Financial burnout

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Jacksonhole
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Financial burnout

Post by Jacksonhole » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:16 am

How do you handle it and/or avoid it? I am a physician now entering my 6th year of work in a busy practice. By all measures I make a good income and have done a fairly good job of saving and paying down debt. The only debt we have left is about $260,000 on our home, originally purchased for $700,000 about 3.5 years ago. 15 year mortgage at 3.625% with about 12 years to go. We have been diligent about paying it off, and have decreased the balance by about $200,000 in the last 12 months thanks to a nice windfall from investments. My best estimate is to have the house paid for in 2 more years which continues to feel overwhelming at times despite the progress we have made.

Over the past 5 years, we have also save 20% for retirement (totaling around $450,000) as well as about $150,000 in 529's for our three little children (6,4,and 1). At the start, we literally had a negative net worth and have pushed hard to change that. I have always felt that once the house is paid off, I could take a portion of those payments every month and "enjoy" the money, but currently look at expendatures in terms of how many more months of mortgage payments it equals. I guess I am struggling with the feeling you have in the middle of a marathon in how to keep going? My marathon running experience was not to focus on the process but the experience, but I am having a hardtime translating that to my financial life. What is your secret? Any advice is appreciated.

ridebikeseveryday
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by ridebikeseveryday » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:27 am

Stop being so aggressive about paying off your mortgage. Pay whatever the monthly payments are, and spend the difference on your family for a while.

Lynette
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Lynette » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:28 am

.....
Last edited by Lynette on Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

Texanbybirth
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Texanbybirth » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:29 am

First, be GRATEFUL. You're in a way better financial position than millions of American adults/families, let alone the world. :D Lots of people work really hard hours in lots of different jobs, and they feel the burnout like you. I think it's pretty normal whether you make 5 or 7 figures. Gratitude can really put things in perspective.

Second, money isn't something you can "experience" unless you want to wind up like Uncle Scrooge. Maybe you need a vacation with the family instead of an extra couple months of mortgage payments? A 15-year mortgage is already really great, and it sounds like you've even got an awesome head start on it!

Money is a means to an end, and it sounds like you're making all of this "money stuff" an end in itself.

(I have nowhere near your income and am nowhere near your financial position, but others here do and I'm sure they'll chime in. These are just my two cents on this Easter Morning. 8-) )
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

herpfinance
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by herpfinance » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:40 am

It does sound as if you are doing exceptionally well.

Aiming to pay down a mortgage in less than 6 years is extremely ambitious and I suspect that it's not required for you to still do really well. Perhaps you should simply make monthly payments and try to enjoy life more?
"The intelligent investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists" - Benjamin Graham

sport
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by sport » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am

tycho wrote:Stop being so aggressive about paying off your mortgage. Pay whatever the monthly payments are, and spend the difference on your family for a while.
This is what I did. There is no need to be obsessive about getting it paid off as soon as you can. I never made any extra payments on the house. Instead, I built my retirement portfolio and lived my life.

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Wildebeest
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:58 am

By all means you have been superior saver and are well on the road of financial independence.

Do you and your spouse have an Investment Policy Statement ?

From the Wiki:

Benefits of using an IPS

Every investor could potentially benefit from having an investment policy statement. It provides the foundation for all future investment decisions to be made by an investor. It serves as a guidepost, identifies goals and creates a systematic review process. The IPS is intended to keep investors focused on their objectives during short-term swings in the market and provides a baseline from which to monitor investment performance of the overall portfolio, as well as the performance of individual fund managers


Once you figure out if you want to work less, retire early etc, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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goingup
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by goingup » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:01 am

A lot a folks post on this board who have become obsessed with paying off their mortgage early. Sometimes it seems a bit irrational. It is though they are physically burdened by the oppressive yoke of the debt.

I do look at paying off the mortgage like a marathon--progress at a steady pace. Mortgage debt is leverage that has allowed us to live in a very nice home. Our interest rate is similar to yours and we are paying it off early. Every January I decide how much extra to put toward principal each month. Last year it was $544, this year it's $744.

