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Welcome to the inaugural post of my X-ray Beam Series.
I would like to welcome Millionaire Doc (MD) who has graciously agreed to be the guinea pig in this series.
MD runs a wonderful blog, Millionaire Doc, and is part of the ever growing physician based financial blogs out there.
I believe MD distinguishes himself from the others with his passion for “Alternative Investing” mainly in the real estate sector.
If you have ever contemplated investing in real estate to help diversify your portfolio, his site is full of high-yield information to help you navigate the various options out there and to avoid potential pitfalls. You should definitely check it out.
Well I hope you enjoy Millionaire Doc as he voluntarily submits to be being scanned under the X-ray Beam:
If you can please give a brief introduction of yourself (age, medical specialty, years of medical practice):
I am a mid-career private practice radiologist working in the Northern CA. I joined the group after finishing fellowship and I’ve been in the same practice for close to 15 years. I’m fortunate to be in a group practice with great colleagues.
1) First off, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer these questions. I love your moniker, Millionaire Doc (whose acronym MD is perfect for our profession). What were some of the other names you considered before going with this one?
I was going to go with “Broke M.D.”, but then I thought people might not take me seriously.
I briefly considered “Alternative M.D.” because I write about alternative investments, but I thought that might be misconstrued as ‘alternative lifestyle’, which I know nothing about.
I finally settled on ‘Millionaire Doc’ even though I was concerned it might sound arrogant and elitist. But it was catchy and easy to remember.
I mean, who is going to remember ‘Smartfinancialplanningfordoctors.com’ right?
Plus, the acronym M.D. is an added bonus!
2) Speaking of our profession in medicine, when did you know you wanted to become a doctor? Were there any influential people or events that made you embark on this career path?
Growing up, I was greatly influenced by my parents to be a medical doctor.
It’s a common story.
Even though my parents were not in the medical profession, they touted the job security, good pay, and respect that physicians enjoy. Looking back, even though they meant well, it was probably not the best way to guide your children into a career path.
I believe parents should encourage their kids to find their passion and let them make their own choices.
But hey, here I am and it all worked out.
3) What were some of the deciding factors that led into choosing the medical specialty of radiology? Were there any other specialties that you considered?
I entered medical school with the intention of becoming a pediatrician. I had volunteered working with at-risk youth and thought this would be a natural match for me.
However, since I have a broad range of interests and I am naturally curious, I kept changing my mind with each rotation I did. The exception was OB-GYN.
Then I discovered radiology. Back in the day, the medical students called it “Radi-holiday”.
We’d show up in the morning for a few hours of readout and be dismissed by noon. We’d see awesome cases and there was no call.
The radiologist was the detective, finding abnormalities in a black and white picture.
If we discovered the diagnosis, we could be heroes. If not, we’d rattle off a differential diagnosis, hedge a bit, and tell the clinician to go clinically correlate.
Either way, it was a win-win!
Of course the reality of radiology is nothing like the skewed perception I saw at the time.
4) If you had to do it all over again, would you choose the same medical profession/specialty?
Yes. Radiology Rules.
5) If you were not a physician, what alternative career would you have gone into?
I’m an extroverted introvert, I am a visual person, and I suck at sales.
Perhaps some type of design engineer.
I’d also consider being a professional real estate investor.
6) Physicians have gained notoriety for being bad at finance. Why do you suppose that is the case?
Physicians don’t get formal financial training.
All of their schooling has largely centered around core sciences.
Once they are in residency and beyond, they don’t have time to learn about personal finance.
But I think that is now changing. With the large amount of free information on the web and other resources, there really is no excuse to be financially illiterate.
It’s scary to see physicians coming out of training with several hundred thousand dollars in student loans.
But I think it’s easy to feel and act rich because of the big starting paychecks.
7) Have you personally fallen trap to any of the typical mistakes physicians make, and if so can you name some of your biggest ones?
I haven’t had any financial catastrophes but I’ve made a lot of smaller mistakes in the past.
For example, I invested a lot of my savings in tech stocks during the dot-com bubble and lost most of it. Granted, it wasn’t that much in total dollar amount, but it hurt nonetheless.
I also didn’t maximize my Roth contributions as a resident.
I guess you could say buying a doctor’s house in the CA Bay Area is a major mistake. But the value of homes around here have gone through the roof so I’ve been able to ride the equity wave.
Our household expenses are quite high, and that’s largely due to living in a HCOL location plus sending our kids to private school.
Some might say living in CA is a major mistake. But I was raised and born here and this is where my family lives. I wouldn’t be as happy living anywhere else.
