The Monthly Checkout: December 2019

By Jimmy Turner, MD
The Physician Philosopher

The Monthly Checkout: December 2019

Every month, I like to highlight some noteworthy posts that I’ve found. I pass them along to you so that you can enjoy them, too. The posts will involve topics that are often covered on this blog including personal financeinvestingphysician burnout, and paying down debt.

We then end with an update on the happenings in my life and the blog. So, read all the way to the bottom to hear the exciting news about The Physician Philosopher!

Welcome to The Monthly Checkout for December 2019!

Physician Finance Topics

As the new year approaches, you are likely to set many new goals. Some of them may be health-related like losing weight or working out more often.  Others are likely to be financially related.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post on some goals worth considering in the New Year.

In the meantime, here are some great posts from around the web from fellow physician finance bloggers. These should get your gears turning as you set goals for you and your family!

Financial Goals for 2020

Speaking of financial goals for 2020, it is helpful to read the goals that others have set prior to setting yours.  Follow along as the good doctor from The Tired Superheroine discusses her financial goals for 2020, including funding a Roth IRA for her 2 year-old, setting a savings rate, and much more.

Financial goals for 2020

Does Fellowship Make Financial Sense?

When it comes to goals for the New Year, one of your goals may be to apply to a fellowship or to start one in the coming year.  Does this make financial sense, though?  Are you extending your training simply to lose money?

I’ve written a guest-post on the White Coat Investor on the Opportunity Cost and ROI of Fellowship previously.  However, in a recent post, WCI weighed in himself on whether fellowship makes financial sense.


Is Any Debt “Good” Debt?

Similar to the cost of delaying a large income for a fellowship, you may have considered going into student loan debt for your medical degree “Good” debt.  Many of us categorize our debt into “good” debt or “bad” debt.  Is this a helpful way to think about our debt?  Or should we view all debt as a burden that must be paid?

Dr. Cory Fawcett (a.k.a. Hater-of-all-things-debt) is here to set the record straight.  He thinks that there is no such thing as “Good” debt.  Do you agree?


Should You Invest in Real Estate?

If you read the last post and cannot get enough of Dr. Fawcett, he also recently wrote a new book on Investing Real Estate meant specifically for physicians, and Dr. D from The Frugal Physician wrote a review on it.

If you are looking for a new book to dive into, it sounds like this is one that she would recommend.  You can find out if you should read it too after reading A Doctor’s Guide to Real Estate review over at The Frugal Physician.

A Doctor’s Guide to Real Estate Investing

Physician Wellness Posts

This site helps teach doctors how to fight burnout (and find wellness!) through financial independence.  Below you will find topics that range from physician burnout to physician wellness.

Whether you need to know that it is okay to be down and out on medicine or are looking for tools to help combat your current moral injury, these posts should help you find some solace.

The Antidote to Loneliness

The holidays can be a hard time.  For many of us, this is our first holiday season without a loved one.  If we are being honest, though, it can be lonely working as a physician regardless of the time of the year.

Join is as M from Reflections of a Millennial Doctor discusses loneliness and helps us realize that there is an antidote to the loneliness epidemic.

The Antidote to the Epidemic of Loneliness

Mrs. Physician on FIRE Speaks

One antidote to loneliness is to spend more time with family, and less time letting medicine define your happiness.  Physician on FIRE recently left medicine entirely.  Despite running the POF blog for multiple years, his wife Mrs. POF has yet to speak on FIRE.

Well, the wait is over.  What are Mrs. POF’s thoughts on forced minimalism, spending on experiences rather than things, and what makes her happy?  You’ll have to listen as Mrs. Physician on FIRE speaks.

Is Frugality Your Norm?

Like Mrs. POF, Crispy Doc has found a new norm in frugality.  This super power of his allows him to make strong financial gains, which also allowed him to cut back from medicine.  That’s a sure fire way to fight physician burnout and moral injury.

What are we to do, though, when others belittle us for our frugality? Find out in Crispy Doc’s post as he dealt with someone asking if he would conform to other people’s measures of wealth.

When Will You Conform?

Fellowship Director AND a Financial Literacy Curriculum?

Year 2020 is shaping up to a big career transition year for me. I’ve got big goals for this blog, which may include creating a podcast of my own.  More news to come on that!

I was also asked recently to become the next fellowship director of the regional anesthesia fellowship at Wake Forest.  I’ll be transitioning over the next six months into this roll.  I’m really excited about the opportunity to interact more formally with our fellows each year and to shape the direction of our fellowship.

In addition to that opportunity, I’ll finally be starting the Financial Literacy and Resilience Education (FLARE) certificate program for our 4th year medical students, too.  The curriculum starts on January 14th and runs each Tuesday evening for ten weeks.  Significant others are invited, and half the 4th year medical student class has signed up.  So, we anticipate having between 80 to 100 people attend.  It will end on the Tuesday before Match Day.

While I’m extremely excited about FLARE, I’m also nervous about it.  I want it to be really helpful for our students.  Ultimately, so long as they know that I genuinely care about their future, I think they will find value in it.  We have a rockstar line-up of speakers coming in, including Justin Harvey, Adam Sandman from Physician Financial Services, Dr. Nisha Mehta, Sarah Catherine Gutierrez, Mark Easterling (a local realtor & friend of mine), and our financial aid office here at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

If you missed the blog about how we went about creatining a personal finance curriculum at Wake, make sure to check it out.  There is also an accompanying podcast on the same topic over at Financial Residency.



  1. Dr. McFrugal

    Congratulations on becoming the next regional anesthesia fellowship director! Quite an achievement for someone who has just recently finished fellowship. Major kudos!

    Can’t wait to hear your podcast too!


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