Advertiser disclosure

Terms and Restrictions Apply
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. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. POF does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Credit Card Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval, you should review each Provider’s terms and conditions to determine which card works for you and your personal financial situation.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Retired from Medicine at 43: Why, How, and What Now?

Heir Apparent

On Monday, August 12th of 2019, I woke up in a call room, gathered up my belongings, and stepped through the back door of the hospital out into the world for what may very well be the last time.

I wasn’t fired. I simply FIREd.

As in, I realized several years beforehand that I was Financially Independent, and I chose to Retire Early from medicine.

At age 43, I should have been in the prime of my career. It was a position 25 years in the making when you factor in four years each of college, medical school, and residency along with the 13 years as a practicing anesthesiologist, and I probably could have practiced for another 25 years if I desired.

However, I decided to deviate from the usual script.

In these last 25 years, and even before then, I’ve chased many goals. Get the best grades. Beef up that application with research and volunteering. Impress your attendings. Receive glowing letters of recommendation. Make the surgeons happy; make your patients happy. If there’s happiness left to be had, it’s yours.

Cross over one hurdle and prepare for the next. There were a lot of hurdles on that track, and they’re all behind me now.

Now, I get to chase a different goal — to live a happy and meaningful life while raising our boys and enjoying our days at a less-frenzied pace. It’s a goal with no discernible endpoint and no hurdles to jump over or trip over. A life I’ve been looking forward to for some time now.


Retired from Medicine at 43: Why, How, and What Now?


Why Retire in My Forties?


Some early retirees have dreamed of this day and planned for it for decades. Some are so burned out from their jobs that something has got to give. Some got lucky and won the lottery or got unlucky but received an inheritance.

None of these describe my situation.

The simplest explanation is that I retired because I discovered that I could.

Late in 2014, I was studying for a bogus recertification exam and I started wondering if I’d have to do it again in 10 years. Spending time at the library studying irrelevant academic minutiae when I had two pre-schoolers at home wanting to play Lego and build puzzles with me didn’t seem right.

I revisited this blogger that had retired early, ran some numbers myself, and realized that we were already in a position to continue living our lives as we were without the income from my job.

I messed around with some spreadsheets and came up with a potential five-year plan. I didn’t know if or when I might actually follow through with it, but we started to dream about what we would do if I actually pulled the trigger. I had lots of ideas.


It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday


This was the best job I’ve ever had. Among anesthesia jobs, the one I just left was easily my favorite. Comparing this line of work to other non-anesthesia jobs I’ve worked, I feel privileged to have been an anesthesiologist.

In the past, I’ve mowed lawns, stacked wood, worked basically every lower-level position available at a grocery store, and even “donated” bone marrow for money (and stem cell research), not once but six times. Some of those jobs were hot and sweaty. Some were boring. And one hurt like the dickens.

The anesthesia job, by comparison, was always in a climate-controlled environment, paid very well, came with some level of prestige, and not once did I experience the sting of negative pressure inside my pelvic bones.

It could be stressful at times, but I did get do some amazing things and I helped thousands of people survive surgery safely with the fewest side effects possible. I will miss many aspects of this job.

Still, it was a job. Many physicians refer to their careers as a calling. They approach their workdays with passion, and feel empty when away for too long. I respect and envy those dedicated doctors.

That’s just never been me.

While it was an excellent way to make a living, a job is still a job and there’s usually someplace I’d rather be. Don’t get me wrong; my mind has always been fully committed to the necessary tasks at hand. Patient safety and comfort were always top priorities, and I believe I served my patients well.

But I can’t say my heart has been fully in it. I’ve always enjoyed my days off more than my workdays and my weeks off more than my workweeks. I’d say that’s true of any job I’ve had; to say otherwise would require some intellectual dishonesty. I’ve enjoyed work, but I’ve enjoyed doing whatever I choose with my free time even more.


Start receiving paid survey opportunities in your area of expertise to your email inbox by joining the All Global Circle community of Physicians and Healthcare Professionals.

Use our link to Join and receive a bonus of up to $50 .


The Timing Was Right


On a very cold January day in Brainerd, Minnesota, I received an email from a young man in the middle of his second year of a four-year anesthesia residency at my alma mater, the University of Florida. He had gotten my email address from an alumni contact list.

It turned out that Brainerd was his hometown, I had been working with his uncle for years, and I would later learn that my father graduated from dental school with another uncle of his.

Even though he had two and a half years left in his residency, he was inquiring very early on about the possibility of a future opening in our small group of five employed anesthesiologists. It’s a good thing he reached me and not one of my partners. We seemed like we might be set for ten years or longer at that point.

