TPP Net Worth Update: 6 Months Out

By Jimmy Turner, MD
The Physician Philosopher

[I calculated my mortgage wrong initially.  I should only count the equity and not the debt. This has since been corrected in this post.]

I thought it would be useful to do NetWorth Updates each quarter.  I’ll be doing this at the end of January, April, July, and October each year.  [Maybe more often if people like it?] I think this will be helpful to those following along to see exactly how I am doing what I am doing and also for those still in training or fresh out of training to see what this can look like.  I am by no means perfect (hint: I have two car loans and reading a bunch of financial blogs daily reminds me of this), but hope to provide transparency so that others can learn from my decisions.  I aim for moderate frugality to keep my head and my heart happy, but recognize that I could be living a much more frugal life than I am to accomplish my goals.

As a starting point of discussion, remember that my net worth at the end of fellowship (July 1, 2018) was negative $208,000.  

Also, while I do my personal budgeting and track spending through mint; I should mention that I use personal capital to track my net worth.  Two great tools!

Here we go!

Net Worth = AssetsDebts


Here are my assets and their total amount.  Following this first quarterly update, I’ll start to include their percentage growth since last time.

Asset Class Investment Amount 1/27/18
Checking Account Cash $18,000
Savings (emergency fund) Cash $37,000
TPP 403B Vanguard Institutonal Index Fund $23,078
Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund $8,434.94
Vanguard Selected Value Fund $3,801.35
Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund $4,653.8
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund $2,601.66
Mrs. TPP 457 (governmental) NC Large Cap Index Fund (Black Rock) $1,912.54
NC Small/Mid Cap Index Fund (Black Rock) $1,126.24
NC International Index Fund (Black Rock) $775.59
My Back Door Roth Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund $5,602.21
Mrs. TPP Back Door Roth Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund $5,602.21
529 TPP Kid # 1 (Utah) $1,570
529 TPP Kid # 2 (Utah) $1,065
529 TPP Kid # 3 (Utah) $785
Home Equity $25,000
Total Assets $141,008.85

Some comments on my assets

You may have noticed above that I have no bonds in my funds.  I am 100% stocks via low cost index funds.  [Teaser: I am sure to catch some flack for this, but have a really interesting post getting published on Physician on Fire at the beginning of March on why I take this approach!]

I count my kids’ 529 plans into my net worth because I intend to help them out with their studies in college (and after if they choose).  That said, this is not money that I count towards my retirement goals or totals.  However, it is money being saved that I will not have to pay later. Therefore, it is an asset.

I try and keep between 3 and 6 months of necessary spending in an emergency fund (savings), but as this fund grows and starts to approximate the amount I have left in student loans this will likely turn into my “Kick my loans in the teeth when they least expect it” fund (i.e. I’ll pay it off when these two are equal).


Here are my current debts. There are really only four major areas of debt.  I do not have any consumer debt or credit card debt.

Class Amount of Debt
Student Loans $149,042.06
My Car Loan  $42,743
Her Car Loan $28,043
Total Debt $219,828

Some Comments on my Debt

Student loans are by far and away the biggest source of debt for our family.  I am attacking these pretty hard by putting $4,000 per month (actually just increased to $5,000 starting this month) towards my student loans.  I additionally aim to put an  $30,000-40,000 each year into my student loans through bonuses/promotions/side job pay.  This will get rid of my original $180,000 in student loans in just two years out from training.  Maybe 2 and 1/2 years.

Yes, I have two car loans.  Yes, I know this is financially stupid.  However, I want to be transparent. I know a lot of financially minded people that love to travel and spend their money on that to make the heart happy.  My wife and I take one beach vacation per year and maybe one or two other local trips with one of them being paid for via my academic fund at the hospital while we attend a medical conference.  In total, we probably spend <$5,000 per year on trips.  When I graduated, I bumped my lifestyle per The 10% Rule and financed a car and a bought golf membership.  I expect to pay both cars off early, and don’t recommend to anyone to get a car loan as sound financial advice.

