54. Kat the PA | Life Isn’t Guaranteed – You Can Enjoy Your Life and Pay Off Your Student Loans at the Same Time
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Daphné Vanessa

Shamil Rodriguez



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About This Episode

Kat, PA-C, from PA the FI Way joins The Student Loan Podcast to discuss how you can pay off your student loans and enjoy your life as the same time.

Kat is a Physician Assistant that is working her way towards Financial Independence so she can retire early, but she isn’t depriving herself to get to her goal. She is well aware from her personal and professional experiences that life is not guaranteed so she is balancing paying off her debt while enjoying her life.

Kat has been practicing in medicine since 2014, primarily in family medicine as well as some walk-in / same-day clinic roles, though recently transitioned into outpatient psychiatry. She lives in the upper midwest of the USA with her awesome, supportive, and hardworking husband. 


  • the cost of becoming a physician assistant;
  • how she manages to pay off her debt while also saving to enjoy her life;
  • why she is motivated to reach financial independence before traditional retirement age and why you should too;
  • and much, much more…


Enjoying the show? Leave us a rating and review. Every comment helps! Drop in your IG handle so we can thank you personally!

Kat the PA (00:00): Live life in the moment. Try to enjoy your journey to financial independence. Not just live in deprivation, pushed everything off because you aren't guaranteed. It's even make it until traditional retirement age. So unfortunately my dad passed away in his early sixties and then my husband's dad passed away in his early fifties. So neither of them even made it held tradition or terminated, right? So it's like you, you don't know that you're guaranteed to live that long.

The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:28): Welcome to the student loan podcast here. You'll find practical advice on tackling student loan debt, paying down your higher education expenses,

Daphné Vanessa (00:38): Inspiring stories about paying off student loans, we're your hosts Daphné Vanessa

Shamil Rodriguez (00:44): Shamil Rodriguez,

Daphné Vanessa (00:47): Please rate review and subscribe to the student loan podcasts by visiting the student loan podcast on apple podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts,

Shamil Rodriguez (00:58): Not professional advice. And we speak from our own personal views and opinions.

Daphné Vanessa (01:03): The student loan podcast is brought to you by start new, where you can serve your community and get rewarded with tuition and student loan payments to check out if start new is on your campus, visit start new.com. Welcome everyone to another edition of the student loan podcast. Today, we have an amazing guest and I really, I don't even know how to say this. Other than we have been fortunate enough to meet Kat in a group that we have together of like-minded individuals that are on the path towards sharing messages to improve other people's lives. So Kat has a podcast of her own, um, called P a B F I way for financial independence. For those of you who don't know, and we are so, so excited to welcome Kat onto the show. So with that cat, please give us an introduction and tell us

Kat the PA (01:57): Awesome. Thank you so much, Daphne, for that introduction, as you mentioned, my name is Kat and I am a PA, so there are several PAs out there in the world, but the PA that I am is a physician assistant and we are a type of a medical provider. And I started the podcast PA the FII way, because as you mentioned, Daphne, I'm trying to teach other PAs about the concept of financial independence. So I've worked as a PA for seven years now. I started in family medicine. So I worked there for about six and a half years. And then recently at the beginning of this year, I was able to do psychiatry and I still am keeping the cashable urgent care position to kind of keep my general medical knowledge up. But that's one of the main things I absolutely love about my profession is that we're able to switch different specialties in medicine. It's called lateral mobility. So we really appreciate that aspect about our profession.

Daphné Vanessa (02:50): That's an amazing opportunity and not one that all career paths have. So can you speak to us a little bit for people exploring into the world of wanting to become a physician assistant? What was the path towards becoming a physician assistant? Like and how much did it cost?

Kat the PA (03:07): Sure. We're diving right in aren't we

Daphné Vanessa (03:09): laughter [inaudible]

Kat the PA (03:13): That's okay. That's okay. That's great. I love it. So yeah, so PAs, most PAs currently have to have master's education. So back in the day it was a bachelor's in education, but nowadays most of us have master's degrees. There are some that now have doctors and medical science degrees too. So it's possible that the profession may go that way down the road. We don't, you know, it's kind of a little too early, I would say to know that, but some people do have their doctorates and work as Ks as well. So you do have to get your bachelors and as many pre-med students, you can technically major in anything, but you do have to have so many different types of requirements or pre-recs. So you often do have to have the biology classes that I'm a history that, oh, cam psychology, those types of things as well before you get your bachelor's, but you could technically be a history major and take all those science classes, if you wanted to. And then for your master's degree, I would say the programs usually vary between two years and three years. My program was 25 months, so, wow.