What my partners didn’t yet know was that I was contemplating an early retirement and this resident’s email gave me a good excuse to let them know. I had been writing about the possibility of retiring early for nearly a year on this website, and it was time to be more open about it.

Later that year, the young doctor was interviewed and hired as my eventual replacement. I dropped to part-time, and patiently awaited his arrival as he advanced through those grueling final two years of residency.

I spent most of my final workweek getting him oriented, watching him work, and trading stories about the fifteen or so anesthesiologists who trained us both. It was great to get to know him and pass the baton.

He’s an excellent physician and the job seems to be a perfect fit for him and his family of six. I felt good moving on knowing that my shoes will be filled by a very capable doctor, and that my departure created an opening in what I figured was an ideal job for this young man.


Heir Apparent
can you tell we’re both happy? (that’s me on the right)



How I Could Afford to Retire Early


This is the “how” that people really want to hear. How can a person afford to retire at age 43, just 13 years after starting a career as a full-fledged attending anesthesiologist?

If you’ve read Drs. Stanley and Danko’s The Millionaire Next Door, you know the “secret.” If you know me in real life, you’ve seen it. Dr. Stanley wrote a followup book called “Stop Acting Rich,” and that’s what I’ve done, embodying a “stealth wealth” lifestyle for the most part.

My wife and I have lived a life of relative frugality, at least as compared to most of my physician peers. We’ve settled into a spending pattern where we’re both comfortable. We weren’t trying to achieve any particular goal — we just spent with intention on the things we value, donated generously, and saved and invested the rest.

Almost all of our income has come from one source — my job — although my wife has done a little bit of teaching and I make money online now, too. It’s all gravy and to date, over half of my profits from this endeavor have been donated.

Before I had a website, we had attained financial independence by virtue of retirement savings equal to at least 25 times our anticipated annual spending. We eventually hit the “financial freedom” number I calculated to be 36x spending, and the markets have continued to be kind to us. When I left, we had between 40x and 50x our anticipated annual spending.

My investment strategy has not been anything special; I didn’t get lucky with one particular stock. Most of our money is in passive index funds.

It certainly helps to have a high income, especially if you want to do the fatFIRE thing, that is, retire with an above-average level of spending. However, FI is possible even on modest incomes.  If you can learn to live on half of your takehome pay, even if you’re currently flat broke, you should be able to retire in 15 to 20 years at the most.


What Now?


Location Independence


For the first time in my life, I have this thing called location independence. I don’t have to be in any particular place at any particular time. This is huge, and we took advantage of this newfound geographic freedom while we could

Our first big family trip was supposed be a two-month visit to Ecuador. My wife and I visited the country in 2011 when we toured the Galapagos Islands, and we were excited to return with our boys for an extended stay. Friends who have spent many months in Ecuador have had nothing but great things to say about the place (see here and here).

Civil unrest made that trip impossible, so we “settled” for two months in Mexico, instead. We had a splendid time splitting time between three beautiful and historic cities.

We returned to the states for a few weeks to celebrate the holidays with family and get just enough of a taste of winter to be grateful that we were not around to enjoy all six months of it.

In early January, we were off to Spain for another two-month adventure. We spent time in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, welcoming family from both sides who were able to visit and stay with us.

In mid-March, I was off to Las Vegas for The White Coat Investor’s Physician Wellness and Financial Literacy Conference, where I gave a talk on fatFIRE, moderated one panel, participated in another, and shared some emcee duties.

Before those big trips, I spent a weekend meeting up with old friends and making new ones at the sold-out Camp FI Midwest. I went straight from there to Washington, D.C. for FinCon, the annual must-do conference for content creators in the personal finance space.

My family joined me in our nation’s capital, which will be a great spot for our boys to kick off the “roadschooling” that will be a big part of our upcoming adventures.

Domestic and international travel was incredible when it was a safe and viable option. Since returning from Las Vegas after a pandemic was declared, we’ve been largely homebound although we did purchase a travel trailer so we can do some properly socially distanced exploring of America until it’s safe to travel far and wide again.


Work. Yes, Work.


The title of the post began “Retired from Medicine,” not simply “Retired.” By continuing to educate people and share my experiences here, I think it’s fair to say I’ll be semi-retired at best. Retired Not Retired.

Blogging feels very different from working, and it’s something that I can do from anywhere, as little or as much as I choose.

Still, maintaining the publishing schedule that I currently have does take some serious effort, and the proceeds (the site does make money) are enough to cover our living expenses even after I share the revenue with shareholders, donate much of what’s left, and pay taxes on the remainder.

The fact that I’m not yet implementing our drawdown strategy also makes it feel less like I’m retired. I also end up going to more conferences and meetups related to this blogging business than I ever did for anesthesia. I’m not going to lie; the blogger ones are much more fun.

