Early Retirement Chose Me

Why on earth would someone put themselves through twelve years of education and training for a career of only about twelve years?

It’s a great question and one that I had best be prepared to answer again and again. My current job as an anesthesiologist is ending in the summer of 2019, and my time away from clinical medicine will be extended and perhaps permanent.

If I put myself in the position of an outsider looking in at this situation, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Here’s a guy who saves all this money just so he can quit his job. How much does this lazy bum despise working?

And why not live a little? He and his family spend $62,000 a year when they could easily afford to double it. So much sacrifice just to punch out a couple decades early.

Early retirement doesn’t make sense when you look at it that way. And that’s how most people, perhaps including you the reader, see it from the outside looking in on this fishbowl. But that’s not how it looks from the inside looking out.


I Never Focused on Early Retirement


When I was in medical school, I focused on drinking from the firehose — that is, learning all that I could about the human body and the many ways it can be assaulted by disease. I focused on approaching different hospital rotations with an open mind. I focused on learning what various types of doctors liked and disliked about their jobs, and discovering which specialty might be the best fit for me. I did not focus on retiring early.

As an anesthesia resident, I focused on maintaining my sanity while working long, stressful hours. I focused on learning enough and doing enough to feel confident as an anesthesiologist who would have no backup in a few short years. I may have focused some extra attention on a particular grad student who caught my eye and later became my wife, but I didn’t once focus on early retirement.

As a practicing physician, I focused on finding a job that would be a good fit for myself and my growing family. I focused on being a good physician citizen, volunteering my time to serve on committees and the hospital Board (which led to me being sued for millions). I focused on maintaining and honing my skills, and building good working relationships with colleagues.

I thought that after twenty years or so, I might want to be a locum tenens physician again once we had an empty nest and the freedom to roam. After that, I figured I might be in good shape to retire early in my mid-to-late fifties, or maybe just press on until I could call myself a decamillionaire.


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Crazy Little Thing Called Financial Independence


When I accepted my current job late in 2013, I was happy with the timing of the move for my family. My elder son would start kindergarten the following year, and both of our boys would have a chance to start and finish their formal schooling in the same K-12 school system, just as my brother and I did. I thought we were done moving around. It was the best job I’d had, and it still is.

Then, something happened.

I read about something called financial independence.

I realized I had that something, a something that meant I didn’t really have to work anymore. Not for money, anyway. That something wasn’t anything I had been chasing. We had simply been living our lives in a way that naturally led us to be financially independent within a decade of launching my career.

It was quite a revelation.


Deciding to Retire Early


So, a couple years ago, I realized that I could realistically retire at any time while maintaining our current lifestyle. This came about in less than half the number of years I had figured I’d be working full time. Being content with the status quo, I wasn’t about to make any sudden changes, but I was ready to start exploring alternatives to maintaining the status quo indefinitely.

Like Josh Gates with a treasure map, I started slashing my way through the jungle of FIRE blogs. Mr. Money Mustache led me to Jim Collins and Mr. 1500. I read about people living out amazing dreams — J.D. Roth touring the country in a motorhome, like Courtney & Steve @ Think Save Retire are doing in their Airstream.

Bob Clyatt, author of Work More, Live Less became a sculptor. Carl Richards, author of The One Page Financial Plan is living with his family in New Zealand. Could we do something like that?

Of course we could.

While none of these guys and gals have stopped earning an income completely, they have stopped working the demanding jobs that allowed them to be financially free. For the most part, their endeavors are location independent and pursued by choice and not out of necessity.

skilled mathlete since 1990

Those who are driven and successful early in life are not likely to go from 6th gear to neutral overnight. Financial independence has allowed them to drive at a more leisurely pace on the roads of their own choosing. Rocky roads are avoided unless we’re talking sundaes.

