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The Sunday Best (1/15/2017)

The Sunday Best is a collection of a handful of posts I share with you each week. With so many informative and inspirational writers out there, I have no trouble coming up with a number of worthwhile reads each week.

Every featured post should be of interest to any physician seeking financial independence. Some will be written by your physician colleagues; others will be written by our friends and patients who share common goals and interests.

Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:


What if I told you The White Coat Investor and Future Proof MD got together for a Q&A? Would you read it? Of course you would. Future Proof Docs: White Coat Investor. Bonus read (Q&A with PoF): Christopher Guest Post: White Coat Investor.


We read about Medicare this week on this site, but that’s a long ways off for an early retiree. Joe Udo @ Retireby40 discusses bridging that gap in Budgeting for Healthcare When You Retire Early.

Podcast fans may find David Denniston’s Doctor Freedom Podcast worth a listen. He’s featured a number of your favorite physician personal finance bloggers, and in a recent show, he featured my story and my writing in How This Doctor Can Retire by 45 (Case Study).


Have you seen the Millionaire series on ESI Money? Learn the secrets of his first four guests in these inquisitive interviews: Millionaire Interview #1 / Millionaire Interview #2 / Millionaire Interview #3 / Millionaire Interview #4


In an oldie but goodie, the Sensei @ Senior Resident kicked off his Finance Friday series with a post combining medical jargon and a personal finance glossary. Talking the Talk.


Do you favor minimalism? More of a maximalist (my word)? EJ the cardiologist @ Dads Dollars & Debts gives us another word in this thoughtful post: Moderatism versus Minimalism?


Here’s a little more food for thought from the Wealthy Doc. Aside from the “Don’t even think about giving it all up and “retiring,”” line, I found the post to be a succinct piece of philosophy. Three Boxes of Life.


More than a dozen personal finance bloggers, including Financial Samurai, Justin @ Root of Good, and Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents, and I answered the question. Four Pillar Finance asked Where Were You When You Were 23?


Is Work-Life Balance Possible for Doctors? A good question posed by medical student Steven Zhang of Scope, and hosted by KevinMD. After more than a decade in practice, I’m still trying to find the answer.


Update: Remember this guest post from Dr. Roberson about the High Cost of Being a Good Physician Citizen? Long story short, the $3,000 “CME Fund” failed to cover his basic costs of maintaining memberships and licensure, let alone attending a conference.

Well, as my Dad says, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Dr. Roberson asked for more, and got more. Will I see you at the ASA Annual Meeting in Boston this fall, Dr. R?

One of the more popular threads on the WCI Forum this week was a discussion of career satisfaction. We were asked to grade our satisfaction / enjoyment with practicing medicine on a 1 – 10 scale. Most respondents reported somewhat surprisingly high numbers.

That’s a good thing, but not necessarily reflective of what you hear and read. Perhaps those of us who are actively engaged in the discussion and choose to respond are among the more satisfied doctors. We are likely more financially savvy than most, and many are either early in our careers (and less jaded) or near financial independence (jaded, but less bothered by it).

One theme that emerged was that many of the docs admitted they were fairly happy with their jobs (7 or 8 out of 10), but loved their lives outside of medicine (10 or 11 out of 10). Being a doctor is rewarding in its own right, but also can permit a really good life if you can create a schedule that allows for a life outside of medicine. For some, that’s easier said than done.



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How did I answer? Before I was financially independent, I would have called it an 8. I am proud of the work I do, and generally well respected and highly compensated. As I’ve said before, there are things I will miss when I’m no longer a practicing physician.

Now that I’m financially independent and closing in on financial freedom, I’m calling it a 5. Just like the others in the forum, I enjoy my days off more than my workdays. And we’ve got a lot going on away from work!

There’s this site. It takes time. I love doing it, but I can’t deny it is quite time consuming.

We try not to overschedule our boys, but in addition to school, we juggle piano lessons, skiing and swimming lessons, and we’ve recently added choir and guitar. In the spring, there will be soccer, and of course there are playdates, biking, running, Legos, Pokémon, and on and on.

The grown-ups like to play, too. This weekend, we had functions both Friday and Saturday evening. I’ve got weekly curling league, and occasionally double up with a homebrew club meeting on the same night. We’ve got friends in town, friends out of town, a love of travel, and only so much time to do it all.

That’s why an early retirement appeals to me. Steven Zhang asked if work-life balance is possible for doctors. I believe it is, but it’s a lot easier if you minimize or eliminate the work part.



