I wanted to share today how I manage my finances. The first thing you need to do when you are trying to get your financial health in order is come up with a way to track everything. There are two different programs that most people use: Mint and Personal Capital. These two programs are very similar and are completely online. Both allow tracking of expenses as well as categorization, and both have mobile apps (for tablets and phones). The two are free to use and I have had good results with both of them. Mint is a good starter platform, but if you have any investments and are looking for a way to track progress towards retirement, Personal Capital is the way to go. The screens give you much more data to use and the retirement tracker and planner is excellent. The spending categories are shown in an easy to find graph and list.
After creating an account, you can add in your individual bank accounts, investment accounts, and even things like a car or house.
Just find your bank and add your accounts!
The site can even give you a Zestimate for your house. This is nice as it gives you a rough estimate of what the value is of you home and is updated pretty regularly. The site downloads data from your bank websites to keep your accounts updated. It does this every time you log in and check the site.
Mrs. VOF and I both have our finances on one account. If you are married and your finances are separate, what are you waiting for?!! Here are some examples of what the site looks like once you have everything set up:
You can alter the location of each of the specific boxes: cash flow, net worth, etc. You can click on any of those boxes as well. Here are a couple examples of the budgeting and cash flow pages:
Here is an example of the retirement planner:
If you think this would be a helpful tool, check out Personal Capital and create an account. You will also get $20 just for signing up!
Financial Independence Optional Retirement – F. I. O. R.
I came across a great article on Mad Money Monster (MMM): Choosing FIOR–Financial Independence Optional Retirement. It is a short article, but is great food for thought. Many in the financial independence blogosphere are so focused on hitting specific income or net worth numbers, they are neglecting the second part: what to do afterwards. Not everyone wants to retire early. Not everyone has a plan for what to do in “retirement.” I think the big thing for us is exactly the point of MMMs article: getting to a spot in life where I don’t have to work. That is our goal. There is a lot to enjoy being a veterinarian. We will likely continue to work even after hitting FI, but that work will likely be a lot more different. It might be working part time, doing relief work, having a mobile practice. Maybe I will go back to doing wildlife medicine, or do exotics only. Maybe I will go waste a few years of my life doing a residency, or leave veterinary medicine all together. Who knows?
What’s your goal? Is it retiring early or is it just knowing you can leave your job whenever you want knowing you will be ok?
Sitting on the couch again wondering how else you could add a few bucks to your pocket? Look no more! Here is a quick way to add some cash to your bank account without much effort at all.
Veterinary Recommended Solutions has a program online that allows veterinarians to go to their site and watch a few videos. Each of these videos pays out a $20 honorarium. That’s it! All you have to do is watch a few videos. The number of videos they have available to watch varies, but the ones that pay out will say how much they offer.
You will need to sign up for the account and put your information in. Then you will get access to the education area. Simply click on the education tab, then on the neutraceuticals tab. This will then bring you to the videos. Look for the ones that say “veterinarians who watch this will receive $20.” Click on the video, watch it, then you will get an email telling you the check is on the way! You don’t even need to watch the video. You can turn on the video, walk away, and come back and done! Pretty easy stuff!
I hope you found this helpful. Enjoy the easy money!
Have you been sitting at home thinking how can I make money sitting on my couch?
Do you have a laptop, smartphone, or tablet?
Do you have a reliable internet connection?
If you answered yes to all of the above, JustAnswer may be for you. I have been using JustAnswer for the past 5 years and it has been an excellent supplement to my income. Some people work entirely from home and just do JustAnswer instead of working a traditional general practice (GP) or other in clinic job. So what is this site and what do you need to do to start making some money? Let me show you:
Here is an image of the homepage:
What do I do on this website?
Your job on this website is to answer questions for customers about their pets. Each question is organized as a category, such as pets, dogs, cats, cat veterinary, dog veterinary, birds, dog training, etc.
How much can you expect to make?
Each question available to answer comes with a price. This is how much you should expect to be paid for answering the question.
Answer the question and you get paid, right? Sounds awesome. There is however a catch. You must have the customer accept your answer and leave you positive feedback. The customer does not need to leave you positive feedback and it is their option as to whether or not they ever will. This can become quite frustrating when you are spending a lot of time with a customer in the chat and they either leave negative feedback because they don’t like your answer, or they just don’t leave positive feedback.
So, in order to be successful, you will need to have a little bit of case selection here. Let’s make up a fake example here:
Question: My dog is having bloody vomiting and diarrhea and this has been going on for 4 days. She is non-responsive now and I think she is going to die. I don’t have any money to go to the vet. What can I do to save my dog?
