018: The Physician Path to FI | Dr. FIREfly

In this episode, Money Mechanic and Chrissy interview Dr. FIREfly, a Canadian trainee doctor. We discuss Canadian student loans, lifestyle creep, and much more. It’s a revealing look into the life of a young doctor and how pursuing FI has influenced her career and life choices.


  • When she found there wasn’t a medical trainee perspective on FI, Dr. FIREfly decided to start her blog in November 2018.

Canadian vs. American student loans

Lifestyle creep and doctors

  • Like most of us, Dr. FIREfly went a little too hardcore when she discovered the FIRE movement!
  • Finding FIRE helped her to prevent the lifestyle creep that typically befalls most doctors (who are notorious for being horrible with their money).
  • Money Mechanic quips that doctors, as medical students, get so good at delayed gratification by spending so long in school… but once they finish, they can’t wait to spend their money!
  • Dr. FIREfly mentions the ways that a young doctor might be influenced to spend more (e.g. they see their more-established peers buying nice cars).

Why of FI

  • Dr. FIREfly would like to move into systems improvement in the medical system.
  • It may not be compensated work, so it would help to have a good financial base.
  • It’s tough to see healthcare providers in their 70s who wanted to retire years ago, but still can’t afford to.
  • As a patient, it makes a huge difference when your nurse or physician wants to be there and cares about you and their work.
  • She wants to be that kind of doctor; it’s the kind that most people would want.


  • When she discovered FIRE, she was into full FIRE (RE included).
  • She finds her work very meaningful, so isn’t so sure about the RE part now.
  • Doctors are very type-A and driven, so there can be a lot of guilt and a sense of duty when considering retirement.

Burnout and having no regrets

  • It’s a very real issue in the medical community and one that’s talked about more often now.
  • She tries to talk about how FI can help; mostly with peers or medical students.
  • FI also gives you the freedom to choose a life of no regrets.

Healthcare costs later in life

  • Dr. FIREfly wrote an article about caring for ourselves and/or our parents or children if we needed to pay for uncovered medical costs.
  • Despite the excellent coverage we have in Canada, there’s a lot that’s not covered.
  • It’s important to consider these costs and to plan for them so affordability doesn’t get in the way of accessing the best care for us or our loved ones.

Signature questions

  • Team FI or Team FIRE?
    • She started on Team FIRE, but now is Team FI.
  • DIY anything?
    • She’s not very hands-on, but she meal preps and cooks at home so that she doesn’t have to buy lunch out.
  • Tim Hortons order?
    • She loves to order their Iced Capp Chocolate Milk.

Episode links

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4 Replies to “018: The Physician Path to FI | Dr. FIREfly”

  1. I have been a reader / lurker of Dr. FIREFly’s blog for awhile. I also thought her interview on this podcast went well. While I cannot ever remember personally having that much passion or idealism, I can certainly remember meeting people like that (back when I was a young ‘un). It’s nice to know there are still people like that around.

    I am sort of jealous of her “head start” … about knowing this kind of stuff at her age and level of training. (But then, it wasn’t really “invented yet” … at least not in the present level of organization).

    I agree with her perception of average student loans in medical school. I think back in my day (around 15 years ago), the average (for non-trust fund kids) was between $100,000 and $200,000. I guess it would be a higher now, although I think some provinces (like Ontario) were offering a lot of education loan forgiveness for awhile, that might have mitigated this somewhat.

  2. Hi Fringe Doc,

    I’m happy you enjoyed this episode. It was definitely enlightening and inspiring for me to interview Dr. FIREfly.

    She’s a shining beacon of how great our medical system could be. (It’s pretty darn good as it is, but there’s always room for improvement, right?)

    I hope her drive to help others and contribute to the greater good never goes away. ☺️

    Thanks for the comment. It’s always nice to hear from you!

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