Daphné Vanessa (04:18): Yeah. Wow. That is not a short period of time and, but well worth it, it sounds like speak to our audience a little bit about the differences between choosing to go the physician assistant route and the MD route, because it sounds like you guys are in school for the same period of time. I have to be honest.

Kat the PA (04:37): Oh yes. Good question. We're actually in school of Fairmont, less than MDs. So MDs get their doctorate degree. They B they are medical students for four years. So instead of like a two to three-year masters, but then after that, they have to get a residency. So going through residency can be three years up to five years and sometimes there's even fellowship past that. So I absolutely love my physician colleagues and the physicians that I've worked with over the, the ones that during my rotations back in PA school. But when I looked at that length of training, I just didn't really want that for myself. It just seemed like I was spending, I would have spent so much time in school. Well, as some money. So education is less than MDs in the sense of costs because it is less time in school. So we are able to go into any area of medicine, as long as the place is willing to train us.

Kat the PA (05:38): Some cases do decide to go into fellowship as well. There are some, um, fellowship programs out there or residency as a PAs, absolutely want to do that, but that's pretty few of us that do that as well. So my PA student loan debt was $122,000, 600 and dollars. And, um, that did include some undergrad. So I was very fortunate enough to get scholarships for undergrad. And my dear mother was very kind and did provide some funding as well. So that total amount probably included about $10,000 worth of undergrad cost. So the majority of that was certainly in PA school. Wow.

Daphné Vanessa (06:21): That is not inexpensive. That's on the expensive side. Um, but again, sounds like well worth it. I think what would help the audience is to discuss what are some financing options that exist while you're a student. And then we'll sort of talk about the payback plan after.

Kat the PA (06:41): Sure, certainly. So I would say that most PAs have to take out student loans. I would think that it would be very unusual for PSV able to self-fund their education, unless perhaps this is a second career for, so maybe some people did work in another type of profession and then decided to go back to peace school and they had savings or wealth buildup outside that they were able to use that to pay for their loans. Sometimes you can get scholarships in PA school. I think that it's somewhat rare to get your full tuition paid for in PA school though. It's possible that it could happen. So I would say for the majority of people, they, you know, go take out loans and live off of those loans, Glen Pete school. And then afterwards you can try to pay off your student loans by a lot of different ways.

Kat the PA (07:34): There are, um, a different few different types of programs. There's PSLF, which is a really program that you can look into that, which has public student loan forgiveness. And that was a pretty new program back when I was out of PA school. But some kids could decide that that's the route that they would to go. There are other types of roles where you could work in underserved areas as well, and perhaps qualify for some national health services type of scholarships or repayment programs as well. Or some kids may decide that they want to join the military because the profession was actually founded from the military back in the day. Yeah, yeah. Back, um, many years ago, I think in, excuse me, not many years ago, but back to my millennial self, it sounds like you need to go right back in the sixties. It was founded and medics were coming home from war and these medics had advanced training, but they, you know, didn't really want to spend the time or the money to go to med school. And so the founder of the PA profession was a physician that started to train and teach these medics at duke university.

Daphné Vanessa (08:43): That's cool. That is such an interesting fact. I did not know that I feel empowered for some dinner party conversation.

Kat the PA (08:54): There you go there. Go.

Daphné Vanessa (08:55): Cool. I didn't know that you're in the military smell. What do you think about that?

Shamil Rodriguez (08:59): That's fantastic. Yeah. I mean, I took advantage of that for law school, obviously not PA school, but, uh, it was great to get my law degree for free. So I think those are some really great ways to do it. And, and I think one of the benefits, uh, sometimes people just assume, and now I'm not a recruiter and I don't know how the PAs come in, but when you're a lawyer or, um, or you are in the medical profession coming in, I just don't know if it's just for doctors or not, but I'd be curious to see if for PA as it applies, I would assume it would, but you basically come as a civilian into the military and bring your expertise into the military. So, uh, it's just a great opportunity to take advantage of, especially if, if you want to give back to, you know, the fighting forces, keeping it's allowing you to pursue the job that you're having in the first place.

Kat the PA (09:43): Yeah. That's awesome. So that's funny that you say that because I wasn't aware that lawyers could do that for going to the military to get their of degree paid for. So that's pretty awesome that you're able to do that

Shamil Rodriguez (09:54): As you brought that up. Cause not everybody does. So when we get the chance, I always try to plug it.

Daphné Vanessa (09:58): And so I think that the act of serving others as a career is one of the most selfless things that you can choose to do. You're essentially you are a first responder towards people's health and that's a really selfless thing to do. Can you share with the audience, if you feel comfortable, what your personal life story is that even brought you to wanting to be a PA in the first place?