Regarding anesthesia work, I haven’t 100% ruled that out, either. I will keep an active state license and do enough CME and maintenance of certification to make working the occasional locums opportunity a possibility. I have no plans to schedule any, but I’d like to have that option if I have a change of heart.


Enjoy Some Free Time


Unstructured free time is something I feel like I haven’t had a whole lot of. In reality, free time is just a vacuum and I tend to fill it quickly whenever it arises.

That’s how this blog started. I found myself with a lot more free time once my kids were both in school in 2016. The free time didn’t last, but the blog did, and those two facts are very much interrelated.

Now that I’m not squeezing the rest of life into the time I’m not at the hospital and surgical center, I do expect to have more true free time, and I’ve been busy making mental plans. Three years ago, I published a list of 50 things I’d like to do or spend more time doing in early retirement.

Interestingly, many items on the list involve some sort of work. However, rather than working for a paycheck, the wishlist work involves activities to improve my mind, body, and soul.

Reading, hiking, traveling, writing… working on myself and my relationships. It’s rewarding work.


The Great Unknown


I’m not making plans too far into the future. Five years ago, I would not have imagined my life would look like it does today. Five years from now, I might look back and say something similar.

Ten years from now, our kids will be about to turn 20 and 22 years old, and our “child-rearing” years will be pretty much over. I expect there will still be some “young-adult-guiding” to do, but the time commitment will be less and less. That’ll be a bittersweet sort of freedom that will present both new challenges and opportunity as we navigate life as empty-nesters.

I was listening to David Epstein on the Afford Anything podcast. He said something that resonated with me, as it’s a phenomenon I’ve recognized in my own life.

Essentially, he explained how bad we are at making future plans and prognostications for ourselves. The reason we stink at it is the fact that we’re making plans for someone we know very little about. Future you is going to be shaped by unforeseen experiences and circumstances into someone that may have different desires, beliefs, and skillsets than the current you.

One of life’s greatest joys is the fact that you can continue to learn, evolve, mature, or even regress. That uncertainty can be scary, but also exciting.

Where will I be and what will I be doing in ten or twenty years? I don’t have a clue, but I embrace the open slate that lies ahead.


Share this post:

106 thoughts on “Retired from Medicine at 43: Why, How, and What Now?”

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Listen to a Word I Say - Passive Income MD
  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Pingback: How My Investing Changed After Financial Independence - Passive Income MD
  4. Pingback: Physicians Scammed out of Tens of Millions of Dollars - DrDons 'Profiting' News Media
  5. Pingback: Should You Invest in a Roth or Traditional 401(k)? - Passive Income
  6. Pingback: Physicians Scammed out of Tens of Millions of Dollars - Passive Income
  7. Pingback: The Epochs of Early Retirement - Passive Income
  8. Pingback: Physicians Scammed out of Tens of Millions of Dollars - misterthink
  9. Pingback: 6 Months of Half-Time Work: How I Saved $60,000 on Taxes - Coin Octane
  10. I also retired at 43, just over 6 years ago. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Ten years of neurosurgery led to a few episodes of major depression and burnout. Luckily, my dad was an investor and I educated myself during the research years of residency (starting with Personal Finance and Investing for Dummies), so my wife and I hit the ground running when I started to make “real” money. Investing simply and consistently with Vanguard through the Great Recession while colleagues in the surgeons’ lounge were talking about going to cash was another lucky break. And of course, a fairly simple lifestyle combined with a similar-minded wife helped considerably, as did a few books about FIRE and websites like POF and White Coat Investor. We’ve been able to maintain our lifestyle withdrawing only about 2.25% per year from our portfolio (not including our 529 plans). My son heads off to college next month and we are soon going to the Caribbean, where my son and I will scuba dive and my wife and daughter will spend the days on the beach.

    Now, I do what I want, when I want. Keeping busy has not been a problem. I “work” 40-70 hours a month editing medical/surgical manuscripts written by authors who speak English as a second language. I had trouble justifying the meager pay at first, but since then, I have contracted with a company in Japan that is great to work with and pays reasonably well. I look at it as a hobby that provides a little income and helps out fellow physicians and surgeons in Europe and Asia. Plus, I now stay in good physical and mental shape with almost daily running or weightlifting and meditation, have a better and meaningful presence in my wife’s and children’s lives, play and practice piano, help coach my son’s baseball team, and do many other things I never was able to do before.

    I still read POF and a few other similar blogs every week. Keep up the good work. It’s a great resource. I know how meaningful it was to me years ago, knowing that I wasn’t the only guy who was thinking about leaving medicine at a young age. I only added my little story here in case it helps another doc who is thinking the same. I have no regrets.


