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From FIRE to ICE: Balancing Retirement Dreams with Meaningful Work

Apr 06, 2024

In the realm of personal finance, the concept of Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) has garnered significant attention in recent years, especially among burned out doctors. But what happens when individuals reach financial independence yet choose to continue earning? I am going dive into the nuances of FIRE and explores the possibilities of pursuing both financial freedom and continued earning. Since that is my current plan, I thought it would be good to discuss it.

What is FIRE?

FIRE, or Financial Independence, Retire Early, is a lifestyle movement centered around achieving financial freedom and retiring from traditional employment at an early age. The core principles of FIRE revolve around aggressive saving, mindful spending, and strategic investing to accumulate assets that generate passive income that will support a preferred lifestyle.

Benefits of Achieving FIRE

Attaining FIRE offers a myriad of benefits beyond financial freedom. Individuals who achieve FIRE gain flexibility in their lifestyle, reduced stress from financial worries, and the ability to pursue their passions and interests without the constraints of traditional employment.

Common Strategies & Challenges to Achieve FIRE

Achieving FIRE requires discipline and commitment to saving, investing, and minimizing expenses. Common strategies include setting aggressive savings goals, adopting a frugal lifestyle, and investing in assets that generate passive income streams.I also believe it's important to consider multiple streams of active income through your small business endeavors, which is hard to achieve as an employee but easier as a small business owner. The path to wealth accumulation is through business ownership!

While the FIRE movement offers a compelling vision of early retirement, it comes with its own set of challenges. Impulse spending, market volatility, and lifestyle inflation are common hurdles that individuals must navigate on their journey to financial independence.

FIRE and Continuing to Earn

Contrary to traditional notions of retirement, many individuals who achieve FIRE choose to continue earning income post-retirement. This hybrid approach allows for greater flexibility and fulfillment in retirement years.

The hybrid approaches to FIRE, such as part-time work, consulting, or entrepreneurship post-retirement, offer a balance between financial independence and continued professional engagement. That is what my plan will be, so let me elaborate.

Transitioning from Day-to-Day Clinic Practice

After dedicating over 25 years to serving patients in my rural clinic, I've made the decision to transition towards a new phase of my career. While my passion for medicine remains unwavering, I believe it's time to explore new opportunities and embrace a more flexible lifestyle. As part of my FIRE journey, I plan to discontinue my clinical responsibilities at the rural clinic and transition towards part-time work outside of my area—so called “travel medicine”, or locums. The good news is that I will continue to earn passive income from the practice because I own the medical office building, and the hospital will continue to lease it for community medical care with my replacement providers, who will be NPs for now. We are unable to attract any primary doctors to our rural location, which is a significant issue nationwide.

Moving from Long-Term Independent Contracting to Short-Term

I have been working as a self-employed independent contractor in a long-term, employment lite contract for nearly a decade now, and I have absolutely loved it! To maintain my connection to medicine and continue earning income, I intend to pursue locum tenens opportunities. Working as a short-term independent contractor will allow me to leverage my expertise while enjoying the flexibility to choose assignments and control my schedule. By working 10-16 weeks annually, I can strike a balance between professional engagement and personal pursuits.

Scaling SimpliMD Ventures

As the founder of SimpliMD, I'm committed to empowering physicians on their journey towards financial independence and professional fulfillment through the preservation of their professional autonomy. In line with my FIRE goals, I plan to ramp up SimpliMD by expanding our offerings and reach. This includes:

  • Speaking Engagements: I'll leverage my expertise and insights to engage with audiences at conferences, workshops, and seminars. By sharing my experiences and knowledge, I aim to inspire and educate physicians on the principles of financial independence and career empowerment. If you have registered for the SoMeDocs 3 day virtual conference called “Private Practice 101”, please register here for only $249 and you will hear my talk about a practice without walls. Next summer I’ll also be speaking for CME Away in Iceland and Ireland at an Irish Castle—which will be really cool!

  • Online Courses and Products: SimpliMD will launch a series of online courses, webinars, and digital resources tailored to physicians seeking to achieve FIRE. These educational offerings will cover topics such as financial planning, practice management, and personal development, providing physicians with the tools and strategies needed to succeed. You’ll be seeing more opportunities like this over the next several months.

Launching a Healthcare Startup

In addition to scaling SimpliMD, I'm excited to embark on a new venture in the healthcare industry. My startup will focus on e-visits, leveraging technology to enhance access to healthcare services and streamline patient-provider interactions. By providing convenient and efficient virtual care solutions, my startup aims to address the evolving needs of patients and healthcare providers in today's digital age. More on this at another date.

Mindful Transition

Transitioning from one type of work to another and reorganizing my time require a mindful downshift to embrace the pace of this new space. To achieve this, I need to be aware of:

  1. Balancing Lifestyle with Financial Goals

    Maintaining a balanced lifestyle while pursuing financial independence is essential. Prioritizing happiness, maintaining financial discipline, and fostering relationships are key components of a fulfilling FIRE journey.

  2. Managing Health and Wellness in Retirement

    Prioritizing health and wellness is paramount in retirement. Healthcare planning, maintaining physical and mental well-being, and accessing healthcare resources are critical aspects of post-retirement life. I know for me this means I am going to jump back into doing some triathlons—which I am excited about!

  3. Incorporating Philanthropy in FIRE

    This phase in my personal and professional life is no longer solely focused on wealth accumulation, as it has been for the past 30 years. Instead, giving back to communities and supporting charitable endeavors can bring purpose and fulfillment to the FIRE journey. Including philanthropy in financial plans enables us to create a positive impact beyond our own lives.


Mindset plays a crucial role in the FIRE journey. Adopting a frugal mindset, prioritizing long-term goals over short-term gratification, and fostering a positive attitude towards financial independence are essential for success. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals and staying focused on your vision can help sustain motivation and momentum. This is a key reason for our SimpliMD community; it connects us with like-minded micro-business doctors who are all learning about the business of medicine together. It can help you preserve your autonomy while also assisting you with wealth accumulation.

For physicians starting the journey towards FIRE, prioritize clarity of vision, financial planning, and personal fulfillment. Assess your goals, values, and priorities, and create a strategic plan aligned with your aspirations. Ten years ago, I established my micro-corporation and aimed to retire before age 60, leading me to where I am today. Surround yourself with a supportive network of peers, mentors, and resources. Stay adaptable and open to new opportunities. Remember, achieving FIRE involves not only financial independence but also discovering purpose and fulfillment throughout your career and life journey.

SimpliMD products for the FIRE journey

SimpliMD offers a range of products and resources tailored to physicians pursuing financial independence and early retirement. From courses on how to start your micro-business to personalized coaching sessions, SimpliMD equips physicians with the knowledge and tools needed to achieve FIRE successfully.

My passion for empowering physicians and promoting micro-business literacy within the medical community inspired me to launch SimpliMD. Through speaking engagements, I have the opportunity to share my experiences and insights with fellow physicians, helping them navigate the complexities of their careers and achieve greater professional fulfillment. By leveraging SimpliMD's platform and resources, I aim to make a meaningful impact on the lives of physicians nationwide.


Achieving Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) is a transformative journey that offers the promise of financial freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment. By adopting a strategic approach to saving, investing, lifestyle design, and micro-business ownership you can pave the way towards a future of abundance and opportunity. With the right mindset, support, and resources, the path to FIRE becomes not only achievable but immensely rewarding. Embrace the journey and start your micro-corporation today!

Ready to take your first step, start by becoming a SimpliMD member and unlocking $2500 in products. If you do it today, I’ll give you 50% of your annual membership by following this link.