Kat the PA (10:21): That's awesome. Well, thanks so much for saying that Daphne, I really appreciate that. We don't always get to hear, you know, feedback from people. Sometimes we're hearing the frustrations and you know, people who are sick and they're really angry that we're, they've seen take out a lot of frustrations upon us. So we do appreciate if you have the chance to think any medical providers, any nurses, anything like that. I encourage you guys to do that because it'll make their day. So thank you for that. Um, yeah, back when I was considering what to do with my life that was around junior year of high school and I'm definitely a planner and wanted to figure out what I wanted, the things that I considered too, but I was saying, yeah, there you go. There you go. I was loving science and math and those types of things too.

Kat the PA (11:10): So I was leaning towards medical checks, definitely into nursing as well as doctors. And you know, when people think that there's only nurses and doctors, but there are so many other types of professions within the medical field. But fortunately, or unfortunately when I was 14, I tore my cl my first lap I'm skiing because I'm an absolute horror skier and the findings were too tight. And I fell because I was bad. It rolled down the hill and twisted my knee. So therefore I went to the ER and I didn't remember it necessarily at the time, but my mom took note that the provider in the ER, who helped me was a VA. And that's where she was like, oh yeah, you need to remember that for future. And so in high school was when I decided to kind of research the different professions and decide that PA was the route for me. And that's when I decided to pursue that.

Daphné Vanessa (12:03): Nice. I love that. And where in the world did you grow up to allow you to just have that experience? Just for like geographic context?

Kat the PA (12:12): Yeah. So I'm in the upper mid west. I'm actually way up in Minnesota. So the weather is changing and we're looking forward to some ice fishing coming up here. Wow.

Daphné Vanessa (12:21): Actually go ice fishing, please tell the audience.

Kat the PA (12:25): Yeah, totally. No way growing up. I never did at all. And then when I, my now husband, he came to try this bass fishing thing and I thought it was a very Minnesota thing to try. And so we went and we didn't catch one fish that first night at all, but I thought the whole process was really cool to see you get a watch, you know, drilling the auger, you drive out on the lake, you set up everything up, you have your [inaudible] is your fish finder. And it's the really fun experience. And then once we started actually catching fish, my sister likes to come with Olam, my brother-in-law and now my sister and I are completely did to it. And we really liked Outfitters guys as much as possible.

Daphné Vanessa (13:04): Oh my gosh. That is so cool. And can you please let me know what your contingency plan is in case the ice breaks or just what, what's the plan, please? Let me know. That's the lawyer

Kat the PA (13:15): Says the lawyer

Daphné Vanessa (13:18): [inaudible]

Kat the PA (13:18): And again, thinking about those things right now, I love that. So unfortunately you have to be careful because if it turns, doesn't really covered with, if your car goes in or your fish house, and so you have to make sure that there's a lot of ice up there and it is important to practice. A lot of safeties. So is amazing how much ice, some of the lakes around here can get. We go, we go pretty far up north, near Canada for a lot of our trips and there'll be like three feet of ice. So you kind of are dragging out there and you're like, well, I don't know about this. And then you started drinking and they're like, you can barely get your auger through you feel pretty comfortable at that point. Okay.

Daphné Vanessa (13:53): Okay. Got it. So it's, it's not like you're, you can see the fish moving below the ice. It's like super deep. That gives me some comfort for whatever reason that gives me something

Kat the PA (14:05): That you guys are never up here and want to go. You have the open invitation

Daphné Vanessa (14:09): He's laughing because he knows I'm very bad at being in anywhere, hold. Sure, sure. I guess sweaters and heaters on. And it's only 60 degrees outside. That's great. But I have family in Canada, like deep into Canada, like, like management and Quebec city. And when I go visit them, they're like feats of snow, feats, plural, not one foot, many feet of snow. I said on purpose to emphasize the plurality of how high the snow is. And so yes, I do venture into the cold to visit my family. And that's about all that, but

Kat the PA (14:50): An and friends to cat friends do. So maybe I will come. Yeah. Awesome. There you go. There you go. Happy to have you love, love, love. So I've been hugging them

Shamil Rodriguez (15:03): So good. I've enjoyed it. I've got, I've got a front row seat for no cat, if you could. I'm really curious, especially because you know, you doing the psychology part now and you know, you're shifting gears in that direction. I would be curious if you could shed a little bit of light on what the journey was like for you. Did you know when you're taking the lows, what it would be like when you were paying it back? I know there are a lot of people that when they take out the loans, they just sign right. There was like, all right, I had a goal, this is the paper that's going to get me to my goal. I'm going to sign it and take care of it later. And then when they get the bill, they're like, what, you know, is that an experience that you had or, or were you, like you said you were a planner. When did you know where you were getting yourself into?

