Episode Number: 206

Episode 206- The Emotional and Mental Journey of Financial Independence and Finding Freedom Along the Way w/ Doc G

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The Emotional and Mental Journey of Financial Independence and Finding Freedom Along the Way

Jamila Souffrant 0:00

You're listening to the Journey to Launch podcast, The Emotional and Mental Journey of Financial Independence and Finding Freedom Along the Way.

Intro 0:12

Welcome to the Journey to Launch podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant, as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom.

Jamila Souffrant 0:39

Hey journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch podcast buckle up, I'm talking about a topic money of course, but not just money, the journey, the intricacies the layers of what money means to us, how we apply it, how we use it as a tool, and not just have it be this goal of numbers but a life while live. What are we doing with the money that we are accumulating, saving investing. How are we living our lives on this journey so that we fully are living our lives and so I'm really excited to have on Doc G. He's a physician who left his busy practice upon recognizing that he was no longer enjoying his profession. And he was actually financially independent. Now he works in hospice care and is the host of the award winning podcast Earn and Invest. And so I have a real full discussion with Doc G about his personal journey. So how he even realized one day that he was financially independent, what got him there, but most importantly, how he saw and crafted a life for himself that was what he wanted not what was expectations put on him which I know a lot of people that's what you know, you go through at first it's you're living a life mostly for other people. So how do you create and live a life all of your own and journey on this path to financial independence, But enjoy the journey? How do we recognize the the mindset work that it takes? How do we live a life and the really nice thing about doc G's perspective, is he works in hospice. And so he sees firsthand what people regret at the end of their lives. And he's going to share some insights about what we can do more of now, so that we don't have regrets and just enjoy the journey a bit more.

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Hey, journeyers. So I am when I already know you know, sometimes I have these kind of like feelings about conversations. And I kind of feel like that with this conversation Doc G, but I think that this conversation journeyers is going to be very insightful based on the work that duck G has done already with his Earn & Invest podcast and brand. And then his personal life experience. So I bring a lot of people on this show and some people have reached financial independence, some are on their way. But there's nothing like talking to someone who's has reached it. But it's still continuing to work like choosing to work. And I find that that is I would think the ultimate way in which people want to live their life. Like even if you have all the money like you're still contributing to the world. So I love that part of your story, Doc G And I want to get all into it for my junior. So here, so welcome.

Doc G 7:00

I am so happy to be here I had a guest on my podcast, his name was Meyer Feldman. And he wrote a book called "There's no finish line." And as I get farther in life, I realized that I used to look at my finances as a finish line that when I certainly had enough money or got to a certain place I was done. And the older I get, the more I realized that that's really kind of a false goal. It's a false finish line, and that there really isn't a finish line because I think we as human beings strive to do more whether we're making money for it or not.

Jamila Souffrant 7:31

Yes. And so one of the things that I that struck me so I'm I know of your podcast and your work. I've been on your show, and like a roundtable discussion before. But I saw a clip from Dr. Knees Podcast, where he put you on social media, and you had this kind of quote that stood out to me or comment and you were like, I'm a doctor, which is hence Doc G. That's your, what we call you. But you were like, you know, being a doctor is what I'm good at. But it's not what you like doing. I want you to expand on that. Because I think that is the line right there for a lot of us where sometimes we're good at something, but we don't want to do it. So talk more about that.

Doc G 8:02

So it was really upsetting to come to this conclusion, I was born the son of a doctor, my dad who I worship died when I was eight. So the one piece of him that I had left was this profession that was so important to him. So I grew up thinking I was going to be a doctor. And that's exactly what I did. I went to college and medical school I studied really hard and I became this thing which I revered from childhood, this thing that brought me closer to my father. And when I finished medical school and started residency, I was like, Okay, I'm there, this is it I've become. But as I practice medicine, the further and further I got out from it, I started realizing that that was the dream of my father and not necessarily my dream. While I liked being a doctor, it never really sat comfortably with me. Like I didn't want to go to the doctors lounge and hang out with other doctors. I had lots of friends, but almost none of them were fellow physicians. And then I found myself going with my wife to parties where people didn't know me. And I was dreading having people ask me what I did for a living. And as this all clicked, I realized that I've built my life around this profession, and I've become good at it. Like I was known throughout professional circles is the guy who pay a lot of attention and listen and make a hard diagnosis. This was something I was profoundly good and effective at. And yet it wasn't filling my cup. It was the thing that I was holding on to this piece of my identity that I thought was so important and yet wasn't making me happy. And so to come to the conclusion that yes, maybe this is the thing I'm best at, but it isn't really bringing me joy. And maybe it wasn't even the thing I was meant to do. It's just where my life has led. And that's troubling, right, especially when you're in your 30s and your 40s and you've built this life around yourself to then decide Hmm, maybe I need to reinvent myself and start thinking about who really am I And what are my unique purpose and identity?

