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  • Have you won the game?

    I would say that I’ve ‘won the game’. By “living like a resident” for 5 years, I have essentially saved enough money in my investment accounts (tax-deferred and taxable) that I would reach my retirement goal by just letting my account grow for the next 20 years with just my 401k contributions. That is huge for me since my 401k contributions are only 10% of what I’ve been saving over the last 5 years. Now, my ultimate plan is early retirement in 10 years, so I plan to continue saving well over my 401k limit. But, it sure is nice to know that the work I’ve put in over the last 5 years has essentially put me on the safe track to retirement and allows me to spend a little more here and there for the little things in life that will bring me and my family some joy. I’ve recently bought my family a small cabin at a local lake now that I’ve laid a solid financial foundation to build on. It feels good to cut some of the purse strings a little and have a small taste of reward from all my previous efforts.

    I guess I’m posting this to give an example of how living below your means pays off in a big way if you stick with it for a few years. Stay the course!

    Has anyone else reached the point where they can say they’ve ‘won the game’? Please share.

  • #2
    I'm 35 y/o and if I just let my accounts grow for the next 32 years without contributing anything else to them and assume 7% growth (which is probably a generous assumption for the coming years), then yes, I'd have enough to comfortably retire at the age of 67 as well.  That would mean I'd need to have some sort of employment for the next 32 years in order to pay the bills, provide health insurance, and pay for living expenses, vacations, etc.  So, yes, I do take some comfort in knowing that.

    However, I don't think I've "won the game" yet though.  I'd like to reach FI long before the age of 67.  I don't necessarily want to stop working, but I want to have the freedom to choose.  So, I have to keep playing.  I'm still paying off my student loans...just hit "submit" on a $9,000 payment this morning.  There goes most of my paycheck this week!

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    • #3
      Congrats on a great start. We all will have different definitions of winning the game. Sounds like you are on the right track.

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      • #4
        Nice to see you are on the right path.  I think I won the game many years ago.  I no longer add to my retirement accounts (except a solo IRA with catch up of $6500).  I have been working part time since 56.

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        • #5
          um congrats!  great job so far.

          some of the older folks (myself included) find that as we edge closer to the retirement point, we would like more assurance that we have actually reached the retirement goal for our desired spending habits.  i'm just curious how the ones who retire so young would know this.  it's different to say i'm going to keep working part time, or i'm going to start another career that fills my bucket.

          i guess the question revolves around what is meant by having enough?  that market could go down 50%, and social security goes away and healthcare expenses increase 100% and college could increase 7% per year and still okay?  we can absorb the actuary on fire SORR and laugh it off?

          these comments are not intended to be judgmental, just descriptive--

          one generation ahead of me it seems like medicine was a calling and they stay till they drop

          one generation after me it seems like medicine is a job and meets the requirements of fulfilling work in exchange for good pay.  okay to quit no problem if and when you choose.

          my generation, or at least me, is figuring out where we fall in between these two.  i also don't know if the nature of the specialties that seem represented here (anesthesia, hospitalist, er) and their characteristics-shift work, less long term bonding with patients, possibly how easy it is to replace you- create a different view of medicine than mine.  this also is not meant to be judgmental.

          long way of saying i'm not sure what winning the game means. 

          glad you feel like you have won though.

          congrats on the lake cabin.  when can we visit?

           

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          • #6




            um congrats!  great job so far.

            some of the older folks (myself included) find that as we edge closer to the retirement point, we would like more assurance that we have actually reached the retirement goal for our desired spending habits.  i’m just curious how the ones who retire so young would know this.  it’s different to say i’m going to keep working part time, or i’m going to start another career that fills my bucket.

            i guess the question revolves around what is meant by having enough?  that market could go down 50% and no social security and healthcare expenses could increase 100% and college could increase 7% per year and still okay?  we can absorb the actuary on fire SORR and laugh it off?

