Episode 18 Doctor Money Matters.
This transcription was obtained via Google voice recognition. Please excuse any transcription errors.
On this episode, my guests are Drs. Steven and Jenny Bepko, 2 retired Air Force Physicians who are now traveling around the world with their children. In this episode we talk about their careers in the military, the nuances of the military medical system, their experience with finances and deployment. Finally we talked about their world tour with their children this year. I hope this episode gives you an insight and appreciation of military medicine. I also hope that more of us use the Bepkos example to do something interesting and unique while you are young. It’s not just about saving to reach higher and higher net worth. Thanks for listening to this episode. I want to thank the Bepkos for talking with me and I wish them continued safe travels. At the time of recording, they were in Argentina, but have since gone to Africa, the middle east, India, and are now in New Zealand, I believe. They are now slightly more than half way through the trip. The Bepkos have a blog documenting their travel at bepkosgoglobal.blog. Please let your friends know about this podcast by sharing it on text, whatsapp or whatever social media platform you are on. More episodes of this podcast are available at www.doctormoneymatters.com and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, etc. All episodes are also now on YouTube (Audio only) and Facebook. You can follow me on twitter @drmoneymatters Please consider joining the Doctor Money Matters Facebook group. Thanks for listening and please leave us positive reviews and continue to share this podcast with your colleagues. Some other physician hosted podcasts that I recommend are: Docs Outside The Box The Hippocratic Hustle The Happy Doc Doctors Unbound The White Coat Investor There are many others, so please support your physician colleagues.
[0:16] Okay welcome back on this episode my guests are doctors Jenny and Stephen bepko to retired Air Force Physicians who are now traveling around the world with their children.
[0:26] In this episode we talk about their careers in the military and nuances of the military medical system.
[0:32] Their experience with finances and deployment and finally we talk about their world tour with their children I hope this episode.
[0:40] Gives you insight and appreciation of military medicine I also hope that more of us use the bepko example to do something interesting and unique while you’re still young it’s not just about saving to reach higher and higher net worth.
Patel, Jenny Bepko, Stephen Bepko:
[0:54] Welcome to another episode of the doctor Money Matters podcast I guess today are dr. Steven and Jen bepko recently retired lieutenant colonel from the Air Force.
Stephen is a radiologist and Jenny is a family medicine physician and they recently retired back in July I think and now they’re traveling the globe for a year with their children,
a bit of background I work with Steven he was my commanding officer at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and Jenny was one of the founders.
[1:23] And teaching attendings of the Family Medicine Residency at Dallas welcome to the podcast.
From Buenos Aires Argentina you are my second International yes and this is the first South American one that I had so jobs are not South American obviously.
So tell me a little bit about your background and how you guys got into medicine.
And then a little bit about your military experience.
And the Air Force finding School.
I was one of those.
Apply for the scholarship for medical school.
And I went on to medical school and residency with the Air Force.
Search retirement considered choice.
Yeah I was a little different I wasn’t that somebody was going to be.
[2:43] Fact I was going to create like genetic dinosaurs inside biomedical engineering was actually,
artificial hearts in genetically modified dinosaurs.
I actually wanted for the Air Force but I couldn’t cuz my eyesight and my dad told me about the white surgeon route to fight surgeons are medical doctors,
I get to wear a flight suit and basically they get to fly or Ride Along.
As a kind of a roundabout way of getting into the career field of the Air Force so I applied.
Got accepted for the scholarship they pay for my medical school.
1 years a journal intern as a Surgical Intern in order to get your license and then I went off in,
medicine for five years before deciding to go back to residency as a radiologist so,
route for the two of you come in and then the medicine specifically in the Air Force,
let’s let’s talk a little bit about practicing in the military so you you get out of med school,
Jenny you did your residency through the air force Okay and like Steven you said that you did a year of general surgery so,
are you guys married at the time where were you stationed.
[4:20] Three or four hours at internship.
Before any other work restrictions duty hours any of that so.
First year and then after seeing her last two years of residency I was actually quit,
staff position although you know I was only barely able to practice because I had my one year of internship out of the way.
But certainly wasn’t the board certified or board eligible roller or residency train,
that particular time,
Family Medicine will to work on your medication.
And then how do I treat you know you are predominantly working with the Flyers and the crew is that correct.
So basically I would usually have three and a half days of Clinic a week,
the flight surgeon had to go inspect the various occupational medicine shops we also had to do like Health inspections of.