Jamila Souffrant 10:03

Yeah. And I think a lot of people either have that question or don't even want to approach the question like it's in them, but they don't even want to open up that can of worms because of what it might mean. And it reminds me of this quote, actually, from divine hostess on Twitter, I saw it. And immediately when you were talking, I wanted to pull it up. And she said, careful not to build a life that others will be proud of only to find that life actually makes you miserable. Which a lot of us are doing, following in the footsteps of our parents or the expectations or society. So once you asked yourself that hard question, because you did start to pivot, and we're going to talk about what you did and what you're doing now. But what gave you the courage to do that you spent so much time and money in this field with this identity? So how did you start to unravel that?

Doc G 10:47

Well, something major happened, I was facing burnout, I had secretly started planning my financial life to get out. Because I knew that it wasn't working. I knew that there were the stresses there. I knew it was weighing down on me. But what really was the pivot point was when I discovered personal finance and financial independence, I had always considered this idea that I can't do the things I really want in life, because you can't make a living doing those things. So I knew I liked public speaking, I knew I liked writing, I knew I liked interacting with people, what eventually would become podcasting. But I always kind of told myself, that's what you do for fun. That's a hobby. That's not how you make a living. All of a sudden, over a short period of time I started delving into my finances, I realized that I was financially independent, I couldn't use that as an excuse anymore. Like I used to say, Well, I'm gonna keep being a doctor, because that's my living. That's how I make money. That's what I need to be doing. And all of a sudden, that was just an excuse, I have enough money, then became the brass tacks of Okay, are you really strong enough? And are you courageous enough to change your life? So that pivot point was learning about my finances realizing I was financially independent, and I didn't have an excuse anymore. And as I tell people, often, as opposed to that being a glorious moment, where I discovered my own financial independence and lived happily ever after, it was incredibly anxiety provoking and depressing. Because now I had to face my life. And I had to look in the mirror and say, Okay, this is what you've built around you, and it's not making you happy. Time to start again. And that wasn't easy.

Jamila Souffrant 12:28

So you talked about realizing you were financially independent. So you were subconsciously already, I would love to talk about that journey, especially for the doctors who listen are aspiring doctors, because I know you can graduate with tons of debt, and things like that. But like, what was that journey like? Because it sounds like you didn't realize that you were financially. Okay. So what were you doing up until the time you graduated from medical school until you find out that you were financially independent, that allowed you to become financially independent without knowing it?

Doc G 12:55

So in some ways, I was very lucky. And in other ways, I wasn't lucky. So what is one of the big things that keeps us from being financially independent, or at least financially secure? Well, it's college loans. And for doctors, it's medical school debt. Well, my dad died when I was eight. And believe it or not his life insurance money, which was $200,000. In the early 1980s, my mom invested and it compounded to such a great extent that it ended up paying for not only college for me, but also for medical school. So first and foremost, I come from that sense of privilege that I didn't have any medical school debt, which we all know coming out of medical school, taking on a doctor salary, which means you make a lot of money and not having the debt is going to shoot you forward in being financially independent. But I also grew up in a family that modeled great financial behavior. So after my dad died, my mom was in business school, she started her own business. She eventually married a CEO of a health care company, he did side hustles they both bought real estate together. And they didn't spend much they were incredibly frugal. So as I was growing up, I had these wonderful behaviors modeled for me. So coming out of medical school, I didn't have any debt. And the only thing I knew was you invest your money in the stock market, you buy real estate, you save much more than you spend all of these were ideas ingrained in my head. But no one told me that actual details. So I had all these general ideas. And thank God, I kind of followed my parents footprints, right? I did exactly what they did. But my mom was an accountant. I eventually went to her and I said, I'm getting kind of tired of medicine. I'm starting to think maybe I need to transition to something else. How much money do I really need to consider getting out and maybe kind of early retiring and she kind of threw out a number she said, Oh, $10 million. I'm like, Well, I don't have $10 million. Now at that time, I wasn't smart enough to really question and say okay, what does that mean and why? And so I had a financial advisor at that time and I went to my financial advisor and He did all these Monte Carlo simulations and came up with a number. But one of those big questions he asked is, well, how much are you going to want to spend a year. And I had no idea because I never budgeted I just knew I saved a lot. But I never paid attention to the details. So I kind of said, Oh, I'd like to spend 250,000 $300,000 a year, I had no basis for that number. So of course, when he did his Monte Carlo simulation, etc. I wasn't quite where I needed to be to retire based on his numbers, either, because they were ridiculous numbers. It was only when I delved into it myself and started reading and learning about how you calculate, at least economically what enough is that I came to the conclusion that, indeed, I had enough money. That was that kind of point. So you look at your life, and you say, you know, how do you interpret your life, I interpret that a bad thing happened. My dad died when I was young. But lots of amazing things happen. Like I didn't have to pay for college or medical school. And then my mom married this incredibly financially savvy person who taught me all sorts of things. So I choose to interpret the things that I went through as really good and privilege. So I had all these wonderful privileges getting to this point. So it was really nice, because when I finally had the emotional where with all to confront my identity, I had all my ducks in a row.

