My little man just celebrated his half birthday as he turned four and a half. Despite his young age, he has learned (from mariokart) that how you finish matters. He is much happier with himself when he turns into a bullet and has an exciting finish in Mariokart than when he gets middle of the pack (say 5th place). “Daddy, I got 11th place!!” My son’s reaction made me think about finishing other races, like my life after financial independence. How will I finish that race? What will I do?
This question hit me again while reading the book A Doctor’s Guide to Eliminating Debt. At the end, the book poses a great question: “What are you retiring to?” It talks about the finish line and not just making it to the finish line, but what to do after it.
So, I’d like to discuss five things that I’ll do much more often when I cross my financial independence (FI) number, or life after financial independence.
Number 1. Mission Work
If I went back and read any of my personal statements or secondary applications for medical school, I bet the words “mission work” are on every single one of them.
I’ve always had a heart for helping others in a meaningful way (though I readily admit that not all mission work is as helpful as we think).
At this point, I’ve really only taken two mission trips. The first was a faith-based trip to Peru where we built homes for the “Street Boys” that had been abandoned by society.
The second was a medical trip to Ghana that I took as a resident during my chief year. We taught the local SRNA students and CRNAs how to practice better anesthesia. (My department has more anesthesiologists than the entire country of Ghana).
The need is absolutely massive. By reaching my financial independence number, I’ll be able to take more trips away because I will no longer be dependent on the income. In my ideal world, I’d do this for a month or two each and every year. Maybe duing the summer so that my kids could come with me?
Sustaining education programs wherever I go so that those I teach can continue to practice by themselves and teach others would be my main goal.
I list this number 1 for a reason. It matters a lot to me.
Number 2. Focus on the aspects of my job I love
Once I get to my FI number, I’ll likely cut back on the parts of the job that I am not so enamored with and focus on the ones that I love. This may change over the years, but what I love most right now is educating residents, doing research (that I am passionate about), and doing regional anesthesia.
I enjoy being good at other aspects of my job. I like feeling productive and finishing a day’s work knowing that I really helped people improve their quality of life.
But what I REALLY love is seeing the light bulb turn on in a young person’s mind when they’ve heard something explained to them for the first time. Or maybe it was just that they had something explained to them in a way that finally clicked.
Seeing the gears start to turn as they process the new found concept is so fun to me. It is usually followed by 100 questions, and I enjoy answering every single one (that I can).
Number 3. Travel the country and give financial literacy and debt management talks
On that note, I want to bring my love of teaching young trainees to other places. I have a heart for freeing medical students and residents from the captivity that is normalized debt and financial stupidity.
We can’t blame them. They were educated in the same system that we were.
I didn’t figure this stuff out until late into my training (as in, during my last year of training). Others don’t figure it out until well into their roles as attending physicians. I want to help the people coming behind us figure this out much sooner.
At the end of the day,
I think that when you are free of the shackles of debt that bind you,
that you become a better doctor.
After all, when you can practice medicine because you want to and not because you have to….it provides freedom. It allows you to practice medicine in a way that produces satisfaction at work. Satisfaction leads to better practice.
Number 4. Brew beer again, or maybe buy a brewery?
Before I had kids, I loved to brew beer.
Its a fascinating process, and my neighbor and I actually got pretty good at it. After the second kid was on the way, some things had to stop. It’s hard to tell my wife I am going to brew beer all day (it’s literally a 6-8 hour process) while she watches the two kids.
Now we have three kids… so you can guess how often I plan on brewing beer in the next ten to fifteen years. It got so unlikely that I actually gave my brewing set up to a buddy of mine.
I do miss it, though. I look forward to getting back to producing something with my own hands and enjoying the beer I make for weeks on end. I’d love to someday have a keezer with a collar around the neck. From that collar, I’ll have two or three taps of my home brews.
The three beers I’d want on tap?
- A double IPA (the malt balances the bitter bite up front). Some examples of this might include Two Hearted Ale, Pliny the Elder, Cart from Brewery Bhavana (a local favorite of mine).
- A Porter or brown: Too many good ones to even list here.
- A Seasonal: A likely rotation would include: Bell’s Cigar City Good Gourd for Fall, Grapefruit Sculpin (Technically not a seasonal, but a damn good beer) by Ballast Point during the summer and spring, Troegenator Double Bock for winter.
Oh, and if that got old… I’d probably consider opening a brewery or being a major owner. That would be fun. I’d want it to be an indoor/outdoor brewery with places to socialize, play games, and have food trucks. I’d also want to support local musical artists and let them play to get their name out there.
Number 5. Play More Golf with my Family
If you have read any of my posts in the past, you know that I love to play golf. Particularly with my kids.
I’d do as much of this as I could possibly schedule. I know this is the quintessential “I’m gonna retire and play more golf!” But I really do love it. I’d be happy to play 9 holes most every day if my little girls and boy were along with me.
Proud dad moment below this post: I attached a video of my little girl (6 at the time) hitting a golf ball. She has the hand eye coordination. I hope she develops the passion for it at some point. If she does, I’ll be glad I partial FIRE’d early.
Maybe I’ll even get to travel to watch them play golf in high school or college at some point. (Or…ballet, art, music, or whatever other passion they find).
I’ve never forced the sport on any of them. I just want them to love the sport (and for them to have an excuse to hang out with their dad when they are older and I am no longer cool to hang out with).
Maybe I’ll even get my wife to like the game at some point. Getting golf lessons is a really big priority for her right now with three kids…
As I started writing this, I kept coming up with more things that I would like to do.
I imagine getting to my FI number and enjoying some of the above items while I get there. I’ll partial FIRE for another 5-10 years after I reach my number. This will provide benefits and allow me more flexibility to finish well.
What do you plan to retire to? Any real plans or are you still just scheming? I’d love to hear your plans. Leave a comment below.