Highlights of Year 5: My Blog is Back Alive

When I started the Loonie Doctor in the fall of 2017, I was in oscillating stages of burn-out. Fortunately, the negative forces that pushed me there also caused me to pause and look around. I started paying more attention to what I, and my family, were sacrificing for diminishing returns. It was eye-opening and helped me to gradually rediscover a better balance. That process also gave me a new purpose. To share what I have been learning. It has been three years since I gave an update on the blog, but much has happened and I also want to give a peek at what I have in store for you.

What the heck happened?!?

When I left off with my last annual review at the end of 2019, I had big plans. As I had eluded to, we were at a crossroads regarding financial independence. What many don’t talk about with financial independence is that arriving there may not be an event, it comes in many flavors. Still, flirting with financial independence raises a big new problem. What to do with it.

FIRE can make the usual mid-life crisis more explosive.

Choices are hard because you want to make good ones. Financial independence means that you can’t just say that you have no choice. Of course, FI was arriving for us around the age where many people have a mid-life crisis as they look behind and ahead at their lives. Couple that to financial independence, and BOOM! Explosive mid-life crisis. Way worse than a corvette and a comb-over.

Many people would have looked at our lives and think that we subsequently blew it all up. I was working full-time in an enviable clinical position and Chief of my Department with opportunities to advance. Instead, I cut back to full-time and made clear my intentions to take a pause on the leadership side.

We sold our huge country estate in the conservation area near where I worked and downsized to a moderate-sized house in a more average cost-of-living area. Our kids finished up their private school years and switched to public school. We literally got rid of a barn full of motorized toys – I mean serious work equipment.

Those choices were deliberate and we started execution of that plan in the fall of 2019. The pandemic unfolded just as we were moving and putting our monster house up for sale. That evil virus threw some wrenches in to the plan, but it has turned out well in the end. I hope to finally share our reasoning and lessons learned this coming year.

The pandemic gave my blog a rest, but it is now revitalized.

The pandemic also caused my blog to go into a medically-induced coma as I had to ramp up my clinical and leadership roles.

That honestly un-burnt me out for a while. My skills were suddenly in demand, pushed in new directions, had a clear purpose, and were appreciated again. Well, that is quickly gravitating back to baseline now post-pandemic. I went down to half-time this past summer and the torch for my admin role is soon to be passed on.

With a little defibrillation and CPR, I revived The Loonie Doctor in September with a renewed sense of purpose.

The Loonie Doctor Mission is even more important now.

While I wasn’t blogging over the pandemic, I did spend time working with other like-minded physicians in developing and delivering financial wellness content in different formats. That helped me to further hone my mission and core messages. I also had to update my blogroll extensively due to blog births and extinctions.

While the pandemic helped to unburn me out, it has ravaged most of our colleagues in healthcare. A huge part of my ability to control burn-out has been my strong financial position and awareness of how to use it. This makes the mission of The Loonie Doctor to empower and inspire others to do the same more important than ever. Fortunately, over the last few years I have been able to collaborate with others rowing in the same direction using different media. Here are a few of them:

Physician Private FB Group
Dr. Stephanie Zhou
Dr. Yatin Chadha
CMA’s CME Company

A More Organized Loonie Doctor

With the reboot, I have also decided to be much more deliberate in the content roll out. My goal is to have a comprehensive resource that is also organized into different sections and levels. That way, you can more easily get started if you are totally new and move through the material in a logical sequence. There are two main sections that I have been building out.

Core Financial Curriculum

This section is based off of the curriculum that I have been delivering in live sessions, but with more details, links to evidence, more diagrams, and better jokes. While many people gravitate to investing when they think about finance, it is just one plank of building wealth and using it for maximum positive impact.

Investing is like a cool-looking power tool that you can use. Learning how money works, how to set goals, and how to use money towards them is like the reading the blue-print and instructions. Sure, you can just pick up the tool and go. However, you are less likely to get the result that you wanted and more likely to lose some digits along the way. I am probably about half-way through the core curriculum and will continue to roll this out over the year.

DIY Investors Hub

The core curriculum helps with your financial planning and relationship with money. However, most people still find the investing aspects of a financial plan the most intimidating. A key part of that is trying to link together the basic knowledge required, the real-life actions, and some moral support.

