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Old 02-10-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
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35 yo Doc loving this website

Hey all...

As with everyone who posts here....I've been a long time lurker and love, absolutely love this site. The threads are interesting, provocative and informing. The moderators and posters are insightful and I hope to be able to contribute as much as my limited knowledge will allow.

I am a 35 yo anesthesiologist in Maryland. I met my wife in med school, and she is a part time Emergency Physician. I follow this forum, White Coat Investor and Bogleheads for the most part. I am fairly frugal and my wife and I are really geared towards investing and FIRE. We're getting there at a brisk pace...and dragging along 2 little ladies (age 2 and 3). We actually love our jobs, so that's a bonus.

Going against the grain of some, we are using a financial advisor who we have found to be very helpful and seemingly is one of the good guys (he is actually encouraging us to pay down our mortgage....rather than throwing him all of our extra income). And, thus we are paying off our mortgage early (don't worry, its after funding all retirement accounts, keoghs, back door IRA, taxable investments, and 529). Also, going against Bogleheads philosophy, we have about 15% of our portfolio in individual equities. We have umbrella insurance, we each have 2 disability policies (individual and through our work), life insurance policies, etc..... We are fairly goal oriented and just keep out sights on the next level of our financial development.

Anyhow, just thought I'd introduce myself. My main goals in the future are to be mortgage free by my early 40s, have good 529 plan funding, pay full for my childrens' educations (my parents paid for 3 boys to go through college and med school on a single physician income), then just continue to sock away money until I can semi-retire (ie....do locums and leave the hospital/call duties) around 50. Full retirement whenever the ladies finish their educations.

Thanks and keep up the great work!

Gasdoc
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:52 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

I'm a 36 year young member who's hoping to call it quits in about 10-12 years. I'd caution you against necessarily assuming you have to pay down the mortgage. As several posters comment, in 10 years from now, many people rightly assume that rates will be substantially higher (after all, remember how during the boom years of 2003-2007, even 30 year mortgages in the 5% ranges were making people drool and brag about how low they refinanced down to!) Many of the people 40 and under don't have a full range of history to remember the 'average' rates in the late 80s/90s, and how the current era is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for low financing.

If you assume that your portfolio will grow at 4%-6% per year (on average), it makes a whole lot more sense to lock in a 30 year mortgage at 3.375% now...***IF*** you think there's a good chance you'll be in the same house in 10-15 years.

For my personal goal, I see myself either tearing down my house and building a home or moving somewhere else in 5-10 years, so I'm doing a 5 year HELOC with PenFed for just 1.99% APR (no closing costs) and will have the house paid off in 2018. So if you are dead-set on paying down the mortgage in 5 years or less, and your rate is anything more than 2.5%, I'd suggest looking at PenFed's HELOC.

Also, what is your fee structure with the financial advisor - an hourly rate, or a wrap fee (percentage of your investments)? And are they steering you into mutual funds with higher expense ratios and various other fees/loads that give them kickbacks, or are they Vanguard-esque with rock bottom fees?
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:07 AM   #3
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Welcome to the boards! You seem to have planned well and I love the "dragging two little ladies along" comment. So cute.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:06 PM   #4
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:26 PM   #5
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Congrats on an excellent start toward FI, and finding a "good guy" FA - they're usually very hard to find.

Nothing wrong with holding individual equities at your age, many of us here did and many still do. I was 100% individual stocks at age 33 and sold my last individual shares at age 51. I would not have been able to retire early had I not held individual equities.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:59 PM   #6
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Welcome!
Despite all the accelerating changes in US health care, work to hold on to that "love" for your j#bs. IMHO- The financial world for health care providers will change markedly in the coming years, but anyone who truly enjoys their j#b will never w#rk a day in their life
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:13 PM   #7
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Welcome and what a great start you have! I also had several individual stocks years ago and am down to just a couple (pharma stocks). Having a Dr. wife as well.....You got it made my friend!

