Lessons from our Pupils: A Reflection [Podcast Episode 153]
For Episode 153 (LINK), Jay was joined by the Physician on FIRE (Financial Independence and Retire Early) to discuss topics important to a physician managing his or her finances. As a fourth-year medical student about to enter my internship and ophthalmology residency, my initial thoughts were that I was still years away from the chance to apply these lessons to myself. However, as my world prepares to shift from tuition payments to monthly income, from loan disbursement to loan repayment, I recently began to realize the importance of my own financial education. With little training outside of one high school course in macroeconomics, I started simple by visiting www.physicianonfire.com, reading the classic White Coat Investor book by James M. Dahle, and discussing lessons learned with friends. To me, the importance of “FIRE” is less of the “Retire Early” and more of the “INDEPENDENCE” – the ability to choose what you want to do, where, how much, and for how long.
At the beginning of the episode, Jay remarked that there is often a sort of hesitation to discuss finances within medicine. “If you’re doing this for the money,” it is often stated, “then you’re not doing it for the patient and you’re doing it for the wrong reason.” Although there certainly are important lessons behind these adages, that does not mean that we should be unprepared for financial decisions to come. At the end of the day, there will come a time for every physician where his or her financial situation changes – be that anything from graduating residency, to repayment of loans, to starting a family, to health issues, to retirement. We are all at different points in our respective journeys, but it behooves us to try understand more every day. In my reading, the White Coat Investor called out a quote by Dave Ramsey that stuck out to me: “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” To me, this quote has implications outside of the financial realm, as well. Medicine is a field of “lifelong learning” with years of training, steep learning curves, and ever-innovating therapies. All of us began our journeys with a desire to help change the lives of our patients, and we are constantly striving to do better and to be better. At this point, it is impossible to know exactly where my career will take me; however, I do know that I would like the opportunity to continue pursuing my passion from beginning to end. And to me, the “independence” aspect of FIRE seems like one way to help make this happen.
- Michael Venincasa