By Dr. James M. Dahle, WCI Founder
Since WCI began in 2011, we have published a State of the Blog each January reporting on our progress toward our goals. As the enterprise has expanded over the years, these posts have become lengthier. This year we're going to try to do what took >6,300 words last year in fewer than 3,000.
First, we want to thank each and every one of you readers, listeners, viewers, students, attendees, and community members. Without you, there is no WCI. YOU are the white coat investors. We love hearing about your successes and trying to help you through your challenges. There are literally hundreds of thousands of you out there, helping each other to have successful personal, professional, and financial lives. You deserve a round of applause. On a personal note: without you, Katie and I would have never had this incredible adventure that WCI has been in our lives for more than a decade. We truly believe in the Vision and the Mission of The White Coat Investor.
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.”
The 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.”
We hope that WCI will live on for many years after we are done working here, whenever that might be.
2022 Accomplishments and Notable Events
We'll go category by category.
Year 12. We're still here. I'm still writing my usual number of blog posts each year (about 100). It's actually my favorite part of working at WCI. However, that's only a tiny part of the story these days. We now have 2,953 published pieces on the site, an increase of 498 (20%!) Suffice it to say, more WCI written content was produced in 2022 than in any prior year. So who's writing the pieces that I'm not? White coat investors, that's who. They include people like WCI Network partners Leif Dahleen (The Physician on FIRE) and Peter Kim (Passive Income MD). They include people like WCI Ambassador Disha Spath and WCI Content Director Josh Katzowitz. They include columnists like:
- Alaina Trivax
- Charles Patterson
- Francis Bayes
- Rikki Racela
- Margaret Curtis
- Joy Eberhardt De Master
- Daniel Smith
- Anthony Ellis
They include paid contributors like:
- TJ Porter
- Jamie Johnson
- Stacey Ritzen
- Dan Miller
- Joe Dyton
- Eric Rosenberg
- Phil West
Plus, there were another 50 or so guest posts this year from all kinds of members of The White Coat Investor community, ranging from docs to financial advisors. Not counting the WCI Forum, we had 8.63 million pageviews (a 16% increase) from 3.46 million individuals (a 34% increase). Combined with the Forum, we have had 82.9 million pageviews from 18.3 million individuals since we started this in 2011. That's particularly impressive given that there are only about 1 million doctors in the US. We have had more than 100,000 approved comments on the site. I've read every one of them, and as far as I know, answered every one of your emails (which may very well be a similar number!). The most popular post this year (and of all time with 1 million page views) was the Backdoor Roth IRA Tutorial, and the most popular post that was written this year was a guest post by Dr. Taylor Christensen titled The Cheapest Way to Own a Car.
We send out a lot of emails. Most of these are email copies of the daily blog posts (almost 30,000 of you get these) or an occasional marketing post (“Hey, Buy Our New Course” or “Come to WCICON!”). But there are two special emails that go out every month—the WCI Newsletter started in 2012 and the WCI Real Estate Opportunities Newsletter started in 2020. We don't want to send you emails that you don't want, so we're actually pretty ruthless about these email lists. If you don't open emails from us for a few months, we send you a series of three emails asking if you really want them. If you don't click on a link in those emails, you're removed from the list. This helps keep the “open rate” high (80%+ for the newsletter) and ensures emails get delivered into white coat investor email boxes. Despite that draconian policy (and lots of people who unsubscribed because, heaven forbid, we invited them to come to our conference), we still saw the WCI Newsletter list grow to 61,284 (a 10% increase) and the Real Estate Newsletter grow to 12,488 (a 39% increase). By the way, you can subscribe to all of our email lists here.
We have now put out 393 White Coat Investor and Milestones to Millionaire podcasts, an increase of 104 (two per week) from last year. We had 7.59 million downloads this year (an 82% increase), and we are averaging 45,565 downloads per episode. We have had 18.4 million all-time downloads. We have had 2,119 reviews averaging 4.8 stars, and we rank No. 37 for investing podcasts on Apple.
The WCI YouTube channel continues to grow, with 331 more videos published this year for a total of 985 (a 51% increase). We now have 20,500 subscribers (a 42% increase), and we have had over 1 million views of our videos—including 416,000 in 2022, a 19% increase from the prior year.
The WCI Forum is now over seven years old and boasts 9,981 users (a 4.8% increase) who posted 4,276 new threads this year, with 60,222 replies on those threads. Most users, of course, are doing neither, just lurking in the background. They had 4.01 million pageviews by 311,378 individuals. That's a decrease from last year, unfortunately. Online forums are too boomer, I guess (and Google now hates forums). All the young folks prefer subreddits now. Thanks to the volunteer moderators: ACN, canadianoutlaw, CordMcNally, Doc Spouse, Hank, Hatton, ibadmin, jfoxcpacfp, Jim, Kamban, Larry Ragman, and MPMD.
The WCI subreddit now has 27,200 members (a 39% increase) with more than 1.8 million pageviews (a 23% increase). Thanks to the volunteer moderators there, RadOncDoc and DrPayItBack.