We still live in the same house we bought in medical school back in 2009.  So, we are growing equity with each payment.  We are not sure if we will sell the house or keep it when we buy our next house (all ears for recommendations in the comments below).  We will also not buy our next house until our student loan debt is paid off.  This is part of our financial plan.

Net Worth

So, my net worth (Assets – Debts) is a total of (Negative) -$78,819, which is an improvement since July 1st of $129,249.  I’ve cut my negative net worth by 42%!

Goals Going Forward

I expect to invest a total of $76,500 (> 25% of AGI) via investment vehicles for retirement (403B + 457 + Backdoor Roth IRAs), an additional $12,600 for my kids 529 plans, $48,000 in scheduled student loan payments, and an additional $30,000-40,000 from bonus pay/incentives and side hustle profits.  I’ll additionally be paying off (financially unintelligent, but heart happy) car loans. With this plan, the total amount of net worth change over the next year should amount to $199,100 without any compounded interest taken into account (who knows what the market will do).

At this pace, I should expect to have a zero dollar net worth (and heading towards positive) pretty quickly.   So, for all of those students graduating or the young medical professional staring debt in the face, it can happen for you!  You just have to make a plan and stick with it!

We still intend to give >10% of our take home pay and 25% of the profits from this site towards charity (church, wellness initiatives, friends in need, charity, mission work, etc).  This will likely be closer to 15%.

Feel free to lay into me.  What do you think?  How am I doing?  Yes, you can comment on the car and how unintelligent that is 🙂  Leave a comment below!

[Don’t forget: If you haven’t checked out the new Student Loan Refinance Page, go check it out.  I have spent hours of work on it and loaded it with information and good deals].



  1. Nathan

    So, you’re not just starting out…you own a low cost home. You have a bit of retirement savings. You have cash in the bank. You have a high paying job. Your mortgage is miniscule.
    you have 4 dependents, unless your wife is working. Damn straight, the 70k in auto loans sticks out like a sore thumb. You could change that tomorrow. With 3 kids, there’s bound to be an SUV or a mini-van in the family. That makes sense. the $42,000 car loan must be your Bimmer. Do you really have to get to work in a $25/day ride (not counting fuel or insurance, mind you)? Your kids deserve better financial sense out of you than that. It won’t be long before you can pay cash for that car using a bonus, if you have a bit of patience. Go find yourself a Miata with a stick-shift and 75k miles on it if you need to feel the open wind in your hair. You can fit your clubs in the passenger seat. The $700/month you spend for that shiny car will go on for 5-6 years, about the time that the vehicle has 70-90k on it and is worth less than half what you paid for it. You’re investing in a value-losing asset and your kids could just as soon have that money in their college accounts for the next 5-6 years. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that you’ll want out of that leaky bucket long before the term of the loan is up.

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      I figured I’d hear about the car. You certainly didn’t hold any punches! 🙂

      My wife works part time and we can max out her governmental 457. She doens’t have access to her 401K given that she is part time. So, only three dependents.

      Here is my view on the car topic. There is certainly the frugal part of the personal finance community (Mr. Money Mustache being an example) that says we need to be frugal at all costs to advance our financial goals. I just don’t buy into that because I think that we can make our head (finances) and heart (some less financially shrewd decisions that bring us joy) happy at the same time. I don’t prescribe to the severe frugality of some others. At the same time, I am going to be financially independent (have my number to retire) by the time I am in my low to mid 40s. (Estimate is 44 at this time). Given that my career is starting at age 32, I don’t think getting there in 10-12 years is bad. Actually, I think it’s pretty good. If any of my side hustles pick up steam, I’ll get there even quicker.

      Could I get there in 9 and 1/2 instead of 10 years if I ditched the car loan? Yes, I could. If I invested the 10k per year @8% I’d save another $140,000 over the next ten years. Truth be told, and as you alluded, I’ll probably pay my cars off early. From this point forward, I won’t buy another car if its not with cash though.

