The X-ray Beam: Dr. BreatheEasyFinance
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Welcome to another installment of the X-ray Beam series.
Today I am proud to present a relatively new physician blogger who is rapidly rising up the ranks as he continues to churn out quality content on his website, DrBreatheEasyFinance.
Based on my previous interactions with DBEF, I knew I was just scratching the surface and thought he would be a perfect candidate for a deeper dive under the X-ray Beam.
So let’s begin….
If you can please give a brief introduction of yourself (age, medical specialty, years of medical practice):
I am a 32 year old Canadian, Nigerian, with a love for lifelong learning.
My medical specialty is pulmonary and critical care medicine.
I completed my fellowship June 2018.
I am as fresh as they come as an attending.
1. As a pulmonary critical care doctor, your website name is quite fitting. What were some of the other names you considered before going with this one?
Coming up with the name for my blog took some time actually.
I had to decide between picking a funny name like “You can’t out earn stupidity” [I love this by the way], or just using my name, Adebayo Fasanya.
Pulmdocmoney also came to mind.
I think it was a post from Physician on Fire that said not to obsess about the name too much.
I used breatheeasyfinance on white coat investor long before my dream of starting a blog.
So I figured, why not use breatheeasy?
Before I published my first post, I had joined twitter and started tweeting financial ideas, to get a feel for what people are interested in.
One of my friends suggested to me that adding money or finance to the name will let people know what the blog is about.
That was perhaps the best advice I received thus far.
2. Speaking of our profession in medicine, when did you know you wanted to become a doctor? Were there any influential people or events that made you embark on this career path?
I am from Nigeria, so from childhood, you basically have few choices.
If you are “intelligent,” you go into science.
Most of the time you would then naturally find your way into medicine.
My first choice was veterinary medicine.
Since I was 10 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
However, I did not expect to eventually be in human medicine.
I applied for veterinary medicine and got into University of Ibadan, in Nigeria.
I did 3 years there before my Mum sponsored me to Canada.
When I got to Canada, I could not continue my veterinary training and had to go back to undergraduate school.
As an undergrad, most of my friends were pre-med, so I guess my mind was changed to “human” medicine by their influence.
My mother is a teacher and my dad is an accountant.
We had no doctors in the family, so essentially it was a practical decision.
3. What were some of the deciding factors that led into choosing pulmonary critical care as your medical specialty? Were there any other specialties that you considered?
Hmm, do you want the one I told them at my interview or the truth.
My certificate is locked in a safety box, so I can speak freely.
If you have not noticed, I am a practical guy.
That is the way I view almost everything.
I initially wanted to go for general surgery.
In fact, I got all my reference letters from surgeons.
However, just a few days before the application, I got stuck in a surgical procedure with complications and we must have been in that operating room for 8 hours!!!
Holding the forceps in my hands for so long, gave me cramps.
The thought of going to the bathroom preoccupied my mind.
At that point I decided that I wanted a short procedure oriented specialty.
The next best thing was critical care.
Fortunately I happened to love my critical care rotation and was initially deciding between general surgery and critical care.
The choice was clear, I need internal medicine to get there.
For the pulmonary part, I figured it is better to have a retirement back-up plan in case I burned out in critical care.
Pulmonary allows a transition to outpatient, if need be.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you choose the same medical profession/specialty?
In short, I would still choose the same profession.
I enjoy critical care and love being a physician overall.
It challenges my thinking faculty, it has a healthy dose of procedures and the fast paced setting gives me the “high” I need.
Pulmonary is an even greater challenge in terms of medical knowledge.
Interstitial lung disease should have a fellowship of its own, seriously.
The varied bronchoscopy procedures also makes the day enjoyable.
5. If you were not a physician, what alternative career would you have gone into?
When I applied to medicine, I applied for a masters in Public health as well.
I got into the program and would have gone for it if I did not get admitted into medical school.
I also did my undergrad degree in Mathematics, so I’m fascinated by actuarial science.
I would have gone that route if not for medicine or public health.
It’s far from medicine, but that’s how my mind works. Random!
6. Have you personally fallen trap to any of the typical mistakes physicians make, and if so can you name some of your biggest ones?
