Reader Case: New York Doctor Dreams of Nomadic FIRE

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Hi friends, our inbox has been exploding with reader cases and since we’re in isolation anyway, I thought it would be a good time to pick one.

This one comes to us from a New York primary care doctor, who, before we get started, I just want to extend my sincerest thanks. Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines, coping with mask shortages, and a medical system stretched to the brink, they’re fighting this unrelenting virus day in and day out, We salute you, brave soldiers of medicine. Thank you for saving our lives.

(note: e-mail has be edited for clarity and brevity)

I’m 31 and a Chinese-American. I DEVOURED your book in a day!! I am SO inspired by you guys and want to follow exactly in your footsteps!!

I’m a primary care doctor yearning to be an artist/blogger who lives all over the world, and I’d love to hit FIRE as soon as possible, ideally by age 35. I’m single, but I’m actively searching for a partner, and would love to world-school 1-2 children.

I’m doing freelance/contract MD work which can bring in $180k a year if I’m willing to work full-time, maybe $250-300k if I hustle and am willing to work in other states (I am).

I’ve lived frugrally my entire life, with living expenses of about $24k/year, or $2000/month, but I try to keep it to $1500 if I can. I’m currently in NYC paying $920 for rent + utilities. I do enjoy and splurge on food and activities/experiences though, so that adds around $500-1000/month.

I took a year off in 2019 to travel living off my savings $1000-1500/month in Europe, Morocco, and visiting friends, but I also made no income off my blog/freelance art/writing and online coaching attempts during that time. I can so relate to your entrepreneurial attempts!! But I hate learning about business/marketing, so I’d rather set up my FIRE safety net and then do whatever I want!

I have no debt thanks to my family (but as a result they act like they own me. They as rags-to-riches immigrants also, who think that FIRE is me resigning myself to a poor person’s life forever), and I don’t have any assets.

I have all my life savings thus far $110k sitting in a Marcus bank account right now and I’m just PARALYZED regarding how to invest it.

I have an additional $19k in a Roth account I’ve been building over the past 3 years with a financial advisor who’s taking 1%.

I keep hearing there’s a crash coming and have been waiting to buy low (more like procrastinating though, to be honest…), but then it hasn’t happened for so long, and I’ve heard that “Time in the Market is more important than TimING the Market.”

So I want to start investing $100k of my money in Index Funds before April 1, 2020 (before the next time I have to pay my financial advisor!)

He recommended I don’t buy all at once though, since they may be currently sitting at an all-time high. He said I should space out my buying over a few months at least, ideally 6. Or would losing out on the returns make this a bad idea?

I started a brokerage account with Vanguard. Because I’m a 1099 contractor, I don’t have access to a 401k/403b, but I’m considering either a SEP IRA or an i401k. Which of those do you recommend?

I can contribute more to an i401k (25% of my income + an additional $19k), but they don’t allow ETF trading, only mutual funds, but the Vanguard person I spoke with over the phone said mutual funds can be index funds as well (which was really confusing to me!! Do they just have higher MERs then, since they are more actively managed than ETFs? Is that higher rate worth it if I get to contribute an additional $19k/year?)

Theoretically… I realize I could achieve FI now with my situation, couldn’t I?! Page 266 of your book said the portfolio size would only need to be $89k if I lived in Thailand and earned $10K/year with living expenses of $13,560. I already have $100k, so I could set up a portfolio of $100k with a withdrawal rate of $4000 each year, if I lived in Thailand for some of the time and worked as an independent contractor doctor in the US 3-6 months each year making $45-90k (housing included sometimes with the gigs so I can still keep my monthly expenses down to $1100).

I don’t want to limit myself to only certain countries though, and this means I won’t get to avoid taxes as optimally, but I could do it, right?! And then slowly grow my net worth by putting whatever extra I don’t need into the portfolio each year?? I love the idea of working towards a more robust FI while getting to travel/live my dreams rather than buckling down in an office full-time for the next 3-5 years to hit $500k first.

