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Living Richly Today: A More Relatable Dr. Wise Money


To some, my ambitious savings and spending goals may seem too difficult. The truth is, anyone can match my financial planning. All it takes is planning and prioritizing.

Finger Rock Trail, our backyard, five minutes from our house.

When my colleague/collaborator Future Proof, MD, published my guest post: How I Contributed $23.5k to Roth IRA/Roth 403b in 2015 as PGY2, he began the post with this editorial caveat:

"The following post describes a task that requires significant financial discipline and willpower to achieve. I don't expect most Future Proof, MD, readers to follow guest author Dr. Wise Money's lead."

White Coat Investor also commented on the Dr. Wise Money’s Way, “My general recommendation for attendings is 20% of gross income toward retirement. But anything you do as a resident is great. [Dr. Wise Money] is a crazy super-saving resident who will be very wealthy, very quickly. She saves far more as a resident than I ever did, but she also paid off her student loans as an intern. Interesting story that.”

These comments make me seem a bit radical and un-relatable to many PGY’s.

The truth is, I’m not much different than any other resident or fellow. In other words, there’s a Dr. Wise Money in every one of us.

Our neighborhood wash. The beauty of nature surrounds us, for free!

• I chose a career in medicine, knowing well that there are much easier ways to make much more money in other professions.

• I believe the rewards of serving others go far beyond financial gain.

• My medical education was costly, financially and personally; I will have trained for 10 years beyond my college degree to become an attending radiologist.

• I spend money on what I care about, without blinking an eye.

• I skimp on things I don’t care for, without ever feeling that I’m depriving myself.

Tucson Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to relax and have fun with family and friends.

• I’m a planner. I plan my career; I plan vacations; I also have goals and plans for my personal finances.

• I’m a go-getter. I got into medical school, survived it, matched where I wanted, and I’m now training hard to become a competent radiologist. I apply my proactive approach towards my career to my financial life.

• I’m a collaborator. Just as I would share any radiological feature and sign in order to make an imaging diagnosis, I'd also share monetary tips to achieve financial success.

• I’m a maximizer. I like getting the most accomplished with the least amount of energy and time. Most of us in medicine are over-achievers. We like getting the job done, well and efficiently.

• Yes, it seems extreme that I can retire at age 38, or three years after completing my fellowship. The fact is anyone can retire much earlier than they expected if they focus on what matters most and brings them the most happiness.

What do you think? Is Dr. Wise Money still a crazy saver who defers all gratification until retirement? Do you see DWM in you? What makes you happy? Do you notice yourself spending money on things you later regret? Have you ever sat down and inspected where your money goes? Find out if you are spending on what matters the most to you.

If you like this article, you might enjoy others by Dr. Wise Money on early retirement, debt solutions, and building net worth rapidly on limited income.

This article is for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a professional accountant, financial adviser or lawyer, before making financial decisions.

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