Today is the 51st edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.
A wise man once said:
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
This quote can also be twisted around to apply to frugality. When I was a college student, I was supporting myself on under $40/week. I was completely frugal. I had to be.
While I’m still frugal now, my lifestyle did expand when I started getting paid: Good-bye spaghetti 5 times/week! However, I still live modestly, saving most of my income.
Recently, I learned that there are physicians on the frugality/ early retirement blogwagon. This is awesome! I love to see people at the top of the income heap who choose to live a restrained life in favor of saving and investing. To rephrase the quote:
“The true measure of frugality in a man is found when he has almost infinite money to spend.”
Today, we have Physician on FIRE. If this Dr. Dude doesn’t make you laugh out loud, there’s something wrong with you. He’s an anesthesiologist, so perhaps he can hook you up with some laughing gas?
Before we begin, I’d like to thank Mr. & Mrs. 1500 Days for giving me a platform to publicize my blog and its mission. I intend to take full advantage of this opportunity, and will absolutely pepper the page with links back to PhysicianOnFIRE.com, a practice the instructions explicitly encourage. Thanks!
I reached out to Mr. 1500 when I realized I was more or less his evil Up North twin. We’re both about the same age, with 2 kids about the same ages, spend too much time at Home Depot, plan to retire early, share a zeal for science, Diet Dew and craft beer, and of course, have a blog. I’m not sure how he feels about run-on sentences, semi-colons, hyphens, and Oxford commas; I’m all about them, though.
Now, on with the 11 questions. That’s right. This one goes to eleven.
1. Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
I offer perspectives on life and personal finance that can be helpful to most everyone, but I’m specifically targeting my physician colleagues. Doctors are in a rut. The burnout rate is skyrocketing. There are real consequences for the individual physician, and for society at large.
Frustrated doctors can’t deliver the best care. Depressed doctors will find a way out; the suicide rate of female physicians is double that of non-physicians. Efforts are underway to identify and correct some of the underlying causes of burnout, and I’m glad to see the issue being recognized and addressed.
I’m approaching the issue from a financial perspective. I see other doctors trying to buy happiness. Work more, spend more, smile more? Nope. Not working.
My message is this: work some, spend more time doing the things you want with the people you care about, spend less, and create the life you deserve with financial independence. My goal is to educate, entertain, and enlighten my readers, leaving them informed and inspired to consider living a life unlike the stereotypical spendthrift doctor.
2. What post(s) are you most proud of and why?
I made it plural; I gotta get my links in! I recently wrote up a very actionable 20 Steps to Effective DIY Investing. I think it’s a great starting point, chock full of resources and links to sites better than mine, that can help anyone who’s wondering “how do I get started with investing?”. Investing Fees Will Cost You Millions is a true statement, and you don’t have to be a big saver for this to be true. Writing about the Things I’ll Miss gave me a renewed appreciation for the positive aspects of the work that I do.
3. Do you enjoy writing?
I hate it with a passion. I’d rather trail the Budweiser’s Clydesdales’ parade route with a wheelbarrow and shovel. I hear that gig even comes with some free America!
Seriously, what kind of question is this?
Of course I enjoy writing. I love it. I learn a lot of useful information when I research articles and run numbers, or attempt to answer readers’ questions in a way that makes me seem halfway competent. I learn a lot about myself and my ambitions when I think about what I want my future, and my family’s future, to look like.
Writing for the blog has given me a novel challenge. I want to connect with readers and be influential. This endeavor has given me something new and different to get excited about. I usually wake up at 5:15 a.m. for work, and I tend to stir around that time on my off days. I used to fall back asleep easily. Now, I usually start thinking about what to write next, or ways to improve the site, and gladly get up and get at it.
I enjoy my job, and take it quite seriously, but there isn’t anything else in my career that I want to achieve. I’ve held leadership positions, worked exclusively with veterans for a spell, and have now settled into a good job. The only new adventure I might consider would be an overseas locum tenens job to finish out my career. Writing for the blog, every original post is a sort of new adventure for me.
4. 1500 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?
I do have early retirement dreams. After all, I am the Physician on FIRE, with the RE meaning Retire Early. The FI part has been taken care of. I could afford to retire now based on our current lifestyle, but I choose to continue working for now. I shared the reasons that I didn’t Retire by 40 with the readers of Joe Udo’s Retire by 40 site a few months ago.