Thank you so much!

NomadMD

Things have escalated quickly since we received this email, namely all the travel restrictions that have been put in place because the pandemic, and the S&P 500 down 25% from its all-time high in February.

We still have nomadic American and Canadian friends currently hunkering down in Taiwan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, waiting for the restrictions to be lifted. So the nomadic life is still possible at a time like this, but it’s definitely geo-arbitrage on hard mode.

Given that NomadMD has the option to do freelance/MD work let’s see if her plan of nomadic life + side hustle will work out.

Summary:

Summary Amount
Income (Gross): $180K
Income (Net): $120433 (estimated)
Spending: $24,000/year
Savings: $96,433/year
Savings rate: 80%
Debt: 0
Investible Assets: $129,000

Wait, what? You’re paying $920/month including utilities for rent in NYC? And you’re also a doctor? Wow. Now I’ve seen everything. I guess when your parents are bad-ass rags-to-riches immigrants, a small amount of hardship like cutting back expenses isn’t that big of a deal.

I can also relate to her itch to become an artist and travel the world. But remember, get rich first, then become an artist. Get the order wrong and you’ll be developing a taste for cat food. And with her earning potential and insane savings rate of 80% (that’s higher than our all-time high savings rate of 72% by the way), she’s doing a phenomenal job with her finances!

Since she only needs $24,000 to become FI in NYC, that’s $600,000 to become FI.

In fact, if we Math Shit Up, she’ll be FI in…

Year Starting Balance Annual Contribution Return (6%) Total
1 129,000 96,433 7,740.00 233,173.00
2 233,173.00 96,433 13,990.38 343,596.38
3 343,596.38 96,433 20,615.78 460,645.16
4 460,645.16 96,433 27,638.71 584,716.87
5 584,716.87 96,433 35,083.01 716,232.88

Less than 5 years!

That’s assuming she doesn’t get any salary increase (which is pretty unlikely for a doctor) or inflate her costs. Plus, a 6% return is average across long investment periods of 10 years, but her runway is pretty short in this case.

The good news is she’s at the beginning of her FI journey, and with the stock market on sale she can DCA into the market and pick up some deals with her $110K of savings, just like we did in 2008. By procrastinating until April 1, she’s inadvertently timed the market well. For the record, accidental market timing is the only type of market timing we endorse.

FIRE her Advisor?

She currently has 19K in a Roth being invested by an advisor charging a 1% fee. While that’s not the highest fee I’ve seen and he was right in telling her to DCA her investments, I’m leery of financial advisors, especially ones that take advantage of doctors.

You see, financial advisors LOVE doctors. Doctors earn a buttload of money but have almost no time what-so-ever to manage their finances.

This is where financial advisors ride in to “save the day”. This is why we know of many doctors with advisors who charge 2%+ on their investments and when you peel back the curtain, they’ve just invested them in these esoteric funds and bleeding them dry with high fees or churn their accounts with active trading.

The last time Wanderer got a checkup from his doctor in Toronto, as soon as he mentioned the word “FIRE”, his doctor immediately perked up. Apparently said doctor’s peers have a FIRE group that gets together periodically to help each other with finances. After they found out their advisors had invested them into shitty actively managed funds with high fees, they banded together, binged all the FIRE blogs and books, and decided to learn how to invest on their own.

So, should NomadMD fire her advisor?

Well, after I put in her actively managed portfolio (94% equity/6% bonds-cash split) into portfolio visualizer and compared it against our investment workshop portfolio with the same allocation, I got this:

Portfolio 1 in blue is her actively managed portfolio, and portfolio 2 in red is our passive index portfolio. As you can see, it tracked pretty well, until 2019 when her portfolio started lagging.

She’s paying an advisor an actively managed portfolio 1% to underperform? Yeah, now we know why so-called “expert” financial advisors love doctors. 

Readers, if you’re with a financial advisor, do yourself a favour and use Portfolio Visualizer to evaluate their performance (can you believe this awesome tool is free?!) Compare it with the index and see if it’s worth the 1% fee.  Do NOT just trust them. Remember, no one cares about your money more than you do.