So I do understand the focus and determination required to kill that loan, but maybe a more measured approach would ease the pressure you're feeling.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:10 am

Take it easy.....too much too fast, you are going to burn yourself out for real! Life is short as I suspect you may have already figured that out, don't make it any shorter by artificially increasing your already high stress levels.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:12 am

goingup wrote:A lot a folks post on this board who have become obsessed with paying off their mortgage early. Sometimes it seems a bit irrational. It is though they are physically burdened by the oppressive yoke of the debt.
+1 Ya think? :) A lot of us posters are OCD on finance, especially personal finance. As someone else on the board said "forum members are uber-savers", actually they are "uber-uber-uber".
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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goingup
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by goingup » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:20 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
goingup wrote:A lot a folks post on this board who have become obsessed with paying off their mortgage early. Sometimes it seems a bit irrational. It is though they are physically burdened by the oppressive yoke of the debt.
+1 Ya think? :) A lot of us posters are OCD on finance, especially personal finance. As someone else on the board said "forum members are uber-savers", actually they are "uber-uber-uber".
It's true! :D

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powermega
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by powermega » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:59 am

Make the minimum payment on the mortgage and live a little.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:22 pm

There are two general ways to use money to enjoy life:
1. Pay for the things you want to have or to do.
2. Pay others to do things you don't want to do.

If you decide to start spending more, try to favor the second category.

Victoria
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livesoft
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:26 pm

Don't tell anyone, but the secret is to go spend money on a fabulous worry-free vacation. I would suggest Hawaii because you wouldn't have to worry about passports, language, or anything else. You could practice being a couch potato (or beach potato) for a couple of weeks.
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:47 pm

If you the Bogleheads are telling you to lighten up you know you have a problem. This post might help:

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/loosening- ... e-strings/
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

Topic Author
Jacksonhole
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Jacksonhole » Sun Mar 27, 2016 4:06 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Part of the stuggle is a work life balance and my desire to achieve some finacial indepenence with FU money to eventually work less and play more. I also felt without any remaining debt, work would shift from something I have to do back to something I enjoyed a little more. With young children, we have been somewhat landlocked as they don't travel well and as a result I felt it was probably a good time to continue to be aggressive about debt, but that may be short sighted and the comments above have helped me at least consider that as a possibility. Again thanks. Any other input is appreciated.

livesoft
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 27, 2016 4:09 pm

I'll suggest that children who don't travel well have not travelled enough. Practice makes permanent.
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Pursuitofquality
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Pursuitofquality » Sun Mar 27, 2016 4:52 pm

If you live anywhere close to your user name (Jackson, WY) I would suggest spend as much free time as possible enjoying the Tetons and Yellowstone :happy

Your kids will be grown and less interested in doing things with Mom and Dad in a few years, so take the time now to travel and make special memories. I have personally found the balance between saving and spending is difficult and have struggled to find the sweet spot for several years. My advice is to invest a little more in making great memories with your family and slow down a bit on the saving.

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Yesterdaysnews
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Yesterdaysnews » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:00 pm

I am also a physician (radiology), age near 40 with 2 young kids. I aggressively chose to pay off my debt (mortgage) and I do not regret it for a second.

This improvement in monthly cash flow has allowed me a few years back to cut back my working hours about 20-30%, and I will say that it increased my overall happiness level tremendously. My practice very extremely busy and I felt like I had hit my limit and was mentally fatiguing. My wife claims my personality was becoming quite bad/stressed and there was certainly an effect on my marriage and family life.

Now, as I near 40, with no debt and a healthy Fido account balance, I consider cutting back even more. While I love medicine/radiology - I have learned that I love it only when I am working less and have more free time to enjoy practicing medicine and enjoying other aspects of a well balanced life.

I am an advocate for aggressively paying down debt if you can, especially if you foresee yourself wanting to work less in the near future or possible reimbursement cuts (radiology has been hit hard but it had no effect on my lifestyle).

Busy private practice medicine is a terrible grind of a lifestyle and working less will probably improve your happiness and length of life more than anything else you can do. For me cutting back my workload was a life-changing positive decision, made easier by the fact that I had no debt.

letsgobobby
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:14 pm

I would find a way to take more time off even at the expense of lower income. And take that time to make some great memories with your family.
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blueblock
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by blueblock » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:24 pm

I agree that your pay-down rate is aggressive, and that it sounds like you could use a vacation. (Consider a resort that offers daycare to entertain the kids for a few hours a day.)

That said, one thing that helped me during my accumulating years was to set some milestones and celebrate a little when I reached them. It's not like you're mired in mortgage debt one day and magically free the next; it's gradual, and you should take time to savor your progress from time to time. Having milestones also helped me think less about money in between.