So, I built the DIY Investors Hub to try and address the common barriers that prospective DIY investors encounter. It has basic training and an interactive step-by-step guide all linked together. With lots of “just-in-time” education, tools, and screenshots. This actually took several years and a few do-overs to build and I hope that people will use it to make their DIY investing journey better and easier. So, please share it with others considering DIY investing. Even veteran DIY investors can pick up some interesting tips and additions to their knowledge base.

DIY investor course

The Whole Enchilada

My focus previously was on advanced content that was hard to find elsewhere on the internet. Particularly, issues faced by high-income or incorporated professionals. That is still the lense that I write through. However, I hope to have a much broader impact by building up from the basics. The advanced content has been re-organized in the whole enchilada section.

I am extensively re-writing and refreshing the old advanced content and I have a lot of new advanced content planned. Part of the inspiration for the new content I am planning comes from the time spent building more advanced calculators and simulators. You can find some of them in the revamped financial calculator section.

I have learned a lot about efficiently paying salary vs dividends, building tax-efficient portfolios, and retirement drawdown strategies by building the relevant calculators. It will take many articles to explain what is happening under the hood, why, and to illustrate it with some case studies. That will be where I head next in the advanced curriculum of the site.

Blog Traffic

Top 3 Posts

These were the top posts, by traffic, in 2022.

corporation investing

#1 Investing Through a Professional Corporation was by far the most popular (~9K views). I did an extensive re-write of this core knowledge post. I updated some tired-looking charts, but also added and changed many parts to better highlight how investing with a corporation works and could fit into a larger plan.

after tax income calculator

#2 Value Your Time Using Your TiMER proved quite popular. Knowing the after-tax value of your time is a key piece of information to make better financial decisions for both the earning and spending sides of the ledger. I also think the embedded calculator was fun (and surprising) for many readers to see how efficiently they exchange time and money.

spending problem

#3 The Earning & Spending Trap fortunately got a lot of traffic. I am relieved because we are set up perfectly to take the bait and it is a hard one to get out of. Hopefully, this article helps prevent some tricky extractions.

Top 3 Under-rated Posts

These are three posts that I thought were pretty important or good, but got very little traffic.

ultimate donations tax guide

#1 & #2 are related. They were my articles about giving. I actually don’t approach this topic from a preachy-do-gooder standpoint. It is good, but learning to give well is a financial skill to make you happier. There is good evidence to support that and even how to maximize your satisfaction returns.

Giving tax efficiently can also redirect some of your dollars to things you care about rather than what the Government chooses. It can also be used to shift money out of your corporation into your personal hands more tax efficiently.

Perhaps these posts just had low traffic because they were relatively new. I think that they are the type of articles that people will come back to at the right time. The donation and tax efficiency post has a calculator and flowchart that are way more useful than anything else I have seen out there.

debt management

#3 Spending & Debt: A Chat With Future-You. The conflict of spending now vs later underlies many of the dilemmas we face in allocating our dollars. If we spend those dollars before we make them (debt), then our future-self pays the bill.

Framing it this way and considering how you will feel about it later is a great way to balance FOMO with SALO (Still Alive Later – Older) when you have to earn the already spent income. Future-You may seriously thank you for spending their money. Or they may have other words to share.

Plans for 2023

First of all, thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of this post. For those of you who have stuck with me through the pandemic, an extra thank you. I have plans to flesh out the Core Curriculum this year, support people using my DIY Investor Hub, and return to writing about some more advanced topics around investing and incorporation too.

One of my priorities is to revamp my Corp vs RRSP vs TFSA Calculator to make it more user-friendly and add a couple of features. It is a key illustrative device for long term planning and I know that a number of planners use it to show their clients. I have also been testing Robocorp SWAT (advanced portfolio builder) with semi-random returns over long periods and the results are pretty cool. Those tasks are extremely labor-intensive. So, I don’t have a timeline yet, but keep following The Loonie Doctor and you will be first to know.

You can sign up to be a Financial Full Code and get notifications of new articles (no spamming). If you like your colleagues, then share The Loonie Doctor with them also. If you don’t like them, then keep it a secret.


