Debt reduction as a locum.

I’ve been so fortunate that Francisco is an amazing parent!  Elizabeth has been at home with Francisco 90% of the time and we found a great babysitter through a friend.  Francisco has been knocking it out-of-the-Park with his YouTube channel/ website   

I looked at our debt 7 months ago and was so stressed that we were over $250k in debt not including our home.  I traded my truck for less than half the cost new SUV.  I went to work on locums and raised my rate while telling the place I needed any hours or call I could get.  I’ve been away from the family returning about every 4 weeks for a few days to a week.  We’ve still had time to visit family and a good “working” vacation.  I’m happy to report that our net worth is positive and debt is below 100K.  I’m going to a 2 week on 2 week off lifestyle with intermittent days on my weeks off that will allow us to keep decreasing our debt and allow me more time at home!  Our rental properties have picked up and are now paying for one new property per year and paying thier own expenses.   

I have approximately 3 more weeks away before getting started on my new locum contract!  I’m 12 weeks into my MBA carrying a 3.8 gpa and learning weekly.  I get to pour over financial reports and am doing better each week with my own reports as well!   

I continue to consider business opportunities and think that with time 1,2 or 3 could become something just like the rentals, YouTube or the websites.   

I just wanted to check in and thank you all for the positivity and thank our Locum professionals for keeping us in great standing so we can work, travel, & provide for our families!  We are so blessed!   


Post Turkey Post

Let’s talk cold turkey.  Who is ready to do locums? What things do you have to consider?   


this is a big one and i hate paying people in the off chance i need insurance.  I would rather put my money to work for me so that it can pay for what i need in the future.  Alas, i still pay for the family insurance for health, vision, dental and then have a malpractice policy.  I put up that we have liberty healthshare, some form of VA, and Cigna PPO.  Vision is VSP pro and dental is Delta Dental if i recall.  Malpractice insurance is through the AANA.  Are these perfect? Nope, and they don’t cover everything.  I’m on my way for a sleeve gastrectomy in Mexico.  I have tried every weight loss plan known to man and am doing this not because insurance thinks it’s a good idea... in fact they do not cover weight loss surgery even in morbid obesity.  It’s a $9,000 surgery and not covered.  I’ll see if they will cover any portion but my guess is no.  

Time off

I absolutely love and hate time off.  I love it because i work hard and want to truly enjoy life.  I hate it because i am losing income and spending $$.  I do everything i can not to miss paychecks in the year!  Being a locum does allow me to take months off per year if i need it though.  My daughter was born in January and I didn’t go back to work until March.  I contracted for the 2.5 weeks over thanksgiving to be off for surgery and vacation.  I’ll also be off all of January this coming 2018.   

I’ll also be speaking in Costa Rica for an hour in January!  sooooo, you can see time off can be had and when it’s important.  That doesn’t however mean that i tell facilities i can work only special hours or days.  I tell them I’m here to work.  Work extra??? Most times that is a hell yes! 

What else? 

there is plenty to talk about!  Let me know what you think.

Taking time

One of the things I truly forget about is... myself.  Taking care of myself, taking time for myself, and just taking time with family.  

I get so involved in the number of hours, case types, and thinking ahead to length of assignment/finances/bills/investments that I lose sight of self.  I forget the 70 hours of work and 40 hours of sleep is 110 hours in 5 days 5x24 120 doesn't leave a lot of time when you drive an hour a day.  Most weekends I am off which helps but notice I say most because I offer myself up to any days.   

So, as I mentioned I'm planning our family vacation to Hawaii to see my brother and sister-in-law.  This takes financial and self awareness.  You'll recall I'm 1099 which means paid vacation does not exist.  I have to make sure all standard bills will be paid while gone and that $$$ exist for hotel/AirBNB, tours, and the like.  

This week long vacay may only be a week but I've decided to do something that 50% of people say horrible things to me about and the other half... support.  I'm going to get my gastric sleeve.  Not because I can't just go on a diet and lose some weight.  It's because I can't get myself to completely change my habits.   Why?  When I diet I can rationalize that this workout or diet for three days means I can go with friends to X restaurant have drinks and dinner and enjoy... then the next day I just skip the workout because I'm tired and have a beer with dinner because man I worked so hard.  The wagon is broken.  I'm changing the ability to rationalize by saying my body has been altered and despite all things and what people say .. I'm limited in ability to fall.  Yes in 3 years if I want to screw things up... I can.  Have you changed everything for three years and decided to return to a life you didn't like?  My hope and goal is to do this drastic thing to myself to force a change in habit.  Right or wrong I'm doing this so I am around for this family.  I feel like if I don't I'll be that 40 year old in the ER with a heart attack.  I'm hoping at 37 this will allow me to physically change and reverse the negative effects on my health before they are permanent.   No it's not because I don't want to exercise.  In fact, I walked 6 miles today with elizabeth.  It's not because I hate healthy food.  I love it... too much.  It's portion re-training:  yup, I'll have to break the Diet Coke addiction too.  

That's two things I'm doing for me... but that's in November.  You can't just take a week every 3-6 months and feel fulfilled.  I think at least every couple weekends you need a little just for you or just for family time so you see the fruit of the labor.   

What do you do? 


I am so happy it's the weekend!  I went for a four mile walk with Elizabeth.  Sent Francisco to the Urgent Care office for bronchitis and may send EE but she seems to be improving.  

I can always tell when I start getting paychecks again.... I start planning what it's going towards.  So, we are just planning our trip to go see family in Hawaii for Thanksgiving and I'm also thinking that just after I will be considering the Gastric Sleeve.  Lots of things would have to come together to make this possible but I can see the possibility. 

It's amazing how opinionated everyone is on the subject.  It's not an easy thing to come to the decision of "there is no way this will happen and be lasting if I continue to do the diets, exercise, and all the things I have done over and over again"  They have morally bashed me saying it's just you and you can do on your own, you have to be an example for your kid, and you need to just be a better you.  You don't think I know this... you know I walk a couple miles multiple times per week, you know that I know what I should eat, you know I know the portions and then what the stomach and brain say totally contradict the rest.  It doesn't matter how much I know... it's the habit and ability to truly change the body and mind.  Yes, I can totally screw this up... I can do everything and lose the weight and 4 years later over-eat so much that it stretches the stomach and I gain all back and more.  The idea is to completely overhaul the brain and break the habits that one goes to when a diet fails or missed exercise days become months.  

So, I'm still looking into options. 

Work is work and we are busy.  I love good days but I'm so not used to having multiple people in the room "helping".  I am not used to a hospital where the room nurse and CRNA don't go get the patient together.  I'm not used to the differences at this hospital than the ones I've been to in multiple states so I'm having a harder time not saying "this isn't right and needs to be fixed".  Generally, I try to stay out of politics and policy.  I have told several that this is going to cause errors and they have even said that it already has caused them.  In which case I don't understand why the process hasn't been changed?  

Maybe it's not my soapbox to get on.  Philadelphia is a very different city to me.  I know we'll be here for a while so I better start embracing it a bit more :)  time to work on the websites, plans, 401K and so much more.  

I hope your journey is amazing!