Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

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Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby FinnTheHuman » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:49 pm

Hello all,

I am 31 and have been in practice for a little over a year now. 7 months ago I began putting money into a retirement plan and recently have begun to get more serious about my finances. Mainly because I looked back at my take hope pay on my 2012 w-2 and wondered where the money went.

Assets
35k in a 401k plan (no employer contribution but they do withhold an extra 32k a year pretax on top of the 17.5k)
Car worth 50-55k
15k cash

Liabilities
100k student loans at 2.8%
100k at 4.5%
100k at 6.8%
39k car loan at 6.7%
14k unsecured signature loan at 14%

Income is around 26-31k a month depending on the month. Single male, no kids.

Pretax deductions
4k into 401k monthly
Disability insurance (forget the cost, maybe 200 a month)

Expenses monthly

2350 rent
950 car note
3k a month to student loans
300 gas (16 mpg and I drive a lot, maybe more than this)

So that's kind of a rough overview of my major expenses. My take home pay fluctuates both due to fluctuations in my gross but also calling of social security around April or May takes a load off too. Maybe I take home 15-19k depending.

In the past I had been spending somewhat recklessly but recently my major outflows outside of what you see there have been a thousand here or there to help an ex girlfriend with school, and I sent in 5k towards the 14% loan in December. A 10k check to the IRS for the 2010 tax year. My taxes are being done for 2011 now because I'm finally paying for someone to do them. My asset allocation in my 401k is 33% vangaurd total market index, 33% vangaurd international index and 33 vangaurd mid cap growth (I think it's called) index. I realize that is 100% stocks and aggressively tilted at that. My rationale is that currently I'm sending a minimum of 5k a month toward accelerated repayment of debt and only 4k a month into stocks. The interest I'm paying on 3/4 of that debt is greater than any bond return and it's guaranteed.

So for those of you patient and kind enough to read this, what do you say? I realize that my expenses while on the high side don't explain where a year of that kind I income would go. Basically consumption. A lot of it. That's over now that I realized I paid 22k in interest last year. Makes me sick. So now my focus is on stability and freedom. Any help is appreciated! I realize I don't have a focused question to ask. I figured if I just laid everything bare I'd get plenty of feedback on things.

Thanks!
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby LH » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:12 pm

cars and homes/mortgages are the great destroyer of financial freedom.

At a car currently worth 55K, you must have paid 60K for it, you have the car down pat. Then their is the carry costs of the car: 1)yearly costs to insure its 55K worth 2)yearly costs to pay car tax on it if any 3)then the loan you mentioned. Gonna be an even more expensive car when all said and done......... How many shifts you gonna work to pay for that over time?

You still rent, but when you buy, consider buying at a lower scale than the car. you gotta insure the home, pay tax on the home, then fill it with furniture, the nicer the neighborhood, the nicer the furniture, the bigger the house. "Mo money!"

For you, I would read "your money or your life", you have to sit down and really look at what you are spending money on versus your time cost to acquire it at work. Ignore the investment advice in it, but its good for the work versus pay fundamental question. You are literally spending your life when you spend money (assuming you work for it)

You can buy financial freedom for yourself, and a nice life.

or

You can buy a bunch of 60K car and their equivalents, 1K chairs, 3-5K couches, 5K road bikes, get a near million dollar house, followed by, of course, 30-100K redo of said house, granite counter tops de rigueur etc. etc. and rinse repeat every 4-8 years with the car, redo, new stuff, oh and draw out your loan payments, and have low investments.

Also of course, anything in between.

Its good that paying 22K interest makes you sick, 1)you know the number 2)it makes you sick.

The ancient athenians considered working for anyone else, a form of slavery. Nowadays, that may be considered a bit extreme, but interest debt, certainly is a form of slavery. You can own your possessions, or your possessions can own you.

So you have to decide what you will do. The normal thing in life is to make yourself house poor a bit, and load up on expensive car, on down the line.

If thats what you want, do it by all means.

Its just good you are beginning looking at it, and starting on the path to making a conscious choice.

good luck,

LH

PS the second book, I think "the millionaire next door" would be good. Then decide what you want, then go on to asset allocation books like ferri and swedroe.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby NYBoglehead » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:30 pm

Well, the good thing is that you earn a ton of money. So that's a good start anyway. You gotta get rid of that 14k loan ASAP, 14% is absolutely ridiculous. Same thing for the car lona, 6.7% is absolutely ridiculous. Same thing for the student loans that you are paying 6.8% and 4.5% on. This is much, much higher than you can earn in bond funds in the current environment.

You list your monthly expenses as 6.6k but left out food, utilities, insurance, and other things that I am certain you have to pay for. Assuming you spend an absurd amount of money on these things let's say for the sake of argument your monthly expenses are 9k, and your monthly gross income is 15k. That leaves a 6k surplus on top of the accelerated payments you already making.

So, you should be able to knock of the 14k loan in the next 2-3 months, pay off the car within 6 months after that, and have the 6.8% student loans paid off by Q4 in 2014. If you use the "debt snowball" method a la Dave Ramsey, and apply the monthly payments dedicated to your various debts to your remaining debts as they are paid off, there is no reason why you can't be completely debt free in a few years.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby EmergDoc » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:40 pm

FinnTheHuman wrote:Hello all,

I am 31 and have been in practice for a little over a year now. 7 months ago I began putting money into a retirement plan and recently have begun to get more serious about my finances. Mainly because I looked back at my take hope pay on my 2012 w-2 and wondered where the money went.

Assets
35k in a 401k plan (no employer contribution but they do withhold an extra 32k a year pretax on top of the 17.5k)
Car worth 50-55k
15k cash

Liabilities
100k student loans at 2.8%
100k at 4.5%
100k at 6.8%
39k car loan at 6.7%
14k unsecured signature loan at 14%

Income is around 26-31k a month depending on the month. Single male, no kids.

Pretax deductions
4k into 401k monthly
Disability insurance (forget the cost, maybe 200 a month)

Expenses monthly

2350 rent
950 car note
3k a month to student loans
300 gas (16 mpg and I drive a lot, maybe more than this)

So that's kind of a rough overview of my major expenses. My take home pay fluctuates both due to fluctuations in my gross but also calling of social security around April or May takes a load off too. Maybe I take home 15-19k depending.

In the past I had been spending somewhat recklessly but recently my major outflows outside of what you see there have been a thousand here or there to help an ex girlfriend with school, and I sent in 5k towards the 14% loan in December. A 10k check to the IRS for the 2010 tax year. My taxes are being done for 2011 now because I'm finally paying for someone to do them. My asset allocation in my 401k is 33% vangaurd total market index, 33% vangaurd international index and 33 vangaurd mid cap growth (I think it's called) index. I realize that is 100% stocks and aggressively tilted at that. My rationale is that currently I'm sending a minimum of 5k a month toward accelerated repayment of debt and only 4k a month into stocks. The interest I'm paying on 3/4 of that debt is greater than any bond return and it's guaranteed.

So for those of you patient and kind enough to read this, what do you say? I realize that my expenses while on the high side don't explain where a year of that kind I income would go. Basically consumption. A lot of it. That's over now that I realized I paid 22k in interest last year. Makes me sick. So now my focus is on stability and freedom. Any help is appreciated! I realize I don't have a focused question to ask. I figured if I just laid everything bare I'd get plenty of feedback on things.

Thanks!


Welcome to the forum. You've come to a good place. After a few years of helping docs on this forum in situations similar to yours, I started a website specifically aimed at docs. You can find it at http://whitecoatinvestor.com.

You have a negative net worth of about $300K. The sooner you turn that into a positive net worth the better. It's great that you're putting $4K a month toward retirement, but with an income of $360K, you need to be putting in about $72K/year, or about $6K per month toward retirement. If I were you I'd be putting another $5-10K a month toward my debts. Remember a year ago you were living on $50K. Now you need $300K? Hardly. The secret to wealth as a physician is to live like a resident for a few years after residency. Even if you live twice as well as you did as a resident you'll still be off to a great start.

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/live-like-a-resident/

You would probably benefit from this post as well:

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/student-lo ... investing/

Good luck! I'm sure you'll do fine. Far better to discover this after your first year than your fifteenth!

P.S. I'm a big fan of not driving expensive cars. I drove an $1850 car for 4 years after residency. Compared to driving a $60K car, it gave me a' huge jump start on my portfolio. You don't have to be that cheap, but you might consider the merits of driving a reliable used car for a few years. You could sell the car, pay off the note, and buy a $10K car with the leftover cash. That would give you $950 more a month in income you could use to pay off debts.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby obgraham » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:55 pm

I'll have to have a look at EmergDoc's websites. Sounds similar to advice I've given young docs for a number of years, and which I in turn learned from the prior generation of docs. In short, nothing changes in the financial world of docs, just the numbers!

