I get a lot of thank you notes by email and in the comments. After four years of blogging, I thought I’d start keeping track of the more interesting stories and notes people send me, so I’ll occasionally be adding them here:
From a military doc:
I’m just writing a simple note to thank you for the resource you are providing to all of us through WCI. This has been the site that really sorts it all out for me, in a no-nonsense, career-specific way.
From an anesthesiologist:
First of all I want to thank you for what you do. It’s because of you that so many thousands of professionals have a firmer grasp of personal finance and the steps they need to take to ensure fiscal health. I first got turned on to your blog a few months ago by a colleague, and the knowledge I have gained as a result is beyond measure. Here’s an example of how I personally have benefited.
As many others, I am a victim of unscrupulous financial planners. Toward the end of my residency in Anesthesiology, we were approached by a couple of financial advisors who had arranged to hold a seminar/sales pitch at our hospital after hours. How they were even allowed to do this is beyond me, but there they were, extolling the virtues of their services as “specialists in physician financial management”. Wanting to get started on retirement planning, but not having a plan in place, I signed on. And there began the pouring of my money into high load mutual funds and life insurance. The funny thing is, from the beginning, I never fully trusted them, and constantly wondered if their guidance was really in my best interest. But with my complete lack of financial literacy, I wasn’t able to validate those suspicions.
Worse, I didn’t even know how to go about investigating the question! And anytime I did manage to feebly inquire why they had me in these high cost mutual funds with 5% loads at Fidelity, they always had slick (and confusing) answers that I had no power to comprehend, let alone refute. Then when I had built up enough of a portfolio, they moved me to “cheaper” institutional funds at SEI where each fund had an ER in the 1.5-2.5% range AND an additional 1.1% fee for all AUM.
But, finally, after reading your blog and some of the selected works you recommend, I gained the confidence I needed to dump those advisors, liquidate my funds and move them to Vanguard, and come up with my own asset allocation and investment plan. As a result I’ve already saved hundreds if not thousands in unnecessary fees, and I finally feel like I’m in control of my financial future. Anyway, I know that’s a long story but I wanted to illustrate just how helpful you’ve been to me and I’m sure many others who come out of residency both very competent practitioners and very lousy stewards of their money. NO MORE!
From a military family practitioner:
Thank you so much for taking the time to help me out! It kind of feels like a celebrity just wrote to me… 🙂 Your advice is fantastic…It’s like a fog lifting….You are a lifesaver!…You are quite incredible. You saved who knows how many just at work, and then probably more than you know from your website & book from financial standpoint.
From a resident:
I read this book in 2 days and am truly amazed at the wealth of information. I wish I read this info when I started residency but I’m glad I found it before I finished. My wife is a physician also and after reading through your website we looked at our disability insurance providers and our “financial advisors” and the crappy policies these salespeople provided us.
I feel ashamed that I recommended these service providers to my colleagues thinking that I was being helpful. I will recommend your book to all of my colleagues secure in the knowledge that I am helping my colleagues on their path to financial freedom. Don’t give up on trying to educate your peers. You are changing more lives than you realize!!!
From a 31 year old dentist:
I know you get a ton of these emails but I just wanted to send a note and say thank you for doing what you do! I stumbled across your blog while researching whole life policies. My previous life/disability insurance rep (who I’ve come to learn is a ‘captive’ rep through my studies of your website), was hammering me on WL and trying to get me to convert some of my term policy to WL. He was VERY good at it. Anyway, I was so very close to not only doing this, but also purchasing an additional policy on my newborn child!! Your website was instrumental in helping me avoid this huge mistake. I used it to locate an independent rep through term4sale.com. My new agent not ONLY got me a better, cheaper, longer term policy at a better health rating, but also replaced my disability policy with one that is $1000 a year cheaper for double the income protection. (and yes, I did my due diligence on the disability contract!)In addition to all of this I have learned a tremendous amount on retirement planning and exactly what I need to be doing now while I am relatively young to achieve financial independence. Since finding your blog I’ve begun maxing out my wives’ and my ROTH IRAs, maxing out my 401k, begin maxing out my 457 starting next month, and opened a 529 for my daughter. My wife and I have also begun drafting our wills. I’ve purchased your book and read your blog regularly. Wish I could do more! Keep doing what you are doing, it means a lot!