It’s been a couple years since I realized I was already in One More Year mode, padding the nest egg and donor advised fund, and I’m just beginning to explore the possibility of slowing down. I can’t say exactly how that would be for me; it’s surreal to contemplate the option of working maybe half as much or not at all after keeping the pedal to the metal since junior high.

While it may seem odd, that doesn’t mean it’s not enticing. I feel like I’ve been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live a life less ordinary, and I would be a fool not to explore it further. After more than a year each of contemplation and now writing about the topic, I’m more excited than ever.


Now Boarding Zone One


While I may not have pursued an early retirement, that plane is at the gate, and I’m holding this golden ticket called financial independence. They haven’t called my zone yet, but when they do, I can tell the pilot where we want to go. Why wouldn’t I walk down that jetway and hop on board?


Vieques Plane

where’s the jetway?


Of course, if you’ve read much about retirement, you know it’s best to retire to something, rather than from something. Or better yet, retire on something. I have taken that advice to heart, compiling a list of 50 ways I’d like to spend my time as an early retiree.

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For the first decade, we’ll have our boys with us as we help them navigate those awkward years between elementary school and adulthood. We’ll get to do that as a pair of “stay-at-home” parents, although with the freedom we’ll have, I’m not sure we’ll be all that homebound.

The world is our oyster, and we plan to take full advantage of the time we have with our boys to show them as much of this globe as we possibly can. I’m a lucky man, but I might be third luckiest male in our household.


Luckily, She Chose Me


I am eternally grateful that early retirement chose me, and not the other way around.

If I had discovered the FIRE movement as a medical student, and made early retirement a goal, I might have spent the last fifteen-plus years wishing life away. It would have been awfully tough to embark on a career with the express goal of finding my way out of it.

I’m not saying financial independence shouldn’t be in everyone’s sights. It’s a great goal, and I challenge anyone enjoying a six-figure salary to live on half to expedite the process. It’s true, of course, that you don’t have to hate your job to want financial independence, and you don’t have to retire once you have FI. You can keep right on working as long as you want, but you’ll have the leverage to work in the way that you want.

Regardless, while I am enthusiastically anticipating our upcoming adventures, such an early retirement was not even a blip on my radar screen just a few years ago. It wasn’t until I realized I had the option that I started to consider it.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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Is financial independence or early retirement something you’ve actively pursued? Did you stumble into it by being a diligent saver and investor? Would your retire within five years once you realized you could afford to do so?


  • Great perspective POF. It’s good to hear that people can succeed with FI and FIRE even when it’s not an explicit goal early on in their lives. I’m similar in that I was always interested in saving and investing, but thought FI was something I’d achieve closer to a traditional retirement age. Now I can see that it might be achievable much earlier, although I’m still not sure I want to pull the trigger at an exceptionally young age. I haven’t yet figured out what I would retire to…

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  • FIRE wasn’t on our radar until a few years ago, either. It’s funny how one little concept, when introduced, can completely change the course of your life. That’s what happened with our family. We weren’t always terrible with money and we did do some things “right”, but we definitely could already be early retired had we come across the idea a decade ago.

    For us, we’re chasing time. We want more time to spend with each other and our family. We want more time to travel and explore and make memories. We want more time to just do whatever we want to do without being beholden to a W2 employer. Money is just the tool to get there.

    Congrats on your impending financial freedom! I look forward to reading about all the adventures you’ll enjoy. 🙂

  • Great Article, Your last paragraph summarizes it best.

    At times I need to remind myself that it’s the journey, not the destination that I should enjoy to get the most out of each day.

    Focus and enjoy the process not the result. You appear to embrace the process of living your life on half of what you earn and thus didn’t concentrate on the result until it was right in front of you.

    I see colleagues at work tell me they will be happy when XYZ happens only to see XYZ happen and realize they are still the same unhappy person.

    I think it’s important to have goals we work for, but it’s crucial for us to enjoy and embrace the routines and habits that get us there. That is where we find our day to day happiness.

