By Dr. James M. Dahle, WCI Founder
For the last 10 years, we have had a tradition here at The White Coat Investor to report on the “state of the blog” every January, where we update you, dear reader, on the progress we have made as a community in the last year. These seem to get longer every year because there are more of us here doing more every year! While The White Coat Investor is much more than a blog these days, we feel it is important to keep this tradition alive for a number of reasons.
The first of these reasons is to thank you! Whether you follow the blog, read the newsletters, listen to the podcast, watch the videocast, participate in the online communities, follow us on social media, come to our conferences, read our books, or take our courses, we are grateful for you. We are thankful for the important work you do day to day. We are grateful that you tell your friends and family about The White Coat Investor. We are thankful for your trust in us to provide you with high-quality financial information and inspiration. We know that without you, the white coat investors, there is no White Coat Investor. We don't always get our information, tone, or business decisions right, and we thank you for your patience and forgiveness of our shortcomings.
Just like you, we prefer to receive our praise in public (blog comments, social media, in the communities) and our constructive feedback in a private way, such as email. Nevertheless, in any enterprise like this, negative feedback is gold. When you don't like something, we absolutely do want to hear about it. Your experience matters to us, and we want it to be as good as possible. In that vein, we have a survey this year we would like you to complete telling us about you, what you like, what you don't like, and what we can do to serve you better. Please fill it out. This is so important to us that we will bribe you to spend just a few minutes filling it out with a drawing for 20 WCI T-shirts and a free online course (CFE Las Vegas).
Our Mission Has Changed!
The White Coat Investor has had a clear mission (and mission statement) for most of its existence. Our mission statement is not something that we wrote once and forgot about. We refer to it continually when making decisions about how to spend our time and money, how to balance competing interests, and how to best serve our audience. So changing it is the most significant thing that happened in 2021. Over the last 2+ years—and especially over the course of 2021 and continuing into 2022—we have been deliberately changing the focus of The White Coat Investor AWAY from Jim and Katie Dahle and TOWARD you, our audience.
This is for several reasons. The most important of these are legacy-related. We want to make sure that it will be there for the hundreds of thousands of doctors and other high earners who need it now and who will need it in the future. We want The White Coat Investor to survive us. Given our fairly risky hobbies, the time when it may need to survive us may not be as far away as we think. We also want to reach more people than I can reach by myself. You have probably noticed a more diverse group of voices on the blog over the last year. We have five groups of people now writing for The White Coat Investor blog:
- Jim Dahle and other core WCI staff members such as Josh Katzowitz, our content director, and the team producing our podcast show notes
- WCI Network partners such as Physician on FIRE and Passive Income M.D.
- Guest writers
- WCI Columnists (other high-income professionals submitting columns from their point of view)
- WCI Contributors (freelance writers who mostly write on assigned topics that do not appear on the daily feed)
We are also frequently updating and republishing articles that I originally wrote years ago that many readers have never before seen. The main reason for these changes is simply to ensure that if I am run over by a bus tomorrow, the blog will live on for our current and future audience. Another important reason is to ensure that what we are writing remains relevant to you. I can write from the perspective of a straight, white, male, mid-career, financially independent emergency physician and business owner in a flyover state, but that does not necessarily appeal to everyone who needs the financial literacy and wellness message of The White Coat Investor. Business reasons for these changes are to ensure job stability for our staff and to increase the value of the business (interestingly, it's worth more without me or, at least, without being dependent on me). Similar changes have been happening gradually in our online communities; with our newsletters; at our conferences; and, particularly in 2022, on the podcast.
Given all of this change and to move the focus of The White Coat Investor away from me and toward you, we have revised our mission statement. As you will recall, the old one encompassed a three-fold mission:
- To help those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street
- To feed our entrepreneurial spirit
- To connect high-income earners with the “good guys” in the financial services industry
Well, if WCI is no longer about me, then who cares about my entrepreneurial spirit? Our new vision statement and mission statement read like this:
The Vision of The White Coat Investor
To serve as the most trusted, authoritative, and useful resource for financial information and services
for doctors and other high earners.
