Dr. James Dahle is an Emergency Medicine physician who practices in Utah. He also is the owner and editor of The White Coat Investor, which is one of the most successful and widely-read financial blogs out there. Dr. Dahle wants to help physicians get a "fair shake" on Wall Street, and his website/book are tailored for those working in healthcare: medical students, residents, practicing physicians, dentists, etc. I was lucky enough to receive two signed copies from the author (one of which I will be giving away!), however this is an honest review as we have no financial relationship.
I finished The White Coat Investor: A Doctor's Guide to Personal Finance and Investing in two sittings. Although I have some knowledge and a previous interest in the world of finance, this book is accessible for even the biggest novice. This is ultimately the book's greatest achievement. Most of us in medical school or practicing medicine do not have the time or energy (or desire) to read a book about money and retirement. However, Dr. Dahle does a great job of breaking down this incredible complicated topic into relevant, easy to digest chapters.
Roughly 7 to 11 years of medical training during an individual's prime income-earning years is a significant obstacle to financial freedom. The potential to owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt is another huge hurdle to overcome on the road to wealth. To be honest, the first chapter of The White Coat Investor, entitled "The Big Squeeze" scared me half to death. In addition to the issues mentioned above, Dr. Dahle points out that physicians are actually making 28% less than they used to be (when accounting for inflation). The first few pages of the book tear down any ill-conceived notions that MD/DO = a guaranteed life of riches. The rest of the book is spent building you back up with financial lessons and wisdom.
Dr. Dahle graduated medical school in 2003. In only ten years, with a stay-at-home wife and three children he is now a millionaire. My favorite portion of the book details exactly how he went about accumulating that wealth. It isn't exactly rocket science, but many of the concepts are just never taught to those of us in medicine. I know that my school has spent exactly 2 hours of course discussing loans and budgeting, and most of it was a discussion about credit scores.
There are chapters in this book about what decisions to make and avoid during each of the steps a doctor progresses through during life. Do you know when (or when not) to buy your first house? How much should you spend? What are the signs of a good versus shady financial advisor? Can you even define a tax deduction, much less find the best ones? The answers to all these questions, and much more, are in this easy to read book.
Currently, after 48 reviews, The White Coat Investor: A Doctor's Guide to Personal Finance and Investing has a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon. I have to agree. If you have to read one financial book during medical school or residency, this is it. In addition to providing so much valuable information and inspiration, Dr. Dahle has an amazing attitude about why financial freedom and accumulating wealth is so important:
"My family's goal is to live the good life...We never fight about money...We never have to tell our children they can't participate in an activity because we can't afford it. Our vacations are limited more by our available time than money...My wife can spend her time with our children, working out, and volunteering in the community. I work 120 hours a month at my dream job." - pgs 28-9
I know that I want that "good life" too. The ability to comfortably take care of my loved ones and work at a job I absolutely love.
This book was tailored exactly to my current and future situation. It is something I could see medical schools or residency programs gifting to their students on graduation day, and they should! I know that I will be keeping my copy nearby as a quick reference before I make major financial decisions in the future. I will also share the book with my friends and family. Don't just take my advice for it, hop on over to Dr. Dahle's website, and see if you like what you read.
If you are interested in winning a free signed copy of this book* please sign-up for my newsletter in the right-sided column, I will never spam your e-mail and it will enter you into the contest!
*CONTEST CONCLUDED IN AUGUST OF 2014