    If you had been blogging since you were a resident, the entire course of your blog would have changed as you grew into your career and life took you along your course.

    I can’t wait to follow along and see where it will take you next.

    • I hear you, DinD. If only I reached this milestone, lived in this neighborhood, had this gadget, or visited this place… then I would be happier. There’s always something bigger, better, grander.

      Perhaps removing the unpleasant things from our lives is a better place to focus. Removing alligators, as Happy Philosopher says.


  • I enjoy your writing, PoF!

    Reading your last few articles, it seems like you aren’t 100% sure when you’ll actually pull the plug and retire. I’m sure it’s difficult to leave such a rewarding career that you put so much time and effort into. Do you have a target date set?

    I like the idea of creating a list of things to do in retirement. Reading through your list made me a bit, eh, jealous ?

    I’d love to grab a beer soon and pick your brain on some early retirement strategies – I’m 29 and have a few more years to put in!

  • I love that you are retiring to something and I definitely agree that if I had found out about the concept of FIRE earlier in my career that I may have made more sacrifices along the way that may have made the financial journey less enjoyable. I am hoping that I am a few years away from early retirement choosing me as well 🙂

    Thanks as always for sharing your story!!!

  • While I’m not in the camp of wanting to retire early, it is a great feeling to know it’s always an option to jump on that plane. For some people, like yourself, it just fits. Nothing wrong with that. For others we prefer the power of keeping the pilot waiting. Some day our bosses will piss us off just enough and we’ll jump on the plane. Man what a great feeling to have that option.

  • Hatton1

    By living frugally (for a doc) and paying attention to retirement savings you created the options you now have. I am following your decision making process. I suspect that the others in your group will be astounded when you pull the trigger.☺️

    • I’ve been dropping hints for awhile, so it won’t come as a complete shock. I wouldn’t want them to think I’m making a rash decision as part of some sort of mid-life crisis.

      Also, I hope I’m not making a rash decision as part of some sort of mid-life crisis. 😉


  • This is a great point. I’m in a similar place as you having just recently discovered FIRE within the past year. Had I discovered it earlier in my working career, I might not be where I am today. I’m currently working in my dream job for an amazing company that allows me to pursue my goals. My focus since working has been on advancing my career. Had my sole focus been FIRE, I might not be where I am today.

    • Very true, GFinY. If you’re FIRE focused from the onset, you might not have the attitude and mindset the company is looking for in terms of promotion and rising up the ranks.

      Those with the “it’s just a job” mentality are less likely to go the extra mile to earn that promotion, increased salary, you know, the things that will help you achieve FIRE. It’s a bit of a Catch 22.


  • Early Retirement chose you because you took care of your financial self early in life. By saving money instead of spending it, you set yourself up for freedom!

    “Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.”

    You are reaping the pounds!! (No this isn’t a fat joke – I don’t know what you look like 😉 )

    It’s been fun to read about your experiences, I look forward to your content each day!

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  • saveinvestbecomefree

    Great article and you hit on an important topic rarely mentioned in FIRE circles……how it’s more difficult (less happy?) to be striving towards early retirement while working and yet we need years at our jobs to reach early retirement. The ideal option which you mention here is to focus on work, save a lot and then realize with some surprise that you are at or near financial independence at some early point in life and can start day dreaming. I’ve been thinking a lot of how to structure things that way if I was starting over again (look for a future post). It’s a tough one since we sort of need to live in ignorance for a while to enjoy and be patient with the journey.

    Ideally we’d set up our lifestyle so we are saving a lot and automatically pursuing early financial independence. In the meantime, we’d try to forget about it while focusing on our current life. We’d only start dreaming of early retirement later when we were closer to financial independence. Maybe there should be a ban on reading early retirement blogs until someone reaches a net worth of 15x or 20x spending? But only if someone is already saving a lot of their income. We’d want access to articles on things like spending vs happiness to encourage savings early on. We need to gamify the system, leveling up in our FIRE journey, getting access to different topics at different levels 🙂

    It’s an interesting conundrum that many of us luckily navigated by being unaware until late in the journey to FI. But the internet has now changed all that.