It's always a mystery, but docs will piddle away huge amounts of cash during their working years. And since there always seems to be work to do, there is little incentive to change. But I know many docs who reached near retirement age with little in assets to show for it. It's unbelievable.

Here's a few pithy pointers taught to me, still true today:
1. You never know when the gravy train will slow down, either by changes in your own circumstances (health) or outside (government, regulations). So start your plan now (as you have).
2. Ignore the stream of advisors and colleagues enticing you into investment schemes. Like hot stocks, other buildings, oil wells, and wineries. You'll take a hit, and they'll make the profit.
3. Only buy one extravagant car in your life. You're entitled to one, but cars are a sap on your progress.
4. You say you are not married, but if/when you do: keep the same wife! It's incredible how many docs are supporting multiple ex-wives in the style they wish to become accustomed to.
5. Slow and steady accumulation, especially in Bogle-style will leave you in great position later in life.

Good luck to you!
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby FinnTheHuman » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:58 pm

Thank you for the thoughtful replies!

LH I did just listen to the audiobook for Millionaire Next Door and also Stop Acting Rich. I found them very compelling to the point of considering selling my car and downgrading significantly. My lease ends in 6 months and I will also be researching alternatives. I can't say I regret my car and apartment. I got to drive my dream car after 15 years of driving nothing luxurious at all. After a year went by as I began to enjoy work less and as I noticed that I was driving the car day after day and no longer appreciating it (but the payments were still just as high) I realized I was no longer getting much value fr my money. As to those other expenses you list I am no longer extravagant. I have really begun to feel how vulnerable having 350k of debt, 22k of intrest and something like 40k a year going to rent and at payment. In my business I could be jobless extremely quickly if the hospital contract were lost or of I made the wrong person mad. Then it becomes a 3-4 month wait to get credentialed at a new facility and maybe 2 months after that to actually get a pay check. Also if I work more than about 10 days a month I really don't like my job. I'm working 14-16 a month now. So I am hugely on board with the concept of being a slave to your possessions or spending habits. I just hope I can strike a balance and not go to far towards frugality. If I drive a 5k car and live outside the main part of the night life in my city I may be paying to heavy a price also. I am single and I can't put a value on being a part of things socially and that does carry certain costs where I live.
But I have definitely learned than I'm not happier at a 100 a person reasuraunt than I am at a little tex mex place. Not happier in $200 shirts than I am in $10 dollar tshirts. Selling my car would be very painful however. (64k with 6k trade in and 15k down, bought with 9k miles on it. I was at least smart enough not to pay the first years depreciation.)

My goal is to learn to be at peace with work so I feel comfortable spending money again, though still saving for retirement. But until then I feel like every dollar I spend is time at work that is like selling my blood for money. Wise people say on this board "Moderation in all things". I'm going to look at the "Your money or your life"

Thank you again!
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby FinnTheHuman » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:12 pm

EmergDoc I'm honored you replied, hehe. Your website is actually the one that I found Bogleheads through. I have read pretty much everything on your Getting Started page and had spent hours following "Related Links". Your post about MarketTimer sent me here and cost me a few hours reading the whole saga, lol. You posts on VUL insurance allowed me to help a good friend in ER med who was sucked in Ameriprise! They put him into mutual funds with a 5.25% loads. Anyway with your help I think we have him on the right track glad you enjoy ER. That is my field also. I'm already losing hope I'll be able to enjoy work. Maybe this is a temporary funk. We will see. In the mean time I highly value everyone's generosity with their time in replying.

My excess cash may be limited as I have my tax guy do my year late return for 2011 and then my 2012 return. Also I'm debating whether to fund an IRA for the back door Roth and a HSA for 2012 since I don't have to fund it until April 15th. I know paying my owed tax comes first, and probably the 14% loan should come before trying to put money into the Roth and HSA. Doing all of that is likely not possible between now and April 15th.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby whattodo » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:44 pm

Well,
you spent a ton of money but the good thing is, you did realize how to get back on track which is the key here..
I don't think you need to sell your car. ( never lease a car unless you get some real tax benefit and never pay 6.7% for a car loan...) Enjoy for now. If you buy an expensive car, keep for 7+ years...


I did spend a ton for the past 3 years before I hit the brakes. Register to http://www.mint.com and track your expenses and you will realize how much $$$ we really spend on unnecessary stuff.. I spend a lot less now and still have the same lifestyle.. so I would say start with mint as first step if you don't have one already.
Set a specific monthly budget and try to keep up with that. Try to save as much as you can in 2013 and you will feel a lot better in 2014...

Also that 14% interest loan is just ridiculous... and still keeping that open is just plain dumb...
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby trudy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:55 am

NYBoglehead wrote:You list your monthly expenses as 6.6k but left out food, utilities, insurance, and other things that I am certain you have to pay for. Assuming you spend an absurd amount of money on these things let's say for the sake of argument your monthly expenses are 9k, and your monthly gross income is 15k. That leaves a 6k surplus on top of the accelerated payments you already making.


He doesn't seem to have taxes in there either. They must be pretty substantial on that income.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby trudy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:00 am

FinnTheHuman wrote:Thank you for the thoughtful replies!
Also if I work more than about 10 days a month I really don't like my job. I'm working 14-16 a month now.


If I owed $300,000, I would be working full time. Unless those 14-16 days are way longer than eight hours.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Default User BR » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:06 am

I wouldn't pay off the car loan, but refinance at PenFed at 1.49%. Free cash can be better used elsewhere.


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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby letsgobobby » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:26 am

EmergDoc wrote:The secret to wealth as a physician is to live like a resident for a few years after residency.


Bingo, this is seriously the secret of life for graduating residents but unfortunately most of them don't know it. We lived in a starter home (less than our combined annual salary, which was a lot less than yours) with our starter cars (each 7-10 years old) and our starter restaurants (home cooked meals and an occasional night out at the local brewpub) and our starter vacations (camping mostly, or off off off season by way of mistake fare to a frigid and deeply discounted London) for a full 4 years before so much as thinking about not being cheap. Then we had a baby, upgraded to a fancy schmancy base model Toyota RAV4 and went to Hawaii once a year. Not until 8 years out did we seriously upgrade our lifestyle, and by seriously I mean we still save at least half our income every year. We have never made combined as much as you make alone. But I never had $350k in debt either, which would make me even more diligent about buckling down.

You've bought the car... Might as well enjoy it. But all the other spending has to stop. At $25k per month I'd find a minimum of $10k toward debt and savings, plus the $3k your employer kicks in. If you could make that $15k+$3k even better. Remember internship? My months on inpatient medicine I spent about $125 per month ex-housing and utilities. Basically just gas and a few nights at the taco stand. You probably did it once and you should consider doing it again for a couple years.

Regrettably several of my colleagues started living the big life too early. One of them short sold his house, has $200k in school loans, and 'couldn't make ends meet' on a $200k salary after 6 years post residency. You don't want to be that guy. Another joined the national guard in 2003 (after we had invaded Iraq) to 'make a little extra money.' While I honor the patriotism, his need to make a few extra bucks led to distorted decision making and eventually severe hardship on him and his family... ended in divorce and him having PTSD. You don't want to be that guy.

By the way, what is it about EM? Most of the ER docs I know are burned out before 40. They are all talking about when they can retire, and several want to switch out of EM or out of medicine altogether. I only bring this up because you really don't want to count on making $30k per month indefinitely, a lot of things could keep that from happening and you need to make hay while the sun shines... maxing out tax advantaged space and knocking out that debt.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby PoeticalDeportment » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:52 am

Default User BR wrote:I wouldn't pay off the car loan, but refinance at PenFed at 1.49%. Free cash can be better used elsewhere.

Brian


+1

If I were in your shoes this is how I would prioritize my debt:
1. 14k unsecured signature loan at 14% - this is obscene, get rid of it ASAP.
2. 100k at 6.8%
3. 100k at 4.5%
4. 39k car loan at 6.7%
5. 100k student loans at 2.8%

At least one other person suggested prioritizing the car loan above your student debt - I would not do that. Any debt can make you feel like you are drowning, but some kinds of debt have a very special ability to make your life miserable in certain circumstances. If you lost your job, got sick, became disabled for some reason that your LTD insurance wouldn't cover, etc. and you had to file bankruptcy - the car loan would go away, the 14k would go away, but the student loans would remain. You can get rid of $300k of student loans as an ER doc, but it would probably be pretty difficult if you had to pay it back working in some other profession.