One question - I often hear of very high malpractice insurance rates esp for anesthesiologists - do you cover this or does the hospital you work at cover you?
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds View Post
Welcome to the forum!

I'm a 36 year young member who's hoping to call it quits in about 10-12 years. I'd caution you against necessarily assuming you have to pay down the mortgage. As several posters comment, in 10 years from now, many people rightly assume that rates will be substantially higher (after all, remember how during the boom years of 2003-2007, even 30 year mortgages in the 5% ranges were making people drool and brag about how low they refinanced down to!) Many of the people 40 and under don't have a full range of history to remember the 'average' rates in the late 80s/90s, and how the current era is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for low financing.

If you assume that your portfolio will grow at 4%-6% per year (on average), it makes a whole lot more sense to lock in a 30 year mortgage at 3.375% now...***IF*** you think there's a good chance you'll be in the same house in 10-15 years.

For my personal goal, I see myself either tearing down my house and building a home or moving somewhere else in 5-10 years, so I'm doing a 5 year HELOC with PenFed for just 1.99% APR (no closing costs) and will have the house paid off in 2018. So if you are dead-set on paying down the mortgage in 5 years or less, and your rate is anything more than 2.5%, I'd suggest looking at PenFed's HELOC.

Also, what is your fee structure with the financial advisor - an hourly rate, or a wrap fee (percentage of your investments)? And are they steering you into mutual funds with higher expense ratios and various other fees/loads that give them kickbacks, or are they Vanguard-esque with rock bottom fees?
Hey...thanks a bunch for the response. First responder to my very first post! I'll remember you forever!
To answer some of your questions....I am well aware that I financially shouldn't pay off the mortgage....low rate, money depreciates with inflation, better returns than my mortgage rate, etc....but as I said, we are very goal oriented. I may want to take advantage of these low mortgage rates in the near future to purchase a second home for vacations (and maaaaaaybe rental), but we are pretty firm in that we don't want a second mortgage until the first one is paid off. I've attained several goals so far in life (2 kids, great wife, nice portfolio so far, 529s, etc....) and mortgage payoff just seems to be my next BIG goal....I still pay myself into my portfolio. I have read plenty on this debate about peace of mind vs investment opportunity and we have selected the "pay down" side of the equation.

My advisor is a wrap fee one. My percentage decreases base on my portfolio and thus is now at the 0.7% point now. I believe the next point is 0.6 and then to 0.5%. I am aware that fee only advisors are the preferred method in these circles, but this guy has been extremely helpful to us in many ways. I will probably take on my on financial duties in the future....but am accumulating as much knowledge as possible before I do that. FWIW....he saved me from a terrible advisor (and a friend, nonetheless...go figure) with MSSB who did indeed charge me front loads, 1% commission, and Expense Ratios of 1-2%. Thank goodness I only stayed with him for 2 years or so. Many of my investments with the new advisor are Vanguard.

Thanks again for the response!
Gasdoc
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:12 PM   #9
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Welcome to the boards! You seem to have planned well and I love the "dragging two little ladies along" comment. So cute.
Thanks alot....my 3 ladies are very good to me!!

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Originally Posted by obgyn65 View Post
Welcome to the forum.
Thanks obgyn65. I would love to end up like you....maybe a little less conservative version, but hopefully as financially successful. Well done.

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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Congrats on an excellent start toward FI, and finding a "good guy" FA - they're usually very hard to find.

Nothing wrong with holding individual equities at your age, many of us here did and many still do. I was 100% individual stocks at age 33 and sold my last individual shares at age 51. I would not have been able to retire early had I not held individual equities.
Thanks for the encouragement....its refreshing to see some other people with equities. I appreciate it!

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Welcome!
Despite all the accelerating changes in US health care, work to hold on to that "love" for your j#bs. IMHO- The financial world for health care providers will change markedly in the coming years, but anyone who truly enjoys their j#b will never w#rk a day in their life
I'm with you. I do enjoy my job right now, but the future is ever-changing....another reason to try to become FI as soon as possible!!

