Lessons From My Brother Who Retired Early

Ask any physician why they went into medicine and I would bet that would you get a response that did not include becoming wealthy. Its possible to still have an excellent quality of life as a physician, but to amass amazing amounts of wealth at an early age (<40) is nearly impossible. This is mostly due to how training takes a decade or more of a physicians times. That time is spent devoted to patients, learning, and professional growth with relatively poor financial reimbursement early on. As I have finished my formal training, I sat down this past month with my brother who announced that he was now retired at the age of 34 from the oil and gas industry. After 14 years in the industry, taking a company public, and making millions of dollars here are some main takeaways from that conversation.


  • Stick To What You Know

Its enticing to start other endeavors, heck I did and made some extra money on the side during residency. There is nothing wrong with trying something new, but when you cross the line to put a significant portions of your wealth or time that’s when it becomes a problem. My brother has been investing since he was a teenager and fascinated with the oil and gas industry. He ended up following that passion and only wanted to work in the oil and gas field in Houston. Stick to what you have some knowledge. If you don’t know anything about real estate, it might not be the best idea to all of a sudden to buy 2 rental properties without first seeking advise or starting smaller.


  • There Is No Way Around Hard Work

Doctors are not the only person who work really hard and there is no way around hard work to obtain success. My brother and his wife told me stories about how during tax season, he would buy a cot and sleep in his office for a week at a time. At the end of the day no one should be able to question your work ethic and ability to accomplish your goals.


  • Networking Is A Must

Sadly who you know in life can have a lot of influence on your financial status. Learning how to make deals, talk to other professionals, and be respected in your community can help boost your net worth and marketability. Start early, put yourself out there and get to know other professionals in and around our field.


  • Don’t Be Afraid To Take Some Risks

Taking a contract with easy hours and low pay for a secure paycheck might be comfortable, but with a some extra risk such as signing a contract with pay based on commission there is a potential for a higher payoff. The more debt and responsibilities one has it becomes harder and harder to take these risks. Manage risk and potential downfalls but still be willing to calculate which risks you are willing to take.


  • Learn From Your Mistakes

Somehow along the way you’re going to make a mistake and that’s okay. Recognizing the mistake, correcting it, and subsequently learning from it is the most important part. Some of the most important lessons in life come from learning from our mistakes. Its important to keep getting up every time you fall.


  • Do What You Love

You will be spending most of your time and energy working at your job, so be sure that you love what you do. Being happy at work translates to usually better performance and better quality of life. Pick a career that you want to be in even on a bad day.


  • Give Back

No matter how much money or free time you have its always important to remember to give back. Stay humble and remember that there are other people out there who don’t have a place to sleep at night or food to eat. If you don’t have the money to give then donate your time.


  • There Is Some Luck Involved

Timing the market is nearly impossible and if someone graduated in 2008 their job outlook would have immediately looked different than someone who gradated in 2005. The same could be said for those who bought a house at the peak of the market only to see the crash and be underwater for years. Some of your investments will outperform even your expectations. Don’t confuse luck with skill.


  • Know How To Allocate Resources Correctly

If you’re a boss or allocating your asserts, its important to have the right people or money in the right place. Picking the right person for the job can end up saving you thousands of dollars or more. Knowing how to protect your money, be compensated fairly for what you do, and fight for your fair share is also important to ensure that you get what is owed to you. Speak up, negotiate contracts and pick your battles.

6 thoughts on “Lessons From My Brother Who Retired Early

  • August 25, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    Hard work and luck go hand in hand. In some ways, you make your own luck, but there is a thing called chance, and being in the right place at the right time. Networking ties into “luck” as well.

    Being a physician isn’t the easiest way to obtain wealth, but it’s one field where you don’t need to get lucky to have a good shot at earning and accumulating real money. Compared to other industries with similar salaries, we’ve got pretty good job security, and nearly all doctor jobs pay reasonably well.

    Nice post, and congrats to your brother. What does he do to stay busy these days?


    • August 25, 2016 at 3:57 PM

      He plays golf, bought a ranch that he has started to improve upon, and now does a lot of volunteer work. He is so “type A” that we are all wondering how long this retirement will really last.

      • August 28, 2016 at 7:50 PM

        Sounds like he’s living the good life. Might be tough to give up that kind of freedom once you get used to it.


  • September 15, 2017 at 6:48 AM

    Networking is a must! I completely agree with this. When you network and meet people who are smarter and doing financially better than you, you learn so much from them.

    • September 15, 2017 at 3:23 PM

      Adapting methods that have lead to their success is an easy way to learn through others so to avoid making similar mistakes. Best practices, is a term used in many industries, where companies copy each others best practices that have lead to improved outcomes. Thanks for visiting. I think no matter how big we all get in our industry, we can always find a mentor and someone to network with.

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