Personal Finance Blog – Financially Free to Save the Earth (FISE) – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Personal Finance Blog – Financially Free to Save the Earth (FISE)

Just screen shots of a virtual tour of a big property somewhere on a big Island somewhere.

May 8, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m just having random fun. I told Dr. MM in clinic yesterday, that sometimes that dream you had of something you always wanted to do – it can be easy to get. The trip to Paris was just sitting there and staring her in the face. I said, “GO!!!” Just buy the flight and go with Dr. AF. He’s going anyway. $450 round trip for a flight and you guys split a hotel room, and go to Europe. Sometimes attaining your dreams doesn’t have to be hard, it can be easy. I told them I’d cover both their inboxes.

A similar dream, a dream that I never thought I had, was staring me in the face. It was looking at me and kind of danced around and said, “why don’t you grab this opportunity?” As the blog readership well knows, Dr. Plastic Picker is always financially savvy so if the numbers don’t add up – I’ll take a pass. But the dream was looking at me in the face and said, “HELLLLOOOOO, it makes sense financially.” I’m literally looking at the dream and flabergasted that it could happen? If the numbers work out, than it makes sense.

So I’m having just random big dreams and taking steps that financially make sense. I’m selling a rental property that I was meaning to sell for a while. That particular rental property was never a really great buy, but it wasn’t a bad buy. I was going to sell it last year, but it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t sell it last year. Right now the market is HOT HOT in our area, So I’m pretty sure it will sell for 50K more than the one offer we got last year. And then Mr. Plastic Picker and I since we have a 50% savings rate, have our cash cushion war chest ready. Between the equity on that rental property that I’m going to sell and our war chest, I’m going to buy some land somewhere on some big Island somewhere in the United States of America. This big land somewhere has foster cows, a lava rock bar, sauna, and two all done houses. Its just 25 minutes straight shot from an airport. It has avocado trees and citrus trees and solar panels. And I can buy it outright without a mortgage with a family member. Even if I keep just said land for fun, and just vacation on it – it will make financial sense.

But you know Dr. Plastic Picker! When there is land, there is opportunity. Thinking of earth and planetary and physician wellness. I’m pretty sure I can organize a physician wellness retreat on that land, and charge less and provide a better program than other people. I’m pretty sure I can use the profits to put back into my climate work. I’m pretty sure we can heal physicians and heal the earth at the same time. Because Dr. Plastic Picker just wants everyone to be happy. And my physician wellness institute will be better because I actually really care about my colleagues and I won’t be making money off them. I’ll charge a reasonable rate to cover the cost, and proceeds will go to paying the instructors who will be physicians themselves and everything going back to climate advocacy. But I’ll get to have the physician wellness proceeds pay for the land and I get to keep the land. But I will love the land and not hurt the land, and be a good steward of the land. That’s it. And below is more pictures of the virtual property viewing I had with a family member. It was so much fun and one of the most joyous moments I have had with this family member. Of course I blocked out his face because he is truly anonymous.

OMG I may by partial owner to 8 foster cows. If you come to this physician wellness institute, you will get to adopt a cow for your stay. LOL. Just thinking about crazy dreams and crazy things on the blog. Who knows, right? Shoot for the stars and you’ll hit the moon. I may just land on this Big Island. If I don’t show up at work one day (because I’ve shown up to work every day for over 12 years without fail), you’ll know where I am. I’ll send a postcard and maybe some avocados.

The light filtering through the leaves of this tree.

April 11, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m sitting this morning in a hotel room in the middle of the desert. For various reasons, I’m sitting living my life as a wife – as Mrs. Mr. Plastic Picker. I am appreciating the depths of a particular childhood friendship that started in New Jersey during the angst of adolescence and has endured. It’s a comfortable coming together of two couples who have known each other over decades.