8) There seems to be a surge in Physician financial blogs these days, which I am guilty of being a part of.
What do you think has been the driving factor behind this and do you think it is a sign that physicians are finally waking up to the importance of financial literacy?
Jim Dahle of the White Coat Investor really started the conversation on the importance of physician personal finance and debt management so he deserves a lot of credit.
He’s probably saved the aggregate physician community hundreds of millions of dollars. Possibly in the billions over the course of an entire physician career.
Other bloggers like the Physician on FIRE, Passive Income MD, Wealthy Doc, and Dr. Cory Fawcett have also offered their perspectives on important financial concepts.
All of these voices are needed to show our community there are already paths that are well paved.
You don’t need to cut your own road- just follow the road other successful physicians have taken.
Also, for the most part, physicians are an altruistic bunch. We like to help people. After all, that’s what drew us into a medical career.
9) What inspired you to start a blog? Were there any surprises along the way? Any advice to individuals who may be contemplating starting one of their own?
I’ve always had a creative itch to start something from scratch, and creating a blog fit that bill.
I also blog to share my experiences with other people so they can learn from my knowledge and mistakes.
One benefit of having a blog is the networking with other bloggers. I’ve met a lot of great folks in the short time I’ve been at it.
I also wanted to leave behind a written record of my thoughts and philosophy so my kids and future generations can look back and read about my life.
If you are contemplating starting a blog, I’d say just do it. It can be very rewarding.
10) Your blog is primarily devoted to what many consider an alternative class of investing, mainly in real estate. Why have you chosen to concentrate on this sector of assets as opposed to the more traditional investing method of primarily concentrating in stocks and bonds?
To be clear, the bulk of my portfolio is in stocks and bonds through Vanguard index funds. However, I am shifting more of my portfolio towards alternative investments like hard money lending, single family homes, and commercial real estate.
The reason is to diversify my holdings outside of the stock market, which we all know can be volatile.
I like hard assets that are tangible and have intrinsic value.
There will always be a need for housing and an apartment building’s value will never go down to zero.
As far as writing, there are thousands of posts on stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Those topics have already been written to death. I find alternative investments to be much more interesting.
11) In the real estate sector, your primary focus is in the commercial sector of real estate and you use crowdfunding and syndications to accomplish this.
Can you give a brief explanation of what these particular platforms are and why you have chosen to concentrate on them rather than the traditional single family home model most people envision when they think of real estate investing?
In 2012, the JOBS Act was passed which allowed online crowdfund platforms to proliferate.
As a result, commercial real estate opportunities became more accessible to accredited investors.
These platforms are online marketplaces that aggregate and curate deals for their investor pool.
The sponsors benefit by gaining access to a large group of investors.
Previously, these deals were only accessible to investors who had pre-existing relationships with sponsor/operators.
When people typically think of real estate, they think of single family homes. But there is a whole world of different real estate asset types to consider, like office, apartments, self-storage, industrial, retail, medical office, mobile home parks, and senior housing.
12) What do you think some of the obstacles most investors perceive about real estate that make them not want to venture in this class? Any advice to help allay some of these fears?
Real estate is not for everyone.
When people think about real estate they think tenants, toilets, and termites and it’s not worth the hassle.
That’s active real estate investing.
Well, these days, there are many ways to passively invest in real estate including hiring a property manager, turnkey single family homes, hard money loans, and syndications.
I’m not an active real estate investor because I don’t enjoy managing a property and it is not the highest and best use of my time.
Instead I leverage other real estate professionals to do the heavy lifting.
The key is to find a good sponsor/operator
13) Asset allocation is considered an important step any beginning investor must determine but it can be highly individualized based on the investor’s personal risk profile.
Can you share with us your asset allocation and in particular how much of your portfolio do you wish to dedicate to real estate holdings?
If I include the equity of my primary residence, then over 50% of my net worth is in some form of real estate.
If I exclude my primary residence, then about 35% of my net worth is in real estate.
The rest is composed of stock and bond index funds. I think an ideal asset allocation would be 30% real estate, 50% stocks, 10% bonds, 5% cash, and 5% other alternatives.
Of course, this may change with the economic environment, so it’s not set in stone.
14) For a reader unfamiliar with your website, what are three posts you are most proud of that they can gain an insight about you and your philosophies?
The Financial Me Part 1 and Part 2,
Build Ladders to Generate Wealth
Five Things I Learned Growing Up In a Candy Shop
15) Is there a book or books that has made a major impact in your financial well-being?
I love reading financial books and I have a collection of them on my shelf.
I’m currently reading Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio and it is fantastic.
