51. How to Live a Regret-Free Life with Doc G

October 25, 2022

The following article may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. This doesn't cost you anything, and shopping or using our affiliate partners is a way to support our mission. I will never work with a brand or showcase a product that I don't personally use or believe in.

The following article may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. This doesn’t cost you anything, and shopping or using our affiliate partners is a way to support our mission. I will never work with a brand or showcase a product that I don’t personally use or believe in.

What can the dying teach us about money?

At the end of life, many share their greatest regrets –– the trips they didn’t take or the people they wish they’d spent more time with. When working in hospice, Doc G (aka Jodan Grumet) found that people often regretted another facet of their lives –– how they managed their money.

In this episode, host Tori Dunlap and Doc G sit down for a conversation on living a regret-free life. They dive into the often toxic narratives behind the FI/RE movement, how there are many paths to fulfillment, and stories from Doc G’s time in hospice care.

Though the subject matter seems dark, you’ll leave this episode feeling inspired to create your own unique version of a regret-free life.

What you’ll learn:

  • What Doc G heard most often from his patients in hospice care and how that changed everything about the way he pursued wealth

  • The parable of the three brothers and how to know which path might be the best for you

  • The pros and cons of the FI/RE movement and how to check in internally with your goals to see if your values are aligned with them

Doc G’s links:

Earn & Invest Podcast
Buy the Book

Meet Doc G

Jordan Grumet was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1973. His interest in becoming a doctor was ignited when his father, an oncologist, died unexpectedly in the prime of life. This profound loss not only inspired him to practice medicine, it has given him a unique perspective as a financial expert, challenging him to think deeply and critically about concepts like wealth, abundance, and financial independence. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Jordan received his medical degree from Northwestern University, and began practicing Internal Medicine in Northbrook, Illinois. He currently is an associate medical director at Journeycare Hospice. After years of blogging about financial independence and wellness, Jordan launched the Earn & Invest podcast in 2018. In 2019 he received the Plutus Award for Best New Personal Finance Podcast and was nominated in 2020 and 2021 for Best Personal Finance Podcast of the year. His book, Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life is being published by Ulysses Press in August 2022.


Tori Dunlap (00:00:00):

Hello, Financial Feminist. Hello. Welcome back. So excited to see you all here. As always, reminder to review, subscribe to the show, leave us a review. Tell us the weirdest way you’ve ever made money. Tell us who you’d like to see on the show. Tell us what you’re loving. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover. Leave us a review. Send us a voicemail. We love hearing from you. It makes us very, very happy. Today’s guest has been a long time friend and support of Financial Feminist. I’ve been on his show and we’re just thrilled to have him join us to share his incredibly unique perspective on life, death, and how that affects what we do with our finances. If you loved Ramit Sethi’s episode we did a little bit ago, this is also in the same realm. One of the most important and inspirational episodes I think we’ve ever done and was just such a lovely conversation.


So we’re so excited to welcome him here today. Doc G (Jordan Grumet), aka Doc G‘s interest in becoming a doctor was ignited when his father, an oncologist, died unexpectedly in the prime of his life. This profound loss not only inspired him to practice medicine, but it has given him a unique perspective as a finance expert, challenging him to think deeply and critically about concepts like wealth, abundance, and financial independence. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Jordan received his medical degree from Northwestern University and began practicing internal medicine in Northbrook, Illinois. He currently is an associate medical director at Journeycare Hospice. After years of blogging about financial independence and wellness, Jordan launched the Earn & Invest Podcast in 2018. In 2019, he received the Plutus Award for Best New Personal Finance Podcast and was nominated in 2020 and 2021 for Best Personal Finance Podcast of the year.


His book, Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life was released in August 2022 and is available wherever you get your books. This episode is so impactful, and hearing from Doc G about his work with dying patients and how they talk about their regrets and the life they lived will absolutely make you reevaluate the way you might be handling your finances and the way you’re living your life. We’re getting into the toxic side of the financial independence movement, how you can balance saving for retirement and living life now and so much more. So let’s go ahead and get into it. Where are you based right now?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:02:23):

I’m in Chicago.

Tori Dunlap (00:02:25):

That is one of the major U.S. cities I’ve not been to. I’ve been to the airport and that is it and I think I’d really like it.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:02:31):

Don’t bother in the winter, but come in the summer. It’s a beautiful place in the summer.

Tori Dunlap (00:02:35):

Is it really hot? Is it really hot in the summer?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:02:37):

It gets there. I feel like, and I don’t think anyone agrees with me. I’ve been like, oh, the summers have been mild and everyone’s looking at me going, no, they’ve been horrible. But generally, the heat is one issue during the summer. The other issue unfortunately is crime has gotten worse over the last five years. I mean, it really has changed, especially in the city, which is just sad.

Tori Dunlap (00:02:56):

Yeah, a lot of people are leaving downtown Seattle. A ton of businesses have shut down. There’s apartments with beautiful views of the water and the mountains and downtown that are going for cheap. It’s more expensive now to live slightly outside the city than it is to live in it, and I think for largely the same reason.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:03:15):

I live in Evanston which is a suburb right to the north. It’s where Northwestern’s campus is. Evanston has always been fairly mixed in many different ways, so it’s had a little bit more crime in the past anyway. But we’ve had about five kids were shot about two blocks from my house and four of them died. And then someone else was shot and killed in a park down the street from us. So all of a sudden, things have really ramped up in the last year or two.

Tori Dunlap (00:03:46):

That’s awful. Well, I don’t know how to transition out.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:03:50):

Transition that into a podcast episode.

Tori Dunlap (00:03:53):

Yeah, I’m going to not try. You and I have known each other for a couple years. You were so willing to come and have me on your show. We are so excited to chat with you about, I think a really interesting topic that doesn’t get discussed enough. So give us some background for you. You’re at this interesting intersection where you’re a former hospice doctor who also teaches about personal finance. So can you give us the backstory of what brought you to that and then how it influenced you to talk about money?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:04:23):

So when I was seven years old, my father died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was an oncologist or cancer doctor. At that age, I wanted to be just like him. I mean, somewhere deep down inside as a little kid I almost felt responsible like little kids do, because the only lens we look at things through is a self-centered one. So I had it in my head that this is what I was going to do with my life. It became my identity and passion and that carried me all the way through medical school and practice. When I started practicing, I burned out fairly quickly. I realized that there were parts of medicine I loved, but I needed to get out. It was stressful, I was not sleeping, I was working too hard. And at that point I discovered the financial independence movement. A guy named Jim Dahle actually sent me his book to review for my medical blog. The book was The White Coat Investor and I read it and it was this huge epiphany.