The WCI Facebook group always has something interesting being discussed. No surprise when there are 85,900 members there (a 25% increase). They posted 8,974 posts (0% increase) with 148,127 comments (a 10% increase) and 402,439 reactions (a 17% increase). That's a lot of liking going on. Or maybe disliking. Thanks to the volunteer moderators there (Donna White, Greg Morgan, Bill Young, Paula Archer, Andrew Parada, and Diem Ephee) for a very difficult job. On a less quantitative note, the tone and content of the group dramatically improved over the last year so thank you to both moderators and members for that.
To summarize the communities, we have this sweet report we look at each month in our team meetings.
We have tried very hard this year to not just recruit people to the website and podcast on social media but to actually provide them with useful content on each platform to boost their financial literacy. Based on the growth seen, it seems to be a successful effort. Instead of text, let's just post the cool chart we all look at. Check out that TikTok growth rate! That's what happens when you start with a very low number.
Thank you to our followers for following/liking/pinning/sharing WCI on social media. It really does help spread the message.
Guess what? All of our books have been updated, rewritten, and made prettier in the last few months. Writing books over the last decade has been a very interesting study of pronouns. In the original book, we used the “universal he.” We started getting more and more complaints about that over the years (“Don't you know there are women doctors?”). When the second book came around, the then-recommended style was to use either he or she, so we decided to just use all feminine pronouns to offset the first book. But for the third and fourth books, the now current style was to not use any singular pronouns. We've now rewritten all of the books in that fashion (along with more substantial updates). We don't call them “second editions,” but they pretty much are. So, don't be surprised if a recently purchased copy of the original isn't exactly like the one you bought years ago. The benefits of self-publishing, I suppose.
- The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide to Personal Finance and Investing (2014) sold 8,443 copies, a 13% decrease. It's still #6 in its category and has 2,525 reviews, 94% 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 (2019) sold 3,731 copies, a 23% decrease. It ranks #20 in its category.
- The White Coat Investor's Guide for Students: How Medical and Dental Students Can Secure Their Financial Future (2021) sold 870 copies (plus the tens of thousands given away) and ranks #36 in its category. The audiobook was new this year, but I'm not sure the 107 copies of it we sold actually paid to make it.
- The White Coat Investor's Guide to Asset Protection: How to Protect Your Life Savings from Frivolous Lawsuits and Runaway Judgments (2022) sold 3,085 books in its first year, making it #1 in its category.
In 2022, we sold seven total online courses at the WCI School, including two brand new for 2022. These include:
- Fire Your Financial Advisor (our flagship course to help you become financially literate and write your own financial plan)
- Financial Wellness and Burnout Prevention for Medical Professionals (the best way to buy FYFA using CME money)
- No Hype Real Estate Investing (a broad review of the spectrum of real estate investing from fix-and-flip, short-term rentals, long-term rentals, syndications, funds, and REITs) (here's a behind-the-scenes look at how we made this one in 2022)
- Continuing Financial Education (CFE) 2022 (The CME-qualified online version of our Phoenix conference)
- CFE 2o21 (The CME-qualified online version of our virtual conference)
- CFE Las Vegas (The CME-qualified online version of our 2020 WCICON)
- CFE Park City (The CME-qualified online version of our 2018 WCICON)
In 2022, we had a total of 1,558 new paid students (a 6% increase) in the WCI School. That doesn't include those who were given a free course as part of conference attendance or from winning a prize.
The 2022 Physician Wellness and Financial Literacy Conference was, by far, our best ever. We had an awesome time in Phoenix, along with over 1,200 (605 in person, 619 virtual, the largest ever) of you. Last I checked, there are already more than 550 people coming in person to WCICON23 (come join us!) and 200+ attending virtually. It's going to be just as good.
We had 1,023 orders (a 140% increase) from the WCI Store in 2022.
Speaking and Writing Gigs
I wrote five columns for the AAEM Common Sense publication in 2022 and five more for ACEP NOW. I also did six live presentations and four virtual ones.
Student Loan Advice
In 2021, we started a business with student loan specialist Andrew Paulson to ensure WCIers could get high-quality, flat-fee advice in complicated student loan scenarios. StudentLoanAdvice.com did hundreds of consultations in 2022. You can get yours with 12 months of free follow-up questions for just $559. With a satisfaction rating of 4.89/5, I'd say we've been successful at reaching our goal here.
Passive Income M.D. enjoyed another amazing year of growth in 2022. Much of the focus was on growing its communities focused on real estate investing and entrepreneurship. PIMD put on two successful conferences—Financial Freedom Through Real Estate (PIMDCON) and the Leverage and Growth Summit. For the first time, PIMDCON was a hybrid conference, attended by hundreds in person while broadcast to nearly a thousand others at home. Hundreds more joined the signature course, Passive Real Estate Academy, and the Platinum Investor Club community now consists of thousands of knowledgeable investors. It launched a brand new website to house its blog and podcast content, and The Passive Income MD Podcast was downloaded nearly 500,000 times in 2022 (it will soon surpass the big milestone of 1 million downloads). Peter Kim continues to enjoy life in southern California practicing anesthesia on his own terms and coaching his kids’ sports teams 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?).
