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Christopher Guest Post: Tawcan

Welcome to today’s Christopher Guest Post, a Q&A Q & Eh interview series that I will run every few weeks to get you better acquainted with some excellent fellow writers who have graciously accepted my invitation to be showcased here for you.

Today, I am pleased to feature a young man who hails from the land of milk & honey Molson & hockey. The FI-minded Canadian has been blogging about personal finance and early retirement for nearly two and a half years at Be sure to check him out.

What’s a Christopher Guest post?

Inspired by Nigel Tufnel, the character portrayed by Christopher Guest in Spinal Tap, I took Mr. 1500’s ten questions, and amped them up to eleven. If you’re not familiar with the scene, take 50 seconds to watch this video and enjoy the dialog between Nigel and Rob Reiner.

I decided I’d start a Q&A of my own. Not satisfied with just ten questions, this one goes to eleven. Just like Nigel’s amplifiers.

Presenting: Tawcan


What do you do (or did you do) for a living? What do you like best about your job? If you were a physician, what type of a physician do you think you would be? Why?

I’m a mad scientist working for Dr. Evil developing “Death Star v5.7” in a top secret lab located in Vancouver, Canada BC. What I like about my job is the fact I get to ride my pet polar bear to work every day and I get to work and play with technology on a daily basis.

I’m kidding of course. J

I would love to be a neurosurgeon if I were a physician. The human nervous system is simply fascinating and it would be super interesting to be able to learn more about it. Besides, how cool would it be to say that you operate on someone’s brain? *mad evil scientist (errr doctor) laugh*

[PoF: When I think of Canada, I do indeed think of Polar Bears. Vancouver, though? Does it even snow for real there, or do people freak out and forget how to drive when you get a couple inches of snow?]


Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.

In a nutshell, my blog is about my quest for joyful life and financial independence early retirement (FIRE). While I chronicle my quest on becoming financially independent through dividend stock investing and other passive income streams, I also realize that having all the money in the world means nothing if you can’t find joy in your life (contrary to popular belief, happiness and joy are VERY different).

That’s why I write philosophical, self-improvement, and perhaps sometimes controversial topics occasionally. Being a dad of two little kids, I also focus a lot of my writings on family related topics. It’s simply too boring to write about money all the time and it’s probably boring to read as well.

I think my blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE because as a former engineer, I write and think very logically like physicians. I love analyzing data and finding multiple solutions to tackle a problem.

[PoF: Engineers are some of my favorite peeps. They know how to enjoy and analyze any situation / process / thing at any given time. I also appreciate that your writing incorporates family. I’ve got a couple youngish ones myself.]


What inspired you to start a blog of your own? Was there a particular event you remember that made you feel your blog had arrived? Any big plans for your blog in the future?

Before starting my own blog, I had been reading personal finance blogs for a very long time. The idea of starting a blog to record my own FIRE journey was super appealing but I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. After about 6 months of pondering, I finally decided to start my blog and laid down some ground rules for myself on what I will and will not share on the internet (i.e. remain somewhat anonymous, not share actual net worth numbers, etc).

I don’t know if I would call my blog had arrived. I am still a small time blogger compared to some more established bloggers.

My big plans for my blog in the future is to cure cancer! Oh wait it’s not that kind of blog. J I plan to continue writing articles that I enjoy writing. Hopefully some people will find my articles appealing enough to continue coming back.

[PoF: Don’t sell yourself short, eh. According to Alexa, you’ve got one of the top 80,000 websites in all of Canada.]

Give me eleven posts you think Physician on FIRE readers might want to read.

Physician on FIRE, you sure like the number eleven, eh?

Have-Do-Be or Be-Do-Have? That is the question: Talking about what defines who we are and what if we do not have a past? What is you can live as if you are a new person without any past?

So my parents call me boring: Can you believe my parents actually called me boring?

Don’t be ordinary, be extraordinary: A two part series (Part 2 here) where I explained why it’s extraordinary to achieve financial independence at an age where we are still in good health to enjoy our lives to the fullest.

Do the choices you make in life make you a happier person: Another philosophical article on why life unexamined is not worth living and why life is more than just having money.




Weird things I did to save money in my 20’s: A fun post on crazy and weird things I did to save money a decade ago.