I recognize that my advice above is not entirely consistent. The 14k is at such a high rate that I would get rid of it even though it isn't as dangerous as the student loans. Similarly, the 2.8% is so low I probably wouldn't rush to pay it off. This is where it really depends on your preferences (I have shared mine).

It would be nice if you could do the 14-16 shifts per month while whittling away at your obligations, but don't neglect your own mental health - if it needs to be 10-12 for you to not hate life - respect that. Unfortunately, something about the journey through medical school, residency +/- fellowship can leave us feeling burned out, jaded, or numb to the reasons we went into medicine to begin with. I hope you can rediscover what originally made you want to pursue this career and it can be more fulfilling for you. I am glad your post seemed to indicate that you now recognize the lie that happiness is related to consumption.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby g$$ » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:05 am

Do yourself a favor and pay off that 14k loan at 14%. Seriously, this can't be paid quickly enough.

Do you work for a non-profit? Some student loans can be forgiven after working for 10 years at a non-profit.

-g$$
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby FinnTheHuman » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:53 am

whattodo wrote:Well,
you spent a ton of money but the good thing is, you did realize how to get back on track which is the key here..
I don't think you need to sell your car. ( never lease a car unless you get some real tax benefit and never pay 6.7% for a car loan...) Enjoy for now. If you buy an expensive car, keep for 7+ years...


I did spend a ton for the past 3 years before I hit the brakes. Register to http://www.mint.com and track your expenses and you will realize how much $$$ we really spend on unnecessary stuff.. I spend a lot less now and still have the same lifestyle.. so I would say start with mint as first step if you don't have one already.
Set a specific monthly budget and try to keep up with that. Try to save as much as you can in 2013 and you will feel a lot better in 2014...

Also that 14% interest loan is just ridiculous... and still keeping that open is just plain dumb...


This was the first time a bought a car and I spent a long time researching and deciding exactly what I wanted (based on my feelings about the value of my dollar at the time, which has now changed). What I didn't know was what a reasonable interest rate would be for my credit score. To be honest I was half expecting them to tell me they couldn't secure financing. I accepted a credit card offer to settle my balance for 50 cents on the dollar in 09' when I was on a brutal trauma rotation and i let my bills go late. Had the money. Didn't send it in. The card company got spooked and offered the deal. I took it not realizing (stupidly) it would impact my score. I havn't had a late bill in years but my score is still like 630. Having trouble understanding what the problem is there. In any case based on a later posters suggestion I will look into refinancing.

Regarding the last point, "Still keeping it open is dumb"...Id change that to past tense. It WAS dumb. I'm paying it off rapidly now.

trudy wrote:
NYBoglehead wrote:You list your monthly expenses as 6.6k but left out food, utilities, insurance, and other things that I am certain you have to pay for. Assuming you spend an absurd amount of money on these things let's say for the sake of argument your monthly expenses are 9k, and your monthly gross income is 15k. That leaves a 6k surplus on top of the accelerated payments you already making.


He doesn't seem to have taxes in there either. They must be pretty substantial on that income.


Yes they are. My gross last year was 342K, taxable gross 312K, total taxes 87.5K took home 224k. I remember being 16 thinking if i could make 200k a year (no idea if i thought pre or post tax) that nothing could touch me. Not true. Thats why i'm here.

trudy wrote:
If I owed $300,000, I would be working full time. Unless those 14-16 days are way longer than eight hours.


Generally 10 hours shifts. The occasional 11 or 12 hour shift. What makes the pain vs hours worked mental calculus somewhat distorted is that those shifts are 1/3 nights (9p-7a) , 1/3 mid day (3p-1a) and one third morning (7a-5p). So imagine going into work 9pm tonight, getting off at 7 am the next day and going back in 7am the following day. 24 hours off. How do you arrange your sleep? If you just worked all night you feel like you want to go to bed when you get home at 8-9am. So you sleep how long? 8 hours till 4-5pm. Then what? Stay up from 5p till 7a and head into the ER for a shift having been awake for 14 hours and also during hours of the day that had been your sleep block the previous days? I manage, but when your time off looks like that 24 block right there it is very very different from the day off a person with a set sleep schedule gets. It is very rare that I am able to sleep during the same part of the day more than a few days in a row. So if anyone is incredulous that I would find working 160 hours a month too much a lot of the issue is right there. Obviously the nature of the work itself is also more draining hour for hour than any other job i've had. And I realize that I'm not superman.

Default User BR wrote:I wouldn't pay off the car loan, but refinance at PenFed at 1.49%. Free cash can be better used elsewhere.


Brian


I love it. I brought up their website and will sign up via the 15 buck donation option, thanks!

letsgobobby wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:The secret to wealth as a physician is to live like a resident for a few years after residency.


Bingo, this is seriously the secret of life for graduating residents but unfortunately most of them don't know it. We lived in a starter home (less than our combined annual salary, which was a lot less than yours) with our starter cars (each 7-10 years old) and our starter restaurants (home cooked meals and an occasional night out at the local brewpub) and our starter vacations (camping mostly, or off off off season by way of mistake fare to a frigid and deeply discounted London) for a full 4 years before so much as thinking about not being cheap. Then we had a baby, upgraded to a fancy schmancy base model Toyota RAV4 and went to Hawaii once a year. Not until 8 years out did we seriously upgrade our lifestyle, and by seriously I mean we still save at least half our income every year. We have never made combined as much as you make alone. But I never had $350k in debt either, which would make me even more diligent about buckling down.

You've bought the car... Might as well enjoy it. But all the other spending has to stop. At $25k per month I'd find a minimum of $10k toward debt and savings, plus the $3k your employer kicks in. If you could make that $15k+$3k even better. Remember internship? My months on inpatient medicine I spent about $125 per month ex-housing and utilities. Basically just gas and a few nights at the taco stand. You probably did it once and you should consider doing it again for a couple years.


One of my worries is that since I am single I need to cultivate a strong social life and really try and find my future wife. I would hate to crawl under a rock for the next 3 years and wake up debt free with no hair and no marriage. The social scene where I live is not cheap. Spending 100-200 a night for dinner and drinks after is pretty much the way it goes on nights I go out. I think if I had a fulfilling home life with a wife and kids I wouldn't feel so drawn to that social expense, but as it stands my apt is empty. Oh, I have an orchid. Me and my orchid. Still, I likely dont spend more that 1.5k a month on that stuff now. I get to go out once or maybe twice a week if im lucky.


letsgobobby wrote:By the way, what is it about EM? Most of the ER docs I know are burned out before 40. They are all talking about when they can retire, and several want to switch out of EM or out of medicine altogether. I only bring this up because you really don't want to count on making $30k per month indefinitely, a lot of things could keep that from happening and you need to make hay while the sun shines... maxing out tax advantaged space and knocking out that debt.


I'm burned out after 19 months, lol. I'm really not quite sure what it is. The lack of a routine. No set sleep schedule for all of your past you can recall and all the forseeable future. The difficulty maintaining sane relationships with friends and women. Since my schedule can contain any combination of night shifts and day shifts and mid day shifts in no discernible pattern it prevents predicability in my off time as well. I cant join the soccer league or be a reliable member of a social group that goes out every weekend. It really started to get bad when all the things I spent my money on either faded from my memory, seemed hollow, or just provided less return on investment as time when on. My car was a dream for a few months. Eventually I drove it 2 weeks at a time without stopping and saying "This is a bad ass car". I eventually just took it for granted. The payments didn't get any cheaper however as my enjoyment declined. The money spent on sushi and $10 a drink nights out...I remembered the value i got for the 200 spent the night before, but as the year came to and end and I looked back I couldn't remember 90% of the meal and nights out. So then when I go into work and don't feel like I'm getting ahead it can be brutal. Something about the ER...even if its slow you cant relax. I recently had a 2 year old having a seizure that wouldn't quit and when we sedated him enough to stop it was necessary to put a breathing tube down. When we started the process he vomited (bad, since he is too sedated to spit it out of his mouth, so it can rush into his lungs and kill) and then the light on my largygoscope died on me. (metal device for manipulating the mouth/airway to allow me to pass the tube.) The story is more than I'd go into here, but him intubated. I walk out of the room calm, sit down and then allowed myself to reflect on it. What if the kid had taken a breath with the vomit in his mouth? If i couldn't have intubated him and he died. If I got sued. The poor kid has the disease, but I was put in a situation where if i was simply unlucky I risked a lawsuit, the respect of my colleagues, family and the weight of failing to save a 2 year old. And I thought about the money I was paid for doing that and how I had squandered it. I felt like I was completely naked and exposed to so many ways of becoming hurt personally. And the only thing I got in return were dollars that I couldn't even remember where they went. 2 weeks later I ran into the mom who said the boy was 100% ok and that made me feel pretty good for about an hour. But the ER was still full. Even when the ER is empty I know that at any moment we may get 2 simultaneous CPRs, or a CPR and a stoke or heart attack all while 10 new patients check in with god knows what. You always feel vulnerable. When I have been off for 6 days or so I return to work full of energy and excited to diagnose and solve what problems the ER can solve. By my 3rd day it's completely different. Many of our patients are drug seekers. Many (I'm looking at you dialysis patients) feel so entitled to care they will spit at and assault nurses and know that ultimately no matter what they do there will get their dialysis they put off all week because they were "busy". Sometimes they just suck the life out of me. The money is not worth it. Not for the value i'm getting from it. Time to change.