Future Nomadic life + work part time

NomadMD says she’s 31 and ideally, would “love to hit FIRE as soon as possible, ideally by age 35”.

At her current savings rate, if she manages to keep investing as the market recovers, she could potentially become FI at around 35 or 36, which is pretty much on target.

However, given that she doesn’t plan to stop working and wants to bring in around $45-$90K by working part-time for half of the year and living nomadically for the rest, she could reach partial FI sooner. However, it’s not clear how long the travel restrictions will be in place. Once it’s safe to travel again, she could start by practicing local arbitrage by living in a less expensive place than NYC—though at her current spending of only $24,000 a year, I’d say she’s already doing well, despite living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

At the low end of her estimate, with a part-time salary of $45,000, she would have a take home income of $34,488 in a high tax state like NY. If she continued to contribute $13,000/year to her 401K, she’d be able to net $24,351, just enough to cover her expenses, while growing her portfolio toward full FI.

In this partial FI scenario, she’d have to keep working part-time at $45K/year, putting the savings toward her portfolio and get to full FI in:

Year Starting Balance Annual Contribution Return (6%) Total
1 129,000 13,000 7,740.00 149,740.00
2 149,740.00 13,000 8,984.40 171,724.40
3 171,724.40 13,000 10,303.46 195,027.86
4 195,027.86 13,000 11,701.67 219,729.54
5 219,729.54 13,000 13,183.77 245,913.31
6 245,913.31 13,000 14,754.80 273,668.11
7 273,668.11 13,000 16,420.09 303,088.19
8 303,088.19 13,000 18,185.29 334,273.48
9 334,273.48 13,000 20,056.41 367,329.89
10 367,329.89 13,000 22,039.79 402,369.69
11 402,369.69 13,000 24,142.18 439,511.87
12 439,511.87 13,000 26,370.71 478,882.58
13 478,882.58 13,000 28,732.95 520,615.54
14 520,615.54 13,000 31,236.93 564,852.47
15 564,852.47 13,000 33,891.15 611,743.62

15 years.

But if she buckles down and continues working full-time, earning $180K gross, she’d be able to become full FI in 5-6 years.

So, put your head down and keep working full-time to get to full FI in 5 years? Or go down to part-time now, live the nomadic life, and slowly inch toward full FI in 15 years? The choice is hers. Personally, unless there are health issues at stake, I would pick the buckle down and work 5 years toward FI option. It took us 8.5 years to get to FI, so if she can do it in less than half the amount of time, I think it’s way better bet than the slow burn option.

What about taxes?

She also wants to know whether she should open SEP IRA or i401K? Since we weren’t freelancers, we don’t have experience with either. Best to consult an accountant about this. If any of our freelance/entrepreneur readers have experience with either, feel free to comment below.

Partial FI now or wait?

I would say this is less of a financial question and more of a health-related issue. Since NomadMD’s expenses are so low and she has no debt or dependents, even if she went down to part time now, she’d be able to live off her part-time income and still save some money. But if she enjoys working full-time, it would be a good idea to put all those years at med school to good use, work for a few years building up her portfolio. Especially given the buying opportunity right now in the stock market, she has the advantage of picking up deals with her large arsenal of cash. We don’t exactly know when the bottom is, so instead of timing it and relying on emotions, split up that money into chunks and DCA into the market.

And again, as NomadMD is in NYC right now and therefore the epi-center of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, stay safe, and thanks for everything you do. Let’s all get through this together.

What do you all think? What would you do in NomadMD’s situation?

UPDATE: NomadMD has given me permission to share her blog, where she writes about life as a doctor/artist. If you want to see her perspective on covid-19, click here


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33 thoughts on “Reader Case: New York Doctor Dreams of Nomadic FIRE”

  1. The fun part will be figuring out how to get married to someone with the same plan, and world school 1-2 children at the same expense level.