  11. Learn how to better manage your student loan debt, and explore refinancing to a lower rate with cash back offers up to $1,000! Student Loan Resource Page
  12. Congrats on retirement!
    I searched your blog and did not see the write up about you not having a medical license anymore. Do you still do CME, pay for your MOC, and have a license? This is the hardest transition for me in retirement.

    • I kept them going for a while, but after two years and zero clinical work as of last summer, I decided it was time to let those things lapse. I no longer have an active license, and I ignore the emails from the ABA and their MOCA nonsense. ACLS, PALS, and BLS all expired a year or two ago.

      I don’t miss keeping up with all of it one bit!


  13. Pingback: When Should You Loosen the Purse Strings? - The Motivated M.D.
  14. Pingback: Stealth Wealth and Financial Independence: A Q&A with PoF -
  15. Pingback: Stealth Wealth and Financial Independence: A Q&A with PoF - Wispost
  16. Pingback: Stealth Wealth and Monetary Independence: A Q&A with PoF - Make Funds Internet
  17. Pingback: Physician Millionaires -
  18. Pingback: How My Investing Changed After Financial Independence - The Physician Philosopher
  19. Pingback: 5 Things I Got Wrong About the FIRE Movement – ColorMag General News
  20. Pingback: The FIRE Movement: How to Reach Financial Independence and Retire Early – The Stock Market Cafe
  21. Pingback: 5 Things I Got Wrong About the FIRE Movement - WorldTwit
  22. Pingback: 5 Things I Got Wrong About the FIRE Movement – My Blog
  23. Pingback: 5 Things I Got Wrong About the FIRE Movement – Own Your Hustle
  24. Pingback: 5 Things I Got Wrong About the FIRE Movement - Smart Magazine
  25. Pingback: 5 Things I Got Wrong About the FIRE Movement | Passive Income M.D.
  26. Pingback: The FIRE Movement: How to Reach Financial Independence and Retire Early – My American Dreamer
  27. Pingback: The FIRE Movement: How to Reach Financial Independence and Retire Early – Conservative Market
  28. Pingback: The FIRE Movement: How to Reach Financial Independence and Retire Early | AlltopCash.com
  29. Pingback: The FIRE Movement: How to Reach Financial Independence and Retire Early – The American Rebirth
  30. Pingback: FIRE Movement & Financial Independence | White Coat Investor - Investment Ideas Blog | Invest Envy
  31. Pingback: Physicians Scammed out of Tens of Millions of Dollars - The Physician Philosopher
  32. Pingback: The Value of Worldschooling for Families | Passive Income M.D.
  33. Dermatology here and same at 45! I’ve learned to ski and mountain bike this year, finding some consulting and real estate on the side to be fun, fulfill my “customer service” mindset. Loving it but a bit fearful at times so very glad to read this article and many of the comments.

  34. Semi retired all ready and will transition to teaching residents cosmetic and reconstructive surgery one day per week!

  35. Congratulations. Hoping to retire from anesthesia soon but what is holding me back is the thought of health insurance. We had an Obamacare plan for several years and it was expensive and restrictive. I’m 12 years away from Medicare. How are you handling your health insurance.?

  36. Unlike you, I did not start working as a physician until I was 43 but my wife and I both had PhDs in medical research and had travelled the world starting at age 27 (55 countries) and lived in 5 countries. So now we are making up for lost time. I am almost 70 now and still working as a hospitalist-nocturnist 7/7 midnight to 8am.

    We now have 3 freehold houses. One for our son and daughter-in-law, our main home in TN Appalachian mountains, and a vacation home and car in New Zealand where we still have family. OK so why don’t I retire. We have savings about 10x my salary but we think it doesn’t matter how much capital you have you cannot live on 0% interest. Although my wife has done extremely well with investing (starting by buying Apple shares when they were $2.75 each – adjusting for splits) we feel the stock market is getting too risky now and pulled out a large part of our investment. But is it even possible to keep your savings safe.

    I plan to live to 100, and to make it last I will probably continue to work, part time. I am lucky to have a contract that allows me to take at least 2 months vacation every year and we plan to continue to travel to New Zealand (where I love to work on my engineers lathe) every year, plus other trips to Europe etc for several weeks. This is only possible because nocturnists are in demand. But the zero interest rate problem is a serious concern.

    Like you my wife and I run web sites and online databases for voluntary organizations (genealogy archives) but do not make any money out of it. That is our hobby.

    • Your story epitomizes the concept of enjoying life along the way. It’s not all about the destination; you must also enjoy the journey.

