Partner Spotlight: Physician on FIRE
By Leif Dahleen, MD

What is Physician on FIREs mission?

Physician on FIRE is a personal finance website created to inform and inspire both physicians and our patients with insightful writing from a physician who has attained financial independence and the ability to retire early. The site has a triple aim to leave visitors enlightened, educated, and entertained.

What was the catalyst for starting Physician on FIRE?

First, I discovered the concept of what it means to be financially independent. I had never seriously considered how much money it would take to live our lives as we were living them without a steady paycheck. However, once I did the math and took a good look at our investments, I realized that we were indeed financially independent about a decade into my career as an anesthesiologist, and work was now optional.

As I dove deeper into various articles and personal finance blogs on the topics of financial independence and retiring early (FIRE), I didn’t see anyone talking about a higher-salary, higher budget lifestyle. We were relatively frugal for a physician family, but we certainly spent more than an average household. 

I decided to start the blog as a home for higher-income professionals interested in financial independence with fewer sacrifices. Doing the research and thinking things through as I came up with different articles also helped clarify the path that I felt was best for my family and me, which was to retire from medicine a few years later.

What is one thing you would tell healthcare professionals about finances?

It’s not what you earn; it’s what you keep. Mind the gap between your salary and your expenditures. The larger it is, the sooner you’ll become financially independent with a world of options. If you can live on half of what you bring home after taxes and invest the rest, you could go from broke to financially independent in 15 to 20 years with average market returns.

What do you enjoy most about partnering with InCrowd?

I think it’s such an easy “sell.” It actually costs the medical professional nothing to join and receive brief surveys for money. 

What are the benefits of healthcare professionals participating in paid medical research surveys?

I think the answer is in the question. It’s the word “paid”! You’re not going to make life-changing money, but completing medical research surveys can easily give you what I like to call “beer money.” You also get to use your voice and influence decisions made by companies that may be creating products or providing services for you and your patients.

What is something you wish you could tell female physicians starting their careers?

I believe women are now the majority of newly-minted physicians. The vast majority of my advice is gender-neutral, but I will say Thank You to female physicians for working so hard to get to where you are today. More so than men, women are expected to “do it all” at home and at work, and work-life balance can be more difficult for the fairer sex. Don’t be afraid to push back on either front when someone’s expectations aren’t aligned with reality.

 What made you go into your selected medical profession?

I practiced anesthesia for 13 years post-residency. It was a good mix of intellectual challenges, hands-on procedures, and interactions with both patients and co-workers. It was redeeming to take a patient safely through the entire peri-operative experience, and I always appreciated and respected the trust our patients placed in me and the entire care team.

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