    • Excellent thoughts, SIBF.

      There are certainly worse things than being aware of FI from the get-go, but I’m glad I was blissfully unaware. Much worse would be to both unaware of the benefits of FI, and living for today in perpetuity.

      Imagine reading about FIRE a couple decades into your career, and having a negligible net worth to show for it. That would be much more depressing than chasing FIRE from day one.


  • I think in a way (the path to) early retirement chose me too but in a different way. My body reacts strongly and immediately to stressful situations and the daily grind really gets to me, even if it’s work I like! I just don’t feel physically cut out for that 9-5, sit in a chair kind of life. Heck, maybe no one does really!!! I want to spend my days moving…a LOT! Hard to do in most white collar careers methinks.

    • So true, Tonya. I don’t seem to experience much stress or anxiety in my mind, but my body lets me know when I’m having it. We Scandinavians tend to internalize that stuff and remain stoic.


  • POF,

    Love reading about how your thoughts have evolved over this past year. I feel like I’m on a pendulum at times swinging between job frustration and impatience to get out there in the world and a desire to continue building my practice and living the dream of healing people and making a difference where I am now. Oh, and don’t get me started about MOC.. Heh…

    I can’t wait to see what retirement brings you and am cheering you on! Your goals are so similar to the goals my wife and I have been talking about for years. If you do get that motorhome and hit the road, I hope that you’ll swing by the state south of you for a cold beer or two!

    Joe Nomad

    • Thanks, Joe!

      You’ve got cold beer, you say? When did they bring electricity to your state? Or beer for that matter? I thought you only drank grain alcohol and rassled pigs down there.



  • That’s awesome and exciting, PoF!!

    A lot of people go through life working with no end game in mind except retiring in their 60’s (or later!). The opportunity to retire early and actually enjoy life and time with your kids means so much more.

    — Jim

  • “….has allowed them to drive at a more leisurely pace on the roads of their own choosing.”

    What a perfect word picture of what Financial Independence is really all about. Nice post, Doc. Live your life, as you want to live it. We’re blessed to have options.

  • Sweet Mathlete trophy. 😉 Hopefully your sabbatical can work out as well. I wish I could take an extended leave; I think that’s the key to avoiding burnout. Although I did have two weeks off work during the holidays and I came back with a renewed hatred of my job. So eh, maybe it depends. 😉

    P.S. The new logo design is fierce and I love it.

    • Thank you kindly.

      And you can take an extended leave — as long as you’ve got enough money set aside to cover your expenses for the time frame. You may not be able to return to the same job, though, and if I were to work again, I assume it would be elsewhere. Or I may just be done. Time will tell.


  • So you chose the red pill.

    I did too, and what a brave new world this is. I discovered FIRE as a concept only last year, and (fingers, toes, and everything else crossable crossed) hope to be at the finish line by the time I turn 42 (or else I’ll have to change my blog domain and won’t that be a pain the arse). I am grateful for our high salaries and decent savings rate that combine to make our FIRE journey relatively short. I’m not sure I have the constitution for a decades long wait, and I salute those young ‘uns who do.

  • I have an engineering degree, and busted my butt to graduate number one in my class, only to realize early on that I really didn’t like the 9-5 gig. So, in my younger years, I was focusing on how to run my own business and consult, but I eventually realized that was just another job. So, I built up some rental income, so that I can pick and choose how and when I want to work. I actually like my field, I just don’t like full time work. So, now I work part time and I’m planning some travel and philanthropic adventures. Life is good! 🙂

  • This is much more elegant than the way I think of it: I just think having F-U money gives me such freedom!