  1. Excited you are back!
    When producing content, can you possibly keep in mind the docs who are on the lower end of the earning spectrum (less than $250,000) and possibly give more examples or explanations for how certain principles may affect them differently?
    Thanks for this resource! It is truly an incredible thing you are doing

    1. Thanks and definitely. Most of the principles are exactly the same, regardless of income. I am trying to flesh out the general personal finance that applies to everyone. I didn’t spend nearly enough time on that when I first started the blog. The high-income range mainly has some extra tax issues (and sometimes more rope to get tangled in). Giving examples and doing cases is ultimately my plan since people like to learn from stories and compare how they fit to them. The curriculum articles that I have been doing are like the hubs and I hope to then makes spokes with examples/cases/nuances.

  2. Dear LD:
    I cannot believe #3 Spending & Debt: A Chat With Future-You( The conflict of spending now vs later) was not at the top of the list. I LOVED that post! All your writings are so informative, and a real blessing. Thank you for the countless hours you spend to educate us. My family is truly grateful. We need financial literacy more than ever these days.

    1. Thanks Sask to AB for the kind words. Having that kind of impact is what keeps me motivated to do this. I really could have used that chat when I was earlier on and self-flagellating over my school debts. Writing that post has really re-framed how I think about debt in a more healthy way. I hope that with some time, more will read it and internalize the message.

  3. Dear LD,

    Thank you for making it back and dedicating yourself to this type of public service! I’m still in amazement that reanimating this tremendous resource was part of the rationale you chose to gear down again to part-time in your medical career.

    I had discovered and started reading your blog just before the pandemic, so I was thankful that you had even kept all the content alive and available while LD.ca was in the medically-induced coma. I don’t know how many times I had come back and refreshed hoping to see new posts. And then… it happened; and with quite some frequency!

    You know that your target audience has expanded past the medical field (lawyer here), but your analysis applies across the board (and across a range of income levels where investing and FI become feasible) and is some of the best Canadian content out there. Keep this up if it gives you joy! It clearly gives others joy and invaluable resources–just what the doctor ordered. (I am partial to more advanced topics and new ways to look at things; but can find new ideas and extrapolating even when reading about medical residents, debts, and the basics of DYI).

    Thanks again and happy, prosperous and productive 2023!

    1. Thanks Baba. The more the merrier. I actually know of a number of lawyers, accountants, vets, dentists, engineers, financial advisors, and a pretty wide range of business owners or employees that follow the blog. I definitely think that the impact of good financial health applies across the board to all income levels and types of workers.

  4. Hi Loonie Doc,

    Glad you have brought the blog back to life! Personally, I thought that your house and the acreage were magnificent! Can you share a bit more of what went into your decision to sell the home and property? It seemed like you loved the place.

    I inherited some lovely heavily forested land many years ago and I was inspired by your beautiful home when considering what to do with the land. So far, my husband and I have just left the land as is, and stay in a tiny farm home that was already on the property. The nearest neighbor to us has built an incredibly luxurious 7000 square foot bardominium on his forested land and he seems to love it.

    The land is only a 50 minute drive from our very modest suburban house (which we plan to keep as it’s a 15 minute walk from the hospital where I work part time.)

    Hope you are enjoying the new home too.

    1. Thanks RocDoc. That sounds like a wonderful piece of property. I am planning to share some more about our decision. It was great home for our family for that phase in our lives and it was a dream for me to build a castle (I designed it and was very hands-on with construction). However, there were a bunch of things that made it time for a major change. One of my favorite things was having the acreage as a blank slate to make trails, treehouses, forts, gardens, and whatever crazy ideas came to mind. And having a tractor to do it. I reforested and tended about 15 acres of trees from seedlings when we bought it and I still get misty-eyed when I go by there and see the 30+ foot tall trees there now. We will likely get a property again for me to play with, but further from the big city (we had to live there for my peak work years). If we build again, it will be very nice, but smaller house. Probably a similar sized barn/workshop though 🙂

      1. I can relate to your sentimental feelings about the trees you planted on that beautiful property.

        Our land was already heavily forested, but those lofty trees are my favorite thing about our land. If we do eventually build a new home, I plan to cut down as few trees as possible.

        I’ll look forward to your future posts and I’m glad you are back!

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