Finally, at least for me, there comes a point of diminishing returns. Once I had my savings and budgeting systems in place, spending a lot of time combing through my finances paid off less and less. Better to discipline yourself to turn your thoughts, and spend that time, elsewhere.

Compound
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Compound » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:33 pm

Agree with others telling you to slow down a little bit on the FI goal -- you'll get there, no sense in stressing yourself and your family out in the process. Don't let the money-tail wag the happiness-dog. Enjoy life.

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stemikger
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by stemikger » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:34 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:If you the Bogleheads are telling you to lighten up you know you have a problem. This post might help:

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/loosening- ... e-strings/
LOL.

So true!
Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

Gaff74
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Gaff74 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:44 pm

Why fear the mortgage? You are in a very high tax bracket. Mortgage interest is probably one of the largest of your deductions. If you invest money cautiously, rather than paying down the mortgage, you might end up ahead. You may end up collecting long-term capital gains on the investments, at a lower interest rate than your income. (http://www.edelmanfinancial.com/educati ... g-mortgage). I don't agree with everything in that article, but there is some stuff to consider. Maybe consider it while flying someplace exotic?

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Cyclesafe
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Cyclesafe » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:02 pm

After a lifetime of doing the "right thing by achieving financial independence, the hardest thing for my wife and I, even after 15 years of retirement, is to open the spigot a little. What you don't get any more of is time, so make sure that the time you are inexorably spending is supported by more of the money you would otherwise be perhaps over-accumulating for your dotage. Try increasing your spending 10% or so to see how you feel. Don't worry, you're not going to put your whole stash on 7 red.
"Plans are useless; planning is indispensable.” - Dwight Eisenhower

edge
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by edge » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:15 pm

I am not following why you are rushing to pay off your house. You seem to be purposefully creating a stressful situation for yourself and probably your family.

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Yesterdaysnews
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Yesterdaysnews » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:25 pm

What some of the posters on here don't understand is that medicine these days is a game of how quickly you can quit or go part-time. The glory days of long careers with stability of income and high levels of personal and professional satisfaction are long gone.

The vast number of my colleagues are fairly unhappy to outright miserable, and the only happy ones I see are the ones who take lower stress position (meaning much less income) or those who have gone part-time or reduced work hours.

Medicine is headed toward more corporation and is only going to get worse. The smart docs I know are making as much as possible while young and can handle it, paying off debt, build up their brokerage account to a reasonable level and then looking to significantly cut-back hours. The ones that aren't generally have the golden handcuffs or multiple ex-wives and can't -- some of the most miserable docs you will ever see.

Nummerkins
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Nummerkins » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:07 pm

I paid off my mortgage and don't regret it for a second. I don't owe a cent to anyone and the feeling is amazing.

You project paying off your house in 24 months. Take some vacations with your family and pay it off in 26 instead. It might give you the extra boost you need to slog through to the payoff.

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Wildebeest
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:27 pm

Nummerkins wrote:I paid off my mortgage and don't regret it for a second. I don't owe a cent to anyone and the feeling is amazing.

You project paying off your house in 24 months. Take some vacations with your family and pay it off in 26 instead. It might give you the extra boost you need to slog through to the payoff.
I was against paying off the mortgage early from a theoretical perspective. It is a great deal. We paid 4 % and the interest was tax deductible and could have used other people's money to invest in the stock market.

Paying of the mortgage made my spouse happy. It all worked out.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

Gaff74
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Gaff74 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:36 pm

Yesterdaysnews wrote:What some of the posters on here don't understand is that medicine these days is a game of how quickly you can quit or go part-time. The glory days of long careers with stability of income and high levels of personal and professional satisfaction are long gone.

The vast number of my colleagues are fairly unhappy to outright miserable, and the only happy ones I see are the ones who take lower stress position (meaning much less income) or those who have gone part-time or reduced work hours.

Medicine is headed toward more corporation and is only going to get worse. The smart docs I know are making as much as possible while young and can handle it, paying off debt, build up their brokerage account to a reasonable level and then looking to significantly cut-back hours. The ones that aren't generally have the golden handcuffs or multiple ex-wives and can't -- some of the most miserable docs you will ever see.
It sounds like your issue is physician burnout more than financial burnout. Either way, you might want to take some time to relax and enjoy the moment. Not all doctors are miserable all of the time. (Here I am, trying to get comfortable with my golden handcuffs).

