My mother, the accountant, threw out 10 million. An I just took it. Accepted it. Calculated the number of years, and I was off. But it didn’t feel right. So I asked my financial advisor. A few weeks later and after much information was solicited, I was given 85% chance of my money lasting through retirement. He went on and on about Monte Carlo and all sorts of other rubbish, and I accepted it. I put my head down and went back to work. I kept saving, kept investing. But it didn’t feel right.
The accountant had a number but never really asked about how much I wanted to spend each month. The financial advisor asked about my spending but refused to consider my investment real estate in the equation. The confusion swirled, and my anxiety increased at a faster rate than my net worth.
So I went to the internet and found all the websites that I’m sure you are familiar with. I learned about the 4% rule, the 3.5% rule, and 25x. I calculated and recalculated. I played around on FIREcalc. My conclusion over and over again was the same.
I have enough. Comfortably enough.
But don’t think the journey didn’t change me. I fired my financial advisor (saved me $18,000 a year) and moved my investments to Vanguard. I canceled my life insurance policy ($3,000 a year). I started to charge my car at the local dealership ($1,000 plus free coffee). I became a master of Mint. I signed up for Personal Capital.
My life now optimized, my side hustles in place, I was ready to retire.
Yet, I couldn’t. It was not that I love being a doctor so much. I don’t. It’s something much more sinister.
The wall of fear has overtaken me. I have scaled a lifetime to reach the top but now am paralyzed by the height. I don’t know how to move forward. I have become a victim of the what ifs.
What if the market crashes?
What if the real estate market evaporates?
What if I can’t find health care?
And then the more difficult questions.
What if I’m nothing outside of being a doctor?
What if this is the best it gets?
What if my life has lost meaning?
And my mind turns, the one more year phenomena bursts into my psyche. Next thing I know I am volunteering for extra shifts, more consulting, The money piles up.
Maybe I should travel more.
Spend more time with the kids.
Start a blog.
But then I stand atop of the wall and only see a path leading down. Not up.
I want to keep moving up.
“DocG” is a physician who blogs at DiverseFI.
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