Jamila Souffrant 16:20

Yes, so many things here. And I know someone's like listening, maybe it's like, Well, okay, well, that you don't have to pay for medical school. But what I what I take from this, and I really can learn from anyone, and I hope people are taking what they can from the story, but what I just learned from what you just said is the importance of having insurance. So that way, you know if and when we pass, we all will eventually one day that if we have kids generations can have something and do something with that have a head start, then also this idea of you say frugality, but also like this conscious of spending and investing. So it's like, you definitely had all the right ingredients to make you who you are today in terms of the financially savvy person you are. But for anyone who's listening, it's just like, Well, alright, this is not gonna apply to me, I think of it as, okay, here's why it's so important to have insurance, and to teach your kids even if you're just not even doing these, this specific lessons, but modeling behavior. So I'm thinking about the next generation that comes up behind me that is going to be more financially savvy. So I love that part of your story, actually,

Doc G 17:26

I really think it's important to point out that it is generational. So if you are, let's say 55 or 60. And you're listening this and you're saying, Well, I didn't have those role models, and I didn't know so now I'm at this place where I don't have all my ducks in order. A, I think it is never too late. And people find that when they get intentional about their finances, things improve much quicker than they think. But at some point, someone has to generally generationally step in and start making really good decisions. So we live on the backs of our predecessors, you know, my savvy, financial moves often came from my parents. And so even if you're 55, or 60, and you're starting now, those things you can teach your children and your grandchildren will benefit them for generations and generations. So it has to start somewhere, right, someone in that family tree has to start making really good decisions and it benefits everybody.

Jamila Souffrant 18:22

Yeah. And also, it's the way you view your life. And it's not the same, everyone does not have the same privileges. There's levels to this. But when you can acknowledge or recognize what has happened for the greater good, what has pushed you forward, that you can harness that more as fuel to help you further. Amazing. So Alright, one of the things that you talked about a lot in your content, and just now you even said it was the emotional part of the journey, the internal work that you need to do because while you realize that you had enough based on when you define what a lifestyle was that you wanted to have, that didn't alleviate like all your worries, and you didn't quit right away, right, like, so I want to talk about that process, because so many people so many journeyers listening to this, that's their goal, I want to have X amount in investments in the bank, and then I'm good, like job done, I can quit and I'll be happy ever after. And I hope that for everyone, I hope that's what happens. But the reality of it is there's a lot of work to be done during this time to get there and even when you get there. So I want to talk about that work.

Doc G 19:21

I think people don't realize that money is no more than a lever to get you what you really want in this world. And it's really easy. And I fell into this too. At some point I started looking at money as the goal. And I think in a lot of ways that's the Mirage because we see the shimmery Mirage and we think that gives us meaning and purpose to go for that mirage. It's really changed my way of thinking about financial independence because when I started this journey, I thought that was really one way to do it. I call it front loading the sacrifice. What you do is you sacrifice a lot you work really hard, you save you don't spend you invest, you make a lot of money and then you get to a net worth goal and that Nirvana, and you're there, right. And I think that was a very immature way of looking at these things. What I've now started to think about is, what if you started with purpose and identity? What have you started with what brings you meaning, and start focusing on those things, and then circle back and figure out how you can become financially independent or financial independence can bring you there. So there are a lot of different ways to get to a stable financial position, I front loaded the sacrifice, you may find that you like not being in an office, and you like building your own businesses. So you could become financially independent by investing in real estate and within a short period of time own enough real estate, that it cash flows, that it pays for your monthly expenses. That in itself is financial independence, and it might be much more consistent with your meaning and purpose of what you want to do in the world. And then there's even the bigger contrast, let's say you're an artist, or a musician, and you love your work. I kind of figure you're financially independent, the minute your work provides enough for you to live on, because you're living out your meaning and purpose, and you're doing what you want to do. And in this case, it creates money. And you live off of that. And so as long as you're physically able, and of course, for those people who are artists who are worried about you know, what if I get disabled, what if I can't play my instrument anymore? What if I can't draw anymore? Well, there's insurance that can protect you against that disability insurance, etc. So, if you love your job, I almost think you're financially independent from the day you start working in your early 20s. When you start doing that job for a living, so there's lots of different roads, you can take, I front loaded the sacrifice, lots of people do the kind of side hustles and passive income thing to open up their time to fulfill their purpose and other ways. And then there's some people who are just innately lucky enough to find purpose in work. It's really broadened my opinion of what money and work mean. And I guess that's the short answer to that long story I just told is, I think that the money is a little bit of a mirage, and we have to focus more on what do we really want out of life, and then find how to use money as a lever to get there.