      If the nights aren’t too busy, a nocturnist spot can be a good one, but those sleepless nights do take their toll. They’re not exactly compatible with living to 100, but I wish you success!


  37. it’s wonderful what you’re doing. one strong warning…i left OB practice for 8 years, i was still in the OB world as an academic and labor and delivery safety consultant, still board certified but that didn’t matter…i could not find a hospital that would help me get back into practice.

    you don’t fall back on OB or anaesthesia. if you don’t intubate anyone for two years, good luck. doesn’t matter if you kept up your state license, doesn’t matter if you’re up on CME. what matters is how much care have you given in the last two years. haven’t given care for two years? you won’t get privileged at most hospitals today. (it’s probably the easiest patient safety question out there…how many of these (X) procedures have you done in the last two years?)

    doctors more and more are finding this out the hard way. they can’t get back in because they can’t get privileges and there is no standard way to get back in. no one will want to take a chance on you because you’re too much of a liability to “train-up”.

    just as an example, i have a friend who developed breast cancer, after a year of treatment she decided to stay home with the kids for 2 more years. she can’t find a job now. she assumed that with a physician shortage they would be available. what she found out is that ACOG and ABOG (the professional society and the board for OB) don’t have a program for re-introduction to practice. the incredible thing about this story is that one of the hospitals she applied for has family practice residents who do OB, yet they felt uncomfortable helping her get back into practice.

    i got lucky, a practice that needed someone knew of me, we came up with a program just for me that the local hospital accepted and i was back. however that required a willing group and a willing hospital…very hard to find those two variables working together…both have liabilities for your work, and you know how risk-averse clinics and hospitals are these days. having said that, even employed physician hospitals are not bringing people on who haven’t worked enough in the last two years.

    so while i applaud you, wish i had the freedoms you have, i will tell you you are not as free as you think. plan accordingly.

    • Thank you for sharing these stories.

      I am well aware of the one-way street this is, and have said time and time again that I will maintain a medical license and board certification for a year or two, but if I haven’t practiced medicine at the two-year mark, I would not feel comfortable with my skills, would have a difficult time obtaining privileges and malpractice insurance coverage, and will be officially done at that point.

      I’ve been contemplating this move for nearly five years and have been writing about it here for the last three and a half years. This is not a willy nilly decision on my part.


      • I’ve seen a few docs like the OB and yourself who wind up struggling in later years and with no physician skills to get back into the game.
        Not keeping up skills by some locums or other work periodically is job killing and often becomes critical at a time finances are critical also.
        Good Luck!
        But somehow I don’t think it will last till death do you part.

        • Struggling in what way, Joe?

          I can see struggling for purpose, not knowing what to do, etc… I think I mitigated that risk away by working part-time for a couple of years and taking some lenghty trips as FIRE trial runs.

          If you’re referring to money struggles, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I could have left work with a 4% withdrawal rate nearly five years ago, and our net worth has approximately doubled since then. If that’s not safe, I don’t know what is.


  38. Congratulations on achieving the goal you laid out so many years ago.

    I hope you continue to blog your experience since so many of us are looking to be in your shoes eventually. In particular I hope you don’t just do it facebook style. Only posting the good and hiding the bad. The whole experience, the good, the bad, the ugly, everything is valuable information for us.

    Good luck in this new phase of your life.

  39. Congratulations on your early retirement! It sounds like you have some very exciting plans.
    I wondered how you have been handling the inevitable social questions like what do you do/where do you work etc.?
    I’m also in my 40’s and stopped working as a physician this summer, but in my case due to ill-health. I’m struggling to answer questions about what I do, as it feels strange to use the ‘retired’ word at my age, and I don’t want to have to make small talk about the consequences of my cancer treatment either!

  40. Congrats! I “FIRE’d” at 43 as well…5 years later I can say it was the best decision I ever made. Good luck in your journey!

  41. Congratulations on your funemployment. That’s quite the milestone. Looking forward to reading your future posts from a ‘post-work’ view point. To have freedom of time and complete autonomy- that’s the ultimate goal. Best of luck!

  42. Congratulations, Leif!

    I’m so excited to hear about your future adventures. Spending a couple months in Spain sounds amazing, especially when you’re going to be living in a yacht. That’s the epitome of location independence! You can sail all around the Mediterranean in that bad boy. Maybe check out Monte Carlo or Porto Cervo (j/k, those places are not at all stealth wealth).

    Looking forward to seeing you at Washington DC in a a couple weeks!

  43. Good luck and congrats! Long time reader and first-time poster (and new blogger).

    I look forward to seeing what the future holds for your outside of medicine. Remember hedonic adaptation. We easily get used to our new circumstances. Hope you continue to find new and exciting challenges for yourself and fulfillment in a new way.