Have a great week!

-Physician on FIRE

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17 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (1/15/2017)”

  1. Thanks for the collection of posts. I really liked RB40’s post about budgeting for the cost of healthcare in retirement. Since many of us have subsidized health care through our employers, I think it’s an easy expense to overlook.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Thanks for the inclusion….

    I am glad to be in Cali and not deal with the cold winters of the Northeast any more. In fact I spent the weekend planting fruit trees to bear future fruit (both literally and metaphorically…a future post to come).

    Regarding work-life satisfaction, it is a fickle thing. Some days are amazing, others are brutal. Therefore I think it really does fluctuate. At the end of the day we are taking care of others lives and that can be exhausting if done properly.

    Regarding blogging- it is definitely time consuming. I write posts once my son goes to bed as I appreciate that the time with him at this stage in his life (toddler) is short and soon enough he will be a teenager and disengaged from my shenanigans. My wife then proofs them (also once our son is asleep)…so we have our day jobs and the blog has become our night jobs.

    Stay warm….

    • Blogging is great fun, but it can be as time consuming as a part-time job. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

      Good luck with those trees – we’ve had decent luck with apple and plum trees in a much colder climate.


  4. From where I am now, work-life balance seems relatively out of reach. Perhaps that will change once I finish training and begin controlling my own destiny? Or does anyone really control his/her own destiny?

    Thanks for the shout out PoF. The “Where Were You At 23?” post was great. Love real life stories.

    • In residency and fellowship, forget about it. Sorry, FPMD, but the seesaw will be tilted heavily towards work for awhile.

      We may not control fate or destiny, but if you believe in free will, we do get to make choices. Choose a flexible job that pays well when you’re finished with training, and have the best of both worlds.


  5. Wow, you really have your kids in a lot of activities? How do you manage to juggle all those activities?

    My kids are still pretty young so we don’t have these kinds of activities….yet. So I guess this is more of a parenting question rather than a person finance question. 🙂

    • It didn’t seem that bad until I typed it all out! My wife does the bulk of the transporting and waiting, etc… but we’ll both go skiing with them this afternoon.

      Some are weekly obligations, others just once or twice a month. We manage and make sure there’s still time for play.

  6. Ha! Is “work-life balance is possible for doctors[?] I believe it is, but it’s a lot easier if you minimize or eliminate the work part.”
    This might be the quote of the decade.
    Congrats on all your successes and your progress toward eliminating the work part. Hopefully your blog will stay even when your on-call hours go.

    I would also guess that the survey responses on satisfaction are skewed since it’s not exactly a random sample of physicians, but good for them!
    My first few years out of residency were spent trying to learn the ropes, but now I realize that the system is fatally flawed. It does change often, though, so it will be interesting to see what’s in store for us in the next few years.

    • Thanks, Julie!

      The blog will live on — continued writing will be part of my retiring to something.


  7. Lots of great side posts, thanks for sharing! I’m only getting started with my blog, and can confirm that it takes A LOT more time than I had originally anticipated. I have a much deeper respect for those personal finance bloggers out there who keep cranking posts out, especially those with full time jobs.

  8. Happy Sunday, indeed! Thanks for the podcast recommendation. I’m going to start listening to a few while at work to fill the time. 🙂

    It’s funny, the closer I get to FI the less satisfied I feel with the 9-to-5. I used to try to find meaning and purpose in daily work, but I’m way more fulfilled with the life we’ve built outside of work. The only downside is we have about ten years until FI, so it’s a challenge to stay motivated. 😉

    • I hear that. Frankly, I’m glad I wasn’t really aware of the whole FIRE concept until I could just about afford to pull it off.

  9. I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.
  10. I think you’re dealing with selection bias with the answers to that job satisfaction poll. The people who love their jobs are going to enthusiastically reply to that thread, along with tell everyone that their net worth is $2,000,000 by age 35, they beat the stock market by 5% in 2016, and they make $500,000 a year as a specialist. In medical school they probably posted on SDN that they got 260 on Step 1 and got into their #1 choice on their match list.

    That being said, I think that if your finances are under control, as many WCI and PoF readers are, work is less stressful and job satisfaction goes up. On Wall Street, job satisfaction is highly correlated with the size of your bonus in January 🙂

    • You’re definitely onto something there. Ask the same career satisfaction question at Sermo, and you’ll see a lot of answers under 5 on a 10 point scale.



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