Wall of Fear

Wall of Fear

My mother, the accountant, threw out 10 Million.  With 10 million you’ll have nothing to fear.  An I just took it.  Accepted it.  Calculated the number of years, and I was off.  But it didn’t feel right.  So I asked my financial advisor.  A few weeks later and after much information was solicited, I was given 85% chance of my money lasting through retirement.  He went on and on about Monte Carlo and all sorts of other rubbish, and I accepted it. See?  Nothing to fear.   I put my head down and went back to work.  I kept saving, kept investing.  But it didn’t feel right.

The accountant had a number but never really asked about how much I wanted to spend each month.  The financial advisor asked about my spending but refused to consider my investment real estate in the equation.  The confusion swirled and my anxiety and fear increased at a  faster rate than my net worth.

So I went to the internet and found all the web sites that I’m sure you are familiar with.  There I discovered the 4% rule, the 3.5% rule, and 25X.  I calculated and recalculated.  I played around on Firecalc.  My conclusion over and over again was the same. I had nothing to fear.


I have enough.  Comfortably enough.

But don’t think the journey didn’t change me.  I fired my financial advisor (saved me 18K a year) and moved my investments to Vanguard.  I cancelled my life insurance policy (3k).  My car could be charged at the local dealership (1K plus free coffee).  I became a master of Mint. I signed up for Personal Capital.

My life now optimized, my side hustles in place, I was ready to retire.

Yet, I couldn’t.  It was not that I love being a doctor so much.  I don’t.  It’s something much more sinister.

The wall of fear has overtaken me.  I have scaled a lifetime to reach the top but now am paralyzed by the height. How do I  move forward?

I have become a victim of the what ifs.

The market crashes?

Real estate evaporates?

I can’t find healthcare?

And then the more difficult questions.

Am I anything outside of being a doctor?

What if this is the best it gets?

Will my life have lost meaning?

And my mind turns, the one more year phenomena bursts into my psyche.  Next thing I know I am volunteering for extra shifts, more consulting,  The money piles up.

Maybe I should travel more.

Spend more time with the kids.

Start a blog.

But then I stand atop of the wall and only see a path leading down.  Not up.

I want to keep moving up.

Doc G

A doctor who discovered the FI community but still struggling with RE.

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10 Responses

  1. Wow. First off you’re experience is just more proof that most financial advisors are shit. You found the real info, save your money and ditch them.

    Now I don’t know your situation but 10 million dollars is a massive amount of money. Most could easily retire on that. Again, I don’t know your circumstances though.

    But the fear is real, trust me. I have quite a bit of fear right now and I just went to 20 hours a week 3 months ago. Our egos are strong. I think the same thing – “what if I’m nothing outside my job?”. I’m not a doctor, but I accomplished a lot over 25 years. That means something.

    Good luck to you man. I see your blog is new, and blogging can maybe help sort this stuff out. That’s what I’m finding.

    • Doc G says:

      Hey Accidental FIRE. Your comment got stuck in spam file. Took a moment to find it. Love your blog (my first thought for a blog name was accidental fire but than found yours). I blogged for years about medicine elsewhere and I’m hoping this blog can likewise be therapeutic. I hear yo on the ego part! Happy New Year.

  2. Hatton1 says:

    Yeah I left Merrill Lynch when my “advisor” said $28k per year is a reasonable amount to pay for an account of your size. I had added up all the ERs on Personal Capital. I think it is hard to figure out the next act after medicine and FI.

  3. Jacq says:

    Spend more time with the kids.
    That’s something you can give them that is an amazing legacy. My dad’s job had him home for dinner, and some time outside before or after, most of my childhood. My mom was a stay at home mom until she became a teacher, which also meant dinner and all the good stuff. I consider myself so so lucky for that time with them.
    Outside of your job, be the best parent you can be. That also will be a great legacy. My friends and I talk about who the cool parents were to this day! It wasn’t just which mom always had cookies, or which dad’s went on the class trips, it was just that always welcome in my house vibe. As much as preteen and teen eye-rolling happened when the parents checked in, it meant they were there and cared.

    • DocG says:

      Hey Jacq. I totally agree. I’m an early riser so my wife has the kids in the morning but I’m usually home before they get back from school. Nothing beats being both emotionally and physically present.

  4. Nicely done! Yes, fear of failure is powerful indeed. Thanks for the link to FireCalc, not sure why I hadn’t run across it before. So I ran the numbers for me, and lo and behold, I too was told: “FIRECalc found that 0 cycles failed, for a success rate of 100.0%.”

    Nice to have some reassurance. Now, my concern is the dreaded “unexpected expenses”!

    Best wishes!

    • Doc G says:

      Hey Smile. Thanks for commenting! I’ve looked at multiple calculators, and I like FireCalc quite a bit. It’s simple but well done. Congrats on the 0% failure rate. You’ve won! I’ll check out your blog.

  5. Ty says:

    I amassed over 8 figures and FIRE’d over 10 years ago. I’m not sure the fear ever goes away, just have to embrace it.

    We will always feel having twice as much as we have would vanquish the fear, it doesn’t. Or maybe it’s just me.

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