Financial Independence Is Like Catching The Trolley

by | May 10, 2018




– What’s up everybody? Justin Harvey here. Hope you’re doing well.

I wanted to share a quick story, a little something that happened to me today that I thought serves as a great analogy for financial planning opportunities as they exist for early career physicians. So I was walking out my front door. I was running like one minute late for a meeting, and I had to catch the trolley right around the corner on Baltimore Ave. As I turned the corner and had one block to go, I saw the trolley rolling through the intersection. So at this moment, I knew that I had a decision to make. I’m wearing my Allen Edmonds in a blazer, and I have my briefcase. And I realize I can either book it down the block, around the corner, down another block, and try to catch the trolley at that red light, or I could meander over to the trolley stop and wait another 10 or 15 minutes for the next trolley, potentially be a couple minutes late for my meeting. I did not want to do that.

So anybody who knows me knows how this story is going to go. So I clutched my bag a little tighter, and I booked it down the street, hung a left, made it down to the next block just in time. And I got into the trolley and everything was great.

So I realized as I was sitting on the trolley considering this, this is a perfect analogy for what it’s like for a young physician, who’s a later in residency or a fellow, as they’re considering their financial future. They’re at this cross roads where they can make a decision at this point. They don’t have a lot of time to think about it, but they can make a decision to, for a period of time, do some things that are going to be a little bit difficult, potentially unpopular, and swim upstream with regards to their finances. And it’s going to look like strategic financial decisions to not allow their lifestyle to creep, to not start spending a bunch of money when they start getting an attending paycheck on disposable consumer goods or other things that are more luxuries, but rather, use this opportunity as a chance to lay a firm financial foundation for themselves and their families.

And if they do that, if they make this decision and for this short period of time they sort of harness this extra earning power that they’re going to have and deploy it in a constructive direction, they are going to be arriving at their destination of financial independence way earlier than their peers who are unwilling to, for this discreet period of time, do something that was difficult and uncomfortable. So what happened to me, I got on the trolley, and I rolled up to my destination 15 or 20 minutes early, and I had the opportunity to sit there and do a little work as I waited for my associate to arrive. So hopefully that’s helpful.

This is something to think about.  If you’re like this by the way, call me. I’d love to talk to you. I’d love to help you, encourage you in this direction. I find that I really work most effectively with physicians who understand the value of right now in the current moment making financial decisions that are going to be impactful for years to come. And rather than kicking the can down the road, or sort of lackadaisically approaching the metaphorical trolley stop, they say, “Okay, it’s go time. “We’re gonna do everything we can right now “to get on the early trolley.” It’s a great opportunity for a young physician if they’re willing to take that opportunity.

So that’s all I’ve got for today. Hopefully, you’re entertained by my story. Look forward to hearing from you soon. Take care.


Herein contains my one-take thoughts on financial concepts, behavioral investing, money management strategies, financial media, and letting you “behind the curtain” on my efforts to help move my physician clients toward financial independence.  Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Website Disclaimer page for a full disclaimer.

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