Ask me today, and I’ll tell you 45 is my target retirement age, which is five years away. Ask me tomorrow, it might be different. In doctor years, 45 would be considered fairly extreme in terms of early retirement. We tend to graduate with a lot of debt in our thirties, and have invested a great deal of time and life energy to have the privilege of doing this.
I’m in the middle of my first OMY – that’s one more year for the uninitiated. I’m still working because I kinda like my job most days, I like the idea of a huge safety margin, and I need time to build up our donor advised fund to 10% of our invested assets, a goal I’ve incorporated into my IPS. I like to justify things; I can more easily justify walking away from a lucrative career if I’ve already earmarked a big pile of money to be given away.
5. If blogging isn’t your full time gig, what is?
By day (and sometimes night), I’m an anesthesiologist. I get to be part of a team that ensures a patient’s safety and strives to provide patient comfort throughout the surgical experience. I also get called upstairs to L & D strike down labor pains with epidural catheters, or obtain intravenous access in tiny newborn babies. I sometimes get called downstairs to the E.D. to place a breathing tube for someone who isn’t breathing effectively (or at all), or perform a lumbar puncture (Spinal Tap) in a patient with new neurologic symptoms.
It can be rewarding, and it can be stressful.
When I’m away from work, I try not to let my job define me. I’d rather be known as a homebrewer of tasty IPAs, a decent picture taker, a good Dad, and a do-it-yourselfer. People expect doctors to act a certain way, and I don’t necessarily fit the mold.
6. When you are 110 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
I would like my great, great grandchildren to think of their great, great grandparents as people who have given a lot more than they have taken, lived a meaningful, exciting life, and can swallow their mushy food without too much fuss.
If my last name ends up on a building, or maybe a wing of a building, or a plaque in the breakroom, that would be a nice added bonus.
Half of my blog’s revenue will be directed to charitable causes, in accordance with its charitable mission. As I have said, I like to justify my actions, and a promise to give away half of any proceeds makes me feel better about placing ads on the site to generate money. Speaking of money…
7. Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?
The short answer is “yes”. My Dad was a dentist and so was his dad.
The long answer is “not really”. We grew up living a comfortable, middle class lifestyle, but we rarely bought things that weren’t on sale. Our family was “Frugal Without a Cause“. We spent hours “garage saling” on Saturday mornings, and collecting and splitting wood in the afternoon. The house doesn’t heat itself, you know. We went to public schools, and got jobs when we were 16. There was no silver spoon.
8. Did your parents teach you about money as a kid? How so?
I came to realize that my parents had money, but chose to spend it wisely. In that regard, they taught by example, and mindful spending is a behavior I’ve adopted in adulthood.
My Dad taught me the Rule of 72 for the doubling of money, harnessing the power of compound interest. We started IRAs with the money we earned in our high school jobs. The foundation for my blog was laid 25 years ago. It took me 24 years to realize it.
9. What is your favorite style of beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
A picture is worth 1,000 words, and I think I exceeded my word allotment several questions ago. Favorite beers are like Lay’s potato chips. I can’t have just one, so here’s a sampling.
10. What is the best thing you’ve read lately?
Easy. This post. I just proofread and I have to say it’s the best thing I’ve read in minutes, perhaps hours. For more of my favorite reads, I will refer you to my Sunday Best series, which includes 5 noteworthy articles from the recent and sometimes distant past.
I don’t read books nearly as often as I’d like. There’s never enough time. I have read some quality personal finance books in recent months, but I’ll refer readers to Rockstar Finance’s Best Money Books. Several of my recent reads are on that list and RSF has been good to me. Buy them all!
11. What do you do for exercise?
In a perfect life, I would be working out 4 to 5 times a week. I’m lucky to get in half that.
I do think it’s valuable to maintain some level of fitness to enjoy a quality, healthy retirement. I’ll be toughing it out in the mud in something called a Tough Mudder this summer, and I’ve endured a couple Spartan races with my high school buddies in recent years. My current exercise regimen involves some running, with a pit stop at the YMCA for pull-ups, dips, push-ups, sit-ups and curls.
All of it but the curls could be accomplished anyplace that has a playground along the route, which makes it a good, portable workout. I stop at the Y to get credit towards a discount via my health insurance for being a good boy. Yes, I go out of my way at least 8 times a month to save twenty bucks. What can I say, I’m a frugal physician.
A big thanks to Physician on Fire for taking time from saving lives to answer our questions. Well, I hope you weren’t multi-tasking while at work.
Hey Physician, when you come to town, I’ll give you a Juicy Banger or two. Get your head out of the gutter people, I’m referring to beer.
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