Mission of The White Coat Investor
To strengthen and support The White Coat Investor community on the path to financial success by
#1 Providing engaging, useful, and accurate content and
#2 Connecting white coat investors with best-in-class financial resources
to empower the creation of meaningful personal and professional lives.
As you can see, we have a rather ambitious vision and a mission that is now entirely focused on you rather than us.
2021 Accomplishments and Notable Events
There are a lot of moving parts here at The White Coat Investor and an ever-increasing number of people keeping all the balls in the air. In this section, we'll review the highlights from 2021. I'll highlight our continuing and new staff members as we work our way down the list.
The blog continues into its 11th year. I'm still writing just as much as ever (two posts a week on average), but I'm far from the only one. In fact, this year we published hundreds of new articles on the website in addition to updating and rewriting dozens of others. There is now a total of 2,459 posts on the site, an increase of 314 from a year ago, although that figure is misleadingly low since we deleted and combined more than fifty posts this year in an effort to improve quality.
Blogs are certainly less popular than they were 10 or 15 years ago and given that our target audience is limited to high-income earners, we are happy to just be maintaining the high volume of traffic on the website when the readership of most blogs and similar websites is dropping. This year, we had 12,019,865 pageviews from 2,969,130 different individuals, basically breaking even from last year. We had more competition for important keywords on the search engines in the last few years that caused us to slip a bit, but since hiring a search engine specialist, we think those issues have been corrected and those numbers are trending back up.
Since inception, 14,580,013 individuals have had 70,496,241 pageviews on the site. That's right, 70 MILLION pageviews. Even if we only helped one out of 10 of those 14 MILLION people, that's still well over a million people helped in the last decade. We have 91,970 approved comments on the site with almost 9,000 (about the same number as 2020) of those coming in 2021. I read every one of them and responded to most, and I managed to answer each email sent to me by a regular reader.
Our most popular post this year was, again, the Backdoor Roth IRA Tutorial. We put a lot of work into that this year so I was glad to see that Congress didn't outlaw the Backdoor Roth, as we all feared last fall. We published a post on How the Tax Brackets Work at the very end of 2020 that was also very popular throughout the year, but the most popular post actually published for the first time in 2021 was the 2022 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits post. We'll obviously continue to update those each year. One of the most fun posts to write was my April Fools Post about my “new Tesla.” I'm still getting emails from people asking about my Tesla. Must have been a heck of a Photoshop job.
Staff members to highlight for their work on the blog:
Jill, WCI's very first retiree, left us in September to pursue non-professional interests. While she can never be replaced, our new content manager, Josh, has been doing a fine job both coordinating the efforts of all of the content contributors as well as writing for the blog himself every other Sunday. In 2021, we had columns published from nine WCI columnists including:
- Rikki Racela
- Charles Patterson
- Francis Bayes
- Jyoti Eknoor Brar
- Rajesh Ramanathan
- Alaina Trivax
- Margaret Curtis
- Daniel Smith
- Joy Eberhardt De Master
and had contributions from seven freelance writers to the website, some of which were published on the blog.
- TJ Porter
- Jamie Johnson
- Stacey Ritzen
- Dan Miller
- Joe Dyton
- Eric Rosenberg
- Anne-Lyse Wealth
That's all in addition to more than 50 guest writers.
Wrangling all these cats is no small task for Josh. He is assisted in his editing, proofreading, and managing the guest writers by Emily who I will discuss in a later section.
Another full-time hire we had this year is Lauren, our Search Engine Optimization guru and Digital Marketing Director. While regular readers make up a significant part of those who come to The White Coat Investor website, another significant part comes from those who arrive via the search engines. Lauren's job is to make it easier for people to “stumble upon” the website, so in a significant way, she directs what I (and especially the freelance contributors) write about and which previously published posts are revised, updated, and republished. This means that the best way for you to find specific information on the website is to use the search bar at the upper right (on the desktop version) to find what you need. It works very well and I suggest you get in the habit of using it to find your way around the thousands of articles on the site. Lauren's efforts have really paid off as we have increased our “organic search traffic” by 51% year over year in the last quarter. Most importantly, we're getting more people to the most important pages on the site.