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vitaflo
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by vitaflo » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:55 pm

Jacksonhole wrote: I guess I am struggling with the feeling you have in the middle of a marathon in how to keep going? My marathon running experience was not to focus on the process but the experience, but I am having a hardtime translating that to my financial life.
You're having a hard time because you're not in a marathon, you are all out sprinting. Of course you're going to get burnt out. The financial "marathon" lasts a good 40 years for most people, slow and steady. You're trying to get it all over with as soon as possible.

Realize what race you're actually running so you know why you're running out of gas so much faster than most people. Everyone else is running a different race.

am
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by am » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:00 pm

Yesterdaysnews wrote:What some of the posters on here don't understand is that medicine these days is a game of how quickly you can quit or go part-time. The glory days of long careers with stability of income and high levels of personal and professional satisfaction are long gone.

The vast number of my colleagues are fairly unhappy to outright miserable, and the only happy ones I see are the ones who take lower stress position (meaning much less income) or those who have gone part-time or reduced work hours.

Medicine is headed toward more corporation and is only going to get worse. The smart docs I know are making as much as possible while young and can handle it, paying off debt, build up their brokerage account to a reasonable level and then looking to significantly cut-back hours. The ones that aren't generally have the golden handcuffs or multiple ex-wives and can't -- some of the most miserable docs you will ever see.
Sad but true. Doctors in more and more markets are becoming expendable employees of large consolidating health care systems. There are more pressures to produce and work harder for little more than keeping your job. Things going down hill real fast. At some point, it will become unbearable and I would like to have FU money at that point or at least cut back where work is a minor part of my life instead of taking up the majority. It's a hard life due to inherent pressures and getting worse by corporitization and loss of autonomy. Hard for people outside of medicine to understand in my opinion...

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:56 pm

am wrote:
Yesterdaysnews wrote:What some of the posters on here don't understand is that medicine these days is a game of how quickly you can quit or go part-time. The glory days of long careers with stability of income and high levels of personal and professional satisfaction are long gone.

The vast number of my colleagues are fairly unhappy to outright miserable, and the only happy ones I see are the ones who take lower stress position (meaning much less income) or those who have gone part-time or reduced work hours.

Medicine is headed toward more corporation and is only going to get worse. The smart docs I know are making as much as possible while young and can handle it, paying off debt, build up their brokerage account to a reasonable level and then looking to significantly cut-back hours. The ones that aren't generally have the golden handcuffs or multiple ex-wives and can't -- some of the most miserable docs you will ever see.
Sad but true. Doctors in more and more markets are becoming expendable employees of large consolidating health care systems. There are more pressures to produce and work harder for little more than keeping your job. Things going down hill real fast. At some point, it will become unbearable and I would like to have FU money at that point or at least cut back where work is a minor part of my life instead of taking up the majority. It's a hard life due to inherent pressures and getting worse by corporitization and loss of autonomy. Hard for people outside of medicine to understand in my opinion...
IMO, hard for physicians to understand what those in the private sector have been going through for the last 30-40 years. The days of working 10,20,30 or even 40 years at one employer are long gone, the days of db pensions have gone the way of the horse and buggy, watching your job get out-sourced or off-shored to foreign lands on the other side of the world for 1/5th the cost. The dream of FU money for a private sector employee is mainly a dream, for the most part, they have no thoughts of part-time employment in their chosen field - it's work full time or there's the door. Sure, one may be able to find part-time employment elsewhere but at what cost? Yes, the hamster wheel is quite real.....
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

The Wizard
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by The Wizard » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:05 pm

livesoft wrote:I'll suggest that children who don't travel well have not travelled enough. Practice makes permanent.
Correct.
I travelled with two young children just fine some decades ago.
The details escape me, but it needn't be a major issue...
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Impromptu
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Impromptu » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:07 pm

Windfalls are great. For paying down debt they are like afterburners, giving you a short burst of speed. But don't expect to keep that up. You need to turn the afterburners off once you don't have the extra fuel.

I typed your numbers into bankrate's mortgage calculator. I surmised that you took out your mortgage in the summer of 2012, which puts your 15 year mortgage to be finished in 2027. Your extra payments have been great and have already moved you forward as if it were 2022, leaving only about 3.5-4 years left on the mortgage. Your monthly mortgage payment is likely around $5000 each month, about $60,000/year, which is already a big number.

