Working Together with Your Partner, with Mrs. WCI – Episode #202

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Episode #202 Show Notes: Working Together with Your Partner, with Mrs. WCI

Managing finances with your partner can be challenging but it is hard to be successful if you don’t learn to do it well. In this episode, I discuss with Mrs. WCI how we have learned to work together to strengthen our relationship and our finances through the long pipeline of medical training through to financial independence. We answer your questions about how to support each other as one or both of you have busy, stressful schedules. She is equipped to handle our family’s finances in both the short-term and long-term should she have to do it alone, and we share how we have made that happen. We discuss how we are teaching our children financial literacy and what our plan is for our money when we die. From this episode you will see that getting on the same financial page with your partner takes time and effort, but working together towards your shared goals is worth it.

Sponsor

If you have student loans, SoFi practically invented student loan refinancing in 2011 and right now they have the lowest starting fixed interest rates they’ve had in years, which could help you save thousands of dollars on your student loans. Plus, they just lowered rates for physicians and dentists still in residency. If you refinance your student loans through SoFi, you’ll get a $500 cash welcome bonus just for listeners of this podcast.

Terms and conditions apply. Not all products available in all states. Welcome bonus not available to residents of Ohio and cannot be combined with any other offer, bonus, or discount. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate the offer at any time with or without notice. Recipient is responsible for any federal, state, or local taxes associated with receiving the bonus offer. See SoFi for more information. Loans originated by SoFi Lending Corp. CFL 6054612 NMLS# 1121636

 

Quote of the Day

Our quote of the day is from an unknown physician.

“I married a goldmine. My spouse is thrifty.”

 

Milestones to Millionaire

#5: Anesthesiologist Pays Off $300K in 2 Years

Shifting your mindset, creating a plan, and executing that plan will lead to major success. That is what this doctor did to pay off $300K in student loans in just 2 years. With the mindset that you no longer care what other people think, you can avoid lifestyle creep and reach your financial goals. Learn how to avoid lifestyle creep.

If you still have private student loans at a high rate, we recommend checking out Student Loan refinancing with Splash Financial.

 

Leverage and Growth Summit

Passive Income MD’s annual leverage and growth summit for physicians starts on March 22nd. There are a number of interviews released all week. This summit is free to watch for the first 48 hours of the videos being released. For a small charge, you can have access to it forever as well. Sign up for that at whitecoatinvestor.com/summit.

 

CFE 2021

Our conference course is out, Continuing Financial Education 2021. It is on sale from now through Doctors’ Day, the 30th of March. The regular price on this is $779 but from now until March 30th is just $679. It is close to 57 hours of awesome personal finance and wellness material in this course. You get 17 hours of CME if you listen to the qualifying lectures. Buy CFE 2021 today!

 

Working Together with Your Partner, with Mrs. WCI

We have not had Katie, a.k.a. Mrs. WCI, on the podcast in nearly 200 episodes. We took questions from our Facebook Group for this interview. Listen to the podcast to hear the answers to the sillier questions like whether Katie thinks Jim is funny or who is a better skier. We will highlight the more helpful questions in these show notes.

 

How to Be Good Co-Parents as Busy Partners

Several of you asked about how to be a good partner/parent with busy schedules. Do we have any tips for people with busy and stressful schedules to still be a good partner and parent? Katie pointed out that yes, the work of a physician is busy and stressful, but the other parent is also managing a lot of different things and needs downtime too. Finding a balance between both parents’ need for downtime takes communication.

“When you come home, you need downtime to recuperate or whatever. That’s also when they’re looking for downtime, too. And so, finding a balance between that and making sure they’re getting as much downtime, that they’re getting a break, whether it’s from kids or whatever it is that they’re taking on, that they’re managing as far as your family, that you’re being a partner in that and realizing, yeah, it may not be 50/50 in household responsibilities, but to help with something and to be asking, “How can I help you? What do you need me to do?

And not just assume that it’s all good because they’re not asking, but that you’re offering and asking for how you can help and supporting them in what they’re doing. Communication is key and not running on assumptions that it’s all good. Make sure that everybody’s happy.”

She said for the non-physician partner,

“The best advice that I heard in medical school was to have sort of multiple plans, that you never know when they’re going to come home. A case runs late or they get stuck with a patient and to not be upset because dinner was on the table at 5:00 and they’re not there. You really have to develop a lot of independence, but you also have to be careful of that. Because early on, I had to have a lot of independence while he was in training, in school, and I did my own thing. I’m very good at being independent. And then, as his workload has decreased and he’s had more time, he’s like, ‘Well, where is everybody? Nobody’s home. Nobody’s here to do anything’. Because we’ve been living this independent life without him. And so, it’s remembering to reconnect and come back, and that’s going to ebb and flow a lot throughout your career as things change.”

As the partner with the less time-intensive schedule, she suggests setting your own plans and schedule, and if they make it, they make it, but not always having to try and plan around what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to communicate when you need things. Say, “I know you’re busy. I know you’ve worked a ton of shifts this week, but I really need you to take the kids for a little bit tonight so I can go out with some friends.” Or spending the money that’s needed to get a babysitter or someone to come help clean the house, whatever it is, to help make things work for both of you.

 

Preparing to Handle Family Finances on Your Own

Mike asked, if Jim were to suddenly pass away, would Katie feel equipped to handle the family’s finances in both the short-term and long-term? And what have we done to prepare for that?

Katie said she would be prepared, and the monthly budget meeting we have had each month since we were married has prepared her. That meeting has changed over the years. We use to bring paper receipts and discuss what went into which category and who was overspending in which category. We budgeted a lot early on and now we mostly just track our spending. We have really tried to simplify it now to adjustable and nonadjustable expenses.

“My job is to track the monthly spending. And so, I’ll compile what all of that is. And then I bring it to Jim, and we plug it into the bigger budget, bigger spending plan. But we’re constantly, every month we sit down, we talk about, ‘Hey, we have this much to save. What do we want to put it towards? This is where we are with our investments’ and work through the plan together. He oversees more of that, the investments and things like that. But I know where to find the information and I could manage it. I’m very familiar with what our financial plan is. And so, I feel like I can manage it and I know where to go if I would need more help, as far as if I needed to create a drawdown plan or different things of that nature. But the information is there, and I know where to find it. And so, I think I could manage just fine.”

The budget meeting now is just how much we want to allocate for the next month and where we’re putting our savings. Those are the biggest topics. Our savings, investments, and donations.

Recommended Reading

7 Ways to Get Your Partner on Board Financially 

 

Spending Habits

Raul asked how our spending habits have changed as we have gone beyond financially independent. It really is hard when you’ve been seriously frugal for a big part of your life. We’re still relatively frugal, relative to our income, but it’s a hard mindset change. We totally understand the difficulty people have when they go into retirement and it’s hard for them to spend down their nest egg. It is hard to spend money without feeling guilty about it.

To help with this, we have other people spend money for us. When WCI as a business buys stuff, Jim almost never sees the bottom line. It turns out things work a lot better that way. Not only do we not cheap out on stuff we shouldn’t cheap out on, but we don’t get the guilt from spending.