Ashley has been doing design work for us for years (you know it at least from the book covers) but really stepped up her game with a lot of the fancy charts you saw this year on the website and social media.
Aside from the (almost) daily blog posts and the weekly summaries, we sent out two free newsletters each month. The first one I've been doing since 2012. It now goes out to 55,614 people. That might sound like a trivial (1%) increase from the number I reported last year, but that's because we cleaned up our email list this year and threw everybody off it that wasn't opening emails from us (~9,000). We now have a regular process to remove “cold” subscribers from the list. We have a much higher email open rate now (up from an already impressive 44% to 68%) which helps to ensure that your newsletters go to your inbox rather than your spam folder. Now, almost all of our subscribers are “5-star subscribers” (people that have interacted with our emails at least once in the last month). If we had not culled the list, we would have more than 65,000 emails on the list, an increase of 16% over last year.
The newer real estate newsletter increased from 5,429 subscribers to 9,008, an increase of 66%.
Staff members to highlight for their work on the newsletters:
Megan was hired this year as an administrative assistant. She wears A LOT of hats, but one of the most important ones to me is that she now does about half the work putting together the monthly newsletter. Brett, our COO, also writes more than half of our real estate newsletters in addition to everything else he is doing. He tells me it is one of the most stressful parts of the job for him which I find hilarious since it looks like the least stressful part of his job to me!
People love the podcast. It's just really easy to consume while commuting, exercising, or lounging around.
We have now put out a total of 292 episodes of The White Coat Investor Podcast and the Milestones to Millionaire Podcast, including 98 from this year. Total downloads for the podcast are 10,782,407 (64% increase) and an average of 36,926 per episode (7% increase). The White Coat Investor Podcast is rated 4.8/5 stars with 1,948 ratings (thanks to those who have left us a 5-star review). It is ranked Number 42 among investing podcasts by Apple Podcasts and Number 91 among business podcasts by Apple Podcasts.
The Milestones to Millionaire podcast was new this year. These short episodes feature a white coat investor who has reached a significant financial milestone, ranging from getting back to broke to becoming financially independent. It's been a lot of fun to get to know many of you personally, and we've gotten a lot of good feedback on the episodes. We published 46 of them last year. Most of the most-downloaded episodes of this year were published in late January and early February on the Backdoor Roth IRA, Tax Brackets, and the interview with Christine Benz, but one notable exception was the one about all the proposed tax changes in the Build Back Better bill in Congress. The top podcast of all time is still the Physician Millionaires episode, #139.
Staff members to highlight for their work on the podcast:
Cindy, employee #1 (technically contractor #1) has been with us since 2014 and serves as our podcast producer, bookkeeper, and director of sales. If you think that's a lot of hats, you should have seen what she used to do!
Great strides were made on YouTube this year. We now have 14,478 YouTube subscribers (66% increase) who had 350,202 views (78% increase) for a total of 47,011 watch hours (52% increase) in 2021. We now have a whopping 654 videos (237% increase) on the channel. Our most popular video is still How to Fill Out Your Form 8606.
Staff members to highlight for their work on the videocast:
Wendel does all things A/V at The White Coat Investor. He does the post-production work on the podcast, but he really comes into his own on the YouTube channel. At least 98% of our success there this year is due to him. I actually got to meet Wendel in person when he came through Utah on his travels this year.
We have three WCI communities. The WCI Forum, started in 2016, is now six years old. We had 4,557,264 pageviews there, a slight decrease from last year. However, the community of registered members grew to 9,524, a 7.3% increase. They made 4,888 original posts and 62,905 comments on those posts. It has had a much better performance this year now that it sits on its own server. Thank you to the volunteer moderators: ACN, DMFA, Doc Spouse, Hank, Hatton, JFoxCPACFP, Jim, nachos31, tjroyce, Larry Ragman, CordMcNally, and MPMD.
The WCI Subreddit continues to grow by leaps and bounds, particularly among medical students and residents. The community there definitely skews younger than the forum, and it has been a lot of fun this year. We now have 19,500 members (88% increase) on the r/whitecoatinvestor subreddit. There were 1,465,594 pageviews this year, an increase of almost 300%. Thank you to the volunteer moderators: RadOncDoc and DrPayItBack.