  • Like Neo discovering the Matrix, exactly! I never went into this current field with FIRE in mind, or anything other than it seemed exciting and was my “original plan” anyway. I just delayed it a bit by taking my time in school, and staying in another career for 6 years before turning to the dark side of geology and joining Big Oil. 🙂

    Like others said, I don’t think I’d be where I am if getting out was my main focus the whole time. Even now, I’m in it more for a Lifestyle Change rather than a full on retirement.Although in my case it will most likely be a transition to Stay at Home dad which sounds way harder than my current job. It should be fun either way though.

  • As someone that found MMM in college, I hold no regrets. My career and choices have been streamlined towards FI. I can attest that waiting for FI is difficult, but I don’t obsess over it and bemoan having to work. Unless it’s a bad day and then I wish I can hit the fast forward button!

    The only thing that makes it really difficult is doing this super-weird-not-normal-for-US-consumeristic-society-thing as a single lady. Makes it even harder to find a partner! My burden to bear though haha!

    • There is a real benefit of knowing what you know when you know it, which is early — much earlier than most. You’ll avoid many of the mistakes made by us Gen Xers who didn’t have blogs to subscribe to or forums to read.

      There might have been forums. But I think they were called chat rooms, and chat rooms were known for pervy behavior. So I avoided the chat rooms.


    • Amen sister! I think finding FIRE blogs straight after graduation was one of the best things to happen to me. Most FI blogs are quite firm on *happiness* being the goal, not just retirement. That has enabled me to think broader, and make choices that are geared towards building a happy life as opposed to just sticking to the status quo and hoping it all works out some day. Sure, it’s changed my choices, but only for the better. I’m still a hustler, baby, to quote Jay-Z! Great post PoF, it’s interesting to see how people who stumbled upon FIRE later in life think it would have negatively altered their enjoyment of the journey, as many commenters seem to believe it would!

  • Another solid post. I agree regarding the Retirement choosing you. It is a better way to be and you are fortunate to have had the opportunity.

    Regarding being a stay at home dad, I always have thought middle school to be the most awkward years for children. You know, body growing, music tastes growing, clothes don’t fit right, and bullies start showing up. I have always wanted to take those 3 years (6th to 8th grade) and home school/travel with my son. Then in 9th grade put him back in school so that he can have a good high school experience (and hopefully make lifelong friends) like I had.

    Kudos to you brother. Keep up the good work.

    • That’s pretty close to what we’re planning, although we didn’t plan that far ahead for it.

      I think you’re right, though, as those are the toughest years when it comes to increased awkwardness, peer pressure, and ***gasp*** puberty happening around that time.

      Like you, we want to be in a more traditional school setting for high school, but if we have some worldly adventures and our boys miss out on middle school / junior high, it wouldn’t be the worst thing.


  • Dr Money Tails

    Part of me wishes I hadn’t found the early retirement community this early on in my career (even though I am 30, I haven’t even started to practice as an attending). The other part wishes I had discovered even earlier – I would’ve saved more money and would’ve been closer to FI.
    I absolutely agree that it is about the journey, and not the destination. But I have to admit I sometimes struggle with my own mind slightly obsessing over FI. I think I really am just a little burnt out at this point (less than 4 months left in fellowship) and I am really really really looking forward to having more time off!

    • I suppose there’s an ideal balance somewhere in between too soon and too late.

      If nothing else, when you start to get attending paychecks, you’ll see some real progress towards FI, and that can be exciting. And you’ll be less likely than most to blow your money on a massive lifestyle explosion.


  • I always wanted to create more financial freedom, but “early retirement” wasn’t really on my radar till shortly before we pulled the plug. I assumed we would wait till I was 40 or 50 or 55. When we found out baby #5 was on the way, I reran the numbers and realized the gap between what we need for our forever number and where we were currently was a small one. So we opted to take a year off. Then opted to be selfishly self employed. I’m glad we were never racing to the exit. Just making good progress while enjoying the journey. =)

  • Agree with the good Dr. on this one: While I always planned an early exit from the job, I never envisioned leaving that early. It’s good that FI snuck up on me like that. Otherwise, the long years in graduate school might have been a bit depressing.
    Of course, the downside would be that those of us who have kids might be raising them with FIRE on their mind a bit too early.
    By the way, I like the idea of a sabbatical. The option of going back to work after the sabbatical is essentially a put option on the retirement finances in case the market disappoints during the first year of retirement.