PoeticalDeportment wrote:
Default User BR wrote:I wouldn't pay off the car loan, but refinance at PenFed at 1.49%. Free cash can be better used elsewhere.

Brian


It would be nice if you could do the 14-16 shifts per month while whittling away at your obligations, but don't neglect your own mental health - if it needs to be 10-12 for you to not hate life - respect that. Unfortunately, something about the journey through medical school, residency +/- fellowship can leave us feeling burned out, jaded, or numb to the reasons we went into medicine to begin with. I hope you can rediscover what originally made you want to pursue this career and it can be more fulfilling for you. I am glad your post seemed to indicate that you now recognize the lie that happiness is related to consumption.


I will be doing around 16-17 a month most months until at least fall due to some part time work I am doing for another group. I think it will be more tolerable with a defined goal and plan for the money that I know will, in the longer term, make me less dependent on work. I don't even plan to leave my profession or work part time hours etc. I just want to be able to go into work knowing that I'll be ok no matter what. That if today is the day that the person i should have saved dies, or if the CEO of the hospital doesn't like my face, or any number of other possibilities occurs..that I wont have my life turned upside down.

Again thank you all for the thoughtful replies.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby billted » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:47 am

FinntheHuman,

I'm a young physician a few years out from residency and fellowship in a surgical supspecialty. Just wanted to comment on something that I find true of my own practice and perhaps you do too: it is easy to see a full clinic and encounter many, many happy patients but it is always the unhappy patient or the surgical complication that sticks in our minds and has the potential to distort our view of an otherwise fullfilling day. In your field as an ER doc, you're going to come into contact with a high volume of patients, some of whom may be very, very sick. It may be helpful to focus on the successes you've had since becoming an attending and realize that the years of training, studying and sleepless nights (not to mention social sacrifices) have made and will continue to make an impact on individuals and families when they are most vulnerable. Not everyone can do what you do and not everyone will make the sacrifices required to reach your position. This is part of the reason that physicians have traditionally been given great respect from society and our salaries have the potential to reach significant heights.

I suggest that you continue to learn about personal finance and building wealth from this website and the incredibly helpful members that post here. Look into changing your work hours to get a more regular schedule. Make sure to create time for yourself outside of work to indulge in activities that you derive pleasure from. Finally, don't forget to keep track of your work successes from time to time...

BillTed

PS: since no one has asked already, what was the dream car you purchased? I'm guessing M3.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby supersharpie » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:58 am

My recommendation: find a mate who loves you for you, not for your bling. In other words, look outside the social circle to which young doctors generally are drawn.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby letsgobobby » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:03 am

I read that the EM specific training was supposed to address the issue of burnout the field saw a generation ago when it was converted family docs etc in the ED, but that does not seem to have happened.

By the way, I do have some very good news. You are a single guy. You're a doctor. And you make $350,000 per year. even at 35, you're not going to have a hard time finding a wife. Maybe you live in LA and doctoring isn't the sexiest thing like being a movie producer. But it still has a lot of currency.

And are you kidding? You think you're going to spend *less* money married with kids? When I was single a vacation cost $50 in gas and $50 in food and $6 a night for a campground. Now I'm working to keep spring break under $5000 and I don't even get to go hiking!

Maybe you ought to see a therapist, just to talk over some of your burnout, it would be cheaper than shopping as therapy.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:04 am

supersharpie wrote:My recommendation: find a mate who loves you for you, not for your bling. In other words, look outside the social circle to which young doctors generally are drawn.


To do that, he needs to ditch the 60K car and the huge monthly spend. A pre-nup would help as would finding a professional with her own assets/income. Like meets like usually works, though occassionally you can find an undiscovered gem hidden in the midst. Be aware of red flags, if you see any don't discount it - it is a sign of things to come.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:29 am

[quote="FinnTheHuman]

One of my worries is that since I am single I need to cultivate a strong social life and really try and find my future wife. I would hate to crawl under a rock for the next 3 years and wake up debt free with no hair and no marriage. The social scene where I live is not cheap. Spending 100-200 a night for dinner and drinks after is pretty much the way it goes on nights I go out. I think if I had a fulfilling home life with a wife and kids I wouldn't feel so drawn to that social expense, but as it stands my apt is empty. Oh, I have an orchid. Me and my orchid. Still, I likely dont spend more that 1.5k a month on that stuff now. I get to go out once or maybe twice a week if im lucky. [quote]

Have interests and/or hobbies outside of medicine - pursue it, chances are you will meet someone of the opposite gender who has similar likes, it can happen! Religious much? - get religion and volunteer or join those under 40 groups. When you date, don't set the expectation bar high - that means don't drop cash like you've opened up a fire hydrant or spend it like a drunk sailor. If your date expects more, explain you are loaded in debt, if that isn't good enough for them, guess what - you've dodged a bullet, move on and find someone who isn't addicted to glamour,cash and the high life. Not a doctor, but have family member(s) who are - the first thing most think when they hear you are a doctor, lawyer or professional - $$Cha,ching!!!! :greedy :moneybag :greedy You want to avoid those with that mindset and don't rush into anything. If you see a red flag, bail - it will be a sign of things to come. Divorce lawyers love you guys. :annoyed Don't worry about the hair - they'll either like you for you or they'll like your piggy bank. :greedy Besides, with your moola you can visit Bosley, take meds or visit the local weave shop - there are worse things in life, as I'm sure you've seen your fair share of it. Oh, and don't get the urge to ride motorcycles ever - the helmet might protect your head, but speed on limbs......
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby 325e » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:19 am

I was going to recommend Millionaire Next Door, but looks like you read it.

I always thought it was interesting that my net worth was higher than Michael Jackson when he died. That's because he was about -$400mm or so! He went into the black a month after he died because there was no one to spend the money anymore and his income kept on coming in. Income is not saving, but you've figured that out by now.

Your Money ORL is an amazing book. The general theme is a bit too frugal for me, and for you, it will be way too much. But if you actually go through the process (I tracked spending closely for 2 years), it will lead to some great insights. Like you are saying, going out to eat isn't a good place for you to spend money, but maybe a bit more on the car. It will help you develop a personal plan you are comfortable with and can stick to.

I've found good deals on used reliable luxury cars. You can get a decent Lexus for $15k that will still go many more miles. The people who buy them new are ready to be onto something different.

In the not too distant future, you will probably take pride in driving a lesser car and having the confidence that you have much more saved than others. It definitely eases the work stress.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby kingsnake » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:44 am

When I finished fellowship I drove the same POS car for three more years, and the first year lived at home. Managed to pay off my debt in one year. It was delayed gratification but I have plans to work part time by 45. I dont like it enough to make it my life and sacrifice anymore....
Id suggest paying off the highest 2 loans ASAP, maybe pick up an extra shift per month for a couple months. Id keep going out one night per week....wouldnt look for anything long term from bar flies though. House parties and hobbies are better for meeting women with some substance IMHO.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby InvestorNewb » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:17 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:Besides, with your moola you can visit Bosley, take meds or visit the local weave shop - there are worse things in life, as I'm sure you've seen your fair share of it.


I wouldn't recommend getting butchered at Bosley. Any reputable hair transplant message board has lots of distasteful things to say about them. I was very lose to getting a hair transplant myself, paid the deposit and everything, but backed off due to the permanent strip scar it leaves at the back of your head. I'm hoping that hair cloning will be available in the future. For now, I shave my head on a number 2 guard.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:29 am

InvestorNewb wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:Besides, with your moola you can visit Bosley, take meds or visit the local weave shop - there are worse things in life, as I'm sure you've seen your fair share of it.


