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Fatlittlepig\'s Question for POF (Physician on Fire)

Home Personal Finance and Budgeting Fatlittlepig\'s Question for POF (Physician on Fire)

  • Avatar RosieQ 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 173
    Joined: 06/03/2017

    This is a more broad commentary on FIRE.
    Financial independence, living frugally, not being wasteful, aggressive savings and investing, living below ones means- all great stuff to FLP. Now when Fatlittlepig reads of people desperately doing these things so they can quit their jobs and retire early it really kind of makes me sad, in a way (not necessarily through fault of their own) this is a failure in finding a career that can produce happiness. I’m not sure when I read that someone is leaving their job that’s necessarily a thing to “celebrate” yes that’s a good thing they saved and amassed wealth sure, but it is something to celebrate, not too sure about that. It’s kind of sad. Again going against the echo chamber here but that’s my take.

    Fatlittlepig

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    Agree with many of the points above. It does seem sad to go through all of the difficulty of training into your mid 30s to try and punch out as soon as possible. Aside from residency I have now had 3 EM positions. All were reasonable but I’m currently in by far my favorite of the bunch, and if I were to cut back to 4-6 shifts a month plus a little admin on the side to do from a laptop while at a cafe in Europe on an extended vacation I think I would be very happy indeed.

    I think it’s always helpful to think in abstract terms such as “if I only had 1 year, 1 month, 1 day left to live…what would my life be like?” and then consider how you can best structure your career and life to meet some of those abstract desires and maximize happiness. Also consider “if I had 100 million, 1 billion dollars….what would I want my life to be like?” For both of those questions I would want to be doing the job I am in now (but likely working less), still married to the same person, living in the same house and same town. This is very reassuring and doesn’t seem to require a big push towards retirement. The huge benefit of this whole FIRE movement is that it does encourage introspection, continued analysis and can set you up for a lower stress, financially successful life no matter how or when you decide to ultimately retire.

    Many kudos to WCI for really being the pioneer in this movement (I found his work about halfway through med school in 2011/2012 or so so it made a huge difference). Also to POF and others for being leaders in the field. I think their work has really impacted a lot of lives at least a little bit for the better, even if many of them aren’t active participants on this forum.

    #206056 Reply
    q-school q-school 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2524
    Joined: 05/07/2017

    @q-school. Once again if one can’t afford that stuff maybe they are not as well off (FI) as they think they are. Budget is too tight……
    I think too many people under estimate expenses….which drives a lot of people to do “something” for money.

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    sure, but my experience has not been that the retired physicians can’t afford the CME/MOC.  it’s a relatively new thing for a lot of docs that the MOC is required so we don’t have a lot of information.  most of the older docs in my specialty don’t have time limited certificates so didn’t even have to retest, during their career or retirement, let alone think about MOC.

    but my observations are that these ‘retired’ physicians are willing to donate their time.  they are not willing to spend 2-5k annually to donate their clinical time, even when they clearly have it.  they may not be willing to spend the additional time involved with obtaining CME/MOC, even if they were willing to donate the clinical time.

    that part seems understandable from my view of the world. however, it is just my observations for the past few years, and certainly i could be looking at a tiny non representative sample.

    #206068 Reply
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3352
    Joined: 01/21/2016

    Well said, @anne and @rosieq. And @saildawg, yes we are constantly changing, and our circumstances are changing, too.

    There is no one, one-size-fits-all path through the medical career (or life, more generally), but there is only one life. Live it as well as you can, and make adjustments along the way. Many of my foundational beliefs and interests seem to turn over every 5-10 years. (In fact, the only thing that has not changed is my taste in music.) How could I have known that everything would constantly be changing in and around me when I was 20 years old and starting med school? Or at 25, choosing a specialty? Or even at 30, choosing a job?

    "Wealth is the slave of the wise man and the master of the fool.” -Seneca the Younger

    #206069 Reply
    Avatar JBME 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 461
    Joined: 03/26/2018
    I think a lot of people who are into the whole FIRE thing were naturally frugal to begin with, found themselves in high paying careers because they are smart and naturally went down that path without thinking about what would really make them happy.  Then they find themselves mid life with a decent amount invested and realize they have options and start thinking about what they really want to do.   Changing course at that point actually takes a lot of thought and work, so I don’t think it’s sad.  I actually find it kind of inspirational.  They are basically finding the career that can produce happiness, even if that career may not be as lucrative as medicine or whatever else high paying job they previously had.  The caveat is that I don’t think a career will necessarily produce happiness–that’s something you produce yourself…but a career that does not fit you can definitely get in the way of you doing that.