Jamila Souffrant 22:12

Yes, and you know, the work part of it is important. So I agree with you, if you right now are listening if and are lucky enough to enjoy what you do. And now it's just a matter of making, you know, having the income be consistent and make enough to provide the lifestyle you want. Like, in some ways, I feel like Like you said, you're ready, in my opinion you won because a lot of people are just searching for that fulfillment. Now I know that there are bills to be paid, and that starving artists like their bellies need to eat like all this stuff, I get like the programmatic of you know, money and why it's so important, like the essentials. But I also feel like it is a cyclical journey. And so you know, the reason that people and even yourself you're financially independent now, but you still work, but it's work that you enjoy doing. And so, if you are finding the work that you have right now enjoyable, then yes, like, you may have a different strategy now of being able to live. But if you are in a place where you're not enjoying what you do, I think, you know, you can front load, like I know me, I earned a lot of money, or throughout my working career, it's helped me to be able to be in the position I am. But if you're not enjoying what you do, like that's a question. Now I want to like, throw back to you. What does someone do in this position? Like they want to become financially independent, they don't enjoy their work? Is the only answer side hustles? is it changing positions taking that pay cut? What would you recommend for them to find that balance?

Doc G 23:35

So I think the first thing you have to do is before you decide that you don't like something you want to get away from it, you have to really decide what you do want, and what that looks like. Because it's really easy to decide what you don't like and want to get away from it. But I think it's really hard to start making that transition into a life you want until you know what your true goals are. So if you don't like your job, is there a work out there? You would like? If there is work out there, you would like? Can you support yourself doing that that's like the easiest situation. I don't like my job, there's something I'd like to do more, it pays reasonably similar, then you switch. That's the easy answer. Let's say you don't like work in general, or are like me and you want to Front Load the sacrifice? Well, then you really start looking at some of those tenants of financial independence, like how do I save, earn and invest to such an extent that I can shorten that time doing something I don't like? So I would say never stay in a job you hate. But let's say the job you just don't like, how can you shorten that time period from where you are today to where you have enough money to not do that. Now for some people that is side hustles and passive income for other people it's putting in overtime. And so that's something you really have to decide. What people don't realize is there's lots of hybrids out there. So I talked about front loading the sacrifice. Let's say you don't like your job, and you can work really, really hard. And retire in 10 years based on all the numbers in the calculations, you've really gone down the rabbit hole and learned about financial independence. Let's say you can, you know, be done in 10 years. Well, I don't want you to do something you don't like for 10 years. So what if you worked three quarters time, and instead of being retired in 10 years, you retired and 15 years, but then in that one quarter you had left, you did something that was really rejuvenating something you liked, maybe exercise, maybe you spent time with family, maybe you've always wanted to be a writer, and that's your writing time. Like, how can we take whatever you're doing now, and improve it by a few percent each time. I think there are lots of little things you can do. But I don't think you can do any of that until you realize first and foremost, where do you really want to be? And then you kind of work backwards? I know what my destination is, well, how am I going to get there from where I am here. And that's when things I think become a lot more clear.

Jamila Souffrant 25:54

Yeah, that's great. And one of the posts you wrote was something called money mindmeld. And it talks about, when you're on this journey to financial independence, once you reach it, like technically the technical sense, then you don't really have as much to look at or blame, right. Like, we kind of have, we're in these situations where you can like clarify and expand, but we don't have as much to like, fight back on. Like when we reach the goal, the ultimate goal. And so oftentimes, what we don't realize is the fight, or, you know, this struggle, like our hero's journey to financial independence, like it is actually what we are enjoying, but we don't like notice it because and we won't notice it until it's done. And then we're like, Wait a second, this is it. Like, actually, the journey was the best part. So I want you to, to kind of go through that because I thought it was such an insightful piece that you wrote.

Doc G 26:44

So I use this term, the money mind meld. And it's this whole idea that money is a mirage, and especially once you learn about personal finances, and you start thinking about things like financial independence, you start to live, sleep, and breathe that net worth number. And so it's really exciting, you're optimizing, you're learning how to invest, maybe you're starting a side hustle. And it all feels really good. And it gives you a sense of purpose. And it's a mirage, because that sense of purpose is kind of a false sense of purpose. Money is not a goal, financial independence is not a goal. Again, it's a lever. And so if you get all caught up in that process, and it becomes the purpose and meaning of your life, once you get there, it feels very, very empty, because now you're there. And what Next, I prefer to look at it is find a purpose that isn't money, and then allow your money to get you there. And I think that's really the goal. But you brought up also a really important part, you know, what we really enjoy is the climb, what we really enjoy is making steady progress to a goal that's far away, but possibly achievable. Sometimes getting to that goal is not nearly as enjoyable as the process of climbing up. And so I'm at this stage in my life. And I think getting to financial independence helped me with this is I used to be very goal oriented. Now I'm very process oriented. So how can I enjoy what I'm doing right now? How can I enjoy the process of a project and still feel like I got something out of it, regardless of where I end, whether I'm successful or not, whether the end product I'm proud of or not, can I enjoy the here and now. And so I've now structured my life to fill it up with activities. Because if I'm not enjoying what I'm doing at the moment, or I'm not going to be enjoying it relatively soon, I'm not sure it's worthwhile anymore.