Now, we don’t buy stuff all the time, but when we do, we buy nice stuff, particularly outdoor gear. Katie said,

“As far as spending, we certainly do spend more freely now. But we try to spend on things that make us happy and not just spend for spending’s sake. But I still try to be very value conscious. I’m still trying to price compare. I just don’t go buy the first thing but I will pay more to have a daytime flight versus taking a red-eye flight or for things that would just make our lives a little easier. And so, we certainly try to spend on those kinds of things that are going to bring us happiness and not just to have more stuff, because I really don’t want any more stuff in my house.”

 

Financial Education for Children

What are we doing in regards to financial education for our children?

We talk to our children a lot about spending decisions and how to spend wisely. Both of us talk about basic financial topics all the time with the kids. As our kids go into high school, we start giving them a monthly allowance. They get the money that we would spend on the things that they’re doing. So, gas for the car, clothing, money for going out, or whatever you would support your kids with.

But it’s not enough to cover all the stuff they want to do. It isn’t enough to buy the nicest brand-name kind of clothes. All of a sudden, when our daughter went on this budget where she was just getting the lump sum and then she had to buy all her clothing, like the hundred dollar pairs of pants she was talking about that all her friends at school were wearing, she was very happy to wear $20 jeans, because now it was her money to manage.

It allows them to have to budget and learn how to manage things when they are still in this safe space if they get themselves into trouble. With the oldest, there have been some learning experiences as we’ve gone through some of what her expenditures have been per month. We’re like, “Wow, you don’t have any money, but look at how many times you ate out this month with your friends”. So, they can do some learning along the way while it’s still safe before they’re totally out of our nest and on their own.

The kids also have investing accounts. They each have, aside from a bank account, three investing accounts. They have a Roth IRA for their earned money, including the modeling they do for the White Coat Investor. They have a UTMA account, a Uniform Transfer to Minors Account, sometimes called the UGME – Uniform Gift to Minors Account. This is basically a kid’s taxable investing account. It becomes theirs in our state at 21. That is what we call their twenties fund. Your twenties is when you can really use an inheritance. You don’t need that inheritance at 65 when your parents keel over; you need it in your twenties. So, our theory was to give our kids some money in their twenties to help them get a start on life.

The third fund is the 529, technically our money, because it’s in a 529, but that’s obviously earmarked for education. We have far too much in there to pay for their undergraduate educations, but not enough if any of them decide they want to go to dental school or medical school. So, it’s a little bit tricky in the last few years trying to decide how much more to put in each of those 529s, but they’re managing those accounts. They get to go over this every time the statements come in. They get an envelope with their name on it and they can open it up and see how it’s doing, see when it makes money, see when it loses money.

We’ve definitely forced them into listening to a lot of financial podcasts. They all hate Dave Ramsey at this point. They scream when I turn it on but they can listen to a little bit of it and have learned a lot over the years from that.

They will have required books to read. Luckily, in Utah, they have to take financial literacy as a semester-long class in high school.

Recommended Reading

How Affluent Parents Can Teach Their Kids About Money

 

Leaving Money to the Kids

What are our thoughts on a strategy for leaving money to our kids?

So, our strategy for leaving money to our kids is still somewhat in flux. We both feel strongly about not leaving them everything. The majority of our assets are probably going to charity. But we kind of subscribed to Warren Buffet’s philosophy that you leave them enough that they can do anything they want, but not enough that they can do nothing.

One of our big goals this year is to get an estate plan in place. The idea is that, if we keel over anytime soon, that they’re not going to be getting all that much until they are 40. And then a little more at 50, and a sizable amount maybe at 60.

Obviously, they have their twenties fund, as well, but hopefully that gives them time in their twenties and thirties to make it on their own, to develop the financial habits they’ll need to manage that kind of wealth. There are going to be a few requirements to start getting it, as well. Mostly basic financial literacy kind of requirements.

The fact that we’re not trying to leave them the maximum amount really facilitates the estate planning. It makes it a lot easier than it otherwise would be if we were trying to get out of as much estate tax as we could, and leave them as much as we could. When you leave most of it to charity, and the amount we were planning to leave to them is way less than the exemption amount, then it becomes a lot simpler.

 

Steering Kids to Medicine

A listener asked whether we would steer our kids to being a physician or any other high-income profession. Katie said,

“I don’t think we’re steering them towards anything, but we want them to go in with their eyes wide open, to understand, one, if you’re going to go to medical school, this is what medical school costs are. And not necessarily plan on that mom and dad are going to pay for it all. And so, is that something you want to do? The time commitment required. The prerequisites required, like Calculus.

Or we have a child that’s really into writing. She loves to write, but she also needs to understand, can you provide for basic necessities with whatever job you choose? And I think to have some basic business sense. Because that’s the issue with a lot of people going into more of the liberal arts is you have to run a business. If you’re an artist, you have to run a business and know how to sell your wares, or you’re not going to make any money. You can create all you want, but you’re not going to be able to support yourself.

And so, just trying to teach them some basic personal finance that relates across any kind of career. But we’re not going to push anybody into any kind of field. We let them sort of figure out what they want and help them find things that they’re interested in, but also help them realize what impact life choices and career choices can have on your future and what kind of life you want to live down the road.”

We have been raising pretty independent kids. It’s not quite free-range parenting, but it might be close. There is no way they’re going to let us tell them what they’re going to do with their careers. We want them to be able to do what they want without having to take on massive student loans and start out life in a hole. But they’re going to understand the consequences of doing something that doesn’t pay very well. They’re going to understand that you don’t get to live like we’ve been living as you grew up if you’re going to take a job that makes $30,000 a year. It’s just going to be a very different life for you if you choose to do that, but we’ll support you in doing it and help you in an appropriate way to do that, but without basically subsidizing their lifestyle. They need to be responsible for the decisions they make.

 

Supporting Your Partner Through Medical School and Residency

Daniel asked, “how do you stay sane supporting your spouse through medical school and residency with such a long time horizon? Who will they be when they finish?” Katie said,

“I think that’s interesting because it’s not just who they will be, but it’s also who you will be, because there’s a lot of change and growth that happens during that period of time individually and also as a couple as you go through some of those trials, different experiences, where you might be living in a place that you don’t know anyone at all and you’ve really got to figure out who you are and reach outside of your comfort zone quite a bit. That can be really hard.

I think it’s really being able to be fairly independent. It really was what helped me stay sane through all of that. We got married the summer before he started medical school. I finished up my bachelor’s degree that next semester. And then I went back to graduate school during his last two years.

And in a lot of ways, because I was working, going to school, I was busier than he was. It’s finding your own thing. It’s finding your own path and having your own things to do that are not dependent on them when they’re working 80-hour weeks at the hospital. It’s just having your own goals and things you’re working towards, outside activities, and hobbies that aren’t fully dependent on what they’re doing or not doing at the time.”

This is a really big issue for doctors because the pipeline is so long. If you decide you’re going to be pre-med when you’re 20 years old, maybe you’re a junior in college, from that point until you come out of fellowship, it might be 15 years and you’re a different person at 35. You’re certainly a different person at 45 than you were when you were 20. It causes a lot of people to really regret their choice to go into medicine. They simply are not as interested in it as they thought they would be when they were 20.

People change over time, and your priorities change. Jonathan Clements really focuses on this, that we are not very good at predicting what is going to make us happy 10 years from now. It is important to keep as many doors open as you can so you have opportunities to change what you do, whether it’s career or family or anything else like that.

