Physician Financial Grand Rounds – Bariatric Edition

The Best Articles on Physician Finance

Executioners from Shaolin (1977) Hong Xi Guan (original title)

The best physician finance content is written by physician bloggers scattered across the internet. Physicians and other high income professionals often have a different relationship with work and money than many in the general population. So, having “insiders” writing about this gives insights, experiences, and inspiration that resonates with us in ways that those outside of that sphere may not understand. I started the Loonie Doctor to try and fill a void that I found in Canada. In the brief period since then, I have discovered a number of other Canadian physician bloggers with aligned goals – like Dr. Networth, and Financially Free MD who all kindly posed with me for a cameo on the right.

Physicians Use Both Formal & Informal Opportunities To Learn From Each Other

Like in medical practice, in personal finance, there are many ways to approach the same problem, and the best course of action is usually very individualized. We need our finances to support our personal values and unique circumstances. Doctors share tough cases and learn from each other in a number of ways.

The most common informal educational encounters occur daily as corridor consults and hanging around the doctors’ lounge. The equivalent of the physician finance doctors’ lounge for Canadian docs would probably be the Physician Financial Independence (Canada) Facebook group. There is great daily conversation there.

In addition to those organic conversations where physicians help to advise each other, we also have more formal gatherings to discuss important topics. That could be annually at major conferences, or monthly, at various rounds. These more formal venues help us to cover topics that may not come up frequently on their own or to hear from an expert in an area. The longstanding tradition of Grand Rounds serves to bring in outside speakers, or highlight local talent, to teach us about medicine from a fresh perspective, or spark healthy debate around contemporary issues that we face.

Modified from an image in the National Library of Medicine.

Canadian Physician Financial Grand Rounds

My goal with these monthly posts will be to fill the more structured role of garnering and highlighting great articles about physician finance from experts across the internet. In medicine, the topic and speaker choice is usually directed by the Department Chair – I will attempt to do that, but if you come across something amazing that I have missed, then please post it in the comments section below the post. My hope is to do this mid-month and garner topics from articles over the preceding few months.

Modeled after a traditional Grand Round, as self-appointed Department Chair, I will start with some housekeeping while everyone grabs their coffee, chats, and ignores me. Except for the keeners in the front row, who either want to suck up because they are looking for a faculty position or Christmas off this year.

Housekeeping – This Past Month On Loonie Doctor

Is it bad to be good?Canada corporation tax savings rate – We examined the potential effect of the new corporate tax rules on a moderate income physician if they are a good saver.

Basic moves to avoid the new federal tax on passive investment income – We learned some basic moves to limbo under the new small business tax threshold that will get rid of the problem for most docs early in their careers or on the edges of the effected group of physicians.

Choose Your Weapons – For those who have already built up large corporate savings or with high incomes that cannot dodge the new rules with just a few steps, we reviewed some of the other options in our arsenal to repel the tax pirates.

swap-based ETF structureSwap-based Total Return Index ETFs – This boutique ETF product has seen renewed interest with the new attention on investment income taxation. We examined how swap-based ETFs work and their general risks. We’ll delve into some specific cases over the coming weeks in the Sim Lab.

Now for the part where folks quiet down and wait with bated breath to see whether getting up early was worth it and whether to pretend that their pager just went off on vibrate and then quietly leave. The speakers:

  • Physician On FIRE wrote last month about FatFIRE. Most blogs about financial independence and retiring early (FIRE) focus on the living-on-air-and-love-so-you-don’t-need-money side of the equation. I have honestly struggled with that because while I do enjoy air, and my family is the centre of my life, I also like spending money. As high income earners, we are fortunate that we can strike a balance and achieve FI and RE-focus on what matters to us. However, it doesn’t have to be lean. His coming clean about the different reality, advantages, and great possibilities for physicians helped to assuage some of my guilt and the feeling that I was keeping my good fortune as a dirty little secret. It was like therapy to feel more comfortable in my redundant folds of financial skin, and I am hoping for Loonie Doctor to become a Canadian FatFIRE bariatric centre. Later as my twelve step programme progresses, I will have to come clean also.

    fat financial independence
    Adapted from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, New Line Cinema, 1999.
  • Dr. Moneyblog has grown a huge net worth. Enough that even those with the healthiest appetites amongst us could fatFIRE. However, she has kept to her mantra of simplicity in life. While trying to pack on the slabs of well-marbled fatty-financial muscle, it can be easy to make it really complex. She recently shared her current set-up and her plan to simplify financial accounts.
  • Passive Income MD is another rotund physician financial blogger in the US who wrote about working toward FI while spending a whopping $200K/yr. I bring this post up not only because it makes me feel better about my spending – he has me beat (barely) when I convert loonies to $USD. He has balanced practice and life by growing non-medical income generating side-gigs. Much is centred around real estate which he enjoys and is obviously good at. However, it seems like too much work for me. I wouldn’t want to burn that many financial effort calories.

That brings us to the end of our inaugural physician financial grand round. Hopefully, everyone didn’t get “paged” away and found it worthwhile to stick it out.

We will now open the floor to questions or comments and I hope to see you next month. Enjoy your Victoria Day long weekend! Your absence at future rounds will be noted by The Chair and weigh heavily upon the scheduling of service for future long weekends.


  1. Hello LD!

    Thank goodness I still get to call you that. If I calculate it correctly, I probably spend more than the average woman. I just tend to spend on bad investments instead. Thankfully I wasn’t geared toward pretty and blingy things or else I’d really regret it. It was like when my husband lost about 75K in a matter of weeks on his silly internet stock. I laughed it off but all he could see was his Porsche vanish right before his eyes!!! Of course I was also nice enough to remind him of that being the good wife that I am.

    1. Hey Dr. MB! My wife is quite adept at reminding me of my “stupid husband tricks” too. It helps keep my bad behaviours in remission and is probably why married men have a longer life expectancy 😉

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