Ok, I thought revisiting my first blog post would be a fun exercise.
Turns out, it was maybe even a little cringy for me. Kind of like listening to your own voice on a recording. But it was still a lot of fun!
I started this blog in June 2020, in may very last month of training. I started it because I was burned out as a result of my (lack of) financial well-being. This blog was an outlet for me to share my mistakes and how I was getting better with a twofold mission: help others in a similar situation and learn from others in a similar situation. The fact that it has taken off the way it has is something equally surprising and exciting!
In any regard, while my very first blog post has always lived in the depths of this blog, even I had not seen it recently (in like years). This is mainly because I was totally new and didn’t even include a key phrase for the post (a real noob move for a blogger).
So, my idea is to re-share this very first blog post in its entirety, unedited. And then, I’ll add some comments from present Jordan throughout (those will be in italics like this).
And we’re off and into my first blog post (reader beware)!
First of all, thank you for coming! My name is Jordan Frey and I am the Prudent Plastic Surgeon.
In the beginning I was in between being the “Poor” Plastic Surgeon or the “Prudent” Plastic Surgeon. In the end, I wanted to manifest what I would become so went with prudent as a synonym for “financially well.”
Or at least that is what I am becoming. Or, better yet, want to become. You see, up until recently, I was more of a Poor Plastic Surgeon for a number of reasons. (I go more in depth about this process of realization that led me to my current path, and inspiration to start this blog, on the page “The Journey Begins…” which I recommend you take a moment to read if you are just starting off here.)
How did I get here?
In short, a disconnect had developed between what I wanted out of life and my perception of who I should become as a “plastic surgeon.” I didn’t even quite realize this until I began to think about my future after residency and fellowship training – my job, my family life, my hobbies, my health, how I wanted to spend my time.
I felt disillusioned that I was so far away from living what I perceived as the “rich plastic surgeon life.” An even bigger problem was that I did not even think this was the life that I wanted. It took some time. But through introspection and the help of my wife and family, I came to be able to admit that I did not know what I wanted. And quite honestly that I did not know what to do.
Once I was able to overcome this hurdle of admitting that I did not know, I finally felt free
Free to find the answers, my own answers, clear from the static of others’ and my own perceptions.
I searched for clarity and began to find that I did know what I wanted. But this was always a bit thrown that this did not line up with the typical path that I had seen as a plastic surgery trainee in New York City.
I wanted to reconstruct patients afflicted by congenital, traumatic, oncologic (cancer), or other issues using the skills that I had learned in my training. But I also wanted to prioritize family, my health, travel, experiences, and our most limited resource…time. Even as I made these leaps in self-realization, I kept coming back to a nagging thought…how do you even make this happen financially?
I actually found this last paragraph really helpful to review. Past Jordan articulated really well what I wanted and continue to want. This is a great example of a strong why!
But there was a problem…
You see, up until this point, I had never been one to pay that much attention to my finances.
I went to a private undergraduate university and a private medical school. And I took out loans to pay for every.single.dollar because it was a goal of mine to go to these particular schools. I knew that I could have gone to less costly schools with scholarships. But I figured the loans were “future Jordan’s” problem. Welp, the future was here.
To make matters worse, I did not know anything about investing. The stock market is risky, the real estate market is risky…why bother? I was good at budgeting but not good at saving. Because I budgeted to spend the money that I made. I even felt that managing your finances was somehow a bad thing…like many physicians, my drive to go to medical school was to help people, not make money.
I recently discovered the Origins of the Money Taboo in Medicine. It’s actually a pretty interesting history. But it creates big problems like it did for me. It made me stick my head in the sand financially.
For anyone who feels similarly about investing, it really is pretty simple. And you can do it successfully in a stress free way. This post explains more.
Where I found myself
At this point in the game, coming to the end of my training and beginning my job search, I realized how wrong I was.
It is not bad to want to live a good life and grow your wealth and net worth – to be able to enjoy your time and your family, to help others, to be able to give back, to focus on your passions and purpose on your own terms.
Working to achieve financial well-being and, eventually, independence can help set you free to be the best spouse, parent, sibling, son, daughter, doctor, lawyer, and so on. I had no idea how to do that though. What I did know was that if I kept on this trajectory, I would never achieve my goals – financially or otherwise.
The right inspiration
Lucky for me, my cousin Jimmy, also a physician, is somewhat of a closet FIRE (financially independent retire early) follower himself.
I have tried so many times to get him to write a guest post or join on a podcast. But he’s a behind the scenes guy and I love that! But you can see how big of an inspiration he was being a focus of my first blog post.
Not even knowing the struggle I was going through, he recommended a few financial books to me – The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko and The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Mel Lindauer, Michael LeBoeuf, and Taylor Larimore (I cannot recommend these books or the other financial one on this list enough).
You can also now check out my best-selling book, Money Matters in Medicine, as well!
Reading these books set me on a completely new path. I tried to find every ounce of financial knowledge and devour it. My wife and I dove into our current finances to fully understand our situation and developed our own written financial plan.
We decided to manage our finances and investments ourselves
We budgeted into the future to ensure that our goals could be reached by making the right decisions now and through intentional spending. The relief and excitement for both of us was incredible and has not waned one bit.
I can truly say that the concept of intentional spending revolutionized us as consumers and financially for the better. Here is An Updated Formula to Practice Intentional Spending for Doctors.
I had been scared to learn for fear of realizing it was too late or I had messed up our situation too badly. By looking the problem in the face and being determined to learn as much as we could to right the ship, we took back control of our personal and financial well-being.
Where I now found myself
I am still very much in the middle of this process. We are not financially independent or really even close.
We still are not financially independent. But we have made big steps in the right direction as you can see in our latest new worth update. Steps that if you told me about 3 years ago, I would have said you were crazy. Steps that I had no idea how to take. But we made them. And you can too! That’s a big tenet of this blog: if I can do it, you can too!
But I began to speak to my family, friends, and colleagues of all levels about what I was learning and realized that I had not been alone when I was lost in the woods. I think there are a lot of you in all walks of life that can relate to being in some part of this journey.
Unfortunately, many are likely stuck where I was. Scared to learn for fear of seeing the problem for what it is. Many will be just about where I am. And fortunately, many will be ahead of where I am, and I, along with everyone else, can learn from you.
My hope for The Prudent Plastic Surgeon
My goal in this space is to spread the principles of personal and financial well-being on the path to purpose, passion, happiness, and independence.
This continues to be my goal!
I hope to do this by sharing my journey towards these exact goals but also hope that you will share yours as well. In the coming posts, I will share all of the things I did right financially (small list) and all of the things that I did wrong (big list) along with what I am doing/what we can do together to make them better.
Let’s all reach for well-being and wealth without the waste!
I’m not sure if that was an early attempt at a tag line. But that put aside, it actually was really refreshing for me to go back to my first blog post. For a few reasons.
First, it put me right back in the GAIN and kept me out of the GAP. It’s so easy to get caught up in where you are and to focus only on the steps you still have to take. But if we reflect back on where we started and how far we have come, a healthier perspective takes shape.
Second, it reinforces exactly why I love doing this and interacting with all of you!
What do you think? How would you rate my first blog post? Did I stay true to my goals? Let me know in the comments below!