Welcome to another installment of Interviews with Real Female Physicians. The goal of this series is to share their story so that you, the reader, may learn and be inspired from their experiences – good and bad. We all come from different backgrounds and have different situations. Some of you are married, some are not, some with kids, some with blended families. Let’s show other women that any of these can work financially!
So let’s introduce our next woman physician rockstar – “Hatton1” .
Tell us about yourself:
I call myself “Hatton1” on the White Coat Investor and Physician On Fire blogs. I am 60 and in the process of getting divorced as I write this. I live in the deep South in a low COL town. I actually grew up in the town I live in and have family here.
I am an OB/GYN. I did OB 26 years. I went through one malpractice trial and won the case. I am doing just GYN 3 days per week with essentially no call. I own the practice. I could essentially retire any time but owning a business with employees is keeping me off the Obamacare exchange.
Would I pick OB/GYN again? I really do not know. It is possible now to do shift work (hospitalist or laborist) which did not exist when I was doing OB. The lifestyle is brutal and stressful especially if something goes wrong!
Per hour worked lots of other fields pay better. When I was younger I liked the excitement of a STAT c-section or a ruptured ectopic but I aged out of that. I suspect that lots of ER docs and trauma surgeons feel the same way.
Did you graduate with student loans? How much & what are the interest rates?
I had $29K in student loans. I know you all hate me. I had an academic scholarship. My parents paid for undergrad and bought me a car.
Medical school tuition now is ridiculous. I don’t know if I would’ve gone with today’s prices. I can’t even remember the interest rate or payment because it was that insignificant.
Financial aspects of marriage
Are you married?
I am legally married as I type this. I expect my uncontested divorce to be final in the next week or two.
I had no prenuptial agreement. My state is not community property.
If you are divorced – what have you learned financially from this, and what advice would you give to unmarried women planning to marry?
My attorney gave me the advice of not raising your spouses lifestyle to the “doctor” lifestyle. If you encourage them to quit work then if you divorce you may face alimony. In my case my husband is still working full time and I went to part time. I gave my husband my equity in a farm we bought which I really did not want anyway. It cost me $35k and $600 in legal fees. We married later in life and kept our finances separate.
What’s your FI (financial independence) number?
My financial independence number is 5 million. I hit this at age 56. In retrospect with what I now know about the FIRE movement I think I could’ve retired at about 45.
What is your net worth?
I am now 60 with a net worth of ~ 7.5 million post divorce (Includes home equity).
Are you DIY?
I handle my own finances. I used a commissioned stock broker for several years starting out.
How did you get to FI and what does it mean to you?
I always filled my retirement accounts up and then filled up a taxable account. I have most of my retirement money in a SEP-IRA and some in a traditional IRA. I have converted a small amount to a Roth IRA. For what it’s worth, most of my money is in a taxable account.
FI means you can quit work or go part-time. It means no call or weekends. It means anything you want it to mean because you no longer have to work and put up with crap.
One thing you regret:
Not buying an office building.
Do you have insurance?
I no longer have disability insurance. I cancelled it mid-40s when I knew I had “enough .“ I have umbrella insurance ~2-3 million.
Any parting words of wisdom?
My advice is basically grow into your income slowly. Do not keep up with the Jones. Dr. Jones is 75 and still working!
I made a number financial mistakes along the way but came out ok. Basically learn about money or it will fritter away.
I also recognize that I was very lucky. I became an OB/GYN when very few females were doing it. The demand was huge and I never had to market myself. Those days are gone and you will have to hustle to do well I think. Good Luck.
And … that’s a wrap! If you’re interested in doing this please send me an email – I’d love to hear from you!
I loved reading “Hatton1’s” story and I hope you did too. I think she may be the first woman physician interviewed here that has achieved financial independence!