Other favorites include
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits by Judy Robinett
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth by T. Harv Eker
Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
16) By your moniker, you have already broached the 7 figure net worth mark which is a tremendous achievement.
How old were you when you hit this milestone? Did you do anything special to celebrate the occasion? Did you expect to become a millionaire by that age when you first entered medical school?
When I finished training and started private practice, I set a goal of one million dollars in net worth in ten years. I reached that mark in seven years at the age of 38.
Honestly, it was just another day, and I didn’t celebrate it. Maybe I did a fist pump.
17) Can you name 5 things that had the greatest financial impact on you that allowed you to become a millionaire?
18) What is your advice to the medical student/resident/early physician who may be facing a monumental amount of debt early on in their career?
Paying off a large debt load may seem overwhelming, but it’s doable.
The saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” applies here.
I would advise planning a course of action.
Learn about all your loan repayment options early on.
There are different loan forgiveness programs but you have to follow the rules. In the early attending years, continue to try to live like a resident, because even though you may earn a large paycheck, your net worth is still likely a large negative number.
Use the S.M.A.R.T goal approach which I advocate in my Road to $1 Million series.
Have both long term and short term objectives, then try to automate your debt paydown as much as possible.
19) 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.
I don’t have a particular spending goal.
I anticipate $150-200K a year would allow a comfortable retirement.
I believe a $10 million net worth by age 65 is entirely achievable- and that would include equity in my primary residence.
I plan to continue working until I turn 60, then either go part-time or locums until I am 65.
I don’t have plans to retire early.
20) Another trend that is sweeping the physician blogosphere is the concept of FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early). What are your thoughts on this?
I am an advocate for FI, but not necessarily RE.
Work is ingrained in my soul and I don’t think I would ever stop working in some form or another.
My career is rewarding and not too onerous.
But I can see myself cutting back in the future to a part-time or locums and have work serve me instead of the other way around.
21) What is your greatest fear, if any, you have in retirement, and are there any ways you are addressing that now?
Like anyone else, I do have the fear of running out of money in retirement.
But at my current trajectory, that fear is probably unfounded.
As long as I don’t do anything stupid, I should have enough. I plan to increase my passive income stream through real estate holdings, both single family rentals and commercial real estate syndications.
Again thank you so much Millionaire Doc 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.
And please don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already so you can always be up to date with the latest posts.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN
Great to get to know you better through this series, MD. Did you just jump into real estate, have a friend who mentored you, or attend the school is books, blogs and hard knocks to get started?
Enjoyed the interview, thanks for facilitating, Xrayvsn!
Appreciate the kind words CD. Definitely pleased with how the inaugural post in this category turned out
Thanks CD. I just jumped in. Trial by fire- just like in residency right? I read a bunch of books and blogs, listened to podcasts and just jumped in. There is so much free info out there.
Really enjoyed this post, its always nice to learn a little about the person behind one of the websites I enjoy reading.
It sounds like your reasons for choosing radiology are similar to mine for choosing path. I love looking through the scope, ticking off possibilities and working toward a diagnosis (and its always nice to be able to hedge and “recommend clinical correlation”).
Thanks MD for sharing and Xrayvsn for the post. I enjoy both of your blogs, keep up the good work.
Thank you Ray. When MD asked me to do a guest post early on he returned the favor when I asked if he could answer the interview questions for a post on my site
Thanks Ray. I think rads fit my personality the best. It’s just the right amount of patient contact. I enjoy your blog too. Looking forward to reading more.
Thanks for the insight into MD – I really enjoyed learning about a physician blogger that I have, until now, known only on WCI forums. I like the clean look of MD’s site and just signed up for his (her?!?) posts.
I hope I don’t reveal too much about MD secret identity but MD is a male physician. Lol. I love the way his site is set up too. Lots of great tips on real estate and alternative investing
Thank you Johanna. You always have great advice for all the docs out there. Glad to have you as a reader. I’m a guy.
Thanks for posting the interview….I’ve enjoyed “M.D.’s” blog…
I’m glad you enjoyed it. I love getting insight from people I interact in the virtual world
Thanks for the kind words plane doc and glad to have you as a reader. Best.
MD – You obviously have become quite an active, successful and highly knowledgeable real estate investor and you clearly enjoy it as well, that’s great.
Would you mention a few of your favorite sponsors for multi-family commercial RE, and for more diversified RE funds as well (for accredited investors)?
For multifamily, I favor larger, more established sponsors like Origin Investments. I also like Encore but their fees are high. On my radar as good sponsors are: MLG, Praxis, Watermark, RealSource, MaraPoling, ApexOne. For industrial, Xebec, Avistone, O’donnell. Reliant for self storage. Just my opinion.
