Monday, January 23, 2017

Scrub Notes Interview with Dr. James Dahle of White Coat Investor

From our recent post Financial Advice for the Future Physician, some of you may have taken the time to explore White Coat Investor more thoroughly. Those who did likely found it to be a very valuable resource in planning their financial future. Dr. Dahle, who runs White Coat Investor, was kind enough to participate in an interview with Scrub Notes about his site and other advice:

Dr. Jim Dahle
Source: WCI
SN: What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine? 
Dr. Dahle: The first time I thought about a career in medicine was a career survey of some kind in junior high where "doctor" was one of recommendations it had for me. Obviously my parents were encouraging. I was very much interested in science and in helping people but I didn't really formally commit to it until it was time to study for the MCAT. I don't know how much the prestige or money was motivating for me but I was fascinated by the subject matter and I knew that I enjoyed helping others so medicine was a natural fit.

SN: What led you to create White Coat Investor? 
Dr. Dahle: I started really diving deep into personal finance and investing topics midway through residency. I got sick of being ripped off by all kinds of financial professionals and decided I better start learning this stuff myself. After a few years of reading books, interacting on internet forums, and reading blogs I realized that I was spending more time teaching than learning and that I knew more about this stuff than the vast majority of my peers. That was also a period of time when I was very interested in developing sources of passive income. So the blog was started both as a hands-on experiment at generating passive income and a way to get this knowledge into the hands of my colleagues. It turned out the income, once it eventually came, wasn't nearly as passive as I had hoped, but I did end up making a big difference in the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of my colleagues, so that was rewarding in and of itself.

SN: What has been the most surprising part of running the blog? 
Dr. Dahle:  I guess the most surprising thing was just how much vitriol it would attract from commissioned salesmen masquerading as financial advisors. Real financial advisors are generally very supportive of what I'm doing, but those who saw doctors as easy marks are finding them to be not so defenseless any more.

SN:  What is the best piece of advice you have for medical students? 
Dr. Dahle:  I have lots of advice for medical students, but I probably ought to limit this to financial advice. I guess the most important is to remember that what you do those first few years out of residency with your finances are going to determine the course of your financial life. So really focus on getting those years right. That means living like a resident for 2-5 years after residency in order to pay off student loans, jump start your retirement savings, and save up a down payment on your dream house.

SN: What are your top financial predictions for the next four years? 
Dr. Dahle:  My crystal ball is incredibly cloudy. I have found predictions are extremely difficulty, especially about the future. That said, with the Republicans in control of all 3 branches of government, I expect tax rates will go down a bit. The market will fluctuate. Interest rates will change. Those who spend a little bit of time and effort learning about personal finance and investing will reap great dividends of happiness in their lives.

SN: Thank you for taking the time to chat with Scrub Notes!

For more great financial advice for healthcare professionals, head on over to White Coat Investor. You can also check out Dr. Dahle's book on Amazon:

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