But as four outwardly uber-successful adults having dinner and catching up on years of family and children and professional news, I am reminded that each of us needs to decide what we do with the outward trappings of wealth and power and privilege. How will we decide to leave our impact on the world? How does one find meaning in life? Even with close friends with similar political leanings, we each have a great ability to enact change. And unfortunately with positions and influence, we have more ability than others.

I’m always tempted with the siren call of FIRE, Financial Independence Retire Early. We could FIRE now. But retire into what? Into a world slowly descending into climatic catastrophy? This is why I talk about FISE, Financial Independence Save the Earth. We have made strides toward #fightfor1point5 for sure, but we have at least another decade of action to catch up. Time is of the essence. So with that, I am also reminded to those that much is given, much is expected.

So I will continue on my path, and enjoy our friends at the same time. It is not mutually exclusive. And I am reminded that the sense of connection and community, is one of the most important ways to fight for climate action. When you feel connected to a communtiy and to the earth and to the literal trees you sit beneath, than you will fight to protect them. The picture is a tree that sits at a park across from the house that I grew up. And it is a beautiful tree and a beautiful moment when the light was filtering through the leaves. I noticed it because I love this park, and I had just finished picking up a bag of trash.

Beautiful flowr at my mom’s house.

April 5, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Why do I write about personal finance? Because I always think about money and time, and cost effectiveness and efficiency. Why do I write about personal finance to you? Becuase I always think about the earth and how are we to save this world, if not together. I figure I’m just doing what I always do, just out loud – think about my personal finance, your personal finance and also the world’s carbon-budget planetary finance and maybe some will find it interesting enough to wander to the blog and read about it. If they remember my name Dr. Plastic Picker and it encourages them to sign a petition or reduce their plastic use, than I’m doing something other environmentalist aren’t. I stop by other personal finance blogs and sprinkle some environmentalism in the comments here and there.



March 28, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I enjoy my life. Before middle school, my family did not seem to have a lot in material wealth. My father worked a lot. I don’t remember seeing him much as he was at the office building his business until 9pm most nights. At home, we lived very frugally but always seemed to have more than enough. My mother is a phenomenol home-chef so we always had nutrtious and delicious Vietnamese food, which I realize now was heavy on seafood and plants. We were in good public schools. Most of my clothes were hand-me-downs, and I had cousins to play with that lived next door. My mom took us to the library anytime we asked, so I spent a lot of time as an elementary school student at the library just reading. And that was life. Filled with family squabbles with cousins and siblings, running around like mad children in the woods behind our house and having backyard chickens before they were cool. My grandparents would have garage sales frequently where they bought things at other garage sales and then sold their stuff at a markup. I thought they were brilliant.


Dream! A days worth of coffee grounds from the HMO coffee shop.

March 27, 2021

by drplasticpicker

This was a dream. I told Nurse Lan that it was the best gift he could have every given me. I have been committed to collecting the spent coffee grounds from the HMO parking lot on Mondays and Fridays, which are the only two days I work late enough to collect the coffee grounds. But the shop closes at 430pm, and that’s like clinic crunch time. Nurse Lan was able to get them for me and sounds like the coffee shop was apologetic about some coffee waste (like tea bags and napkins mixed in). I looked at him and said, OMG fishing a few tea bags is not a big deal! Nurse Lan wanted to fish it out for me, but I told him that it not his job and I don’t want to get in trouble with the HMO. Although they should thank me for reducing their methane emissions!!! All that beautiful nitrogen from the used coffee grounds would have just caused pollution and increased greenhouse gases in the landfill. Instead I got to take home a beautiful bag of these coffee grounds with just a bit of plastic and paper waste mixed in. I brought it home, and before coming into the house – I used my old plastic salad tongs from Olive Garden and just fished out the bits of plastic waste mostly tea bags. It’s relatively “clean trash.” And then I lived my dream, I mixed the beautiful nitrogens of the HMO coffee shop in with the recent bunny straw/poop/urine and food scraps. We are hot composting, and our composter gets steamy!!!


