By Dr. James M. Dahle, WCI Founder
Every year, we designate the week of Thanksgiving as Continuing Financial Education Week, and this year is no different. This week is a celebration of maintaining your financial literacy and a reminder to the WCI community that if you haven’t done something already this year to become more financially literate, it’s time to get it done. That might mean:
Or something else. To encourage this sort of behavior, we’re going to bribe you with a 10% discount on all of our products. That includes:
- WCICON23 — the Physician Wellness and Financial Literacy Conference 2023 (in-person, non-guest only)
- WCI Merch from the WCI Store
- WCI Books (when bought through the WCI Store)
- Fire Your Financial Advisor Course
- Financial Wellness and Burnout Prevention for Medical Professionals Course (eight hours of CME)
- No Hype Real Estate Investing Course
- Continuing Financial Education 2022 Course (17 hours of CME)
This sale goes from November 21-28 at midnight MT. You’ll need to use code WCICFE2022 for the courses and conferences. Everything at the store is marked down automatically.
I also like to spend some time talking about books that have either come out in the last year or that I became aware of in the last year. On Tuesday, I’ll be spending the whole post on the book that made the biggest difference for me this year, but today, I’m going to briefly go through a bunch of other books that were sent to me. Hopefully one of them will be perfect for your CFE this year.
#1 Stay the Course by John C. Bogle
Fittingly, Jack’s last book published the year before he died is titled Stay the Course. It was passed out to attendees at the Bogleheads Conference this year. Stay the Course is the story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution. If you are a Vanguard investor—or even just a fan of Jack Bogle, as I am—you’ll enjoy this book a great deal. The history behind the Wellington Fund, the Primecap funds, the index funds, the Target Retirement Funds, admiral shares, and all of the other changes at Vanguard over the years are detailed here for your pleasure. It’s a remarkable story and even better to hear it told by Jack himself. Vanguard has its problems, but after reading this book, you’ll probably be a lot more willing to forgive them.
#2 Just Keep Buying by Nick Maggiulli
Nick is a financial advisor who was on the faculty at the Bogleheads Conference with me. We’ll get him on the podcast at some point, but today I just want to tell you about his book. The three-word title pretty much sums it up. It also explains my personal investing success. We’ve earned money, saved money, and bought investments every month for the last 18 years. It shouldn’t be any surprise that we’re now rich. But lots of people get confused. Nick says it this way:
“I am talking about the continual purchase of a diverse set of income-producing assets. When I say income-producing assets, I mean those assets that you expect to generate income for you far into the future, even if that income isn’t paid directly to you. This includes stocks, bonds, real estate, and much more. However, the specifics of the strategy are not critically important. It’s not about when to buy, how much to buy, or what to buy—just keep buying. The idea seems simple because it is simple. Make it a habit to invest your money like you make it a habit to pay your rent or mortgage. Buy investments like you buy food—do it often.”
There are a ton of other pearls in the book on personal finance and investing. It’s a worthy read and probably the best book of its kind that came out in the last year or two.
#3 Finding Your Edge by Jeremiah Boucher
There are lots of real estate books out there, and more come out every year. This year’s addition to the list is not doctor-specific. It starts right at ground zero for an investor who wants to be wealthy but doesn’t have any capital. Most doctors get to start their real estate investing career on second base due to their income. It’s still useful to learn the lessons that most real estate investors have to learn in those first five years when they don’t have any money. I like Boucher’s argument in this book that relates Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investing to a game:
“CRE is a competitive game. In order to win you must do something better than your competition is doing, or sidestep the competition by finding a new playing field—creating a new game. Finding your edge in the game is about creating an advantage based on your unique and individual skills. Creativity is essential because there are very few rules in commercial real estate other than communicating with clarity and operating with integrity.”
The book discusses six principles:
- Find your value in the deal and your skills
- Innovate to gain an edge
- Stay the course to win
- Never get too high, never get too low
- Real estate is a relationship game
- Trust your instincts
If you’re considering real estate investing, either directly like Jeremiah or passively, this is a worthwhile read.