My parents had given me such great modeling on how to manage my finances. I had owned real estate. I was investing. I was doing all the right things. I was saving, but I didn’t understand the vocabulary. His book taught me that I was financially independent. The next few years, I transitioned from identifying as a doctor to moving away from that to being more of a communicator, a blogger, a writer, a podcaster. I really loved talking about personal finance. As you know, I started the What’s Up Next Podcast which became Earn & Invest. We were having these 202 conversations about finance. So the 101, how to figure out your money, how to invest, how to do real estate, all that stuff, there were so many great people managing that already. I wanted to have that kind of next level conversation of, okay, you’re getting your money in order, what next?


And strangely enough, a lot of the answers to those 201 questions I was getting from taking care of hospice or dying patients who were voicing these regrets about life. And I said, aha, the dying have a lot to tell us about what’s important, what isn’t important. And when they get to their end of life, what do they regret? And I just felt like that could teach all of us younger people who are not terminally ill, what kind of things should we be thinking about now so we don’t have those regrets?

Tori Dunlap (00:06:31):

The dying can teach us a lot about living. Yeah, I think you’re exactly right where there’s a lot of discussion about, and we do it here at Financial Feminist about how to budget, how to save, how to start investing. But I think there’s less discussion of, okay, I got that together, what happens next? And so what sort of themes or you know, you said you were talking to people, what did they bring up a lot? What were the common threads that you heard?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:06:56):

So especially with the dying, what I’d find is that they didn’t regret not working nights and weekends. They didn’t regret not hitting some type of net worth number. What they mostly regretted is that there were these themes in their life, these things of importance, and they never had the courage or time to explore them. It wasn’t what they failed at in life, it’s what they didn’t put enough time into. And we have this habit of putting off important things in our life, and often, believe it or not, money becomes an excuse because we think about money and it becomes central in our lives of what we’re spending our time and thought process doing the harder stuff. Stuff like who am I and what do I want out of this life? We tend to put that aside because it’s kind of scary to deal with.

Tori Dunlap (00:07:41):

Yeah, it’s a big question that no one really has the answer for.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:07:46):

And to face this sense of what is meaning in my life and what am I meant to do really almost puts this aspect of how finite life is. When we start thinking about this is what I was meant to do, then we also have to say that there is a limited amount of time and I might try and not get there. So it’s much easier to say, well, I’m going to put that off for another day because right now I just need to make sure that I got a job. I need to make sure I’m making enough money, that I’m putting food on the table. All exceedingly important, but some of it does become an excuse to not do the harder things to pinpoint. Like money can be hard. We know that, right? Making money can be hard, saving can be hard, but we know the steps. They’re really definable. It’s a lot harder to say, what are the steps to figure out what my purpose in life is? What are the steps to really get ahold of my identity? And so we skip out on that tougher stuff because it’s emotional and difficult.

Tori Dunlap (00:08:40):

Yeah. Would you say that it was people expressing, I think you said actually already, like the regret rate of I didn’t do this or I wish I had done this.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:08:50):

You know what it is, it’s regret that they didn’t put more energy into those things that were important. And so some people love travel, so is it regret that they didn’t go to that place? No. It’s regret that they didn’t put the time and space aside in their life to do travel on a more regular basis. Or it’s that thing that you really always wanted to do and were afraid to do. For some people it’s building a business. So this idea of, oh, I really want to start this business and it scares the heck out of us and so we don’t try. And that’s where I think it’s funny, what the dying don’t regret is they don’t regret what they failed at, which is so interesting. They regret what they were too afraid to try. And that really had an effect on me because I think we are so afraid of failure that sometimes it stops us right at the beginning.

Tori Dunlap (00:09:39):

Well, and I think a lot of times with failure, I know in my own life when the act of failing felt like such a huge blip in the radar of my life. When I was in it, when I didn’t get the promotion that I thought I would. Or when I made a mistake in my business, or when I didn’t show up in a relationship how I wanted to, those felt like these huge, massive catalystic events. The majority of the time I’ve looked back on them as learning moments or as like, oh, I’m really glad that happened because it informed me now. As opposed to feeling like that was going to scar me for life or something like that.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:10:23):

And funny enough, I mean, I think it’s sometimes when we’re failing or at least trying audaciously that we’re most alive. It’s when you’re in the arena fighting the fight. That’s the thing. And sometimes we forget, and this is another thing I think the dying really helped me with as I try to think about my life and all of our lives, how we kind of find happiness. This idea of happiness often isn’t really about the end goal or the end product. A lot of it is about the process. And so that process of failing, of doing something important, of leaving it all on the table, I mean, that I think is actually what our lives are made up of. The end result or the end goal is sometimes icing on the cake. You might get it, you might not. And if you happen to get it, it’s excellent.

Tori Dunlap (00:11:09):

You said braving the arena, and I think of Brené Brown immediately and her work around vulnerability. I think being vulnerable is being human, that is the human experience. I’m relatively young, and when I look back at my life, my favorite moments have been when I’ve tried something new, even if it didn’t go well or if I was vulnerable or tried something outside of what felt comfortable.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:11:36):

You know what I love about your listeners and the population you really speak to is we’re really talking about young people. So when I talk about these things about money and the role it plays in our lives and now that my book is out, I get all this positive feedback from people in their 40s or 50s or 60s. But really the most powerful time to start thinking about these things is when you’re in your 20s and 30s. I mean, that’s the point where you can really start bringing in purpose and identity into your life and doing a lot better than those of us who saw money as an end goal to such an extent that once we got there, we didn’t know what the heck to do with ourselves.

Tori Dunlap (00:12:15):

I always joke that I don’t want a stack of government issued paper, that doesn’t get me anything. It’s what money can buy me or the flexibility that I have when I have spending money, when I’ve achieved financial independence. I don’t want Benjamin Franklin’s face on some tree babies, that doesn’t get me anything. So the pursuit of money just for the pursuit of it, it’s not worth anything.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:12:44):

And what I remember, one of the fun story about having you on my show is I remember some of your story and things like the vending machines and that kind of stuff. Those things that we do when we’re young, those young businesses, those kind of things end up being joyful experiments. When we get older, it becomes this business we have to do because we have to make money and it gets really stressful. But I see a lot of joy in some of those early experiments. So it’s not like our passions can’t lead to money. In fact, I think often, especially if we start young enough and are thoughtful about it, a lot of times they do and that’s what’s so cool about it.

Tori Dunlap (00:13:26):

Thanks for remembering that by the way, that’s very thoughtful. Thank you.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:13:29):

I remember our conversation.