    Best of luck!

  44. Congrats! Looking forward to more posts of your new journey as well as the nuts and bolts of withdrawals, managing healthcare, schooling for kids, etc.

  45. Congratulations! Best wishes for your next phase! I have really gotten a lot from this site and community. Thank you.

  46. Congratulations on your new found freedom.I retired at age 48 from anesthesia as a CRNA. I also read The millionaire next door but it was after I had a windfall in technology stock investing.I ended up on the cover of Money Magazine after investing into the market by dollar cost averaging into the cellular technology stock Qualcomm.I saw the opportunity and consistently invested part of every paycheck over ten year period.The stock soared 2600 percent in the tenth year making millions for my retirement.

  47. Congratulations! It’s wise to avoid making super long term plan. You never know what life is going to be like in 10 years. Just keep going in the right direction and you’ll be fine. I think your family will be happier with this move.

  48. Congrats, POF! While I try not to focus on a FIRE that seems so far away, your story is one that is so encouraging. If we just take care of the necessary steps (while enjoying the journey along the way) we can all have the financial freedom you have obtained. Thanks for setting a great example! I’m really excited to continue to follow your post-FIRE journey!


  49. Congrats! I thoroughly enjoyed the article. I related to every word you wrote.
    As a 37 year old pediatric dentist who has always saved money aggressively and lived well below his means, I look to be FIREd in the near future, too.
    Wishing you well in your future endeavors.

  50. Congratulations! You really did it. Not surprised it took a couple of years to step away. I know there were other reasons, but I think it just takes someone with a doc’s background to mentally get used to the idea of not doctoring. It’s easier for me to imagine now that I’m half-time, but I still think I’m quite a ways away. It just still feels like too big of a part of my life to give up, even though I’m only doing it 20 hours a week.

  51. Congratulations and good luck! I hope to be able to pull the trigger sometime in the future, but I’m still a few years away, as my expenses have varied over the past few years.

    It’s also fortunate that your profession doesn’t necessary have long-term patient follow-ups that make an early wind-down to retirement an issue for patients.

  52. Thank you so much for all you do to educate people. I wish I had found this movement and your website a few years ago, but alas I’m here now and it’s helped me so much to solidify my goals for career, life, and family. Congratulations and good luck to you on all your future endeavors – looking forward to reading all about them!

  53. Congrats PoF. I’ve always enjoyed the well thought out detailed nature of your posts. Just like a good anesthetic, your plan is solid with contingencies if things don’t track exactly as planned. Enjoy this next phase of your life.

  54. Congratulations and Cheers. Enjoy your time and family. Your days will be fuller than you can imagine.
    Hard to believe its been almost a year since I left practice (my retirement party was at a brewery as well) and my to do/have fun list is extensive. The doubters of my early retirement have now come around, everyone can tell that I am happy and less stressed. The minimal work that I do is satisfying and without burden.

  55. Congrats POF! Planning is great and fun (in an excel-sheet kind of way), but I think executing these types of big life changes takes courage. Of course, that kind of risk balanced with enough of a comfortable safety-net yields the biggest rewards. Just like investing. Thanks for helping people learn to build and recognize their freedom and for inspiring us to take full advantage of it by sharing your journey.

  56. I just love that you left on my birthday. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and it’s given me a new focus and motivation to get serious about selling my farm and relocating to a much smaller life.

    As for looking forward in life – I find it’s useful to visualize where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 etc years but we must always build flexibility into our models. Looking forward, for me, is a tool I use to compose reachable goals and motivate myself to attain them. It’s also a good tool to use to anticipate the “gotchas” in life and plan for them. Seeing my parents in the twilight of their lives and seeing areas where I feel they failed to adequately plan properly, or DID plan well, has been useful for me for planning for my own future life. So it’s never a wasted exercise.

  57. Congratulations! Very cool the young doctor reached out to you. Feeling like I had a good replacement help to make the transition better as well. I had hired my replacement to yours before I left so you basically knew everything about the business and my contacts etc. seven years later, he’s still doing my job, which is great.

    It will definitely be interesting to see how you feel with the transition towards no longer making your doctor salary. There was no severance package right? I’m not sure I could’ve gone cold turkey and left without my package. But at the same time, I left a 34. My original goal was to leave at 40 and be done with it no matter what.

    Raising a toddler through preschool has been the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I’m hoping things get easier once they go to school full-time.

    Good luck on your journey!

    • Thank you, Bonnie!

      We’re even more excited, and I know you’ve got some excitement in your life with the locums work you’ve been taking on.

      Cheers to adventure!

