More Physician Millionaires – Podcast #180

What does it take to become a millionaire? Hear the experiences of seven millionaires in this episode talk about how they did it. You may recall we did our first episode with physician millionaires the start of 2020. People loved hearing from these successful doctors and what they did to win financially, they just wanted more women represented. So all seven guests today are female, 6 physicians and an engineer. We talk about similar ideas to what we did last episode, how they did it, their mindset, what their money is invested in, but also discuss what it is like as a woman, to have a career as a higher earner, and be able to build wealth. Did their gender hold them back in that pursuit or not? What were their keys to success? What advice do they have for those who are a decade or two behind them, wondering, “can I, as a woman, become a millionaire still? If you go and look at the data, it is a pretty small percentage of physicians in their 60s that are worth more than $5 million. It is awesome to have several millionaires all in one episode to learn from. Enjoy!

This podcast is sponsored by Bob Bhayani at drdisabilityquotes.com. He is an independent provider of disability insurance planning solutions to the medical community in every state and a long-time white coat investor sponsor. He specializes in working with residents and fellows early in their careers to set up sound financial and insurance strategies. If you need to review your disability insurance coverage to make sure it meets your needs or if you just haven’t gotten around to getting this critical insurance in place, contact Bob at drdisabilityquotes.com today by email [email protected] or by calling (973) 771-9100. 

I agree with that. I think there is a lot of truth there. It is all about a problem and solving that problem with enough foresight that your plan will pass a stress test in the event that it ends up having more asked of it than you originally thought.

I asked each of our guests in this episode similar questions and found some themes across the women. Almost as a rule, they don’t like debt that much. They don’t seem to be really big on spending a lot money, it isn’t a large part of their life. Their family situation varies, from married with kids, to married without kids, to single moms. Their investments vary. Some use a financial advisor. Others don’t. None of those things seem to really be the most important things.

The most important thing is mindset. How much you make, how much of that you save, and that you invest it in some sort of reasonable way. I hope you take that message away from this episode. Here are the questions and answers we discussed.

Of the seven guests, we had an ob-gyn, emergency medicine, dermatologist, diagnostic radiologist, psychiatrist, radiation oncologist, and an aerospace engineer. Quite a variety with a wide range of yearly incomes, from $54,000-1,000,000 over their careers. Surprisingly, several were not really sure when they crossed over one million dollars for their net worth, most fell into the 5-10 year range. Now they are 4 years to 16 years out of training with net worths ranging from $1.5 million dollars to $7 million dollars.

Did they start out in a big hole like most of their physician colleagues? A couple with previous careers or working spouses came out of training with a positive net worth of $200K-$700K. But all the others were in the negative, ranging from -$120K-$300K. For some of them, their parents paid for their undergraduate degree but none paid for their medical school or left them large inheritances.

With a large income you can still afford to make some financial mistakes and be successful. Some of the women shared their mistakes from having a financial advisor that was not giving them good advice at a good price to buying a million dollar home and then selling it at a loss.

A question unique to this group was whether being a woman helped or hindered their financial success. Several didn’t feel like it mattered at all. Others shared experiences in the work place that were frustrating.

One physician was the only female doctor in their entire group. She said the scheduling wasn’t equitable, which affected salaries.

One physician was a military doctor, so everything is transparent and equal, which is one benefit to the military.

But another guest shared an experience she had joining a private practice early in her career.

Medical schools have crossed over the 50% mark for female vs male students, so we will be seeing, if we are not already, a shift in the physician work force, but our engineering guest had a very different experience than that. Women really have never crossed 20% for earning engineering degrees, and that’s actually been on a slight decline since the early 2000s, so the number of women in the engineering workforce also tends to decline over time.

It must be very lonely to have to speak for half of humanity. I know many of you have similar experiences in the work force. We have a forum for women to have a place to discuss these questions and concerns.

Women’s Forum – By popular demand, a place to discuss issues faced by female high income professionals

When asked what they were doing to teach their kids about finances, these were the answers.

When asked for their secrets to success, there were a couple of themes. One was maxing out retirement accounts every single year. Save early, save often. Do all you can to at least fill your Roth IRA from the very beginning. Pay yourself first. Compound interest was mentioned.

Another was an aversion to debt. A couple of our guests still had mortgages or student loans at very low interest rates. But for the most part they paid off student loans early and quickly. One recommended if you have a cheaper option for medical school, take the cheaper option. Do not saddle yourself with the loans.

A couple guests mentioned choosing the right partner.

Geographical arbitrage was mentioned, as they moved to a lower cost of living part of the country. Also buying a home much less than you could probably cash flow. Tracking their spending gave one couple a raise. Be very intentional about your spending. Another just continued to live like a resident.

Another guest said her secret to success was luck, hard work, and education. Luck in having been born to married, white, middle-class, English speaking, college educated parents. Hard work in college, earning scholarships. Education, meaning financial education, through blogs and books.

But at the same time, others demonstrated that you don’t have to be a hobbyist in order to be very successful. You can use a financial advisor as long as you’re getting good advice at a reasonable price (like those we recommend) and still be very successful. Though even those recommended paying attention to where your money is going and learning about finances and investing.

Other guests mentioned that you don’t have to do it all. Not all have invested in real estate or have a side business. Though one did say it was important to have a plan B.

I hope that you found this episode interesting and inspiring. None of these millionaires followed the exact same path. There are many ways to be financially successful. Create a reasonable plan, and invest and save early and often, and you could be on the next millionaire episode!

Intro:
This is the White Coat Investor podcast where we help those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street. We’ve been helping doctors and other high-income professionals stop doing dumb things with their money since 2011. Here’s your host, Dr. Jim Dahle.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
This is White Coat Investor podcast number 180 – More Physician Millionaires.
Dr. Jim Dahle:

This podcast is sponsored by Bob Bhayani at drdisabilityquotes.com. He is an independent provider of disability insurance planning solutions to the medical community in every state and a long-time White Coat Investor sponsor.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
He specializes in working with residents and fellows early in their careers to set up sound financial and insurance strategies. If you need to review your disability insurance coverage to make sure it meets your needs or if you just haven’t gotten around to getting this critical insurance in place, contact Bob at drdisabilityquotes.com today or you can email him at [email protected] or simply give him a call at (973) 771-9100.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks for what you do. Medicine is not easy. It’s getting tiring. I was talking to one of my partners the other day who told me a year ago, I thought it was going to work another 5 or 10 years, but now I’m meeting with my financial planner and asking if I have enough to retire as you just get sick of dealing with the Covid restrictions and wearing a mask all the time and being worried about bringing something home to her family. It’s wearing on all of us. And so, thanks for being on the front lines and taking care of that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Our quote of the day today comes from Charlie Ellis, who said, “For most investment managers, portfolio management is neither an art nor a science. It is instead an unusual problem in engineering”.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And I agree with that. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. It’s all about a problem and solving that problem with enough that your plan will pass a stress test in the event that it ends up having more asked of it than you originally thought.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I want to mention something that I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about on the podcast before. A lot of you don’t read the blog, but there’s this great blog out there called the White Coat Investor. It has been there since 2011. It started in May of 2011. I’ve been posting blog posts on this blog for the last nine and a half years.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Essentially every question I ever get asked by physicians and other high-income investors about personal finance and investing has been answered in a blog post on the blog. And there are some subjects that lend themselves well to a podcast.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Podcasts are great for inspiration. They’re great for specific questions, but to really dive into the meat of a topic, there’s nothing that really beats a good blog post because you can put charts and graphs and links and all kinds of stuff in it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, I would encourage you to take a look at the blog from time to time. And I do tell this to people on the forum and in the Facebook group as well. Take a look at the blog. There’s a lot of great information on the blog. And I’m surprised how few people who enjoy the white coat investor in other venues have never really spent much time on the blog.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, check out the blog sometime. You can find it at whitecoatinvestor.com/classic-blog. There are basically six things going up there a week. Two of which are original posts by me. One of which is an older post by me that’s been updated. And then of course we have a guest post each week. We have a post from the WCI network. And of course, we have the podcast show notes that are published every Thursday. Be sure to check those out.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. You may recall that our first episode of 2020 was a physician millionaires’ episode. It was wonderful. It got rave reviews. People loved it. They loved hearing from these successful doctors and what they did to become successful. We got just a little bit of flack about it, however, because I think all but one of the physician millionaires were men. We didn’t specifically ask for men, but that’s just how the volunteers came in.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And so, we decided, “Hey, why don’t we do an episode that’s all or mostly women?” And so, we put out a call a few months ago to have women physician millionaires contact us, and we would interview them and get their interviews on the podcast.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Today’s episode is the compilation of this. Cindy has been working hard on this for the last couple of months, lining up all these interviews and we’ve been putting it all together. So, thank you to the podcast team for doing all this. But I think you’re really going to enjoy the episode.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
We talk not only about the same stuff we talked about last time, how people became millionaires, what their mindset is, what their money is invested in, et cetera, how they spend. But we also talked about a few things that are a bit more specific. We got into a few more family issues.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
We also talked about what it was like to have a career as a higher earner that was also a woman and be able to build wealth by doing that. And whether gender held you back in that pursuit or not.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, I think it’s a great series of episodes. I think we have seven women physician millionaires. Actually, they’re not all physicians. We have seven women high-income earning millionaires and we’re going to get into those interviews now. I think you’re going to really enjoy this episode.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. Our guest on the podcast today is a millionaire, a women physician millionaire. Who’s going to share her story with us. She’s wanting to stay anonymous today, so we’re going to leave her name out of it, but welcome to the White Coat Investor podcast.
Women physician millionaire 1:
Thank you for having me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What’s your specialty and how far are you out of training?
Women physician millionaire 1:
I’m an Ob-Gyn generalist and I’ve been practicing for 16 years.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s your approximate net worth?
Women physician millionaire 1:
Approximately $3.6 million.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What’s that divided up into? How much is a house? How much is in your rental properties? How much in investment accounts? Et cetera.
Women physician millionaire 1:
About $100,000 in cash. We have $1.3 plus million in retirement, and we have about $2.94 million in real estate. That’s divided up in our personal home, a rental home, and then I guess a second rental home that houses my mother and we helped to fund that house for her.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What has been your range of income throughout your career?
Women physician millionaire 1:
So, this was interesting. I had to go back and actually look for it. So, first of all, I came out of residency, pregnant with twins. And because of that, I immediately that first year took maternity leave. I do have a higher income spouse who is a physician assistant, but that year we made $170,000 total together.
Women physician millionaire 1:
And then while I had young children, I only worked part time. My income for that first six years combined with my husband was only around $200,000. So, it was not high at all. And I kind of focused on being a mom and parent. And then about eight years ago, I started doing more administrative work in my time separated from my clinical practice. And my wage increased from about $250,000 to our highest year of $660,000.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. So, how long did it take? I mean, now you’re a multimillionaire, right? You’ve done very well. And congratulations on your success. How long did it take you to become a millionaire? To get that first million in net worth?

