Vanguard Financial Advisor Experience

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A couple of months ago, I agreed to a phone call with my Personal Capital advisor.  I’m a huge fan of their free software, which breaks down asset allocation, investment fees, and expenses.  I had a list of questions ready for the advisor, and was excited to get some feedback on my asset allocation.  I was very candid about being …

I’m Frugal, Not Cheap

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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 …

FInding my Mojo

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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 …

Tipping My Hat To The White Coat Investor

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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. I’m speaking, of course, of Jim Dahle, who blogs as …

Breaking Up With Betterment

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Betterment Likes Piña Coladas and Getting Caught in the RainIt was a whirlwind romance.  When I first heard of Betterment, I was in the throes of my personal finance conversion experience.  The robo-advisor appeared on wings of angels to offer a panacea: they’d worry about optimizing asset allocation for a fraction of my current cost (fees of .35% – .15% …

Used is the New Black

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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 …

SEAK and Ye Shall Find

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The aptly named SEAK, Inc. (Skills, Education, Achievement, Knowledge) is a continuing education company that sends me annual brochures touting how physicians like me can make money outside of the clinical practice of medicine as we know it.   They are the ultimate purveyors of exit strategy, the mantra hidden between the lines of their pamphlet whispering, “Someday you will …

Is Your Portfolio Easy Like Sunday Morning?

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One of my resolutions for 2017 is to bare more personal details, so in this spirit I’ll share my investor policy statement* for your perusal. Asset Allocation: 100 – (% in bonds) to be divided among stocks as follows: Age 45: 90/10 stocks/bonds Glide Path Age 50: 80/20 stocks/bonds  Age 55: 70/30  Age 65: 60/40 terminal allocation   Funds & …

Live Like A Resident, Earn Like An Attending

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You have worked like a dog through your undergraduate years, medical school, residency and perhaps fellowship to reach your professional apex as a working physician.  Finally you get your first check, and it has more zeroes at the end than any document you’ve seen short of your student debt statement. One friend from your study group who has the same …

The Unconventional Life

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A recent New Yorker article summarized the three stages of the American immigrant experience: I found this a concise way of capturing the internal tensions we all struggle with to some degree:  on the one hand, we seek financial security, and making our parents proud is for many a personal or cultural imperative.   Yet the idea of a life …