The White Coat Investor’s Financial Boot Camp by James M. Dahle, MD
I give talks and run workshops for physicians. My most popular material comes in two parts. The first one is about basic personal finance and investing. The second covers the brass tacks of how to create and implement a financial plan. Both are important. Those two topics are analogous to Jim’s two books. They work together on different aspects.
If you aren’t sure which WCI book to buy, just get them both. You could make do with just one and not the other, but why would you? They are affordable and you will learn something from both. I know I did.
In less than 200 pages his new book covers the critical components of what a doctor needs to know about personal finance. It is a quick read and worth your time.
He covers all the tactical basics of working through a solid financial plan as a physician. This isn’t rocket science. You need to earn well, save well, invest right, and protect your wealth. Learn these basics, carry them out, and you will do well.
The book is clear and concise. The anecdotes, summaries, and checklists keep it practical.
I like the book and will recommend it. I have only a couple of criticisms. The academic in me would like more references and attributions for the ideas and facts. For example, he refers to “my general rule” of keeping your mortgage less than 2X gross income. “His” rule comes directly from the research of Stanley and Danko’s The Millionaire Next Door. Why not give them credit for all their work and insight?
There is also a ton of WCI marketing throughout the book. Few sources outside of WCI are mentioned. Expect self-referential website links, WCI praise, and showcased WCI sponsors and business partners. Maybe rather than complaining I should learn from him. Jim is widely known and is a successful owner of a for-profit business. I am neither.
As far as the actual advice dispensed: it is solid advice for doctors by a doctor.
There are a few places where his advice differs from mine. He still recommends 20% savings. I think 35-40% is optimal. 20% is the floor and the absolute minimum. After reaching age 50 and working for 20+ years in medicine, I can tell you that having options is the way to go. There is no reason doctors can’t reach FI by age 50. They can then choose how much or whether to work.
Dr. Dahle thinks you should “live like a resident” when starting out as an attending. I didn’t do that, and I don’t think it is required. I lived much better as an attending than as a resident even in year one. If you earn $60K as a resident it is fine to increase your spending to $80K, $90K, or even a $100K or more depending on your income and debts.
You can loosen your belt every year and grow into a bigger pair of pants. Just don’t loosen your belt all at once in year one. Your pants will fall off and it won’t end well. Maybe this analogy isn’t working, so I will stop there. You get the idea.
This book is just one of the ways to learn from Dr. Dahle. His work also includes podcasts, videos, seminars, an online course, a blog, a newsletter, and another excellent book.
Despite my perspective and nitpicking, what Dr. Dahle has done at WCI is stunning. He has made an enormously positive impact on an entire industry. Jim is generous with his information, time, and ideas.