Kat the PA (15:44): Totally. I love that question. Yes. So I am definitely a planner, but I was completely financially illiterate until about five years after becoming a PA and learning about financial independence. So I was completely naive. It was like, well, I need to go to PA school. I want to go to PA school. I, this amount doesn't sound unreasonable compared to other programs. So, you know, different programs, you certainly could pay less depending upon the program or a lot more depending upon the program. So there is quite the variety with that, but it was my goal. And so I decided just to take it out. And I think that I did go into it pretty naive because it's like far from my future's health and I'll make pretty decent paycheck. It shouldn't be that hard off. So I was pretty naive back then where I just took it out and, you know, paid the loans and also had to have some money for living expenses obviously, and things like that. So

Shamil Rodriguez (16:45): You're not alone, right? Like that's the benefit is that like your experience is very real and a lot of people go through that same experience. Um, and I'm glad to hear that, you know, you share that and that's a big part of what we try to do here in the student loan podcast is really share that reality about how sometimes that being naive actually helps you take those chances that you might otherwise not take, uh, when you have more life experience, but at least, you know, like you said, it's been a great career for you. It was inspired by your injury and now you're literally helping other people that need assistance. So, um, really good, you know, good for you for doing that. So can we switch gears a little bit and ask and talk about how you decided to tackle it, right. So you've got 122,000 plus a little over it, you know, that instead of loan debt, I mean, what do you do, right? What's your plan? Uh, I know you have this great podcast. It's talking about fi financial independence, you know, let's, let's walk those, uh, these listeners through it. So maybe somebody to get inspired to do the same thing.

Kat the PA (17:42): Yeah. That's awesome. My story to start with is not very inspiring to say the least back when I was looking at all of the student loan as like, how do people pay this off? Right. So what I did was I did refinance really quickly. So I refinanced her so five and my interest rate was brought down to 6.2, 4%. I don't remember where it started with with those federal student loans, but just say, you know, several thousand dollars I got that it was a good thing to do. Um, and then unfortunately I started meeting with a financial advisor right out of PA school and he promoted whole life insurance to myself and my husband. Yes, exactly. So you guys know where I'm going with this. And so I was pretty gun-ho to pay back my student loans, but it's and won. And that was my first question for him.

Kat the PA (18:40): How do I pay these back off quickly? Right. Well, unfortunately he's all about promoting that whole life insurance to young, healthy individuals. And he, and he's like, oh, well, you know, you get some tax benefits. If you pay those loans and stay up until a certain dollar amount for your income and things like that. And there's no RA pay off those loans, we should instead do this and you can invest your whole life insurance. And it was just, you know, poor advice. So I basically started paying over the course of 10 years was my plan to pay it off within a decade, which I still think isn't awful. I would give to people nowadays, I would suggest quickly. However, I am still paying on my student loan 17 years out of PA school. And even though I learned about financial independence a couple of years ago, I am now making many more payments, excuse me, a L at larger payments to pay off my student loans.

Kat the PA (19:40): I'm overpaying on them less than, than 10 years, but it's probably not as quickly as it could have been. Right. And we certainly have fired our financial advisor and it I'll do a lot of the things ourselves and that's like that. Um, so that's been pretty great too, but it's learning about financial independence to myself and my husband, we've been really gung ho about investing, right. And so even though my student loans are still there, I did refinance again about a year and a half ago and brought my interest amount down to 4.09, 4% or sold by again. So I did refinance yourself by and before that I wasn't even aware that you could refinance private student loans again. And then also, again, and again, if you wanted to, I just was completely oblivious. I thought if he did it once that was it, you were done. Right. So I did refinance again, but I feel comfortable investing a lot of money right now, instead of trying to tackle that student loan debt, pretty decently low interest rate. So people are completed and want to get those student loans paid off ASAP. Right. And that's probably the advice that I would give to most students. Most new PA grads would be to try to pay off your debt pretty quickly, but invest some along the way to allow some compound interest. Yeah,

Daphné Vanessa (21:04): Absolutely. So did you follow a methodology at all? Like the Dave Ramsey's baby steps or choose FIS pillars? Like, did you follow a methodology or was it just like, this sounds like a good idea.

