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5 Reasons I’m Cutting My First Attending Paycheck in Half


I asked a few wise, seasoned, and revered radiologists, what is the minimum amount of work days per week a radiologist need to stay sharp in her trade? Average answer is 2 days per week.

I asked a few wise, seasoned, and revered radiologists, what is the minimum amount of workdays per week a radiologist needs to stay sharp in her trade? The average answer is two days per week.

That’s the sweet balance I want as soon as I finish residency/fellowship in 2020. I love radiology, I see myself doing it for the rest of my life. I need to stay sharp in this profession so that I can continue to saves lives and do no harm. Yet, I am ready to re-introduce all the other worthy causes of my life and start taking care of them by cutting back the time I spend in radiology, to precisely two days a week.

1. I can retire 2.8 years after my 1st attending paycheck, but I don’t plan to.

Alternatively, I can also retire in 13 years (at age 44, still too young in my opinion) assuming I continue to get a resident’s income 50-60k annually; I’m pretty cool without a pay raise when I finish training.

Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy watching my paycheck go from 50k to 250k (a conservative pay for a full time licensed radiologist.) But I’m definitely happy with 50k to 125k if it means I have 30 more hours/week to volunteer, learn more, write, and be with family!

2. There is so much more I want to do with my time.

First of all, Mini has asked me numerous time to be home schooled, or at minimum that I will be her teacher. So this will likely be the first thing I do with the free time from working two days a week rather than five days a week.

Then, I’ve put lots of dreams on the back burner while I spent 80-100 hours weekly on learning, training to become the best radiologist I can be. I want to go back to working on these dreams, such as writing children’s book, traveling more, taking voice lessons, practicing to become a yoga instructor.

3. I don’t need more money to build wealth. I’ve been doing just fine at poverty line (in medical school) and at 50-60k in residency so far.

I know really well that it’s not how much I make but how much I manage the money I make that makes me wealthy. If I can save 45k of post-tax dollars on a 75k income (2016 update) and enjoy the life without feeling any deprivation or delayed gratification, 125k income is more than plenty to give me the feeling of money flowing out of my ears and nose. The additional 125k by working 30 more hours weekly are simply not worth it.

4. My time is more valuable than the fixed hourly dollar amount an employed radiologist gets paid. (So is yours and everybody else’s time.)

250k/52 weeks/60 hours. That’s not much. Especially after my epiphany that our hours are the most precious and irreplaceable asset we each have. I’m certainly not going to work for this money; in fact, I don’t work for money period. Today, in residency, the only reason I didn’t drop out and go make millions in business is because I find the opportunity to train, learn, challenge, and expand my intellect as physician an incredible opportunity, a priceless opportunity. That’s why while some peers may prefer the mode of “hardly working” I prefer to be “working hard.” Because I’m working to learn, not working to earn.

I will continue to practice part time as radiologist for the same reason. I’m working to learn. If I were to just work to earn, I’d be in some other profession that makes money much more effortlessly.

5. I like my standards of living right now and don’t plan to upgrade it with the exceptions of a larger travel fund and more money for Mini’s lessons/education.

Let’s just say my take home is 100k for the 125k W2 part time radiologist jobs I get. That’s still 40k more than the 60k take home I get in 2016. 40k additional for travel money and education? That’s more than plenty for me! While I don’t go for 1st class plane rides, but I also enjoy wonderful food (wholesome, good quality) when we travel. Mini has also been given opportunity to try everything educational and creative, as her heart so desires. The additional 40k would be pretty incredible and frankly excessive. We would most likely sponsor more 3rd world children with the big jump in income.


My initial projection of retiring in 12 years on resident income was based on 23.5k per year retirement savings. But I’m way ahead of this target saving rate! Which means, financial independence is sooner than I’d ever expected. Since I don’t plan to retire any sooner than 38, I’d like to reserve my youthful productive years for more creative projects and intellectual challenges. I can continue to work well into my 80’s as a radiologist and it is my passion, but it is not my only passion.

Perhaps a bit different from the majority of doctors, I can’t wait for the first pay cut when I finish training!

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