Tori Dunlap (00:13:32):

You mentioned your book and I’m going to plug it. It’s called Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life. And you share some stories in the book about patients. Can you share a couple of those stories that were most impactful for you about how it changed your view on money or what you want people to take away? What are some particular stories that stand out for you?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:13:54):

So on the theme of what we just talked about, one of those stories is the story of Ernesto. I had a patient who was dying in his 40s of leukemia. What he ended up often talking to the hospice team about as well as me as the doctor was not his death or his fears or his pain, which he didn’t have a lot of. He spent a lot of time talking to us about when he was in his 20s and he was just getting busy in his career. He got it in his head that he wanted to climb Mount Everest. And so right there in the middle of his career when he was just building up peak money making time, he decided to take a year off to train and then he went and attempted to climb Mount Everest. And I say attempted because he didn’t make it, right. They went about halfway up, the weather changed, they had to call it off. They had to go back to base camp. He didn’t have more time, he had to go back home, get back into his work life, et cetera.


But in his 40s, we talked a lot about this idea of if he had put that thing off, if he had said, I need to work now, I need to make money, I have to put that in the stock market, it needs to compound. If he hadn’t had the courage to do that thing that was utterly important to him when he was in his 20s, he would’ve found himself in his 40s dying of leukemia and never have had the chance because it would’ve been too late. So that was one thing. Some things are sentinel and important enough in our lives that money can’t get in the way of them. We have to really keep that in mind because you and I, we teach finances. This is important to us. We want people to have enough money, but there are times when other things are important. That’s part one. Part two again is what we just talked about, this idea of it wasn’t failing that really bothered him.


In fact, he remembers just being on the climb. He didn’t make it all the way, but he remembers trying to make it up. He remembers the excitement and even some of the sadness when it didn’t happen. That was the colorfulness of his life that he shared with us as he got closer and closer to the end. And so that was just wonderful. That story sticks in my mind. Another story that I really think a lot about is I took care of an older woman who was a child of the depression. What we do with people as they’re dying and they come into hospice, which is end of life care, is we do things like we make sure their pain is under control and their nausea. We make sure they’re in a safe place, all those kind of things. But eventually we do something called the life review, which actually I would like younger people to be doing this too. But the life review is where we go through their lives and talk about what was important to them, what they did right, what they did wrong, what those relationships were that were important to them.

Tori Dunlap (00:16:30):

I never knew that. Is that a you thing or is that hospice in general?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:16:34):

That’s hospice in general. And it doesn’t have to be a doctor, it can be a chaplain, often social workers do this or nurses.

Tori Dunlap (00:16:40):

I’m like tearing, that’s so beautiful. I didn’t know that was a thing. And what a full rounded version of healthcare to not just be what are your physical needs right now. But if we know that it’s not looking great, let’s talk about, yeah, let’s do a summation of your life. Wow, it’s beautiful.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:16:59):

Before I get back to the story, here’s the cool thing. When we do the summation of people’s lives, often it is very clarifying on what they feel like they need to accomplish over the weeks or months they have left. So it can make things clear for them like, oh, I really need to get back in touch with that person because they were important in my life. So here’s the problem with that. What you’re looking for is the last minute save, right? You’re looking for the plot twist at the end of the movie that makes everything perfect. I actually advocate in the book that we should be doing these life reviews much early so that we don’t need the last minute save. So we can do these things earlier because you’re going to be a lot more successful. And so in this case, this patient who had lived through the depression, they had a lot of unresolved issues with money.


They would have money and things stashed all throughout the house because they lived through the depression and money and security was big for them. So when the chaplain actually did the life review with her, they realized that one of the big stressors in her life, even as she was coming close to dying is she was worried about her grandkids. Worried that they wouldn’t have money for things, worried they wouldn’t have money for college, worried they wouldn’t have money for vacations, et cetera. When this came out during the life review, the chaplain brought in the two daughters. And the two daughters then actually opened up their finances and showed the grandmother that they were 529 plans and that there was a plan for college and all these kind of things. And it helped relieve some of her anxiety. So death and money, we don’t like to talk about either of them in polite company. And this is a story where the conversation surrounding death led to a conversation surrounding about money and actually relieved a lot of stress in this woman before she died and spoke to some of her childhood traumas of living through the depression.

Tori Dunlap (00:18:42):

Wow. I can’t help, like you said before, I can’t help but think of the power of if you’re doing this every year at the bare minimum, maybe every decade. But every year, what are you learning? I realize I’ve kind of done this
in my own life where I do a journaling practice on New Year’s Day every year where I like review, okay, what have we learned? What were the big moments of this year? What do we want to take into the next year? After that, I want to be even more intentional about it. I think that’s really interesting.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:19:14):

This is why to me it’s been so important in young people because I specifically did it wrong. I kind of put the cart before the horse. I thought about money and built this extensive financial plan and then waited till I got there to really figure out purpose and identity. Who do I want to be and what do I want to do with my life? If you start that life review process early, you actually become way more intentional about who do I want to be? What do I want to do with my life? And then you start looking at the financial piece and say, okay, how can I build that into my life to live more intentional? And for some people, that looks like doing a job they don’t like to make a lot of money to eventually retire early. But for a lot of people, especially the younger generations, that means building a financial plan that allows them to do the things they want to do today.


Whether that’s passive income or side hustles or some young people go for a passion play, which means they actually go for a job that they love doing and fulfills a sense of purpose from the beginning. There are lots of different answers. But when you have that intentionality, when you realize you do the life review and you start figuring out what’s important to you, you can create a much better, more durable financial plan for the future.

Tori Dunlap (00:20:24):

I think that’s very, very wise. You mentioned financial independence before. You and I are both financially independent, which you can tell me if you go by a different definition, but for me it’s like work is optional. I never have to work another day if I don’t want to because my investments or my savings will support me. There’s different kinds of financial independence, right? There’s Lean FIRE, there’s Barista FIRE. Lean FIRE is like I’m just on the bare necessities. Barista FIRE is like, I’m still working part-time at a Starbucks mostly to get health insurance. And you’re what the industry calls like Fat FIRE. Can you break down what the difference is and why did you choose to go that route?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:21:07):

So interestingly enough, I’ve changed a little bit about how I think about this, especially as I’ve done deeper and deeper thinking and got involved with patients who are dying. I’ve written something that I call the parable of the three brothers and it’s actually kind of the three archetypes of how we get to financial independence. The way I now actually define financial independence is having enough money to live a life as full of purpose, identity and connections as possible. So ideally, unfortunately we’re allotted a certain amount of time on this world and we can’t control it, we can’t buy it, we can’t sell it. I like to think of time slots. You can think of days or weeks or months, however you want to. We have a certain number of these time slots. Financial independence really is the act of being able to fill most of those time slots with things that really add a sense of purpose and identity to your life.


