Will You Run Out of Money or Time? FI Advice From a Hospice Doctor

What can conversations with the dying teach us about the secret to financial independence? In this episode, Eric + Jason are joined by Jordan “Doc G” Grumet, a hospice doctor, podcaster, blogger, and author. Topics discussed include the mirage of wealth, living meaningfully, and Jordan’s experiences eight years post-FI. Irrespective of your own retirement journey, you won’t want to miss our conversation. See below for links to Doc G’s book as well as the show notes.

Show notes may be found below the video

Show Notes

Essential Background:

  • Did you know we’ve spoken to Jordan in the past? It wasn’t on Two Sides of FI, but rather on Jordan’s own Earn and Invest podcast. Here’s a link to the episode, which was a really fun one for us and also represents the first time we were a guest on someone else’s show as Two Sides of FI! As you’ll find, Doc G is a very skilled interviewer. In our conversation, we talk finances and how they relate to purpose. We also explore whether it is money that solves our problems. Did you ever think that everything will be okay once you are financially independent? In our conversation, we push back on this narrative.

Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life (also available as an audiobook) is Doc G’s recently published book. As you can readily glean from our conversation in this episode, this text contains pure gold. It’s not at all a traditional FIRE book – and this is precisely why we found so much value in it. As a hospice doctor, Jordan Grumet has a unique front-row seat to the regrets of his dying patients. And the stories he relates in this book will remind you to take stock of life now, before it is too late. Please do check it out and recommend it to those in your life!

Not familiar with hospice and want to learn more? This post from The Hospice Foundation of America is a great resource. Stated simply, hospice is medical care for people with an anticipated life expectancy of 6 months or less, when cure isn’t an option, and the focus shifts to symptom management and quality of life. The site is a wealth of information, including guidance on how to access hospice care and selecting hospice providers.

For links to all of Jordan’s content, including the Earn and Invest podcast and his DiverseFI blog, be sure to check out his website.

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site.

FIRE and Holding Cash – What We’re Doing

These are the show notes for both our original discussion on holding cash, and our follow-up episode where we react and respond to the feedback from our viewers. You’ll find links to both videos below as well. Show notes may be found below the two videos.

Original episode:

How much cash in your portfolio is enough – or too much? In this episode, Eric + Jason discuss the idea of holding cash allocations pre- and post-retirement. Topics covered include emergency funds, the temptation to invest in a down market, bonds, and building cash reserves. Join us as we discuss this essential retirement topic.

We respond to your feedback:

Are you worried about holding cash in this high inflation environment? In a recent video, we talked about the role of cash pre- and post-retirement. In this episode, Eric + Jason review and react to YOUR ideas that you shared with us. Topics covered include bond ladders, high yield savings, real estate, gold and other cash alternatives, and emergency funds. See the links below for the show notes and our earlier episode about what we’re doing about cash.

Show Notes

Essential Background:

Bucket Strategies are a topic we’ve covered numerous times on the show. If you’d like to learn more, we’d recommend the article “How To Build A Retirement Paycheck“.  This is the first of three great posts on Fritz Gilbert’s (The Retirement Manifesto) implementation of this approach. The other two articles in the series are linked here too.

Equity Glidepaths are a type of dynamic asset allocation plan often discussed in retirement planning. In Karsten Jeske’s words, “if we start with a relatively low equity weight and then move up the equity allocation over time we effectively take our withdrawals mostly out of the bond portion of the portfolio during the first few years. If the equity market were to go down during this time, we’d avoid selling our equities at rock bottom prices. That should help with Sequence of Return Risk!”. He covers glidepaths in Part 19 and Part 20 of his Safe Withdrawal Rate series of blog posts.

How does gold perform vs. stock indices? Many people believe gold and other precious medals are “safe havens” to run to during periods of stock market volatility. This chart from Index Fund Advisors shows the reality of the situation. In this example capturing data from 1978-2021, the y-axis shows the rate of return, and the x-axis the annualized standard deviation. You’ll see gold has similar volatility (SD) as the S&P 500, but about half the annual return. Silver is much worse, at twice the annual volatility as the S&P index but twice the volatility.

Bond (or CD) Ladders are one of the topics we touched on in todays episode, and are commonly used by many retirees as part of their fixed income strategy. This post from the Bogleheads wiki is a good resource to understand this instrument better. These days most brokerages make it easy to set up ladders, via simple to use tools you can access on their websites.

Sitting out market volatility may sound like a good idea to some people, taking their money out of equities seeking less volatile investments. But this is really just attempting to time the market. And articles like this one from CNBC demonstrate just how risky a strategy that is. Considering market data going back to 1930, a Bank of America study found that if an investor sat out and missed the S&P 500′s 10 best days each decade, their total return would be 28%. If, on the other hand, the investor stayed in the market all through the ups and downs, the return would have been 17,715%!

Interest rates on savings accounts are always a hot topic when thinking about holding cash – particularly when these far trail the rate of inflation (i.e. cash losing value over time). As an example of how quickly things can change, the interest rate has already doubled in the few months since we originally recorded this episode. Today, there are banks offering >2% interest on high yield savings accounts!

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site.