For the past year I have solely invested my non-retirement funds into multifamily commercial real estate with the syndicator 37th parallel and have had great experience thus far (full disclosure, they recently became a sponsor of my blog with paid advertising)
Great post! It’s nice to get to know the person behind a blog. I hope this series continues so I can get to know all of my favorite bloggers a little better.
Thank you so much for the compliment. I have sent out 4 sets of questions already with one already returned and in the schedule.
Thanks SHS. This is a great series and I’m honored to be featured. I hope to get to know you better too. I’m learning all about side hustles from you. Best
Very nice to learn more about MD! I definitely follow his great site. I had only realized physicians had blogs around Feb 2018. I already feel I am getting to know many of you!
Appreciate the comment. Well there are certainly a lot more of the physician bloggers than there were when I first discovered White Coat. It is a great community to be a part of and these X-ray beam sessions give me a perspective on some of them I never would have had just by reading blogs. Glad you enjoyed the post. Hopefully more are willing to be put under the X-ray beam.
Thanks Dr. MB. I’m a reader of your blog too. I think it’s wonderful to have all these doctor blogger colleagues. You don’t see this kind of collaboration with the JD blogs haha.
2 of my favorite bloggers in one post. How awesome is that! Great start to this X-ray beam series. It’s always very interesting to learn more about the bloggers that I follow.
It’s funny how you were considering “Broke M.D.” as a name and then went a complete 180! LOL
You are really too kind (actually I’m going to declare this comment the one that brought the biggest smile to my face for the month 🙂 ).
I think Millionaire Doc went above and beyond the call of duty with his responses. When I sent out the questions I had no idea the quality content he would be giving back to me.
I personally think he should have gone with Alternative MD (whips and chains motif would have been perfect). LOL.
Have a great day and thanks for the comment.
Whoa, hey, I don’t know anything about that kind of stuff. That’s how rumors get started eh? Thanks for the compliment Dr. McFrugal. Days like this keep me motivated to continue blogging. Hope the little one is doing well.
Enjoyed reading this post. Happy to learn about MD. This is a good idea Xrayvsn. I hope there is another WCIcon. I met a lot of bloggers and forum posters there. It was also very fun.
Thank you Hatton. I was very pleased how it turned out and hopefully other people will be interested in joining in to be featured on this post. Absolutely love this community and how supportive it has been and this is a way to get more insight on each person. I think Jim had hinted there will be another wci conference in 2019 I believe (or maybe 2020)
Thank you hatton1md. I also follow your blog and you’ve got quite the following. Your posts on finances near or during retirement are unique and not talked about enough. I’m learning a lot from your site. Thanks.
[…] even easier way to get to know a blogger? The X-ray Beam. This week Xrayvsn introduced his new X-ray beam series featuring Millionaire Doc. They sit down to discuss medicine, blogging and investing. Since they are both radiologists […]
Thanks SHS for the mention on your blog 🙂
Great to hear your story Doc. Seeing so many Docs get into this space is a great thing, we can all learn from your experiences!
Thanks for reading Accidental FIRE. I follow you as well. It is getting crowded in the doc blogosphere, but the more the merrier.
It is amazing how this particular niche just started blowing up recently. I was amazed when Crispy Doc posted his list of 50 physician bloggers (and since that time it is now even more). Looks like there may be a turning point where doctors are no longer considered financially illiterate.
Fascinating read guys. And thanks for the mention.
I especially loved the gems of the 5 factors that helped the most. My list would be similar.
Cutting down to part-time at 60 or so sounds like a great plan. I only made it to 50 before doing that!
Glad you enjoyed the post. I have a few more subjects in the works for future posts, but always looking to add more if you are interested.
Thanks WD. You’ve been at it for the longest I believe. And I’ve been a fan for a while. Thanks for the comment.
Good to know. Yes, WCI has been great about pointing out that I existed when he got started. He truly deserves the credit for creating the current state of physician PF blogging though. I had the idea but not his skill set, work ethic, or time to focus on developing all this.
1) Great answers, MD. You are a stud and should keep doing what you are doing. I thought about peds first, too, before joining the ROAD to happiness
2) the picture of the hand cuffs after the alternarative lifestyle comment almost made me pee my pants. That was sneaky funny.
Thanks for the comment TPP, I’m glad you got the meaning behind some of the pics I chose 🙂 LOL
In the spirit of learning new things (the topic of my last post), maybe I should explore alternative lifestyles. My life is getting kind of boring.
This is a great article. X-ray is really helpful tool in modern medicine to identify problems. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.