The farther we go in financial independence, the more we can get rid of the stuff we don’t like from those time slots and then instead put stuff that does have meaning for us. So the parable of three brothers talks about the three general ways to look at your career financial independence. One way is this idea of the traditional FIRE movement, Financial Independence, Retire Early. This was front loading the sacrifice, making lots of money as fast as possible, putting off purpose and identity for a while until you made enough money, then retiring early and living a very purposeful life. That’s kind of one way.

Tori Dunlap (00:22:28):

So going hard for a while or picking an occupation that you know is going to pay six figures plus even if it’s not the thing you were destined to do?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:22:38):

Right. I call it the path of the eldest brother and it’s a little bit more old school. The newer path, the path of the middle brother is passive income or side hustles. For the eldest brother, financial independence with some net worth number. And we can argue about what number that is, but we’ve all heard this idea before. For middle brother, it’s having enough passive or side hustle income to cover your monthly needs. So the minute you get to that point, you’re financial independent. And then what I call the youngest brother is more the passion play. This is again, someone who finds a job that they would do even if they weren’t being paid for it because it really fulfills their sense of purpose. If you find that, let’s say you’re 22 and you find that job and you make enough at that job to cover your monthly needs, in my opinion, you’re financially independent right away.


Now of course the risks with all of these, with the youngest brother, you surely want some good disability insurance. You might want some life insurance, et cetera. And the youngest brother, I call them financially independent right away, but they may work till 70, especially if they don’t save much or let compound interest do its thing. So there are other ways of breaking down financial independence. Fat FIRE, this idea of being able to spend. Everyone defines it slightly different, but being able to spend on your wishlist pretty much and still having enough money to be more generous, right? Lean FIRE, where you have just enough to cover the basics. Coast FIRE, this idea where you have enough in your 401(k) or 403(b) or what have you, that it wil
l just coast you to financial independence. All you need to do is really work enough to cover your monthly needs, but you don’t have to worry about-

Tori Dunlap (00:24:07):

Saving anymore or investing anymore.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:24:09):

Exactly. And Slow FI, which is again, taking a much more thoughtful approach to financial independence. And maybe considering this idea that it’ll take you longer to get there, but in the meantime you’re building a lot of that purpose and identity into your daily life. So for me, it’s about purpose, identity and connections and how we can fit that into our financial framework. I think all of them are good. That’s the cool thing about it is once you start being clear about what you want, then you can decide. And some people are going to still decide, I’m just going to grind it out because I’m a doctor. I decided I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I can make a lot of money doing that, so I’m going to do it for five or 10 years. I feel like I’m going to live a long time. I’m not worried that I’m going to die tomorrow. If that’s you, that might be the way to go.


And you may go for Fat FIRE because you’re like, an extra one or two years really gets me that extra net worth. Whereas someone else really might say Slow FI, I’m going to do a job that’s mediocre for me, but I’m going to do it part time and then I’m going to use the rest of my time to really do things that pursue purpose and identity. Maybe I’ll even make some side hustles that eventually make me money. But the point is there, I don’t need to retire until I’m 55 or 60, but I’m going to love every day and I’m only going to spend four or five hours a day doing things I don’t like doing. So I think we can toggle and there’s so many different permutations nowadays. I really feel like us early financial independence people didn’t expand our mind enough. And as the FIRE movement has evolved, we’re seeing that there are just so many different ways to make enough money and then really take the rest of your time to pursue what you want to do.


Again, I’m not going to say it’s easy, but we have the knowledge and there are all these great people who are talking about different ways to do it and we can listen to them and borrow little pieces and find ways to cover our finances so that we can start really doing what we want with our lives.

Tori Dunlap (00:25:57):

Well, and when I discovered the FIRE movement, even 2016, which wasn’t that long ago, it was like the beans and rice, reuse your toilet paper level of frugality. I consider myself extremely frugal, but that was not me. I would argue that most people is not. I’m not willing to do that. I think that’s also just not only unforgiving to the general person’s lifestyle, but just is a certain privilege awarded to a certain type of person. Or it was the software tech bro who is straight white guy who lives in a major city. It felt like those were the two things, you were frugal homesteader and or software engineer tech bro. And I think it’s evolved as the community has evolved hundred percent.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:26:51):

I want to be clear about this. When you get to this point where you’re doing things that no longer really add to a sense of purpose and identity, then you’re making money a goal instead of a tool and you’re wasting your time. When you’re that point, I love the story of the person who is so crazy about financial independence that they left a mediocre job where they’re making a lot of money sitting in some cubicle somewhere. To quit their job at the most leanest financial independence number they could find. But then they’re spending their days cleaning their house and cleaning their toilets and doing the lawn and stuff that maybe they used to pay someone to do, but now they don’t have the income to do. It’s like, well, you just traded time that was mediocre for time you don’t like, but now you can call yourself financially independent.

Tori Dunlap (00:27:34):

It’s the chasing of the title. If I’m a listener, obviously both of us have been seeped in this community for a while. But if I’m a general listener who’s just interested in personal finance, I might be sitting here thinking I don’t have the luxury of any of those things. I don’t have the luxury of any of that. If you’re a first generation immigrant, this isn’t even on your mind necessarily. Right? Or if you are supporting children plus other family members, that’s not even an option for you. I have my own idea of how these principles can apply, but if somebody’s listening thinking that, what does financial independence even look like for that person?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:28:16):

That is exactly the person I want to talk to. First and foremost, I come at this from a place of huge privilege. When I realized what financial independence was, I was a doctor making a high salary and had lots of money saved. I came from a middle class family. For someone like me, it’s not that huge of a mental jump. I clearly realized that for many people it is, right? You might be in your 20s, you might not have gotten a job you wanted. Your salary may be much lower than you thought it was going to be. You may be struggling in an eight to six, right? We’re not going to call it a nine to five anymore. We’re going to call it an eight to six just to make enough money to put food on the table. So this is exactly the person who I also think this message might help, and here’s why. We think of money as a goal and I want to reframe it as a tool.


We tend to think of it as the only tool and I want to reframe it as one of many tools. So when you, let’s say you’re 22 in this case scenario or 25 and maybe you’re married, maybe you have a kid, maybe you don’t, it varies. But when you’re that age, you might not have much of the tool of money, but you might have some other tools. You might have a little more time, you might have a little more energy, right? I’m 49, I have a lot less energy than I had when I was in my 20s. You may have your passions, your community, whatever it is you have. The idea is to expand, to think of having many tools as opposed to just this one tool of money. So if you’re 22, you’re working the eight to six, you’re not making much money, you are just paying for what you need. I’m going to suggest to you, you might have another tool which is a little bit extra energy.