Women physician millionaire 1:
I have no idea. I wasn’t tracking it at the time and it really wasn’t until more recently that we realized what our net worth was.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Some point in there, you crossed the line, but no idea what year it was.

Women physician millionaire 1:
I would imagine it was eight years.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
What do you attribute this to? What were your secrets to success? How did you become so wealthy?
Women physician millionaire 1:
I think maxing our retirement accounts out every single year. We just always made that our initial priority. We always made sure we had enough money to be able to do that. And I think we also got really lucky in real estate and that was pure luck and not scale at all.
Women physician millionaire 1:
I do think that one of our pitfalls was having a financial advisor and not having one that was good for us or really understanding. And it wasn’t until the last few years that I started to really feel like I needed to understand it better. And that was one of our biggest pitfalls. So, learning from you and all of that was key to us, more recently.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Do you remember when you came out of training what your net worth was? I mean, for most doctors is pretty negative. Do you have any idea what yours was when you came out of training?
Women physician millionaire 1:
It was definitely negative. I had taken out $140,000 in med student loans. And by that time, I got out, it was $220,000 or so. My husband’s mom had passed away and so we had received just under I think $100,000 of inheritance at that time. So, it might’ve only been a negative $140,000-ish at that point, but it was definitely in the negative when we got out.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I think you answered the question I was going to ask you next, which is whether your parents paid for medical school, which is no. And whether you received an inheritance, which is actually yes, although it certainly didn’t make you a millionaire to inherit it.

Women physician millionaire 1:
Right. So, what’s interesting is no, my parents did not pay for my medical school education, but my father did something unusual or what I think was kind of unusual to pay for four children’s undergraduate education. He is actually gynecologist. And he went ahead when he got out into practice and he was very successful his first year, going from a military practice, making $10,000 a year back in the late 60s, early 70s to making about $100,000 his first year in private practice. And he bought all of his equipment in his office, his tables and lasers and all of that. And then he gifted it to his four children.
Women physician millionaire 1:
What’s interesting is four years later, my parents got a divorce and he left, but he sold his practice to somebody. And part of the practice agreement was that this person would pay the payments to his children’s college fund basically monthly until the equipment was paid off. And that paid for four undergraduate education for my three brothers and I.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That’s a pretty unique way to pay for college. I’m not sure I’ve heard of that one before. How much debt do you have currently?
Women physician millionaire 1:
We have about $750,000 in debt. It’s my primary home. And then the home that my mother is in and then we have our rental is completely paid off.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What advice do you have for those who are a decade or two behind you and wondering, “Hey, can I as a woman physician become a millionaire still?” What advice do you have for them?
Women physician millionaire 1:
Yeah, I think number one, maxing out the retirement accounts. I think always kind of paying yourself first before you do anything else. I think following the principles you had. We had our student loans paid off within three years of coming out of residency, which was key. I think following your principles with low cost index funds is huge.
Women physician millionaire 1:
Like I said, I think one of our biggest mistakes was having a financial advisor that was not really working in our best interest during a really good bull market. And we suffered from that. I do think we made some mistakes along the way and that we purchased homes in residency and purchased a home before we ever got to my first job. We got super lucky and that we made money on that house in residency. And I happened to get one job and stick with it for the 16 years. But in hindsight, I can see that that probably wasn’t the wisest choice. We just got really lucky that it worked out for us.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I’m glad it did. Congratulations on your success. And thank you for your willingness to come on the podcast.
Women physician millionaire 1:
Sure. I appreciate you having me and thank you for all you do.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. Our next guest on the White Coat Investor will also be remaining anonymous, but welcome to the white coat investor podcast.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Thank you.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What’s your specialty and how far are you out of training?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
I’m an emergency medicine physician and I’m about 12 years out of training.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s your approximate net worth and what is it divided into?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Probably depending on the markets right around $6.5 million. I tried to calculate this out. Probably maybe 15% in our home, 15% to 20% is cash and bonds. We keep a lot in cash. And the rest is in the market.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what has your range of income been throughout your career?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
So, this has fluctuated. Probably when I started $200,000. And then it just depends on the year because we’re a hundred percent RVU. But I fluctuate between $300,000 to $500,000.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And you mentioned an hour. Is there a spouse or partner that’s also contributing to that income or is that all income you’re earning?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
No, that’s my income. That was just my income earning. I started around $200,000 when I first came out of residency and now, I’m probably like in the $400,000 range. Sometimes more, sometimes less. That’s why I said $300,000 to $500,000.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
I have a husband and his income was not what I included in there, but he also kind of fluctuates. But I guess when I was starting, he probably made in the mid $100,000 and now he probably makes about the same as me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How long did it take you guys to become millionaires out of training?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
It’s hard to say because I never actually knew I was a millionaire until I was already a millionaire. So, I’m always amazed at the kids that are listening to your podcasts as med students that they already are even thinking about this.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
But I would say maybe about five years out of residency. The first time that I was able to track down like that, we started charting our net worth and whatnot we were already millionaires. So, I would say maybe five years out of residency I was a millionaire.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now obviously the high-income helped. You had the duel high-income family. But what were your secrets to success other than that do you think? How did you become so wealthy? Because there’s lots of people with high incomes that never build much wealth.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Yeah, it’s not one thing. I’d have to say, I really try to think about there’s so many things that make you where you are. One is if you have a partner. Choosing the right partner. Because making the money, it’s not your money, it’s a combined pot. So, if you’re not on the same page on how you save or spend or your value system that can really help you or hurt you. In my case, I happened to be lucky that I had a partner that had similar spending habits and value systems. So that helps.

Woman physician millionaire 2:
Coming out like in 2008, right after the market dropped and being here for the last 12 years is just dumb luck. But that helps because if you’re in a bull market, it doesn’t take a lot to just put your money in and let it sit and see the benefits of compound interest. I mean, I think somebody that came out maybe 5 or 10 years before that may not have said the same thing.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. We certainly had an interesting time in 2008. We already had some savings by that time to lose some money.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Right. Enough to teach you, but not enough to hurt you.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Exactly.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
And then really the rest of the time has just been dumb luck. And then things that we weren’t even thinking about, which is kind of geographical. I guess geographical arbitrage is what you guys call it, but we moved to Texas to be near family. But that helped because there’s no income, it’s a relatively decent cost of living area.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
And I came out at a time when emergency medicine was in high demand. So, I could come out and make a ton of money easily and have a ton of job available options. And so that really helped me. Those are things that you don’t think about, but they make a significant difference. And my co-residents or friends that have lived in other areas, whether it be like Colorado, Chicago, or whatnot, work just as hard as me, if not harder and don’t make anywhere near as much money.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
So, kind of where you choose to work plus what you choose to do makes a huge difference. And just the aversion to debt. We both are really conservative in how we spend and that’s kind of something you can teach, but it’s something that you have a natural tendency towards.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Speaking of debt. What was your net worth when you came out of training? Do you remember?