I wouldn't recommend getting butchered at Bosley. Any reputable hair transplant message board has lots of distasteful things to say about them. I was very lose to getting a hair transplant myself, paid the deposit and everything, but backed off due to the permanent strip scar it leaves at the back of your head. I'm hoping that hair cloning will be available in the future. For now, I shave my head on a number 2 guard.


It's not a recommendation, rather the point is the OP has options that many do not -namely the income or means necessary to consider alternatives without having to go into hock to do so. Without turning this into a dating forum - the other gender has plenty of their own issues - just visit the local drugstore to see the vast assortment of OTC products (and the vast industry of plastic surgeons dedicated to them along with cosmotologists,dentists,gym trainers, etc.), so bottom line is don't let the "hair complex" thing get in the way of finding a suitable and compatible mate.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby BolderBoy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:40 am

letsgobobby wrote:
By the way, what is it about EM? Most of the ER docs I know are burned out before 40.



Here is a quotation from a recent EM rag:

Medicine keeps getting harder. And fewer and fewer folks are doing it. America has no idea that the weight of it all is falling on the shoulders of the emergency physicians and hospitalists who lurk inside the trauma rooms and inpatient floors, the fast tracks and ICUs of their community and university hospitals. The pasty-pale, coffee-sucking, junk-food-eating Spartans of health care who will bear the full assault of health care reform when there aren't enough primary care doctors to manage an AARP convention, much less all of America.
Edwin Leap, Emergency Medicine News, January 2013
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Lone-star » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:07 pm

FinnTheHuman wrote:[One of my worries is that since I am single I need to cultivate a strong social life and really try and find my future wife. I would hate to crawl under a rock for the next 3 years and wake up debt free with no hair and no marriage. The social scene where I live is not cheap. Spending 100-200 a night for dinner and drinks after is pretty much the way it goes on nights I go out.


The big problem with your plan here is that any woman you date like that is going to be accustomed to and expect that extravagant lifestyle and will eventually drive you into the poorhouse like so many other doctors that go out and get a trophy wife. That trophy wife is just like your expensive car...lots of fun at first but will eventually lose the luster and you'll still be stuck with the huge expense.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby BuckyBadger » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:15 pm

Not that it is the point of this post, but I also agree that you might be looking for women int he wrong places...

If you live below your means you'll meet a woman who is also living below her means. Together you will be able to retire comfortably in your 50s and spend the rest of your healthy years enjoying travel, or children, or sitting quietly on a porch.

If you keep courting women who are on the prowl for a rich doctor, you'll end up working until you are 65 while paying out the nose for things that give you no joy.

Be careful who you find. There are wonderful (attractive, just in case you thought that women who buy $3 beers aren't as pretty as women who buy $15 martinis) women at places OTHER than pricy pick-up bars.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:25 pm

BuckyBadger wrote:Not that it is the point of this post, but I also agree that you might be looking for women int he wrong places...

If you live below your means you'll meet a woman who is also living below her means. Together you will be able to retire comfortably in your 50s and spend the rest of your healthy years enjoying travel, or children, or sitting quietly on a porch.

If you keep courting women who are on the prowl for a rich doctor, you'll end up working until you are 65 while paying out the nose for things that give you no joy.

Be careful who you find. There are wonderful (attractive, just in case you thought that women who buy $3 beers aren't as pretty as women who buy $15 martinis) women at places OTHER than pricy pick-up bars.


For the price of an ice cream cone you may find Ms. Right on a nice summer evening.... :wink:
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby BolderBoy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:38 pm

BuckyBadger wrote:If you keep courting women who are on the prowl for a rich doctor, you'll end up working until you are 65 while paying out the nose for things that give you no joy.


Hear! Hear! You'd be MUCH better off finding a relationship in which neither of you knows what the other does for a living for a while. There are tons of folks of each gender who are targeting specific occupations to strike it rich and bail out down the road with a golden parachute.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby LH » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:27 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:The secret to wealth as a physician is to live like a resident for a few years after residency.


Bingo, this is seriously the secret of life for graduating residents but unfortunately most of them don't know it. We lived in a starter home (less than our combined annual salary, which was a lot less than yours) with our starter cars (each 7-10 years old) and our starter restaurants (home cooked meals and an occasional night out at the local brewpub) and our starter vacations (camping mostly, or off off off season by way of mistake fare to a frigid and deeply discounted London) for a full 4 years before so much as thinking about not being cheap. Then we had a baby, upgraded to a fancy schmancy base model Toyota RAV4 and went to Hawaii once a year. Not until 8 years out did we seriously upgrade our lifestyle, and by seriously I mean we still save at least half our income every year. We have never made combined as much as you make alone. But I never had $350k in debt either, which would make me even more diligent about buckling down.

You've bought the car... Might as well enjoy it. But all the other spending has to stop. At $25k per month I'd find a minimum of $10k toward debt and savings, plus the $3k your employer kicks in. If you could make that $15k+$3k even better. Remember internship? My months on inpatient medicine I spent about $125 per month ex-housing and utilities. Basically just gas and a few nights at the taco stand. You probably did it once and you should consider doing it again for a couple years.

Regrettably several of my colleagues started living the big life too early. One of them short sold his house, has $200k in school loans, and 'couldn't make ends meet' on a $200k salary after 6 years post residency. You don't want to be that guy. Another joined the national guard in 2003 (after we had invaded Iraq) to 'make a little extra money.' While I honor the patriotism, his need to make a few extra bucks led to distorted decision making and eventually severe hardship on him and his family... ended in divorce and him having PTSD. You don't want to be that guy.

By the way, what is it about EM? Most of the ER docs I know are burned out before 40. They are all talking about when they can retire, and several want to switch out of EM or out of medicine altogether. I only bring this up because you really don't want to count on making $30k per month indefinitely, a lot of things could keep that from happening and you need to make hay while the sun shines... maxing out tax advantaged space and knocking out that debt.


ER:

work 15 shifts a month, 10 hours average most likely
everyday you are lied to by drug seekers. Regularly, you watch someone die. Regularly, you watch people stroke out permanently or other horrible things. Regularly you tell family members of said death/disability. every week/day, you are yelled at abused by a drunk or psychotic - who is a "customer" (not a patient, mind you, a customer), in a "disney world" service model, the narcotics they seek are the disney space mountain ride equivalent, the hospital will seek 95 percent positive ratings, including the seekers, where 10 percent of people may be seeking drugs..... Keep those drug seekers happy?!?! How else? Narcotics, the only thing they are there for. violate the hippocratic oath, moral ethical codes, and every reason why you went into medicine. Administration wants it, perhaps even needs it with federal mandates. twice every month(at minimum) said drunk or psychotic is physically violent, spitting. They assault staff, nothing is done, its routine about 5-10 times a year to my experience on my shifts per year, cops/jail doesnt want to screw with em, half the time they drop em off to us to deal with to begin with, heh, they dont want them back : ) The shifts usually go 1st, 2nd, 3rd, night shift on a rotating basis....... You experience "jet lag" a couple times a month when you hit your 40s, you have no circadian rhythm, you sometimes feel like you have been run over by a truck switching sometimes from nights to days, that happens to me about 6 times a year for a day or two now coming off nights to days, really bad jet lag, really screwed up sleep (which for me, is really really really really screwed up sleep relative to you most likely). Now they have us doing our own typing and data entry, about 10-20 percent of my time is consumed with this, which is hugely wasteful/inefficient, guy threatening to die in room 2, still gotta type in orders yourself (now if he IS actively dying, they will take series of verbal order then, as you actually get to be a doctor briefly again, full time, like it was 5 years ago)

All this is nationwide. Its not local.

I would go half time, maybe even quit if I won the lottery, this was not true 5 years or so ago. My brother has already, at 41, gone half time, and would quit entirely if he could.

When I went through ER, most ER docs already burned out of something else, and went ER. ER specialty started in 70s I think, now ER specialty penetration is near 100 percent in a lot of cities and suburbs I think, out in rural areas, likely non ER boarded MDs still staff a lot of it. They told us that burn out was due likely to burn out of other things(surgeon burns out of surgery, goes ER) in non ER boarded docs, that it was a skewed sample mostly as the cause. I dunno, I just think its a burn out prone job period. not infrequent screaming yelling, beeping alarming chaos, and such.

But underlying it, I am an adrenaline junky most likely, the take anything at anytime life and death stuff, I like the applied science, so I dunno if I would completely quit even if I could.....

