Lauren and I started this blog in 2020 and chose the name Carpe Diem MD as an extension of ourselves and our goals in life.
As a family we experienced some trauma, which is not unique to us, but this experience did change the way we think about life, medicine and investing.
We changed our lifestyle philosophy to focus more on the moment and to “seize the day”, while still planning for the future.
This change allowed us to truly maximize our time with our children, family and friends.
Like you, we spent a majority of our younger years working to become Physicians and then more years training in our specialties. After achieving that goal, we set new goals… buying the home, raising the kids, etc etc etc.
Sometimes when pursuing all these goals, including the goal of financial freedom we forget why we are doing all this… We can even justify our work life balance because achieving our latest goal is “good for society”, “good for our patients”, “good for the family” and so forth.
Lauren and I learned that tomorrow is not guaranteed and sometimes our “ best laid plans” can fall apart pretty quickly.
With that in mind, we have made an active choice to live a Carpe Diem MD lifestyle… NOT a YOLO (You only live once) lifestyle.
We practice Carpe Diem in our personal and professional lives. To be successful in both arenas you need to find balance. That balance may take the form as less work hours and maybe less pay at times. I took a 20% decrease to spend more time with the girls while they are young. Lauren and I reviewed the finances for about 6 months before making the move and haven’t looked back.
To be honest, there are things in this world that will go fast. Time is your most valuable asset, not money, and you will not get that back. I remember my mother telling me when the girls were born that “they will grow so fast…enjoy the moment.” The girls are now 9 and 10… that was the truest statement ever said.
We have made the conscious choice to push out our retirement goal by a few years to have more time now. That may be an odd strategy for some but it has been great.
We share this because there are a lot of great physician financial blogs but sometimes the goal of FIRE gets equated with sacrificing today. We believe you can pull off both. With our adjusted strategy we can still retire in our 50s, which is pretty good.
That retirement age will decrease further depending on other investments, particularly short-term rentals.
In the physician finance space there is room for those that want to balance the goal of FIRE with enjoying the moment.
Remember that it is okay to have the nice car, house, and vacations but only as long as you are saving for retirement….
The goal is to find the sweet spot with your finances that allow you to do both. This is determined by the intersection of your expenses and income. If you live in a HCOL area your expenses will be higher than a LCOL. A double physician income family will likely handle these expenses easier than a single physician household. Both would still benefit from a LCOL move and achieve a better lifestyle. Lauren and I live in California but purchased our primary home in area considered a “lower cost of living area for California”
These are not easy decisions but the options are out there. The goal is to decrease your expenses and maximize your income in a way that matches your lifestyle goals. It can be tough and these goals are fluid.
In my last year of residency, I moonlighted and worked 24 out of every 28 days… This was not a sustainable strategy but I was young, had a wedding to finance and a down payment to save… It was also possible because Lauren was working all the time too in her residency and we had no children.
That changed when our first daughter was born and I cut down to 16-20 shifts (EM) per month and then even further after our second daughter arrived.
Now I take every Friday off and spend the summers camping and traveling with the family. In the winter, we snowboard and logged 60 days on the mountain last year (2 months haha). I’m sure the thought of being in the cold sounds awful for some so just replace that visual with what you enjoy: the beach, hiking, golfing etc…
If you want to work less you can find a way. I’m not advocating for leaving medicine but I am advocating for pursuing alternative work schedules that maximize your time with family and friends now.
We have made these choices and it is possible. Lauren and I could FIRE tomorrow if we sold our home and downsized our lifestyle but that does not fit our personal goal and that is ok. We prefer to practice but with a modified schedule. Maybe that will change in the future but for now we are comfortable with our plan…
You can achieve any goal you want. We just encourage you pursue your goals and to remember to enjoy today… tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Practice the Carpe Diem MD lifestyle and seize the day
Carpe Diem MD
Enjoy your Journey to Financial Freedom