  58. Congratulations POF and welcome to the second half of life. You are going to love it. Safe travels and I hope our paths cross again on the road somewhere.

    Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
    Prescription for Financial Success

  59. All of this is great! However, I have one question: What are you doing for your children’s education? I recognize that world traveling is an education in itself, but what about the ABCs?

    • Khan Academy, workbooks, writing assignments that we come up with, typing club, Duolingo for Spanish…

      The one that will almost certainly fall off when we’re away from home is their music education. Both boys started piano at 3 or 4 and have picked up string instruments in addition in the last two years. Since we’re not a traveling family band (not yet, anyway 😉 ), I don’t expect we’ll be able to take all of that with us.


  60. PoF, I found FIRE almost at the same time that I had decided I simply couldn’t practice medicine anymore!! I guess we just fell into it. My last day at work was August 2 and I am 10 years older than you. Although I plan to keep my license, I am hoping that I never have to practice again. As you point out though, who knows what the future holds? And “never say never” is definitely what life has taught me. I am already enjoying regaining control of my time. I am looking forward to following your journey!!

  61. How amazing!!! This is so inspiring !! we hope someday to be able to do the same. It’s like I was listening to my husband when you were saying how much more you like your free time! He likes his job, but in the same way he likes his free time so much more!! Our dream is to RE and we are working on it!! How exciting that you will be spending time in Ecuador! I am from there and have family there too in Guayaquil and Quito! and yes the Galapagos are breathtaking!!!! If you need any recommendations or guidance I would be more than happy to help!! We have ponder the idea of going there to live for a couple of years!! But for now we will just visit until we are able to pull the trigger .
    Thank you for this post and all the inspiration! Exciting to see your journey and continue learning from your blog!!

  62. Leif
    I enjoy reading your blog. It seems that you’re writing is another job but one that you obviously enjoy. Congratulations

    I am still doing locums work at 66.


  63. Welcome to the fold. It has been interesting to watch your evolution and planning. To be fair characterizing your retirement as 36x according to bogglehead formula misses the point of the hard planning you have done to bullet proof your life, while enjoying the ride.

    We home schooled so were free to travel at the drop of a hat. We used an internet based academy which provided the curriculum. It was a great books Socratic curriculum pretty rigorous but my kids never noticed since it was all they knew. All I needed was internet no matter where we went and school took a few hours a day, not 8.

    I’ve also enjoyed watching as you change perspective from accumulation toward risk management. Even though not fully retired when you quit the W2 all the risk your employer covered comes back to you, and it’s not trivial to manage, maybe 20% of the cost of living. Maybe that will be your book. Not another hack of how to accumulate but a treatise on how to unload and not go broke. A sorely missing subject IMHO. I think it’s the reason Bernstein is so popular because his stuff is a glimpse through the looking glass.

    Good luck and fare well!

    • Gasem, just wanted to mention that I enjoy your “arguments” to many people’s comments and posts. I’ve never been a “yes man”, and enjoy reading/studying healthy debates (and even a few unhealthy).

      • I try NEVER to be unhealthy in a discussion. The point is not to win. If that’s the point everybody looses I’m just another pilgrim.


    • I always appreciate your comments, Gasem, even if I don’t always respond.

      It’s true that my planning and strategizing has evolved as I’ve continued to learn more and prepare for this next phase of life. I’m happy to hear that homeschooling went well for your family and that you’ve been enjoying retirement from an anesthesia career, as well.


  64. So happy for you and jealous I haven’t pulled the trigger myself. Glad that none of my family or friends needed your services when we were having fun at our family cabin on North Long Lake! Would you consider speaking to local docs in the Cities sometime? I know you are in Michigan now and have a lot planned for this upcoming year. Enjoy every minute!

    • Some of my anesthesia coworkers live on North Long — and yes, I’m glad we haven’t yet crossed paths, at least not in the hospital.

      I would say 30% to 50% of our summer night and weekend surgical patients are from out of town.

      I don’t do a whole lot of public speaking, but I don’t mind finding a good excuse to visit Minneapolis. Pair it with a Gophers football weekend, and I might be convinced next fall.


  65. Congrats Leif. Your Odyssey is a wonderful living legacy to leave. A trail for others to follow in their own way and in their own time. Excited to see what comes with location independence and financial freedom.