How I felt yesterday after a few folks sent “helpful suggestions” to some work emails.

March 5, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Wow, 1499 things that I’ve salvaged from the landfill and redeployed into the human circulating economy of things that we use. #1499 single things that had use, that were going to be thrown away. You can always check out my Plastic Picking Totals Page that details it all


Granny Flat. I admit, our family is in real estate.

February 26, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I admit it. My family has been involved in the real estate business since the 1970s. But then so have many people in our region. There are a lot of “real estate” families like ours. Just like anyone who has worked and thought about things through many times, real estate is a skill set. And like anything, when you first look at it – it appears daunting, then easy, then really difficult and then in the end simple again.

A really smart HMO resident called me yesterday to ask me real estate advice about buying their first home. They have a small downpayment and are approved for a 30 year fixed at 3.1%. But there is some uncertainty about their lives in terms of where they will be in a year, and where in San Diego they could eventually settle if the graduate gets a job here. No children yet. Smart young doctor that is usually good with money.


Trader Joe’s Tapenade is $11.05!!!

February 2, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Who knew saving the earth would include discovering new foods and making them? I was already Financially Independent, as I was born super frugal. But now with my culinary adventures and misadventures, I’m having a super fun time in the kitchen trying new fancy recipes. I thought I wasn’t a “foodie” and our tween daughter actually hates that term, as she thinks it’s very elitist. But I do love good food, and truly good food can lead to a good earth for all of us. Maybe if I end up writing my first book, I’ll just call it Good Food Good Earth???? I’ve thought about a book on and off, but honestly I’m having too much blogging to myself in the mornings.


Rosemary that I asked for, from a friend’s bush. We bartered!

January 25, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s 542am and the wind is howling. It’s raining in Southern California, and it’s much needed but unusual for us. Having lived through multiple droughts in our sunny state, I’m always grateful for whatever rain we can get. I spent last night updating our finances and refining our goals. I thought I had neglected things of late, but everything was fine. We are in tip-top shape financially and have some medium sized investments that we will make soon. It’s funny how the hard-work and foundation we laid out fifteen years ago are paying generous dividends. Personal finance is easy now. I had mentioned on the KevinMD podcast that it helps to be financially independent, and I wanted to check if that was true for our numbers. And it actually is. I could stop working now completely, and we would be fine without my income. But that has never been the point of financial independence, it was more freedom from someone else or some other entity being able to control me.


I was driven to make this false god after finding this plastic pollution this weekend.

January 11, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m definitely more in tune with my feelings and my body. Last night I did 12 minutes of yoga before going to bed, and I was stretching my arms and reaching for the sky – I could hear cracking of joints and popping. I’m sure I’ve been moving my arms and body for over 40 years, but I never heard the sounds of my body movement. I guess I had never been quiet enough to really listen.

Despite being more in tune with my body, nature, the world and shifting my personality type (I kid you not) – I still have similar thought processess. I find many people annoying but without the blaming anymore. And I know there are many false gods and false people out there. Yes, they are still out there. Actually becoming Dr. Plastic Picker has helped me see some of those false gods more clearly especially false finance gods.

It’s no use pointing them out. In generaly it doesn’t do well to be unkind. We need so much kindness these days.

Dr. Plastic Picker or a Plastic Santa? Emerging from the plastic waste of the rioters when the left and right clashed in Pacific Beach.

I cleaned up 4 bags of plastic pollution near Hornblend and Mission Blvd. I had seen the VANS store signage in the background of the news coverage of the riots. When I saw the VANS store sign in the background I was upset because that is where I sometimes walk in our neighborhood and my sister is named VAN and she used to buy VANS shoes a lot. I know it sounds silly, but seeing riot police in front of the VANS store triggered something. So I went yesterday and picked up four bags of trash there. I won’t post the picture again because I already put it on Dr Plastic Picker’s instagram page.