I’ve written about this part-time thing a lot. I knew I would switch to it sooner or later, if not for the sake of my sanity. Working 7-on, 7-off is a great schedule to have, minus the 7-on… the rest is cake. I am still too timid to cut the financial umbilical cord of my job, so for now I need to generate a little more income.
Here is a copy of my paycheck. This is approximately what I make every 2 weeks, which would now become my monthly income if I go down to 50% part-time. 50% is the lowest I can go while still qualifying for benefits. Let’s see how my finances would be affected if I cut my monthly paychecks in half.
This check is from earlier this year. On the bottom right, the black arrow, shows my take-home income for a 2-week block of work. I’ll admit, a monthly income of only $4,700 sort of gives me the runs. I have a feeling that after a few months of sharting, I will get used to it, and adjust my lifestyle accordingly.
The bottom left, blue arrows, has my HSA and 401k contributions, deducted from my gross income. Let’s say this is about $1,600. I would still be able to max out my 401k as well as my HSA.
The top right of the paycheck, green arrows, shows what my medical group sets aside for me. This paycheck shows a 2% 401k match as well as a 9% Money Purchase Plan contribution of my gross income. There is another 10% which doesn’t show up on this paycheck, which goes to my Cash Balance Plan. In total I would have $2,030 set aside every month in this category.
Adding everything up, $4,700+$1,600+$2,030=$8,330 would be my grand total for the month. Of this only $4,700 would go into my checking account, $3,630 would go into tax-advantaged retirement accounts.
If I can get my expenses down to an actual $1,500-2,000/mo then I can set aside a good $2,700/mo towards my taxable investments. In the past few months my expenses have been higher than I want them to be. Some of it is moving into the new condo, some of it due to a little problem with a rental car, and then some expenses for my new shared office.
You can use any online compound interest calculator or any free app to determine how your money will grow based on initial value, monthly/annual deposit, time to grow and interest rate, I currently have about $70k saved/invested in taxable accounts. Adding $2,700 per month for the next 25 months (that’s when I would hit my early retirement date), would likely grow to around $150k.
In my tax-deferred accounts I have around $300k invested. I figure these will grow at around 5% a year over the next few years, yielding a balance of nearly $430k in 25 months.
I’m using 25 months as my time-frame to get me an idea of what my assets will be by the time I hit retirement age. Even if the numbers are off by +/-25% it’s likely not a big deal. By then I will hopefully have my expenses well sorted out, I will have another income stream besides medicine, and possibly have found another job I would like to earn money at besides medicine.
The Motivation Of Going Part-Time
I don’t particularly enjoy flossing but do it every damn night because I am motivated to keep my teeth as long as possible. I don’t enjoy going into work quite as much as I used to, the stress and the long hours are just one of the deterrents, though I’m motivated by the income, which is money I can invest and help fund my future lifestyle.
On the flip-side, I could accelerate my accumulation of savings by picking up extra shifts, working hard the next 1 year so that I could be done even earlier. However, I feel that I don’t have the energy to do so. If I had a sizable debt perhaps I would be motivated to step up my game.
For whatever reason I have started decelerating my career, income is no longer a driving factor, learning more medicine has lost its luster, leaving me a bit dissatisfied every day that I have to go into a shift. Don’t get me wrong, there are those great patient interaction moments that are very precious but I’m experiencing less and less of them.
What I would enjoy the most is having flexibility. That’s another day’s discussion – having a per diem schedule. Being able to pick up a few hours one day, a longer shift another, taking a few months off and then coming back and working a long stretch. In a utopian urgent care the workload would be done by multiple physicians coming and going at random times of the day. A few physicians would start, some would leave as they either don’t feel themselves to be in work-mode, while others will show up because they didn’t have anything better to do at home that day.
I’m so accustomed to having a high paycheck. I am very curious to see how I will feel not bringing in 5 digit paychecks every month. My guess is I will identify less and less with being a doctor and focus my energy elsewhere. Hopefully I will find some way to donate my medical knowledge, pro bono work needs to become a bigger focus of my life.