I’m fortunate to work alongside one of my closest friends from residency. While we both live in the same seaside suburb of LA, he lives a spendier lifestyle than I do but often invites me to join him at the latest foodie restaurant, concert or cultural happening. He knows me well enough that when he witnesses my mental gears calculating the cost involved, he’ll try to overcome my reticence with, “Come on, you’re a rich doctor.”
The second letter of the title above is deliberately capitalized to emphasize FI - as in Financial Independence. Since reducing my shift load, I was able to increase my participation not only in non-medical pursuits (pleasure out of proportion activities), but also in medical roles that are interesting (if unremunerative) to me. I got hooked on bioethics during a course as a high school junior at a UCSB summer program. Undergraduate seminars with a thoughtful mentor, Dr. Bill Hurlbut, made abstract medical scenarios seem real and meaningful. A deeply spiritual medical school mentor, Dr. Steve McPhee, taught me how end-of-life care intersected with my interest in medical ethics. Yet it was not until this past year, with the kids both in school and my shift load reduced, that I was found time to commit to serve on our hospital’s Bioethics Committee. The experience has rekindled a long dormant passion.
Financially oblivious physician stumbles into serendipitous contact with Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) movement, binge reads related blogs, can't wait to spread message of hope among the huddled physician masses yearning to be free via his own blog...only to realize a highly talented physician finance geek beat him to the punch.
A few months ago, a friend dropped off a carload of third graders at my daughter’s birthday party and mentioned that he was going from our house to a “daddy date” with his high school freshman daughter to buy her a pair of jeans. Having just scored a nice pair of lightly used brand name jeans, I thought I’d share a tip and mentioned that I’d found a Goodwill store not far from us full of treasures. As I described the intersection, he laughingly replied, “Sure, I know that Goodwill, that’s where we donate clothes!”