I hope to get to the point where I can answer that question in fact. With FIRE (financial independance retire early), its not actually retiring thats the key, its the ability to retire if you want.

my car is 13 year old 22k nissan maxima. I will keep it until it runs into the ground.

I do travel a lot now, started about 8 years out, and especially 10 years out, more travel for past three years. You have to consciously make a decision, smeared over time, life time consumed at work is how you pay for things. work and save early = coumpounding, more spending later if you make it to later : )

Figure out what you want to consume your life with. Because no matter what you do, you are consuming your life. Money/work is just a mechanism of transfer of your life energy to goods and services.

hope the above may help, my perspective 13 years out residency.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Meg77 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:35 pm

I understand that your career is a tough one, but the good news is that you have a fabulous income. Congrats on that, and on deciding to get serious about your finances while you're young and still have very few fixed expenses. You are flexible and that is one of the key components of financial security. I won't try to give career or dating advice since you came here asking for financial tips, but rest assured there are plenty of bright, attractive females who are also interested in being more than a money sucking trophy wife. And your job will get easier over time. It's a rewarding career and at least you have signficant time off between burnout shifts currently. How you spend it will determine a lot of your well-being.

Being wealthy doesn't have to do with how much income you earned last year - it has to do with how much of that income you managed to invest. And you can't invest until you build up your cash cushion and get your debt under control. I am a banker who works with lots of doctors, and I can't tell you how many of them are in their 40s and 50s making $500K - $1M a year with 5-6 figures of credit card debt, a 7 figure mortgage, and literally no savings. They are living it up as country club members and taking exotic vacations, but they are living paycheck to paycheck. They are great clients because they borrow borrow borrow for everything - and they have the income to get approved for the loans. Student loans, cars, boats, homes, second homes, second mortgages on all the homes, credit cards at every major department store. Do not be that client. Here are a few super ways to maximize your finances.

1 - Pay off your back taxes and that $14K signature loan ASAP. Like, with your next paycheck or two. Sounds like you got the message here. Stay up to date on your taxes for heaven's sake!!! Seriously if there is one thing to prioritize...

2 - Get your credit in good shape. The 2009 delinquency should fade away soon; 7 years is the max that stuff is supposed to be able to hurt you, and the longer in the past it is, the less it should harm your score. In the meantime make all your loan payments automatic and quit using credit cards. Seriously, don't close the accounts but don't use your credit cards. If your checking account is low then you know you've already spent WAY too much this month. Wait for your next paycheck.

3 - Set a budget. Don't panic, all I mean is decide how much you want to spend on fixed costs and then set up the payments/transfers to be made automatically. If there's one thing I know about doctors it's that they aren't detail oriented when it comes to paying bills and checking statements/spending. Automating your financial plan is key. First look at your pay stubs and actually figure out how much money you are bringing in net each month. If you can't nail it down to a finer point than "$15k - $19K per month" then that's a problem. You are spending about $5K on car plus housing (including utilities and insurance and gas), which is fine given your income. It's way more than you need, but percentage wise you are OK. You're spending another $3K on student loans, which I assume refers to all $300K of your debt (hopefully you aren't paying extra on that 2.8% one - start with the highest interest rate). Even if your take home is on the low $15K per month side, you still have $7K leftover to save, invest, pay down debt, or blow. Blow 3K of it if you want and if it'll keep the rest of your money on track. Use it for dating, shopping, dining out, travel, spa treatments. Split the other $4K between savings (an automatic transfer to an actual savings account) and extra debt repayment (on the car for now since that's your most expensive loan). Again, make all that automatic. It'll take a few hours but then you never have to think about it again. And if you happen to make closer to $19K one month then use that additional money to boost up your savings and/or make even more debt repayment. You only get to blow $3K per month.

4 - Make it a goal to build your cash reserve up to $100K and never ever ever let it dip below that. As a banker who deals with a lot of doctors I can't tell you how bad it looks when somebody has been making in the mid 6 figures for years and hasn't even managed to put aside that much cash. That's when we jack up the rate and fees. There's something phsycological about having a 6 figure liquidity cushion - for lenders evaluating you and for your feeling of security.
Last edited by Meg77 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby interplanetjanet » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:47 pm

FinnTheHuman wrote:One of my worries is that since I am single I need to cultivate a strong social life and really try and find my future wife. I would hate to crawl under a rock for the next 3 years and wake up debt free with no hair and no marriage. The social scene where I live is not cheap. Spending 100-200 a night for dinner and drinks after is pretty much the way it goes on nights I go out. I think if I had a fulfilling home life with a wife and kids I wouldn't feel so drawn to that social expense, but as it stands my apt is empty. Oh, I have an orchid. Me and my orchid. Still, I likely dont spend more that 1.5k a month on that stuff now. I get to go out once or maybe twice a week if im lucky.

I'm going to second what another poster said here - if you get into a relationship with $100-200 nights out, that doesn't set a great precedent.

One of the best "early dates" I ever had in my life was a picnic in parkland, down by a creek. I've also been out on dates where someone thought that showing me a good time meant spending a lot of money, and while some of them were fun they didn't leave lasting impressions. "Social scenes" are what you make of them. Find passions, thing you enjoy in your life and make them your outlets. I think the rest will follow naturally.

This board isn't really oriented towards relationship issues, though they certainly surface. I think that an attitude of needing to be married is something that you should take a hard look at. You have time, perhaps a bit more than you think; your biological clock probably isn't that big of a problem and honestly in your 30's you're just coming up on your prime as far as I'm concerned. Take things slowly.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby InvestorNewb » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:57 pm

If you're interested in seeing the girl again, pay for the drinks on the first date. But keep the date short - this way it doesn't get expensive. If not, make her pay her own way.

I'm also single and what I find is that a good girl will offer to pay her own way on the first date, and put up a pretty big fuss if she doesn't. That is the kind of girl you want; she will definitely pay her own way on subsequent dates.

If you find yourself paying for everything all the time, she is just using you. Ditch her and find someone else.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Prf2009a » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:25 pm

$350K per year. Not happy and you work too much? You need to analyze your situation and focus on your priorities. You have a challenge ahead of you getting rid of your debt and accumulating wealth, but compared to the challenges you've had in getting to this point in your life this one will be very easy.

You might not be able to live a "normal" life with your schedule I will agree. Adjust to it and make it work. My dad worked days and my mom worked nights from the time I was 3 years old until I was 13. (Sherriff and ER nurse) They had stressful jobs to go along with raising 3 children and never getting to see eachother. They are and were the happiest people I know.

I am struggling big time to find any reason to feel sorry for your situation. Instead of looking at everything negaitvely you need to focus on the position you have the ability to put yourself in with a little focus/mindset change.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby spotty_dog » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:02 pm

FinnTheHuman wrote:I have really begun to feel how vulnerable having 350k of debt, 22k of intrest and something like 40k a year going to rent and at payment. In my business I could be jobless extremely quickly if the hospital contract were lost or of I made the wrong person mad. Then it becomes a 3-4 month wait to get credentialed at a new facility and maybe 2 months after that to actually get a pay check. Also if I work more than about 10 days a month I really don't like my job. I'm working 14-16 a month now.


Vulnerable is exactly the right word. Your life is currently yoked to the service of your debts. Nothing is going to fix that but working toward financial independence. Get out of debt and build up your net worth, and that is what will give you options and eventually freedom.

Yes, EM is difficult. But you need to buck up about it. You chose this career, you sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of your life into it. This is what you do now. It's a physically and emotionally taxing specialty, but guess what? This is the youngest, most resilient you will ever be while practicing it. Now is when you still have the stamina and endurance to work your ass off. You could do it a year ago in residency and you can do it now...kudos on picking up extra shifts. But you've got to live beneath your means, learn to thrive in a lifestyle you can sustain with less money -- save the difference and in 5-10 years you can back down to 10-12 shifts and keep your lifestyle and it'll be like a vacation. Another 10 years of discipline and you can retire completely (or back down to a shift or two a month) still pretty much in your prime. Pay now to play later.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby fishnskiguy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:35 pm

I'm surprised nobody has suggested this, but is it possible for you and a bunch of your fellow ER docs to go to the hospital bigwigs and demand a rotating shift schedule that you can tolerate? When I first started Navy nuclear power training on a shore based reactor prototype in Idaho, we worked seven days on day shift then one day off, followed by seven days on evening shift followed by two days off, then seven days on mid shift followed by seven days off.

I tolerated that quite well. The circadian rhythm was not assaulted too badly, and the seven day off periods allowed me to do some serious fly fishing, hunting, and skiing.