Jamila Souffrant 28:49

It's that balance of the sacrifice, which is not a great word for people who are really pushing back on, you know, getting their finances order, because it's like, why why sacrifice, we just want to live your life, right? But it's that like, fine line between making the feeling the goal, right, like so what the feeling is like, the happiness like choosing the happiness every day, the pockets of happiness and things you enjoy every day of your life, making that the point, which you know, it's just like, well, that's not what I want with the money first, and I could be happy.

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And I know everyone's at different points. And like for certain people, it's kind of like, that's easy for you to say because you're you reach this certain level. And same thing with you, Doc g like, you know, just like when people like Oprah millionaires, it's just like, it's not about the money and then it was like, well then give me your money and then like we'll see. But it's kind of like no think about where you were even no matter where you are in this journey listening when you had more debt, like I'm sure you've come some way in the last maybe couple years especially you've been intentional about your money and think about like, how far you've come since then. And all your problems are not like solved still right like so a lot of stuff internal work. So I just want people to really focus on what he is saying here, because it's important that internal work.

Doc G 30:06

Yeah, I heard this quote originally from Jim Dally, but it may go further back than that. But you know, he kind of said like money is like oxygen. When you don't have enough, it's about the only thing you can think about. But once you have enough, extra oxygen doesn't really do a lot. And I think money is similar. You know, we need enough for our basic needs, we need to be able to clothe ourselves, and to have a warm place to live and be able to feed ourselves. But once you get past a certain point, money unto itself doesn't usually bring happiness. And so we're really good, especially in personal finance and financial independence, learning how to accumulate money, but it stops bringing us joy. Once we get past a certain point.

Jamila Souffrant 30:50

What is your opinion about actually spending money because I find that it depends on who you're listening to in the financial independence space. But I find that a lot of it is accumulation, the hoarding, and not necessarily in a bad way. But like more and more and more save the dollar here. And it's not much talked about that people actually now who have security who have money actually don't even like spending it and not in like a way that makes them feel good. But they actually feel bad about it or, you know, things that they need, they don't buy or it's like this internal battle. And I think it's interesting, because there's not enough talk about what happens when like, frugality goes the other way. And it's not in alignment with yourself, or you just don't feel now good with the money that you have, like, so can you talk about if you experienced that or what that's like.

Doc G 31:35

So I live in a funny place between having a father who died when he was eight and realizing that mortality is always possibly around the corner life is finite. So in a sense, yes, you do only live once. And it's really sad to let possibilities pass by because you're worried about money. And on the other hand, I'm a personal finance, personality, someone who podcasts and spends a lot of time talking about financial independence, which in many ways is about saving and investing. And I think we're way too black and white on these issues. I think that money is again, a tool for us to use. And sometimes part of having one of those tools is using it frivolously for pleasure, right? So it's about scale, like you can go out and go for a big dinner once every once in a while and spend more than you normally would, because of the pure joy that it brings you or the celebration. On the other hand, if you're cleaning out your bank account to go on fabulous vacations every year, then you're probably spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. So I think there's no easy answer. I think we have to allow ourselves a little bit of both, I think we need to be able to spend in some time spend more than people think we should because, you know, everyone will talk about our opportunity cost. And they'll say, if you spend your money, you lose the opportunity cost. And if you just invested it in what a compound in 10 or 20 years, you'd have hundreds of 1000s of dollars. Well, you know what experience education, love, joy, all those things compound too so if you don't spend money and miss those things, happiness is different also. So I think we have to take both into account and it would be short sighted to say, hard and fast, you should never spend money on things that bring you short term joy, because sometimes that's part of what being alive is about.

Jamila Souffrant 33:34

Yeah, happiness compounds too. I love that. And you know, you brought up just how life is finite. And I want to talk a little bit about what you currently do. So you currently are still working, I want to talk about like what your current role is what you do, and how that's taught you so much being a hospice doctor.