The White Coat Investors Facebook Group also continues to grow. We are up to 68,902 members (23% increase). People actually made fewer posts (8,955), comments (133,631), and reactions (345,129) this year, all down about one-third. Not sure how much of that was the fact that we implemented a stricter moderation policy against speculative discussions that tended to run hundreds of comments long, but it is what it is. It's still bigger than the forum and subreddit combined. We'll see what happens next year. The most exciting thing that happened there this year was a revolt led by the pharmacists against one of the sponsors of the group that resulted in us dropping the sponsor. Thank you to the volunteer moderators: Donna White, Greg Morgan, Bill Yount, Paula Archer, “Diem Ephee,” along with The Physician on FIRE and Passive Income M.D. It is a VERY challenging task to moderate a Facebook group. The number of actions they have to take is an order of magnitude or two higher than in the other two communities.
Staff members to highlight for their work in the communities:
Michelle handles social media, but she also runs our communities. She takes a lot of heat during the year for the company, and we appreciate that. Remember, positive feedback in public, negative feedback privately, just like you would want it. James has also done a great job making sure the WCI Forum runs great. It's hard to know exactly where to put him in this post since he has his hand in nearly every one of these categories making sure our systems are secure, efficient, fast, and functional. I think he works more than anyone else at the company, all behind the scenes and out of the limelight.
We have 21,253 followers on Facebook, an 18% increase.
We have 28,700 followers on Twitter, a 9% increase.
We have 15,425 followers on Instagram, a 42% increase.
We have 509 followers, a 41% increase.
Thank you to our followers for following/liking/pinning/sharing WCI on social media. It really does help spread the message.
Staff members to highlight for their work in social media:
Michelle has handled our social media for years. Lauren now oversees it as the digital marketing director and has made a lot of great contributions since joining this last year. The numbers may not fully reflect it, but I think the two of them have really upped our social media game this year so I hope those of you following are appreciating the improved content we're putting out there. I suspect people are just spending a little less time on social media than they did early in the pandemic back in 2020.
The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide to Personal Finance and Investing continues to be our best-selling book, selling hundreds of copies each month. Sales of this book went down this year from 25,936 to 9,758, not including the audiobook (another 4,411 copies). While a decrease is always a concern, a lot of it is actually explained by a huge book order we had in 2020 but not 2021. Since it was published almost eight years ago, we’ve sold 145,741 copies. It still ranks Number 7 in its category. The Kindle version still ranks fifth and seventh in its categories. The audiobook is now up to Number 2 in its category. You would think it was a bad year for the book, yet it moved up to become the 3,500th-most sold book on Amazon. The book has 2,217 reviews, 95% of which are 4 or 5 stars.
The White Coat Investor's Financial Boot Camp: A 12-Step High-Yield Guide to Bring Your Finances Up to Speed was published in 2019. We sold 4,817 copies (plus another 1,530 copies of the audiobook), a 21% decrease from the 8,010 we sold last year. It ranks 27th in its category (eighth and 14th on Kindle and ninth on Audible). It has had 275 reviews, 95% of which are four or five stars.
The White Coat Investor's Guide for Students was published last year and was written primarily to be given away to first-year medical and dental students as part of our Champions program. Last year, we gave away 32,604 copies but also managed to sell another 2,032 of them. It is ranked Number 46 in its category (11th and 28th on Kindle). We're still planning an audiobook there but didn't get to it this year.
I wrote a book last fall on Asset Protection. It was originally going to be an e-book, but we've decided to make it a traditional book like the others. Hopefully, we'll have it out soon. We also have several short e-books planned.
Staff members to highlight for their work on the books:
Emily is primarily in charge of our books. Poor thing is stuck working with me and my inconsistent level of effort into this area. Katie—our Chief Product Officer—and our latest hire, products executive assistant Morgan, also do significant work in this area. Thank you, ladies!
We had five online courses for sale in 2021. We had our flagship Fire Your Financial Advisor course, which helps you to develop your own written financial plan. We expanded and updated this course this year. We had 527 new students for this course in 2021. We also put together a “variant” of this course, which we call Financial Wellness and Burnout Prevention for Medical Professionals. The best way to think about this is as FYFA+. You get all of Fire Your Financial Advisor plus eight more hours of CME qualifying wellness content. If you're purchasing using CME money or deductible business funds, the variant is definitely the one you should buy. We sold 629 of those this year.