Once I got to my first ship, it got God awful. Six hours on watch, eighteen off for 65-70 days at a time. Even worse, from eight in the morning to four PM it was an endless day of drills: engineering casualty drills, fire drills, flooding drills, missile emergency drills, simulated target tracking and torpedo shooting drills, missile launch drills, etc, etc. five days a week. Imagine standing mid watch, getting off only to participate in drills until four then go back on watch till midnight. Brutal.

When in port, we worked a ten hour day six days a week, and stood watch as Duty Officer every third day which required us to spend the night aboard ship making stem to stern tours and inspection every four hours.

That went on for the first twelve years of my career. After that, I got senior enough to not have to stand any watches, and could actually sleep a full seven hours at night.

In my line of work, you either married a college sweetheart, or you married rather late in life. I was 39 when I met my wife two months before getting my firsts command. We got married a week before we went out on a 66 day patrol.

Your work schedule sounds every bit as bad as was mine. Seriously, you should find out if it really needs to be that chaotic.

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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby FinnTheHuman » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:42 pm

Meg77 wrote:1 - Pay off your back taxes and that $14K signature loan ASAP. Like, with your next paycheck or two. Sounds like you got the message here. Stay up to date on your taxes for heaven's sake!!! Seriously if there is one thing to prioritize...


Yes the signature loan is getting 5K to it sent in tomorrow. With only 15k in the bank however I don't want to dip too low on cash. The 5k saves me about 50 bucks a month in interest. Not pocket change, but not worth getting too aggressive over in terms of limiting cash on hand. Obviously it IS something to aggressively cut spending to be able to rapidly pay off.

Meg77 wrote:2 - Get your credit in good shape. The 2009 delinquency should fade away soon; 7 years is the max that stuff is supposed to be able to hurt you, and the longer in the past it is, the less it should harm your score. In the meantime make all your loan payments automatic and quit using credit cards. Seriously, don't close the accounts but don't use your credit cards. If your checking account is low then you know you've already spent WAY too much this month. Wait for your next paycheck.


I use credit cards nearly exclusively. I never carry a balance and haven't been hit with a finance charge since leaving residency. I don't see a reason to change that, eh? DId you think i carried a balance or do you mean that being able to spend money without seeing it decrease my bank account value i'd be more prone to overspend?

Meg77 wrote: First look at your pay stubs and actually figure out how much money you are bringing in net each month. If you can't nail it down to a finer point than "$15k - $19K per month" then that's a problem.


What I meant is that the actual value changes. In december I actually only had 800 bucks come in. I had only worked 95 hours and 20 of those got rolled into my Jan paycheck. I was looking at my pay stubs and realized my employer had only been deducting money for my 401k and not my other pre-tax plan (32k a year). I was given the option of simply having them begin deducting like normal in the future or them to deduct the 14k they underfunded it from my dec check. Luckily I had the cash reserves to tolerate a month of essentially no income. I don't get an hourly wage by the way. Sometimes I might average 160 an hour, sometimes 220. I work 130 hours some months (though not recently) to 150 to 175 this month. My income will never be predictable. All the more reason to live well below my means, of course.

LH wrote: With FIRE (financial independance retire early), its not actually retiring thats the key, its the ability to retire if you want.

Figure out what you want to consume your life with. Because no matter what you do, you are consuming your life. Money/work is just a mechanism of transfer of your life energy to goods and services.

hope the above may help, my perspective 13 years out residency.


I agree. My fantasy is not so much to retire but simply to be able to go into work knowing I don't NEED to be there. I can be myself and if the administration doesn't like it thats ok. I am 200 pages into Your Money or Your Life on the recommendation of this thread. The phrase "life energy" weirds me out slightly. If I have to look deeply into crystals surrounded by incense smoke im putting the book down.

interplanetjanet wrote:I'm going to second what another poster said here - if you get into a relationship with $100-200 nights out, that doesn't set a great precedent.


Well to be clear no one has ever made me feel that was expected. Most of the girls I have spent time with would rather share a simple quiet intimate night. I don't run into anyone overtly extravagant. Or at least they are smart enough to hide it! I have to take the blame for wanting to go to nice restaurants and live it up.

Prf2009a wrote:I am struggling big time to find any reason to feel sorry for your situation. Instead of looking at everything negaitvely you need to focus on the position you have the ability to put yourself in with a little focus/mindset change.


Thats why i'm here, remember? And to be clear I am not looking for someone to feel sorry for me. I don't know the stresses of someone making 30-50k a year with kids. I wouldn't suggest that my life isn't easier. I have no idea. Then again, I would have to roll my eyes if that same person was certain I have an easier life. What does a person who doesn't have my responsibilities know about what it feels like? About as much as I know about the responsibilities of parenting. Nothing. I only bring up my situation because 1) I was directly asked why ER docs burn out and 2) It provides my motivation for being here and doing this.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby FinnTheHuman » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:48 pm

fishnskiguy wrote:I'm surprised nobody has suggested this, but is it possible for you and a bunch of your fellow ER docs to go to the hospital bigwigs and demand a rotating shift schedule that you can tolerate?

Chris


Our schedule comes from one of us. The administration doesn't enter into it. It's just a complex thing to arrange honestly. Imagine you have 90 shifts a month, 3 a day, to cover and you have 7 docs. But each doc is guaranteed to only work 2 weekends a month. Each doc is guaranteed they will get an equitable number of night shifts. Each doc may have 3-4 individual days they want off. It gets really difficult.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby letsgobobby » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:18 pm

Still, something like one week days, one week off, one week nights, one week off, built six months ahead, trade if you want, would be much more satisfying in the long run.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Kelly Brackett » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:15 pm

Finn -

Thanks for being open about your situation. Can't say that I'm powerfully motivated to share the grisly details of my own financial shenanigans, so I think it takes guts and humility. Like an M&M, hopefully it keeps the next guy from findings themselves in the same situation, wondering what just happened.

(First post from yet another EP.)
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby fishnskiguy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:34 pm

letsgobobby wrote:Still, something like one week days, one week off, one week nights, one week off, built six months ahead, trade if you want, would be much more satisfying in the long run.


My idea exactly.

Good luck.

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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby EmergDoc » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:38 am

fishnskiguy wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:Still, something like one week days, one week off, one week nights, one week off, built six months ahead, trade if you want, would be much more satisfying in the long run.


My idea exactly.

Good luck.

Chris


Some groups opt to do something like this. But organizing docs is like herding cats. Different things matter to different docs. In my group, we have an employee (we share them with one or two other groups) whose only job is to make our schedule. Imagine this:

Each doc works a different number of shifts ranging from 6 to 17 a month
Each doc works a different combination of the 5 shifts per day - some all days, some all nights, most some combination
Each doc has different preferences for how many days in a row they want to work or want off
Each doc can request off any number of days in the month- and some take advantage of this.
You have to block someone off of shifts after a late shift. If I work until 3 am can I come back at 6? Obviously not, but what about 11a or 2p?
Each doc only wants to work their share of weekends and holidays.

It's a mess. It could all be fixed by making everyone take their turn working nights all month (or all week or whatever) but that would require them to not be able to be off for whatever it is that doc cares about - a kid's recital, their hockey game, a business trip for their other job, a ski day with friends, administrative meetings etc.

It just turns out that the "proper" flow is only one of many things that partners care about (and everyone's idea of good flow is different). This isn't the Navy where somebody is dictating when we work and requiring that this job be our life's number one priority.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby letsgobobby » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:59 am

My group did it Finn's way once upon a time. Trying to please everyone every month. We made our schedule every month for the following month. We (ok, I, when I became director) discovered it was more satisfying to provide a known framework, and fair ground rules, along with a schedule far in advance that people could plan around. What little we gave up in flexibility was far more than compensated by being able to trade and plan. And it is the ultimate in fairness.

Our ED group has shifts starting at 3 am, why? I have no idea, they all seem to hate it!
Last edited by letsgobobby on Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Meg77 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:28 am

FinnTheHuman wrote:
Meg77 wrote:1 - Pay off your back taxes and that $14K signature loan ASAP. Like, with your next paycheck or two. Sounds like you got the message here. Stay up to date on your taxes for heaven's sake!!! Seriously if there is one thing to prioritize...


Yes the signature loan is getting 5K to it sent in tomorrow. With only 15k in the bank however I don't want to dip too low on cash. The 5k saves me about 50 bucks a month in interest. Not pocket change, but not worth getting too aggressive over in terms of limiting cash on hand. Obviously it IS something to aggressively cut spending to be able to rapidly pay off.