Here is my advice. Keep paying extra on the mortgage, but not at the afterburner rate you were able to do because of the windfall. Pay it off in 3 years instead of 2 years. Take that extra money and have a little more fun. By itself money can't buy happiness, so spend it on things that you actually enjoy.

Even if this pushes financial independence 1-2 years later down the road, you'll at least be able to reach financial independence because will not have burned out.
I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

The Wizard
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by The Wizard » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:10 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:[

IMO, hard for physicians to understand what those in the private sector have been going through for the last 30-40 years. The days of working 10,20,30 or even 40 years at one employer are long gone, the days of db pensions have gone the way of the horse and buggy, watching your job get out-sourced or off-shored to foreign lands on the other side of the world for 1/5th the cost. The dream of FU money for a private sector employee is mainly a dream, for the most part, they have no thoughts of part-time employment in their chosen field - it's work full time or there's the door. Sure, one may be able to find part-time employment elsewhere but at what cost? Yes, the hamster wheel is quite real.....
Hmm.
I worked 41 years for the same private sector employer (engineering) prior to my retirement three years ago, but don't let me detract from your theme...
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Toons
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Toons » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:13 pm

Enjoy the journey of life.
If that means using your money to enjoy the journey,
then by all means do it.
Are you living to Work.....Or
Working to Live?
:happy :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:14 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:[

IMO, hard for physicians to understand what those in the private sector have been going through for the last 30-40 years. The days of working 10,20,30 or even 40 years at one employer are long gone, the days of db pensions have gone the way of the horse and buggy, watching your job get out-sourced or off-shored to foreign lands on the other side of the world for 1/5th the cost. The dream of FU money for a private sector employee is mainly a dream, for the most part, they have no thoughts of part-time employment in their chosen field - it's work full time or there's the door. Sure, one may be able to find part-time employment elsewhere but at what cost? Yes, the hamster wheel is quite real.....
Hmm.
I worked 41 years for the same private sector employer (engineering) prior to my retirement three years ago, but don't let me detract from your theme...
An aberration? :)
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

hmw
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by hmw » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:51 pm

I don't really understand the aversion to mortgage debt at such historical low rate.

If I were you, I would refinance your mortgage to another 15 year term. You will be able to get rates lower than 3%. Then just pay your monthly mortgage payment. You will have extra money each month to spend/enjoy/travel, etc, or invest in your taxable account, assuming you have already maxed out your tax-advantaged account.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:51 pm

Jacksonhole wrote:My marathon running experience was not to focus on the process but the experience, but I am having a hardtime translating that to my financial life. What is your secret? Any advice is appreciated.
You have two good things going for you: high paying, safe employment and TIME going forward to maximize your financial goals.

I'd be inclined to back off for a while and enjoy the fruits a bit in the here-and-now.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Erwin
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Erwin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:06 am

Life is not about money, it is about experiences, enjoy it! Some spend their entire life worrying about money and under spending to then die rich.
Erwin

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celia
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by celia » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:53 am

You have already shown you can work hard, invest, and pay off debt. It is now time to focus on work-life balance, because, that appears to be lacking for you. Act silly with the kids, play games, read with them and have them read to you, cook some meals, smell some roses....

You already got the financial stuff down so don't worry about being so aggresive there!
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

IlliniDave
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:25 am

Two years is not a long time in the big picture sense.

What you don't say is what about your plan is burning you out, so specific advice is difficult.

My secret is to put things on autopilot and don't think about them. A key to that is a good understanding of what the minimum you need to spend every month to avoid feeling "deprived". Once you know that amount, everything above that can go towards your financial goals and you can focus on just living life rather than your balance sheet (which will presumably march steadily upward in the background while you live your life).

I've done many things in my financial life that were arguably not mathematically optimal. One I never regretted for a second was making elimination of debt a significant priority. So if that is important to you, don't be afraid to stick to your guns. If having too lean a lifestyle is what's burning you out, consider changing your plan to retire your mortgage in 3 years instead of 2 which would add back a few thousand to your day-to-day spending pool each month. If the persistence of the debt itself is getting you down, just grind it out.
Don't do something. Just stand there!