Doc G 33:52

So I was practicing general internal medicine, which means I was the you know, the adult doctor you go to to see in the office, I was also seeing patients in the hospitals in the nursing homes, I had a very, very busy practice, when I realized that I was financially independent, and that this was no longer bringing me joy. And I was burning out for medicine. Instead of just saying I'm going to chuck medicine, I'm done. I took a different approach. I said, Well, what is sapping my energy in medicine, and how can I get rid of it? So I started looking at the different aspects of my job. And I said, Well, I don't need to make that extra money. So I'm not going to be on call anymore. And I don't really need to be in an office. So I'm not going to be in the office anymore. And I got rid of bit by bit things I didn't like in practicing medicine, there was one thing that was left. That was truly a joy that I would do even if I wasn't being paid for. And that was hospice medicine. So what I do is I work in a hospice where I help run teams of health care givers who take care of terminally ill patients. So generally I sit and help the nurses, social workers, chaplains certified nursing assistants take care of patients. I actually don't See them anymore. Usually the nurses call me and ask me for advice on how to take care of them. And I managed some of the Medicare charting and some of the administrative things that need to be done. But this still brought me joy. This was still consistent with the kid who grew up wanting to help people. That part of being a doctor that I still did very much connect with, I was able to keep that so I didn't have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I didn't have to step away from medicine completely and say that's no longer who I am. Because it was not true. There were parts of being a doctor that still felt very authentically me. And I was able to get rid of everything that didn't. And so that's how I started doing hospice medicine. Probably not surprising to anyone. Practicing hospice medicine also made me think a lot about money and how important it is in our life. And what really matters when you're terminally ill. So it's given me a lot of insight into not just life in general, but personal finance, also.

Jamila Souffrant 35:57

And what are some of those insights? Right? Like you've seen, you get all this information and not just information, not just data? And but these are people's lives, right? Like the they live lives just like us. So what have you learned helping them through and helping your the caregivers through this process?

Doc G 36:14

Well, one thing I've learned is I sat and spent a lot of time with people right at the end of life, and I've listened to them talk about their regrets, as well as the things they're proud of. And very rarely do people regret not having enough money. Like it's not something people tend to say on their dime, that I wish I had more money. But you know what, people often regret making bad decisions about money, right? So it's not that they didn't have enough money, but often worrying too much about money, or caring too much about money or using money as a tool to have influence over other people. Those are things that people regret, as well as relationships that they never were able to make, right? Because they just didn't have the time or energy, bucket list items, things that they always wanted to do. But we're always too afraid or being authentic, like, being too afraid of who they were really were. So they never pursued those things that were important to them. But having enough money, it's never that it's never I wish I worked a little harder. I wish I invested more. People don't say those kinds of things when they're dying.

Jamila Souffrant 37:24

How does that shape how you spend your money? Or you know, invested? And what kind of advice would you give to people who are listening? Who, hopefully we all you know, we have a long time left here on this earth. But what kind of advice now? Would you help shape what we do with our decisions with money?

Doc G 37:41

Yeah, it's Don't be afraid to actually explore what has meaning to you, outside of the financial realm. Don't be afraid to say who am I? What gives me a real sense of meaning and purpose? Who are the people? And what are the connections in this world that are important to me. And I think once you define those things, then have the courage to either use money or not use money to get closer to those things. So what do I mean by that? In my case, I wanted to write I wanted a podcast, I wanted to public speak. So I was able to use money as a lever to get to those things, because I was financially independent, and I could leave my job and pursue those things. Even if I wasn't successful, I didn't even have to make a living at them. All I had to do was do those things that brought me joy. Conversely, there are people out there who are making a lot of money. And it is not getting them any closer to who they want to be or what they want to do in life. And to those people, I say, maybe you slow it down a little bit, maybe you work a little bit less and start thinking about what's really important to you.

Jamila Souffrant 38:51

Yeah, and I got you kind of broke it out. Because I find you know, I have a wide variety of people who listen, and they're at different stages of their journey. And I think each stage whether it is like just finding out about this, which is always just like a like your mind is blown, because like if you've never heard about this concept of financial independence, retire early, your first thought could be like, this is ridiculous. Like, I know what these people are like smoking, what they're doing, like, you know, and then some parts, I find a lot of people are just like, Wait a second, there's a way out out, quote unquote, and then there are people who are who have the means, you know, maybe they still have debt, they still have things they have to work on, but they have the income. So the first people I talked about not only are just finding it, but they really have a lot of work to do when it comes to like increasing their income, fixing their habits. And then you have like this group of people where I kind of felt like I was in the second round of people where we had the income but we just weren't optimized weren't intentional about it. And so we did have to make changes but they weren't maybe as drastic as me Well, there's some people need to do. So I think any level that someone is listening to this, that there is a way to start the process and gain benefit even if you're not financially independent, right? So I want to kind of talk about, like the different levels that people can hear this and you do kind of talk about the five stages of coping with financial independence. So can we go through that.

