me she knew that I would, but that I should go for it, anyway.
She was right on both accounts, and I thank her for giving me the encouragement and space to make this place happen.
Bonus Intro Rewards
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