#4 Immigrants to Investors by Dr. Mark Sokolowski
This short book by white coat investor Mark Sokolowski is aimed at the immigrant (including immigrant docs) who doesn’t know squat about the US financial system or investing. I love the chapter list. It includes gems such as:
- You’re only competing with yourself
- The myth of the all-knowing financial advisor
- Retirement plan hacks
- Insurance products you probably don’t need
- Don’t be preyed upon
- Put your plan on paper. Write it down!
It’s pretty easy to see some White Coat Investor influence in the book. The beauty of this book is its prescriptive simplicity. No wasted words. You could read all 90 pages in less than two hours, yet the book pretty much includes everything you have to know. Plus, it’s only $3.99 so you can’t complain that you can’t afford the time or the money to read this one.
#5 Save Lives, Enjoy Your Own by Dr. Barbara Nickel Hamilton,
In this book, interventional radiologist Barbara Hamilton talks to pre-meds, medical students, trainees, and even attendings who perhaps lack confidence in their ability to acquire the knowledge and skills required to do difficult, scary things. Like most of Dr. Hamilton’s writing, it is particularly aimed at women, but most of its lessons apply to all genders. It includes a quote from a doc about perfectionism, which is obviously highly prevalent in medicine.
“An ugly voice in my head would taunt me if I didn’t get the best possible grade, or made even a small mistake. Allowing that voice to dictate my attitude has been a huge challenge, and is in my eyes, a failure. I’ve been working on trying to quiet this inner critic, because perfection isn’t real, and striving for it is a path to sadness, not success. In a way, I wish I’d experienced failure earlier in life, so I could’ve come to terms with it at a younger age. Like many physicians, I didn’t start experiencing it until my mid to late 20s. By then, failure seemed like a bad thing. But over time, I’ve realized that it’s the only way we really learn. Each failure is an opportunity to grow. I just wish I’d realized that sooner.”
This book isn’t 100% financial, but given the importance of career in the financial lives of doctors, it seems appropriate to include here. Not too long and less than $5, picking up this book is an easy choice.
#6 Getting In: How to Stand Out From the Crowd and Ace Your Residency Interview
#7 Write It: The NRMP Personal Statement Workbook
These two books on niche topics for upper-level medical students are by Dr. Myers R. Hurt III. For many of us, getting into residency wasn’t a big deal. We were in the top third of our class, and we weren’t applying for a particularly competitive specialty. However, for many medical students, getting any residency in their chosen field is a big deal. That might be because they are not at the top of their class or because they are applying in a particularly competitive specialty. As medical school slots grow at a faster rate than residency slots, the process is becoming more competitive all the time. Every little edge can count. Given the importance of matching to a physician’s professional (and financial) career, these books seem well worth a read early in the fourth year of medical school and for everybody applying to residency a second time. Both books are crammed full of actionable tips. An example includes how to navigate and sidestep illegal interview questions without calling out the interviewer for mistakenly asking them.
#8 Zero to Financial Freedom by Greg G. Fitzgerald
Greg is a WCI podcast listener, and Paul Merriman suggested he send his book in for us to take a look at. While not a doctor, he lived like a resident before he ever heard the phrase. It allowed him and his wife to retire at 50. This book is subtitled “Solid Advice from a Dad, Husband, and Friend.” It’s basically the “How-To” book he is leaving his kids. A longer book, it provides a more complete view of saving and investing than most. Like many books, it includes a list of errors to avoid:
- Spending every penny
- Spending too much on housing
- Carrying a balance or running up credit cards
- Not saving for retirement
- Contributing to 401(k)s but not IRAs
- Pulling money out of IRAs/401(k)s early
- Investing too conservatively for long-term goals
- Buying too much car
- Keeping up with the Joneses
- Not having an emergency fund
- Not having insurance
If you’re a long-term reader of this blog and financial books, you’re not going to learn a lot of new information in this book. But if any of the concepts above are foreign to you in the slightest, you would find this book helpful. It’s also a great book to hand to your adult children, the younger the better.
Financial literacy is in your grasp. An initial financial education is important but so is continuing financial education. Get yours done this week with the rest of the White Coat Investor Community.
What do you think? Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Any questions about the WCI product sales this week? Comment below!