  • Love the new logo.

    Hard work and sacrifice gave you the the options. Keep it up. Can’t wait to travel along with you (through your writing of course :O) ) as your “escape” route if finally accessed.


  • walrus

    This year I realized I’ve basically hit FI at age 42, as a GI doc. Wheels are in motion to work 3 weeks on 1 week off starting sometime in 2018. I’m in the upper midwest with 5 and 7 years boys.

    My one concern is how much spending will increase when I slow down, as surely it will since I’ll be trying to enjoy my life and hobbies!

  • I’ve experienced the same phenomenon. No real plans to necessarily retire that early, although I always knew I wasn’t going to work for “the man” past 55. It did sneak up on me the way you described. We tend to think of age in a linear way, forgetting that it generally degrades over time. You might be broke at 80 (unlikely), but at least you spent your prime years living how you wanted to. Thanks for the perspective!

    • Glad to hear it, Max.

      With an anticipated withdrawal rate of 3% or less, I’ll be awfully upset if I’m broke at age 80. I’m working a few extra years to greatly decrease the likelihood of such an outcome. And yes, doing our best to love how we want in the meantime.


  • Jon

    As a well decorated mathlete, perhaps you can see the analogy between physicians and great athletes. Some stick around their respective professions a year or two too long and some are gently nudged out if not fully shoved out the proverbial saloon doors into the dirt street. In your case, you get to “retire” at the top of your game a la John Elway ( and some would say his 2nd act as a general managerial type has been equally as successful ) and ride off into that FIRE ? sunset. It’s been a fun journey to watch…looking forward to your “4th quarter” of this particular “game”.

  • I’m glad to see this post because when I came across your blog I was asking that exact question: Who would put themselves through med school just to retire early?

    Of course I totally agree that ER is like something calling you and we just started listening ourselves but it was bugging me and I’m glad to see you answer it.

    Keep up the good work!

  • George K

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and this article is a great summary about the mindset a person needs for early retirement and then having the time and means to do so many other things in life. I have been doing this for the last 16 years what you’ve been writing about in your blog, and I feel our family has lots of similarities to yours (I am an EM physician, living in upper midwest, spending much less than we earn, over $2mil saved and planning on ending clinical medicine at age 50 if not earlier). We very much enjoy the freedoms that come with not having to work full time and not having to make a certain amount of income to pay for all the “things” in our lives that aren’t really important. 2 years ago our family of three took a 3 month sabbatical to a few European countries and SE Asia right before our daughter started kindergarten. It was such a fantastic life experience that we are looking forward to trying to do it again in another few years. Anyhow, I really enjoy reading your blog and please keep up the great work!

    • A 3 month sabbatical with your young one? How great to have put yourself in a position to do such a thing? And to be completely free of work obligations while she’s still home with you.

      Keep up the strong work, and best wishes on your FIRE journey.


  • This is the smoothest FIRE transition ever… Life is just way too easy for you. 🙂
    I think it’s really great that you’re doing it this way, though. My ER transition was very bumpy. I’m glad I’m here now, but it was rough for a few years. I think most people needs a jolt to shock them out of their normal routine.
    I’m sure you’ll love the sabbatical.

  • Wow! What a great success story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow POF! Perfectly stated. Like you, our family didn’t choose F.I.R.E. I was raised in a family that was middle class at best and my wife not even that. We lived a bit more lavishly than the lifestyle we grew up in, but knew that we both came from families that were already happy and we didn’t need to spend 6 figures every year, even if we were able to. Wealth building was simply an automatic function of living a lifestyle that made us happy.