It is a long time horizon to get through the medical training pipeline. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The finances certainly get better, if nothing else. Sometimes the hours don’t get dramatically better, but usually the hours and the control over the work get a lot better when you come out of training.

Katie said,

“Jim likes to say your best financial investment is date night. Make sure you’re maintaining that relationship. Laura McElderry on the “Married to Doctors” podcast talks a lot about being careful about not letting resentment creep in. That it’s not that they don’t want to be there for family dinner and to be there to help take care of the kids and get them breakfast and put them to bed, that they would be there. But sometimes the medical demands make it hard, can impact those family demands. And so, trying to not let that resentment creep in because they can’t be there, because, really, they want to be there.”

 

Ending

Those of you who are in the training pipeline, hang in there. It does get better. Maintain that relationship. It’s going to be the most important thing in your life. It’s still going to be there when the career is over. You’ve just got to hang in there. You’ve committed to a long time horizon.

The good news is there is benefits to it. While we had to be tightwads in medical school and residency, we haven’t worried about money since. That point comes, eventually, for all attending physicians who will manage their money in a reasonable way.

 

Full Transcription

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 202 – Working together with your spouse, with Mrs. WCI.
Dr. Jim Dahle:

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Dr. Jim Dahle:
If you refinance your student loans through sofi.com/whitecoatinvestor, you’ll get a $500 cash welcome bonus just for listeners to this podcast. That’s sofi.com/whitecoatinvestor.
Terms and conditions apply. Not all products available in all states. Welcome bonus not available to residents of Ohio and cannot be combined with any other offer, bonus or discount. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate the offer at any time with or without notice. Recipient is responsible for any federal, state or local taxes associated with receiving the bonus offer. See sofi.com/whitecoatinvestor for more information. Loans originated by SoFi Lending Corp. CFL 6054612 NMLS# 1121636
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Well, welcome back to the podcast. We’re recording this on the 9th of March. It’s going to run not too long from now on the 18th. So, fairly current information. We just finished the White Coat Investor conference for 2021. It was a smashing success, exceeded my wildest expectations. And based on the feedback we have so far, all of yours as well. So, I hope many of you were able to participate in that. It was really a great experience, maybe the greatest virtual conference that I know of anyway, it went off pretty darn well, I thought.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right, our quote of the day today is, “I married a goldmine. My spouse is thrifty”. And that’s from an unknown physician.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks so much for what you do out there. It’s not necessarily easy these days. Although most of us are at least getting back into the swing of things, kind of post COVID. At least everybody at work has been immunized. But more and more so I think cases are dropping off all over the country and a lot of us are able to do our regular procedures and with just a few limitations, get back to life as we know it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
For those of you who are not aware, Peter Kim’s Passive Income MD has their annual leveraging growth summit for physicians. It starts on March 22nd. It goes for about a week. There are a number of interviews released all week. The cool thing about this summit is that it’s free to watch it initially. If you watch it within 48 hours of the videos being released, it’s totally free to you. If you want access to it forever, for a small charge, you can have access to it forever as well. But I’m one of the interviews on that. A number of other people you’ve heard of will also be on it. You can sign up for that at whitecoatinvestor.com/summit.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Also, if you’re not aware, our conference course is out. This is the course we together each year for Continuing Financial Education. And most of it always comes from whatever WCI con was that year. So indeed, this year we have packaged up the virtual conference we put on, WCI con, into Continuing Financial Education 2021. And that is for sale from now through Doctors’ Day, which is the 30th of March. So, the end of the month, almost the end of the month, I guess it’s not quite the end of the month.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It is going to be on sale. It’s $100 off. The regular price on this is $779 but about from now until March 30th is just $679. You don’t have to watch it before March 30th, you have access to it all year. It’s on Teachable, just like our online courses. So, if you have an iPad or an iPhone, you can listen to this just like you would a podcast on your way to work or while working out or whatever. But $679, I think it’s close to 57 hours of awesome personal finance and wellness material in this course. You get 17 hours of CME if you listened to the qualifying lectures. Most of which are awesome. Some of the highest rated lectures we had at WCI con were the wellness lectures and saw some great material there. You can get that today. You can find it at whitecoatinvestor.com/cfe2021.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. We have a special interviewee today. She’s very special to me. We’ve had her on the podcast before, but it’s been a long time. I think it was episode 10 when we had her on last, and now we’re on episode 202. So, I don’t know how many years that is, but it’s got to be close to four years at 50 episodes a year. So, welcome to the White Coat Investor, Katie a.k.a. Mrs. WCI.
Katie Dahle:
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. So, we’ve got a bunch of questions that some I put together, but a bunch of them from you guys, those of you in the Facebook group that you wanted to know from Katie. But let’s get into it. We’ll talk a little bit about us, about WCI and hopefully get something out of it that’s useful to you that helps you to work together with your spouse. Whether it’s on a business like we work together, or whether it’s in your personal finances or just in your life, we’re going to be talking about all kinds of those things. All right. So, the first question is who puts more hours into WCI, you or me?
Katie Dahle:
I think that really depends. Because a lot of the stuff I do at WCI is cyclical that I’m working on a lot of projects. So lately certainly I was probably putting more hours in because I was helping a lot with getting our conference launched for this year. But I think for overall, Jim puts in more hours. Mine are just at random times. And I work in a lot of different hours because I’m also working around picking kids up and getting kids to play group or sports or different things. And so, sometimes my hours are 8 to 10 at night and not 8 to 5, which is when Jim typically does more of his work.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I don’t think this is true. I think she’s actually putting in more hours than I am on WCI. I keep teasing her that I am now a “stay-at-home” dad. She doesn’t quite believe it. I think it’s because I keep going to the hospital and I keep doing WCI stuff, but I now consider myself a “stay-at-home” dad. So, clearly you must be working harder than me if I’m the “stay-at-home” dad.
Katie Dahle:
Oh, yeah. Sure.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right. So, what is your position at WCI? What do you do?
Katie Dahle:
I am the Chief Product Officer. So, I oversee a lot of our products. So, the courses, conference, I manage all the book sells, speaking engagements. That’s the areas that I focus on. And then I help with some of the higher-level stuff as an owner where we’re looking at strategy and long-term planning and some of that.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, you have a couple of people working under you as far as conference and books goes. Okay. So, let’s talk about the conference. A year over the conference. It’s kind of your baby. And now Chrislyn is the one that’s the conference producer. She’s the conference coordinator, the conference guru. But a year over that, and really this year was your chance to help transition her into the company and into the WCI message and the WCI conference. So, what do you think about how the conference went off?