      At the end of the day, I am a car guy and this is the last full size four door sedan with a V8, naturally aspirated, manual transmission that will likely ever exist in our country. It stopped getting produced in 2017, and though I wanted to wait til I was done with my loans to buy a car, this was the last chance. So, I made my heart happy while still putting away a boatload of money every year.

  2. Nathan

    Put away a bit for tires and tickets!
    Car guy, too but other end of spectrum. Old gear head, air cooled VW and classics. My current toy, Mbz SL, picked it up for (no kidding), 9% of new. Looks good, goes fast, drives like it’s glued to the road, will get a good 5 more years of fun out of it.
    Take good care of that muscle car, keep it until your youngest is out of college and by then it’s value will be on the upswing?

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Sounds like a blast! And that’s exactly what I plan to do!

      Also FWIW, that calculation above assumed 10k each year for the whole 10 years. It’ll only be 10k each year for the next two and a half that I am missing. So, much less.

      Appreciate you keep it real, Nathan. Come back anytime!

  3. hatton1

    I finished residency with a Toyota Tercel that had a door bashed in. I took a lot of flack from the doctors in my group so I bought an Acura. It cost 29k and that was equal to my student loans. This was in 1987. I guess this shows how much medical school has inflated its tuition. I think the car purchase will have 0 impact on your journey to financial independence. Overall your numbers look good. When the loans go away then you can dump all that money into a taxable account. You can say goodbye to medicine at 45 if thats is still your plan then. I will follow your journey.

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Thanks, Hatton! I am just trying to paint a realistic picture. I could blow smoke, but that’s just not who I am. Crazy to think medical school tuition used to be that low! Talked to one of my residents today that has 500k. It’s getting insane.

  4. Z

    I think your net worth number is off. Under assets, you list your home equity, but under liabilities you still account for the mortgage (so, in effect, you’re double counting the mortgage). If you include the mortgage under liabilities then you should include the fair market value of the home under assets. That makes the picture look even better!

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      My fair home value is probably $120,000. So what I did was count what we have paid off ($20k) under assets and what we haven’t ($100k) under liabilities.

      I supose I could have put the 120 in assets and 100k in liabilities to make it a positive 20k. In my kind it’s a negative 80k, which is why it’s stuxrured the way it is. Maybe I should have it the other way around?

  5. Z

    Yeah, since home equity = fair market value – mortgage, if you include home equity in your assets you’ve already baked in the mortgage amount. To get true “net worth,” you need to either (1) use fair market value in assets and mortgage in liabilities, or (2) only use home equity (which contains both asset and liability in the concept) and not double count the mortgage in the liabilities.

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Fair enough. Thanks for teaching me that! I’ll have to correct that, but certainly appreciate you poining it out!

  6. Quynh

    That’s not bad at all. I graduated with 100k and paid it off less than a year of being an attending as I had started the process during residency. The car payments do stick out like Nathan mentioned. I actually wanted to buy a car but my husband has similar thoughts as Nathan. He thinks buying a new car is like throwing money in the wind. Anyway, we ended up moving to Chicago and I actually gave my old car to my brother.
    Keep up the good work. It’ll feel really good once that loan payment is down to $0.

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Thanks for the comment!

      I think you are 100% right about the car loan payment and would never encourage anyone else to get one. It is what it is. I recognize it is a mistake, but also recognize if I compartmentalize that mistake and don’t let it spread… I am still going to be more than fine. It was the last year a full sized sedan with a naturally aspirated V8 with a stick would ever be made in our country. And it wasn’t a car I wanted to buy used (people abuse performance cars).

      But again, I’ll fully admit you and Nathan are right in terms of financial success. Over the two years I pay off my loans, they would be paid off 4 months early (20 instead of 24 months) without the car payment.


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