    1. In the period since the e-mail and the publishing of this article she has begun dating the very lucky man who gave her the book in the first place (Me!) I had been heading towards FIRE far more slowly but have a degree in finance, experience in education, and an absolute conviction that this lifestyle is how I want to live. I was so happy to see that they decided to do her case and am even more excited to build towards this life with her!

      1. Congrats on finding a like-minded individual who shares your same goals! Building towards the lifestyle described in the post sounds like a great way to build a bond.

        I wonder, and it may be early, do you have a financial projection for if/when you guys get married/have kids? Sounds like she could FIRE in 5 years. Both of you together could probably get that down a bit, and with a higher post FIRE spend rate (a guess).

        1. Thank you so much!! So much is up in the air with our plans, but I’d love to see other couple’s projections if you know of anyone?!

          As “Quit like a Millionaire” talks about in a chapter dedicated to kids, they need not be expensive! And especially not to the $200k estimate per child! I would try to buy clothing in cheap COL areas such as Asia, and minimalism helps with expenses in general. We would spend a lot of time in nature and seek out free events and do creative crafts or activities at home. I’d definitely teach my child(ren) about FI early.

        2. Thank you so much!! Definitely so excited and grateful to have met Moxie207 😊. So much is up in the air with our plans, especially since we are leaning towards partial FIRE since we do enjoy our work in smaller amounts/seasonally. I’d love to see other couple’s projections if you know of anyone?!

          As “Quit like a Millionaire” talks about in a chapter dedicated to kids, they need not be expensive! And especially not to the $200k estimate per child! We would try to buy clothing in cheap COL areas such as Asia, and minimalism helps with expenses in general. We would spend a lot of time in nature and seek out free events and do creative crafts or activities at home.

          If we wanted to raise our quality of life, I’m always open to picking up a bit more work, some side hustles, or moving somewhere cheaper. I like the thought of some fluidity and having a bunch of backup plans, as a risk-averse person like FIREcracker. Also I heard from some that one would feel a parental urge to want to work and provide for one’s children, so I’m open to that happening as well. Although I still feel the most precious thing we can give our children is our time and attention.

          1. Returning to America periodically is definitely in the plans. Our families are both largely in the same region and I am in a position that if I work a certain number of cumulative years in New York I will receive a pension that will be a nice margin of safety.

            We do know that we want to travel and we do know that we want to largely avoid being cold, haha. Her enjoyment of the outdoors dovetails beautifully with a dream of mine of working in different national parks seasonally. Thank you all for your insights, I’ve bookmarked and been looking through some of the websites that have been mentioned.

  2. If I was in her position, I’d buckle down and work for 4-5 more years. She can use this time to save a huge % of her income and learn to invest. You need to know that before FIRE.
    Her living expense is very low, but I think it will rise. It’d be tough to find the right partner too.
    Good luck and stay healthy.

    1. I’m with Joe here. It will take some time to get things back to normal. Right now her training is in high demand. Spend some time gradually investing, and it should lay the groundwork for a really fun future. It will also give her parents some time to digest the whole concept. Lay out a plan and update them on it regularly.

  3. Wow I didn’t know my email could be featured in a post!! Thanks so much FIREcracker and Wanderer for your response and insight!!

    I’m happy to report that I sent that email over 2 months ago. I now have found a loving partner who also was working towards FIRE and we’ll be headed off wherever we can when our current contracts in NYC end in July! I also fired that financial advisor by my set deadline.

    With the rise of telemedicine due to the pandemic, I no longer think I have to choose between those strategies; I can still make a full-time salary while living anywhere I want to further cut down on costs!

    Hope you all are staying safe!! Please try to help us flatten the curve if you can. Every bit you can do would greatly help and be hugely appreciated!!