Woman physician millionaire 2:
Yeah, it’s hard to say. I mean, I didn’t come out in the negatives because I had actually worked for a couple years before I went back to residency and med school. And I had a husband that was working during that time, but we didn’t have a ton of money. I’d say, including all of our debt in terms of like med school debt, college debt and our mortgage, we probably had a net worth of maybe $200,000 or $300,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And how long did it take you to pay off those loans? Do you remember? Did you pay them off very quickly or drag them out for a while?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Well, I paid them off within five years, but I didn’t have the significant amount of med school loans or college loans that a lot of people had. I walked out of medical school and residency and my loans being like $80,000, which was I think pretty significant number for 2008 but nothing compared to what people have now.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
But even compared to my co-residents I had plenty of friends that had more debt than that. We probably could have paid it off pretty quickly, but we paid the minimum and then we would pay chunks. And so, we finished paying everything off at the five-year mark when we looked our finances and realized it was stupid to carry the debt when we had all this money, we weren’t aware of.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Do you have any debt now?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
None. We have our house paid off. If we buy something it’s because we have the money to buy it. We don’t carry any debt, but we’re extremely conservative and we keep like a higher amount in cash than anybody recommends.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Did you get any help from your parents? Did they pay for your school or did you get any kind of an inheritance or anything?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
No, absolutely poor. I was actually born in another country. I’m immigrant. I came here when I was a baby. My parents didn’t finish college. I took out like loans, got plenty of scholarships.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now you mentioned before we started recording that you have three kids. How did you balance being a mom and becoming a millionaire?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
I don’t know that one or the other is really related. So, I think that’s kind of a funny question. I think being a mother or a woman puts in extra obstacles because you’re balancing more balls in the air. But being a mom or a woman doesn’t prevent you from being a millionaire. You just have a lot more on your radar and you have to kind of do more tradeoffs.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Did you ever feel like it was either a big benefit or a big obstacle at work to you becoming a millionaire? The fact that you were a woman physician?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
I mean, it always provides more obstacles. I came down to Texas and in the groups that I’ve worked, sometimes I was the only woman in the entire group, which sounds funny because it’s not like I came out in the dark ages. I came out in 2008.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
But I remember going to one of my job interviews and people kept coming up to me and be like, “You’re applying for the physician job?” And I finally looked at the head of the group who was like touring me and he was like, “Oh, I got some news for you. We don’t have any women in the group”. And I was shocked because I had a residency where we were almost 50/50. And so, I hadn’t even thought about the fact that I might go into groups where I was the only woman.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
But it actually happened more often than not. Because one of my goals, I guess, early on was just to kind of chase the money and if there was a position that was available that was relatively high paying, I would consider working there. And it was usually me and 10 other guys doing that same thing. So, you may be the only woman.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
There’s a lot of funny obstacles to being a woman and being wealthy that are in every field, including emergency medicine. I mean, your salary is less, which seems silly because people would say, “Well, how can you make less if everybody makes the same an hour and it’s a shift job?” But you do because if you’re a hundred percent RVU’s, there are certain shifts that are much more profitable shifts. And somehow all the men in the group got those shifts.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, the scheduling wasn’t equitable.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Never, it’s never equitable. Certain men would get most of those shifts or everybody that had a set schedule seemed to be one of the guys. And they are set schedule with a nice schedule and a profitable schedule. And most of the medical directors of all of the groups are men. And when certain committees are up, they will just kind of overlook you.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
And so, there’s always more obstacles to being anything as a woman, but you learn to balance it. I think having a good support structure is important. I mean, I think any woman would say that it’s important who you have on the sidelines, helping you and making those balances.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You mentioned that you’re an immigrant. How did that upbring the affect the way you manage your money? Do you think that’s why you’re so conservative and keep so much in cash?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Maybe. I think that it’s pretty funny because a lot of your podcast’s folks have been kind of like those immigrants that become wealthy or maybe I hear more of them. I think that gives you that natural drive, which is harder to have. And I don’t know when you look at your own kids, if you worry about their own drive compared to yours depending on your upbringing versus how much money you have now.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
But I think you have a lot more drive when you know less, because there’s just a lot more to shoot for. You’re not trying to be comfortable where you are, you want more than you have. But there’s also obstacles. I didn’t have a parent that taught me about investing or retirement incomes or anything else to do besides go to school and make money one day. You definitely have the drive, but you don’t have the toolbox. And you have to kind of go out and learn that whole toolbox if you’re going to get there.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Well, you can obviously pass that toolbox onto your children. Do you think you can pass the drive onto your children and how are you trying to do that?

Woman physician millionaire 2:
Yeah. So, that is a lot harder, because as you get more comfortable, they see it. And so, they just aren’t around it. And also, their environment is different than yours. I grew up with parents that worked all the time and we never had money and they don’t see that same kind of situation.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
We try to teach them like the toolbox ways. Probably kind of what you did. We actually live significantly more conservative than most of our peers in terms of neighbors and whatnot. So, I don’t even think that they have any idea how much money we actually have. We don’t drive fancy cars. We naturally aren’t interested in like super nice purses or jewelry or those kinds of things.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Our too big as expenses are probably vacations. And the fact that we put them in private school. But besides that, they don’t really see the wealth around them. And so that helps because they are modeling, they still worry about buying a pair of shoes and I just let them worry about the cost of it instead of telling them, “You can afford that pair of shoes”.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
But with my older one, this past year we started paying him to do our expenses so he could see it. We don’t show him how much income we had, but we let him manage the paperwork, like the receipts and just kind of categorize all the different expenses into business expenses and personal and whatnot. Just to kind of learn how to be organized with his money.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
And then this past year we started a retirement account for him. And so, we sat down and we let him kind of play with it. I’m thinking I could teach him a lesson. Like, let’s say I paid him like $5,000. I put that in his retirement account. And I told him, “Okay, so $4,000 of it has to go into like an S&P 500 or some conservative account. And then you get $1,000 to pick the stock”.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
So that in the long run, he could see kind of the difference between playing with a fraction of it or not. And as I said, pick three stocks and we’ll kind of help you decide, and we won’t stop you and we’ll let you pick a stock and see the difference in which one it does. Unfortunately, he picked Tesla.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Is that a heck of a year?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Yes. And so, it wasn’t the teaching moment that I thought it was going to be, because I thought I was going to be able to show him that something that he had heard of may not do as well as just the S&P 500, but he more than made money off of his two little stocks of Tesla that he bought. But obviously in the long run, hopefully he’ll be able to look back and see that lesson.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. So, if someone is 15 years behind you, they’re a med student, they’re a dental student, they’re an undergraduate, they’re an intern. What advice do you have for them? If they want to become like you, what would you tell them?
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Gosh, so many things. I mean, first of all, don’t underestimate compounding interest. It’s not even something I even thought of. I was lucky because my first job out of residency, we were forced into like a hundred percent kind of retirement match.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
So, the max that you can put in a 401(k) is, I don’t know, like $15,000 or $12,000 or whatnot. But they would employee match it with your money to the max of the $54,000, which you normally wouldn’t do unless you were an independent contractor. But it looked like they were a company matching it, but they were matching it with your own money.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Since I got out for the first five years that I was at that group, I was putting in the max, not because I may have done it on my own, but because that was part of being in the group. And so, doing that, and then I guess, continuing that when I became an independent contractor and just kind of did my own SEP IRA.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Honestly, if you think about it and you just put the numbers in, if you put in even just the minimum requirement, which is $50,000 and you let that ride for a dozen years, you’d be a millionaire, even if you don’t put in 8%. I did this just to see if you put in 4% or 5%, you have a million dollars in retirement. And that’s really the minimum that you could do as a physician if you weren’t saving anything else.

Woman physician millionaire 2:
We happened to be super savers for a really long time, without even being aware of it. Like we didn’t say, “Okay, we’re going to say 40% or 50% of our salary”. We just lived on what we had always lived on. We kind of buried our head in the sand maybe because we had young kids and didn’t spend a ton of money for the first five years. And so, after a while, you just have a ton of money and so you have to invest some of it. And so that kind of helps.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
So, really just compound interest and doing what you’re supposed to do in terms of spending less money and trusting that it will all work out. It just takes time. If you’re looking at it every year, you’re not going to see it jump a ton. But once you look at it in 10 years, there’s a significant jump that you can make.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Some other things. You don’t have to do it all. I know that a lot of people are super into like real estate investing or having like a side business like you do and thinking that they’re never going to be a millionaire if they’re not running a profitable website and podcasts and side business, or if they don’t have 5 to 10 rental properties. But that’s not true.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
I only own one property, which is my home. I have side jobs, but they’re not side gigs like you have. And you can really just do it with saving and investing and living below your means. All that other stuff is kind of frosting or just the extras that you don’t need to get there.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
So, you don’t have to feel like you have to do that. I mean, there’s been plenty of times where I felt like, “Oh, maybe I should get into real estate or loans online or X, Y and Z”, but it just never felt right to us. We didn’t want to do that stuff. And so, to know you can do it is important.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
On a side note though, I think that it’s important to have a plan B. That’s something that I think somebody coming out doesn’t think about. Like I’ve always had a job and then kind of a side job, whether it be just shifts at another group or telemedicine job or just something else. That is something that has been in the long run a really smart thing to have.