            these comments are not intended to be judgmental, just descriptive–

            one generation ahead of me it seems like medicine was a calling and they stay till they drop

            one generation after me it seems like medicine is a job and meets the requirements of fulfilling work in exchange for good pay.  okay to quit no problem if you and when you choose.

            my generation, or at least me, is figuring out where we fall in between these two.  i also don’t know if the nature of the specialties that seem represented here (anesthesia, hospitalist, er) and their characteristics-shift work, less long term bonding with patients, possibly how easy it is to replace you- create a different view of medicine than mine.  this also is not meant to be judgmental.

            long way of saying i’m not sure what winning the game means.  ????

            glad you feel like you have won though.

            congrats on the lake cabin.  when can we visit?

             
            Click to expand...


            I agree with q-school as usual that a lot of the fire posters are more of the"shift" workers.  I have also wondered if the lack of "bonding" with long term patients is leading to this.  I also agree that there are lots of unknowns out there to retire super-early.  I think it is fine to retire if you are confident that you have over-saved.

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            • #7
              anecdotally i haven't found that being "bonded" to patients always confers a desire to stay in the game. i do think those of us who are shift workers/hospital based docs do tend inevitably to see more of the job side of medicine vs. the calling.

              i actually think that we have a screwed up view of medicine based on the fact the med schools tend to be dominated by IM/FP. this isn't to disparage any of my colleagues in those fields, but students are taught that the "cis" perspective on medicine is primary care - long relationships, delving deep into every problem, long term health counseling etc. in that world view basically everyone else is "trans." i'm appropriating the language of sexuality here but you get what i mean. med schools have an OSCE around counseling for long term framingham risks but not about closing a laceration. there's no really good reason why that should be the case.

              to the OP point, i'm curious what figure s/he thinks has brought them to this point.

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              • #8
                Great points. I’m a Med Onc in a small town. So my choosing to retire early would be a major blow to my community. It would be very difficult for me to do so even if my financial situations allows. But, medicine to me is definitely not a calling. I say repeated to all my friends that “I’m a husband, then a dad, and then a doctor.” I only have about 15 mores years to really be a dad. Kids will leave and cleave one day. I can be a doctor for many years. I only get a brief time with my kids.

                I see myself always working in some form part-time. So my ‘enough’ is when my accounts reach 30x my annual spending rate without including part-time work. This will give me plenty of cushion and endure inevitable changes to that spending we will face in the future.

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                • #9


                  anecdotally i haven’t found that being “bonded” to patients always confers a desire to stay in the game. i do think those of us who are shift workers/hospital based docs do tend inevitably to see more of the job side of medicine vs. the calling.
                  Click to expand...


                  I can give you my perspective on this.  Medicine had fairly rapidly evolved into "shift work".  It did not exist when I finished training.  Either you or someone in your group was responsible for the patient who you knew.  This was just accepted.  Being on call 24/7 leads to one set of problems and not knowing patients leads to another set.  One of the reasons I keep working is the"bonding" that I feel for a good number of patients.  If you have not experienced this you have no idea what I am talking about.

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                  • #10
                    I can say I feel like I've won the game. Don't have to contribute another dollar and just have to find some way to make it to 50 without tapping the retirement accounts (family history is not on my side, very few make it past 80 in my family)

                    I can also say this based on my job. I love what I do (maybe not the politics of being part of a big hospital system, but the actual work is fun for me). I get paid ridiculous sums of money to do it. I've already transitioned to part time, <40 hrs/week, no nights, no weekends, no holidays, no call. I would be honored to continue doing this until I'm 70 (health-willing)

                    I'd still prefer to be a powerball winner but having this kind of job (and the financial security that comes with it) is a close 2nd

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                    • #11





                      anecdotally i haven’t found that being “bonded” to patients always confers a desire to stay in the game. i do think those of us who are shift workers/hospital based docs do tend inevitably to see more of the job side of medicine vs. the calling. 
                      Click to expand…


                      I can give you my perspective on this.  Medicine had fairly rapidly evolved into “shift work”.  It did not exist when I finished training.  Either you or someone in your group was responsible for the patient who you knew.  This was just accepted.  Being on call 24/7 leads to one set of problems and not knowing patients leads to another set.  One of the reasons I keep working is the”bonding” that I feel for a good number of patients.  If you have not experienced this you have no idea what I am talking about.
                      Click to expand...


