Book Club and Free Prize!

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It’s no news that I’m a huge fan of the white coat investor.

James Dahle MD is, quite simply, one of my favorite bloggers.

Which is funny, because in many ways, he is the antithesis of who I am.

You have witnessed before my feeble powers of mathematics. My outsized confidence in my own mental mathematical abilities is only outdone by my obvious incompetence at actually running numbers in my head.

Although Dahle is a doctor, just like me, he seems in many ways to be more of an actuary in physician’s clothing.

He’s the type of guy I picture running Excel spreadsheets at his 10th birthday party, in order to figure out the best back tested way to invest his birthday dividends (he obviously asked for money for his birthday, not a baseball glove) in order to achieve financial independence prior to his sophomore year in highschool.

YahooStockExcel

James Dahle’s favorite videogame as a boy…

And I’m pretty sure that on those nights when I drink an Imperial IPA with dinner and pass out on the couch after putting the kids to bed, James is running excel spreadsheets to figure out ways to make his portfolio more efficient.

I fancy myself an ideas guy. A philosophy guy. A motivation guy.

But when I’m researching the specifics of an idea for a post, I often scour the whitecoatinvestor.com for details, prior to waxing poetic.

And I’m pretty sure that the converse is not true.

Which is all a ham fisted way for me to say that this guy is legit. He’s a reasoned thinker on all things financial. He’s a wiz with spreadsheets. He’s been thinking about this stuff deeply for a long time. And despite all of that he’s a very good writer.

Which brings me to his new book, The White Coat Investor; A Doctor’s Guide To Personal Finance And Investing.

In between emergency room shifts, and pumping out blog posts, Dahle has written a concise and readable treatise on financial planning for the physician.

The results are an original, and well-documented blueprint for how to achieve wealth as a doctor.

But very little of this information is specific to doctors.

His advice is perfect for other high-income earners, like lawyers, engineers, etc. but it is also very useful to lower income earners.

For at it’s core sound financial advice is all the same: spend less, save more, invest wisely (ie passively,) avoid taxes, and insure against disaster.

Here then are five concepts from the book that taught me something cool.

1. Live like a resident: 

Dahle makes a meticulous and compelling case for living well below your means during your first five years in practice.

This is an elegant solution to the particular financial trajectory faced by doctors. A late start to their careers, lower than average earnings and higher than average debt early in their lives, and generous salaries in their middle to old-age.

But I think there is relevance to this message, even for non-doctors. This is a clever approach to avoiding lifestyle inflation. Being disciplined as a young person builds up important financial muscles that will serve you well and set you up financially for success later in life.

2. Don’t stretch to buy a house when young.

Dahle makes a compelling case for not buying a house early in your career.

Granted this is a case much easier to make in the post 2008 landscape, but as usual his argument well laid out and documented with instructive specifics.

3. Realize that once you stop working, and your mortgage is paid off, your costs of will be greatly reduced.

This is a point that I made previously in this post. But as usual, Dahle has outdone me.

In particular he has a nifty spreadsheet on page 81 that lays out the differences in the costs of living for a working person and a retired one collecting Social Security.

4. Be very careful when choosing a financial advisor.

It seems that the flipside of being a financial savant at a young age, is that you can fall prey to unscrupulous financial schemes as a young man.

Presumably because of his experiences, Dahle does a great job laying out the lax qualifications and rife conflicts of interest that plague financial advisors, and guides you on how to pick an appropriate financial advisor, should you so desire a helping hand with your investments.

5. It’s never too early to think about estate planning. 

Dahle does a great job laying out the landscape and the hazards of passing on wealth to your heirs.

This is an area that I need to bone up on, and his chapter on estate planning gave me a great place to start.

So, all in all, my feeling is that this is a fantastic book, and would be a particularly appropriate present to give to a graduating medical or law student or a medical resident.

It would also be a handy book for you to have on your bookshelf at home, regardless of your profession.

So if you want to continue to be motivated to improve your financial position, keep on coming here, but if you want the granular details on how to get from point A to point B,  you can do no better than The White Coat Investor.