If you are referring to a financial mistake, it was FOMO – Fear of missing out.
I’m frugal by nature and did not spend beyond my means.
However, I invested about $7,000 dollars or so in cryptocurrency.
I even day traded crypto for some time.
I tried to learn as much as possible, but I might have jumped in too soon.
I invested in October/November 2017, my investment rose about 10 times. I was on fire!
Then it crashed in January and I lost all of it.
I still have some money in it currently but I won’t consider that a real part of my net worth.
The lesson here is that because we are late to the game, there is a tendency to have that fear of missing out.
Many people will pitch you business ideas and ways to become rich quickly.
My advice is to do your due diligence before investing in anything.
7. If you had a time machine and could go back to any point in time and change just one thing, what would it be?
Financially: To know the information I know now at 14 years old.
That was when I made my first official income.
When I was in veterinary medicine, I had a business idea to start a fish farm.
I was 15 years old at the time and I was discouraged by most people, including my father.
No one wanted to invest in my idea at that age.
My friend at the time ended up going with that idea and he started one, and then moved into poultry and he is doing really well in Nigeria now.
In fact, people ask if the eggs are from his company before purchasing.
There is that small regret that I did not follow my dream at the time, perhaps, I would own a mega – million dollar company by now too.
I guess hindsight is 20:20 and there is no way to know if I would have been as successful.
I still give my dad a hard time for that one till today.
8. What inspired you to start a blog? Were there any surprises along the way? Do you have any advice to individuals who may be contemplating starting a blog of their own?
The following are excerpts from my very first blog post, “Better Late Than Never,” where I addressed this very question:
The concept of building wealth did not solidify in my mind until when I finished medical school and was fortunate enough to come across the white coat investor.
I slowly digested the materials on the site, and I quickly found myself reading books, blogs and various websites on finances, and watching YouTube videos.
As I became more knowledgeable, I started telling people about the basics of personal finance and encouraged my friends to improve their knowledge too.
I soon discovered, throughout residency and my fellowship, that my colleagues often did not know what a 401k really was.
Try asking what the difference between 401k and 403b was and I would be greeted with blank stares.
Even discussing backdoor Roth IRAs got me suspicious looks as if I was trying to do something illegal.
My first strategy was to start helping my friends and colleagues open accounts, direct them to the right blogs, and lending them my books.
Multiple phone calls and text messages ensued about what to do about a certain financial dilemma.
Soon I realized that I need a better platform.
The one on one was not effective.
The idea for a blog for individuals taking their first financial steps was soon born.
- I have categories called The Babies of Personal Finance and The Toddlers of Personal Finance on my blog
For anyone bitten by the blog bug, I’ll say go for it.
Here are things I wish I did better.
I wish I had about 20 articles written up before launching.
[This is sound advice. I stockpiled almost 30 posts that I created from the moment I purchased a domain and pressed the “launch site” button.]
I was so eager to launch and had only a few articles.
It is difficult to promote a blog with 3 posts.
You will face challenges!
The first day I launched my site, I clicked something and then my site literally disappeared.
[My blog had a similar inauspicious start when I proudly announced the launch on White Coat only to have everyone directed to a wrong page through some domain mishap.]
Thanks to some friends I met on twitter that helped me get my site back on.
You will encounter a bump in the road, but it’s ok.
Try to have meaningful engagement with people on social media.
I have learned a lot about blogging from others in these 2 months, equivalent to taking a course at a university.
9. What is the biggest non-medical accomplishment you have achieved to date?
This is a tough one.
If I were to pick one, I would say getting a bronze medal in a Mathematics Performance Festival Competition.
Basically, you have to compose a poem or song in mathematics with a group.
Part of our song:
Mathematicians never die, they just lose some of their functions
No need for imaginary friend, cos we have imaginary numbers.
Ok let me spare you the rest.
Promise not to search for the video.
10. When did you develop an interest in personal finance and was there an event that brought personal finance to the forefront of your consciousness?
Growing up, I have always wanted to be wealthy and was willing to do whatever it took to achieve that goal.
Legally of course.
The frugality I practice is based on my background.
However, as said above, it was not until after medical school that I finally made a commitment to learn and improve my knowledge.