And so I’m going to say on a Saturday night when you’re not working, you’re working eight to six Monday to Friday. On a Saturday night, spend three hours on a side hustle. Here’s the thing about the side hustle. I want it to be something you’re passionate about. Take something you like or love and see if you can spend three hours every Saturday for the next six months building something you love that brings you joy doing it. And so here’s how I see this play out. After six months, if that side hustle makes you no money, hopefully it was something that has sense of purpose and identity for you, a hobby, something you really liked so it’s still time fairly well spent. We talked about those time slots and you’ve just filled one of those time slots with something involving purpose and identity, so that’s a win right away. So if you don’t make any money, you can always either continue doing that or try something else that still is purposeful to you.


Let’s say you do make a little bit of money. Maybe that eight to six could become a nine to five. And now you’re spending that three hours on Saturday and you’re making a little bit of money enough to start pulling away from that thing you don’t like and adding that thing you do like. Or maybe you say, I love this extra money. I’m not going to turn that eight to six into a nine to five, I’m going to continue it as an eight to six, but I’m going to take that money and do something that brings me joy. Or I’m going to take that money and put it back into this fledgling business I’m building. All of those are possibilities. Again, you’ve added purpose and identity in your life. You might have added a little extra money and you’re starting to give yourself some wiggle room. So maybe after a year or two, you could replace half of your salary. Could you start working Monday, Wednesday, Friday only?


And then spending more time on that side hustle, that side hustle that happens to have purpose for you or you’re passionate about. And so the idea is what other tools can we use in our toolkit? Maybe it’s a little bit of extra energy, maybe it’s geography. Can you move? I’m not saying everyone wants to move. In my 20s, I want to be with my family, I didn’t want to move. But that’s another tool you might have is you might have some flexibility and you could move to a lower cost city. So maybe you’re still doing a very similar eight to six, let’s say you’re a waiter or a waitress. You’re making just about the same amount of money, but now your cost of living has gone down because where you live costs less. All of these things are possibilities. What other tools do we have? It’s not going to be perfect. But for people who find themselves in this position where they think they’re destitute, if we can at least start building up some of those other tools, we can build a little wiggle room. Again, my ultimate goal is to look at all those time slots of your life and fill up more and more of them with things you like doing and less and less of them with things you don’t like doing. That’s a beginning.

Tori Dunlap (00:32:29):

Have you heard of this concept called quiet quitting? Have you heard about this?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:32:33):

I haven’t. But I like the sound of it already.

Tori Dunlap (00:32:35):

It’s relatively new. They’re just talking about it. I wrote it down as you were talking. Because all of those are really great tips. I’m thinking of even you have no flexibility, how do you just have more happiness or more seeming independence with what you do have? And part of it, it’s the whole internet thing of romanticizing your life, but how can you prioritize your own health? Can you buy yourself a bouquet of flowers every once in a while, right? There’s something like that. But quiet quitting is this new concept that’s really not that new. But it’s this idea of if you don’t get purpose from your job and or you’re not being compensated fairly, first of all, try to find a job where you are. But quiet quitting is this idea of just doing the absolute bare minimum in order to not get fired. Like nine to five solid, really set boundaries of I’m not going to go out there and be the star player because it’s not working, or this company isn’t interested in promoting me.


So hopefully until you can find a better opportunity, this quiet quit is the idea of I’ve kind of stopped caring. Like I’m caring enough to do what I need to do in order to maintain my job, but internally I’ve kind of quit. I kind of love it. It’s great.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:33:55):

And it makes complete sense because again, what you’re doing is you are pivoting from a financial tool, which is money. In this case, it might be an emotional tool. By not worrying as much and doing just enough to get by, you’re opening up emotional space and mind space to start saying, okay, how can I start solving this problem? And if you can build a solution that brings in more purpo
se and identity than that soul sucking job that you don’t like that you’re doing, you’re going to come out ahead. And again, I don’t want to pretend this is easy or simple, I don’t think it is. But ultimately, these are the tools we have and different people are going to have different tools at different times of their lives. Hopefully we can help people have that money tool also over time, which even gives them more bandwidth to do more things they like.

Tori Dunlap (00:34:49):

I think if I’m a listener too, the other conclusion or the other thing I’m thinking about is the expectations that someone has for me. My parents’ expectations of who I’m supposed to be, society’s expectations of who I’m supposed to be, my own ambitions, expectations of what I’m supposed to be. And in a country that defines success by your identity or your identity as your success is your career, but yet you’re saying FIRE might be you work at Starbucks part-time in order to do more of the things you like or making very, very little money but for something you love, how would you reckon with that feeling of also knowing like, oh somebody’s going to judge me? Maybe I have a master’s degree, but I’m working at Starbucks. How do you reckon with that?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:35:39):

First and foremost, I understand expectations. I grew up the golden boy who was supposed to be a doctor. And then it took me from probably 2014 to 2018 to really extract myself. And part of that was letting go to the connection to my father. But a lot of it was my own expectations and society’s expectations, my family’s expectations. I guess my best answer to that is guess who doesn’t really care about expectations when it comes down to it? You know who? Dying people. Like being told you have a terminal diagnosis is one of the most horrible things that happens to you. But the grain of goodness there is that for once in your life you can let go of all of society’s expectations, let go of everyone else’s expectations and have the clarity to think about what you actually want. I think the dying are screaming at us. I think they’re saying, do this now.


You will get to a point one day where time is much more finite than it is today and you will wish that you thought about these things earlier. So to anyone who’s struggling with this idea of what will people say, in the end, you’re going to have to live with yourself and you’re going to have to question yourself about whether you lived a life true to who you wanted to be. I think it’s a valuable, valuable lesson that I learned from taking care of dying people. We have one life and ultimately you’re going to want to pursue what’s important to you. And part of that is letting go of other people’s expectations.

Tori Dunlap (00:37:10):

I love that so much. I did not plan this at all. There’s a cafe in Seattle that in the restroom has a poem. Have you heard this poem? It’s called Warning by Jenny Joseph. Have you heard about this poem?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:37:25):

No. Never heard of it. No.

Tori Dunlap (00:37:25):

Can I read you the first couple lines because it’s literally what we’re talking about? It’s my favorite. I take a photo of it every time I go. Okay, I’m going to do a bad job of reading poetry. Didn’t think I was going to do this on this podcast ever. “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired. And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells and run my stick along the public railings and make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain and pick flowers in other people’s gardens and learn to spit. But now we must have clothes that keep us dry and pay our rent and not swear in the street and set a good example for our children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers. But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.”

