The X-ray Beam: Crispy Doc (Part II)
For an audio version of this post, please click on the speaker icon (top left).
If you missed Part I, please check it out here.
Thank you for returning Crispy Doc so that we can conclude this interview (and again, the hospital gown is meant to go the other way around!)
[I really am beginning to think that he knows this and is now just messing with me].
9. What inspired you to start a blog? Were there any surprises along the way? Do you have any advice to individuals who may be contemplating starting a blog of their own?
I’d felt like a passive observer to my financial story for most of my adult life.
Investing was too complex, I was too busy doing the noble work of saving lives, and I did not want to take the blame if our life savings went down the toilet.
A doctor and his/her money are easily parted.
I came up with every excuse to leave it to the “professionals” while I focused on what I knew best.
Burnout brought me to a crossroads: I did not want to work this hard in this unsustainable way that I’d normalized, lest I miss out on the wonderful life and people that were taking a back seat to my career.
This caused me to take a long, hard look at our finances with the goal of bailing as soon as we hit our number.
Suddenly I got it: mastering our finances was the key to taking back my life.
When you make that kind of discovery you want to shout it from the mountaintops.
As for surprises, I’ll divulge the moment I’m least proud of as cautionary tale for new bloggers.
I tried out several different voices before hitting my stride and finding something that rang true.
One experiment in that exploratory phase was my sole attempt at a rant.
In my case, I decided (unwisely) to pick on a podcast by the White Coat Investor that involved a guest who espoused market timing.
None other than WCI himself responded in the comments with a withering but entirely fact-based critique that promptly put me in my place.
I left up that post and WCI’s comment as a permanent reminder of something the ancient Greeks figured out millenia before I began to blog: hubris (self-importance) leads to nemesis (inevitable downfall).
My advice to would be bloggers is: just start!
Also, learn from my rookie mistake: in a universe of really smart and friendly bloggers, where collaboration trumps competition, you’ll do far better to pick friends and mentors than brawls.
It’s also a particularly lousy way to get on the radar of someone you look up to and admire.
10. What is the biggest non-medical accomplishment you have achieved to date?
Without a doubt that would be my family.
I married a woman out of my league, and my life has yet to recover from the upward trajectory it took thereafter.
My kids are the nerdy playmates I’ve been desperate to recruit in activities that most adults politely decline: flying kites, reading Calvin and Hobbes out loud together, building a homopolar motor on a lazy afternoon or creating art from polymer clay.
11. When did you develop an interest in personal finance and was there an event that brought personal finance to the forefront of your consciousness?
A New Yorker article on Mr. Money Mustache in February 2016 led me to his website, which I devoured in a matter of days.
After that, life would never be the same again.
It was my radioactive spider bite moment.
I started my blog in September 2016.
12. Complete the following sentence: I would consider the Crispy Doc website to be a success when I achieve….
A tipping point where doctors decide to manage their own portfolios and take full accountability for their finances.
This would empower us to reach financial freedom sooner and enable us to practice medicine on our terms: with fewer aggravations, more humanely.
I’m tired of feeling like every member of our profession is the weak wildebeest.
Let the financial industry stalk new prey by the watering hole for a change (lawyers, anyone?).
13. For a reader unfamiliar to your website, what are three posts you are most proud of that they can gain an insight about you and your philosophies?
14. Is there a book or books that has made a major impact in your financial well-being?
My “holy trinity” of physician finance books includes
- Bill Bernstein’s The Four Pillars of Investing
- The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
- Jim Dahle’s The White Coat Investor
15. Can you name 5 things that had the greatest financial impact on your life?
- Assuming complete responsibility for managing our portfolio.
- Creating and sticking to our Investor Policy Statement.
- Saving aggressively in the early years to front-load our retirement.
- Marrying a high-earning spouse who continues to work.
- Graduating without debt = a 5 to 7 year head start in building wealth.
16. Can you share with us a hidden talent that most people would be shocked to find out about you?
I can recite (with great conviction) the mini-rap sections of Cool It Now by The New Edition.
There was also a point in my care-free (arguably taste-free) youth where I owned every Def Leppard album.
Even the ones with absolutely no radio hits on them.
17. You get to pick one person who is dead and one person who is currently alive to answer any questions you may have. Who would you choose and why?
Dead: I’d interview Lincoln to get a sense of what it was like to preside during emancipation and the Civil War, and how he weighed moral and political calculations in his decisions.
Living: I’d interview the author Jonathan Saffron Foer, who writes devastating contemporary fiction that never fails to dazzle me as a reader and teach me something new about being a human being.
My lead in would be something along the lines of, “I liked the thing you did with the words that one time.”
18. Do you have an annual retirement spending goal that you are aiming for? A target net worth? What would be your exit strategy after achieving these goals.
If our annual spend is x, and I’d like to get to 30-33x to feel comfortable.
I’d like to transition to helping physicians take over their finances and manage their own portfolios via the “Teach Me To Fish” consulting service I’ve started.
It’s designed for folks who feel a bit too overwhelmed to act after reading a book or taking a course.
These are docs with the talent and motivation to take on a simple lazy portfolio as long as someone is there to walk them through the basics and be available to reassure them through the process.
The goal is to get someone started managing their finances, until they no longer need me and can ride without training wheels.
Success would be putting myself out of business by making the service obsolete.
19. What is your greatest fear, if any, you have in retirement, and are there any ways you are addressing that now?
My bogey man is everyone’s bogey man: health care costs.
I’m trying to control the variables I can: eat right, maintain fitness and deepen human connections.
All I can do for now is to save to self-insure against catastrophe.
Again thank you so much for your time answering these questions and being placed under the “X-ray beam.” I look forward to your continued posts and wish you much success.
If you are interested in checking out previous individuals that were brave enough to expose themselves to the beams of the X-ray, please check them out here.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
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