These finance-savvy doctors made these big mistakes so you don't have to

By Physician Sense, for MDLinx
Published September 13, 2018

Key Takeaways

Whether you’re just coming out of residency and that first big paycheck is burning a hole through your pocket, or you’ve been practicing for years and have your fair share of financial-investments-gone-wrong stories, it’s always interesting to see what those with an established financial online presence have to say. Take a deep breath, and maybe a cold shower. Don’t end up a broke doctor and listen to some pearls of financial wisdom from these six leading physician financial bloggers.

White Coat Investor: Wait a While to Buy a House

Jim Dahle is an emergency physician and the White Coat Investor. Dahle made his foray into personal finance and investing after he got tired of being ripped off by financial professionals. His mission is to teach financial literacy to doctors. His hard-learned lesson involves a house:

“I wish I had waited to buy a house until I was in a place I knew I'd be for at least five years. At least I'm not alone in making this common mistake. Other common mistakes I made were mistaking a commissioned salesman for a financial advisor and buying a whole life insurance policy that was completely inappropriate.”

Ben White, MD: Use Discretionary Time Wisely

Ben White is a Texas-based physician and all-around fascinating guy. In addition to being a prolific, insightful blogger, he also has written several books for doctors and curates Nanoism, an online publication for Twitter fiction. Dr. White offered the following:

“The ‘correct’ answer is usually to spend less on a car, not buy a house, put more away for retirement, and get disability insurance. But looking back, my biggest real regret is not being more purposeful with my discretionary time. Time outside of work obligations has both a monetary and nonmonetary value, and I was very free with spending too much of it to ‘maximize’ my income at rates that are trivial to me now. I was worth more on a per-hour basis back then, even if I didn't realize it.”

Physician on FIRE: Start with a Starter Home

Physician on FIRE is a practicing anesthesiologist with a secret identity who writes about strategies for Financial Independence and Retiring Early (FIRE, get it?). Think of him as Mr. Money Mustache for Doctors. Here’s what POF had to say:

“I did a few things right. I worked locums exclusively for a couple years, practiced in different settings, and saved much of my income those first two years.

“When it was time to settle down in one place, we decided to build our dream house on the water without knowing enough about the hospital's financial situation. Four years later, the hospital would go bankrupt, and I be left with one of the nicest homes in town and few viable buyers. When it eventually sold, I lost nearly a quarter million dollars on that house. I should have taken the advice to start with a starter home.”

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