Kat the PA (21:18): Yeah. Great question. So at the beginning, I wasn't really following anything cause like I was completely naive when it came to finances, but how I learned about financial independence was through the choose that by podcast, one of my friends' husbands, we were talking at a wedding about travel rewards. He introduced me to that concept through the choose of five podcast and I learned about financial independence. So I absolutely love their advice, their pillars, the fight, those types of things too. And Dave Ramsey does have a lot of excellent advice too. I would just be a little bit more open to credit cards than he is, or obviously a little bit more of into carrying some debt than he is that he asks, you know, obviously has of excellent advice too. So

Daphné Vanessa (22:00): Of course awesome. Yeah, no, I agree. I think it's like everybody has to figure out what approach works best for you. Right? So for some people that is Dave Ramsey, you know, eat soup, what does he say again? He's like so sick and tired of being sick and tired, but then he's like eat rice and beans until you're free. And all you've saved is like a thousand, you know, like, and that works for some people it does. And then other people are like, Rameet safety, like spin on what you want. You know, like make sure you invest in the debt will happen. Don't worry about, you know, other people are kind of like in the middle. And I agree with you that the choose FII pillars are really sort of harmonizing. I think the best of all the different worlds while still allowing for you to live a decent life, because focusing on the fi is like, it's not so much like retire early retire, early retire early. That's almost like a negative mindset where you're telling yourself there's a time when it's going to be too late to retire instead of focusing on being financially independent, which is that FII piece. So I agree with you that I'm, I'm also a listener, obviously we that's how we met. Um, totally. But I also definitely, you know, am a proponent of financial independence.

Kat the PA (23:23): Yeah. That's awesome. I think that's correct. I definitely lean a little bit more towards the side of you need to enjoy your life, even if you are paying back debt. So you're not guaranteed tomorrow. And I think that's important to try to find that balance in life.

Daphné Vanessa (23:37): Nope, Nope. And with the laws written they way they are today, who knows what happens with your student loan debt when you die. So there's that that's super rewarding. And I think you, that you've had such an interesting view, right? Because you have this expertise in financial independence, your professional career right now has migrated over to sort of understanding psychology and psychiatry. That's got to work really well when it comes to money psychology. Like I'm just saying like there, have you looked introspectively even at yourself, right. You know, your, your partner and just said, what's our money psychology. And how is that impacting how we operate?

Kat the PA (24:18): I actually had a thought about that, about your mindset and things like that too. So I do think that it plays a role about how even you you're growing up, you know, how you first learned about money, how your parents dealt with money. Um, so you learn different things about finances and me even as a child. Right. But I think that that aspect is super interesting. And I have this book on my list of books that I need to read the psychology of money by Morgan Housel. I have not read it yet, but I've heard it's amazing. So I definitely am wanting to check that book out. Yeah.

Shamil Rodriguez (24:51): Oh good. And you know what, um, that reminds me of, um, a recent episode that we had with Rob feelin episode 51, if I'm curious to see, uh, what he did mention, and I thought you might, you might like this cat is that the study that he referenced was that most individuals learn their money habits between the ages of seven, eight and nine. So then as an adult, you're really just fighting off those fundamentals of essentially that you've built unintentionally because it's not like a lot of us know that. So when you're raising your kids anyway, by the time you figured that out, they, you know, the damage is done.

Kat the PA (25:23): Right. Isn't that very interesting. It is kind of sad when you think about it, but if you can kind of flip that and reverse that if you do have young kiddos and like, okay, now's the chance I need to start teach them. And I don't have any kiddos, myself, my husband and I, we may in the future, but we don't quite yet. And, but we have nieces and nephews and my sisters Otter is six and she's the oldest. And it's just super fun to see her in work and to try to talk with her about counting money, saving money, delayed gratification. So they get like a store at school and they, you know, they earn these dollars through school, but she told me one time like, oh, I've been saving up for weeks. And I finally got this thing. I thought that was really mature, you know, in kindergarten as a six year old in the

Daphné Vanessa (26:10): That's amazing. Oh my goodness. I hope to be able to do that. Right. It's fantastic. What are they teaching them in sixth grade now? That's that's great.

Kat the PA (26:22): Yeah.

Shamil Rodriguez (26:23): I got another question that I follow up on what you were saying. Daphne, could you give us some tips for the audience? Right. Because remember we try at the Sumo podcast to serve as a resource for technical advice, right. We have guests that are advisors or counselors, or, you know, we've had other FII individuals on. They give like very technical advice on like, step one, step two, step three. But I'd be really curious if you could share a couple of tips that people can use that are dealing with the financial anxiety that can be produced from having overwhelming student loan debt. So are there some things that you would recommend just as a general member of cat is not your RPA, right. Um, this is general advice that you may want to look into, but like, is there anything in particular that you think some people could implement today?