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:38:27):

I love that phrase, sobriety of youth. I mean, I think it says so much. Strangely enough, and this is going to sound funny, when I hear that, I think of a lot of things. But I also think about how we approach money, because I think actually there are a lot of similarities. There’s sometimes in our lives where we should use money to go and do something silly or stupid or have fun because it adds to our lives and our experiences. And so we give up that compounding of our money in the stock market, but happiness and experience and all those wonderful things compound from just saying what the heck and doing YOLO, right? You Only Live Once. It’s funny because I think us financial nerds, when we look back at our life, we’re going to say, why were we so afraid to wear purple sometimes?

Tori Dunlap (00:39:21):

I think just like everything, it’s a balance, right? Now, I think both of us would be bad financial experts if we’re like, yeah, go blow your money, go into credit card debt, go crazy. But there are those certain opportunities. I just think of my best friend who literally just took a year and a half, she’s in her 30s, took a year and a half sabbatical and was like, I’m not making any money, but I’m going to take a year and a half off. It’s been a really rough couple years and I’m going to do that. And I love that. And actually, it’s such a gift she gave herself in her 30s because we talk a lot about that. She’s eight years older than I am, which isn’t insignificant, but also for some things it’s insignificant. And so we’ve talked about traveling together like what do we want to do before we get
too old to do it. And it’s like there’s certain things where she was just like, “Yeah, I want to do this right now. And like yeah, it might delay my traditional retirement for a while, but I’m young and I would rather do this right now.”

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:40:16):

I think we all struggle with this, this idea of you only live once, spend today because things pass and those seasons of our life disappear and we don’t know what the future holds versus deferred gratification. If you don’t put enough money away, you’re going to be hurting when you’re older and you haven’t saved appropriately. And so it’s that continuous measuring and trying to decide when does spending today add to my sense of purpose and identity versus being frivolous, and when does putting it away for a future time actually lead to more experiences, fun, and those other things. It’s a question we continuously have to ask ourselves. I think the dying can help us a little with that too.

Tori Dunlap (00:40:57):

Well, you mentioned this idea of YOLO, right? Again, YOLO can sometimes get us in trouble versus what do you see. What is the beauty of a YOLO type philosophy?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:41:08):

So I think that again, if life is about living a sense of purpose, identity, and connections, there are many times when spending money can add your sense of purpose. Ernesto, the patient who went to Mount Everest is a perfect example. He kind of said, “You only live once. I may never get this chance again. I’m going to spend money, I’m not going to make money. I’m going to lose out on all that opportunity cost.” And he was right. And so what I tend to tell people is since we don’t know when we’re going to die, we have no way of knowing. If I knew I was going to die in 10 years or 50 years or whatever, I could then financially plan out how to use my money appropriately and really get the most out of it. But of course we can’t do that. So I believe the best proxy is more our fears. We do know what scares us most. So for a percentage of the population, it’s going to really scare us.


This idea that we’re going to die young and never enjoy our wealth. That was my father. He died at 40. He had a premonition he was going to die young, so he tended to spend his money. Saving for retirement wasn’t as big of a concern for him. On the other hand, so dying young and not using your money is what scare some people. What scares other people like me is I was like, I’m going to live this long life, I’m going to run out of money and die broke. And so if you can start asking yourself that question, what scares you most, you actually can start toggling your habits to make sense. So my dad was worried that he was going to die young. He took a job that paid less because it was more enriching to him. He had hobbies, he loved to travel, he loved photography. He was learning other languages when he died. Didn’t put a huge amount into his own retirement.


He did of course get life insurance for us. All the kind of things he should have done thinking he was going to die young. And so when he died young, at least he could say, I used most of my money to enjoy today because there wasn’t a tomorrow. Now, me on the other hand, I was kind of okay grinding it out for a while because I thought, I’m going to live a long, long time. I’m okay maybe giving up a few years working really hard, missing a few things here and there, but I’m going to save a lot of money because my bigger concern is I’m going to live a long time and I want a huge amount of retirement to live that life of purpose and identity. And so I took a different way of doing it. Someone who has worries like my dad did, maybe you take all your extra money, you take 40% and you put in a YOLO fund and really enjoy yourself today.


And then you take 10% and still put it into your retirement financial independence because everyone should be saving for retirement financial independence regardless. And so if you’re right and you die young, you lived a pretty good life because you are at least using your money to serve you. If you’re wrong and you live to an old age, yeah, you’re not going to retire for a while, but you’re still enjoying yourself with all that 40% YOLO fund. And the 10% eventually will lead to retirement. On the other side, if you’re like me and you defer gratification, I guess the real loser in the game is the person who defers gratification to a huge extent. They put 40% away for retirement and only use 10% for YOLO. And then if you die young, that’s kind of losing the game. But at least you were excited about this prospect, right? You were really into it.

Tori Dunlap (00:44:12):

I mean, I had unlearn my frugality in a lot of ways. I was so frugal that especially the first year or two out of college, I did some fun stuff, and a part of it is just learning how to manage your own money for the first time. But it was, oh, I can spend money on these things. Oh, I can go to this concert. Oh, I can go out to eat every once in a while. Oh, I don’t have to pack a lunch every single day. So part of, yeah, it was a lot of learning in that way.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:44:41):

If you ever doubt it, when you talk to people who’ve been given a terminal illness, they’re going to talk about their relationships, their experiences, their trips. They’re going to tell you about non-financial forms of compounding. They’re going to talk about your education, they’re going to talk about their hobbies, they’re going to talk about all these things that maybe they spent money on that compounded, but it wasn’t money compounding. It was love and relationships and experiences and passions. Those are the kind of investments that you actually really value when you find out you’re dying. Yes, we value our monetary investments, especi
ally if we don’t have enough when we’re dying and we can’t buy food and don’t have shelter. But above and beyond that, mostly it’s those non-monetary investments and the compounding that happened with those that end up giving us the wealth that we really want at the end of life. And I would say even before the end of life, for our later years.

Tori Dunlap (00:45:38):

Yeah, no, that’s beautiful. You talked about being a doctor and then stepping away from that, but how that identity was hard to shake. I think a lot of people, myself included, and I know Chris and our podcast producers struggled with this lately of like you can relate to having a dream your whole life of being like this one thing or this one passion. And then you realize at some point that maybe that passion doesn’t serve you anymore or that wasn’t what you wanted. What helped you separate that, your identity from this thing you were doing? What would you say to somebody going through something similar?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:46:15):

So when I realized I was financially independent, I knew that being a doctor was painful. It didn’t feel good anymore. There were always these little clues that I ignored. I went to medical school and I didn’t make a lot of doctor friends and I hated hanging out in the doctor’s lounge. And even worse, after I became a doctor, I go to parties with my wife and people would ask me what I did for a living and I would cringe because I didn’t want to tell them. I mean, these are flashing neon sign saying, warning, warning, warning, something’s wrong here. But I didn’t listen to them. And part of that was that deep connection it gave me to a father who died when I was seven, and that was my connection to him. So when I realized that this really wasn’t fulfilling me and I realized I had enough money, from the place of privilege I was in, I started using something I call the art of subtraction.