We reach out and give back in a number of different ways.
WCI Champions Program
Perhaps the most important thing we've ever done is distribute a copy of The White Coat Investor's Guide for Students to every first-year medical and dental student in the country, via a “champion” in their class. The champion gets a WCI T-shirt and possibly a WCI tumbler but, more importantly, provides a lifetime value of perhaps nine figures to their classmates. If your class doesn't yet have a champion, sign up here. For the 2021-2022 school year (the class of 2025), we gave away 18,457 books (a $553,000 value) and hope to beat that record this year.
While Katie has established a permanent pre-med scholarship at our alma mater, also called The White Coat Investor scholarship (whose recipient recently informed us that he did indeed get into med school), that's not The White Coat Investor scholarship we're talking about. This one is funded annually by us and blog sponsors. This year we gave away $7,841 each to 10 scholarship winners in two categories (Inspirational and Financial). Congratulations again to the winners:
- Lily Nguyen
- Nina Fukuma
- Emma Sand
- Omar Alzayat
- Anima Shrestha
- Brayden Gaston
- Allison Jue
- Josiah Warner
- Rosemary Vergara
- Tracy Tang
and thank you to the sponsors, especially the platinum level sponsors.
- Larry Keller (Physician Financial Services) – Disability and Life Insurance
- Bob Bhayani (Dr Disability Quotes) – Disability and Life Insurance
- Laurel Road – Student Loan Refinancing
- Paul Sundin (Emparion) – Workplace Retirement Plans
- Dr. Stephanie Pearson (PearsonRavitz) – Disability and Life Insurance
Financial Educator Award
This year's WCI Financial Educator Award (along with its $1,000 prize) went to Dr. Stephen Pamatmat. Congratulations again!
Free Student Webinar
I get invited to speak at lots of medical schools and residencies, most of which can't even afford to fly me out much less pay me to come. I have to turn most of them down, so once a year, I try to reach them all virtually at the same time with a webinar. Last year's was a huge success, so Andrew Paulson and I are going to do another one on February 15 at 6pm MT. Sign up here!
We had WCIers help us give money to charities again this year. The 10 charities you selected were:
- Doctors Without Borders
- St. Jude's Children's Research Hospitals
- Feeding America
- Habitat for Humanity
- Wikimedia Foundation
- World Vision
- Make a Wish Foundation
- Salvation Army
- Boys and Girls Club
A substantial donation is being made to each of them.
WCI as a Business
Yes, despite all of the outreach mentioned above, WCI is still a for-profit business. Once more, we were successful in generating a profit this year. Despite a challenging economic environment and pushing some revenue forward into 2023 due to changing payment models, we managed to increase top-line (revenue) growth by 11.9%. We continue to reinvest a lot in the business so our bottom line “growth” appears worse than maybe it should at -3.1%. Technically, 2022 was the first year that our profit hasn't grown over the previous year, but we don't expect that to be a trend.
Most importantly, we met payroll every month and offered our employees a top-notch benefits program (including the world's best 401(k)) and a wonderful retreat in Jamaica. We had our first employee quit this year. It turned out that a work-from-home environment didn't work out very well with Morgan's workstyle and lifestyle. We'll miss her, but her moving on did give us the chance to meet Ashriel, who wasted no time running Brett, Cindy, and me into the ground when we went hiking with her on the “get to know you weekend” after being hired. Those of you coming to WCICON23 will get to meet her. We also lost a contractor as we moved our graphic design in house. We'll miss you, Ashley, but we're also excited to be working with Katie F. You may have noticed the WCI stuff is much prettier than it used to be. That's a result of the hard work of these women. Another big event this year was the promotion of Megan to podcast producer. Cindy was more than happy to remove yet another of the hats she has been wearing here for years.
Here are the great folks we get to work with.
First row: Andrew (StudentLoanAdvice.com), James (CTO). Second row: Megan (podcast/newsletter), Lauren (digital marketing director), Michelle (communities/social media), Cindy (sales director), Josh (content director), Ashriel (products assistant), Disha (WCI ambassador), Katie D. (chief product officer). Third row: Brett (COO), Jim (Founder/CEO), Katie F. (graphic design), Chrislyn (conference). Not pictured: Emily (books/editing), Wendel (AV/YouTube).
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 financial education. The second is to get you the best financial resources out there. Major updates continue to be 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.
While our relationships with all of these partners obviously help us to make payroll and to 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. The two new ones this year are Surveys and Credit Cards. 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
- Surveys for Money
- Credit Cards
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 that. 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 from 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 we do our best to follow it.
- We are incentivized to recommend you purchase term life and disability insurance policies, especially through our recommended agents.
- 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 since 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 could do some of 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 we routinely turn many down. What we can't seem to do is get Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, or iShares to 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 the WCI Network blog partners, in which I am a minority partner.
- We are incentivized to recommend you use the WCI forum over other forums, the White Coat Investors Facebook group over others, and the WCI subreddit over other subs.
I didn't meet my goal of keeping this under 3,000 words, but it is half the length of last year's report. That also seems worth celebrating.
What do you think? What did you enjoy most on The White Coat Investor in 2022? Comment below!