[5:56] The golf course snack bar nuts,
three and a half about a half a day of work.
And we were supposed to fly with our Squad not only to establish camaraderie with pilot so that they would trust you with their medical problems and concerns but also so that you,
understood some of the physiology of flight or,
altitude making cost in pretty significant problem so it was a pretty nice lifestyle,
so that’s obviously that experience is pretty unique to the military so let’s talk a little bit about that looks like a little bit about the pros,
and cons of practicing in the military so what are some of the pros that you so obviously flight medicine being kind of a unique Avenue what it what else would you say is a pro.
[6:57] Your arm.
Health insurance company are taking care of.
Service before self.
[7:47] I would do minor surgery on these guys and find out they were at Normandy Beach.
Really really good stories.
What are the other prizes that you really didn’t have to worry about.
Basically socialized medicine.
What are you supposed to.
Generating of practice and making sure the people,
but you didn’t,
[9:25] Last year.
[9:28] My Air Force doesn’t make its money from.
[9:38] Just got absolutely the the people who wore the uniform the camaraderie I think that’s very you need to military medicine I think a little bit people work at the VA get that,
being part of the military is a unique experience and,
the camaraderie that people share their and I think it elevates the purpose that you are therefore already in medicine so let’s talk about some of the cons now so,
I’m sure there are some negatives that you you’ve experienced.
[10:11] Jenny I was going to be a family medicine physician.
The Air Force would not allow her to do her.
You’re chosen feel I decided to become a,
a couple years before a couple years after it might not have been possible to become a radiologist and certainly if you had your heart set on being a Pediatric Cardiologist.
You know that’s not going to happen for the Air Force wasn’t going to train you in a field that they didn’t feel was necessary.
Write as a bat or some of your listeners who are the doctors and stuff.
Because the Air Force already had three pediatric surgeons.
[11:14] Definition for citations two undesirable locations,
listeners are probably you know I’m familiar with,
the frequency of deployments especially during the peak of the wars that we had any 2000s still have,
even at the time while I was in the military.
You felt like you you were in a part of it and then you talk to civilian colleagues and and they really weren’t aware so to Dad degree it’s even become more of an issue now that people don’t really know what’s happening your experience specifically during that time.
I had trouble training missions in Desert location,
the last four years my last four years at Travis.
And I was undeployable so that was actually,
20% of the top.
Replacement The Temple at Travis the last 4 years.
Was definitely there it wasn’t a question of if someone is going to die.
Out of out of how many would you say.
[13:19] You are. You would have.
Have any chance.
[13:37] Right and there’s no overtime in the military and no bonuses for that level of oryx so.
[13:43] Pay the same.
Teaching staff at someone who was a clinic PC.
Where is radiology at the most.
Started being able to use teleradiology in theater actually so you could actually,
various various locations,
resetting ear training.
So I mean these are these are some of the sacrifices I think you know when you’re a medical student looking at the financial benefits of getting your school paid for,
you don’t always think about its and yeah I know I really can think 20 years or 15 years into the future but but something to definitely consider.
Before just making this trip financial decision it’s not just a financial decision obviously like we said there is there is some,
benefits that you can’t really put a price on for working for people who’ve worn the uniform and and and being one of those people but it is a it is something definitely think about.
So let’s let’s talk a little bit specifically about you guys mentioned it.
[15:17] About the financial aspects of military medicine versus your civilian colleagues in both you know the primary care field and then also the specialty.
[15:27] For starters I mean.
And if you are really set on Primary Care.
[15:39] Very beneficial because one your salaries will probably they still may be a little bit lower right off the bat.
But certainly after a couple years from my understanding.
[16:10] For five years I was making more than most parts,
but they don’t feel they can afford you coming out with 60 a hundred a hundred and $40,000 a day you know that’s why a lot of people aren’t going into Primary Care.
I don’t know but I remember,
under a hundred thousand it’s just seems ridiculous.
Heard with some of my colleagues are making a mean it’s maybe 50% 60% depending on.
But I think I’m what I’m what I’ve heard.
The Specialists specialist aren’t going to be very close to the civilian counterparts right the ology anesthesia.
Some of the surgical Specialties the workload.
You you you could have been at a a small peripheral Clinic where you didn’t see that many patients and you would have got paid the same as you are a dream your intense teaching time.
