How I used the 10% Rule to Increase Our Net Worth $250K in 1 Year

By Jimmy Turner, MD
The Physician Philosopher

Today is my quarterly net worth update number 3.  I started writing these six months out from training.  Today is the third installment, but the timeline from training is actually a full year out at this point.  I had two short-term goals in the first couple of years.  1) Have $100,000 in assets in one year.  2) We wanted to have a positive net worth at the two year mark.  To learn more about how I did, please keep reading.

Spoiler Alert:
We blasted our goals out of the water!!!

Some Context

To read my previous Net Worth Updates click the following links.

If you don’t feel like clicking through those, our net worth started at negative (-) $208,000.  By six months out, it had improved to (-) $78,819. Then, by 9 months out we were at  (-) $40,270.  I’ll save you reading all the way to the end… our net worth is now a +$45,000!

Do you want to know how we increased our net worth by $254,000 in one year?  We did it by using The 10% Rule and living like a resident. Haven’t read those posts?  Ya should.

The gist is that when my paycheck increased after fellowship by $10,000-11,000 (depending on the time of year and meeting the social security wage limit of $128,000)… I took ~$1100 and used it on whatever I wanted.  The other $10,900 each month has gone towards building wealth.  And I reaped what I sowed, which are the awesome results you see below.

[Note: I use personal capital to track my net worth.  It’s a great tool and is completely free.]

Net Worth = Assets – Debts


Here are my assets and the dollar amount for each category.  All of this is as of 7/27/18

Asset Class Investment Amount 7/27/18
Checking Cash $18,000
Savings (emergency fund) Cash $30,000
TPP 403B Vanguard Institutional Index Fund $30,281
  Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund $17,512
  Vanguard Selected Value Fund $0
(Transferred out)
  Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund $17,536
  Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund $11,694
Mrs. TPP 457 (governmental) NC Large Cap Index Fund (Black Rock) $7,027
NC Small/Mid Cap Index Fund (Black Rock) $4,309
NC International Index Fund (Black Rock) $2,636
My Back Door Roth Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund $5,604
Mrs. TPP Back Door Roth Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund $5,604
529 TPP Kid # 1 (Utah) $4,662
529 TPP Kid # 2 (Utah) $2,863
529 TPP Kid # 3 (Utah) $2,136
Home Equity (Fair Market Value = $126,000) $28,000
Total Assets
(Total Assets without house included)

General comments on my assets

Comment Number 1:  I put these updates up one month later than most because I receive a clinical bonus (picking up extra shifts, research, etc) the month after each financial quarter.  In July we received our annual bonus.  This was the culmination of three years of research work and really paid off for us.

Comment Number 2:  I have a really good match at my employer.  My contribution annually is my max of $18,500.  My employer matches/contributes up to a total of ~$47,000 for my current base pay, but when bonuses are included I am closer to the full amount ($55,000).  This helps a lot.

Comment Number 3:  I recommend that most people use an 80/20 (90/10 at the max) stock/bond ratio if you are my age.   This is probably the one area where I endorse the “do what I say; not what I do” mantra.  If you want to learn why I am 100% stocks until I pay off my student loans, you can read more about that on a guest post I wrote over at Physician on Fire.  I’ll be switching to 85/15 when my loans are gone in seven months.

Investment Comments on Assets

Comment Number 1: Our annual rebalancing occurred in June.  In my 403B at work, I am now putting 30% large cap, 25% mid cap, 25% small cap, and 20% total international stock.  My wife’s 457 is 50% large cap, 30% mid/small cap, and 20% international.  Roth IRA is 100% total stock market index fund.

Comment Number 2: My two younger kids’ 529 will be slowing down for the next year.  My wife took a full-time job, which basically earns a little less than the increased childcare costs we will incur.  We decided to slow down 529 contributions instead of our student loan debt pay off for one year.

When we go to one kid in daycare – instead of two – we will go back to what we were doing in the 529.  If next year is better than expected – like this one – then we will put more money back into the 529 plans.

Comment Number 3:  Because of Mrs. TPP’s new job, she now has access to a 401K. However, we will prefer putting money in her governmental 457 because we can access this money immediately if we retire early as opposed to the 401K where we must wait til 59.5 years old unless we know how to bend the rules.

Comment Number 4:  I transferred all of the money out of the mid-cap value fund because of higher expense ratios compared to the other mid-cap index fund.


Here are my family’s current debts.

As a continued shout out: If you want to read a great book that provides perspective on why you should aggressively pay down your debt, I recommend Dr. Fawcett’s book on Eliminating Debt for Doctors.

Class Amount of Debt
Student Loans $77,940 !!!!
My Car Loan $39,493
Her Car Loan $23,998
Home Mortgage (~98,000)*
Total Debt $141,431

Some Comments on my Debt

*Comment Number 1:  We are rocking this category out.  I sent a $52,000 check towards my student loans from money we saved up from bonuses this year, including my July annual bonus.  That knocked my loans down to <$80,000.  We can see the finish line!  We decreased our total debt from $206,454 to $141,431 in one quarter.

IDoctor's Guide to Eliminating Debtn other words, we have cut our debt by 25% in three months.  That’s huge.  Living like a resident does pay off!

Comment Number 2:  If we simply pay our current monthly student loan payment ($5,500) we will pay off the loans in 13 months.  We want them gone in 7-8 months, though. That would mean we made $200,000 vanish in 20 months.

If you struggle with public math like I do, that’s $10,000 per month.  We are kicking our student loans in the teeth.

