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Barely started, but ready to retire...
Old 08-21-2010, 01:27 PM   #1
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Barely started, but ready to retire...

Hello all!

I have been reading this forum off and on for the last year or so and it is rather nice to find like-minded people. Most of my family and friends look at me like I have two heads when I tell them I want to at least have the option of retiring by the time I am 40. It never gets old reading about the different paths people take to financial independence and retirement.

A little about me...I am about to turn 30 and am a resident physician. I will be 32 or 33 by the time I am down with training depending on if I do a fellowship or not. My choice to do a fellowship will depend on the job market in a couple of years. I am single and the only dependents I have are a dog and two cats. I hope to have a family someday and realize that finding a like-minded wife is vital, both to a happy marriage and early retirement. I don't spend all that much money as most of my hobbies and interests don't cost much (visiting with family and friends, cooking, hiking/backpacking, musical performance, reading).

As of now I am all debt and no assets other than earning potential. I have about $250k worth of student debt ($210 borrowed and the rest is accrued interest) and $130k mortgage (which actually buys a nice house in my part of the country). I have been contributing to a Roth for the last couple of years, but realize that it is more about building a habit of savings than contributing much toward my goals.

Medicine can be fickle as a single act of congress can, and does, turn medical economics on its head. However, I am fortunate to be in a field that is currently on the high end of medicine in earning potential as well as time off and is also very easy to work part time. While things could change dramatically, I think I can be debt free by 34/35 and have between 1.5-2.2 million saved by 40. This depends on different scenarios I run (with and without a family to support as well as realistic low/high ends of salary if I stay in my general part of the country). At this point, depending on life situation, I could either retire outright or work very part time....hopefully I will avoid the "just one more year" phenomenon.

Well, I just wanted to introduce myself and say thank you for the inspiration!
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums. It looks like you have the right mindset to put that great income to good use, i.e. paying off student debt, saving and investing. Too many well paid medical professionals use the big bucks to "play the role" with leased luxury cars, extravagant vacations and a McMansion.

The FIRE minded people on this board have a lot of collective wisdom on ways to leave the workplace early.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:18 PM   #3
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A little about me...I am about to turn 30 and am a resident physician. I will be 32 or 33 by the time I am down with training depending on if I do a fellowship or not...

As of now I am all debt and no assets other than earning potential. I have about $250k worth of student debt ($210 borrowed and the rest is accrued interest) and $130k mortgage (which actually buys a nice house in my part of the country).
Welcome aboard! Yes, your earning potential should eventually overcome your debt, and then some.

However, same as many younger forum members who think about retirement this early, you must be careful when frequenting this forum and reading posts from people who already retire.

These geezers can sleep in late, then goof off all day. At the end of the day, they will post about their golf rounds, their lunch at a favorite restaurant, their going to new-car dealerships to kick tires. Their antics may just drive crazy people who still work. Let yourself be warned.
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard! Yes, your earning potential should eventually overcome your debt, and then some.

However, same as many younger forum members who think about retirement this early, you must be careful when frequenting this forum and reading posts from people who already retire.

These geezers can sleep in late, then goof off all day. At the end of the day, they will post about their golf rounds, their lunch at a favorite restaurant, their going to new-car dealerships to kick tires. Their antics may just drive crazy people who still work. Let yourself be warned.

I appreciate the heads up. I will try and convert the jealous energy into motivation to join them!
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forums. It looks like you have the right mindset to put that great income to good use, i.e. paying off student debt, saving and investing. Too many well paid medical professionals use the big bucks to "play the role" with leased luxury cars, extravagant vacations and a McMansion.

The FIRE minded people on this board have a lot of collective wisdom on ways to leave the workplace early.
Yeah, the faculty I hear talking about never being able to retire are also the ones who drive a benz, have a beach home, a cabin, and live in a mcmansion.
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
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Yeah, the faculty I hear talking about never being able to retire are also the ones who drive a benz, have a beach home, a cabin, and live in a mcmansion.
You are very observant, grasshopper.
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:18 PM   #7
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A little about me...I am about to turn 30 and am a resident physician. I will be 32 or 33 by the time I am down with training depending on if I do a fellowship or not.
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Originally Posted by mattorama View Post
As of now I am all debt and no assets other than earning potential. I have about $250k worth of student debt ($210 borrowed and the rest is accrued interest) and $130k mortgage (which actually buys a nice house in my part of the country).
Welcome Dr. Matt, from one of the other MDs on the board. Your situation typifies young physicians, with long, expensive training and deferred high earning potential. With such a big debt load, it's a good thing you have your financial head screwed on! For insight on turning your human capital into financial capital and saving to complement it, I recommend you read Moshe Milevsky's "Are you a stock or a bond?". Also, don't forget to stop, smell the roses, and enjoy the satisfaction that your career will bring. It's not all about $$$$!
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:30 PM   #8
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Also, don't forget to stop, smell the roses, and enjoy the satisfaction that your career will bring. It's not all about $$$$!
Fortunately for humankind it isn't for you, or Dr. Rich. It is for some people obviously.