So I said, it’s too big an emotional thing to walk away from medicine completely. I don’t have the capacity nor the emotional wellbeing enough to just do that. And this was in 2014. So what I started doing is I started getting rid of all the things in my work life that cause friction. So for me that was, I had a private practice, I got rid of that and started doing only nursing homework and some medical side hustles including hospice. After a while, the nursing homework I was getting called in the middle of the night, the patients were deathly ill, so I eventually got rid of that and was just doing hospice. Then I got rid of nights and weekends. What I eventually ended up with is a job where I was a consultant for hospice where I worked 10 to 15 hours a week. I love doing that so much that if the company had come to me and said, you know what? We can’t pay you anymore but we still need your services, I would still do it.


And so that’s how I knew that that was the part of medicine that still spoke to my identity. Now again, I’m going to use the P word again. This came from a place of privilege because I had the money to start doing that. The key with younger people who don’t have that privilege is to start trying to figure out ways to build more purpose in and use some of those non-monetary tools to give them space. Whether that’s a side hustle, whether that’s switching jobs, whether that’s switching companies, whether that’s finding other ways to make money, whatever it ends up being. It’s starting to slowly transition out of those things you don’t like. Subtracting those things out and then adding in other things that really do fulfill that sense of purpose and identity. And that’s a slow process. It’s not something you generally do immediately unless you happen to be lucky.


For me, it took a good four years to really subtract out all the bad stuff. And in the meantime, as I was getting rid of the bad stuff, I was creating time and energy to start filling my space with more important things, things that really added to my sense of purpose. For me, that was writing and public speaking and podcasting and blogging. For other people, again, it might be that side hustle or that passion or that other thing they like to do. And if you’re young, maybe some of that makes you money so that you can get away from those things you don’t like to do.

Tori Dunlap (00:49:00):

I think the other thing that I take away from your story as well, or your advice is I’m a millennial, I’m right on the cusp between millennials and Gen Z and I have a lot of friends who are Gen Z, and I think there’s this idea that your job has to be your passion. And you were talking about before, a lot of people are just getting into jobs so that they can basically make as much money as possible and then get out. If somebody is maybe not making a ton of money with what they love to do but also they’re like, they’re itching to do more, but they know, okay, what I love to do unfortunately is not going to make me a lot of money and it’s causing this grief in this other way. For me, my answer to that is you can step away from your passion and do your passion on the side. It doesn’t have to be the thing that you do in your nine to five. What is your advice or your response to that?

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:49:54):

So the passion play, if we go back to the parable of the three brothers, the passion play is one of three possibilities. There’s front loading the sacrifice, which is the oldest brother. The middle brother is passive income and side hustles. The youngest brother is passion play. I see less and less people use the passion play for a lot of reasons. One is it can be really hard to make money on your passion. Let’s say you’re a painter and you happen to make beautiful paintings, but if there’s not a huge market for it, you can make as many paintings as you want. If you don’t have enough customers, it’s just not going to support you. That’s one of the problems. It’s totally fine that your work-life can support your passions in other ways. It can be what allows you to have enough money to then pursue your passions your free time. I want to tell a fun story becaus
e the other risk about the passion play, and this comes from behavioral theory, it’s a little bit complicated of an idea.


But if you take something you are intrinsically motivated to do, a passion, and you receive external rewards, i.e. money, it may actually kill your passion. I have a favorite story that goes along with this. Pretend that we all live on a big long block like when we were little kids, right? At the end of the block, there’s this old curmudgeonly man who loves doing his yard. He loves to cut his grass, he has beautiful, beautiful flowers, et cetera, like your dad. So pretend your dad lives at the end of the block, and the minute he goes back into the house, what happens? The kids on the block, they love to play football and they extend their football game right into his yard. Trample, trample, trample. They ruin his little plot of heaven. So the old guy kind of gets this idea of behavioral theory, this idea of internal motivations and external rewards.


So he goes to the kids one day and he says, “You know what? I think you playing football on my yard is actually good for the grass. I’m going to pay you $10 a week to go play on my yard.” And the kids are overjoyed. Not only do they get to play football, but they’re going to have some extra money for candy. So they go and they play football and their hearts are full and their pockets are full of money and candy. A week later, the guy decides to turn the screws. The old guy comes back, your dad, and says to the kids, “You know what? You’re not doing nearly as good of a job as I thought you would. So I’m going to still give you some money. I’m going to give you $5 this time. Go ahead and play and we’ll reassess you in a week.” Now the kids are a little annoyed. They were getting $10, now they’re getting $5, but they still get to play football. So they take the $5 and they play football and their hearts are full, maybe a little less. Their pockets are a little less full of candy.


So the final time, a week later, the old man comes and he says, “You know what? You’re doing a horrible job. I am never paying you ever again to play on my yard. Go play football you want, you’re never getting another cent out of me.” The kids huff and puff, they stomp their feet. They look them in the eye and they say, “We are never going to play on your yard again.” They turn around, walk away, and they never do. So this idea that sometimes when we take something we’re very internally motivated to do and we get external rewards for it, it actually makes us have less joy in that thing we are internally motivated to do. All this being said, sometimes our passions are meant to be something we do because it speaks to our soul, not because we think we’re going to get a paycheck for it. You know, it’s a hard line to draw because some people do follow their passions and end up having an incredibly lucrative business and they still are passionate about it. So this is not everybody, but it’s just something to be wary of and that’s okay. You don’t have to follow your passion, but you do have to start bringing your passion into your life one way or another.

