Transcript:

Vijay:


Hello, listeners, welcome to the doctors in dollars podcast. I’m Dr. Vijay Kini. I’m a radiation oncologist in Southern California. And I’m also the editor of the DocSupp blog. That is spelled as docsuppp.com. And my co host is…

Jordan:
Hey, everyone, I’m Jordan Frey. I’m a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, New York, which is basically like Southern California, if Southern California was frozen tundra. And I am the founder of the prudent plastic surgeon blog that talks about personal finance. And I’m excited to be doing this podcast with Vijay.

Vijay:
Fabulous Jordan, that is excellent. I’m really happy that we made this connection. This pandemic, I’m sure has given the opportunity to a lot of people to make connections with others they’ve never met before and even start collaborations and businesses with each other without ever having seen each other or met each other. So without further ado, let’s just jump right in. We’re gonna we’re gonna try and do this first podcast, as if we are interviewing each other a little bit. And hopefully, that will give you folks a little idea about who we are. So Jordan, I’m going to ask you a question.

Jordan
So I’m on the hot seat first. Yeah.

Vijay
And maybe you can ask me the exact same question. And we can go back and forth or you can put a little twist in the question. All right.

Jordan
Sorry. Hit me.

Vijay
Tell us a little bit about your upbringing. What was your childhood? Like? Were you middle class? Wealthy? etc.

Jordan
This is not the hot seat. I’m kind of like on the couch, then. So yeah, so I grew up in Buffalo, New York, again, the tundra. And I had like a, you know, middle upper middle class upbringing. And, you know, I went through early in my life, like, I honestly forget how old I was, but through a divorce with my parents. And so that really like looking back now, I think that sort of created a lot of the unhealthy relationship that I had with money up until recently, because, you know, I kind of went from a place where, you know, it felt very financially secure that sort of what I observed around me. And then it went to a place that it was not like that at all after that, that’s sort of divorced. So after that, I became really like skittish and had kind of a fearful relationship with money. And that went up until, I mean, as recently as just six months ago, when I sort of realized I had to start taking control of my finances and got really into personal finance, and stuff like that. So But otherwise, I mean, yeah, had normal, normal childhood otherwise.

Vijay
That’s, that’s excellent. I mean, it’s never too late or too early to get into personal finance, personal finances critical these days. And it is surprising how so many people are not awake and alert, as far as personal finance is concerned. So to answer the same question on my side, as you can tell from my accent, I am an immigrant. I have lived in the United States for the past 25 years. I was born and raised in hot tropical, steamy Mumbai, which is which was then called Bombay. And I still call it Bombay because that’s what it was called before I left there. I grew up in a middle class to lower middle class home. We were well cared for, and I was sort of, you know, indoctrinated into becoming a doctor. My parents were not very well educated and like many immigrant parents to this country, they even though they were not immigrants to any word, they felt that becoming a doctor was a something that would ensure my future and so they they encouraged me to become a doctor and I went to medical school in India, the competition to get into medical school was very intense. Yeah, it’s it’s a magnitude more intense than yours in the United States right now. And the the, because of that competition, I think I actually developed a unhealthy relationship with what I thought my achievements should be and where they ended up being and we this will, you will find this a sort of a recurrent theme in in what I discuss on this podcast, which is, be be gentle with yourself be a little less harsh on yourself as far as where what you think you should achieve, compared to what you have already achieved. For most of us doctors, we’ve already achieved a heck of a lot more than most other people achieve and what we should be achieving.

Jordan
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s like such an important point. And a lot of like, I can definitely relate to that. Because I think like, as doctors, we’re so used to just from, you know, we go from, in whatever path we took, like college to medical school time off whatever residency, you know, we’re always kind of like chasing this carrot that’s ever out in front of our nose. And at a certain point, we kind of almost like, forget why we’re chasing it, or at least that was a feeling that I had. And I think like everything you said, is just so perfect, you know, we have to make sure that what we’re doing is sort of aligned with what makes us happy and fulfilled. And for everyone, that’s going to be different. Yeah, so I think that’s

Vijay
absolutely yes, you hit the nail on the head. And folks, at this point, I would like to remind you to please go visit our respective websites@docsupp.com, which is d OC, su pp.com, as well as the prudent plastic surgeon.com. And very soon, we’ll have a specific website for this podcast called doctors and dollars.com. And let me ask you a question about debt. You know, you you have spoken about your med school or your school debt before, did you have to take on debt both for college as well as med school?

Jordan
Yeah, so I paid everything I paid for for college and medical school, which I went to private schools for both. And that was my choice. And I knew it was more expensive, but I paid for it all in loans. Or I should say that I am still paying for it all in loans. So I have like, I think the last check school loans was at like 425,000, something like that. And to give perspective, I just finished training it four months ago, about four months ago. So you know, I deferred it all the way through training, which was a huge mistake, because my training was seven years. So I would have been, you know, if I had been going for the PSLF loan forgiveness program, I would have been seven out of 10 years already. But that ship is kind of sailed. But like, like we kind of said it’s never too late. And I already have, you know, plan in place to pay it all off in five years. And I even had consumer debt, like not a small amount of consumer debt up until, like, last week, because we had made that mistake, even during my training, I say we being my wife and I

Vijay
By consumer debt, you mean credit card debt?

