When speaking with physicians and students about financial literacy, I often draw a correlation to my medical practice as an internist. One of my responsibilities as an internist is to ensure my patients receive appropriate care from specialty experts who consult to provide recommendations and care. This means I need to be knowledgeable in those specialties to recognize when a care plan doesn’t pass the eye test, thus leading to further discussion with the consultant or a second opinion.
The same holds true in personal finance: We should know enough about various areas of expertise to know when to get a second opinion or to choose a different path.
Physicians are often targeted by advertising from the financial industry for a number of reasons. Not only are we high-income earners, but we also often have reliable cash flow via employment contracts, low crime/fraud risk, receptivity to indebtedness and many of us have historically trusted others to address our financial affairs because we are preoccupied with patient care.
This trust becomes an issue when targeting becomes predatory. Thus, a bit of a cottage industry developed to provide physician-to-physician insight – after all, we trust our own more than some random financial advisor, right?
This cottage industry is ever-expanding, so I wanted to use this column to share a few websites I’ve found useful for expanding my own financial knowledge. Some sites leverage the physician-physician trust, and others are more traditional.
Please note that this is not a sponsored article and I (and the AOA) have no financial incentive to mention the companies below in this article.
This is probably the most well-known platform for financial guidance for physicians over the last decade. The popular book White Coat Investor has given rise to podcasts, conferences, follow-up books and other products/resources. WCI teaches a pretty conservative approach to personal finance and is comprehensive and straightforward in its explanation of concepts.
If you’re looking for a reputable place to dive into personal finance topics of the ‘by physicians, for physicians’ mentality, this is a good place to start. Notably, there is now a growing network of sites that are similar to and in some cases affiliated with White Coat Investor, including Physician on Fire, Passive Income MD, and the Physician Philosopher – they all have a slightly different spin on personal finance, but are cut from the same ‘by physicians, for physicians’ cloth.
Notably, several of these sites rely heavily on advertising and affiliate partnerships for revenue, so be cautious about “recommendations” and understand any potential financial conflicts.
This website is not by physicians, but it is dedicated to the financial health of physicians. I like it because it offers a comprehensive overview of everything from physician compensation and contract review to insurance and investment products. An important distinction here is that this site is not ad-supported.
This company provides information for free and offers paid services from in-house professionals to make money. While it’s certainly not the only company of its kind, I find myself choosing this site as my first-line resource when I’m curious about physician compensation and business of medicine topics.
Everyone is selling something – even you. Perhaps the biggest knock on Robert Kiyosaki and the Rich Dad enterprise is that there’s some bad advice in his most popular work. For physicians, his constant messaging that higher education is a waste of money can be off-putting. But, frankly, physicians could use a little contrarian flavor that forces us to look in the mirror and re-examine our reality.
The Rich Dad platform is not designed for physicians; it’s designed to sell products and services for the masses. To me, it’s a healthy exercise to learn from a generalized platform that forces me to make connections on how the concept is applicable (or not) to me. Again, this site is not directly ad-supported, rather, this company has made mega millions selling books, courses, coaching and other services.
In summary, there are lots of free resources out there for physicians to access in the realm of compensation and personal finance. The AOA website offers good information on the business of medicine and a basic overview of physician personal finance. You can also see the archive of The DO’s Money Matters columns here.
Like everything else in life, individual preferences will influence how comfortable you are with the platform.
My best advice is to always understand how the people giving the advice are getting paid – are they truly working for you, or are they just trying to sell you products/services? Again, everyone is selling something, and there’s no shame in it; but understanding the flow of money will bring that conflict to the forefront of your analysis of the information, and allow you to take what you need, leave the sales pitch at the door and make informed decisions about purchasing expert advice or products.
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.
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