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Wildebeest
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Wildebeest » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:48 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
am wrote:
Yesterdaysnews wrote:What some of the posters on here don't understand is that medicine these days is a game of how quickly you can quit or go part-time. The glory days of long careers with stability of income and high levels of personal and professional satisfaction are long gone.

The vast number of my colleagues are fairly unhappy to outright miserable, and the only happy ones I see are the ones who take lower stress position (meaning much less income) or those who have gone part-time or reduced work hours.

Medicine is headed toward more corporation and is only going to get worse. The smart docs I know are making as much as possible while young and can handle it, paying off debt, build up their brokerage account to a reasonable level and then looking to significantly cut-back hours. The ones that aren't generally have the golden handcuffs or multiple ex-wives and can't -- some of the most miserable docs you will ever see.
Sad but true. Doctors in more and more markets are becoming expendable employees of large consolidating health care systems. There are more pressures to produce and work harder for little more than keeping your job. Things going down hill real fast. At some point, it will become unbearable and I would like to have FU money at that point or at least cut back where work is a minor part of my life instead of taking up the majority. It's a hard life due to inherent pressures and getting worse by corporitization and loss of autonomy. Hard for people outside of medicine to understand in my opinion...
IMO, hard for physicians to understand what those in the private sector have been going through for the last 30-40 years. The days of working 10,20,30 or even 40 years at one employer are long gone, the days of db pensions have gone the way of the horse and buggy, watching your job get out-sourced or off-shored to foreign lands on the other side of the world for 1/5th the cost. The dream of FU money for a private sector employee is mainly a dream, for the most part, they have no thoughts of part-time employment in their chosen field - it's work full time or there's the door. Sure, one may be able to find part-time employment elsewhere but at what cost? Yes, the hamster wheel is quite real.....
I agree,

Doctors had been fortunate as far as job security, reimbursement and independence . They have not taken as great a hit as the private sector. Government employment has also become much more tenuous with pensions, benefits lacking as to where they were 10-15 years ago.

Doctors still have job security, salaries have kept up, however I expect self employed doctors will go the way of the wagon wheel.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

soupcxan
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by soupcxan » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:52 am

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Last edited by soupcxan on Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chicagoan23
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by chicagoan23 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:15 am

This is what I did. There is no need to be obsessive about getting it paid off as soon as you can. I never made any extra payments on the house. Instead, I built my retirement portfolio and lived my life.
I don't really understand the aversion to mortgage debt at such historical low rate.

If I were you, I would refinance your mortgage to another 15 year term. You will be able to get rates lower than 3%. Then just pay your monthly mortgage payment. You will have extra money each month to spend/enjoy/travel, etc, or invest in your taxable account, assuming you have already maxed out your tax-advantaged account.
I agree with this completely.

Fixed rate mortgage debt (or certain unsecured debt, like a student loan) in the 2-3% range is a very good thing for someone to have as long as they have a decent income. If you don't have any debt like that, then you're not making the optimal choices. Retirees and those with low or speculative income are in a different situation, but a young physician making a good income should absolutely keep debt like this.

After paying off the mortgage in two years, the original poster will have $700k+ of their total net worth sitting in an illiquid and undiversified single asset that might appreciate long term, but probably not much better than the inflation rate, if at all, and won't generate any income.

I know it's scary to look at a large mortgage balance but other things that are financial "no brainers" can be scary too, like not selling stocks after the market has been in a free fall, or keeping a significant allocation of your assets in stocks in Year Seven of a bull market instead of just selling everything and moving it to Treasuries because you think that the market is due for a big decline. In either case you may sleep better at night but you will lose money long-term.

The best way to deal with scary thoughts is to use logic. Maybe set up a spreadsheet that shows you different results based on keeping the low-fixed-rate, tax-deductible mortgage and investing that extra money instead, at a projected nominal CAGR of 4% / 5% / 6% / 7% / 8% over the next 10 to 15 years?

Maybe instead of setting the goal to pay off the mortgage, set a different personal financial goal of getting to a $1 million total portfolio within three years (and then $2 million, $3 million, etc.), and marking your progress towards that?

Maybe write-down worst case scenarios and see what events would all have to happen for you to ever lose your house involuntarily (you lose your job AND for some reason are unable to get another job AND your spouse cannot work AND you suffer a massive decline in all other assets so you can't liquidate them to pay off the mortgage balance immediately AND you don't have an emergency fund to cover the essentials (including the mortgage payment) for one or two years AND your house value declines so much that you don't have any equity left so the bank just wants you out AND they push an aggressive foreclosure action AND you are not eligible for any governmental relief AND you will be unable to get any help from family AND these conditions persist for two or three years.....etc.)

