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Hello and a Check-Up

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  • Hello and a Check-Up

    Hey yall,

    I was just hoping for a quick check-in.  I haven’t found a good financial advisor around my parts who isn’t AUM or some variation thereof, and so just want to make sure I’m not making any big mistakes.

    I had pretty much no understanding of finances until fourth year of medical school, when I had my financial aid exit interview and really realized how much money I owed.  Found Dr. Dahle and the WCI and haven’t looked back – definitely changed my life forever for the better (thank you sir!).  I had full academic scholarships to high school and undergraduate, and went to a state medical school but still finished medical school with ~275k in student loans and 5k of CC debt (room and board for undergraduate, expensive new england school in HCOL, etc).  I immediately eliminated the CC debt and haven’t had any since.  I was in IBR during residency, and student loans grew to 340k by time of graduation.  I was able to max a Roth every year, and also had mandatory money withheld for a state retirement program that I then rolled into my Roth when I left the state.

    Currently not quite living like a resident, but definitely also not like an attending.  Approximately 1.5x my lifestyle compared to residency - nicer apartment, travel more, don’t think twice about buying dinner for friends or the residents, help my parents with plane tickets, etc, but still drive a 10-year old car and fly coach.

    I am emergency medicine trained – did three years of residency, one year of fellowship and then one year of part-academics, part-community.  So currently 2.5 years out of residency and 1.5 years out of fellowship, and 31 years old.  I’ve focused on paying down loans, which was great, but got hit mightily on taxes by not taking advantage of other pretax opportunities.  Going forth, I’m planning on slowing my student loan repayment schedule a bit but overall positively affecting my net worth flow.  I started full-time academic in July, but considering 2018 my first real “full” year.  With extra moonlighting shifts, I will make around 340k/year.  Being partly employed by physician group but also partly by the state medical school, I get lots of advantages of state employees as well.

    Girlfriend (and likely future wife) makes 60-70k a year, and has about ~80k in student loans.  She’s in a non-physician healthcare field for which PSLF was actually intended (unlike neurosurgery), and so may qualify in the coming years if it’s still around.  She would probably work part-time if we had children, but we will see how it all goes.

    I have my own disability insurance through MetLife with own-occ rider, ability to increase, etc.  I also have own disability through work, but plan on maintaining both just in case I leave this job.  No life insurance as have no dependents.  Rent for now – but I would like to buy a house in the next 5-7 years.  Anticipate desirable house in the area to be between 400-900k. I just changed to HDHP so I can have an HSA starting in 2018. I also have auto, renter’s, and umbrella insurance.

    I have no particular goal other than building a solid financial future and setting myself up for “the good life.”  Ideally become a “Millionaire by 40” (whatever that definition means).  I have no burning need to retire at age 41 or anything like that, but I’d like to become financially secure fairly early so that I can have options and prevent burnout.  I do not intend to work into my 70’s by any means unless it continues to be extremely rewarding to me, as it is now.


    Current net worth as of NYE: negative 26k


    Current Assets:

    401(a) – Fidelity - 52k – Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Trust II

    403(b) – Fidelity - 14k – Fidelity Freedom Index 2055 (FDEWX)

    Roth IRA – Vanguard - 61k – Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Fund (VFFVX)


    Student Loans:

    SoFi – 180k at 3.59% (variable, 10-year)



    401(a) – Fidelity - 54k/year - Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Trust II

    403(b) – Fidelity - 18.5k/year - Fidelity Freedom Index 2055 (FDEWX)

    457(b) – unfilled at this time and for foreseeable future

    Backdoor Roth – Vanguard -  5.5k/year - Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Fund (VFFVX)

    HSA – TASC - 3.45k/year – Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund (VTWSX)

    Mandatory state retirement – 3.3k/year, with match


    I hope to hit a positive net worth within 3-6 months.  All extra money will go to student loans.  I hope to pay those off in the next 3 years. When those are done, I plan to put it towards down payment for house.  Eventually I will also open a taxable account.  I have no plans on investing in real estate or alternative investments as I do not find it interesting/necessary at this time.


    Final questions:

    1. How does all this look?

    2. HSA – I know there’s some debate about how to use it. My current plan is to pay my (hopefully) minimal medical expenses with cash and just let the HSA grow.  Ideally use for medical expenses in retirement, worst-case withdraw it and pay the penalty. I am not planning on saving 30+ years of receipts

    3. House down payment – best place to store this money as I save it? Taxable account versus Ally saving account, for instance?

    4. If my girlfriend and I do get married – would she then lose eligibility for PSLF? I think it would depend on how we file our taxes.

    5. I’ve read various things about whether or not the 401(a) counts against your max contributions, both on other websites and in these forums themselves. The advisor from Fidelity provided by my work has assured me multiple times I can max both the 401(a) and 403(b), and I know others in my group who do as well, so I assume it’s okay..

    6. What is the best Tax software? I’m thinking of doing my own taxes this year as an educational experience.  It shouldn’t be too hard – all of my income is W-2, no mortgage, and I make too much to deduct student loan interest.

    Thank you for all for tolerating my loquaciousness.

  • #2
    You are really doing everything right.  FWIW I am fairly financially secure and I still fly coach.


    • #3
      1) looks fine.

      2) save the receipts at least on the big items. it is a very powerful account that way.

      3) either, depends more on time frame. savings, CDs, bond funds are easy places to start.

      4) you dont get kicked out of PSLF. your payments just change. although it might not survive long enough to see....

      5) yes those are separate.

      6) any of the big ones are the same. turbotax, h&r, even tax act is simple enough to use.


      • #4
        Maybe I missed it, but what are your total expenses before optional debt paydown? Do you expect those expenses to remain constant or increase over the next few years? That will be the biggest factor in becoming a millionaire by 40.


        • #5
          Apologies - my expenses are approx 70-90k a year, depending on how many trips I take and how much work my car needs...

          I expect them to remain constant for the next few years and then likely increase with the possible addition of a house and family.  I am not tied to the "millionaire by 40" concept, I just like it as a rough goal as it was WCI's original book title (I believe).

          Thank you all so far!