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Originally Posted by Donzo View Post
Welcome and what a great start you have! I also had several individual stocks years ago and am down to just a couple (pharma stocks). Having a Dr. wife as well.....You got it made my friend!

One question - I often hear of very high malpractice insurance rates esp for anesthesiologists - do you cover this or does the hospital you work at cover you?
Thanks Donzo...I think we started strong due to the very helpful posts and advice from these sites that I frequent. Bogleheads alone got me to run away from my previous FA and that probably saved me hundreds of thousands in the future!! My group kind of covers our malpractice....by that I mean, it's taken off my salary before I even see it. The same is true of my payroll tax, disability, etc....so the Gross Income I use for calculations doesn't include these numbers....only the money that comes to me.

Thanks again for the welcome! Hope to contribute a little.
Gasdoc
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:48 PM   #10
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Gasdoc... Please don't retire... some of us will need you.

Welcome to ER...
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:07 PM   #11
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Hey all...

As with everyone who posts here....I've been a long time lurker and love, absolutely love this site. The threads are interesting, provocative and informing. The moderators and posters are insightful and I hope to be able to contribute as much as my limited knowledge will allow.

I am a 35 yo anesthesiologist in Maryland. I met my wife in med school, and she is a part time Emergency Physician. I follow this forum, White Coat Investor and Bogleheads for the most part. I am fairly frugal and my wife and I are really geared towards investing and FIRE. We're getting there at a brisk pace...and dragging along 2 little ladies (age 2 and 3). We actually love our jobs, so that's a bonus.

Going against the grain of some, we are using a financial advisor who we have found to be very helpful and seemingly is one of the good guys (he is actually encouraging us to pay down our mortgage....rather than throwing him all of our extra income). And, thus we are paying off our mortgage early (don't worry, its after funding all retirement accounts, keoghs, back door IRA, taxable investments, and 529). Also, going against Bogleheads philosophy, we have about 15% of our portfolio in individual equities. We have umbrella insurance, we each have 2 disability policies (individual and through our work), life insurance policies, etc..... We are fairly goal oriented and just keep out sights on the next level of our financial development.

Anyhow, just thought I'd introduce myself. My main goals in the future are to be mortgage free by my early 40s, have good 529 plan funding, pay full for my childrens' educations (my parents paid for 3 boys to go through college and med school on a single physician income), then just continue to sock away money until I can semi-retire (ie....do locums and leave the hospital/call duties) around 50. Full retirement whenever the ladies finish their educations.

Thanks and keep up the great work!

Gasdoc
Welcome to the Forum, Doc!

I'm not personally a big fan of Wrap accounts, but it sounds like you have someone ethical managing your investments.

With both you and your wife as Dr's, the majority of your Net Present Value is your 'Human Capital'- The value of anticipated future streams of income provided by your career.

... getting right to the point, I'd make sure:
(1) You and the wife are insured out the ying-yang (both for disability and liability).
(2) Your investements steer more towards the conservative side (you should be earning and saving enough $$ from your careers that you don't need to take excessive investing risks).
(3) Following up on #2, grab a copy of Dr. Moshe Milevsky's "Are you a Stock or Bond" , read up on the concept of "Human Capital", and figure out how best to apply it to your situation.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:02 PM   #12
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Hey...thanks a bunch for the response. First responder to my very first post! I'll remember you forever!
LOL...there are many others on the forum who have more sage advice than me.

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Originally Posted by Gasdoc View Post
I may want to take advantage of these low mortgage rates in the near future to purchase a second home for vacations (and maaaaaaybe rental), but we are pretty firm in that we don't want a second mortgage until the first one is paid off.
I understand...but remember that money is fungible. It doesn't matter if you have a mortgage on your primary residence vs having it on your vacation/investment home - you still have the exact same net worth.