  4. Hey, she sounds like a great match for me! I’m 33, net worth of about $650k, full time mortgage loan originator based out of Breckenridge, CO – plan on hanging it up in the next two years and taking to the world road – can I get her digits? 😉 😉

    1. Looks like the Millenial Revolution website has the potential to become a huge hit on the FIRE dating scene 😀

  5. The choice is yours and yours alone. Ah memories of Legends of The Hidden Temple.

    But really, both options are great. She’s got the right mindset, now it’s just being comfortable with investing. If she wants to learn more about index funds vs mutual funds vs ETFs we wrote an Investing 101 series on our blog that covers this (written for both Americans and Canadians as I’m a dual citizen).

    We mentioned in one of our recent posts how telemedicine will now be a growing field too which will bring in more options for those in the medical field pursuing FIRE.

    Not related to this case study in particular but it’s more for all the case studies – I wish you also asked on the form what your expected post-FI annual expenses will be. I don’t think enough people are thinking about what expenses will go up once they quit and what expenses will go down. Will your housing always be sub $1k/month? Will there be increased health insurance costs? More travel? A car? Less gas now that the commute is gone? Less spending on work clothes? Who knows but it’s something people really need to be aware of.

    1. Hi Court, Thank you so much!! I would definitely love to learn more about the different types of funds – would you mind sharing a link?

      And I agree, expenses can and likely will change post-FIRE! I’ve gotten used to a certain feeling of how much things should cost so I would balk at spending over $1k/month on rent, and I don’t plan on ever bothering with the hassle of owning a car since I hate driving and much prefer the health and environmental benefits of public transit or biking/walking (maybe I’ll get a Zipcar subscription, at most).

      Health insurance is tricky – can anyone comment how much expat insurance such as SafetyWing or WorldNomads covers, deductibles, routine health maintenance for chronic health issues? Have any FIRE people had to deal with huge medical expenses, expected and unexpected? Thank you!!

      1. Sure thing – here’s the link, hope you enjoy and find it useful. It took A LOT of time to put together 🙂

        https://modernfimily.com/category/investing-101/

        And glad to hear you’re thinking about post-FIRE costs already. As for health ins, we aren’t planning to be nomadic so I can’t say with 100% certainty but I believe you can enter in your info into World Nomads etc along with the timeline and countries you plan to visit and they can give you an estimate costs. Just for reference, we’re a family of 3 and hopeful family of 4 once we FIRE and are planning to add $200/mo in supplemental health insurance here in Canada (dental, vision, pharmacy, etc). We were able to play around with some quotes online to reach that estimate.

  6. hi all,
    just have to say i’m also a primary care doc with asian parents who moved to the US as very poor immigrants and now are well off financially (they were very good at saving). i’m indian american. i’m married with a small child but we also save 75-80% of our earnings and our rent is only 1100$. docs can be cheap too, especially when they are raised by frugal parents!
    we’re also heading towards FIRE. i think we could do it in 4 years. i’m 41 and just started learning about Finance and got on this path 2 years ago. the only thing that throws a wrench in things is paying for college. estimates are 500,000$ for a private college education when our daughter hits 18. yikes.
    TONI- if you read this, i’d love to know which sites you’re using to do telemed work. thanks!!

    1. Not sure how old your daughter is, but you most likely will have time to introduce her to the concept of Financial Independence. if you “math shit up” together, you might conclude that the $500,000 you plan to spend on private college could get her a good education at a state university AND the freedom to use it (or not) for whatever she really wants to do in life.

    2. Hi uti, so glad to find a kindred spirit!! Congrats on being so close to FIRE!! I haven’t started telemedicine yet but I plan to work with Amwell. I’ve heard great things about Teladoc and DoconDemand. Feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss more!! [email protected]

  7. I too am in awe you can live in NYC for $920 per month.

    In the past I used SEP IRAs and had good experience. There is a requirement that it is funded before end of year (not April 15), and best to have a “payroll” to yourself through an outside service. A few years back I rolled all my SEPs, 401ks, and IRAs into one IRA for simplicity.

    There is also something call a “Deferred Annuity account” (this is not an Annuity we are all fearful of), which allows you to put extra after tax monies into an account where you can buy mutual funds that are indexed. This is used much the same way as a Roth IRA, but it does not have the limit on the deposits. You pay tax of the gains as you withdraw the money (hopefully after your income decreases).