Meg77 wrote:2 - Get your credit in good shape. The 2009 delinquency should fade away soon; 7 years is the max that stuff is supposed to be able to hurt you, and the longer in the past it is, the less it should harm your score. In the meantime make all your loan payments automatic and quit using credit cards. Seriously, don't close the accounts but don't use your credit cards. If your checking account is low then you know you've already spent WAY too much this month. Wait for your next paycheck.


I use credit cards nearly exclusively. I never carry a balance and haven't been hit with a finance charge since leaving residency. I don't see a reason to change that, eh? DId you think i carried a balance or do you mean that being able to spend money without seeing it decrease my bank account value i'd be more prone to overspend?

Meg77 wrote: First look at your pay stubs and actually figure out how much money you are bringing in net each month. If you can't nail it down to a finer point than "$15k - $19K per month" then that's a problem.


What I meant is that the actual value changes. In december I actually only had 800 bucks come in. I had only worked 95 hours and 20 of those got rolled into my Jan paycheck. I was looking at my pay stubs and realized my employer had only been deducting money for my 401k and not my other pre-tax plan (32k a year). I was given the option of simply having them begin deducting like normal in the future or them to deduct the 14k they underfunded it from my dec check. Luckily I had the cash reserves to tolerate a month of essentially no income. I don't get an hourly wage by the way. Sometimes I might average 160 an hour, sometimes 220. I work 130 hours some months (though not recently) to 150 to 175 this month. My income will never be predictable. All the more reason to live well below my means, of course.


OK I'm actually rethinking my advice to pay off the $14K loan immediately in light of your tax situation. I think you should maybe build up cash and wait and see what your tax bill is going to be before paying down anything right now. If you owe taxes for 2011 then you'll also owe penalties and interest and that could spiral into a big number pretty quick. Better to have a loan at 14% and pay the IRS ASAP! Of course if you think you will be getting a refund or don't owe money then pay that loan off first. It'll feel good and give you momentum toward the next smallest balance - the car loan. Roll your old payment on the $14K loan plus any extra cash toward it and you could probably do in a year if you want to. Then roll that old car payment plus the $14K loan payment plus any extra cash into principal reductions on the first $100k loan, and so on. With that debt snowball you'll have all your debt knocked out before you know it without even cutting your lifestyle much. :moneybag

As for the credit cards I did assume that you pay them off every month, but I stand by my advice not to use them in order to boost your credit score. I used to use only a credit card and pay it in full each month, but I switched to only using debit a few months ago in preparation for applying for a mortgage so that my balances would be lower or zero when the lender pulls my credit. Credit bureaus pull your balances at varying times during the month, so even if you pay the cards off monthly it will look like you have large balances all the time on your credit report. And if those balances are higher than 30% of the limit then it will ding your score (if the balance is higher than 60% of the limit it will really ding your score). If you insist on using a card for liability protection or points for any major purchase or something at least make sure you never let the balance go above 50% of your limit for more than one day. That'll optimize your score. And only use one card if you can help it - it minimizes the liklihood you'll forget a payment or overlook a billing error. But by the way, it will help you budget if you have to stop spending between pay periods when you run out of money. Might motivate you to build up a little checking account cushion too.

Oh I see with regard to the income. Well I suppose now that you have 2012 W2 info you can at least project into 2013 your average monthly take home.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby asc8u » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:28 pm

Finn,

I just wanted to encourage you to keep working at a debt repayment plan and a new way of thinking about your money.
Out of residency my net worth was about negative $200k and ten years later I'm positive $1.8m.
Once you're firmly committed to getting out of debt and building wealth, your high income will change your bottom line quickly.

Cheers.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Random Poster » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:54 pm

EmergDoc wrote:In my group, we have an employee (we share them with one or two other groups) whose only job is to make our schedule. Imagine this:

Each doc works a different number of shifts ranging from 6 to 17 a month
Each doc works a different combination of the 5 shifts per day - some all days, some all nights, most some combination
Each doc has different preferences for how many days in a row they want to work or want off
Each doc can request off any number of days in the month- and some take advantage of this.
You have to block someone off of shifts after a late shift. If I work until 3 am can I come back at 6? Obviously not, but what about 11a or 2p?
Each doc only wants to work their share of weekends and holidays.

It's a mess.


Figuring out who works when sounds like the perfect LSAT logic question.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby tphp99 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:41 pm

FinnTheHuman wrote:if I work more than about 10 days a month I really don't like my job.


Maybe you should focus on this.
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby fishnskiguy » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:51 pm

Sorry for my post.

I come from the school that teaches that no discipline equals chaos.

Seems confirmed to me. :happy

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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby Nukeboilermaker » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:03 pm

fishnskiguy wrote:Sorry for my post.

I come from the school that teaches that no discipline equals chaos.

Seems confirmed to me. :happy

Chris


I likely work with many people that Fishnskiguy trained over the years. I'm a rotating shift Commercial Nuclear Operator. We like the ER, need to be manned 24/7/365.25. It has it's pros and cons but I make the best of it. I thought about going to medical school in hopes to be a radiologist and used to shadow an ER doctor on my weekends in college. But, I had opportunities that seemed logical so I pursued that path. So I have some idea of what you are going through. People often ask me how I work rotating shift, and especially when I work overtime where half of the time I am working 12hr shifts. The key is routine, learning your body, and making sacrafices to ensure you are well rested and nourished. I think you need to start screaming up and down and waiving your arms to get a consistent schedule. You guys can actually use darn near the same rotation we use if you wanted! There are so many rotating shift options out there.

For example we have 6 crews working, 8 hour shifts. The design of the 6 crews allows for a crew to be a flex crew and fill gaps when needed. I have 3 out of 6 weekends off, one of which is a 4 day weekend. The worst part is the 'sweet 16' where I work 7 days of (3p-11p) and then have 48hrs off and work 7 days of (11p-7a). You can also have an additional weekend off if you were willing to work 12hr shifts on the weekend (This also eliminates that sweet 16). However if you docs were to go to a 5 crew/12hr schedule you guys could have built in 7 day off periods. I would do some research in your spare time, look what power plant, firefighters, and other doctors are doing. Routine is key when we live and work in patterns that our body was not designed to handle.

Cheers,
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Re: Critique a 31 year old new doctor's plan

Postby FinnTheHuman » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:47 pm

Kelly Brackett wrote:Finn -

Thanks for being open about your situation. Can't say that I'm powerfully motivated to share the grisly details of my own financial shenanigans, so I think it takes guts and humility. Like an M&M, hopefully it keeps the next guy from findings themselves in the same situation, wondering what just happened.

(First post from yet another EP.)


Thanks for the nice words. I hope someone can benifit from seeing how i've handled or mishandled things.

tphp99 wrote:
FinnTheHuman wrote:if I work more than about 10 days a month I really don't like my job.


Maybe you should focus on this.


To be honest I don't think i've ever liked any job! I'm kind of lazy.



I am posting an update via an edit of my original post. I put a bit over 4K towards the 14% loan bringing the principal down to 10k. My first check added 1.5k to my pretax retirement account and put 4k in the bank net. My second check on the 30th will add 3-4k to the retirement account, and ill have 21k net hit my account. I went to refinance my 6.7% car loan, but one place said no to a refinance, another wouldnt give me a better rate, and the last one offered 4.1% but will only refinance 30k. So I will likely use my extra money this month to pay my car down to 30K and take advantage of the refinance. I will be able to pay off the 10k at 14% in two months id guess even allowing for a potential 10K tax bill. Id rather not put off the refinance because I already had a credit inqury once and if i delay they wull have to repeat it. Getting my rate down below the rate that 200k of student loans is at means I can pay of the loans first without worrying about being inefficient on the choice of intrest rate I target. Id always prefer to owe more on the car and less on loans for the simple reason that is i have a cash flow problem (loss of my job or something) I can always sell the car and eliminate that payment. The student loan requires my death to eliminate if its not paid off.

I canceled my TV service and downgraded my internet also. That saves me over 100 per month. My car payment will drop down by about 400 a month, and I shopped for better rates on car insurance and found that statefarm will save me about 75 bucks PER MONTH over Geico. Also the 4k less in prinicipal on my 14% loan saves me 40 a month in intrest. So a bit over 200 per month in savings and 600 a month in freed up cash for use in accelerated debt repayment. Its kinda fun actually. What is less fun is the prospect of a 5 figure tax bill April and knowing that even if i continue finding 10k a month to put towards my debt it will be 3 years before I'm debt free! Its kind of crazy. Really wishing I went to public school now.
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