                      It's interesting that this came up in this thread, but I do believe you all are right.  I have, until recently, always done shift work as a hospitalist.  This year I started seeing patients in an outpatient opioid treatment center.  Its the first time in my career that I go in and see the same set of patients every month.  I have gotten to know a great deal about them, their home life, their stories through recovery, etc.  They also know a little about me.  When I see them there's as much chatting about their kids learning to drive, etc as there is about their opioid recovery (most of them are very stable and completely recovered from their addiction).  SO, I now understand the bond that you speak of and I can understand completely how a family doc in a small town could end up becoming such an important fixture in that community.  And it makes sense that in those sort of settings quitting early just because you're FI may not be desirable. Going part time seems very realistic though, even if it's only a few days per week.

                      My ultimate goal would be able to do just enough shifts to pay the bills, the insurance, and for fun stuff (vacations, hobbies, etc).  I'm probably 10 years away from that being a reality.  I want to be debt free AND FI before I would stop contributing to retirement accounts.  Even then I'd probably want to still contribute something if I had anything left over at the end of the month.

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                      • #12
                        I agree with Crixus on this one.  You can never really know if you have "won the game."  Live a fulfilling life, do important work, and be prepared for change as much as you are able.  But past results are no guarantee of future performance.  You may have won the current game, but the game may change tomorrow.

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                        • #13




                          I’ve already transitioned to part time, <40 hrs/week, no nights, no weekends, no holidays, no call.
                          Click to expand...


                          lucky!  how do i get that kind of job!

                          i would almost pay to have that kind of job.

                          you must have mad negotiating skills.  please share with the class how you convinced your colleagues this was a win/win arrangement for everyone.  that's even more impressive than FIRE.  major props. 

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                          • #14
                            I think shift work definitely makes this seem more like a job than a calling. As a hospitalist i will work 7-10 days in a row and will see patients for a week or so and form somewhat of a bond at times. This bond is probably nothing like another physician who sees a breast cancer patient multiple times a year for 20+ years.  I do enjoy what I do but I cannot and will not do this job forever. There is too much of a push from upper level administration for seeing as many patients in a 12 hr shift, discharging quickly, reducing readmission's ( which are not in our hands 99% of the times ) and too much of an emphasis on patient satisfaction that can make this job pretty miserable.   I do enjoy a lot of my patient encounters but in a 12 hr shift i probably spend less than 2 hr actually seeing patients!

                             

                            With all that said, this is the way medicine is now a days. No more PCP's doing inpatient and outpatient. There is a very clear delineation between outpatient physicans and inpatient physicians. I'm not sure what is next for an inpatient doc though.  Maybe just some locum shifts a month to keep my skills up when I become financially independent. Not sure I would ever go into primary care or if I could even do it after doing inpatient medicine for most of my career.

                             

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                            • #15







                              I’ve already transitioned to part time, <40 hrs/week, no nights, no weekends, no holidays, no call.
                              Click to expand…


                              lucky!  how do i get that kind of job!

                              i would almost pay to have that kind of job.

                              you must have mad negotiating skills.  please share with the class how you convinced your colleagues this was a win/win arrangement for everyone.  that’s even more impressive than FIRE.  major props.
                              Click to expand...


                              My part time (0.6 FTE) schedule includes weekends, but I'm only work 7-8 days a month now. Yes, it feels like shift work in anesthesia. I've had numerous repeat customers and have taken care of three generations of a family in jus a few years, but I am 100% replaceable.

                              Have I won "the game"? I've got the lake cabin, financial independence, and a wonderful family, now 11+ years post-residency. I don't look at it as winning or losing, but if we're keeping score, I'm very happy with where I'm at.

                               

                              Cheers!

                              -PoF

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