10 lessons I would give to my 23-year-old self: This is pretty self-explanatory. If I could go back in time and use these 10 lessons, I would be doing pretty well today.

Using Google Spreadsheet for dividend investment: I am a secret spreadsheet nerd, so I love playing with spreadsheets. I suspect many physicians are the same way.

What rock climbing has taught me about financial independence: Rock climbing in my younger days has taught me many things about financial independence.



How much do you need to retire: Numbers, numbers, and more numbers! You get the drift. J

Are you focusing on the wrong things: Our mind is a powerful tool, learn to use it to our advantage.

Achieve financial independence and explore the world: I have been bitten by the travel bug, so one of my goals once we achieve FIRE is to travel around the world.

[PoF: Great list, and yes, I do have a thing with the number eleven. Also, I’ve been bitten by that same bug. See you somewhere on this globe in the future!]


At what age are you most likely to retire (or at what age did you retire) from full-time work? What are you doing to help realize your retirement target?

According to the financial independence early retirement spreadsheet calculator that I created we should be able to reach FIRE in about 10 years. But we’re not set on a specific date. If I retire from full-time work at 35, that’s awesome, if I retire from full-time work at 40, that’s awesome; if I retire from full-time work at 45, that’s awesome too. The goal is to become financial independent so we can have more freedom and flexibility. Reaching FI doesn’t mean I will stop working, chances are I’ll probably still work part time but doing something different.

To realize our dream of FIRE, we are working hard to save as much money to invest in dividend paying stocks and other passive income streams.

[PoF: You’ve got a great outlook. It’s not all about making every sacrifice to reach the goal ASAP — enjoying the journey is key.]

What does an ideal retirement look like for you? What will you do with your time when full-time work is in your rearview mirror?

I discussed my possible retirement life would be like in this post. The ideal retirement to me means I get to decide when and what I want to do. Since I still enjoy my full-time work, I may decide to work for a more years after reaching financial independence. My ultimate dream is to be able to travel the world. By travel around the world I don’t mean city hopping backpacking style. Rather, I imagine living in a specific country for an extended period of time and get to learn the local culture. This approach will also allow us to travel the surrounding area.

[PoF: Again, we have similar plans. I’m one more year in since becoming FI, with a couple more to go. The idea of “slow travel” is very appealing.]



I’ll give you eleven sentences to dish out advice to a young physician. Any and all advice is welcome. We talk about personal finance, so money is fair game, but if you have advice on being a better doctor, a better parent / spouse / friend / human, we’re all ears.

Don’t spend all your time at the hospital. Remember that family life is very important, especially when you have young kids. Kids grow up so quick. Don’t miss out on their developmental and life milestones because you are in the middle of your fourth 12 hour shift of the week. Do not try to keep up with all your physician co-workers. Keeping up with the Joneses is a stupid game to play. Learn what is important to you and what brings joy to your life. Save as much as you can for a better future.

[PoF: Excellent advice. I can tell you have kids :)]

You’ve got eleven days to visit anyplace in the world with an $11,000 budget. Where do you go and what do you do?

I would love to go to Antarctica but I think it will cost more than $11,000. L

So, I would go to Australia because I have never been there. I would love to go to New Zealand too but 11 days isn’t enough to explore two countries. I would split a week between Sidney and Melbourne. The rest of the time I would love to check out the Australian outback.

[PoF: Sounds great, mate! I hope to be there in a couple years, and for more than eleven days. I’ll let you know how it goes.]


Name eleven beverages you enjoy. You can be as general or specific as you like.

I used to drink a lot of coffee but recently went on a 1.5 month break. I now drink coffee but only by choice not because I “need it.” I also rarely drink alcohol and pop so coming up with 11 beverages that I enjoy might be tough but here it goes:

  • Milk – I used to drink 1 gallon per week by myself when I was in my 20’s. I kid you not.
  • Water – best way to keep hydrated without getting any calories
  • Rooibos latte – My recent discovery after my self-imposed ban on coffee and caffeinated drinks.
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Coffee – latte is my choice.
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Innis & Gunn – Good tasting beer except it’s a bit expensive.
  • Water
  • Rosé wine – Funny story…Mrs. T and I ordered a bottle of rosé wine when we were honeymooning in Italy. It was hot and the icy cold rosé tasted so good. We planned to drink half bottle and save the rest but ended up drinking the entire bottle. We stumbled our way back to the hotel.