If those two courses are for your initial financial education, the next three courses are for your continuing financial education. They're all much larger courses and also generally qualify for a lot more CME. They are put together using material from our conferences and often include material that wasn't even presented at the conference. Conference attendees now get the corresponding course for free, but lots of other people take them as well. The latest one, CFE 2021, had 269 students this year. CFE Las Vegas, put together in 2020, had 38 new students this year. Our first one, CFE Park City from 2018, had nine new students this year.
In 2021, we sold 1,472 online courses (this doesn't include any that were given away or included in a conference registration). We have now had 6,096 students take an online course from us. While that is a relatively small percentage of our audience, these courses are pretty intensive experiences for motivated people and definitely one of our premium products.
Staff members to highlight for their work with the online school:
Katie, our Chief Product Officer, has taken a primary role with our online courses, and she was obviously very successful this year. We have all kinds of cool ideas for 2022. We'll see how many of them we get to. At a minimum, there will be a CFE 2022 out in a few months. How many more we do may depend on how much time we spend adventuring and traveling internationally this year! Morgan is also helping to manage all of these courses.
One of the biggest successes we had this year was our first virtual Physician Wellness and Financial Literacy Conference. While it was our third conference, it was particularly challenging to do it virtually for the first time. More than 1,000 of you attended, and the feedback was awesome. Pandemics and conferences don't mix well so we've been pleased to continue to have success with our premium product, The Physician Wellness and Financial Literacy Conference. This year should be our best conference ever in Phoenix on February 9-12. It'll be a hybrid conference, with an in-person version for those who are vaccinated and comfortable with that experience and a virtual experience for everyone else. There will be more presentations than ever. You can actually still sign up to come in person for a few more days, and you can sign up for the virtual version even during the conference. Attendance is split about half and half, but we will have over 1,000 people at the conference again this year.
Staff members to highlight for their work with the conference:
Chrislyn is our conference director, so this is primarily her baby. But nothing this big can ever be done by just one person. Katie and Morgan also make significant contributions here.
We opened an online store in 2021 where we sell “merch” and distribute “swag.” The store really helps us to send out conference swag bags, gifts, and marketing material, but I also had a smidgeon of hope that it would also bring in significant profit. No such luck, but it should at least pay for itself. We had 455 orders from the store this year.
Staff members to highlight for their work with the store:
Since the store falls under products, it is primarily Katie's responsibility, but Morgan is now doing a lot of the work there. Brett and James put in significant effort helping to get it up and running.
It seems like every year we're adding a new outreach program to serve and give back to our community.
We ran the WCI Scholarship competition for the seventh consecutive year. We had 800 applicants and 59 judges. Ten students won $7,671 apiece this year.
- Orion Rushin
- Kayli Hall
- Alessandra LaJeunesse
- Sonam Dolma
- Julia Carlin
- Joanne Newens
- Anna Lackey
- Jonny Hatch
- Sarah Velez
- Sierra Murphy
Larry Keller (Physician Financial Services) – Disability and Life Insurance
Bob Bhayani (Dr Disability Quotes) – Disability and Life Insurances
Splash Financial – Student Loan Refinancing
Laurel Road – Student Loan Refinancing
Credible – Student Loan Refinancing
Financial Educator Award
This competition gets tougher every year, but this year we selected Scott M. Truhlar, MD, MBA, MS, FACR, CPE, a practicing radiologist in Iowa as the winner of this recognition and cash award. He was actually nominated by 12 different people!
WCI Champions Program
Our WCI Champions program is where we try to give away a copy of The White Coat Investor's Guide for Students to every first-year medical and dental student in the country. It's the longest; the best-written; and, for its target audience, the most comprehensive book I've ever written. In 2021, we gave it away to two classes (current MS2s before the end of their first year and current MS1s at the start of theirs). We managed to give away 32,604 books. If you multiply that number by the list price of the book, we gave away nearly $1 million worth of books. We still need more champions, though. We gave almost three times as many away to last year's first-year class than this year's so far.
