Debt Free Doc Interview 3

Debt Free Doc Interview 3 - F

Here’s our latest interview with a debt free doctor (or soon to be). These stories allow us to continue to learn from those who are free of debt or currently on the path to do so.

If you’d like to be considered for an interview, drop me a note and we can talk about specifics.

Be sure to read all the way to the end and either leave your questions or comments.

My questions are in bold italics and his responses follow in black.

Let’s get started…



I am 33 years old and engaged (August 2019), we don’t have any children. I practice on the border of suburbia/ rural areas in the upper Midwest.



My graduating Dental school debt was $238,000 (from my exit counseling in April of 2014) actually graduated August 2014.

The other debt I have currently is my home which I purchased for $225,000 (I put 20% down to avoid the PMI) originated in July 2016. My house is not paid off and I am on a 30 year mortgage since this is not going to be my “forever” home.

My defining moment that made me decide to learn more about personal finance and get smart about debt happened after a long night out at a bar.  I was walking with some friends and saw a homeless person on the street. At that point I realized that this person has a HIGHER net worth than I do.

The type of plan for my student debt is two pronged: I pay the 20 year level plan, but I am in the Army National Guard and on the Health Profession Loan Repayment.

Currently my school debt is about half of what it was when I started paying on it.

The biggest mistake I made with my loans was ‘enjoying’ the grace period after I graduated during my one year internship. While it was sweet at the time to have some extra cash, the interest still compounds…

I am not currently debt free but from the projections I have at the end of February 2021 I’ll have under $30K of school debt and some left on the house (unless I am in my forever home by then).



I am a general dentist with an annual income of about $200K (granted I have a main job, in the National Guard and moonlight one day a month at a community clinic)

My work-life balance is pretty good, between all my jobs I average about 40 hours a week.

Jobs break down:

  • Main job – $140K guaranteed plus production bonus
  • Guard- health profession repayment + drill pay about $50K
  • Community clinic (about $8K)

Long range I am looking at getting into rental properties– I really want to get a passive income stream going especially because my soon to be wife wants to be a stay at home mom. (Editor’s noteI hear ya!)



Depending on how you define ‘personal’ I spend about $25-30K a year (I put my mortgage in personal category)

These expenses would be broken into Mortgage > disposables ( gas/ propane, utilities, internet, food) > personal entertainment

As far as a budget- I don’t have anything written down or tracked I go by gut feeling. Once I get married we’ll have to sit down and figure some more things out. 😉

I would estimate that I save at least 20% of my gross income. That’s kind of a loaded question depending on how you define ‘save’. If you have a white coat investor mindset, you’ll count debt reduction as savings.

My savings (both rate and amount) have increased as my income has increased since my fixed costs (mortgage and such) don’t change.

I secretly love spending money on mystery boxes – I like the surprise of what’s coming plus it’s awesome for last minute gifts since I have stuff in boxes laying around.



My investing philosophy is pretty much straight Jack Bogle –

  • invest early and often for the long term
  • invest in mutual funds
  • don’t try to crush the market
  • just keep up with it

My return rate is 7-8% (I get a yearly statement from the investment/ wealth management company I use).

My current net worth is negative $140k. My debt to asset ratio is 1.89 (all debt/ all asset) but I’m gaining on it

Target net worth is 4 million (it’s a super arbitrary number, I have no idea how I settled on it)

Assets that make up my net worth are: Mutual funds > 401K fund> Roth IRA> HSA. TSP (thrift savings account)



I would like the option to go part time at age 50, I would like to be full time retired at 60 years old (27 years from now)

My retirement plans are to hunt/ fish, vacation, spend time with my family. Financially I am planning on using my 401K, and rental property income (theoretical at this point)



My advice for the readers is to figure out what debt you are ok with having and for how long. Also to look at each loan you have individually (total of the loan AND the interest rate).

Sometimes it makes sense to pay off a small loan with a low interest rate and sometimes it doesn’t. I also advise that people start learning about personal finance- check WCI/ FIRE

I learned about finances by reading everything I could get a hold of. I liked the books:

The white coat investor forum and the personal finance threads on DentalTown.

Who inspired me?

My family- my dad (an electrician) was totally debt free at age 44 and was able to put two kids through undergrad. My grandma inspires me as well- she is a savant with picking stocks and she doesn’t have a computer.

I kid you not, she tracks stocks she is interested in on paper while watching CNN.

I give, not really to charity in large sums (I do love to put change into whatever little charity buckets are by cash registers since I hate having change in my pocket).

I have donated to my high school and in the next year will donate to my undergrad (UW-Milwaukee!).

The overall percentage is probably like one percent which I know is pretty low -but I would like to dig out of debt first.

Neal Rosenberg III, DDS


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