  66. Congratulations! It has been fun to watch your journey and I will continue to root for you and your family into this next stage.
    Reading your blog and other similar has made me consider the RE part myself. The biggest thing holding me back, other then the money, is children. If you live more traditionally and your kids continue at school your family time is still dictated by the school calendar and I would feel that I might as well work. At least a little 😉
    Your plan does free you from location and regimen but it puts all the work of education on you and your wife. That sounds like a full time job to me. Without a doubt your kids will get an awesome view of the world but you still need to find the time for the “boring” stuff that we all need as a foundation of our education. I would be very interested to hear how this part of the next stage goes in future posts. You mentioned that your wife is a teacher. Did that help knowing that she had the ability and I am assuming the interest in teaching your kids? Will you take an active role in the education? Do you have a plan for activities for the kids that are less mobile like team sports and clubs?
    To be clear I am not being critical I am very interested and curious. I hope that you are planing to broach these topics in future posts. I feel that I am trapped in my location (not that it is a bad thing) for the next 18 years until my youngest gets through high school. It would be great to watch you pioneer these issues and tackle the unknown future challenges.
    Keep up the great work!

    • +1 on being interested in how the road schooling/world schooling process goes, especially as the kids get a bit older and their schooling gets more topic-specific, they want to maintain friendships, etc. Like Lordosis, I think we could afford to RE long before our littlest one(who is currently asleep strapped to my chest) will be our of high school. I suppose the real question may be how to find a job that is seasonal so that I could work while kids are in school but be off whenever they are to enable longer family trips, etc. I’ll have to think more on that…

    • I was excited when we first moved to Brainerd as my older son was about to enter kindergarten. Although we had move for my job a couple of times, I felt confident then that my boys would spend all K-12 years in the same school system and have the same traditional sort of upbringing that I enjoyed.

      Remember what I said about making future plans and prognostications?

      Regarding the education, my wife is a registered dietitian by training. She taught a nutrition class for a community college for a couple of years and substitute taught a couple times a month after about a 10-year hiatus from the classroom. She was usually at our boys’ school and often in their classrooms, so she did get a feel for what happens in a typical day at elementary school.

      We’ve started the homeschooling, and much of their learning is done via workbooks and online, and my wife coordinates it all. My role has been proofreading their writing and helping out here and there when they have questions. As we begin to travel, I anticipate being more active as we learn more about the cultures and the history of the places we visit together.

      There is a huge Worldschooling group on Facebook and families are arranging meetups all over the world. I don’t know a whole lot about it as we haven’t lived it, but follow along and I’ll be sure to share more!

      We’re looking at this as a two-year trial period of extensive travel and we’ll re-evaluate at that point. We’ll have another two years before our older son would be of high school age and we’ll see what they want and what might be best at that point. Right now, I’d say we’re leaning towards settling down for a traditional high school experience for them, perhaps with some dual enrollment in college in the later years, but we’ll see where life takes us.


      • I think it’s fantastic that you have the opportunity to expose your kids to all the wonders this world has to offer. They will learn so much more from your traveling than they’d ever learn in a traditional classroom. Seeing natural and historical sites will no doubt bring the science and history alive in such a way that dry classroom rote learning can’t touch.

  67. Congrats PoF,
    I’m one of the many voyeurs who have enjoyed watching your life from a distance. You have earned your well-deserved freedom.
    We can’t wait to hear more about all the adventures to come. You are making your life your own. That’s great.
    As for me. Well, I have more to say. But I’m studying for a board recertification exam now….

    • Ha! If you love what you do (and I know that you do), you probably enjoy studying for the exam, as well.

      The studying I really need to be doing is in the Spanish language. We’ll be spending about 4 of the next 6 months surrounded by it and I can’t do much more than ask about the bathroom and order a beer (usually in the opposite order, actually).


  68. Congratulations once again Leif. You are now practicing what you preach and it is going to be great reading upcoming posts about you actually being a Physician That FIREd.

    That is pretty serendipitous regarding your replacmenent. Seems like forces and fate aligned both of your paths quite well, especially since if it was not you as the direct contact he would have likely been turned away.

    Looking forward to my first Fin Con in a couple of weeks and meeting you is definitely one of the highlights (as well as meeting some of the other virtual friends I have made thanks to blogging.)

    • Serendipity is right. The odds of a guy from Brainerd (population 13,000) being one of 20-some anesthesia residents the University of Florida takes per year is tiny. And he somehow finds me when I’m trying to figure out the timing of potentially leaving. It was almost too perfect.

      I look forward to meeting you in person at FinCon.


  69. Congratulations, I am very excited for you. This post also provides massive inspiration. I am interested to see what the future holds.

  70. Congratulations! Good Summary of your thought process.

    Good luck and Thank You for being a positive roll model in medicine–a field full of people who I never want to emulate! Your journey is now begun again!


Leave a Comment


Doctor Loan up to 100% Financing

Related Articles

Join Thousands of Doctors on the Path to FIRE

Get exclusive tips on how to reclaim control of your time and finances.