Upcoming Student Event
I get asked to come speak to a lot of student groups. Most can't even afford to cover travel expenses, much less pay me any sort of a speaking fee. We generally try to meet this need by encouraging our audience to give presentations at their medical centers using their own slides or a set I put together for them. However, this year, we're going to try something new. I'm going to do a completely free, online, live presentation aimed at professional students. This event will take place at 6pm Mountain Time on February 23. We think we have some new software that will allow us to broadcast it live simultaneously on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and the WCI Facebook Group.
Staff members to highlight for their work with outreach:
This is a major part of Megan's job. Maybe we should change her job title from executive assistant to Director of Outreach. Cindy was more than happy to take off the scholarship program hat and pass it on this year, and Brett was pleased to pass her the Champions Program too.
Speaking and Writing Gigs
I still do some speaking gigs every year. Lots of them were still over Zoom in 2021, but I did two in-person presentations at FinCon (in September) and one at the ACEP Scientific Assembly (in October). I continue to write a column every other month for ACEP Now, and I am putting together five columns for the AAEM Common Sense publication.
Student Loan Advice
This year, we started a new company called StudentLoanAdvice.com. Andrew Paulson does most of the work there as the lead student loan consultant. Student loan management seems to become more and more complicated every month, but for just one flat fee of $479, Andrew will analyze your situation and meet with you for an hour to explain the best way for you to manage your student loans. You can also email him any follow-up questions for six months afterward absolutely free. He starts getting really busy every time we approach the end of the student loan holiday, so if you need advice about what to do then, don't wait until the last minute.
Staff members to highlight for their work with outreach:
Brett and James did a lot of work getting StudentLoanAdvice.com up and running, but this one is Andrew's baby. Great job Andrew!
The Physician on FIRE continues to live a successful FIRE life and to inspire others to do the same. Now that his kids are vaccinated, he is back to “slow traveling” around the world while worldschooling the kids. He has started several cool features on the blog this year, including the FIRE Crossroads series, the FIRE Starter series, and the Post FI Notes series. The website saw a whopping 2,787,201 pageviews in 2021. We continue to highly recommend his content for those interested in early financial independence or retiring early, and we hope to see him on our blog and podcast more this year.
The Passive Income M.D. put on two successful online conferences this year, and it has a rapidly growing online real estate community. This year, 13,769 people attended their virtual conferences (PIMDCON and the Leverage and Growth Summit). Another 1,068 joined Passive Real Estate Academy. He continues to blog but has discovered his true love in podcasting. They had 300,632 downloads of The Passive Income MD Podcast in 2021. He moved the family this year and is practicing anesthesia on his terms while running the PIMD empire. We continue to recommend his blog, podcast, community, courses, and conferences for those interested in more income (and who isn't?)
Success of the Business
WCI was founded as a business from Day 1. We actually try to make money here. Once more, we were successful in doing so this year. In fact, despite a challenging economic environment, we managed to increase top-line (revenue) growth by 22.6%. We reinvested a lot more into the business than we have in the past, as you can tell from all of the new staff members this year and the new programs like the WCI Store and the WCI Champions program. That reinvestment means the bottom-line (profit) growth was not as high as the top-line growth, but we expect all that reinvestment to pay dividends down the road. We still managed a bottom-line growth figure of 13.9%. One of the things I am most proud of this year (and every year) is that we met payroll every month and provided excellent compensation to our employees along with a top-notch benefits program, including what we consider the world's best 401(k). While this record will not stand forever, we have never had an employee quit to take another job.
Staff members to highlight for their work with the business:
It is Brett's primary job to make the business successful. With four new hires and with moving many of our contractors to employee status this year, the “HR Department” (a tiny part of Brett's job) kept him busy this year. He directly manages most of the staff (all of whom work remotely, including five that are not in the local area) and many of our most important partner relationships. Thanks Brett!
