Career burnout is becoming increasingly common and is a hot topic lately, particularly for physicians and other health care workers. The causes are many. Increased demands. Decreased reimbursement and recognition. Longer hours and lower benefits. The feeling that you’re just another wheel in the cog. In medicine, it’s the ever-thickening red tape. Clumsy electronic health records (EHRs). Prior authorizations. In-baskets that fill up with dozens or hundreds of messages any time you’re ...

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The telephone rang. Why would he be calling? Must be a misdial, I figured. I  hadn’t worked with him in several years, and we were never known to make social calls back when we did work together. That call was no mistake. What he had to say made me simultaneously queasy, fearful, and angry. It felt like the first couple loops on a rollercoaster ride I didn’t sign up for. I ...

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“It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which gives happiness." - Thomas Jefferson If you are a practicing physician, you need rest. Why do I say this? Because you have gone through an enculturation process which focuses on hyperactivity and super high-level achievement. In training programs and in practice, admitting that you are tired or needing a rest break is a sign of weakness and is discouraged, to say the ...

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I was browsing the Bogleheads forum last night, and my eyes naturally gravitated to the thread titled “What is FI if you love your job?” The short answer is that FI is financial independence. Nothing more, nothing less, and it doesn’t look any different if you love, hate, or feel indifferent towards your job. The long answer, after learning that the man asking the question is about ten years ...

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When I described my drawdown strategy in early retirement, I stated we will “sell from the taxable account first.” I also plan to collect quarterly dividends from my index funds, but if Vanguard were Burger King and I could have it my way, I’d hold the dividends and take bites out of my account only as needed. When I discuss the downsides of dividends, note that I am ...

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In January of this year, I wrote one of my favorite posts after helping a retired couple free themselves from their financial advisor, greatly simplify their portfolio, and saving them more than $20,000 per year in the process. For details, please read "From 28 Funds to 3," then return here for a follow-up. In summary, the couple previously owned 28 funds (with 48 positions between three accounts). The ...

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You did it! You worked, you saved, you conquered. Your investments add up to 25 times your expenses, or 30 times, or whatever your magic number is. You have achieved financial independence (FI), however you have chosen to define it. What’s that low rumbling sound I hear? Is that a bear coming out of hibernation? I won’t pretend to know when it’s coming, but I promise you I haven’t seen my last bear market. It could start ...

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“Can I look at that book?” said the man next to me in an accent I would soon learn to be Pakistani. I had placed the book face down on the park bench intentionally. In a busy, public place, I didn’t want to broadcast that I was reading The Doctors Guide to Smart Career Alternatives and Retirement. The back cover contained enough information to pique the polite man’s interest. “Sure,” I said. ...

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In order to safely plan for a successful retirement, it’s imperative to have a general idea of what your spending needs will be when retired. We cannot calculate whether or not our anticipated withdrawal rate would be considered safe (in the range of 3% to 4%) without knowing the size of the annual withdrawal. That number can be difficult to pin down, as there are many variables. It can be informative ...

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I’ll be the first to admit that I am a frugal physician. Frugality has served me well, and I wouldn’t be financially independent without that quality. Yes, I refer to frugality as a quality, and as far as qualities go, it’s a quality quality to have. While not everyone thinks of frugality as a decidedly positive quality to possess, it just might be that others confuse frugality with its ...

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