Katie Dahle:
I think the conference went off well and that’s really credit to our staff. Chrislyn did an awesome job. Originally when we hired her, it was a plan of doing a live conference which she has a lot of experience. She’s done live conferences for years for other organizations. But come September, October, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic and that we realized there’s no way we can do a live conference. We’ve got to figure out how to do this virtual. She took the bull by the horns and researched it and found the best platforms and had some great ideas of how to do sort of this hybrid, where we recorded, some of it live in studio. And we’re so grateful that we had some willing to travel out here to Salt Lake, to participate in our COVID studio bubble, as we were recording panels and keynotes.
Katie Dahle:
But I think it really helped to make a difference and to reduce hopefully some of that Zoom fatigue that people are tired of sitting in front of their computers, looking at the same faces over and over. We tried to really mix up the visual look with different presentations. So, credit to her and the rest of staff, for all the stuff they were doing behind the scenes. I think it went really well. And we’re very pleased that we’ve gotten some good feedback.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah, it was awesome. You should have been there. If you miss the conference completely, you can still get it as an online course. Obviously, you can’t still come to the conference, but this thing was awesome. I didn’t even walk into this conference or have anything to do with it until a few hours before I had to give my opening address.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But I get there and we basically have a TV studio setup. There are three cameras. So, I asked one of the camera guys, I’m like, what do these cameras run? And he’s like, this is a $90,000 camera. And all these fancy lights, fancy 16-to-9-foot screen behind the speakers. There’s an audio guy, a video guy, there’s a director. There’s somebody there to put makeup on you. They call it knocked down is what they call it to take the glare off your forehead. There’s a guy that runs just the teleprompter. I mean, it was a high-level production. It was really impressive what you guys put together this year. So, congratulations on that. It was a lot of fun.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
We did have to get COVID tested every day. Everybody in the room got to get a COVID antigen test rammed up their nose every day. But there are no positives and everyone had a great time. And I think all the participants and certainly the speakers and the staff were all just wowed. It turned out way better than we thought it was going to. Not that we thought it was going to be bad, but it was just really, really good. So, congratulations on that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Can you share plans for the next WCI con? Dates and location and plans? Can we give them a little hint about what to look forward to for next year?

Katie Dahle:
Yeah, absolutely. So, we announced this at the end of the conference this year, but our next conference in 2022 will be February 9th through the 12th. And it is going to be the JW Marriott in Phoenix, Arizona. And we’re pretty excited.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Golf and pickleball. Not skiing, it’s golf and pickleball apparently.
Katie Dahle:
So, we’re really excited about this conference. As we were looking for where we want to do the next live conference, we really wanted to take more of this wellness component on. And so, there’s going to be a lot of great presentations, but we’re also going to have some yoga classes. We’re hoping to have a pickleball tournament, golf tee times. Really mixing the conference with this wellness aspect. And so, we can focus on all areas of wellness, not just financial wellness with the conference.
Katie Dahle:
But it’s a beautiful location. Our staff, which a couple of us traveled down there in November and they took good care of us. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re really excited about location. And I think it’ll be a great conference and a big enough that we can grow our numbers even from what we had from Las Vegas.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. So, the interesting thing is this is where WCI con 21 was going to be. But when we booked them, when we made the contract, we put a provision in there that if the pandemic was still going crazy, we could push it off a year. So, we obviously exercise that option. I think we had to tell October to do it and things were still going strong in October. So, we pushed it to 2022. I’m not sure where we’re going to be in 2023. We’ll have to start thinking about that soon. But for 2022, it’s going to be a really great conference. We’re going to preserve the three-track thing we did this year, where you had a wellness track and kind of basics or beginners track, and then advanced topics track, as well as the keynotes. We’re going to have some sort of virtual component and it’s going to be great.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, watch for that. We’ll probably start signing people up for it in like September. if you want to speak at it, there’ll be a call for speakers a few months before that. So, watch the newsletter if that’s something you’re interested in doing. Although I’ll be honest, speaking at the conference is starting to become more and more competitive all the time.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. Let’s talk about finances, managing finances together with your spouse, et cetera. That’s a little bit what the topic of our podcast is about today. How has financial independence changed your life? How has it affected your desire to work, et cetera?

Katie Dahle:
So as far as changing my life, I wouldn’t say it’s changed that much. We’re fairly frugal anyways. We’ve loosened the purse strings some. Like we did a big house remodel, which we probably wouldn’t have done if we weren’t in the financially independent state that we were. We travel more. I don’t worry as much about expenses, but I’m still looking at hotel prices. I’m not just staying wherever.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah, but you flew first class.
Katie Dahle:
That was an upgrade. I didn’t pay for first class, but it was pretty sweet. On my last trip I got upgraded coming home.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That’s what happens when nobody’s flying, right?
Katie Dahle:
That’s right. And so, the kids are probably in more competitive sport leagues than they would be otherwise. We probably would be doing a lot more recreational sports because youth sport is expensive. So, there are some things that we don’t have to worry about what the costs are in and out, but we haven’t extravagantly changed our lifestyle. I mean, Jim’s still driving a 2005 Toyota Sequoia with 260,000 miles on it. It’s like, could we go buy a new car? Yeah. But he loves that car. So, we are still fairly thrifty as when we want to be or need to be. We just don’t have these big desires to spend a ton.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
She might not know I wired the garage for a Tesla plugin when we did the remodel. So, watch for that. The problem is this Sequoia won’t die. I generally don’t sell cars. I wait until they die to get rid of them. And now I’m not going to work that much as far as the hospital goes. And so, I’m not putting that many miles on the car. I’m probably only putting 5,000 miles on it. And a Toyota with only 256,000 miles, I think is what it has right now, it might go 10 more years at 5,000 miles a year. This thing might last forever before the wheels fall off it. So, we’ll have to see what happens with that car.

Katie Dahle:
The problem is that it has enough miles. We don’t trust it on the long trips anymore.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I trust it. It’s a good car.
Katie Dahle:
Then take it to the Grand Canyon.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay, I will. How do you like that? Alright. So, no less desire to work at all being financially independent? Because you’re working more now than you were before you were financially independent.
Katie Dahle:
Right. Yeah, I think there’s actually been a more desire to work. Part of that though, is because we own the company. And so, wanting to be involved in that and helping in the growth of it. I think there’s a bigger desire to work, and part of it too, is the kids, our youngest is in half-day kindergarten this year and we’ll go to full time. And so, my time is more free and I’m not one that just really sits around a whole lot.
Katie Dahle:
So, if I’m not working, I would probably be volunteering at the school, volunteering at the food bank. I still sit on community councils at the school and I’m involved in four different schools that way. I’m going to fill my time somehow. So, it’s work or it’s something else. It happens to be more work because of being involved with the business.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. Let’s talk about my clinical career. How do you feel about me taking time for my clinical career?

Katie Dahle:
We’ve talked a lot about this, about his clinical career. I started to tease him now that it’s a well-paid hobby. And I’ve had to push him a little bit as far as dropping shifts because he has that option. And coming in a couple months, he’ll be at the lowest shifts he can drop and still maintain a partner status with his group. But I get where he’s coming from as that he worked many years to be a doctor and he enjoys going to work and he wants to keep those skills and that license up.
Katie Dahle:
And so, I fully support him wanting to work. It’s just his hospital. So, it’s just, dictate a lot more things as far as travel and some of the other things we’d like to do because he has to fulfill commitments there. So that’s the only downside of it is starting to dictate other schedules when we have the flexibility of now working from wherever we want with the White Coat Investor.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. So, let’s talk about some questions we got from you guys. These ones came in on Facebook. We’ve got two similar questions, one from Trey and one from Beth. Trey asks for some tips on how to be a good partner, a parent with such a busy and stressful schedule. And Beth asked tips for how to be a good partner parent when you are the one with the busy schedule, what would she like her doctor’s spouse to do?
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I’m not sure Beth knows which one of us has a busier schedule. Sounds like she’s referring to my schedule as a busy one. I don’t know if that’s true, but let’s talk about this. Do you have any tips for people with a busy and stressful schedule to still be a good partner and parent?