Connecting You with Best in Class Financial Resources
As you will recall, the first part of our mission is to provide you with an awesome education. The second is to get you the best financial resources out there. We put a lot of effort into that second mission this year, implementing major improvement measures into important product lines. Major updates were done behind the scenes with our student loan refinancing partners, disability insurance partners, mortgage partners, financial advisor partners, and real estate investing company partners—all to serve you better. We've beefed up our offerings on our recommended practice retirement plan providers and our legal page too. Perhaps most importantly, we've introduced a brand new product line, Physician Coaching, which we will continue to expand moving forward.
While, obviously, our relationships with all of these partners help us to make payroll and be a profitable business, we also see it as a valuable service. We connect you with the good guys in the industry and help run the bad guys out of business. When you need these services, we would appreciate it if you would at least consider using those who advertise on the site. They’ve had some preliminary vetting by us and some ongoing vetting by your fellow readers. You can find most of them under the recommended tabs at the top of the site.
- Student Loan Refinancing Companies
- Mortgage Lenders
- Independent Insurance Agents
- Financial Planners and Asset Managers
- Physician Coaches
- Retirement Account Providers (Self-Directed IRAs, 401(k)s, HSAs)
- Real Estate Investing Companies
- Student Loan Advice
- Contract Negotiation and Legal
- Tax Strategists
Staff members to recognize with our partner relationships:
Cindy and Brett do the lion's share of the work here. Cindy has been working with a lot of these folks for seven-plus years now, and some have been with us for more than a decade.
Conflicts of Interest
We cannot run a profitable business without conflicts of interest. I'm not willing to do this work for free and I'm positive none of our staff members are willing to do it, so we have to manage these conflicts as best we can, balancing our desire to be as unbiased as possible with our need to be profitable. Full disclosure of these conflicts is very important to me, so once a year, I remind you, our staff, and myself of these conflicts of interest. They don't change much year to year, but every year or so, I manage to think of a new one.
- We are incentivized to run content that relates to our advertisers’ businesses (and especially those with whom I have an affiliate marketing relationship) more frequently than other content. The content team is mostly separate from the business team, but the conflict still exists.
- We are incentivized to accept guest posts from financial professionals who advertise with us more frequently than those who do not, although the only “sponsored posts” this site has ever run are those by the five platinum scholarship sponsors each year (and 100% of that revenue goes to the scholarship recipients). We have a policy to judge guest posts purely on the basis of the content and do our best to follow it.
- We are incentivized to recommend you refinance your student loans when perhaps it would not be a good move for you (which is awfully rare if you’re not going for PSLF, but the last couple of years are a notable exception given the temporary changes with federal student loans for 2020). I don't think we've ever done this, but we are certainly incentivized to do so.
- We are incentivized to recommend you seek out professional help with insurance, financial planning, investment management, student loan advice, purchasing and selling real estate, negotiating contracts, getting coaching, and preparing your taxes when perhaps you may be able to do that on your own.
- Since we have real estate advertisers, we are incentivized to discuss real estate investments more frequently than we otherwise might or more than we discuss traditional investments like index funds or alternative investments for which we do not have advertising partners. Let's be honest, we could get advertising partners for EVERY alternative investment out there and routinely turn many down. What we can't seem to do is get Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, or iShares to come advertise their index funds here.
- We are incentivized to accept advertisers that do not meet our high standards for recommendation to friends and family.
- We are incentivized to recommend you use a physician mortgage loan over a conventional one.
- We are incentivized to recommend you read financial books, including and especially our own.
- We are incentivized to recommend you take our financial courses and those of our affiliate partners.
- We are incentivized to recommend you attend WCICON either in person, virtually, or preferably both!
- We are incentivized to get you to purchase from the WCI Store.
- We are incentivized against recommending content by others who have the same affiliate marketing partners or who compete for the same advertisers unless I am also a partial owner of their site.
- I am incentivized to recommend the content and products of my WCI Network blog partners, in which I am a minority partner.
- We are incentivized to recommend you use the WCI Forum over the Bogleheads and other forums, the White Coat Investors Facebook Group over others, and the WCI Subreddit over other subs.
That's all I can think of for now. If you made it this far, congratulations! You're a true fan. Thanks again for your support and I wish you an awesome 2022 in your personal, professional, and financial life.
What do you think? What did you enjoy most on The White Coat Investor in 2021? Comment below!