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My Financial Situation

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  • #16
    Kaiser has it's pros and cons. You would  have to do the math with your specific numbers, but the benefits are worth a total of about 10-15% of your gross income, or perhaps around 3-4 k per month.  In other words, if you save that much in your own defined benefit retirement plan for the same 20-25 years,  you will have the same pension.  Kaiser also gives you 100% asset protection, and dental and health insurance for life, and for your children until age 26. Your only out of pocket medical expenses will be $5 rx copays.   There's also some free life insurance and other benefits as well.  The downside for an ER doc is no control over your schedule, and no opportunity to leave if you're not happy, once you have some time in, due to the pension, aka "golden handcuffs".   Now, each facility will have it's own culture,to some extent, and I don't know how much control you have over your schedule now.  Some people in some specialties in some departments love it, and do better financially than they would elsewhere.   Other people hate it.   Some docs in a particular specialty might have a much different experience in one hospital than do docs in the same specialty just a few miles away, due to culture ( ie psychopathy of administration and dept. chiefs ) , presence of residents, and division of labor among the specialties.  If you're considering a Kaiser job, ask both young and old docs at that hospital, and ask at other hospitals as well.  Frequently all is fine the first 10 years, but later you find you can't give up night shifts or get any priority on shifts.  What seemed fine when you're starting out will be torture as you look towards cutting back.

    As for your general financial progress, it sound like you're doing great.  In a few years you'll be debt free and your net worth will start to grow.

    I agree with not being so eager to buy a house.  First pay off your loans.

    I have a house in an expensive Bay Area neighborhood.  I did very well financially with that house, but that just means that over the past 15 years my housing costs ( down payment, mortgage interest payments, renovations, upkeep etc ) in excess of renting have kept up with the S&P 500. ( I did pretty detailed calculations to determine that )  Also given that you're in ER you have a lot of flexibility in terms of moving without having to close and open a practice, so renting allows you to take advantage of that flexibility in the future.


    • #17

      That seems like a very small emergency fund for someone who’s the sole breadwinner in a family of four.  I’m single and keep at least 20k in the bank.  Do you have a second tier of emergency funds?  Some people withdraw their Roth IRA contributions, but not sure you can do that (without a penalty) when it comes to a SEP-IRA.
      Click to expand...

      I understand not wanting to keep a bunch of cash around when you have debts, but I agree with Lithium that your emergency fund/cash reserve sounds small for a guy without disability insurance.  If something were to happen and you couldn't work do you have a few months of your minimum expenses (cutting out soccer, eating out, etc)? You should have at least enough until your wife could get work, but better yet to have disability insurance.


      • #18
        Get the DIsability insurance and term life insurance asap. You're the sole breadwinner with kids. You cannot afford to NOT have it. Talk to Lawrence Keller. Read WCI post on it. Expect to pay 1-3% if your gross salary. You need 6 months of emergency funds. DI kicks off after a 3 month waiting period typically.