Maybe consider some worst case scenarios for your house maintaining its value, like your city switching the water supply to the Flint River, or a natural disaster hitting your town, or climate change wreaking havoc on your geographic location, or you happen to be in the middle of a real estate bubble that makes no sense and everything is going to crash, etc. Maybe it would be worth it to walk away from a nonrecourse mortgage in that case?

My own situation: I had a lot of financial anxiety a few years ago when the legal market was pretty bleak and I had a stay-at-home spouse and four kids age 5 and under. I was tempted to pay off the mortgage, but I'm glad I didn't. I have a lot more money now than I would have had I let those fears get to me. And I am now refinancing to yet another 15-year mortgage at 2.875%, even though I could write a check tomorrow to pay it all off.

Good luck to you.

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Re: Financial burnout

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:31 am

When I had this issue (although I wasn't doing any where near as well as you) when I had young children my spouse always reminded me the children would only be young once. I would have probably paid more towards mortgage and investments versus trips to Disney, etc. and putting in an in-ground pool for summer with the kids. Over a decade later I still have fond memories of all the travel and vacations we've had throughout the years along with long weekends playing with the kids in the pool. I wouldn't trade an earlier retirement for those memories. Family First.
I think you can say any children have some travel troubles - our kids where on planes (approximately 2 trips per year) and long drives since about 6 months after birth - they learn and you learn how to deal with the challenges.

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Re: Financial burnout

Post by joebh » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:46 am

Yesterdaysnews wrote:The vast number of my colleagues are fairly unhappy to outright miserable, and the only happy ones I see are the ones who take lower stress position (meaning much less income) or those who have gone part-time or reduced work hours.
There's a hint in there somewhere.

Happiness is seldom a function of income. Perhaps you should explore those lower stress positions, and learn to live on less. Leave the higher-stress positions for those who don't fee it so acutely.

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Escape Velocity
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by Escape Velocity » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:53 am

Hmm.
I worked 41 years for the same private sector employer (engineering) prior to my retirement three years ago, but don't let me detract from your theme...
An aberration? :)
I have also worked 36 years for one and only one company. Fingers crossed on a 2016 retirement.

I think bearing down on debt reduction and increased savings, investments, and income-producing ventures (in my case, some rental property) is a good investment of your time. The quicker one can reach FI/RE (financial independence/retire early), the quicker feelings of burnout can be replaced by feeling of satisfaction. Well, at least for me :beer

Congrats to the OP for how far he has come.

EV

letsgobobby
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Re: Financial burnout

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:42 pm

About 3 years ago, while suffering from career burnout at the age of 40, another Boglehead pointed me in the direction of Peter Moskowitz, MD and his Center for Professional and Personal Renewal:

http://cppr.com/

As luck would have it, Dr. Moskowitz was doing a physician and spouse workshop an hour from our home that week, when my parents were in town to watch the kids. I got the time off and we went. It was wonderful. It wasn't earth-shattering, but it was honest, it was intimate, and most of all it was compassionate. Just what we needed. He introduced me to the idea that physician careers are cyclical. There are periods of intensity and passion, great new ideas; there are periods of gliding, coasting, enjoying; there are periods of burnout, fatigue, disillusionment. These are normal. Don't catsatrophize the bad times - make a few changes to get back into something that makes you passionate, and let that cycle take you another 7 or 10 years.

Somehow our session with Dr. Moskowitz led me to read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, which again changed my life. From that session with Dr. Moskowitz and Dr. Frankl's book, I declared and acknowledged that my goal in life was to be the best father I could be. I've never forgotten that. When the kids are driving me batty or work is calling for just one more thing or I have the opportunity to build a new clinic, I just remember my self-declared purpose and the 'right path' becomes clear. I make time for the kids' games and practices, I play games with them and read with them as much as I can, I consciously reject longer hours, more promotions/responsibilities/higher pay. So one good thing led to another, and it all started with the recognition that I was experiencing physician burnout.

Thanks Roosevelt, if you're still out here!

Jacksonhole, you may not be experiencing physician burnout. But you might be. Good luck.

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