Woman physician millionaire 2:
I came to Texas when the market was very hot and then got to ride that way for several years. But in the last several years, I think probably for most people around the country, emergency medicine is getting hit in terms of like contract groups and what kind of job you could have and how much they’re willing to pay you.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
And I think that if you don’t have a plan B in terms of how much you’re saving or just something else that’s not all in your primary job, it’s a lot harder to walk away or to pick up the pieces if your group loses its contract or you lose your job.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
That’s something that I’ve seen firsthand. Groups have like lost their contracts in town, or people have jobs that they don’t want to go to anymore. And so, I think having a plan B or a side gig, whether it be something small or just something else you do is crucial, especially in the market we are in. I don’t think that you can assume that being a physician is a hundred percent recession free, as you can see now with Covid or that you’re always going to have a job.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing that and congratulations on your success. You’ve done very well for yourself and really not even quite at mid-career yet. So, you’ve done great and congratulations on that. And thank you for coming on the WCI podcast.
Woman physician millionaire 2:
Thank you.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. Our next guest on the White Coat Investor podcast is also going to remain anonymous. But welcome to the podcast.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Thanks dr. Dahle. I appreciate you having me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What is your specialty and how far are you out of training?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
I’m a dermatologist and I’m four years out of training now.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. Now what’s your approximate net worth?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
So, this is kind of fun actually to calculate. I didn’t realize we’re at nearly $1.5 million.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Congratulations. It’s a lot more than I had when I had four years out of training.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
I know, right? That actually kind of blew my mind. But I divided it all up. This is my husband and I together. So, we’ve got $237,000 in Roth IRAs, $278,000 in TSP, $44,000 in a solo 401(k), $168,000 in your brokerage account, $192,000 in private equity real estate. You’re going to kill me, $120,000 in Whole Life.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I thought you’re going to say Bitcoin.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
No, however, I do have Whole Life. $120,000 in there. And then our real estate after mortgages is about $360,000-ish. And then in cash, we’re sitting on about $90,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Is your husband a doc as well?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
He is not. He’s active duty military.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. So, between the two of you, what’s been your range of income throughout your career?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Yeah, I was thinking about that. I think my take home when I first graduated from college as an ensign was about $2,000 a month, maybe a little bit more. So, I started as an O1 in 2000 and that’s what I remember making take home when I started my career initially.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s the highest year the two of you have had income wise?

Woman physician millionaire 3:
So right now, my W2 from being active duty military is sitting around $125,000 which is very low for my specialty. And then with my side gigs and moonlighting together I think we are at $350,000. Obviously, I work a lot.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That sounds like a lot of moonlighting.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
A lot of moonlighting and a lot of side gigs. But we are chasing financial freedom and I have energy. So, we are going for it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Cool. How long did it take you to become a millionaire?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
We crossed it at around age 40. 39 to 40 is when we crossed it. But that is when we really started looking to see what our true net worth was.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, this is impressive that you’ve become very wealthy. What would you say were your secrets to success in becoming wealthy?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
So, I think I had three secrets to success. I think the first was that I grew up in a not great home situation. I had an alcoholic father and that was a bit of a superpower because it allowed me to realize how I didn’t want to end up.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
My other secret was in public school I learned the magic of compound interest. So, I was encouraged to start early. And then my third secret was starting early. I started investing when I was 16 years old. I started TSP when I was 22, which was 20 years ago when we were capped at $7,000 a year to start. And I’ve just been kind of chipping away at it. But because I’ve had that time, my money has really grown. So, I would encourage anybody to do all they can to start early and always pay yourself first.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, you’re very unique among doctors. Most doctors basically don’t have any savings until at least they’re a resident, if not the time they become an attending, but you started very young actually. And maybe it wasn’t much money at the time, but it had a lot of time for compound interest to work on it. What do you suppose your net worth was when you came out of training?