But wait, there’s more: Dahle was kind enough to give me a copy of his book to give out as a prize to one of my readers.

If you would like to receive a copy of the white coat investor, just leave a comment below on how this book would be of interest to you, or further subjects that you would like to be discussed in this blog.

Or leave a humorous comment.

I will send a copy of the book to my favorite comment’s writer!

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10 Responses to “Book Club and Free Prize!”

  1. Jana Jarvis (now Sullivan) April 18, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    I’m curious how he defends not getting into real estate (at any age) as soon as you are able. Being a 4th generation Californian may make me slightly biased in my thinking of the wealth one can generate in this area. I wish I had bought my first property in my 20s and maybe been “house poor”. I threw away a huge opportunity in my mind. I was already saving as well as investing in the stock market but should’ve been disciplined to take on a mortgage too. Great blog, Alexi.

    • Miles Dividend MD April 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

      Jana,

      He actually doesn’t argue against real estate investing. There is an excellent chapter of the book about exactly that. He goes into great detail about The rule of 55, and cap Ratio, and other useful concepts when it comes to buying investment property

      He basically argues against buying a house as a resident, which is really applicable to any young person who’s not sure where they’re going to eventually put down the roots.

      Also when people buy houses it is not entirely a rational process. Easy to make big mistakes when emotion is involved.

      Although we would’ve done well to buy a house when we were 20, and forced saving can be a wonderful thing. Just imagine if you had stretched to buy a house in 2005 or 2006 if we were young with an uncertain future. The scenario might not have been so Rosie for a number of years.

  2. Robert April 18, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    I enjoy reading finance books and this sounds like it has an interesting angle. If you see fit to send the book to me, I’ll enjoy reading it. I have a doctor friend who I can pass it on to, so you get a 2-for-1 deal here! :-)

  3. Docmomo7 April 18, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    Radiologist mom of 7 married to an orthopedic surgeon. I have my eyes on the retirement prize but hubby is not on board yet. It hurts to sacrifice so much to a call schedule just to get spanked in the highest tax bracket. I started in the miles and points game a little before you did and it definitely helps. Your blog posts are very relevant to me- keep it up!

    • Miles Dividend M.D. April 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      Docmom,

      Talk about a busy life, you are moving mountains with that resume!

      It’s no wonder that retirement looks like a prize.

      I’m glad you enjoy the blog. I love writing it.

      AZ

  4. David S. April 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    I continue to enjoy this trip of retirement education as it has taught me a new and better way of thinking. I think this would be a great book to further that trip.

  5. Sebastian April 19, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    The more I read about these topics, the more I fine tune my strategy. I started saving very young in the country I was born. When I came to the US I felt a lot more reflected with the culture of retirement planning. I also realized that I was already following many of these advises without even knowing it. I enjoy reading these articles and books since they help me stay on course having in mind the many distractions of consumerism out there. Keep it up Alexi and thank you for addressing my questions when I knock at your door 😉

  6. Miles Dividend M.D. April 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    I loved all the comments, Guys. I couldn’t decide who to send the book to. So I did a tournament and decided by coin flip.

    And the winner was…

    Sebastian.

  7. som lerd April 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    I am an Asian female physician and love to read your articles. I admire your concept being frugal, careful about investment to achieve early financial independence. Some of your Math are beyond my understanding but I still like to read it. It’s hard to find a physician that is intelligent in finance and frugal let alone a cardiologist which is earning big money!

    • Miles Dividend M.D. April 21, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Som,

      Thank you for your kind comment and for taking the time to read my blog.

      If any of the math seems complicated, it is only because I have done a poor job explaining it. Please ask questions, on any concepts that are unclear.

      At its core my message is the same for all of us; save more, spend less, and invest the savings in low cost funds. (And play the miles game!) By doing this our financial independence moves closer by the day. Surprisingly life becomes more enjoyable, despite self-imposed financial austerity, because building up a financial buffer insulates us from stress and forces usto focus on that which is really important to us.

      Good luck,

      AZ

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