This may sound a bit obnoxious, but there are often questions like this one, as well as how to overdose a dog on medications to euthanize it, requests for prescriptions, etc. These are questions that typically require an answer of “I can’t write you a prescription without a veterinary client patient relationship,” “you cannot humanely euthanize your dog with that medication,” or “you should take your dog to a veterinarian.” So, it is best to avoid any questions like this that will lead to negative feedback when you give them an answer they really do not want to hear.
Another good piece of advice: Avoid stale questions: If the questions have been sitting there for more than 4 hours, it is unlikely the customer will give you positive feedback. They have been waiting and you can give them the most wonderful, educated, concise answer, and they will often give you negative feedback or they won’t rate the question. You need positive feedback! Go for questions that are much more likely to give you this otherwise you will spend a lot of time on questions and not get paid.
How much money can you expect to make?
Typically when I use this site, I will answer questions for about 3-4 hours that day. Usually that will net me anywhere from about 100-300 dollars. Not bad for sitting on the couch watching Netflix.
How to make even more money on JustAnswer
JustAnswer has a function where you can offer a “Premium Service.” This allows you to essentially ask for more money. Your reasoning could be for a video chat, for a phone call, for a more extensive conversation and record review, or something like a blood glucose curve interpretation. This is a very powerful tool. This allows you to make even more money. This is how you can really move to replace your current income. This allows you to easily double or triple the amount you make on a question. For this to work, the customer must find some value and accept the request. If they accept, you get paid the original question value and the new service amount.
JustAnswer also have a “Request Phone Call” function that allows customers to request a phone call with you. If you accept, you instantly get the additional bonus AND the original question value. It is definitely a win. The downside is you need to talk to the customer!
The JustAnswer system will initiate the phone call: But you might say, “I don’t want to give out my phone number.” Google Voice is your best bet here. You can set up a phone number that will call your iphone or droid phone via the Google Voice app. This allows you to make phone calls and text people using your new Google Voice number.
So How do I Become an Expert?
You will need to go to the their website and fill out an application. They will make you take some basic information tests so they can figure out if you know veterinary medicine, so be prepared to answer some questions for each category you would like to become an expert in (dog veterinary, cat veterinary, bird, etc).
So let’s wrap this all up here:
JustAnswer can help you make money by using your veterinary degree knowledge from anywhere with an internet connection and a computer/smartphone. This is a perfect way to supplement your income and help pay off those loans faster, while still having some quality of life. I plan on continuing to use this when I hit financial independence to help continue to supplement our income.
Have further questions about our personal use or want to help us by letting us refer you to the site? Please fill out the form below.
Hello everyone! This is our first post. Hopefully there will be many more to come on a regular basis. Here is a little information about us.
Who are we?
We are two veterinarians on our way to financial independence (FI).
What do we do?
Mr VOF is a private practice veterinarian working as a medical director for a private practice on the east coast.
Mrs VOF is a specialist with her own mobile specialist service.
Why did we start this site?
There are so many sites out there dedicated to financial independence/early retirement (FIRE), but these are mainly people who are coders or in the tech field. We wanted to start our own site to journal our path to FI to give guidance and be an example for other veterinarians and other professionals struggling with crippling student loan debt.
Why are we anonymous?
We have not communicated our plan much yet to other people and Mr VOF’s employer may not be very happy that he is planning on leaving at some point in the next few years. This is why we are choosing to stay anonymous in the short term. We will open up our identities down the road.
What should you expect from us?
Financial literacy is very much lacking from the veterinary community. I can’t tell you how many times I interview new veterinarians for our practice and they don’t have any idea about even basics of saving, student loan paydown, and index funds. We will help to educate you on these things from a veterinary standpoint, as well as trying to provide advice for alternative jobs in the field.
Why is FI different for veterinarians?
Mrs VOF and I both graduated with about 250k in student loans each. Many veterinarians are graduating now with over 300k, some even closer to 400k. With the average starting salary being about 70k, the math really doesn’t add up and lifestyle inflation can be a killer.
What is our FI plan?
We are working to pay down the massive student loan debt as well as riding the stock markets insane rise. We started about 1 year ago after buying our first home. We had a combination of 290k in student loans each (thanks to the power of income based repayment and compound interest) and then we decided to buy a 280k house. Some of you might think it is ludicrous to pay that much for a house, but where we live on the east coast it is a very middle class home and neighborhood. More details on our exact plan and numbers will come in a later post.
Where are we at in terms of FI now?
We started our FI journey a year ago with a total net worth of -453k in March of 2016. Thanks to the stock market, refinancing student loans with Sofi, and paying off stupid credit card debt (yeah, we had about 20k of that too), we are now at -289k.
We are glad you found our site. Please stay tune for our next post!