Kat the PA (27:04): Sure. Yeah. I think that's a very interesting and great question and there's definitely lots of directions. Answer can go with that. Oh, what comes to mind is that it really is important that you take a role and be your own advocate. When it comes to finances before it was pretty cool as a naive and my husband would just pay the bills. And, but he really does not like any of this financial stuff at all, but I thought he was the finance guy in our relationship because he was taking care of the bills. Right. But when I took it upon myself to learn about this and to try to help teach him and get him on board, those types of things, it really is empowering and helps so much with that anxiety of, okay, I know that these student loans will be paid off soon. I know that we are saving and investing for future. So it really does alleviate that anxiety. And in regards to some resources, I mean, we've already touched on the choose of fire podcasts. They have their own book as well. I think that Jonathan and Brad do an awesome job with both of those, for the medical providers out there. There's the white coat investor. He's awesome. And then there's the physician on fire too. So I would say that those three have been the most empowering people to listen to and learn about from, because they are just such a great resource.

Daphné Vanessa (28:21): I love and admire your dedication towards getting us to a place where more people are aware of this financial independence movement. It feels when you're in it, that it's second nature. But when you speak outside of the bubble, you realize that not a lot of people are considering this yet. What motivates you to achieve financial indifference?

Kat the PA (28:45): I love that question. I think that it's very important that everybody try to figure out their why, you know, it's so important. So I think too, before we go into that a little bit, I think it's important to also emphasize that anybody technically needs to reach financial independence before they technically can officially retire. So it's not just those who are thinking about retiring early, but it's you feel like you're going to retire at traditional retirement age. You do need to have enough saved and beds to be able to do that. Otherwise you'll probably find yourself working again in a few years, but personally, although I enjoy my job, I have been burnt out over the years. It's very challenging, very stressful. I was burnt out before the COVID pandemic and then the COVID Pentucket and that, so I honestly didn't see myself working as a PA until traditional retirement age.

Kat the PA (29:33): I will very likely work in profession for many years to come, but it probably won't be until age 65. So that's definitely one of the reasons for pursuing financial independence. However, I did touch on it as well, a little bit earlier, too, that I think it's real important that you do is the day live late in the moment. Try to enjoy your journey to financial independence. Not just live in deprivation, pushed everything off because you aren't guaranteed. It's even make it until traditional retirement age. So unfortunately my dad passed away in his early sixties and then my husband's dad passed away in his early fifties. So neither of them even made it traditional retirement age. Right. So it's like, you, you don't know that you're guaranteed to live that long. Additionally, I have had so many patients tell me, especially back in family medicine that, Hey, my husband just retired.

Kat the PA (30:26): Then he was diagnosed with a horrible disease, like ALS or Lou Gehrig's or things like that or cancer. Right. And then they pass away pretty quickly and it's like, okay, even if you do make it till traditional retirement age, you might not be in the best health. Or if you are fortunate to be healthy, then you might have a lot of aches and pains. Right. So it might be kind of difficult to practice to do the adventuring that you want to do as you get a little bit older, some birthdays. So I think that it's really important that you think about what you want your whole life to look like and try to plan as much as you can, if you are a planner. Um, or if you're like a husband just play life by the, the day like he does. So we're a good balance with that.

Daphné Vanessa (31:13): I was like, I'm not talking about us, I'm the planner. Um, but no, I think why some people choose to delay gratification. It's a question to me now, but the truth is that I was at person, right. I delayed gratification for a long time because there was always this huge colossal goal that I was aiming towards. So, um, with that in mind, my question for you is, are you fat fire, lean fire, mini fire, all the fires with

Kat the PA (31:51): Sarah. That's great. So we are suing traditional fire right now, but we probably are going to do fat fire with a cushion. Because if we do tear, you know, earlier than traditional retirement age, you probably should be fat fire. Technically, you know, so normal, I don't know how aware some of your listeners are about financial independence, but normally traditional is 25 times. Your, that usually lasts for maybe about 30 years, according to the Trinity space. So if you were wanting to retire Airmont earlier than age 65, then you probably should have more than twenty-five times saved and invested. So probably more the fat fires, what we're aiming for.

Daphné Vanessa (32:33): Yeah, no. Um, I think fat fire is definitely a, it should be a consideration for anybody who seeks to retire, quote young, which is, I guess, anything below, I don't know, 50, 60. I have, no, I don't want to. I look, I'm not calling anybody old. That is subjective. I'm not calling anyone old or young, but do the math is essentially what we're saying. Ladies and gentlemen, do the math and see how many years you're likely to live and how much money you're going to need to live each one of those years. That's, that's just the truth. It's a numbers game, the fat fire movement. I don't know why that's not promoted more. Cause it sounds greedy. But the truth is that bad fire is the way if you're considering early retirement.

Kat the PA (33:22): Yeah. And I think you and I, as planners, like the part of that fire too, you know, there's contingencies and just a case things pap Pappas.

