Personal accounts: When you're done with practice, not the profession

March 28, 2019

Long running attention to details yields dividends for industry veteran.

Why so stoic? It's a great plan. ('s note: This article is part of our "Personal accounts" series. Money management is all about choices: where you live, the job you take, what you spend. But when it feels like the money's drifting out of the bank account much quicker than it flows in, it's hard to get a handle on where it all goes. We asked several veterinary professionals from different jobs and areas of the country to track their spending for one week. Our goal: to share what they've learned from a deep dive into the cost of living and the choices we make every day. Read them all here.

OK, here is how it works for me. I graduated from college in 1985 with student loans of $40,000, which included interest. I paid those off in 6.5 years and earned an MBA in 1994. I had been working full-time in veterinary medicine for over 32 years and specifically for various animal health companies for over 24 years. The veterinary industry has been good to me and allowed me to invest toward retirement. Also, I paid off a previous home in 2011 and the current house in the Midwest never had a mortgage.

In October 2017, I stopped working full-time for pay and started my own consulting business in order to separate my veterinary business from personal funds. I am working for a couple companies without pay at this time. I have also been speaking at conventions for the last three years, for which I get paid a speaker fee. This last year, I was supplementing my income from my savings. In my fiscal year, 2018/2019, I have arranged $6,600 per month from my investments to be deposited to my bank accounts. So, while income is basically $0, my investments cover my expenses and investments are already accrued.

What do I do then? I am president of a veterinary industry association. This is my main volunteer job. I also volunteer at a women's pregnancy crisis center, take my dog to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, serve on an advisory board for the animal science and health academy of a local high school and am scheduled to teach a few community education classes. I will get paid a little for the teaching.




$77.71, dinner for my two friends and me in San Jose, California because they let me stay with them during the World Science Fiction convention

$1 for drink tip at one of the World Science Fiction convention parties

$1 drink tip for KC Animal Health Corridor Annual Homecoming Dinner (Fortunately, a local university paid for my dinner or that would have been over $200)

$25.00 to charity in Minnesota

$80.61 for groceries as I had been out of town on a couple trips since Aug. 8

$10.00 as a business expense to register for One Health Day at a local university in November

$162.50 to pay for eye appointment in July

$1.25 for latte

$20.00 to chip in for new baby gift

$3.99 for shipping a gift to my sister


$2.00 drink tips for veterinary medical association CE meeting


$30.00 for stamps

$0.50 for book on Dublin where the next World Science Fiction convention will be held

$14.12 for household supplies



While in veterinary school, I learned to spend less than I made and as soon as I graduated, I started a budget and tracking system, which I do to this day. My fiscal year starts every August. Part of that budget has been saving or paying myself first and now it is paying me back.