I have the best, sweetest dertmatologist He is about 55, and helps a lot of people every day and treats them and his staff nicely. People really like him and depend on him. If he quits he is just another guy on the golf course, getting his own actinic keratoses instead of removing them for his patients. Doctors are not just another guy or gal shoving paper around and playing one upsmanship at endless meetings.

Ha
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:59 PM   #9
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Welcome Dr. Matt, from one of the other MDs on the board. Your situation typifies young physicians, with long, expensive training and deferred high earning potential. With such a big debt load, it's a good thing you have your financial head screwed on! For insight on turning your human capital into financial capital and saving to complement it, I recommend you read Moshe Milevsky's "Are you a stock or a bond?". Also, don't forget to stop, smell the roses, and enjoy the satisfaction that your career will bring. It's not all about $$$$!
Thanks for the welcome. I may have to check that book out from the library.

I enjoy medicine, but am at a point where I am getting tired of being a "student" (just started residency year 3 out of 5). Constant work, night call, weekend call, studying, board exams, trying to please attendings, still feeling like I only half know what I am doing, knowing that even if I do everything right I could still hurt or kill someone... all while making about half of what I would if I took a job out of undergrad working bankers hours without any debt. It gets old (and I am in a "lifestyle" field). Yes, some of those things will go away in a few years and I will make quite a bit more money, but I am sure a new set of headaches will come (no real "back up", hospital politics, helping to run a business with my partners, etc...).

I wouldn't mind following in the footsteps of some of my favorite faculty. A couple of them gained their financial independence in private practice and now work 3 days/week with 10-12 weeks off and aren't in the normal faculty call pools. They really take joy practicing medicine and teaching residents while having plenty of time to enjoy the rest of life.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:12 PM   #10
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Fortunately for humankind it isn't for you, or Dr. Rich. It is for some people obviously.

I have the best, sweetest dertmatologist He is about 55, and helps a lot of people every day and treats them and his staff nicely. People really like him and depend on him. If he quits he is just another guy on the golf course, getting his own actinic keratoses instead of removing them for his patients. Doctors are not just another guy or gal shoving paper around and playing one upsmanship at endless meetings.

Ha
Why shouldn't physicians be allowed to consider finances? If I took a job in engineering out of undergrad it would be okay for me to retire, but not since I went into medicine? Why are my friends in law and business allowed to desire reimbursement for their work, but I can't?

I understand that the nature of medicine is different than most other careers, but the people involved are the same. I want to play golf in the middle of the week too. I would love to be able to stay home and help raise my kids and grandkids like most people wish they could. I love medicine but don't believe that obligates me to be a martyr.

I know you weren't trying to be harsh with that, but a lot of people really do get upset that doctors make what they do and also want to have a life outside of work.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:29 PM   #11
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Why shouldn't physicians be allowed to consider finances? If I took a job in engineering out of undergrad it would be okay for me to retire, but not since I went into medicine? Why are my friends in law and business allowed to desire reimbursement for their work, but I can't?

I understand that the nature of medicine is different than most other careers, but the people involved are the same. I want to play golf in the middle of the week too. I would love to be able to stay home and help raise my kids and grandkids like most people wish they could. I love medicine but don't believe that obligates me to be a martyr.

I know you weren't trying to be harsh with that, but a lot of people really do get upset that doctors make what they do and also want to have a life outside of work.
Totally agree.
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:07 PM   #12
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I enjoy medicine, but am at a point where I am getting tired of being a "student" (just started residency year 3 out of 5). Constant work, night call, weekend call, studying, board exams, trying to please attendings, still feeling like I only half know what I am doing, knowing that even if I do everything right I could still hurt or kill someone...
My 30-yr old nephew is a pharmacist. He gets bored with what he is doing and recently announced that he has submitted application to go back to school to be an MD. We thought that he was nuts, but he said that he would be a better doctor with his pharmaceutical knowledge. It will be interesting to see how his life evolves.
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:02 AM   #13
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I understand that the nature of medicine is different than most other careers, but the people involved are the same. I want to play golf in the middle of the week too.
I agree with the bulk of what you wrote, but do you really think that people in "most other careers" can easily leave work to play golf mid-week? Especially in this job market?
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:39 AM   #14
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I agree with the bulk of what you wrote, but do you really think that people in "most other careers" can easily leave work to play golf mid-week? Especially in this job market?
No, no, no...that isn't what I meant. It was in response to haha's post saying that medicine in different than "shoving paper around". I said I agree with him, but the people involved (doctors and whoever you want to call a "paper shover") both have the same desires in life. We all want the opportunity to play golf in the middle of the week and retire, not that it is easier for one or the other.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:47 AM   #15
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My 30-yr old nephew is a pharmacist. He gets bored with what he is doing and recently announced that he has submitted application to go back to school to be an MD. We thought that he was nuts, but he said that he would be a better doctor with his pharmaceutical knowledge. It will be interesting to see how his life evolves.
It is quite a journey. His background in pharmacy will help him immensely, especially if he decides to pursue internal medicine or one of its subspecialties. There were a few former pharmacists in my medical school class and attendings LOVED having them on rounds. Most of the pharmacology during the first two years of med school is taught by PhDs (at least at my institution) who have little clue as to how, or even which, medications are actually used in the real world.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #16
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Quite honestly, I was always more interested in the FI (financial independence) part than the RE (retire early) part of FIRE. I know it sounds like heresy, but that's just me. I became FI long (well, 6 or 8 years) before I RE. Just knowing I could retire allowed me to enjoy (and I really mean that) the w*rk I was doing. When the time came that I no longer enjoyed it, I pulled the plug in a matter of days.