Jordan
Credit card? Yeah. And some of it was like, stuff that we needed, like for my boards, exams, you know, like, they’re really expensive, and we needed to pay, but a lot of it was for stuff that we didn’t need to put on credit, but we just paid off that.

Vijay
So we’ll we’ll go into that as well in great detail. And yeah, interview other folks on on future episodes of this podcast. But let me ask you a question. I mean, what, how do you look at that today? As far as you know, what is your relationship to debt? Do you hate it? Are you comfortable with it? Or as long as you’re paying off a little bit of it and making appropriate payments? And what do you how do you feel about that? Yeah,

Jordan
I don’t like it. I definitely have realized that I’m kind of on that side. And, you know, there’s a lot of people always talk about like, well, if your debt has an interest of like 5% and you can invest something for 7% then Shouldn’t you just invest rather than pay off the debt but I just don’t like debt, like right now, I mean, I’m almost paying per month, I’m paying, like high four to five figures towards debt. And so if I can pay that off, that means that all that money is just coming to me. So that’s why I look at it. So I’m trying to get rid of it, all of it. How about you

Vijay
International Medical graduates, most of us don’t have school debt. So we’re lucky that way because, you know, school debt is either low or completely subsidized by the government in in many of the countries that we come from. And that that may seem like a huge leg up for for International Medical graduates, but , the majority of us do not end up in high paying specialties and end up in, in primary care or other specialties that don’t pay so well. And so, you know, though you get a leg up on debt, you you in the long run, you have a limitation in how high you can go on your paycheck. So having said that, you know, when I was younger, when I was a younger, attending physician, …

Jordan
You’re still young…don’t let him fool you. Yes,

Vijay
Yes, yes, I am young. You know, still, I still consider myself mid career, but compared to you, I’ve been out in practice for for quite a long time. And in fact, you know, when I hear you describe yourself as the prudent plastic surgeon, if you say it fast enough, I think it could be the other name for this podcast, which could be the, the prune and the plastic surgeon.

Jordan
All right, it’s not too late to change it

Vijay
So you know, the I, I didn’t like debt, either, but now that I’m in a more comfortable position, and I have zero debt, you know, I feel comfortable taking on business debt. And, you know, part of being gentle with yourself, is, I think, looking at your life, holistically, including that debt. Don’t lose sleep over any debt, as long as you’re paying it off, as long as you have a plan to pay it off. And don’t lose the opportunity to enjoy life, and the important milestones in life, because of that debt that you have and that you are in a rush to pay off, right? I mean, I don’t know about 5% debt and 7% return on your investment, those numbers are for each of us to to play with. But opportunities can be lost, right? You may have the opportunity to grab a really good eight Plex or a four Plex to buy as your investment property. But you know, the, the numbers don’t make sense because you have allotted a certain portion of your paycheck to paying off your school debt. Because you drew that magic line in the sand that five years from today. And you say well, you know that eight Plex really was a great catch if I could have grabbed it right now. But I can’t because it’s going to cost me you know, whatever. $5,000 a month in in, or X dollars for it’s not a down payment. I can’t make that because I have committed to do wiping off my student debt in five years. I don’t know what’s magical about five years. You know, you’re a plastic surgeon. I’m a radiation oncologist. We were both lucky to be in in good paying fields. And

Jordan
yeah, for sure.

Vijay
You know, what the heck right?

Jordan
Yeah. So no, and I agree with everything you said, you know, And I don’t want to seem like I’m completely rigid, because even, you know, I think you’re right. There’s things that you that are important to you that you have to make sure that you can enjoy. And if they’re improving your well being, and if it’s kind of intentional how you’re spending that money, then I have no problem with that. And, you know, an example for me would be, you know, I moved during my training for seven years, I was in Manhattan, New York City, like a super small apartment with two little kids, my wife and I. And so it was important to us to come in to have, you know, a nicer house, and we actually ended up buying a house, which is not generally my recommendation for people at the beginning of their career. But that’s a whole topic for another conversation. But so for instance, in that case, you know, maybe the, quote, unquote, prudent thing to do would have been just to rent until we got some of our other debt in control. But this was the step we took. And that’s something that was super important to us. And there’s other things that aren’t as important, like, for instance, cars, and you know, we have very modest cars, but so that’s just an example.

Vijay
Yeah, excellent. That’s, that’s a really good point, Jordan, and, folks, we come to the end of our first episode. We hope you’ve enjoyed the doctors in dollars podcast, season one, Episode One, stay tuned for more, lots more.

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