[17:46] You know Wiz tons of patients and do we know,
You know Mommy called,
to go to a teaching program,
you traveling the world let’s talk a little bit about the golden parachute of the military,
everything that we know about our multi your bonuses about the retirement it’s totally totally changed so what little we know.
Play right now and we were on the old school you needed to have 20 years minimum or it was nothing you know 19 years get you nothing 20 years. Everything is 50% of your base salary,
full bird colonel.
[19:17] How much is probably no 5 brandy or something like that but certain types of.
Then so she separated 8 years you separated 12 years you have something in the bank I’ll know and certainly you know,
nothing hyperbole to what you have,
can decide what you want to do.
That’s one of the sweetest before we talk about your your travel you also get health benefits correct.
Is it to join the Tricare program in Tricare.
I think the whole entire family was,
Diseases you have your system.
Hayden Springfield insurance,
yes yes I should one one other thing that I wanted to talk about financially and I don’t know if it’s still there but I think you guys qualify for this is the GI bill so that’s let’s talk about that for a little bit.
You need to be on for 4 years.
Military to go to school,
Weatherby Lauren to be a civilian pilot what do you want to go to cooking school,
positions none of us.
[22:22] Church it’s so right now basically both of our kids can use.
Rgi benefit years of college at a state school usually IMO State schools all tuition.
Certain private schools.
There’s a certain.
You know we both looked we have a friend whose daughter is going to Vanderbilt for free.
Additionally they get a house based on your location.
And that can be anywhere from 12 to $2,400 a month while they’re in school for about 10 months out of the year.
4 years of school.
Putting money aside in to 529 plans excetera because.
About how they were using curd.
[24:03] Wow we are not dead.
[24:12] Rice which is,
California state of California,
how to how to use the GI Bill for for some of the culinary schools,
San Francisco State University San Francisco.
Feeling rolling in some place in New York City for 2 years,
maybe we take photography and Spanish supplement actually,
so I wasn’t able to I didn’t stay in long enough to be able to transfer it to my kids but I did use it the one year that I did Fellowship as a supplement.
[25:45] To know for my housing allowance so that was.
[25:51] I may use it in the future cuz I still have the three years of MBA programs.
[26:01] Really adds a lot of the Financial Security.
[26:11] At least you don’t have to put a side.
[26:17] Well okay so we got the financial part out of the way here so now you guys are traveling around the world this year.
And you’ve been doing it since the middle of July or so so where are you where have you been let’s talk about that.
[26:35] Panama City.
[26:50] Ice nice one of my favorite cities in the world so give you the inspiration to do this and what are you what are you wanting to do this year.
[27:09] 66 years ago.
[27:17] We wanted to.
So we started basically putting money aside,
a good portion of our salary were lump-sum bonuses so we were able to use the lump sums as.
Not your typical,
could you know $25,000.
[28:23] Big expenses throughout the year anniversary trip for five years.
The bulk of our savings and then of course we have not a lot of expenses.
For our retirement salary for the year for traveling and so we’re kind of supplementing at church,
property that has right now so you guys are almost covered the the Western Hemisphere so where are you off to after when a sarees.
Another week here.
[29:27] We just stopped in there for 3 days,
rather than just flying through with that we stay for a couple of,
we’re going to spend three nights in South Paulo have dinner at this restaurant and then,
fly out to Africa I believe 5 week or so 5 or 6 weeks or so before moving on how old are your kids.
And how I mean obviously the experience of traveling around the world is invaluable but how how are you doing that’s cool why do you set aside dedicated time or how does that work.
Can we have some down time,
for 6 hours worth of school work done,
Hours of sleep I’m sure they’re enjoying it any tips for traveling with kids for longer Journey than you know a few days or a week.
[31:22] Just just do it just in time for us we’ve had this on the books or 5 years.
[31:31] Who is she,
upset about how many years High School.
You know when it is actually time.
No way they would not want to come on the trip but don’t hesitate.
They’ve actually done quite a bit much more so.
Easy to travel but this just do it,
don’t don’t let the kids hold you back you can homeschool them like you mentioned it’s just seeing other people.
Of course you know what world,
for the kids,
Taxi Driver Joe find cheap gas stations.
It’s hard to put a price tag on on that type of experience.
[33:01] You taking me to do something,
you have to take the bunch she just absolutely now so now that you’ve been out of country for a decent amount of time.
What are you missing about the US.
I wish we spoke the language.
Everything was bottled water,
is there something.
