Today I’m excited to let you know that I have another entry in my amazing series on breadwinning, six figure women. Time For Money, MD is a doctor with four kids, and a husband who’s an artist and a stay at home dad (just like mine!).
She’s paid off a tremendous amount of debt, is pursuing financial freedom (but not necessarily early retirement), and dabbled in consulting before going to medical school. She’s not a millionaire yet, but she’s well on the way. I love how supportive her husband is, and there’s some great advice for you towards the end of the interview.
So now, without further ado, lets meet Time for Money MD!
Tell us about yourself!
I’m an anesthesiologist and work about 65 hours per week, including nights and weekends. My husband is an artist and started staying home when our first child was born.
We had four kids in five years (phew!) and the youngest is still in diapers. Our oldest, who is 7, has lived in 6 houses, 4 cities, and 3 states, so we’ve moved around a lot. We’ve finally found a spot we’d like to settle in a small mountain resort town, with great schools and lots of outdoor activities. We love to be outside and active, and I love being able to run in the national forest every morning.
We also love to travel and have taken our kids to several different countries, though only to inexpensive places where we found great flight deals. I’m not sure how they’ll remember, but my husband and I enjoy it!
Let’s get some details – how much money do you make, and how long did it take you to get there? And are you a millionaire or are you on the way?
I’ve made between $250,000-$350,000 after finishing residency and fellowship. We’re not millionaires yet. In the next 1-2 years I expect to have a net worth of a million including our house, and hopefully in 5 years we’ll have that much in retirement savings.
We paid off six figures of student loans in 18 months after I finished training by being frugal. We had one car in a city that was not walkable. I didn’t buy new clothes. We didn’t go on vacation. Our lifestyle has definitely inflated since then, but we still try to be intentional about what we spend money on.
How did you get started in the workforce?
I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, and still love my job. I volunteered in a children’s hospital when I was 14, worked as a receptionist at a clinic during high school, and as a pharmacy tech in college. I’m a big believer in the importance of having had a front-line customer service job at some point in your life.
How did you get from where you started to where you are now?
After college I had to take a year “off” before going to medical school because I had studied abroad during college. I worked for a big, fancy consulting firm during that year.
It was then I realized that consulting was definitely not my calling, even though I was making way more money than I should have been for as little as I knew! I also made some great friends who to continue to give me perspective about the non-medical working world.
Where do you want to go in your career – and your financial life?
I hope to be financially independent in the next 10-15 years. Retirement is a separate issue, since I love being a doctor. I don’t love working 60+ hour weeks, though, and want to be open to creative paths for my career.
CMO Note – I’ve interviewed many women over the last several years, and I’ve found that most want to keep doing some kind of work. They may want to reduce their hours, change companies, or change the type of work they do – but they’re pretty much all ambitious and driven to keep working.
What’s the biggest challenge in being a breadwinning mom? What’s the best part?
Honestly me being the breadwinner hasn’t been an issue in our house. I think the hardest part of being the breadwinner for anyone is the feeling that if something goes wrong with my career, my family will suffer.
What do you see as the key to earning such a high salary?
Professional school, and being willing to take on debt. I hate debt, but taking out loans for medical school allowed me to have a secure, high-income job that I love.
CMO Note – that’s an interesting point, and one that I don’t see discussed very often. Taking on debt as an investment in a career, business, or property can certainly pay for itself – and more. But taking on the wrong kind of debt, or investing too much in a low-earning career, can permanently impact your financial life. It’s important to make smart, strategic debt decisions.
Have you ever experienced issues in the workforce because you’re a woman? What did you do in response?
Being pregnant four times in five years is a good way to get lots of people to ask you if you know how birth control works.
Yes, I do, thanks for making sure!
CMO Note – Well, that’s annoying…
The biggest personal finance issue with being a breadwinning woman has been the loss of income before/after having a baby. It’s a big hit and probably set us back some in terms of net worth.
Chief Mom Officer is primarily a personal finance blog – tell us about your saving and investment strategy.
When I graduated from medical school, I despised having so much debt and started to teach myself about personal finance to help me figure out how to get rid of the debt. We invest mainly in index funds at this point.
Our main strategy is to use the “pay yourself first” method, then spend what’s left. We don’t budget strictly but have a good idea of how much money is going out each month.
CMO Note – I love it – the K.I.S.S. method of budgeting! It’s a great option if you don’t love tracking every penny on a spreadsheet. The Millionaire Next Door book refers to this method as creating an “artificial environment of economic scarcity.” Or in English, “pay yourself first.”
What’s the top three pieces of advice you’d have for someone just starting out in the workforce, struggling with their career, or just looking to improve how they handle their money?
1. Realize you’re almost always trading time for money. You can have more money if you’re willing to work more (via a second job, side gig, etc), and more time if you’re willing to make less. If you aren’t extremely purposeful about that tradeoff, your life won’t look how you want it to.
2. Know what your family values, and make sure you are spending money on those things. Have concrete goals and a plan to achieve them.
3. Marry someone who has a similar money outlook and who is a really hard worker, and will support you working hard too.
Where can people connect with you?
Editors note – Unfortunately, Time For Money MD decided to stop blogging before publication. But you can still leave her a message in the comments!
CMO Here Again
Thanks so much to Time For Money MD for stopping by to share her story! I especially love her advice for all of us.
Automating your finances by paying yourself first is one of the best, foolproof strategies to get started with wise money management. If you’ve tried budgeting and it just doesn’t work, try automation. Not everyone is a born budgeter. Sometimes it’s easier if you just automatically fund your goals and dreams, and spend whatever is leftover.
I also particularly loved the advice to make sure your spending is in alignment with your values. I know too many people that will say they value something – like their kids education – but then spend more on coffee then they do on 529 plans. As someone once said, “Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you your values.” It’s great to think about what your spending says about your real priorities. And if you don’t like the answer – then it’s time to change your spending.
Let me know which part of her story you liked best – and what advice resonated with you!
If you haven’t already, be sure to swing by my one-stop shop page for Breadwinning moms, featuring all my prior articles and interviews (plus some updates on prior interviewees!). Know someone that would be perfect for this series, or is that you? Hop over to my “Be Featured!” page to access the request form.
Be sure to follow my blog for more great posts via e-mail or WordPress, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and say hello! You can also check out what I’m buying or baking on Instagram, what I’m pinning on Pinterest, or the latest books I’m reading (or want to read) over on Goodreads.