Tori Dunlap (00:53:24):

I often give the metaphor in my work of I as a 28 year old am taking care of grandma me, who’s like 65, and drinking sauvignon blanc with lunch and flirts with her much younger Pilates instructor named Luca. That’s my real life retirement plan. So I have to do some heavy lifting to make sure that 65 year old me is somehow more badass than me currently, which I don’t know how that’s going to be possible, but it’s going to somehow be possible. But at the same time, I don’t want to be 65 year old me and look back and be like, hey, I’m living cushy now but 28 year old me was feeling awful. That’s the balance that I think we’re all trying to find is how do we YOLO to a certain point while also realizing that we’re going to hopefully live long lives and we also want 40 year old us, 60 year old us, 80 year old us to be just as happy as 20 year old us. I think that that’s the balance we’re all trying to achieve.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:54:29):

So really, if I was to take this book and give it to you in three basic ideas or rules, the first would be think about purpose, identity, and connections first and put the money aside for a short period of time. Just start the thought process. Step two would be then go ahead and build a path to financial independence after you’ve taken purpose, identity, and connections into the process so that it can be part of that building financial independence. And last but not least, then consider again, are you worried about dying young or living old and being broke? So you can decide how much to spend today versus tomorrow. Those are the three steps. How would I define a regret free life? A regret free life is one in which you really built purpose, identity, and connections into your life as early as you could and started substituting it in for those things you didn’t like to do in as many of those time slots as possible.


So everyone’s going to have that and it’s going to be different, but you don’t regret when you live according to your purpose and identity. You don’t regret when you put yourself out there and try the things that really mattered to you. You don’t regret when you spend your time with those people that add value to your life. These are all things we can do today. It’s not simple. You have to be really thoughtful and intentional, but money shouldn’t be the end-all be-all, and it certainly shouldn’t be the thing that inhibits you except in very extreme cases. So for the extreme cases, there’s always going to be outliers, but for everyone else, we should find hopefully a way to start bringing that purpose, identity to our lives today because tomorrow’s not guaranteed. And yet we should still be able to financially plan for tomorrow too, and that’s the goal.


And I think we can do this. I think this is doable. I think the biggest problem is more being intentional and not being afraid to think about these things. And having the pleasure and opportunity to interview you
over the years and watch your trajectory, it seems pretty clear to me that you’ve been building joy and purpose into your trajectory. That doesn’t mean you’re not working hard, doesn’t mean you’re not making money. It doesn’t mean you’re not saving for tomorrow, because I know you’re doing all those things, but it means that you’ve connected with a sense of purpose and identity and it shows. I imagine that’s why people listen and will read your book and those kind of things is because it connects with them. Because they say, aha, here’s someone who seems like they are pursuing purpose and yet figuring out the finances. Because again, the finances are only as important as they allow you to be your best you.

Tori Dunlap (00:57:04):

Yeah, thank you for saying that. It’s also my own struggle of, yeah, my default is frugality and save, save, save. There’s been certain decisions that I’ve made that felt very risky, even starting my own business, taking that full time. At the time, again, I was talking blips in the radar before. That felt like a huge risk. I look back now and I’m like, you had money in the bank, you had momentum, you had all of these things. It felt like a risk in that moment, but of course it ended up paying off. And then I’ve been traveling for the last year, I don’t know if you know this, I actually packed up all my stuff and lived out at Airbnbs for the last 10 months and always told myself I wanted to do that, but I had a million excuses. I had a million reasons why that wasn’t feasible or smart or financially sound, but wow, I had a great year.


I don’t want to do it forever, but I did it, and now I can say I’ve done it. So yeah, I think again, to go back to what we were talking about at the beginning, a lot of these things seem like big risks or big failures or these moments where we put hoops in our way so we almost don’t have to make the decision because that’s scary. But then you look at the end of your life or you look back retrospectively at your life and you’re like, wow, I wish I would’ve done that, or I’m really glad I did that instead.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:58:23):

Remember the Ernestos of the world, the ones who took off time in their 20s to climb Mount Everest are still the minority. And it’s somewhat sad but true. Sometimes you do have to have the courage to take a completely different path. It’s a lot easier to take those chances, and again, reconcile what you need in life when you’re young. It’s a lot easier than when you’re meeting a doctor like me and I’m walking in and I’m there to talk about your emphysema, your heart failure, your leukemia. It’s really much, much harder to start making those pivots then.

Tori Dunlap (00:58:57):

Yeah, thank you so much for coming on. This was such an impactful episode, one of my favorites I think we’ve ever done. Where can people find you? Remind us your book. Plug away.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:59:10):

The easiest way to learn everything about me is go to jordangrumet.com, that’s J-O-R-D-A-N G-R-U-M-E-T. There you can of course order the book, which is available wherever books are sold, especially online. But the book is Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life. I also create content really in three main ways. I had a medical blog from like 2005 to 2018. There are links for it there at jordangrumet.com. I have a financial blog, diversefi.com. You can see the links there, as well as the Earn & Invest Podcast. Either go to jordangrumet.com or earnandinvest.com. All those places should have links to the book too, or just Google me.

Tori Dunlap (00:59:49):

Amazing. Thank you. Thanks for coming on. Thank you for your work.

Doc G (Jordan Grumet) (00:59:52):

Thank you for having me.

Tori Dunlap (00:59:55):

Thank you once again to Doc G for joining us and for his support of our work. You can get his book anywhere you get your books. We’ll link it down in the show notes. You can support a local independent bookstore or request a copy in your hometown library. And of course, speaking of books, a reminder that Financial Feminist, the book that I wrote is out in just a few short months and available for pre-order now. Over 7,000 of you have ordered a copy and I cannot thank you enough. We are aiming for that top New York Times bestseller spot, so we’re so appreciative of all the support and it’s just so humbling. As I mentioned, you can also request a copy of Financial Feminist or multiple at your local library to make sure that those who can’t afford to purchase the book will still have access to the life-changing financial information and education.


We have a link at herfirst100k.com/book where you can not only order a copy yourself, but also contribute and request one from your local library. We give you all the steps at herfirst100k.com/book. Thank you as always for being here. Thank you Financial Feminist for your support of the show and your support of this movement, and we’ll catch you later. Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K Podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap. Produced by Kristen Fields. Marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Olivia Coning, Cherise Wade, Alina Helzer, Paulina Isaac, Sophia Cohen, Valerie Oresko, Jack Coning and Ana Alexandra. Research by Ariel Johnson. Audio engineering by Austin Fields. Promotional graphics by Mary Stratton. Photography by Sarah Wolfe
and theme music by Jonah Cohen Sound. A huge thanks to the entire Her First $100K team and community for supporting the show. For more information about Financial Feminist, Her First $100K, our guests, episode show notes and our upcoming book also titled Financial Feminist, visit herfirst100k.com.


Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap is an internationally-recognized money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori quit her corporate job in marketing and founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. She has helped over one million women negotiate salary, pay off debt, build savings, and invest.

Tori’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, the New York Times, BBC, TIME, PEOPLE, CNN, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, BuzzFeed, and more.

With a dedicated following of almost 250,000 on Instagram and more than 1.6 million on TikTok —and multiple instances of her story going viral—Tori’s unique take on financial advice has made her the go-to voice for ambitious millennial women. CNBC called Tori “the voice of financial confidence for women.”

An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.

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