On the flip side,
you mentioned you know that the number of people speaking English that was a surprise to you is there anything else that you seeing a broad that you wish Americans that was more of an America attitudes food whatever,
when you’re Stateside all you see is the way that we live in America.
And only one small country of the world the world is completely different.
[34:39] Close down.
Appreciation when you’re outside of the United States.
[34:57] Other people act differently and it’s not different isn’t always bad.
Some ways it’s a great experience,
stripper from Travis you go someplace where we can you sort of like you mentioned we’re 6 weeks out from our normal home.
[35:22] And it’s not that bad.
Their way of doing things,
it works works out this is great wanting to go beyond your trip before you guys are even ate out a quarter way through it when you get back to the US.
Republic probably go back.
A high school experience in the United States and it allows breast.
Picking in what we choose to do next.
I did that for 20 years,
what he wants with a group right before I left.
Early next year.
Three days work options I think that would be my ideal solution.
[36:56] Remind you know one week.
Where I’m working in a 40 45 hours and just fly out there you know for those 5 or 6 days,
would certainly be more than enough retirement so I’m working 5 days a week,
places where we went to live which is mostly mostly Dallas.
There’s not a lot of 100% breast Imaging.
No breast body position I know you got a pretty good itinerary and travel plans but is your return open-ended or are you guys fixed on when you’ll be back.
[37:52] It’s not really don’t have any airline tickets after January we have plans.
But we also will probably be back in the States.
Cursed child play tickets for a show at least England in June.
But I will probably not spend the day.
Eastern Europe like we thought we may just try saving that for another year so we might be,
three or four months in Europe next summer.
Open ended and being out for an extended period gives you a little bit more flexibility so I think it’s joy that because that’s one of the best parts of travel as you guys already know,
is just a freedom in the flexibility to do things so let me ask you out there for a little while,
and you guys obviously had planned this really well and you set aside money like you said,
are the costs in line with what you had thought initially or they cheaper that is a more.
No know where we’re basically we’ve been fluctuating between.
What’s 100 – $100 over the course of the various locations.
[39:32] A lot of splurges,
there are free hotel stays so we have a lot of free hotels from you no credit card miles points and and all that sort of style.
Beginning in Africa will hopefully you know make some brown and then when we get to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
At the end of the end of the little the little,
weeks pretty much,
that’s that’s that’s a good point because basically you were having to take everything that you have in a very limited amount of space so,
nice and I’m sure I’m sure you guys have become if you weren’t already experts at packing and unpacking.
[40:55] Jenny is getting my parents have actually met us in a couple of places so as we finish up pretty much are gold.
6 weeks or so and of course it’s getting warm,
Australia New Zealand cell were able to,
every time we go back to the states with a couple of clothing,
if that’s great I am I enjoyed catching up with you guys after a few years and I want to thank you for participating in this.
Tell me about the blog you guys are doing.
Stephen and I are.
What else I’d posting on my run by,
Stevens Runner 2,
try to update a couple times a week,
we’re getting a little bit more into the groove of things.
[42:35] Okay alright sounds good we’ll put a link to an our show notes and will keep like checking in to see where you’re at and great catching up with you.
[42:48] Thanks for listening to this episode I want to thank the best goes for talking with me and I wish them continued safe travels.
[42:55] At the time of recording they were in Argentina but have since gone to Africa the Middle East India Singapore and are now in New Zealand I believe.
[43:05] There now slightly more than halfway through their trip and you can follow along with their Journey on their travel blog the linkers in the show notes but you can Google bepko global.
[43:17] And that’ll also connect you.
[43:19] Once again thanks for listening please let your friends and colleagues know about this podcast by sharing it via text WhatsApp or whatever.
[43:28] Facebook or other social media platform you’re on.
[43:32] Are these episodes are also available at Doctor money matters.com and on Apple podcast Google play Stitcher and just remember to leave us positive reviews if you can.
[43:45] Helps other colleagues find this podcast and do that for any other podcasts to you listen to their many good physician podcasts out there now.
[43:55] And my colleagues who are doing shows at Doc’s outside the box, the Hippocratic hustle, Doctors Unbound, the happy Doc and white coat investor all physicians with good podcasts that
I recommend you listen to I’ll have a link for these podcast on the show notes as well.
[44:15] Finally I encourage all of you to join the Facebook. Doctor money matters group where you can ask questions of other community members in the group and discuss topics we talked about on the show.
[44:26] Once again thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.