    Another key point that you nailed is that you should be very careful about focusing on FIRE. Once we started to focus on it a few years ago, we drove ourselves into an unnecessary rut and a lot of dissatisfaction focusing on what we didn’t have, rather than what we did. It took me about a year to get my mind right and return to the person I had been for years. We already were doing 90% of things right. Set your life on auto-pilot and then just be patient.

  • Jason

    Awesome blog. Amazing you find the time to write while raising two kids and working fulltime as an anesthesiologist! Kudos! I feel like i was reading a blog about myself as we mirror each other in many ways. Im a perfusionist in the bay area spending about 62k a year. Im an 46 y/o avid investor and by chance came across some blogs on FIRE like MMM and discovered we could retire with our accumulated net worth sitting at $2.2mil. Its been an exhilarating feeling to know my wife and i could just call it quits and do whatever we want. We have just recently purchased an RV and plan to work part time for fun for a few more years and travel around the west enjoying what we love … the outdoors. We may even call it quits sooner and fulltime rv for a few years. I very much look forward to following your journey and if your ever in the bay area feel free to look me up. Cheers

  • Arkad

    Great post. I found FIRE a different way. Never thought at all about retirement. Just put money away and lived well below our means because we slept better at night doing so. Loved work and figured I would work until I couldn’t. Some changes came along and the work changed and the started thinking about our future. Only then did we realize we could walk away anytime we want. In retrospect we should have planned for it better and, depending on how you look at it, we either got lucky or just did the right things for different reasons. It is a lesson I try to tell younger docs now. Make sure you leave options open just in case things change in life.

  • Task rabbit

    I just found this website and find it very inspiring. Reading every post… I am early in my MD career and so far have 3 M (mostly pre-tax) in savings at age 36, but to me it has always been just a bunch of numbers in a bunch of accounts. I never reflected about what it actually meant.

    Just like you, I focused on learning, more learning and working long hours. I never considered early retirement, but I already feel exhausted and burned out. It does not help that I have senior partners in their mid-seventies working even harder than I am, which makes me feel guilty that I do not have the strength or the ability to do more when I see them doing 12 hour shifts day in day out. My dream is to eventually work part time and spend time hiking in the beautiful national parks in the West. I have never considered this seriously, but now I see the possibility.

  • This is such a healthy way to approach this.

  • JJcerise

    Just recently discovered your website. I also am an Anesthesiologist (age 45) and am beginning to toy with the possibility of early retirement. I totally get your feelings of burnout. The one cost that seems to radically throw things a bit out of balance for us is college for three kids. They all seem to have Ivy league aspirations but this can cost upwards of 50k a year. Our hope is that they will get merit scholarships which takes certain schools off the table. Also still working on getting wife on board. So guess we are also struggling to find the magic number for retirement. Nice to see someone throw a number out there. I run in to much higher and much lower retirement numbers from various other sources. Regardless will be interested in seeing if/when you pull the trigger. Do like your idea of possibly doing some locums work as a part time job. Thanks.

  • Looks like I’m coming to this post quite late, but I agree with it all! Especially the bit about early retirement finding you and not the other way around. I’m only a few years into working, and I think I might have found out about FIRE a few years too early… in that most of my thoughts lately have been around “what do I need to do to retire ASAP”. This was a super grounding post to read in reminding me to calm the f*** down since I’m solidly in my 20s. I’ve been a lurker of this site for a few months since discovering it, but this was an especially relevant post for me, so I just had to comment!

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  • Lynne

    Late post, but I was interested to discover that PoF discovered FI by happenstance. Mine was more deliberate, and a direct result of the stress and insecurity I had during the Great Recession. Our jobs were threatened, literally, every week during the department meeting. It actually gave me a panic attack, and my closest coworker would go home after the meeting and start drinking. I decided that F-U money was a paramount goal.

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