A Physician Comes Clean
Or maybe this blog title should be: How I have time to type so much nonsense into the computer and an update on our search for financial freedom (hint: we completed our quest!).
First, with all I juggle, I don’t feel like I have oodles of spare time—I think I am barely hanging on. But my Dragon Lady (my secret weapon about whom I’ll write in the future) instructed me to tell you all more about myself. And maybe some of my weird quirks can help you achieve your financial goals. So here is my confession:
1) I’ve whittled my doctor life down to working outside the house one long day a week (and manage my outpatient clinic by phone the rest of the time). Not having margin to breath is a huge reason why we’ve taken this drastic change in our lives. That and time is life.
It was stressful when I worked five “half days” (they were never “half” days) a week when the kids were smaller. It was chaotic to juggle childcare whenever the boys got sick. And DH, as a partner, earned multitudes more an hour than me, so it made more sense financially for him to be the one to work full time.
Plus I would prefer to minimize my risk and contain it one day a week. I have periodically been on a first name basis with the VA police because of a few of the Vets. I also have concerns about being shot in light of gun violence increasing in America.
Although I don’t like to work at a place where I’ve considered buying a bulletproof vest, I happen to miraculously have health insurance through this job. If you want the long story of how this came about, have a cup of coffee with me sometime (me working 0.25 time is thanks in huge part to advice from my Dragon Lady. Everyone needs a Dragon Lady!).
But the biggest reason why I am able to work one day a week and have health insurance is I’m the proverbial zebra. I’m pretty sure I’m the only Attending Physician in my city who is Fellowship trained in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. With only 141 spots available nationwide each year for training, we’re a rare breed which makes us an in demand commodity.
2) How do I make time to write?
I don’t. I run.
Since having children, for some reason there’s a lot of jiggling that goes on when I run, so I try to do it before anyone wakes up. I get up between 4 to 5:30 am, depending on what’s going on that day and how much sleep I’ve had. Then I strap on my sneakers and usually jog for about an hour three times a week.
One of the things I carry when I run is a voice recorder. This is when the majority of my writing gets done. The rest is typing up a transcript and editing when I get back to my laptop.
3) Since paying off DH’s school loans—yup, we made the jump recently thanks to reading Dr. Fawcett’s book—we’re finally FF (Financially Free IMO).
It is a huge relief to be debt free.
And we’re blessed to have completed the heavy lifting: we’re done saving for retirement (well, is anyone ever actually done? We’re still putting money away because of tax advantages as well as asset protection—that and old habits die hard). And the kids have their undergrad tuition taken care of via a state prepaid program we purchased.
Though we’re not FI (Financially Independent), we are 8/9th of the way to our minimum FI # by net worth (dang though—the majority of it is asset protected, which means it’s locked up tight. #StupidPaperWorkNightMare).
DH disagrees with me about being 8/9th of the way to FI. He says you can’t count your house for FI—unless you want to do a reverse mortgage. And he’s going on about how we need X-amount of dollars so we can pay taxes later on.
Blah, blah, blah. Why’s he gotta be such a party-pooper?! (He’s a typical Boglehead)
Okay, so we have a ways to go yet. But still, I say Let’s Celebrate!! 8/9th by net worth is a huge accomplishment! And some day we will get to FI by his definition. We just have to bide our time, and work in a sustainable manner because what we were doing before was slowly killing us—in more ways than one.
In the meantime, for the couples out there both working full time and enjoy it—more power to you. Just like everyone’s lifestyle isn’t for me, mine isn’t for everyone. But if you feel like I did—your life is fraying apart at the seams while trying to juggle a career, house, and kids—maybe you’ll decide to do a complete life overhaul and get your finances in order so you can join us in part-time world? You can do this!