WCI [White Coat Investor] was a crucial part in that development.
I apologize, I was one of those lurkers there for a long time.
11. Complete the following sentence: I would consider Dr.BreatheEasyFinance.com website to be a success when I achieve….
100% financial awareness among doctors.
12. For a reader unfamiliar to your website, what are three posts you are most proud of that they can gain an insight about you and your philosophies?
- 12 toddler steps to financial freedom – I believe in leverage modification of the Dave Ramsey method
- Time value of money – Invest now not in the future
- The financial pyramid – You need insurance! Insurance!! Insurance!!! My background is in maths and stats. Those stats about catastrophes do not sit right with me.
13. Is there a book or books that has made a major impact in your financial well-being?
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- The Total Money Makeover
- The Richest Man in Babylon – I even reviewed it
- The Millionaire Next Door
- MONEY Master the Game
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Intelligent Investor
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- The White Coat Investor
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Why We Want You To Be Rich
- Your Money or Your Life (currently reading)
Ok I will stop there. I plan to ultimately review these books in the future.
14. Can you name 5 things that had the greatest financial impact?
- Being a man of faith.
- Reading financial books
- Marrying a practical and understanding wife
- Upbringing : Living in multiple countries and learning different financial habits
- Self discipline
15. What is your advice to the medical student/resident/early physician who may be facing a monumental amount of debt early on in their career?
Live below your means.
Actually live 2 steps lower, if possible.
If you are a resident, live like a student.
Moonlight and pay off some of your loans.
16. What are some of the challenges do you feel younger physicians face starting out their careers?
Well financially, it is the debt load that follows us around.
Most of the effort in the first few years of training is to pay off that debt.
Getting use to the real world takes some adaptation.
The challenges in fellowship or residency are different than from what I am facing right now.
Be adaptive and learn your environment.
17. The topic of physician burnout has been gaining momentum in social media. Have you experienced burnout in your medical career? What steps have you taken to minimize the chance of burnout?
I am still relatively new.
Just finished fellowship a few months ago.
No burn out at this point, in fact I seek more challenges at my job.
I know that burn out is real though and have seen people affected by it.
18. Do you have an annual retirement spending goal that you are aiming for? A target net worth? What would be your exit strategy after achieving these goals.
My goal is 2.5 million dollars.
We spend about 60,000 dollars a year, with two kids, and we haven’t bought a house as yet.
So I figured 100,000 dollars a year is a safe bet.
- 25 x that is 2.5 million dollars.
- It falls right smack in the middle of the 4% rule.
I am using social security to adjust for the tax load at retirement.
As I am writing this, I am starting to think we might need more.
I do not have a specific target net worth.
I am one of those that believe in how high can you go.
Game of money right?
I consider the billionaires to be the ones who have really won the game.
My only wish is not to work on the weekend and take calls at night.
This would be the main things that would go.
Perhaps work 3 times a week.
19. Another trend that is sweeping the physician blogosphere is the concept of FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early). What are your thoughts on this and do you see leaving the medical profession earlier than what has been the traditional timeframe?
I believe in the FI, not necessarily the RE.
However, I do have my retirement age set at 55 years old.
My reasoning for financial independence is not necessarily to retire early but for financial security and more career options.
I can choose where I want to work, part –time or full time or how much vacation, I would like to take.
The possibilities are endless.
20. What is your greatest fear, if any, you have in retirement, and are there any ways you are addressing that now?
One is healthcare.
Will I become one of the statistics, and go bankrupt because of a health reason?
My plan is to return to Canada or Nigeria to retire.
I am a dual citizen of both.
Canada for the guaranteed healthcare and Nigeria because the elderly are well taken care of.
I would also be able to stretch the dollar a bit more.
I am accumulating as much wealth as possible to be able to take care of myself and my family when the time comes.
Thank you again DrBreatheEasyFinance for placing yourself under the X-ray beam.
I have enjoyed reading your blog thus far and love our interactions on social media.
I wish you continued success on both your medical career path and the path of a physician financial blogger.
If you are interested in checking out previous individuals that were brave enough to expose themselves to the beams of the X-ray, please check them out here.
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