Comment Number 3: Once our student loans are gone, that will free up $5,500 in cash flow each month.  $2500 will go towards a mortgage payment on a new house.  $2,500 will go to a taxable investment account.  And $500 per month will be for my wife and I to enjoy via The 10% Rule.

Comment Number 4: The glaring car loans still exist.  And they will until they are paid off.  I’ve discussed this at length.  My car and playing golf with my kids make me happy.  I would have been even happier if Tiger Woods or Jordan Spieth won the Open Championship.  Oh, well.

Despite this, we are reaching our goals and more!

Remember, you can have anything you want.  But you cannot have everything you want all at once.  We chose cars instead of private school, the bigger house (for now), and traveling.  And the cars were bought according to the 10% Rule.

Net Worth / Goals 

We have a positive net worth!!!!!! 

$187,864 – $141,431 =

+ $46,433! 

I could scream this from the mountains if it wouldn’t make other people hate me!

  • In the last quarter (since our last Net Worth Update), we have improved $86,703.  That’s huge for just one quarter.  This was in large part due to the fact that I received my annual bonus, which I worked my tail off to get.
  • Since I finished training (when my net worth was -$208,000), we have improved our position by $254,443 in just 12 months. About 25% of our gross pay goes to taxes. 10% post-tax went to our church.  And we lived on ~15-20% of our annual income.  All of the rest (50%) went to destroying debt or investment accounts.  We also earned some money while in the market.

This should serve as proof that living like a resident after you works if you make a plan and stick with it!

Goals Achieved

Looking back at my original TPP Wealth Manifesto, we’ve now achieved some goals.

  • We have >$150,000 in assets with the house excluded!  These results crushed our goal of having $100,000 in assets by July 1st, 2018 (even if it was posted a month late)
  • We have a positive net worth!!!!! Originally, we were really hoping to achieve this by two years out.  We made a plan, set it, and forgot about it.  Look where we are now!  I couldn’t be more excited about this.

Goals Going Forward

  • The goal to be student loan debt free has been moved up to 20 months out from training instead of the originally plan of 24 months.  This will be March, 2018.  We have $77,000 left.  So, we will need to come up with ~$33,000 in money somewhere else.  In my view,  this will come from either bonuses or the equity when we sell our home – or a combination of the two.
  • Waiting to pay off the loans until we buy the next house has become harder and harder.  We realized we cannot just wake up one day and say “Today is the day we buy a house!”  For this reason, we started looking… and should have waited.  Opening up Pandora’s box early was not wise.  We have slammed the lid on that box for another four months.

There is Hope!

This post should go to show that living like a resident pays huge dividends!  It really can be done.

We put our heads down and put the plow to the ground.  We used well over half of our gross income towards building wealth through destroying debt and investing.

After putting the work in throughout this year, it finally all feels worth it.  Our glide path is solid.

Share your awesome financial news!  What goals have you accomplished this year? How did you do it?  Leave a comment below.



  1. Accidental FIRE

    Nice Doc, you’re rocking it. I don’t know what kind of car it is but have you considered selling the one with the huge 39K loan and getting something more affordable?

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Haha no way. It’s a Chevy SS. Four door, three car seat fitting, manual transmission with a naturally aspirated V8. Fits all three of my kids in the back, goes zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds, and is an absolute joy to drive. Zero remorse even one year out from buying it.

      That was what I spent part of my 10% for fun on while I put the other 90% towards loans and investments.

  2. Big Z

    Dude, awesome work! I’m a couple years behind you but on a similar path, so posts like these are very motivating. Keep ’em coming!

  3. Big Z

    Dude, awesome job! I’m a couple years behind you on a similar career path, so posts like these are incredibly motivating. Keep up the good work and keep the updates coming!

  4. Millionaire Doc

    Congrats TPP! That’s quite an accomplishment knocking your student loans down. Now go in for the KO!

  5. Xrayvsn

    Congrats TPP. It is a huge achievement to go from negative to postive, both psychologically and financially. Given that we did ourselves in the whole deep b/c of medical training, this is something to celebrate. Now the fun part comes when your money starts working for you.

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Thanks, man! I am super stoked for what the next year is gonna bring.

      I should add a third goal: $10,000 in profit out of the blog in year 2. I bet I can do that.

  6. Elio

    I didn’t see you mentioning your salary.
    It makes a.big difference living with 10% of 300k versus 10% of 500k.

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Either I am misunderstanding your comment or your misunderstood the post.

      It has to do with what percentage of the increase you enjoy. Say you made 3500 post tax as a resident and your post tax income went to 13500 after the training. Then, I’d encourage to inflate your lifestyle to 4500 each month and use the other 9000 towards building wealth at least until people are out of student loan and consumer debt.

      So it’s not living on the total of 300 versus 500. Or did I misunderstand you?

      • Matt

        I could definitely be wrong but I think his point was asking how much you made during this year so that he can determine what YOUR 10% was. Basically asking how much you increased your lifestyle and/or asking how much you money you made.

        • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

          My post tax-take home pay increased around $11,000. So, we increased our lifestyle $1,100 per month right after training.

  7. Mark

    Great job. 80/20 sounds like a good ratio. We are about fully retired. I am retired and my wife will retire next year so now that ratio is flipped. Currently at 30/80 want to go to 20/80 when Social Security kicks in. We are at 3.6 million not including primary residence. That adds another million.

    • PrudentPlasticSurgeon

      Congrats TPP! I hope soon I’ll be able to say I accomplished the same things! Awesome job and thanks for leading the way

  8. KM

    What do you think about buying a car vs leasing a car ?


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