Doc G 40:09

So this was kind of a play on Elisabeth Kubler Ross. So she has this framework for talking about how people deal with this idea that they're going to die. And the framework has to do with the emotions they go through, and the processes of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And when I was thinking about financial independence, it's a major life change, just like learning you're gonna die is just like getting married. Just like having a child, we tend to deal with these major life changes, by becoming stressed out, and by having trouble dealing with it. So I was looking at financial independence under that framework. And I think you go through some of these similar processes, when you first start thinking about financial independence, or even if calculated that you might be there. The first thing you get is denial, like, oh, there's no way this could be true. There's no way I could have enough money, there's no way I could leave my job. Funny enough. When I went through this process, anger came quickly after when I realized that if I had just been smarter with my money, I could have got there five or 10 years earlier. So if I hadn't hired that financial investor, if I had worked a little more if I had saved differently, bargaining is this idea that you start questioning? Well, based on my current calculations, I might be financially independent, but maybe I've been too aggressive with my safe withdrawal rate, maybe I should bring it down to 3%. And then I won't be financially independent, more. So you start playing that game of Am I or am I not? And then depression comes, which for me was okay, I have enough money. It's this thing I've been shooting for forever. But what now? Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? What brings me meaning. And I think the final place is acceptance, which is a little bit of what we've been talking about this whole time is realizing that money is not a goal. It's a tool. And the goal actually is decide who you want to be in what you want to do in this world, and how to get there.

Jamila Souffrant 42:04

And how amazing if we had the hopefully the reference the frame of mind to ask that question earlier. Yes. Even while going through those emotions, those other ones?

Doc G 42:13

Yeah, and this is part of the big point, if you can ask these questions while you're in your 20s. I think the road to financial independence gets much easier, because how you decide to define it. And what it means to you becomes much more clear, when you decide where you're really going. And what people don't also realize is, it's fine. When your purpose and identity can change. Like I am not the same person, I was in my 20s and 30s. And that's okay, too. It's okay. If those things change. The idea is we find, I think, what I would call true joy and happiness when we're getting closer to what we feel our purpose and identity is. And then as you get older, that changes, and you set different goals and work towards different things. But I think that's the joy of life. It's not making money. So how can we work on that joy of life and incorporate money to help us get there?

Jamila Souffrant 43:05

Yes, yes. Okay, so what's next for you? Because we, you get to this place. And I always say, when I talk to people who are financially independent, often find that they're making more money or as much, and plus you add on happiness, happiness, just like ups are just like the life factor, that you're just like, people think you're gonna stop working. And it's like, No, actually people I meet that are financially independent, are making more, and they're happy. Where do you see yourself going over the next few years as you continue on your journey?

Doc G 43:34

So Jamila, you know, what's funny about this is, in some ways, this is gonna sound a little crazy. I don't know if I really right now, I feel totally happy doing what I'm doing. And if this is what I do for the rest of my life, I think I'd be fairly content. But the great thing about this is, at some point, one of these things won't make me happy anymore. Maybe it's the hospice work, maybe it's writing, maybe it's podcasting. But I'll probably change because you know, I'm in my 40s, life will be different in my 50s, and 60s, etc. The beauty of getting your finances in order is that when it changes, I can change with it. And that won't be stressful. And so I do have some short term goals. I'm in the middle of working on a book proposal, I want to write a book and publish it. There's some things I want to do. But I've gotten to this point where I kind of fill my life with things that bring me joy, and I have the flexibility to get rid of some of them or add more depending on how I feel that day. And I think for me, that's a really good goal. And that allows me to do things that have deep meaning for me. It allows me to connect to people who I can form real bonds and relationships with and I think that's what I was meant to do. Like that's, that's it. I don't have this master plan after that. Having a father Who died young, the one thing I'll say is, I guess I wanted to get my life in order to the point where I felt like if something bad happened, and I died tomorrow, I'd feel like I accomplished everything I needed to do. And I pretty much feel like I got there. I mean, my kids are 16 and 13. So I'd like to see them get a little older, those kind of things. But I kind of wanted to be in this place where I didn't feel that horrible ache that there was something that I hadn't done that I needed to do.