Katie Dahle:
Okay. So, starting from the perspective of how can the partner be a good spouse, the partner that is the physician or the one with the busier schedule. I think the best way on that is just realizing that, yeah, you’ve been working a lot of shifts and you’ve been at the hospital and you’ve had a lot of high stressful things, but your partner is probably been at home managing a lot of different things, wearing lots of hats, managing kids that they’ve been working just as much and they also need that downtime.
Katie Dahle:
So, when you’ve come home and you’re like, I just need my downtime to recuperate and whatever. That’s also when they’re looking for downtime too. And so, finding a balance between that and making sure they’re getting as much downtime, that they’re getting a break from whether it’s kids or whatever it is that they’re taking on, that they’re managing as far as your family, that you’re being a partner in that and realizing, yeah, it may not be 50/50 in household responsibilities, but to help with something and to be asking, “How can I help you? What do you need me to do?”
Katie Dahle:
And not just assume that it’s all good because they’re not asking, but that you’re offering and asking for how you can help and supporting them in what they’re doing. Especially if it’s not stuff that they’re doing for work or if they have a job and then you’re both trying to share household responsibilities. Communication is key and not running on assumptions that it’s all good. Make sure that everybody’s happy.
Katie Dahle:
Then from the other perspective of being the partner that is the one that’s managing things. So, that’s maybe going into the hospital or maybe they’re working and also trying to manage household things. The best advice that I heard in medical school was to have sort of multiple plans that you never know when they’re going to come home. A case runs late or they get stuck along with a patient and to not be upset because dinner was on the table at 05:00 and they’re not there.
Katie Dahle:
And so, you really have to develop a lot of independence, but you also have to be careful of that. Because early on, I had to have a lot of independence while he was in training in school and I did my own thing. I’m very good at being independent. And then as his workload has decreased and he’s had more time, he’s like, “Well, where is everybody? Nobody’s home. Nobody’s here to do anything”. Because we’ve been living this independent life without him. And so, it’s remembering to reconnect and come back and that’s going to ebb and flow a lot throughout your career as things change.
Katie Dahle:
And so, I think just being okay to do things on your own and setting your own plans and schedule. And if they make it, they make it, but not always having to try and to plan around what they’re doing. And not being afraid to communicate when you need things to say, “I know you’re busy. I know you’ve worked a ton of shifts this week, but I really need you to take the kids for a little bit tonight so I can go out with some friends or whatever it is”. Or spending the money that’s needed to get a babysitter or to get somebody to come help clean a house, whatever it is to help make things work for both of you.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. So maybe the best example of that was my deployment to Qatar. It’s been a long time. It was 2007, but I come home from this deployment. She’s been home for almost five months with two small kids. They had a totally separate life without me. I mean, they’d been doing stuff without me for months and months and months. And then, there I was trying to integrate back into life. And my younger child didn’t even recognize me when I showed up in the airport. She was terrified of me. So, thanks to those of you serving out there who’ve had that experience. It’s not very pleasant, I know.

Katie Dahle:
Yeah, even with residency. I have friends that he’s like, “Who’s that again?” He just doesn’t know people because I had created this other life and had my support system of other friends that we helped each other out because all of our spouses were in grad school or residency or things like that. And so, that was my support at that time.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. So, let’s take a couple of humorous questions here, that people put in here. James asks, “Jim says he’s not funny. Do you think he’s funny?”

Katie Dahle:
I don’t know. Funny looking maybe, but funny not at all.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Wow, under the bus.

Katie Dahle:
No. In all seriousness, I think Jim is funny. But he’s not going to be your class clown and keep it everybody rolling. He’s got his own sense of humor.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
We’re not that funny. Neither one of us, sorry. If you’re looking for a funny podcast, we can find some for you. This might not be it. All right. The next less than serious question is from Raul who asks, “Who is a better skier?” Who is a better skier? I’m going to take this one. I am a faster skier. I am a more aggressive skier. I can ski harder terrain. I might not have the best form while I do it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Katie was a ski instructor part of the time while I was in medical school. So, she technically is the better skier if you’re asking somebody to judge how she looks while she skis. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that she can get through the harder terrain.

Katie Dahle:
I can ski the double blacks just fine, but I have a little bit more self-preservation sense then he does. Certainly, he gets to the bottom of the hill faster, but I’m going to get to the bottom of the hill in one piece.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
She did go heliskiing together with me, not last year. It’s been a couple of years now, I guess, since when went heliskiing, which is great experience. If you ever have an opportunity to drop some cash on something if you’re a good skier that is worth spending a little bit of money. It’s pretty awesome.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay, more serious questions. This one comes from Mike who asks if I were to suddenly pass away, do you feel you were equipped to handle your family’s finances in both the short-term and long-term? That’s a yes or no question.
Katie Dahle:
Yes.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. And then he asked, if so, what’d you do to put yourself in that position?

Katie Dahle:
One of the things is we meet monthly. We’ve called it a monthly budget meeting. We don’t actually really budget. We just track spending.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Don’t tell people that. We’re going to get in trouble for not budgeting.

Katie Dahle:
We truly track our spending. We’d certainly budgeted a lot more early on in our career. And we had all these different categories and we’ve really tried to simplify it now to adjustable and nonadjustable spend expenses, and we are just tracking it.
Katie Dahle:
My job is to track the monthly spending. And so, I’ll compile what all of that is. And then I bring it to Jim and we plug it into the bigger budget, bigger spending plan. But we’re constantly, every month we sit down, we talk about, “Hey, we have this much to save. What do we want to put it towards? This is where we are with our investments” and work through the plan together. He oversees more of that, the investments and things like that. But I know where to find the information and I could manage it. I’m very familiar with what our financial plan is. And so, I feel like I can manage it and I know where to go if I would need more help, as far as if I needed to create a drawdown plan or different things of that nature. But the information is there and I know where to find it. And so, I think I could manage just fine.
Katie Dahle:
And it helps too that we’re financially independent. So as far as managing finances, there’s not much besides just a regular monthly spending because we’re not paying mortgages and a lot of other things.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right, let’s talk about that monthly budget meeting. 20 years ago, what did we talk about at the monthly budget meeting?

Katie Dahle:
20 years ago? Probably what went into which category and who was overspending in their category. Who was using what for what slush fund?