Woman physician millionaire 3:
That’s a good question. I think we were probably around $700,000 to $800,000. But I think you have to remember I should say you should know that I’m non-traditional. Prior to going to medical school, I had a career in the Navy where I completed an entire service obligation prior to going to medical school. So, I didn’t matriculate to medical school until I was 30 years old. So, I also had all of my twenties to work and save, which made a huge different for us.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Which you clearly didn’t blow all that savings paying for medical school?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
No, I did a military scholarship. Well, actually I take that back. I did a program where I used my GI Bill to pay for medical school and I took a salary and benefits while in medical school.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That’s a pretty great way to pay for medical school for those who are eligible for it.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Yeah. I would say the best way to do it if anybody is a veteran would be to use your GI Bill, pay for medical school, go to a yellow ribbon school, do all you can to save, stay out of debt and live your dream.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I’m guessing based on what you said that your parents didn’t help pay for any of your school and you haven’t received any sort of significant inheritance. Is that right?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
That is correct.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And how much debt do you have currently? You mentioned you had some real estate.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Yeah. That’s it. Real estate debt. That’s another thing. This whole, I guess, financial awakening. I had always been good about saving and I had always been good about paying myself first and doing all of that stuff. But the real eye-opener came on this where I had to get a car, my car died. I drive all my cars into the ground. And I was so angry that I couldn’t write the check for the car.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
And after that, we had done well with money, but we decided to really buckle down and really start saving. I mean, right now our savings rates well excess of 50% to 60%. And we got kind of on the every dollar budget, find out that we had given ourselves a raise by just tracking money. And we are completely debt free with the exception of some real estate debt.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. I liked the way you phrased that, gave yourself a raise by actually tracking where your money was going. And it feels that way, doesn’t it?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
It’s amazing. Yeah. I couldn’t believe it. When we really started tracking it, I was like, “Oh my God, what are we doing?” Like I said, we buckled down and everything was paid off within like three or four months because we were mindful about it and intentional.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You mentioned before we started recording that you have an eight-year-old and a fur baby. How do you balance being a mom and becoming a millionaire?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
For me I don’t think that that’s something that’s impossible to do. I would say that intern year was really hard. My husband was deployed my entire intern year. That was very, very, very difficult. I nearly didn’t make it. I would wake up, walk the dog, get my kid to the 24-hour daycare that was thankfully provided by the military, go round maybe stay overnight, go get my kid. That was really, really hard.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
And then as a resident, I was at a great program, but not necessarily a family friendly one. And I had to live in nanny, which was really challenging. My husband was on his XO tour, Executive Officer tour, like second in command tour. And that was the most challenging time. I really had a difficult time and I nearly didn’t make it through my first year of residency.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Other than that, though, I mean, things are great. I have a really supportive husband. We have nannies, we make it work. And I’m also very fortunate. I’m in a very, I don’t want to say the lifestyle friendly specialty, but I’m not in the hospital all night, multiple times a week. I’m very, very fortunate for that.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
How do you think being a female physician helped you or hurt you in your journey to becoming a millionaire?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
I’m really fortunate because I’ve been in the military my whole adult life. So, no matter what, everything’s transparent and everything’s equal. So, all the pay tables are out. You’re paid based on your location. You’re not paid based on where you’re from, what negotiate, et cetera, et cetera.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You mentioned earlier, your upbringing was maybe a little bit rough. How do you think that affected how you manage your money? You mentioned earlier that you certainly wanted to be independent on your own, never having to rely on anybody else for your money. Any other ways that your upbringing affected you?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
So, I think my grandparents were really frugal and they actually ended up dying as millionaires. And I think that I saw the value of hard work, consistent saving. They never wanted for anything and we never wanted for anything. But I think they led by such a remarkable example. So, I think that that was really good.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
And I think it also made me really cognizant when I was choosing a husband, somebody who had similar values with regards to goals for money. And I would encourage everybody to really be mindful of that. That’s important to have somebody who thinks the same way you do about money and has similar goals and is willing to go on the journey together with you.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And how are you passing that onto your kids?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
It’s kind of funny. My daughter’s always like, when I was on a Dave Ramsey kick, she was always like, “Are we listening to the money guy again?” But we do try to talk about the value of money and we talk about saving. And if you want something you’ve got to go to work.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
And even now with the Covid pandemic, the public schools are staying close. We’ve put my daughter in private school. So, we’ve talked about what that means and how mommy and daddy have to work more in order to be able to provide that for her.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
So, I think that that’s good. I think you just do all you can to lead by example, you don’t have debt, you talk about working hard and you talk about saving money for things. I think that that’s all stuff that your kid hears and they have a lot of respect for.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Any advice you have for those who are a decade or two behind you and want to get where you’re at?
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Yeah. So, I would say, it all depends right on where you start. I would tell anybody that’s getting ready to go to medical school, choose a way to, I would say, pay for it. Like if you have a cheaper option, take the cheaper option. Do not saddle yourself with the loans.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
I have so many classmates that are sitting on $350,000 in loans at 6.8% interest. And they’re not going to get there from here. It’s just not possible. I have another friend who made payments through her residency and she’s gained a $100,000 in interest in loans in eight years. It’s just not manageable.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
So, I would tell anyone that would listen, try to find an affordable medical school. I would tell everyone that would listen also be on a budget and get out of debt. Get out of debt because it’s such a freeing feeling to be free of debt.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
And then the other thing, this is where I kind of, I guess, part with the Dave Ramsey crowd and I agree with more with you, Dr. Dahle is right away do all you can, at least fill that backdoor Roth. Try and do what you can for 401(k)s, anything you can to save and pay yourself first. That is among the most important things you could ever do for your financial success.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Because you can tell by looking at me, it’s like, oh, man, I’m underpaid relatively for what I do. And I’ve got this huge whole life policy and I’ve made so many mistakes. I’ve bought like three new cars. I’ve done all these bad things, but you can still get there if you’re persistent with it and you really make a concerted effort to just kind of chip away at it and do the right thing on a regular basis. That’s what I would say.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. Thank you for sharing your story and being willing to come on the podcast.
Woman physician millionaire 3:
Yeah. You bet Dr. Dahle, thanks for having me. I really appreciate all you do.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You are very welcome.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. Our next guest on the White Coat Investor podcast also wants to stay anonymous but welcome to the podcast.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Thank you.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What is your specialty and how far are you out of training?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
I am a radiologist, diagnostic radiologist and I’m about 10 years out of training.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what is your approximate net worth?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
It’s about $1.9 million.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
$1.9 million. And how was that divided up? How much in real estate and bank accounts and retirement accounts, et cetera?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Yeah, sure. It’s about $1.3 million in investments. And about two thirds of that is in retirement accounts, about one third in a taxable account. We have a small HSA, a small emergency fund, and then our primary home is worth about $600,000 and that’s almost paid off. We’re actually paying that off probably this week or next week.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Congratulations.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Thank you. And then my husband has another home that he brought into the marriage that one of his family members lives in and that still has a mortgage.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. And does your husband work?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
He is, yeah. He’s in finance.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Finance and a doctor. What was your range of income throughout your career?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
When I started, I made about $250,000 and then it ramped up pretty quickly over the next few years to around $450,000. And then since then, probably around $500,000 depending on bonuses. And then my husband makes $100,000. So together we make about $600,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How long did it take you to become a millionaire? You’re at $1.9 million now. So how far were you at a training when you hit millionaire status? Any idea?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
I honestly don’t know. Unfortunately, I didn’t really pay much attention to money or my spending until more recently.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That’s a common theme of this episode, it turns out.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Yeah. I think before I had kids, I was just working and I had a high salary and I never had to pay attention because I had enough money for anything I wanted to do. So, I was spending a lot more than I should have been just because the money was there.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
And then after having our second child I was in my maternity leave and she required to be held pretty much all the time. So, I was just like holding her through naps and looking online at stuff and I discovered this FIRE movement and I started reading and learning everything I could. And that’s when we really started tracking things. And I think by then, we had probably already hit that mark.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what do you think were your secrets to success? How did you become so wealthy? I mean, obviously you had a pretty high income, which certainly didn’t hurt.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Yeah, that’s it. Because again, I was not being so frugal. It’s not like I was spending frivolously or in a crazy manner. But if I had been tracking that and really spending more intentionally on what really mattered to me, I think we would have been a lot further along than we are now. Now especially with paying off this mortgage, we’re going to be at the point where we can really start to just sock away a lot more money, or I might decide to go part-time.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But at the same time, I mean, you’ve done quite a few things right. Sure, you make $600,000 a year now, which is obviously a substantial income, but you didn’t always make that and next week anyway, you’ll be totally debt free only at 10 years out of training.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
I still have student loans, but they’re at like at 1.6% and it’s only $150,000. So, I actually never intended to pay those off early. At this point, we may start to think about it just because we have no other debt so to speak, but it’s never something that bothered me because the interest rate was so low and the payment is so low.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
But yeah, we bought a house that was much less than we could probably cash flow, things like that. We actually don’t spend a lot of money on things, having kids actually, having little kids at least I think has saved us some money in some ways, because it’s not like we’re taking a lot of trips or going out to eat a lot and things like that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Do you remember what your net worth was when you came out of training 10 years ago? Was it negative?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Yeah, it was negative. The med school loans I think they were about $200,000 when I came out. So, it was about negative $200,000.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And did your parents pay for any of your schooling or have you received any kind of an inheritance or is this all pretty much from your earning and saving and investing?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
They paid for my undergraduate. They did not pay for medical school and no inheritance.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So really the only help was that the property, whatever the home equity and the property was that your husband brought into the marriage?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Yes. Correct.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You are a mom, you mentioned. How do you balance being a mom and becoming a physician millionaire?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
I think honestly because I’m a little bit older. We had kids later in life. So, I think we didn’t have to struggle through those early years of childcare and work and things like that. We were just able to kind of build our wealth more and then having kids later on in that process, I think that helped a bit.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How do you think being a physician millionaire, a female physician millionaire helped you or hurt you in your journey toward wealth?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
I don’t think being a female did anything. I’d never really noticed any difference in how I was treated. I was lucky to join a practice where it’s very equitable and transparent. There’s no differences in salaries or anything like that. So, I don’t really see any detriment or benefits.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And tell us about your upbringing. Did that affect how you manage money at all?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
I was brought up in a house that my parents are very conservative with their money. My dad retired at that around 60 with sizeable net worth. He always invested 15% to 20% of his income into the markets. And we didn’t take a lot of family trips. We went to the beach maybe once in the summer, that kind of thing. Consumer debt was not something that he had. And it’s something that was drilled into us from an early age, not to have that. You could have a mortgage and some student loans, that kind of thing, but no other real debt, so to speak of. So, I think that helped a lot.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It sounds like your kids are still pretty young. I don’t know if you’ve tried teaching them anything about money yet, have you?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Just a little bit. The older one, he’s almost four. So, he knows a little bit. He actually asked us the other day something about bank accounts and we were like, “Where’d you learn about bank accounts?” With him we kind of just described like money is something that we need for the things that we need to buy our house, to pay for our food, our clothes.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
And if he asks for a new toy or something like that, we tell him, you need to have money to pay for that. We’ll have to think about whether that’s something we’re going to spend our money on. And just kind of just general early introduction to things like that. I have to really sit down and think about how I want to handle that more in the future.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. Most important question. What advice do you have for those who are a decade or two behind you and want to be where you’re at?
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Yeah, I think a few things. For me, something I wish I had done more is to pay attention to where my money was going. I think it can be a little overwhelming to learn about finances and investing, but there are so many great resources these days, like your blog and many others. And I think it’s much more understandable.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
So, I think if I could go back into med school and residency to find a few resources that you like and start learning about it then, and that way when you come out and all of a sudden you have this big paycheck, you have more of a plan for that money.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
The second one to be very intentional about your spending. Know what you truly enjoy spending money on and what you don’t. Early on I was buying all these clothes and I don’t even know why. Money was flying out the door and it really doesn’t bring me any joy or happiness whatsoever. I’d rather spend money on other things like travel and food. To know that about yourself and just kind of spend the money on those things and skip the rest.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
And the third would be to try your best to choose a partner whose values around money are in line with yours. My husband and I never argue about money because we almost always agree about it. If we don’t agree, we’re not that far apart. And I think it’s something that’s very important to have that alignment. So, if you don’t, I think you can cause a lot of issues and impact your net worth.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. Well, congratulations on your success and thank you for coming on the podcast.
Woman physician millionaire 4:
Sure. Take care.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. Our next guest on the White Coat Investor podcast is Jessica. Welcome to the podcast.
Jessica:
Thank you. Happy to be here.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. What is your specialty and how far are you out of training?
Jessica:
I’m a general adult psychiatrist and I’m 13 years out of training. I finished in 2007.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s your approximate net worth?
Jessica:
As of today, about a $1.5 million.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And how is that divided up in? How much is home equity? How much is investments? How much is cash, et cetera?

Jessica:
About two thirds of it are in tax-deferred IRAs from previous jobs, rollovers and current 401(k) options. And about a third is in different types of real estate investments. And a little bit is in HSA and cash.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. And do you own a house as well or no?
Jessica:
No. I sold my home and moved from Chicago to Kentucky about a year ago.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And currently renting there.
Jessica:
That’s correct.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. And what has been your range of income throughout your career?
Jessica:
I started off with a part-time employee job that paid me $75,000 and the rest of my time was in a private practice. So, first year, maybe $125,000 and currently with all bonuses, I make about $280,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And how long did it take you to become a millionaire?
Jessica:
10 years from the time I graduated residency until 2017.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And family picture? Married, partner, children?
Jessica:
Married, no kids.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. And is your partner working?