From a psychiatrist:
Thank you for taking the time to build such a wonderful website and imparting your knowledge for free. Your blog is one of the most informative and motivational websites on the web. Your articles on starting a business have been quite influential, and as a result I’ve gained the confidence to start my own private practice.
From a fellow in Orthopedics:
As I complete my training next month and move into “attendinghood”, I just wanted to take the time to thank you and to tell you how important your website and your book have been to my family and me. Up until 2-3 years ago I knew nothing about personal finance, investing or taxes. My wife and I were expecting a child and we had loans piling up and no emergency fund, life insurance and no financial plan.
Now, I can honestly say I have read 8 books on finance and investing, am a daily reader of your website and am jokingly known as the financial/investing guru to the local fellows and residents when they have questions. I have been recommending your book to every resident/fellow/attending and rotating medical student I have met from Houston to Atlanta as it has impacted my life so much.
From a new attending physician:
I am a fairly new reader of your blog, and just finished your book not too long ago – best $10 I’ve spent in my entire life!
From a Dermatology resident:
I am an intern going into dermatology and I started reading your site [recently.] I had posted several questions about student loan management and disability insurance which you promptly answered. I just wanted to let you know how much your blog has impacted me.
I am married with two kids and have 200k in medical student debt, my husband stays at home with our kids right now and for the foreseeable future. I was so stressed out about cash flow at the beginning of my intern year I put my loans into deferment, was not budgeting well, and ending up paying for groceries on credit. After reading your website, my husband and I bought and read your book and got on the same page about short term and long term goals and a monthly budget. I applied for RePAYE which I was accepted for, and am now paying $84.00/mo, will likely refinance at the end of residency and pay them off within a couple years after graduation. I got both life and disability insurance through [one of your advertisers], and he’s been good to work with. I paid down 4k of credit card debt, and put the remaining 8k on a 0% interest credit card for two years with the goal of paying it down in that time frame (before that I had that entire sum on a card with 14% interest accruing!). And we are saving to savings account and a Roth IRA monthly (a small sum, but it’s still something!).
Anyways, I guess I just feel like I owe you a huge thank you for what you are doing. I…feel like I’m developing some measure of financial literacy for the first time in my life.
From a new intern:
I wanted to email and say thank you. You came to speak to us when I was a fourth year and that set me on a track of learning about investing and investing. You came at just the right time and saved me from buying a whole life policy and paying for bad advice. I was able to find a good level term policy and disability policy from your advice. I’ve since read as much of your blog as I can and your book as well as most of your recommended books. I am on my way to paying off debt and financial independence. Thanks for all the good advice.
From a new attending who just paid off his loans, 7 months out of residency:
Just wanted to express my thanks. I recently graduated from residency in family medicine. Several months ago I was deciding how to start my retirement fund, and I was about to make a big financial mistake by letting a “financial adviser” (insurance salesman) talk me into buying front loaded mutual funds and getting his cut. 1 day before I sent him my money, a residency friend of mine, out of the blue, sent me an email that directed me to your site. And boy, am I glad she did.Within 1 week, I bought your book and read it, and had read about 1/4th of the articles on the site. Still working on the rest (also reading Physician on FIRE and occasionally Mr Money Mustache).Now, 7 months out of residency, I have my student loans completely paid off, and over $30,000 in various retirement accounts using low cost vanguard funds.My wife used to laugh when I would talk about your website with her or my colleagues. Then I showed her the plan to become a millionaire before age 40. It’s a little less funny to her now, and a lot more awesome. In addition, your website has been a big encouragement for our family to tithe/donate more of our income to church and charity. I appreciate this aspect of your site as well.
From a 37 year old pediatrician:
I’m a 37 year old former military pediatrician and recent graduate from neonatology fellowship. Ever since hearing a finance talk during a grand rounds as a pediatric intern I have been active in the organization and planning of our finances. My wife and I were able to save over 600K during the time of my residency, 4 year military payback, and fellowship. In short, I am grateful to the author of The White Coat Investor for laying things out in an easy to read format. His message should be heard by all physicians and should actually be required text in medical school. I will continue to work on our financial security and apply many of the suggestions put forth by the author. Millionaire by age 40 indeed! Thank you again.