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And what did we have to bring to the meeting? Do you remember? We stopped doing this about 10 years ago, but 20 years ago, we had to bring something to the meeting. You remember what it was?
Katie Dahle:
I don’t remember.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It was receipts. We kept our receipts and you had to show what you actually spent. And so, each had to keep track of our receipts or we got in trouble. But we stopped doing that, I don’t know, more than a decade ago probably. And just started using credit card statements, basically started putting everything on the credit card, made it a lot easier to track spending anyway. All right. So how about now? What are we talking about now in the budget meeting?
Katie Dahle:
The budget meeting now is just like how much we want to allocate for the next month and where we’re putting our savings. That’s the biggest topics. Our savings and our investing and donations. Our charitable giving is what we talk a lot about.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
What we’re giving and where the investing money for the month is going to go. Because what we do every month is, we take our income, whatever it came from. Whether it comes from WCI, salary for me or her in WCI or WCI profits, my clinical income, I get paid as a partnership. I get paid on a K-1 there. So that gets thrown in there. Any investment income we have gets thrown in the pot, any dividends that got paid that month from our taxable account, that all gets added in there.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, we have all this income, we subtract our expenses, and then we’re looking at a lump sum of money. Then we got to decide, well, what are we going to do with that this month? Well, maybe this month that goes in the 401(k). Maybe next month that goes in the 529s. Maybe next month that goes in the kid’s UTMAs. Maybe we’re going to buy a real estate investment with it this month. Maybe we’re going to buy something for a family member or a friend. Maybe we’re going to donate it to charity this month. We tend to do a lot more of that at the end of the year, November and December. That’s when we tend to have our charity meetings, but we also donate throughout the year as well.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
I don’t know, for the last two, three years, mostly the discussion is investments and giving, which is a pretty cool place to be. And I guess that’s the benefit of being financially independent and still having an income.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right, next question. This one is also from Raul, who’s asking skiing questions. He wants to know how have your spending habits changed now that you are beyond financial independence? You talked about this a little bit earlier, so I’m going to let you think about your answer and I’m going to answer the question. I don’t think at all when I spend money. If I want something, I just buy it.

Katie Dahle:
Yeah. The rafting store guy really loves when he walks in the door because he knows he’s going to drop some cash.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
I have some pretty sweet oars. They’re square, top oars. I got two sets of them because you have to have two spare oars when you go down the Grand Canyon. And I’m going down the Grand Canyon here in about six weeks, about a month from the time you hear this and I just buy that stuff. I’m like, what’s the oars? He says, this one and I buy that. I don’t even look at the price tag.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So that part is pretty cool because I know I have income coming in despite being financially independent. It is literally erased cost from anything I buy. Now every now and then I find myself totally cheaping out though. So, it’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to get the drink at the fast-food restaurant because it’s $2”. So, it’s really this weird mindset where you go back and forth where sometimes you’re like, “I shouldn’t even think about that”.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, it really is hard when you’ve been seriously frugal for part of your life. We’re still relatively frugal, relative to our income, but it’s a hard mindset change. And so, I totally understand the difficulty people have when they go into retirement and it’s hard for them to spend down their nest egg. I totally get why that feels that way. But a nice thing about this situation we’re in is I get a little chance to kind of get used to spending money. Even though we’re not spending down investments, I’m getting a lot better at spending money without feeling guilty about it.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
The other thing I do that helps me to spend money is I have somebody else spend it for me. It’s very helpful. So, when WCI as a business buys stuff, I almost never see the bottom line. And it turns out things work a lot better that way. Not only do we not cheap out on stuff, we shouldn’t cheap out on, but I don’t get the guilt from spending. So, I use a credit card that helps me feel less guilty about spending. You don’t feel as bad using plastic compared to using cash. So, I use a lot of plastic.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And frankly, I’ll let Katie buy a lot of stuff for me that I don’t have to worry about it. She doesn’t like it when I actually buy stuff for her because I buy like a hunter. I shop like a hunter. You go out, you get the animal, you drag it back to the cave and there’s no comparing. There’s no looking at all the animals on the planes. It’s all about the first one you come to. That’s the one I shoot and take it home.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
A lot of times she gives me a hard time. I bought her a sleeping bag for Christmas or something. I guess it was Christmas. She said she wanted a winter sleeping bag. And I confirmed with her, you want a real winter sleeping bag that you can go sleep out in the snow with, right? So, I bought the best sleeping bag you can buy basically. A really nice minus 20- or 30- down bag from a top maker, top manufacturer, expensive obviously. And that’s one of the things she got for Christmas. And she’s like, “Why did you buy such a nice one?” And I’m like you said you wanted a winter bag. We are buying nice stuff now.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, that’s kind of what I do when I’m buying something. I don’t buy stuff very often, but when I buy something, I buy nice stuff, particularly outdoor gear and enjoy having that because I know I’m going to use it and it’s going to last a long time. So, what do you think, Katie? Anything else that you got to say about spending beyond financial independence?

Katie Dahle:
Certainly yes. As he talks about, he is not a savvy shopper by any means. He goes, he hunts and he kills and he brings it home and he doesn’t care what it costs. And so, if there’s something he really wants, he just goes and buys it. And I always joke, we’ll sort of set up side what we think our adjustable expenses will be for the upcoming month. And I’ll be like, “Oh, we’re doing awesome”. And then Jim will go shopping. And I’m like, “Dude, you just blew what the adjustable expense budget was for the month”, but which is fine because we can manage it. And he used to always joke about like, “Oh, you spend so much money on food”. And I’m like, “Well, you go shopping and you’ll spend three times as much on food because you’ll just buy whatever”.
Katie Dahle:
As far as spending, we certainly do spend more freely now. But we try to spend on things that make us happy and not just spend for spending’s sake. But I still try to be very value conscious. I’m still trying to price compare. I just don’t go by the first thing but I will pay more to have a daytime flight versus taking a red-eye flight or make things that would just make our lives a little easier. And so, we certainly try to spend on those kinds of things that are going to bring us happiness and not just to have more stuff because I really don’t want any more stuff in my house.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. We got this fancy new remodeled home. And it’s filling up quickly, which is really disappointing. One of the best parts about moving out for seven months, then moving back in is we purged during both moves and really got rid of a lot of stuff. But I can certainly see it creeping back in. When you have an empty cupboard, it’s easy to put something in there instead of making a decision now about what you’re going to do with it and potentially throwing that thing away.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right, our next questions. We’ve got similar questions from two people. One from Raul is “What are you doing in regards to financial education for your children?” And the other is from Tim. This might be Tim from San Francisco. I’m not sure, but this is from Tim. “What are your thoughts on your strategy for leaving money to your kids? How do you avoid taking the wind out of their sails?” So, let’s talk about financial education and how much we’re leaving to our kids, so on and so forth.
Katie Dahle:
One of the things just talking about basic financial education is we try to talk to our kids a lot about just spending decisions, how to spend wisely. Both of us, we’re just talking basic financial topics all the time. And then one of the things we do as our kids go into high school is, we start giving them monthly. They get the money that we would spend on the things that they’re doing. So, for gas for the car, clothing, money if they were going to have for going out or whatever you would support your kids with.
Katie Dahle:
But it’s not enough to cover all the stuff they want to do. And it’s not enough to buy the nicest brand kind of clothes. And so, all of a sudden, when our daughter went on this budget where she was just getting the lump sum then she had to buy all her clothing, the hundred dollars pairs of pants she was talking about that all her friends at school were wearing. She was very happy to wear $20 H&M jeans because now it was her money to manage.
Katie Dahle:
And so, it allows them to have to budget and learn how to manage things when there’s still in this safe space, still this fallback, if they get themselves into trouble. And so, there’s been some learning experiences as we’ve gone through some of what her expenditures have been per month. We’re like, “Wow you don’t have any money, but look at how many times you ate out this month with your friends”. So, we can do some learning along the way while it’s still safe before they’re totally out of our nest and on their own so they can hopefully learn some of those habits as it goes along.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And she has gotten into trouble.
Katie Dahle:
Yeah.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. So, tell him about the trouble she got into.
Katie Dahle:
So, one of the things, she’s decided to do this.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
She picked up.

