Financial Boot Camp, by WCI: A Book Review
I want my readers to think of themselves as being fully capable of learning about finances so they can take control of their money and hence live their fullest lives. By living your fullest life you can meaningfully contribute to society and change the world. So I say: start today, take that first step, commit to reading your first (or your fortieth) book on finance this week, promise yourself you’ll have it done by next week. Put it on your to-do list and go change the world. And if you’re looking for where to start, take a look at The White Coat Investor’s (WCI) Financial Boot Camp.
Full disclosure: WCI kindly sent us a copy of his latest book. I tell all docs who don’t have a 15-years-of-reading-the-Bogleheads/Morning Star education (or being married to someone with that education, aka, DH) to start their financial literacy by reading the first WCI book. This post is a joint assessment from DH and I after looking his book over—main thoughts from DH, but written by B.C.
Our overall impression: Dr. Dahle successfully performed a difficult job. It’s hard to delve into a deep subject matter while still giving both useful information but not overwhelming the reader with that material.
We agreed with nearly everything he wrote in this book. It’s a handy reference to have because it puts a lot of information into one spot. This way you don’t have to go searching through blog archives for the information to make sure you have a sound financial plan in place. So I’d highly recommend buying a copy of it.
1) The foreword was excellent. It helps that the author, Jonathan Clements, is also a great guy.
2) We liked the “Can I skip this chapter?” at the start of each section. This was very helpful to cue the reader if they should invest the time to read the chapter…or not.
4) The “List of missions” on page 167 is an excellent checklist to consult for your financial goals. If you don’t write it down, you’re less likely to accomplish accomplish your goals. So this was a perfect list to write down on your High Performance planner to get your financial life in order.
5) The housing part was interesting because he points out how renting is not throwing money away. We liked that part because it’s true!
6) We debated about page 37 “When to drop your disability insurance.” This is an ongoing discussion amongst us right now. Do people who have hit Lean FI (what I call when someone’s net worth number includes the money sunk into their house) still need disability insurance? I think that’s a personal decision easier made when your budget is stable. Our upcoming spending is in massive flux because of an impending huge change (subscribe to the blog to find out what!), so we’ll probably still debate this issue for another year before we get rid of ours.
7) Links at the end of chapters. It was nice to have these so you could delve more deeply into a subject should you feel weak in that area.
Cons: Mainly, it was two issues with style, and again, this is individualistic.
1) If you’re at a level where you feel you’re beyond the basics of finances, then consider skipping the introduction. Yes, years ago it would have been interesting to read about the financial disasters of other physicians. But once you’re at a certain level of financial education, that type of stuff doesn’t really hold a reader’s attention span.
2) I know Dr. Dahle is a man and ex-military, but we debated about the male take of using the “Bootcamp” approach. There’s a vast uprising of women taking a deeper dive into finances because their husbands could care less about it. Personally, I think if you’re in any kind of partner-type domestic relationship, each person should take a role in finances instead of leaving it up to one person to shoulder the burden. I say this because of years of working in hospice. I’ve seen too many soon-to-be-widows (and their dying husbands) flipping out to the point of hyperventilating because the wives were ignorant about finances—like not even knowing how to write a check or balance a checkbook.
In our own marriage, DH loves reading about finances and can talk at length about yield curves and various bonds (while I attempt to be politely interested). I am the ones who gets all excited about our financial spreadsheets and saving money on anything from dark chocolate chips to trips abroad. But though we play to our strengths, we ensure the other knows enough about our field of expertise so they can take over and manage should something happen to one of us. (If you’re a woman and disagree with me about splitting the work of finances, please read this book: it will not only make you saner, it will help strengthen your marriage.)
That being said, overall the book is excellent and even experienced investors would find this book useful. By going over the basics again with a good primer book like this, you can make sure your financial plan is squared away.
Remember: You can do this, I believe in you! Now go grab life and life fully!
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