From a two doc couple:
I have been following your blog for about 5 years I believe it was an integral part in getting our finances in line. I just wanted to send a personal note to say thanks for all the free info and let you know that it was a huge help. My wife and I are both docs and at the time I started reading your site, we owed 525k+ in student loans. We met later in life and we were in a bit of a rush to get our family started as soon as we got settled in our attending gigs. To make a long story short, we bought our version of the doctor house, promptly had 3 kids and started living our lives. My wife worked 3/4 time and at one point was down to 60%. We probably made around 450k when I first started reading your site with the above loans. We had some savings and some retirement but no plan and a significantly negative net worth. I took your advice and read some books while I followed your blog. We made a plan that was aggressive but made almost no difference in our day-to-day life. We paid our loans off last month at 4 1/2 years into our plan- about 7 months early. We now have a net worth of around 750k not including our house.
After the WCI Conference:
A colleague of mine, who I invited to attend the recent WCI conference with me, just thanked me in these words:
“Thanks again for letting me know about the conference. I can honestly say that it has changed my life. It has allowed me to gain many more insights about my personal financial and well being.”
I was blown away, frankly. I knew we both really enjoyed the conference but I had no idea how much it had impacted him. I thought you should know the impact you…are having on people’s lives that goes way beyond the size of their retirement accounts.
From a dentist:
Just wanted to let you know…. I’ve paid off my student loans. And my wife’s. We got married in dental school…I’ve learned so much from your blog. Thank you. I’ve shared your book with all the doctor friends I can. My sister came to watch you lecture at the U of U one time. Sincere thanks for the extremely important, valuable, and practical information you share through your empire. Keep up the good work. Thank you.
From a physician:
Your book and your website are literally saving my financial life. I don’t know if I could thank you enough for supporting me!
From the spouse of a physician:
Today, we paid my wife’s (she is the MD) last remaining Student Loan
payment, thanks to finding this website and the podcast.
Last March, after I resigned from my job and took a different job due
to both of us working long hours and one of us needing a better
lifestyle. As my pay dropped, this forced us to look into our finances
closer. We noticed we were no where near where we wanted to be or
thought we should be. We were using a “Financial Advisor” recommended
by some of my wife’s partners. This advisor specialized in working
with Doctors. Looking at it now, he specialized in busy professionals
who didn’t have the time to look at Expense Ratios and to research
what he was putting our money into (some ERs were above 3%). I started
doing a lot of research on your site, read your book and listed to
every podcast…and other resources reference on your site. This was the
financial wake up call I needed. Since then, we started investing in
Tax Protected Retirement accounts such as 401K (already doing this),
Backdoor Roths, HSA. After those, we paid down the loans as
aggressively as we could. I have left the “Financial Advisor” and
manage our own investments. I was able to feel comfortable doing this
due to the amount of information you have out there. I want to thank
you for taking us off the road that would have lead us to working
until we were 70 and putting us on a path we want, which is to retire
when our youngest daughter graduates from high school…
We thought we were pretty frugal before. Drive vehicles until they
break down, house is less then half my wife’s salary, don’t spend
money on expensive clothing and discuss anything over $100 before
spending the money. We do spend money on Travel, as we both feel this
is important and realize as we get older, we may not have the
opportunity to travel as we do today, plus my wife gets 8 weeks, and I
negotiated 6 with my current job. We are even more frugal now, and pay
close attention to our monthly expenses and cut where we can.
Again, thank you for this site, the podcast and your book. It has
changed our financial future.
After a speaking engagement:
Dr. Dahle was a huge success. It was the highest attended event in my five years at the Lexington Medical Society. We hit the membership value target in the center of the bullseye. The attendance reflected the full spectrum of our membership demographics, from medical student, to resident, to active and retired physicians. His message was strong and clear. The time flew by. We thank him for taking time to fly across the country to Lexington to deliver this critical financial advice. It is my hope that many medical students and residents will start their personal financial strategies on a path that will best support them throughout their lives. Again, we can’t thank you enough and we wish Dr. Dahle and you our best.