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    This times a million. I remember having a very specific discussion with my parents my junior year of college. It was clear with my history major that my passion was in teaching, and the allure of teaching it in HS was there. My parents were concerned. Why? “Because we don’t think you’ll have the lifestyle you grew up with, and that could be a hard adjustment for you.” So, I sat down and thought hard about what a “next best” option would be. In hindsight, I think I could have been fine with the downgrade in lifestyle because I’m naturally frugal. I took the next best option and it hasn’t been for the best. It’s high paying, although not doctor level, and I’ve used that to make sure I was putting away at least 15% for retirement. Meanwhile, I told myself I’d get out of this “second best” to pursue what I tell myself my original passion was in 10 years when I started at the latest company in 2016. Since discovering the details of FI 18 months ago, I’ve increased saving to 35% and realized since RE isn’t in me I am comfortable going with my passion and taking a large salary cut by 2021 or 2022 instead of 2026. I can finally do a career that I think will produce happiness, all before 40. Could I end up being wrong? Yes, but being well on my way to FI allows me to fail and not ruin my retirement.

    #206077 Reply
    Avatar artemis 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 540
    Joined: 12/02/2016

    Now when Fatlittlepig reads of people desperately doing these things so they can quit their jobs and retire early it really kind of makes me sad, in a way (not necessarily through fault of their own) this is a failure in finding a career that can produce happiness. I’m not sure when I read that someone is leaving their job that’s necessarily a thing to “celebrate” yes that’s a good thing they saved and amassed wealth sure, but it is something to celebrate, not too sure about that. It’s kind of sad.

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    I don’t think anyone would dispute that – it IS kind of sad.  But if the job no longer fits the person, it’s time do do something new.  Struggling on in a field you’ve come to dislike merely because you “should” is like continuing to wear a worn-out pair of shoes:  they may have been comfy once, but the truth is now they no longer fit your feet properly and are giving you corns.  Trying on something new is the right move in both situations.

    #206112 Reply
    Avatar artemis 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 540
    Joined: 12/02/2016

    but my observations are that these ‘retired’ physicians are willing to donate their time.  they are not willing to spend 2-5k annually to donate their clinical time, even when they clearly have it.  they may not be willing to spend the additional time involved with obtaining CME/MOC, even if they were willing to donate the clinical time.

    Click to expand…

    One of the things I am most looking forward to when the day eventually comes that I decide to retire is putting all that administrative hassle to bed permanently.  Mercifully I am not subject to MOC as I am fortunate enough to have a lifetime certification, but earning and tracking CME and renewing licenses every two years (a process that has steadily become more cumbersome over the 18 years I have been practicing) isn’t something I enjoy.  Add to that the continued exposure to malpractice risk, and it’s easy to decide my time is best volunteered in a non-medical setting.

    #206114 Reply
    hatton1 hatton1 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3032
    Joined: 01/11/2016

    Some really great points on this thread.  I think in any career happiness waxes and wanes.  Goals change over time.  Mistakes get made personally and professionally.  Each individual has to chart their own course.  It s easy to get caught up in minutiae of the minute and lose sight of your goals.  To me as an “old” physician my advice is try to adapt your job to minimize burnout and work less but longer.  A longer career gives you the magic of compounding, better social security, and health insurance.  It also gives you purpose and identity and socialization.

    q-school q-school 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2524
    Joined: 05/07/2017

    Some really great points on this thread.  I think in any career happiness waxes and wanes.  Goals change over time.  Mistakes get made personally and professionally.  Each individual has to chart their own course.  It s easy to get caught up in minutiae of the minute and lose sight of your goals.  To me as an “old” physician my advice is try to adapt your job to minimize burnout and work less but longer.  A longer career gives you the magic of compounding, better social security, and health insurance.  It also gives you purpose and identity and socialization.

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    Hatton1, is it true at this point that working longer continues to improve your social security?  Haven’t most of us with ahem gray hair maxed social security by this point?  Educate me please.

     

    #206193 Reply
    PhysicianOnFIRE PhysicianOnFIRE 
    Moderator
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1534
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    Some really great points on this thread.  I think in any career happiness waxes and wanes.  Goals change over time.  Mistakes get made personally and professionally.  Each individual has to chart their own course.  It s easy to get caught up in minutiae of the minute and lose sight of your goals.  To me as an “old” physician my advice is try to adapt your job to minimize burnout and work less but longer.  A longer career gives you the magic of compounding, better social security, and health insurance.  It also gives you purpose and identity and socialization.

    Click to expand…

    Hatton1, is it true at this point that working longer continues to improve your social security?  Haven’t most of us with ahem gray hair maxed social security by this point?  Educate me please.

     

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    If you’ve put in 35 years of the max, you won’t get any additional benefit from additional dollars contributed.

    Once you’ve reached the second bend point in the SSA formula (in around 20 years of max contributions), the additional benefit from additional dollars contributed is quite small, but better than nothing.