***HOWEVER***banks WILL charge you higher rates/fees on a 2nd home or investment property. So there is a financial incentive to have a mortgage on your primary residence vs another property.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasdoc View Post
My advisor is a wrap fee one. My percentage decreases base on my portfolio and thus is now at the 0.7% point now. I believe the next point is 0.6 and then to 0.5%. I am aware that fee only advisors are the preferred method in these circles, but this guy has been extremely helpful to us in many ways. I will probably take on my on financial duties in the future....
Yikes! I sure hope that "in the future" happens soon! That 0.7% wrap fee is about 20% of an entire year's safe withdrawal rate budget of 3.5% if you retire in your late 30s/early 40s!

It's great that this financial advisor saved you from an even more expensive one.....but that's like saying "This car dealer is so awesome - he talked me out of forking out $250k for a new Ferarri, and helped me spend only $70k on a new supercharged corvette that has similar performance."
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:21 PM   #13
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Without a working crystal ball, it's hard to know which way to go with the mortgage. I paid mine down because I like the idea of being out from under the required fixed cost of it, but if rates climb sky high, I'll wish I was paying it back with cheap money. You take your best guess and deal with the consequences.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:01 AM   #14
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Without a working crystal ball, it's hard to know which way to go with the mortgage. I paid mine down because I like the idea of being out from under the required fixed cost of it, but if rates climb sky high, I'll wish I was paying it back with cheap money. You take your best guess and deal with the consequences.
I agree with this.
Like you I'm goal oriented and my current goal is paying off my mortgage.
(With luck that will happen in 2014).

My retirement budget has much more flexibility when I take out the mortgage payment. Cash flow matters if you're living off your investments. Reducing the fixed cash flow needs means you can have a smaller withdrawal rate.

I look at my extra principal payments as serving 2 purposes. It's kind of forced savings. And it's reducing our spendable money - so getting us very used to a smaller budget. It's a win-win, for us, for retirement planning.
(I'm hoping to pull the plug sometime between now and 4 years from now. DH will pull the plug early next year.)
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:37 PM   #15
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Gasdoc... Please don't retire... some of us will need you.

Hopefully not anytime soon. In addition to keeping healthy investments, it's definitely important to just keep healthy!

Welcome to ER...
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Originally Posted by ejw93 View Post
Welcome to the Forum, Doc!

I'm not personally a big fan of Wrap accounts, but it sounds like you have someone ethical managing your investments.

With both you and your wife as Dr's, the majority of your Net Present Value is your 'Human Capital'- The value of anticipated future streams of income provided by your career.

... getting right to the point, I'd make sure:
(1) You and the wife are insured out the ying-yang (both for disability and liability).
(2) Your investements steer more towards the conservative side (you should be earning and saving enough $$ from your careers that you don't need to take excessive investing risks).
(3) Following up on #2, grab a copy of Dr. Moshe Milevsky's "Are you a Stock or Bond" , read up on the concept of "Human Capital", and figure out how best to apply it to your situation.
Yeah, I will definitely take over my portfolio eventually, but I just need a little more knowledge. I'm getting there, for sure. 1) Lots of insurance on our end. Luckily, we were told that a while back. 2) At this point, we are less conservative than we probably should be, but will probably even things out in about 5 years. We have a pretty broad working horizon and the nice advantage that when mortgage is paid off, a nice chunk going into taxable...and if one of us has any issues, the other can likely pick up the slack at work. 3) Thanks for the suggestion. Will read it for sure. May change my mind about number 2).

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Originally Posted by MooreBonds View Post
LOL...there are many others on the forum who have more sage advice than me.



I understand...but remember that money is fungible. It doesn't matter if you have a mortgage on your primary residence vs having it on your vacation/investment home - you still have the exact same net worth.

***HOWEVER***banks WILL charge you higher rates/fees on a 2nd home or investment property. So there is a financial incentive to have a mortgage on your primary residence vs another property.




Yikes! I sure hope that "in the future" happens soon! That 0.7% wrap fee is about 20% of an entire year's safe withdrawal rate budget of 3.5% if you retire in your late 30s/early 40s!