    I split my Deferred Annuity up with index funds for S&P 500, Total Bond, and Overseas Stocks. This way I can quickly move money between stocks, bonds, and overseas without changing my portfolio of ETFs. I just trade between funds inside my Deferred Annuity account.

    Although, I have a Vanguard account for testing and following Firecracker’s advice, all the above I discussed is through using Fidelity accounts.

    Hope this helps a little. Do your best!

    1. Hi CKeith, Thank you so much!! So it sounds like being able to access ETFs with Sep-IRAs is worth it compared to i401ks, even though I can’t put in as much? (I heard i401ks allow 25% of income, like a SEP, and an additional $19k).

      May I ask what work you did as an independent contractor? And what health insurance did you use, and did you fund an HSA? Even the plans in freelancers union seem so expensive!! ($400/month or is that just par for the course? I’m currently on catastrophic and critical illness insurance for $100, and disability insurance $140 (do I even need this??) which I accidentally lumped in with my $500-1000 estimate of food/experiences in my email. I would not be eligible for an HSA, so I’m thinking about changing this).

      Also, $920/month for NYC is a very strict apartment – a private room with 2 housemates, but no guests except close female family members allowed, and only a kitchen, no living room. You get what you pay for! But when I like to be out in libraries to work, go to events, and just primarily sleep at home, it works fine. I do plan to always keep my rent less than $1k/month if I can help it.

      1. Hi Toni. If you live in NYC, you can find a local Fidelity office nearby. They provide you with free 401ks, IRA, solo 401ks, self retirement annuities, Roths, HSA accounts, saving accounts w/ rolling CDs, etc. The limits for solo 401ks and SEP is similar – one for smal companies and other for self. If you have more saving after reaching the limits of your Roths, IRAs, 401ks – you may want to look at the deferred annuities (no limit).
        https://www.fidelity.com/annuities/FPRA-variable-annuity/overview

        I work supporting software developers. Have now rolled my SEP into my IRA. I keep an IRA, Roth, and Deferred Annuity, brokerage account, HSA, Savings/Checking/Visa account. All of these allow for self directed investments, including the HSA.

        For insurance I used most of the common national brands (never a bad experience). The $400 per month is not unreasonable. Now I use Kaiser in CA. You need a high deductible insurance to have an HSA account (you can move this and have multiple).

        Depending on the current situation, with shut-downs and the market volatility, we will quit in July and head out into FIRE. Have a two year old who will go join us.

  8. Reality might interfere with these romantic plans of the future. Just some points:

    SEP-IRA is the way to go. Save up to 25% of earnings and choose your own stocks or ETF’s.

    Remember IRA is tax-DEFERRED. It’s not a pension, you pay a lot of tax when you take money out.

    Residency status, visas and income tax while ‘traveling the world’.
    If you live in countries in EU, Australia, Canada, for more than 6 months then you are considered a resident of that country and that country has the ability to tax you first. Those foreign countries have much higher income tax than US. Then the US taxes you again as the US taxes you on world wide income.
    World schooling is interesting but if you plan on your kids going to foreign public schools then think again as public schools require citizenship or PR for low cost tuition. However expensive private school are an option.

    Telemedicine is only authorized if you are a resident, have a license and are physically present in that state. You can’t telemedicine from a foreign country.

    Now on top of that how about all the health insurance, life insurance costs and malpractice costs when Traveling.

    Hope your plans work out

    1. Hey Monterey,

      I’m not a MD, and don’t have Telemedicine experience, but from a quick search there are states that allow telemedicine while not being physically present in that state. One would need a license to practice in that state, which should be easy enough (especially now).

      Also, the 6 month limit would be easy enough to avoid, just don’t stay longer than 6 months. Alternatively, the US does have treaties with other countries where you can deduct the taxes you paid from the other country and use that towards US taxes, or some are completely tax reciprocal meaning she would pay no further US tax.

