The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Different perspectives

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:24 pm on Friday, August 9, 2013

Life has a way of changing us as we go thru the different phases of our existence.  When I was a kid, it was all about playing.  Once I hit puberty, it was school and boys and trying to navigate the new and changing social experiences I was having as a pre-teen and teen ager.  When I graduated, I moved into the final phases of my education and my perspective was focused on getting my degree.

In my twenties, I was in my accumulation phase.  I got my degree and now I needed to buy ‘stuff’.  House, cars, mowers, rakes, pots, pans, furniture, a dog….all the stuff one gets when they start out on their own.  Previous to this time, everything I owned would fit into one car.  I rented furnished apartments, ate off of dishes that were hand me downs or purchased second hand.  I had one fry pan, and some cheap aluminum pans, and plastic cups. I bought a house, furnished it, and while nothing was expensive or fancy, it was at least  my OWN.

In my thirties, my perspective was on my career and doing the best job I could.  I went from staff pharmacist, to manager to staff pharmacist again at a new company, to manager at my current job, where I have been for 21 years….thru my 30’s, 40’s and very soon, into my 50’s  During this time I started to think about my financial future….put money in the bank and into investments.  I had all my “stuff”.  I am not a person who has to have the newest and best.  I replace what is old and broken as needed, but  for the most part, once I have something I keep it for a long time. I will own my home in 22 months, and will be debt free.

Last week Mr chick and I went to our financial guy.  We wanted to see where we were and if we were on the right track for our future.   I am not going to be in the workforce forever ( at least I hope not).  We took some real hits when the dot com market crashed, when 911 happened and when the market re-crashed when the economy tanked in 2007.  Had those things not occurred, I might have been on easy street and out of the workforce by now.  I was very nervous going into this meeting and was rather terrified that he would tell us we were going to have to work into our 70’s.  I was more than relieved when he said we were on track to be able to retire at age 60 if we are careful.

Until recently the idea of retirement was never on my radar. Who thinks of those things when you are 20?  After nearly 30 years of  standing on my feet, I think of those things often now.  I am a tired pharmacist.  Ive seen it all, heard it all, and now I look towards walking away from it all.  Walking away from my meeting with Mr Money Guy, I had a slight spring in my step.

60 isn’t that far away. There is hope.   I could go part time if I didn’t want to sever ALL ties to a paycheck and keep some insurance. I value my time more than I value possessions, money, etc.  I want to come and go when I choose,  not have somebody dictate whether or not I can have a lunch or go to the bathroom. If I want to travel, I dont want to be limited to a monday -friday vacation time and fret if the plane is late.

No, I wont be rich, but I am content to have enough, hopefully with enough to last til I die and just enough left to bury me.

I have an intern right now, she is about 23 ish I would guess.  A very nice girl, but I wouldn’t want to be a new pharmacist any more. Its a different world.  She has no knowledge of the world that Pharmacy used to be. I feel sorry for her in some regards, but then again, since she has never experienced the golden age of pharmacy, she can’t miss it.  If you are and oldie like me, you probably remember when a board inspection was essentially a check that your licenses were hung on the wall and you had hot and cold running water.  One page, in and out.  My current board inspection is 15..( FIFTEEN) pages long.  Insurance and prescriptions were not bedfellows yet.

she will have an ASTOUNDING amount of school debt saddling her when she gets out.  I have no doubt that employers know that and mentally use that debt to enslave new pharmacists.  They will work whatever and whenever to pay off their debts.   I am not entirely sure that the perspective I had in my twenties is what SHE has now. Corporate is happy to dump old pharmacists and hire younger pharmacists who have no idea what NON corporate pharmacy used to be like.

I, Pharmacy Chick remember THAT perspective and I mourn its sad demise. I feel like a “bridge” pharmacist.  I lived and worked in both worlds.  My cute independent was swallowed up by a big box pharmacy.  The owner hated how insurance companies robbed his back pocket, and he got out before his pocket was picked entirely.  He never worked for a corporate entity.  All the bucks stopped in his pockets, and his goal was to keep as many of them there as possible.  Cant blame him.

I hope I can keep proper perspectives during my last years in pharmacy, however many that is.  But if I get 6 lucky numbers, they will be measured in days…not years!



Comment by Don

August 10, 2013 @ 7:09 am

Ahhhh Chick.

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but your money man has been lying to you to feather his own nest. He’s not an advisor, he’s a salesman.

What you SHOULD have been doing, is paying off your debt first, for a zero risk, guaranteed return of (debt interest rate + (debt interest rate * your income tax rate))

But, that wouldn’t have paid for your salesman’s own house in his fees.

For every mortgage dollar you borrow, you pay back about three. They really should teach this stuff in schools.I am paying my house off early. my mortgage is 600.00 per month and I am paying 1500.00. I mentioned that earlier in the post that my house is paid for in 22 months.

Comment by notdon

August 10, 2013 @ 10:16 pm

Actually don is only partially right, sometimes debt isn’t the greatest thing to pay off. I currently pay only the minimum on my mortgage cause the interest rate is somewhere around 3%. Over the last four or five years my investments have at least doubled from their lows, I’m 33 and have a net worth of nearly 700k from investments. If I would have thrown my money into my home I wouldn’t have nearly the amount I have now. He was probably right about your salesman. He is taking at least a percent off of your investments from the start and if he’s investing in loaded funds he’s taking 5% from those funds also. Best investment advice I can give is use your 401k to the company match, pay off high interest debt 5 to 6% or above, max out a roth, then max out HSA and 401k. Do not pay off low interest loans early.

Comment by Eileen

August 16, 2013 @ 6:29 am

Mt best advice? Go as soon as you are confident you have enough to feed yourselves! We’re not in the US so it is a bit different but the best decision we ever made was to retire early despite what we lost out on. We both do a bit of consultancy but mine has crashed with the crisis (but it wasn’t included in the sums anyway) and his is more to keep him occupied and in science, it is pocket money pay. But our QOL is way better than for years 🙂 So we only have 3 rooms to live in – one study each and a kitchen – that’s quite enough to clean thank you!

Comment by Pharmacy Gal

August 17, 2013 @ 10:20 am

Pharmacy Chick, I am a “tired” pharmacist too. I think you just get to a point where the BS and long hours start taking their toll on your health and quality of life. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as well. I’m paying more attention to my 401K and investments as well.

Comment by Jade

October 6, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

In hospital pharmacy, sole-breadwinner. Don’t think about the 401K at all. With kids, a considerable amount of money goes into funding a well-rounded education, and trying to eliminate Federal, bank, or other loans and putting aside a pre-set amount for retirement. For many people, a house is the largest investment. When we put payed a large down-payment, my spouse was still telling me that renting was a viable option. At least with ownership, there’s no increased rental fees and threat of eviction and there are cities where there are differences in rights of renters and home-owners. Paid off the mortgage in 60% of loan period with considerably less in money-lending ‘fees’.

Now, that I’m in my 50’s with kids in college, am more excited about working in pharmacy than ever before, and more community involvement, along with travel, hobbies, etc. So long as health lasts.

Comment by Norman

October 17, 2013 @ 8:36 am

Sounds like you are in pretty good shape to retire. No matter how much more money you save by working a few extra years, you can’t buy more time.

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