Katie Dahle:
Yeah. She’s been doing this side photography business. And so, she was doing a photo shoot and she’d rented this really fancy dress, a thousand-dollar dress or something and had gotten some smoke bombs donated from another company. And they were doing this shoot with smoke bombs and they had a smoke bomb that exploded. And it melted the lace on this dress and the smoke bomb guy felt horrible. He’s never heard it happening before.
Katie Dahle:
And so, he was going to help chip in some of the costs, but the dressmaker was like, “Do you know you got to pay the full cost of the dress?” And so, she had to do some negotiation and get that down. And we ended up helping her out by covering half the cost of that. But she still had to save her money and slowly pay that debt back to us for her portion of it.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. So, she got to experience being in debt for a while. She didn’t like it very much, it turned out. But I think she learned a lesson about it. She also had to come and ask for raise. She had to do that. So, it’s been a good experience for her to learn how to manage money in some ways.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
They also have investing accounts. They’ve had them for years now. They each have aside from a bank account, they have three investing accounts. They have a Roth IRA. So, their earned money they get, including the modeling they do for the White Coat Investor goes into the Roth IRA. They have a UTMA account, a Uniform Transfer to Minors Account, sometimes called the UGME – Uniform Gift to Minors Account. This is basically a kid’s taxable investing account. It becomes theirs in our state at 21.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And if you have too much income in there, you got to start paying at the adult tax rates, but you can have up to $2,200 a year in income before you got to pay on that at the adult rates. So that’s what we call their twenties fund. That’s because if you remember your twenties, your twenties is when you needed all that money from your parents, right? You needed a wedding and a honeymoon, and maybe you went on a mission or a Peace Corps thing. You got college, of course, grad school, maybe a down payment on a house. Maybe you needed a car, maybe you have a summer in Europe, whatever.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But your twenties is when you can really use an inheritance. You don’t need that inheritance at 65 when your parents keel over, you need it in your twenties. So, our theory was to give our kids some money in their twenties to help them get a start on life.
And so that’s their second fund.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
The third fund is the 529, technically our money, because it’s an a 529, but that’s obviously earmarked for education. It’s been a really difficult decision to decide how much to put in that 529 because we live in Utah, the land of cheap colleges. There are some other states that are as cheap as Utah, but it’s pretty cheap compared to most places.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
The flagship state university here is still only like $7,000 a year, $8,000 a year. The biggest private university here in the state is only $5,000 or $6,000 a year. And most of the state schools are cheaper than that in Utah. So, it’s not a really expensive place to go to college.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, we have far too much in there to pay for their undergraduate educations, but not enough if any of them decide they want to go to dental school or medical school. So, it’s a little bit tricky in the last few years trying to decide how much more to put in each of those 529s, but they’re managing those accounts. They get to go over this every time the statements come in and I always get the paper statements. So, when they come in, they got an envelope with their name on it and they can open it up and see how it’s doing. See when it makes money, see when it loses money.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It was really particular in the first quarter of 2020 to put those statements in front of them when they’d lost money and explained to them what happened and why and what they should do about it. I think that was a good education for them. But as they get older, we have age-appropriate conversations about money. And with the youngest ones, it is as simple as, would you rather earn interest or pay interest. But as they get older you can start talking to them about asset allocation and spending and budgeting and investing and insurance and all kinds of important topics like that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
We’ve definitely forced them into listening to a lot of financial podcasts. They all hate Dave Ramsey at this point. They scream when I turn it on and they can listen to a little bit of it, but they’ve learned a lot I can tell over the years from that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, our strategy for leaving money to our kids is still somewhat in flux. I think we both feel strongly about not leaving them everything. So, I think the majority of our assets are probably going to charity. But we kind of subscribed to Warren Buffet’s philosophy that you leave them enough, that they can do anything they want, but not enough that they can do nothing. So, I think everyone has a different idea of how much money that is. And it probably depends a lot on what age you get it at.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
But one of our big goals this year is to get an estate plan in place. We’re not making as much progress on that as we’re supposed to be, but hopefully by the end of the year, we’ve got this in place. But the idea is that if we keel over anytime soon that they’re not going to be getting all that much until they are 40. And then a little more at 50 and sizable amount, maybe at 60.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Obviously, they have their twenties fund as well, but hopefully that gives them time in their twenties and thirties to make it on their own, to develop the financial habits they’ll need to manage that kind of wealth. And there’s going to be a few requirements to start getting it as well. Mostly basic financial literacy kind of requirements, but that’s about as far as we’ve got, as far as leaving money to our kids.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
The fact that we’re not trying to leave them the maximum amount really facilitates the estate planning, it makes it a lot easier than otherwise would be if we were trying to get out of as much estate tax as we could, and leave them as much as we could, you got to start doing lots of complicated things. But when you leave most of it to charity, and the amount we were planning to leave to them is way less than the exemption amount, then it becomes a lot simpler. Other thoughts on teaching kids about money and leaving money behind?

Katie Dahle:
No, and I think as they get older, they will have required books to read. Luckily in Utah, they have to take financial literacy as a semester long class.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
It’s the Dave Ramsey course here, right?
Katie Dahle:
I don’t know, I don’t think…
Dr. Jim Dahle:
That’s one option.

Katie Dahle:
That’s one option, yeah. So, our oldest took financial literacy last summer. I think she crammed and did it all in the last day, but she did take it. I said, “This would be an easy course. You already know all this stuff”. She’s like, “Well, yeah, I know. So that’s why I’m not wanting to do it”.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
How much money can you leave kids without taking the wind out of their sails? I mean, you had some money given to you by your grandparents when you went off to college.

Katie Dahle:
Yeah. So, when I graduated from college, my grandpa had invested some money when we were really young.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Oh, it was when you graduated. I thought it was when you went to college.
Katie Dahle:
No, it was when I went to college. And so, he invested some money when we were really young in stocks and we basically each got about $20,000 when we graduated from high school to put towards college. I ended up having scholarships for most of my undergrad. And so, we actually used a fair amount of that for down payment on our first condo that we probably shouldn’t have bought in the first place.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Bad idea. Don’t buy condo in med school.
Katie Dahle:
But we had that money. We had that funds. Whereas I came in to our marriage with $20,000 and Jim came in with $5,000 in debt. So, it was nice to have it, it gave us more options and choices than we would have had otherwise.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. Let’s move on to a related question. This one comes in from Shantanu, I think is how you say that, who asks, “Will you steer your kids to being a physician or any other high-income professional or will you let them do what they love? I.E., professions that may not be generating much income or provide good job security, but something they may love like being an artist. And the reason I ask this is in my culture, families are steering kids to pick professions that are both respected and generate good income for the purpose of practicality”.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And this particular questioner has a last name that suggests they are from a South Asian culture. So, obviously that’s pretty common there. Your thoughts, what are you steering your kids toward?

