How Did I Get Here?
Like most people, I come from humble beginnings. I am a mid-career anesthesiologist in a mid-sized city. I was raised in a small farming community and managed to use hard work and scholarships to reach medical school debt free.
Medical school introduced me to student loans and the fantastic concept that someone would just deposit thousands of dollars in my account to pay my tuition and to live off of while I was able to spend my hours studying. I managed to finish medical school with under $200,000 worth of debt which wasn’t bad and then managed to consolidate the debt at some of the lowest rates in years.
A New Car Started the Problems
Looking back, it is obvious to see the errors in my personal finance decisions. Like most poor decisions, the problem wasn’t faulty logic around finances, but faulty emotions. I started residency across the country, but my farm truck that I had eeked through undergrad and medical school was not going to make the journey.
Thinking I was responsible, I purchasing reliable transportation, a brand new truck to move to the city. The truck lasted two years before I finally realized the loan payments, insurance, and parking were crushing my middle-class budget.
I retired the truck and commuted by bike for the next decade and was debt free except for student loans.
A House Compounded Them
Shortly after starting my career, we bought a house. A 100-year-old money pit of a house. We loved the wood floors and old plaster but didn’t appreciate the financial implications of knob and tube wiring and outdated plumbing.
We also didn’t appreciate the adage that any time a contractor gives you a quote, multiply it by 1.5 to get your real cost. A couple hundred thousand dollars on home renovations put us over the $1,000,000 debt mark.
We Still Have Work To Do
I got here by heading a stereotypical “Rich Physician Family.” The choices that we made early in my career were made without enough thought about long-term financial implications.
We did it because it seemed to be what everyone else was doing. Little did we know that many of our peers are making the same mistakes.
Now, seven years out from the end of training I realize the folly of our decisions.
The choices we made are the same choices that most middle-class families make, the magnitude of the numbers is what sets them apart.
Follow along as we dig ourselves out from having a combined million dollars in debt to financial independence. It will not be easy but, let’s see how long it takes for us to go from a million down to a million up with hard work and thrift. I officially started the journey in May 2016.
Warnings & Examples
A Wise Man Learns from the Mistakes of Others: Be Wise and Sign Up