Daphné Vanessa (33:30): Correct. So what's the most expensive medical event that could happen. Let's plan for that. Those types of things exactly have many spreadsheets and algorithms. It helps keep me comfortable, but I also listen to like the other extreme, which is roommate safety. So I try not to live in the spreadsheet, but the truth is that if I don't look at my spreadsheet, at least once a month, I'm not comfortable. So how often do you check your spreadsheet?

Kat the PA (34:02): Great question. Daphne's so I technically don't have a spreadsheet. Really? Not me being a planner. I use personal capital all do is track our net worth, but I don't have that spreadsheet, you know, with all the budget and things like that. But if you're counting on capital, I do check it quite a bit. It's probably every few days just because,

Daphné Vanessa (34:23): Just to make sure I love the emails from personal capital. When they say you spent whatever number, less than this, that's my favorite email to receive. When they told me I didn't spend a lot of money. I'm like, oh, thank you. I just feel so good about my,

Kat the PA (34:40): There you go. Are you going have your spouse's information? LinkedIn? And I look at him and I go, oh, you need to be paying off your credit card soon here.

Daphné Vanessa (34:49): He's like, no, I'm a bill collector.

Kat the PA (34:51): Yeah. Right. He's like, yeah, you're right. I need that reminder.

Daphné Vanessa (34:56): That's super cute guys. Um, I love that.

Shamil Rodriguez (35:00): That that's a good one. Oh, about a quick question. A cat. What about the, because I liked the idea that you said that you're paying off your student loan debt, but you're also living your life right outside of becoming a professional ice fishermen. Uh, no, but all jokes aside, w I guess like, if you don't mind, like budget allocation, like percentages, right. I know we we're, we're, we're glad to have you on as a PA, but I want to make sure other professionals are like, Hey, well, what can I do to kind of follow in those footsteps? Like, how can I be financially independent? Right. You hear that? Tell me anyone who's listening, or anybody you speak to say, no, I don't want to be financially independent. Right? Like that's, that's not a thing. So that's true. But at least to people speak to so, and the people listen to this podcast, hopefully if you're listening to cat and you can gain some advice that you can actually implement. So let's take a dive into that.

Kat the PA (35:45): As you know, there are different budgeting types of methods, right? And some are definitely like free dollar, meaning that every dollar is assigned a job. Some are a percentage like you need to put in this percentage to savings, social, investing, this percent into the needs. And this percent into wants, I am more so like where we pay off what we need to pay off right away. And then what's left over. We decide if we want to spend it. Both of us are pretty good about like, Hey, do we really want this? Do you feel like this will bring joy in our life? We definitely discuss it. Think about it, those types of things. So it's more so that we as try to, you know, path our debt pay for bills, those types of things, too. We also have been building our emergency fund and our cash savings because we're also still in the process of remodeling our house.

Kat the PA (36:43): So a fair amount is going towards that too, but in regards to different hobbies or interests or things like that, if we feel like wiping the board, it just go ahead and do it and get it. So we're not restrictive in that sense. Um, again, it's the finding the balance between saving, investing for the future living for now and Yolo in. Um, so we definitely do a lot of travel rewards too for save on travel. So definitely I've gotten into credit cards and travel rewards points to be able to travel and keep doing that hobby for, um, very close to free alley.

Daphné Vanessa (37:23): I would ask what's in your wallet, but I don't think I can ask that question, but I am interested. Maybe we can talk offline about like how you're leveraging sort of points. This is not advertising for any sort of company

Shamil Rodriguez (37:36): And they use their slogan. Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (37:41): I did not mean to use whoever slogan. I don't even know the slogan that is

Shamil Rodriguez (37:46): That's sponsoring the pod. So we're not giving them that credit.

Daphné Vanessa (37:50): And I listened to Rameet safety. He like swears off all banks anyways.

Shamil Rodriguez (37:54): So good.

Daphné Vanessa (37:56): I don't even know. I don't. I'm apologize, please. Don't Sue me.

Kat the PA (38:02): I love you guys are worried about this because, because of your guys's backgrounds,

Shamil Rodriguez (38:07): It just, it just comes in automatically

Daphné Vanessa (38:09): When you read terms and conditions for living, it just really densifies life, but

Kat the PA (38:16): Bless you guys for that, because that would give me a headache.