If anyone sounds like they are criticizing you, I hope you will forgive us. I guess it's just difficult to envision someone going through what you are going through to get into your field - and then not really want to practice in it for very long. I hope you find a career groove that you can enjoy as you become FI. You may decide that you like what you are doing (and hopefully get paid well for it) as you become FI. Then, perhaps you will not feel the pressure to put in the 12 hour days that many docs feel compelled to do. FI may be all you really need because you will be free to set your own limits on what you want to do, how much you want to do, (when you just want to take the afternoon and go play golf) etc.

Best of luck to you. From a very selfish point of view, us old folks need some good doctors, so maybe that's where we're actually coming from.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:05 PM   #17
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I am getting tired of ... still feeling like I only half know what I am doing
Don't count on that feeling going away anytime soon! For most people, it lasts one's entire life.

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Quite honestly, I was always more interested in the FI (financial independence) part than the RE (retire early) part of FIRE. I know it sounds like heresy, but that's just me. I became FI long (well, 6 or 8 years) before I RE. Just knowing I could retire allowed me to enjoy (and I really mean that) the w*rk I was doing. When the time came that I no longer enjoyed it, I pulled the plug in a matter of days.
Nothing wrong with that, IMO anyway.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:33 PM   #18
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When I was 26 I figured out I could retire by the time I was 40 and started saving and prepaying the mortgage to that end. My intent then was not necessarily to actually retire but rather to put us in a position so that we could. That was 1991.

In 1999 we paid off the mortgage and I quit working for a couple of years to finish a PhD. At that time we realized that we could almost retire but that me not working for a couple of years would set us back a couple too. My wife had also been working for a few years in a government job with a defined benefit pension that she would not be eligible for until about 50. So, plans changed a bit.

I got the Phd and have been working and saving for another 7+ years, DW is now eligible for the state pension (though at a fairly low amount currently). We realized a couple of years ago that we could retire about now (at age 45 and 50). But we also realized we could buy a dream vacation home in Hawaii if we only put off retirement by a few years. Plans changed a bit again.

Our current plan is to retire in about 7 years at ages 52 and 57. Who knows if our plans will change again but it's a pretty good feeling to know that if the sky falls we're in pretty good shape. Because we now have the vacation/retirement home mortgage and travel more, we would have difficulty retiring now with a 4% SWR and DW minimal pension. We'd have to cut back on lifestyle a bit. But by aggressively paying down the mortgage, saving, and rapidly climbing the pension entitlement points wall, we are getting very close. When we pull the trigger in 7 years we should be in great shape even without needing to take much risk from here on out.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:09 PM   #19
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It is quite a journey. His background in pharmacy will help him immensely, especially if he decides to pursue internal medicine or one of its subspecialties. There were a few former pharmacists in my medical school class and attendings LOVED having them on rounds. Most of the pharmacology during the first two years of med school is taught by PhDs (at least at my institution) who have little clue as to how, or even which, medications are actually used in the real world.
My GP was also a pharmacist before becoming an MD and so I appreciate - from the patient's perspective - that he is prob that much more knowledgeable and trustworthy whenever I am prescribed meds by him.

Anyway, good luck with your future...the medical field will certainly be an interesting career given the current political debates that are unfolding.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:41 PM   #20
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Anyway, good luck with your future...the medical field will certainly be an interesting career given the current political debates that are unfolding.
That is part of the reason I want to save as much as possible. If things get bad, I want an out. As multiple above have said, gaining the FI is the most important part. At least then there are options.

I will be looking for a job at the same time new legislation really kick in. I don't know if it will be good or bad timing (I will withhold my personal opinions on the matter...they are rather strong). On one hand, groups may be hesitant to bring on a new partner until they know how the economics will shake out. On the other hand, there are a lot of physicians who wanted to retire around now and are holding on due to losing a lot of their retirement accounts recently...they should be ready to go in a few more years. On top of that, from speaking with staff and overhearing conversations in the doctors lounge, quite a few people might pull the plug early. I'm crossing my fingers for a wave of retirees which forces groups to bring on new partners.
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