Jessica:
Yes, he’s an actuary.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So probably not quite the same income as you’ve made over the years.
Jessica:
Not quite. He makes a decent salary, but not quite the physician salary.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What was your net worth when you came out of training if you remember?
Jessica:
Pretty low, but I own about $120,000 in student loans from medical school. And we took out the doctor loan right away and bought a condo in Chicago. Once we moved to Kentucky to Chicago, that cost about a third of a million.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, what were your secrets to success? I mean, how did you become so wealthy?
Jessica:
Large portion of what we have now is basically from maxing out our 401(k), 403(b), tax deferred employer retirement accounts, whatever we had offered to us. We did start to max those out pretty early on. And so that is really the only way we got to the million dollars, other than a little bit of equity and a condo that we bought at about the right time in 2010 and sold it in 2017.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Why? Why did you choose to max those out?
Jessica:
To be honest, because my husband told me we had to.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, he was the driving force.
Jessica:
Absolutely. I got lucky because I’m a bit stereotypical woman but I think there’s a lot of couples where the man often takes care of finances. That’s a generalization. That’s not true across the board, but for me it was definitely true. And I remember when I came out of school, he said, “Hey, Jess, you need to backs out this retirement”. And I said, “No, I need clothes. I need cars. I need other things”. And he said, “No, no, we’re going to do this”. He explained it to me and I said okay. And honestly, at first it hurt. But once you don’t see the money and your take home, you forget about it.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
I suspect an actuary is pretty good at running the numbers on this sort of thing. That compound interest is not a foreign concept at all.
Jessica:
No, he is a whiz. He is a whiz. Yes.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Did you get any help from your parents? They paid for school or have you received an inheritance or was this all from your earning?
Jessica:
My parents did pay for undergrad, which was very helpful, but it was very clear from early on that from graduate school I’d be on my own. So, I did finance my entire education. And they’re still alive there. So, there’s no contribution from them at this point.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And how much debt do you guys have currently?
Jessica:
We own one rental property and we have about $70,000 mortgage on that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now you mentioned before we started recording, that something unique about you is that you were already a millionaire before you kind of became enlightened on these concepts. Explain a little bit more about that.
Jessica:
That’s true. I have a bit of a story there. So, I remember one day that we were in Chicago, we’re thinking about selling our condo with dead set on getting a single-family home, which in Chicago was not a cheap option. So, we decided to go ahead and sell the condo.
Jessica:
And at some point, looking at the equity, my husband said “I think we have about a million dollars”. I said “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t see any million dollars in the bank”. I was completely ignorant of what was going on in terms of our accounts. I’m sorry to say, but it’s true.

Jessica:
And then we bought a million-dollar house, which was by far the worst mistake we ever made. And that was in 2017. About a year later, my husband started becoming interested in the FIRE movement and he started listening to BiggerPockets, which is a real estate podcast. And he read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and just a fire lit up in him and he thought we’re going to get into real estate.
Jessica:
And so, I read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and it was really just life changing for me. It got me interested in finance. I found your book, your first book. I’ve read both of your books at this point. And I read a couple of other books like the Millionaire Next Door, Simple Path to Wealth. I read the textbook that you recommend by Mike Piper. I did our taxes the next year.
Jessica:
And from there I sort of woke up and I looked at our budget. I looked at what we were paying in mortgage. I looked at what we were paying the dog walker, the housekeeper, how much we were spending going out. And I wasn’t interested in doing that anymore.
Jessica:
So, we made huge changes. We decided to move back to Kentucky where we were both born and raised and we sold our house. We lost quite a bit of money, but when it’s all told with all the transaction cost and the cost to furnish the house and we downsized, we’re now living in the 1100 square foot apartment. And we have changed our savings rate from 2017, from 13% currently to 58%.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Wow. You’re clearly highly motivated for something. You mentioned the FIRE movement. Is that your goal? Are you looking to retire very early? What’s the big motivation behind all these changes?
Jessica:
I’m interested in the FI-part. The financially independent part. My husband may change careers and he and I both want to get to a place where we don’t have to worry about the money piece anymore.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And so, as you move along toward this goal, how have you or how do you plan to reach financial independence relatively early and becoming a millionaire and so forth?
Jessica:
Moving forward one of the great things about moving to Kentucky is I was changed from a hundred percent clinical care into most administrative role. And it’s been awesome. It’s been almost like a new career and it’s been very energizing. So, it’s been pretty exciting times in the last year, year and a half for us.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What do you think about being a female physician and how that either helped you or hurt you in your journey to become a millionaire?
Jessica:
I thought about that. And I think in terms of missed opportunities or maybe some that I’m not aware of, but I do have one story from early on when I was joining a private practice, it was an LLC owned by one psychiatrist.
Jessica:
I was joining with another male counterpart and he took both of us to dinner, but separately. And when he took the male counterpart, my colleague to dinner, he basically said, “I’m going to grow you to take over the practice. I’m going to give you the keys to the kingdom”. And he took me to dinner and didn’t mention any of that. And I think that had a lot to do with my gender. So, looking back at that, I’m wondering what else I missed out on because I’m a female. That’s the only story I really had that stands out.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Now you mentioned, you were very much wanting to buy clothes and cars and things like that. Was there anything in your upbringing that affected how you viewed money at that time before kind of your awakening?
Jessica:
I was raised in a small town, rural Kentucky, but two parents who are wonderful parents, a lot of love, but money was always a bit of an issue. We were provided for everything we could want, but I think that watching some of the stress that went on in the family when it comes to finances, I decided I really wanted a solid career, something that would provide fairly well.
Jessica:
I don’t think I was extremely materialistic. It’s just with that delayed gratification of medicine, by the time I got out, I wasn’t really interested in savings. I was wanting to go to all the nice restaurants in Chicago and buy a new car, a new condo. And we did a lot of that. So, I feel really fortunate that we are where we are, because we did make quite a few mistakes.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
The fun thing about medicine is that you can make quite a few mistakes and still be okay in the end, as long as you figure it out eventually. And so, I hope the listeners who hear these stories are inspired by them and realize that you don’t have to be perfect to be successful financially as a doctor. You can make a lot of mistakes and still be okay in the end.
Jessica:
There’s one more piece I want to mention. I came out with the $120,000 in loans, which these days is very small, but for me it seemed like a lot. And I got almost all these loans were paid by taking jobs that qualify for loan repayment programs. I didn’t even know that when I took the job. So twice I accidentally fell into jobs where I later found out loan forgiveness was an option.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. Probably a good tip there to pay attention to that benefit, especially for a young physician. That’s a major, major benefit.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What advice do you have for those who are a decade or two behind you? They want to be where you’re at in a decade or two. What would you tell them?
Jessica:
Have your financial awakening before you leave med school. Know what you’re getting into. Read a couple books. It’s really not that hard. The amount of time you’re going to spend in your training and learning about the medicine is a very small fraction that can be spent reading a couple books, educate yourself. And then starting to save early, max out your retirement and retirement accounts and make sure you live like a resident for a few years. I wish I’d done that. If I hadn’t done that, I would be much farther ahead than what we are now.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Congratulation on your success. It’s wonderful to hear your story and thank you for coming on the podcast.
Jessica:
Thank you so much.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. Our next guest is a little bit unique. We’re going to let her stay anonymous, but tell us, first of all, about your career and education and what you do or did for living.

Woman millionaire:
Yeah, thanks. So, I am one of your token non-medicine listeners. My bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in engineering. I graduated in 2004 with my BS in chemical engineering, and then I joined the workforce right away. And I got my master’s in 2009 in management science and engineering while working full-time and going to school part-time. So, the bulk of my career has been spent in the aerospace industry, followed by a short stint at one of the tech giants.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks for sharing and thanks for being one of the non-doctor listeners out there. We do have a fair percentage when I do surveys. It’s about 10%. So, it’s not zero, but it’s definitely a minority in our listenership. What is your approximate net worth at this point?
Woman millionaire:
My network with my husband is a little over $3 million.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. And is your husband an earner? Does he work?
Woman millionaire:
He is still working. He’s an engineer just like me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It’s two engineers. And how’s your net worth divided it up?
Woman millionaire:
We have about $2.6 million in investments and cash, mostly investments and about $400,000 in home equity. So, if you break the investments downs, that’s about a 60/40 splits stock to bonds. And then within each of the stock and bond category, we’re about 60/40, total U.S. market and then total international.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Fairly broadly diversified index fund portfolio, it sounds like.
Woman millionaire:
That is the goal.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s been your range of income throughout your career?
Woman millionaire:
So, I looked at the social security website for this. And apparently, I started out first year of college making $54,000 and then my highest paying year was $269,000. And my career average was $134,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Similar numbers for your husband?
Woman millionaire:
A little bit higher, but similar.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How long did it take you to become a millionaire?
Woman millionaire:
So, I started working in 2005. We got married in 2009 and right about that time, my personal net worth was $100,000. And then together we crossed that $1 million mark in 2014. So that was nine years.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That was pretty quick. That’s pretty good.
Woman millionaire:
I don’t start out with a tremendous amount of college debt.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah, that helps. And a two-engineer household is pretty similar to a one physician household as far as income goes.
Woman millionaire:
It is. Yeah.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And so, nine years, that’s pretty good. And I think there’s a lot of lessons there for our listenership, no matter what they do for a living to take from that. What were your secrets to success? How did you become so wealthy so quickly?