From a two doc couple who paid off $750K in debt in 16 months:
My wife and I have just paid off our student loan debt and I felt that emailing you was the first thing to do!
Our total debt was in the 700k range. I became an attending in 2017 and since then we made a concerted effort to pay down our debt. We moved to my hometown; we literally moved into my parents house. I started a job…making [about 500K by working a lot of overtime.] My wife joined a very busy….practice with a base of 230k and [with] bonuses averaging 300-350k. My job had essentially unlimited overtime work.
I fully funded 403b and 457 plans during this time. We had about 200k in a savings account that we immediately pushed the majority into our loans, knocking down our balance to approx 550k.
I’m happy to say that as of a few days ago, we have zero student loan debt. This after paying approx 40 k / month into loans for 16 months post my fellowship graduation. we are so happy and I’m so happy that we will not have to deal with such a crushing debt for the rest of our lives….
In some way I have you to thank for this gift. Between a combination of reading your book and going thru your website and just getting a general feel for this inspired style of debt reduction, I saw an opportunity to totally slam our debt. It has not been easy and there has been sacrifice. No real vacations for the past yr. Been staying at home and dealing with the good and bad of that situation (always have home cooked food which is a huge plus). Spent a lot of weekends [working]
I look ahead and I see a future…. Just want to say thank you for the inspiration and I hope you continue to inspire others. This student debt problem is so huge and overwhelming. I had many poor nights of sleep during my training, fretting about, how do we pay off this 3/4 million dollar debt? I feel now an immense stress has been lifted. Can go forward and make some real decisions about how we want to live out the rest of our lives.
From a resident:
I need to say thank you for saving me thousands of dollars. When first getting out of dental school, I started looking into loan repayment programs. After thinking I had a plan laid out, I reached out to you to get some advice and you showed me the path to REPAYE which is currently saving me over $700/month! Thank you very much.
From an emergency doc:
I’m an emergency medicine physician…that finished training in 2014. I’m writing to thank you for all that you have done since 2011 creating your blog and disseminating information to Physicians who are in desperate need of personal finance skills. I grew up without any personal finance knowledge whatsoever. My parents tended to be steeped in credit card debt as well as the ever-present home mortgage which seem to be ever growing as houses were purchased and sold. Eventually when attending medical school I considered student loan money to be Monopoly money. I took out Max loans every year for 4 years at a private medical school. I didn’t really consider the financial ramifications of student loan debt.
At the end of medical school in 2010 I had a loan counseling exit interview with our financial aid counselor. I had heard from a fellow classmate about something called Public service loan forgiveness. I asked the loan counselor about this and she said she had never heard of the program and that it was not real. Over the next four years in residency I put my loans all in forbearance without making any payments in the income-based repayment program. This is my first and hopefully only massive Financial mistake. When I graduated residency in 2014 I had a total of $340,000 in debt and I realized after taking my first job as an attending that I was working for a 501 3 c as an employed physician and that had I made income based payments during residency I would have simply been able to make six more years of payments on the 10-year plan. I would have had several hundred thousand dollars of loans forgiven in 2020.
The realization of such a massive Financial blunder spurred me to quickly develop personal finance skills. I began reading books weekly and scouring the internet and eventually came upon your website. The website basically transformed my life. One of the first books I read was the white coat investor book and I now give it to every resident and fellow I come across. I’m happy to say that as of today I completely paid off my student loans over the span of four years. At the same time I was able to save for a downpayment on a house as well as Max out all the retirement accounts available to me including backdoor Roth IRAs for my wife and I. I just want you to know the impact you have had on my family’s life and the securing of our financial future. Thanks for all that you do,
From an OB/GYN:
Just want to say thanks a bunch for all you’ve done for physician financial wellness. You have changed the course of many lives for the better and we are all indebted to you.
From a reader:
Your site is absolutely the best. Solid financial advice for the professional. I wish I had signed up years ago. I have always been a firm believer in do it yourself index fund investing. This philosophy has allowed me to achieve financial independence at a much earlier stage of my career then I anticipated. Thank you for this site!!!!!