Daphné Vanessa (38:20): I mean, it's, it's funny how, like, everybody has sort of like, uh, a weird niche thing that contributes to help. Like the world just spin its wheels because I love reading. Like I have to be honest. I really love, I love finding nuance things in and I, I enjoy it. And I've, I've been in hospitals where I see medical professionals standing for 13 hours a day and I'm like, I don't know how you do it. And I've told them that. I'm like, I, I respect what you're doing so much. One weren't you here 24 hours ago? Like, how are you still here? I never went home. You know, it's a talent talent. So

Kat the PA (39:00): Those are definitely the inpatient hospital providers and nurses and things like that. I am outpatients. I have pretty much hours. So

Daphné Vanessa (39:09): It's still a struggle. Right? Um, I think not the struggle, but I think I admire the work of outpatient as well. Right. Because you're there you're modeling. So like, if it's outpatient where you have ongoing care with a particular patient, you're developing a relationship with them, you're seeing how outside sort of influences are affecting their care. That's I mean, you have emotional, like gratitude and, and I guess generosity, I think is a better word that I don't have. I'm just going to be honest. Just don't come to me with your problems, ladies and gentlemen,

Kat the PA (39:47): Maybe, maybe it'd be a good surgeon then or something like that, or radiologists where you look at x-rays or

Daphné Vanessa (39:54): Surgery. I think, um, the way that my, uh, one of a family friend was describing the precision and sort of methodology, I was like, that sounds interesting. It really, it sounds more like engineering and creation then relationship building.

Kat the PA (40:11): Definitely, definitely surgical rotations are required for us. And I absolutely loved my surgery rotation. So funny.

Daphné Vanessa (40:18): That's so funny that people say that because I didn't know, she was describing like opening a trunk of a human being. And I was like, oh my goodness. She's like, there's the trunk method where you just kind of cut in a rectangle and you pop it open. And I'm like,

Shamil Rodriguez (40:32): That's my

Kat the PA (40:35): Robots. You get to use like robots and some surgeries.

Daphné Vanessa (40:38): Yes, yes, no. I mean, you get that. It's a talent. So we all have our talents. I admire yours as well, but that's all I'm saying. Great.

Kat the PA (40:48): You guys are awesome.

Shamil Rodriguez (40:49): Uh, thank you, cat. And so before we wrap up, I actually wanted to see if we can go into a lightning round. What did you think, Daphne, do we have

Daphné Vanessa (40:54): Time for lightning?

Shamil Rodriguez (40:56): Ah,

Daphné Vanessa (40:57): Fastest lightning

Shamil Rodriguez (40:59): Cat has to know like we've done for every one of our guests. So if you haven't listened before, you might be like, what is it going on? Cat is actually not prepared for any of these questions. So cat, the rules of the game are, we're going to throw a question at you and you have to give us your impulse response. Okay. So we've intentionally did not give you any of these questions in advance. Uh, and it's just that fun is a good way for us to, you know, close out the, uh, the podcast

Daphné Vanessa (41:23): And choosing financial independence, rice and beans are ramen noodles, ramen noodles. Oh, okay. Ocean view or mountain view. Oh, that's such

Kat the PA (41:33): Tie. Can't even say they're both awesome

Daphné Vanessa (41:37): To choose for the purpose of just the lightning round

Kat the PA (41:40): Probably would say ocean, okay.

Daphné Vanessa (41:42): Financial independence at 40 or 50, And paying off your credit card bill in full every month or waiting till the pay period to pay it off, like the two

Kat the PA (41:58): Oh a month, more like a few days.

Daphné Vanessa (42:02): Love it. That's all folks.

Shamil Rodriguez (42:06): Thank you, cat so much for joining us. Is there anything before we go that you wanted to share with the audience as a final message and also how they can reach you?

Kat the PA (42:15): I want to thank you guys so much for having me ask. They really appreciate it. We touched on how I have the PA the F I way podcasts. So you can listen on major podcast players of your choice. I also have a website it's PA the F byway.com and I recently created AB cares workbook. So it's called the PA that book for those who are PA's, but just are learning about financial independence. It's a pop-up on the website. You can fill that out and get your copy. And otherwise you can just send me an email. I'll add Katz, K a T at P F I, wade.com. I'd be happy to hear from you and get some feedback from you. I'm also on Instagram at PA the FII way as well. And then I do have a PA that Phi wait, Facebook page. And under that Facebook page, you can also join a private Facebook group. If you are a current or future PA out there that would like to learn a little bit more about financial independence. So my whole role of my business is to really promote financial independence and financial literacy amongst both current and future PAs out there. And I hope that you find the information valuable that you find in those resources, and I'd be absolutely happy to connect with you as well. So thank you so much again, it was really fun to talk with you both. Awesome.

Daphné Vanessa (43:37): Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Kat, for more information about this episode and more visit the student loan podcast.com/episode 54. That's the student loan podcast.com Forrest less episode 54. Thank you.

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