It's great that this financial advisor saved you from an even more expensive one.....but that's like saying "This car dealer is so awesome - he talked me out of forking out $250k for a new Ferarri, and helped me spend only $70k on a new supercharged corvette that has similar performance."
Indeed, having an advisor is a substantial sum of money....but unfortunately, in life, we need to decide which things we are ready to do and which we aren't. It would be cheaper for me to build my own deck instead of paying someone to do it....or cheaper to buy less costly, junk food instead of trying to eat well. We need to know which things we are willing to pay for. I know I will take charge of my own finances in the future when I am ready. I will trade in the 70,000 vette for a 2000 yugo soon....but I'll ride it for the time being

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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
Without a working crystal ball, it's hard to know which way to go with the mortgage. I paid mine down because I like the idea of being out from under the required fixed cost of it, but if rates climb sky high, I'll wish I was paying it back with cheap money. You take your best guess and deal with the consequences.
Yeah, the future may contain a little frustration at not having invested more and working hard to pay off a mortgage....but it may work out the other way (not likely). Again, I know the arguments...but we are pretty happy with a little mix of both. I am not forgoing any important investment vehicles to pay off the mortgage....I put about 2/3 of my extra income into taxable investments and 1/3 into mortgage. Not a terrible mix I don't think.

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I agree with this.
Like you I'm goal oriented and my current goal is paying off my mortgage.
(With luck that will happen in 2014).

My retirement budget has much more flexibility when I take out the mortgage payment. Cash flow matters if you're living off your investments. Reducing the fixed cash flow needs means you can have a smaller withdrawal rate.

I look at my extra principal payments as serving 2 purposes. It's kind of forced savings. And it's reducing our spendable money - so getting us very used to a smaller budget. It's a win-win, for us, for retirement planning.
(I'm hoping to pull the plug sometime between now and 4 years from now. DH will pull the plug early next year.)
I'm sure it will feel great to see that additional money in your pocket rather than going to the bank. Good luck over the next couple years getting it down to $0! I like the idea that it reduces your spendable money and thus decreases your needed annual budget. Pretty slick!
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:52 PM   #16
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Welcome and congratulations on having your priorities straight. With both of you being doctors and parents, and since you've found someone who is a cut above the typical financial advisor, I'd agree this is time to learn all you can while FA is giving advice and take over gradually. You can easily do that by directing new investments into an account you set up personally. We did the opposite - I did all our investing decisions (with a good amount of useful counsel from my late father) until we were close to ER. Then I started second-guessing my investment strategies, so we paid for a financial planning analysis from an advisor and then put a small fraction of our portfolio under his management. We get useful advice from meeting with him annually and I consider that worth the fees we pay him. He is well aware we have a lot more assets he could manage but doesn't pressure us in any way, so it's all good in my book.

Look forward to your contributions as I think you'll have a lot of good perspective for the not-yet-FIREd folks on the board.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:36 PM   #17
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Welcome and congratulations on having your priorities straight. With both of you being doctors and parents, and since you've found someone who is a cut above the typical financial advisor, I'd agree this is time to learn all you can while FA is giving advice and take over gradually. You can easily do that by directing new investments into an account you set up personally. We did the opposite - I did all our investing decisions (with a good amount of useful counsel from my late father) until we were close to ER. Then I started second-guessing my investment strategies, so we paid for a financial planning analysis from an advisor and then put a small fraction of our portfolio under his management. We get useful advice from meeting with him annually and I consider that worth the fees we pay him. He is well aware we have a lot more assets he could manage but doesn't pressure us in any way, so it's all good in my book.

Look forward to your contributions as I think you'll have a lot of good perspective for the not-yet-FIREd folks on the board.
Thanks for the kind words....sounds like you have a good FA as well. I imagine when I take over my own accounts, I will just contribute and reinvest dividends, etc.....but will have to do as you did and get a fee-only advisor to help me with the withdrawing phase when we hit retirement. Hope I can contribute a little as well....but I am definitely getting more out of this site than I could ever hope to put in. Its a wonderful resource.
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