    40-something anesthesiologist and personal finance blogger @ https://physicianonfire.com [Part of the WCI Network] Find me on Twitter: @physicianonfire

    FIRE. Financial Independence. Retire Early.

    #206196 Reply
    Liked by q-school
    Avatar bean1970 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 510
    Joined: 07/12/2017

    @q-school I’ve already maxed by SS benefit. It only changes by cost of living adjustment. You can sign into your account to see. It’s like $2861 in 2019. iRS publishes the max benefit.

    #206198 Reply
    Liked by q-school
    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 2629
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    @q-school,
    Full Retirement benefit you are correct. The average used for the benefit would be small.
    When you claim is different. 62 would be reduced about 30% and waiting until 70 is about 24% higher.
    It’s a nice little annuity with some tax advantages too.
    For a retiree,
    Social Security at 70 less
    Medicare at 65 + supplement+drugs leaves a cushion for spending, probably 50%. It’s not enough to live on, but it’s helps in a pinch.
    Bridging to 65 and 70 is part of a plan (or not).
    From a numbers standpoint, a couple has to include these. Cutting out earnings and taking it early approximates POF Total living expenses.

    #206200 Reply
    hatton1 hatton1 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3032
    Joined: 01/11/2016

    Some really great points on this thread.  I think in any career happiness waxes and wanes.  Goals change over time.  Mistakes get made personally and professionally.  Each individual has to chart their own course.  It s easy to get caught up in minutiae of the minute and lose sight of your goals.  To me as an “old” physician my advice is try to adapt your job to minimize burnout and work less but longer.  A longer career gives you the magic of compounding, better social security, and health insurance.  It also gives you purpose and identity and socialization.

    Click to expand…

    Hatton1, is it true at this point that working longer continues to improve your social security?  Haven’t most of us with ahem gray hair maxed social security by this point?  Educate me please.

     

    Click to expand…

    Q school my SS is maxed out.  I was referring to younger docs.

    #206212 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 2629
    Joined: 09/18/2018
    medical school scholarship sponsor

    Maximum Social Security If You Retire in 2019
    Age 2018 2019 Percentage Change
    62 $2,158 $2,209 2.36%
    65 $2,589 $2,757 6.49%
    70 $3,698 $3,770 1.95%

    The numbers being referenced for max benefits seems a little off. POF points out the bend points (diminishing returns). Most won’t achieve this. Physicians are in a position because of career earning patterns.
    To be accurate, check your own.

    #206214 Reply
    Avatar G 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 1663
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    Some really great points on this thread.  I think in any career happiness waxes and wanes.  Goals change over time.  Mistakes get made personally and professionally.  Each individual has to chart their own course.  It s easy to get caught up in minutiae of the minute and lose sight of your goals.  To me as an “old” physician my advice is try to adapt your job to minimize burnout and work less but longer.  A longer career gives you the magic of compounding, better social security, and health insurance.  It also gives you purpose and identity and socialization.

    Click to expand…

    Hatton1, is it true at this point that working longer continues to improve your social security?  Haven’t most of us with ahem gray hair maxed social security by this point?  Educate me please.

     

    Click to expand…

    If you’ve put in 35 years of the max, you won’t get any additional benefit from additional dollars contributed.

    Once you’ve reached the second bend point in the SSA formula (in around 20 years of max contributions), the additional benefit from additional dollars contributed is quite small, but better than nothing.

    Click to expand…

    On another recent thread, we ran some numbers, looks like it is 17.65 years of max earning (although I had previously focused on a 21 year number).  I played with your spreadsheet and it looks like 17 years of max plus residency and some summer work is enough to hit that second bendpoint.

    Better than a sharp stick, as they say.

    #206224 Reply
    Avatar SLC OB 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 500
    Joined: 06/23/2018
    To me as an “old” physician my advice is try to adapt your job to minimize burnout and work less but longer.  A longer career gives you the magic of compounding, better social security, and health insurance.  It also gives you purpose and identity and socialization.

    Click to expand…

    I agree. Studies absolutely show that as we age, if we have a sense of purpose, then we will live longer. I tell my mom that each time she grabs my kids from the bus stop! Ha! “Mom, can you grab the kids? Great, thanks, aren’t you glad I am making you live longer!” 😉

    Interesting though… on that questionnaire that was posted a few weeks ago… I got this question wrong:

    It asked if it was better financially to work 2 additional years or to save 3% more in the last 5 years (or something like that). I picked the 2 years and was wrong. Guess if you work an additional 2 years and save nothing… then 3% is better? I guess I assumed you would save the majority of the 2 years salary since you were thinking of retiring anyway.

     

    #206244 Reply

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