Jamila Souffrant 45:30

And talk about this ache. I know some, a lot of people feel that and even if you can't quit your job, and you don't, you're not in a position to make these big changes just yet, I do think you can set a plan in motion. You can start this if you listen to this podcast, you're already you know, you're already there, you feel the calling. So I just think it's having the courage. You mentioned that in the beginning, Doc G, the courage to do something about it. And I swear like that's what it is, is the courage to take a step as I felt the same way, like this urgent calling about before I had Journey to Launch, something was missing. And it literally I didn't have all distributed. I didn't know I'd be here like three years, four years later. But it was just the courage to keep to take that step. See what happens. And I know that could be a reality that unfolds for people you listening here. So

Doc G 46:17

one thing I'd add is, I know it's really easy to look at people who've reached financial independence, or people who are feeling comfortable with where they are, and say, That's not my life, and I'm not there. One thing I've learned in my own experience, as well as the experience of many people that I've interacted with is often the journey to change your mindset is the longest journey. changing your mind can often take more work and take more time than changing your finances. So don't be despondent. If you're not where you want to be financially. I found that not only do people make the biggest strides when their mind changes, but their joy increases even when their physical or financial lives have not yet. So for instance, I know a lot of people who discovered financial independence as doctors, and started planning towards it. And that brought them enough joy that they were able to relax at work. And when they finally got to where they wanted to be financially, they no longer wanted to quit their jobs. Because the stress and the know how and even knowing that there were options took away so much of the fear and anxiety. So you start with mindset. And it's the one thing that can change, usually without having to pay lots of money to get there.

Jamila Souffrant 47:43

Yes, yes. Love it. Doc G where can people find out more about you listen to your podcasts and follow your work.

Doc G 47:51

So you can go to my website, earnandinvest.com, you can listen to the Earn and Invest podcast on any place. You're listening to this wonderful podcast. So we're everywhere. And also I encourage you if you want to become part of the community, we are at facebook.com/groups/earnandinvest where we have a group of a few 1000 community members who like to talk about things as varied as personal finance. Occasionally we try to keep it a minimum. Occasionally we talk about politics, world events, etc. But it's just a place to kind of find your community and to talk about important things.

Jamila Souffrant 48:27

Yes, yes. All right, Doc G, thank you so much for coming on the show and spreading such wisdom.

Doc G 48:34

Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Jamila Souffrant 48:40

Okay, I really hope you enjoyed that conversation with doc g that you gathered, some insights that you can apply to your life. Hopefully it encourages you to live life today. Don't wait, don't wait to the debt is paid off. And when I say live life today, I don't mean go out and spend all your money. I mean live life today meaning really find out what gives you joy and purpose and work from there. And then I would love for you to share what you come up with what your biggest takeaways are with me on Instagram. That's where I hang out most I hang out everywhere but mostly on Instagram at journey to launch tag me at journey so launch on Instagram and then doc G is add on and invest on Instagram. If you want to tag us let us know what you think of this episode your biggest takeaways any aha moments that you got from this.

Don't forget to sign up for my pop up private podcast series. It's a limited series so sign up now by going to journey to launch.com slash money dreams. Don't forget you can get the episode Show Notes for this episode by going to journey to launch comm or click the description of wherever you're listening to this and you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to launch comm slash jumpstart. If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show.

If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you are not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple podcasts, rate, review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review. Number two, follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeyers there. Three, support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl. Four and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of journey to launch. Alright, that's it until next week, keep on journeying journeyers

(This post may include some affiliate links)

What gives you joy and purpose? This week on the podcast, Doc G, a hospice physician and the host of the Earn & Invest podcast, shares the emotional and mental journey to reaching Financial Independence (FI). 

Doc G explains that often we see money as the goal, but money is a tool to get to where we really want. We can very easily chase the end goal of financial freedom and feel empty and lost once we reach there and lose our purpose. The journey shifts when we start by discovering our purpose and prioritizing happiness today on the journey. Tune in to this week’s episode to hear more and learn how to use money as a tool on your path to freedom. 

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Doc G reached Financial Independence (FI)
  • Why he choose to continue working after reaching FI
  • How to use money as a tool & lever
  • The 5 stages of coping with FI
  • What role mindset plays in achieving and enjoying FI and much more…

Episode 206- The Emotional and Mental Journey of Financial Independence and Finding Freedom Along the Way w/ Doc G Click To Tweet

Sign up for the Pop Up Podcast Series, Building Blocks of Financial Success: Get Out of Debt, Save, Invest, and Achieve your Money Dreams”. First episode drops March 29!

In this series you will learn: 

  • Who are you and what is your “WHY”? Why do you want financial independence?
  • The Simple and Advanced Wealth Formulas
  • How to improve your mindset and habits to bring you more wealth
  • How community and accountability will make your journey more enjoyable
  • What is the Money Launch Club and how it can help you reach financial freedom

Other related blog posts/links mentioned in this episode:

  • If you missed enrollment, join the waitlist for my FI course.
  • Doors to the Money Launch Club will be opening soon! Join the waitlist to be notified when doors open. 
  • Join The Weekly Newsletter List
  • Leave me a voicemail– Leave me a question on the Journey To Launch voicemail and have it answered on the podcast!
  • Watch me on News12  Watch my latest segments on News12
  • YNAB –  Start managing your money and budgeting so that you can reach your financial dreams. Sign up for a free 34 days trial of YNAB, my go-to budgeting app by using my referral link.

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