      She really does have all sorts of options to not only decrease her cost of living, but also taxes that hers will be a very short working career. It just depends on how she chooses to live.

      1. Thank you so much!! Yes, I currently don’t plan to spend more than 6 months in one country, but am aware there are extra costs that I don’t have now. I didn’t factor in keeping my licenses and board-certification up, which are several hundred dollars a year, and expat insurance. “Quit Like a Millionaire” talks about life insurance, which sounds like is not needed once the portfolio is set up since it will continue to provide for my dependents. I also leave some wiggle room of my $500-1000 since I can easily cut back on food/travel/experiences if I find that I’m spending over budget for a month. I’m pretty happy just spending time out in nature, with loved ones, cooking, and seeking out free events.

  9. It’s kind of sad to read about a 31 yo doctor dreaming of FIRE. I can understand the FI part. But RE?! At this age could not have practiced for more than a few years. Why bother to put in all the considerable time, effort and money to become a doctor in the first place? Med school should be for people who WANT to be doctors. There are many ways to FIRE, this must be the most difficult and weird one I heard of. To each their own. Sounds like she has the right mindset though, and will have no trouble getting there real soon. Best of luck!

    1. When you come from a family who has sacrificed so much to give you an opportunity like medicine, you don’t take quitting lightly. I wanted to help people as a doctor and tried for so many years to make it fit, but it just doesn’t fuel my soul enough to want to do it full-time or forever. “Retire Early” is a misnomer; it really means being free to pursue your true passions (for me it’s art, writing, teaching, empowering others, and moving the world towards love, peace, and acceptance of all cultures and diversity).

      Also, unfortunately many doctors realize medicine is not what they thought it would be once they start practicing (there is a lot of business involved, unforgiving expectations of perfection, human rights violations working 24-hour shifts, 80-100 hours a week, pressure to see a certain number of patients in meager 10-15 minute slots, treating patients as cases rather than people, restrictions placed by administrators who have no idea what it’s really like, high malpractice culture, etc), which have led so many kind-hearted doctors to burnout and even to suicide. This is often swept under the rug, but whistleblowers such as Dr. Pamela Wible are thankfully speaking out (https://www.idealmedicalcare.org/ive-learned-547-doctor-suicides/)

      FIRE is just a better way to exit than most. FIRE also allows me to exit without feeling or making my family feel it was all a waste. I do genuinely enjoy teaching women’s reproductive/sexual health and empowering women to take control of their lives, so may not give it up entirely by doing partial FIRE in this area. But the point is I desire the freedom to choose how to live my life and how to spend my time, which is why I love the concept of FIRE so much.

      1. Your comment was spot on. While not a doctor, the nursing field shares a lot of the same issues that is found everywhere in medicine. There are good parts to the job, but also a lot of issues that will need to be resolved going forwards. Perhaps this pandemic will be a catalyst for change? I certainly hope so.

        Your idea of partial FIRE is a great one as well. This is becoming a much more accepted path, and is my focus. Being independent and not needing a specific job to cover essentials lets you focus on doing your best, and actually helping your patients out even if it means a lower bottom line. While having some sort of income makes your life just a little bit easier to finance. In other words, focus on what you love to do, and get really good at doing that, while working in a way that makes you enjoy life even more. Sounds like a good recipe for success for providers and patients.

      2. Hi Toni,

        FIRE is about achieving FI and having the option to RE at any point of time. Having such option is a great blessing for one. If one does not exercise such option at one time, the feeling of having such option is marvellous. This will also enable one to take a decision with the possibility of retrenchment. An example can be job change in particularly in the banking sector which is very volatile. The corporate overlord will not hesistate in going for the “axing” when the profit margin is at stake in particularly of the ongoing pandemic.

        WTK

  10. What struck me most about this post is this sentence:

    “They as rags-to-riches immigrants also, who think that FIRE is resigning myself to a poor person’s life forever, and I don’t have any assets.”

    Strange how some people don’t consider qualifications and skills as assets!

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