Woman millionaire:
When you say so wealthy that still sound so strange, even though I know it’s true. So, it’s a combo of three things. Luck, hard work and education. And I’ll expand on that just a little bit. So, I’ll say luck. I was fortunate to be born to married middle-class college educated parents. I grew up in the Bay area. I’m white. I speak English as my first language. I’m not physically or mentally disabled in any way. That’s just pure luck.
Woman millionaire:
Second factor was hard work. Like a lot of your listeners, I worked hard in school. I was fortunate to get a full ride scholarship to my local junior college. So, my first two years of college, I was actually making $500 a semester to go to school. We had some really good local universities in the Bay area. So, I went to some local universities and got my engineering degrees by working my butt off.
Woman millionaire:
And then the third factor I’ll say education and I mean financial education. So, for some reason when I started working, I just got this itch to read about personal finance. And I went online in my breaks at work, and I browse the internet looking for stuff. And I’d read Michelle Singletary’s column in the Washington Post. And all the standard stuff about pay down debt and invest 15% of your income, blah, blah, blah.
Woman millionaire:
And then I find myself thinking, “All right, I’m doing that. Now what? Am I just supposed to spend all this extra money on designer handbags or something?” So, I kept searching and then I found my way to get rich slowly, which led me to Mr. Money Mustache. And then you can kind of say that the rest is history.
Woman millionaire:
I think I had been looking for something without even realizing it was there. So that shockingly simple math behind early retirement really just kind of clicked things into focus for me. It’s like, “Okay, I’m not saving just because it’s a nice thing for an adult to do because we’re responsible. There’s actually a reason for that. I can have this goal in mind of what I really want to do in my life”. So that led me to all the usual things, the Boglehead Wiki, Michael Kitches, all of those greats. All that education financially helped me figure out, “Okay, what do I do with this extra money that we are earning?”
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It sounds like this became a little bit of a hobby for you.
Woman millionaire:
Absolutely. Yep. It’s totally.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
It’s the best paid hobby out there, isn’t it?
Woman millionaire:
It is so much fun. I can totally nerd out on this.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. That’s pretty remarkable. Pretty awesome. And the interesting thing about that I see on a lot of people who become successful is they start going, “What do I do with all this extra money?” And when I talk to people who aren’t successful, it’s “I don’t have any extra money”. So, what was the difference there in your mindset? Do you think you were naturally frugal or did you learn that at some point or what happened?
Woman millionaire:
I had to learn it. I got lucky. I’m married to a naturally frugal person, but me, I’m not naturally frugal. I think it took my brain a while to mature and kind of get it. I probably wasn’t until late early 20s that I started to really figure out how to save and why to save and that whole concept of delayed gratification. So, I guess there’s hope for people. If you’re not good with money yet you can certainly learn it later on.
Woman millionaire:
I started out with an engineering salary and so I had wiggle room in my budget. I had this extra money because I was fortunate enough to start out earning $54,000 instead of $30,000 like some people do. So, I had this extra money and it didn’t seem to make me happy to buy the fancy clothes and by the name brand purses. I tried that for a little bit and it was like, “Okay that’s fine, but that doesn’t really do it for me. So maybe there’s something else I can do with my money”.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Do you hear that residence? She said she made $54,000. That’s about what you make, right? And she referred to that as having lots of extra money. So, it’s really a mindset thing that you can see here. So, let’s talk about help from your parents. Did they pay for your school or did you get any sort of an inheritance or anything like that that contributed to this?
Woman millionaire:
I had some solid college savings, so my parents did help with college, with the savings, as well as from their current income. I also helped with my own savings that I earned from working in junior college. And then I had summer internships. So, I set some of that money aside for college. So, I helped, but they put it the bulk of it.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
No inheritance though. So, they’re still living.
Woman millionaire:
No inheritance. No.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
How much debt do you have currently?
Woman millionaire:
We’ve got a mortgage. It’s about $680,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And you said you’re in the Bay area.
Woman millionaire:
That’s correct.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. It sounds pretty familiar to a lot of Bay area story as I hear. So, are you a mom?
Woman millionaire:
Yes. I got three kids actually.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And how do you balance that? Being a mom and becoming a millionaire. How do you find balance in your life doing these two things?
Woman millionaire:
Oh boy. So, I think those in the trenches know being a parent is a hard job. It’s like the hardest thing I’ve done so far. So, we’re fortunate that we were pretty well established with financially and career wise by the time our first kid came along. We also live in California, which is relatively speaking for the U.S. good about parental leave policies and things like that.
Woman millionaire:
So, we both worked for good employers that had decent leave policies. My husband and I really split things equally. So, in many ways my situation was about as good as you can get in this country. But I’ll say despite that, it’s still hard. There’s just no way around it. You make time for kids in life and you make time for work. And that means that there isn’t much left for personal time. Certainly, I know that’s very true for families right now having lost childcare and all of that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How do you teach your kids about money?
Woman millionaire:
Well, my oldest just turned six. So, we’re just starting on this path, trying to talk about the concept of earning money and money is used to buy things and money as a finite resource. So just conversations about that.
Woman millionaire:
And then we’re trying to teach her by having her, for example, earn gold plastic, gold coins for good behavior. And then she can exchange these gold coins for certain treats if she’s earned up enough. And recently she expressed desire for a certain toy that really gets her excited.
Woman millionaire:
So, we say, “Okay, we’re going to put a price for that. That’s going to cost you 20 gold coins. And how many do you have right now? You’ve got 11. Okay. So how many do you need to earn?” And to kind of teach her the value of money and making those trade-offs between using their gold coins to buy this toy versus exchanging it for the treat of being allowed to watch a movie, for example.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How do you think being a female engineer helped or hurt you, or maybe had no effect on you becoming a millionaire?
Woman millionaire:
Certainly interesting. Engineering is interesting being different from medicine. I think with medicine, you’re at least in med school, you’re getting close to parody between males and females in school and then…
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Actually, it’s a little more popular now among women. There are more women in med school than men.
Woman millionaire:
Okay. Yeah. So then as time goes on, you’re going to see that reflected in the workforce. Now contrast that to engineering. So, women really have never crossed 20% for earning engineering degrees and that’s actually been on a slight decline since the early 2000s. And then the number of women in the engineering workforce also tends to decline over time.
Woman millionaire:
So, being a woman in engineering has always meant that I’ve been in the minority and that’s not necessarily good or bad or ugly just is. That’s just always meant that I’ve stood out. And in aerospace, in particular, when I started working, it skewed much older in the average age. So, I stood out by both being a woman and being younger.
Woman millionaire:
I wouldn’t say it hurt me because I worked for a good company and in a good location, but it did. It was something that kind of carried on my shoulder all the time. If you speak up in a meeting, you’re not just speaking for yourself, you are kind of in some sense, representing all of womenkind when you’re the only one in the room.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It must be very lonely to have to speak for half of humanity.
Woman millionaire:
It can. It can really put the spotlight or make you think twice before you open your mouth. I did make some deliberate career moves to make sure that I was placing myself in organizations that I knew were going to be friendly to women and who had leaders who were going to be supportive and could mentor me in my career path. So, there were organizations that I avoided and organizations that I deliberately made moves to go into to make sure that I was in a supportive work environment.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what advice do you have for those who are a decade or two behind you and want to be financially successful and they’re just starting their career out? What would you tell them?
Woman millionaire:
Save early, save often. There’s some good advice about there and a lot of it is just the basic – Save early, save often and in low cost invest funds. But what really moved the needle for me was daydreaming and figuring out what is it that I really want. Put that goal front and center and think about that when I’m making decisions about my money. So, it’s not just saving because my mother told me to. It is saving because I’ve got this cool thing that I want. And so, it’s more important for me to achieve that cool thing than to whatever it is in the moment, buy that nice thing or go out to that nice restaurant.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Do you mind sharing some of your cool things that motivated you to do that?
Woman millionaire:
Well, my number one thing for a long time has been to retire as early as possible. And so, that was a real driving force. Then once I got my husband on board, that provided a context, a framework in which we can make decisions about, for example, how much houses do we want to buy? Where do we want to live? What kind of school we would want to send our kids to? So, when we identified that as our number one priority, all the other things on “how could we spend our money” sort of fell into place.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thank you. Very helpful. Well, thank you so much for coming on the White Coat Investor podcast. I think it’s great to get a voice it isn’t a physician on here sometimes. And I appreciate you sharing your story. Congratulations on your success.
Woman millionaire:
Thanks so much. Thanks for your time.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. Our next guest on the White Coat Investor podcast is another woman physician millionaire. Welcome to the White Coat Investor podcast.

Woman physician millionaire 5:
Thank you for having me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What’s your specialty and how far are you out of training?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I am a radiation oncologist and I am 15 years out of training.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s your approximate net worth?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Total net worth is just under $7 million.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s that divided up into?