[PoF: Lightweight.]




Now, eleven foods.
  • Sushi/Sashimi – I have been fortunate to visit Japan many times (both for business and vacation) and I am in love every time I am in Japan because the yummy sushi & sashimi.
  • Ramen – I love a hot bowl of ramen. Yum!
  • Cheese – I LOVE cheese!
  • Seafood pasta – My love for seafood and noodles combined in a dish
  • Tofu, especially stinky tofu – I’m originally from Taiwan hence for this weird love. Being from Denmark originally, Mrs. T doesn’t like tofu. So we rarely eat tofu at home.
  • Paella – I had the chance to eat paella in Spain many years ago. Absolutely loved this dish. We occasionally make paella at home.
  • A really good hamburger- Can’t go wrong with a burger here and there.
  • Italian style pizza – Hard to beat fresh tomato sauce and some simple yet fresh toppings.
  • Grapes – Chilled grapes are pretty awesome
  • Cherries – Fresh picked cherries from Okanagan Canada are simply delicious
  • Steak – I don’t eat steak that often but I won’t say no to a juicy medium rare steak (T-bone, Surloin, Ribeye, Filet mignon, bring them all on)




How did you first learn about What one piece of advice do you have for me?

I first learned about through another blog. Continue writing awesome articles and continue to rock!


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[PoF: I’ll do my best! Thank you for taking the time to answer my ridiculous questions. This was a fun Q & Eh. Best of luck on your own FIRE journey, and I look forward to reading more from you over the coming years. Cheers!]


Interested in hearing how other top personal finance bloggers have answered these questions? Check out additional Christopher Guest Posts from many of the top personal finance bloggers:


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23 thoughts on “Christopher Guest Post: Tawcan”

  1. Nice to get to know you Tawcan. I’m now going to head off to your blog to get to know you even better : )

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the water. Water is yum. Mr. BITA is very strange in that he doesn’t much like water and finds it ‘boring’ – it was one of the most shocking things I discovered about him, and I had to think long and hard about linking my lot with such a weirdo.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. I appreciate Tawcan’s philosophical posts and his outlook on life beyond the financial aspects. I know there were a few post I read that really influenced me. Keep up the great work.

  4. I honestly didn’t get the Q&Eh reference until the end which is a bit funny since I have some Canadian friends and tease them often. :O)

    Love your focus on family. Water and Tea are my favorite beverages. I can’t drink alcohol, but even when I could, I never liked beer. Time is that thing that we can’t get back. Glad to be able to enjoy some of your journey with you.

    cd :O)

  5. Q and Eh, hilarious! Hey Tawcan, nice interview. Even though I often refer to living in a trailer eating Ramen as my FIRE fail scenario – I still love a nice bowl of Ramen when done well. 🙂 I was curious how you were going to fill the 11 beverages question, well played. 🙂

    • Awesome interview! I love it when two blogs I enjoy so much team up like this. In addition to all fun facts (rosé all day?!), I love the focus on the journey. Thanks for sharing more about Tawcan, PoF!

  6. You have a great site Tawcan! One of my favorite reads from your site was the philosophical post about money and happiness that you linked to here! Thanks for sharing a little more about yourself here. It’s always great to get more insight “across the miles” with some of your favorite writers!

  7. Nice to get to know you Tawcan. I came across your blog only about a week ago, so this Christopher Guest Post is great timing for me to get to know you a little better. Good luck on your FIRE journey. I’ll be following along.

  8. Very cool post Tawcan, I especially like the upfront note to physicians to remember to spend time with family. It’s something so simple to say but so easy to lose track of in our day to day hustles to get ahead. Yet it tends to be the biggest regret for not doing for the elderly.

  9. I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.
  10. Mmmm….ramen!

    Great “Q & Eh” PoF… Love that little Canadian joke.

    I’ve always liked Tawcan’s site, so it’s great to learn more about him. I never knew he was from Taiwan! He’s also a Pacific Northwesterner like myself!

  11. Nice interview, Tawcan! I used a drink milk non-stop when I was in high school. What kind of milk do you drink? Whole, low, 1%, or non-fat? 🙂

    Good luck on your FIRE journey. You definitely have it right to enjoy the entire journey along the way. Cheers!


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