Katie Dahle:
I don’t think we’re steering them towards anything, but we want them to go in with their eyes wide open to understand, one, if you’re going to go to medical school, this is what medical school costs are. And not necessarily plan on that mom and dad are going to pay for it all. And so, is that something you want to do? The time commitment required. The prerequisites required like Calculus.
Katie Dahle:
Or we have a child that’s really into writing. She loves to write, but to also understand, can you provide for basic necessities with whatever job you choose? And I think to have some basic business sense. Because that’s the issue with a lot of people going into more of the liberal arts is you have to run a business. If you’re an artist, you have to run a business and know how to sell your wares, or you’re not going to make any money. You can create all you want, but you’re not going to be able to support yourself.
Katie Dahle:
And so, just trying to teach them some basic personal finance that relates across any kind of careers. But we’re not going to push anybody into any kind of field, let them sort of figure out what they want and help them find things that they’re interested in, but also help them realize what life choices and career choices can have as an impact on your future and what kind of life you want to live down the road.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Yeah. So, I get a kick out of this. I see questions like this on the forums all the time. It’s particularly bad on the Bogleheads forum where people are talking about what their kids should be doing. The kids are 22, 23, 26 years old. And I look at that and there’s no way my parents were going to dictate anything I did when I was 18, much less, 26 years old. It’s my life. I was going to do what I wanted to do.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And we’ve been raising pretty independent kids. It’s not quite free-range parenting, but it might be close. And there’s no way they’re going to let us tell them what they’re going to do with their careers. So, it’s not even an issue. And maybe that’s our family. Maybe that’s the way our genes are. Maybe that’s where our culture is. I don’t know, but there’s no way I can force them into any kind of career. There’s none of this, “You can be anything you want as long as it’s a doctor or a lawyer”. That’s not going to happen in our family.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, we want them to be able to do what they want without having to take on massive student loans and start out life in a hole. But they’re going to understand the consequences of doing something that doesn’t pay very well. They’re going to understand that you don’t get to live like we’ve been living as you grew up if you’re going to take a job that makes $30,000 a year. It’s just going to be a very different life for you if you choose to do that, but we’ll support you in doing it and help you in an appropriate way to do that. But without basically subsidizing their lifestyle, they need to be responsible for the decisions they take.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Okay. We got one more question from Daniel. This one is how do you stay sane supporting your spouse through medical school and residency with such a long-time horizon? Who will they be when they finish? Do you want to take the first stab at this one?

Katie Dahle:
I think that’s interesting because it’s not just who they will be, but it’s also who you will be because there’s a lot of change and growth that happens during that period of time individually and also as a couple as you go through some of those trials, different experiences, where you might be living in a place that you don’t know nobody at all and you’ve really got to figure out who you are and reach outside of your comfort zone quite a bit. That can be really hard.
Katie Dahle:
And so, there’s lots of changes I think for both people. I touched on before, I think it’s really being able to be fairly independent. It really was what helped me stay sane through all of that. We got married the summer before he started medical school. I finished up my bachelor’s degree that next semester. And then I went back to graduate school during his last two years.
Katie Dahle:
And in a lot of ways, because I was working, going to school, I was busier than he was. He was skiing a lot more than I was at sometimes. It’s finding your own thing. It’s finding your own path and having your own things to do that are not dependent on them when they’re working 80-hour weeks at the hospital. You’ve got to figure out yourself and when they’re great, I think that’s where the sanity comes in. It’s just having your own goals and things you’re working towards and outside activities and hobbies that aren’t fully dependent on what they’re doing or not doing at the time.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
I think this is a really big issue for doctors because the pipeline is so long. If you decide you’re going to be pre-med when you’re 20 years old, maybe you’re a junior in college. From that point until you come out of fellowship, it might be 15 years and you’re a different person at 35. You’re certainly a different person at 45 than you were when you were 20. And it causes a lot of people to really regret their choice to go into medicine. They simply are not as interested in it as they thought they would be as they were when they were 20. And they start looking for ways out and they starting up with burnout.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
And so, this is a big issue, I think, among our audience that people change over time and their spouse has changed and your priorities change. I was just talking to one of my partners last night on shift and he’s like, “You know what? Right now, what I want most is I want to be there when my kids wake up and make them breakfast and talk to them about their day and spend some time with him”. And he’s like, “But I’m working 15 shifts a month. And so, I miss out on a lot of that stuff”.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, I think it’s important to realize that you were not very good. I think Jonathan Clements really focuses on this. We’re not very good at predicting what’s going to make us happy 10 years from now. And so, I think it’s important to keep as many doors open as you can so you have opportunities to change what you do, whether it’s career or family or anything else like that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, it is a long-time horizon to get through the medical training pipeline. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The finances certainly get better if nothing else. Sometimes the hours don’t get dramatically better, but usually the hours and the control over the work get a lot better when you come out of training.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
So, I would encourage those of you who are in that training pipeline to hang in there. It does get better. Maintain that relationship. It’s going to be the most important thing in your life. It’s still going to be there when the career is over. You just got to hang in there. You’ve committed to a long-time horizon.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
The good news is there’s benefit to it, right? While we were had to be tightwads in medical school and residency, we haven’t worried about money since. It just hasn’t been an issue. So, we both sacrificed for a few years.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
And I think I promised you at some point that there was going to be a point where you could buy whatever you want, drive whatever you want and live wherever you want. Right? And we’re at that point now. That point came eventually, and it does for all attending physicians who will manage their money in a reasonable way. So, look forward to it. It’s great. But hang in there, it is a long road.
Katie Dahle:
And like what Jim was saying. Jim likes to say your best financial investment is date night. So yeah, making sure you’re maintaining that relationship. And Laura McElderry “Married to Doctors” talks a lot about being careful about not letting resentment creep in. That it’s not that they don’t want to be there for family dinner and to be there to help take care of the kids and get them breakfast and put them to bed that they would be there. But sometimes the medical demands make it hard, can impact those family demands. And so, trying to not let that resentment creep in because they can’t be there because really, they want to be there.

Dr. Jim Dahle:
Good advice. Good advice. All right. Well, thank you Katie for coming on the podcast. I hope that’s been enjoyable glance into our relationship and how we manage money.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
As I said earlier on the podcast, right now SoFi have the lowest starting fixed interest rates they’ve had in years on student loan refinancing which means you could save thousands on your student loans. If you are physician or dentist doing your residency, SoFi also has a new lower intertest rate for you.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
If you refinance your student loans through sofi.com/whitecoatinvestor, you’ll get $500 in cash send directly to your bank account. That’s sofi.com/whitecoatinvestor.
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Dr. Jim Dahle:
Thanks for those of you who’ve been leaving us five-star reviews on the podcast and telling your friends about it. One of our most recent ones comes in from EDJRX who says, “Lots of valuable information! I’m happy to have found your podcast in 2020. I came across it while listening to other financial podcasts and have learned so much on here and on your website. I’m not a physician but work in healthcare. Empowered by the information you provide as I try to reach financial independence. Thank you Dr. Dahle!” You’re very welcome. Thanks for leaving that five-star review.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
Remember, if you’re interested in that leveraging growth summit for physicians, this is the one from Passive Income MD. It’s all about entrepreneurship, real estate investing, those sorts of subjects at whitecoatinvestor.com/summit. It’s free unless you want ongoing access to the material in which case you got to pay a little bit of money for that.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
WCI has its own online course out that’s brand new CFE 2021 over 50 hours of top-notch material eligible for CME 17 hours of it. And that is on sale from now through Doctors’ Day on the 30th for just $679.
Dr. Jim Dahle:
All right, I hope you enjoyed the podcast. I’m looking forward to seeing you. If you’re listening to the Milestones to Millionaire podcast, it’ll be out next Monday and next week on the White Coat Investor podcast. But keep your head up, your shoulders back. You’ve got this and we can help. We’ll see you next time.

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.

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