Woman physician millionaire 5:
So, that is primarily investments. I live very modestly. So, I have one home and that home is, I should say that home was paid. I paid about $500,000 for that home and it’s worth about $1 million, but the rest of it is all investments.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, it’s retirement accounts and taxable investing accounts, invested in mutual funds. Or is it investment properties or is it Bitcoin or what are the investments?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Nope. So, it’s investment accounts and I do have a financial advisor and currently my asset allocation is 70/30.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. So, stock and bond index mutual funds mostly?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
That’s right. Yep.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what’s been your range of income throughout your career?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I was a low-income earner initially. The first four years of my post-training work life was really low. On the order of about $100,000. Then for a good solid decade, I worked my tail off and earned a lot more than that. And so, I was able to save really well and pay off my house and pay off any school debts that I had.
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I’ve taken a back seat since 2014. So now in the last nearly six years where I’m working, but I work on my own terms and I’m back to making about $100,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Married, single?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Single.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Single. Okay. So, it’s all your income, it sounds like. And what was your very best year? Did you ever have a seven-figure year?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I had a single seven figure year, one year.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Do you remember what your net worth was when you came out of training?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Very negative. Yeah. So, I was lucky with my undergrad. I had to pay for one year of undergrad and that was with partial scholarships, but then I got a nice pre-med scholarship and it paid for the rest of my undergrad education. Med school was all loans. My parents helped me a little bit, but they didn’t have very much, so they tried to help whatever they could. So, my net worth when I finished was about minus $300,000.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How long did it take you to go from minus $300,000 to a millionaire status?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
$1 million, I’d say probably five years.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Five years. Okay. And what were your secrets to success? I mean, how did you become so wealthy?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I think a combination of just really, really hard work and being super motivated to not have debt. I lived a really lean life. I know there’s a lot of comments and in a lot of your writings and other financial podcasts where they talk about living like a resident and I have to say, I still do that even to this day.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. It’s amazing how much wealth you can grow when you live like the average American, but earn like a doctor, huh?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Yeah.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. You mentioned your parents helped a little bit with your schooling. Did you receive any sort of inheritance or other windfall?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
No. No windfalls.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
How much debt do you have currently?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Zero.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
What advice do you have for those who are a decade or two behind you?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I would say I’m not the most financially savvy person. So, to ask me about my investments and things is not my strength. And that’s one thing that I would strongly encourage everyone to learn more about, particularly women. And I say that to single out as sex simply because I leaned a lot on my father growing up.
Woman physician millionaire 5:
In our household I saw it modeled where my dad took care of all the finances in the home and my mom paid the bills. She kind of balanced the checkbook, but at the end of the day, she was never really given an opportunity to learn about those things. And so that wasn’t modeled for me. When I signed my paperwork for loans for the first year of undergrad and then going forward for med school, my dad walked me through all of it. I couldn’t even tell you what the terms of those loans were or really even what I was signing up for, which is really terrible.
Woman physician millionaire 5:
So, I think it’s really important at some point that people at least know what their options are, what are you signing up for. And I think also in starting my job and my career that carried through again, and I leaned on others, which is really not proud moments for me. And so, I’ve just begun my financial education in the last year I would say, maybe even a little longer but I don’t claim to really have enough knowledge. But my real goal is to get rid of my financial advisor. But right now, they’re kind of there as a crutch for me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But what’s interesting is you’ve demonstrated that you don’t have to be a hobbyist in order to be very successful. A lot of the people I’ve run into that are multi-millionaires et cetera. They’re just really into finance. They learned all this stuff and they work hard too and they save a lot of money, but they’re really into it and aren’t using financial advisors.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
But what you’ve demonstrated is that you don’t have to know everything about it. You can use a financial advisor as long as you’re getting good advice at a reasonable price and still be very successful.
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Yeah. So, I think I know a little bit. And so, I would say the only thing that has been helpful for me, even without that language is I do understand a little bit about asset allocation. And so, I was a little more risky as I was younger, but now at 45 pulling back and I’ve got two children. They are 11 and 13. So I’m mindful of what I want them to learn and mindful of dollars and inheritance that I’d like to pass to them and leave a family legacy and save for their education, et cetera.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You mentioned you had a few low earnings years and I suspect that might be part of the answer to my next question, which is how did you balance being a mom and becoming a millionaire?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
In those lower earning years in the beginning, I didn’t have children yet. So, kids came along a little bit later. For those years it really wasn’t an issue. So, it’s more time allocation I’d say than dollars. In the beginning, in my highest earning years was when I had the children and that’s so crazy, but we just weren’t ready. It just didn’t happen when I was in my early years. So, it happened a little bit later.
Woman physician millionaire 5:
The busiest years of my life and my toughest years working were also the time that we had kids. So yeah, not easy, that’s for sure. But I was really lucky. I had family that moved close to me. My parents were here and so I had some extra help that way, which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Well, what are you doing now to teach those kids about money?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Now we read. We read a lot. And I’m not a believer in giving them allowances. For me, there’s just certain duties that we have at home and certain responsibilities that come with being part of a family and living in a home together. And so, there’s expected responsibilities that the kids do, but I don’t pay them for such.

Woman physician millionaire 5:
So, what I’m teaching them is doing my best to teach them about saving and spending and what that means and what it really just means to live below your means always. And more importantly, my father always taught us “You never have too little to give”. And so, charitable giving is a big part of our family philosophy. And we sit down every year and talk about charities that our family is interested in and the kids are interested in giving to. And so, I’m trying to include them in those conversations.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
You mentioned earlier that you are kind of anti-debt. Do you have any debt at all now?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
No.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Not at all. How far were you out of training, do you think when you became debt-free?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Pretty close to probably year six. I would say I was going to say five, but it took a little bit longer I would say to pay off a few things. So, between years five and six.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And that includes your student loans and your mortgage and everything?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
That’s right.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Very nice. How do you think being a female physician helped or hurt you in your journey to becoming a millionaire?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
For me personally, it hasn’t really had any impact. I haven’t been held back in any way. I haven’t lost opportunities, at least that I’m aware of that have impacted me in any way. So, I would say other than my own personal issues of being a female in my family and not taking on the role of learning finances, it really hasn’t impacted my career or my earnings at all.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, it didn’t necessarily close any doors, but didn’t really open any doors either?

Woman physician millionaire 5:
That’s right. Yeah.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Well, very nice. Do you have any other advice for those who are 15 years behind you and want to get to where you are? Wanting to be 45 years old and be worth almost $7 million? What would you tell that person?
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I really think that the piece of advice I would give is don’t be afraid of finances. It’s okay to talk about finances. For me, I had in my mind that money and finances and earnings are bad things and we’re to be altruistic all the time and not consider what we’re earning or what our worth should be and what our value to others is.
Woman physician millionaire 5:
Don’t shortchange yourself. Think super important and start reading whatever you can as early as you can, and just continue to live modestly. Delayed gratification unfortunately is what many of us think of, and certainly we’re in that place, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily beneficial to start living large so early.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Awesome. Well, congratulations on your success and thank you for being willing to come on the podcast.
Woman physician millionaire 5:
I appreciate it. Thank you for having me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. I hope you really enjoyed that episode. I found it fascinating to talk to all these successful people. Many of whom are very wealthy, certainly in the top 1% or 2% of physicians. It’s interesting. If you go and look at the data, it’s a pretty small percentage of physicians in their 60s that are worth more than $5 million. It’s not very many at all. And so, it’s awesome to kind of concentrate them and learn from them and see what has worked in their lives.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Almost as a rule, they don’t like debt that much. As a rule, they don’t seem to be really big on spending a lot of money. Some spend more than others, but their spending is not a huge part of their life. And it’s also noteworthy that their investments vary quite a bit, whether they use an advisor or not, it varies quite a bit. And those don’t seem to be the really most important things.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
The most important thing of course is mindset. How much you make, how much of that you save and that you invest it in some sort of reasonable way. And so, I hope you took that message away from this episode.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
The podcast is sponsored by Bob Bhayani at drdisabilityquotes.com. He is an independent provider of disability insurance planning solutions to the medical community in every state and a long-time White Coat Investor sponsor.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
He specializes in working with residents and fellows early in their careers to set up sound financial and insurance strategies. If you need to review your disability insurance coverage to make sure it meets your needs or if you just haven’t gotten around to getting this critical insurance in place, contact Bob at drdisabilityquotes.com today by email at [email protected] or by simply calling (973) 771-9100.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks to those of you who have been leaving us five-star reviews. That really does help get the word out about the podcast and help us share it with others.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Our most recent review came in from Damp Mung Beans who said, “So much valuable content. Jim’s podcast is really outstanding and I have learned so much by being a listener. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The WCI blog is also outstanding, and I’m amazed that most of the questions I’ve had along the way have already been answered in one of his blog posts”. Five stars.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thank you very much Damp Mung Beans for that. And I appreciate you also promoting the blog because I want you as a podcast listener when you have specific questions that blog is available all the time. It is just in time education. And we try to keep it updated as best we can. Obviously over the years, it’s hard to keep 2,000 blog posts updated at all times, but we try to do the best we can and have that be a great resource for you.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
At any rate, we better wrap this up. It’s already been a long episode. I’ll see you next week. Keep your head up, your shoulders back. You’ve got this and we can help. Stay safe out there.

Disclaimer:
My dad, your host, Dr. Dahle, is a practicing emergency physician, blogger, author, and podcaster. He’s not a licensed accountant, attorney or financial advisor. So, this podcast is for your entertainment and information only and should not be considered official personalized financial advice.

 


Originally posted at https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/more-physician-millionaires-podcast-180/

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