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Financial Education 101: How to Finally Get Started on the Path to Financial Well-Being

Before we start, here is a quick reference list for you to learn the basics for your financial education on this blog!

Read them all in 10-15 minutes and you’ll know the 20% you need to know to get 80% of the results!

Ok, so you’re somewhere between a PGY-1 and PGY- infinity. And you realize you don’t know the first thing about financial education and your personal finances?

Compound interest… How’s that work again?

Factor investing…No clue.

Cap Rate…Ok, fully lost now.

It’s amazing that we can go through so many years of education and training, understand the renal system, let alone the Kreb’s cycle (long gone from my memory), but we lack even the most basic understanding of personal finance.

The reason for this is complicated but to distill it down in simple terms, the reasons are: 

  • We get a highly specialized and narrow education, and 
  • We usually went into medicine to help people, not focus on money.

Unfortunately, sooner or later we must realize that money does matter. 

It matters in the sense that a lack of money or its understanding leads to undue stress, burn out, and diminished ability to care for and contribute to ourselves, our loved ones, and society through charity.

I truly believe that financial well-being enhances personal well-being and improves us as physicians when it is aligned with our passions and purpose. That’s why I started this blog.

Regardless of when we begin our financial education (remember, it only matters that we start, not when we start), we can all reach financial well-being. 

The nice thing about establishing any goal, including financial well-being, is that once we set our sights on it, all we need to do is figure out how to get there. We know we are going to get there one way or another because we are determined and gritty. All that’s left to figure out is which way. 

There are 2 generally two ways of going about achieving financial well-being:

  • Figure it all out by yourself, or
  • Use previous models, mentors, and experience.

The beautiful thing about financial well-being, for physicians specifically as well as anyone in general, is that there have been many others who have left breadcrumbs along the way and provided models for others who seek the same goal.

Why then, would we not seek their advice and experience so that we can not only replicate their success, but avoid their mistakes? 

I have chosen path #2. 

Since deciding that financial education/well-being as part of my personal well-being was a goal and priority, I have been determined to learn as much as I can from others, rather than reinventing the wheel myself.

I highly recommend that you do the same. I imagine that is why you are here reading this blog. We are both on the same path and can help each other stay focused on the goal and be ever progressing towards it.

I therefore would like to provide a guide to my favorite starter resources (blogs, books, courses, etc.) that I have and am using in my journey to financial well-being.

I have personally used and can vouch for all of the resources for your financial education that I list below! For each, I provide a short description as well as level of difficulty and category.


financial education
My two first (and favorite) personal finance and investing books…along with a third favorite (and highly recommended) book for all walks of life

The White Coat Investor

Category: General Personal Finance  

Level of Difficulty: Something for Beginners to Experts

This is definitely a great resource for me. 

The WCI has a blog, podcast, and book among other resources. His book was the first that I picked up and gave me an introduction to personal finance as well as the basics to start making positive changes in my financial life. 

His blog is excellent. A financial education mainstay if you will. I recommend signing up for the daily blog email so you can automatically receive it on your phone. Read this every day for a month and you will greatly improve your knowledge base. 

The podcast is good as well but he publishes a transcript each Thursday as a blog post which I usually just read instead of listening. 

Lastly, he offers a for-purchase course called “Fire Your Financial Advisor” designed to provide the foundation for managing your own finances. I did not take this course and was able to put together a comprehensive financial plan (which I will share with you later on) using the free resources offered. However, I imagine that it is a fantastic resource for those looking for something more structured.

The Millionaire Next Door

Category: Financial Philosophy         

Level of Difficulty: Beginner

This is a book based off of years of study by the authors into the habits and make up of America’s millionaires. 

The shocking overall finding is that millionaires are not what we typically imagine – flashy, driving expensive cars, living in extravagant mansions. This is what the authors call “big hat, no cattle.”

Rather, millionaires are prudent and pragmatic, focusing on saving and investing rather than consuming. One of the memorable quotes is a millionaire who states he drinks 2 kinds of beer, “Budweiser and free.” Obviously, this is a bit extreme but gets the general idea across. 

They are also usually small business owners. Physicians by contrast do not generally think like businesspeople.

This book is more philosophical and won’t necessarily give you an actionable guide to financial well-being. However, it does a magnificent job of giving you the evidence needed to change your mindset around personal finances and get your head straight about what it really means to be wealthy.

The Coffeehouse Investor

Category: Personal Finance, Stock Market Investing

Level of Difficulty: Beginner

This is a great starter book for anyone interested in stock market investing and general financial education topics. It can be read easily in a few days and presents a very clear and relatable approach to personal finance. More advanced concepts in stock investing are not delved into. 

However, if you just want to get your finances in order, invest wisely in stocks and bonds, and enjoy life knowing that your retirement is secure, this is the book for you!

Afford Anything

Category: Personal Finance, Passive Income, Real Estate

Level of Difficulty: Beginner

Afford Anything is the blog and podcast created by Paula Pant. She is a DIY investor and financial guru who reached financial independence without a high-income paycheck. 

She blogs and podcasts about personal finance in general, real estate investing (which she has used as a primary vehicle for her financial success), as well as passive streams of income like blogging.

The blog is clear, funny, and the content has a good mix of philosophy and actionable steps. My only critique is that the content does not always dive as deep as I would like. 

She also runs a course on buying your first rental property, but I have not taken this course.

Semi-Retired MD

Category: Real Estate Investing

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate

This is a blog run by a physician couple who achieved financial independence through cash-flowing rental real estate investments. They advocate a Fast FIRE approach to finance. They also just started a podcast called Rich Doc Poor Doc

As you will see, my financial plan calls for a hybrid approach of stock market investing as well as real estate investing with cash flowing rentals. My wife and I have done a deep dive into their blog, belong to their Facebook community, and even bought their course on the topic.

We are BIG fans and recommend this resource to anyone interested in safe, smart real estate investing.

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing

Category: Personal Finance, Stock Investing

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced

Jack Bogle founded the Vanguard brokerage and was a staunch an advocate of broadly diversified, low fee index funds as the vehicles of choice for wealth building. His followers (I am one) are called Bogleheads. 

Three prominent Bogleheads who also help run the Boglehead forum online wrote this book as a top to bottom guide to personal finance and stock market investing. 

The book is excellent! 

Start this book as a beginner and you will end feeling like an expert. They introduce all of the necessary topics and then do a deep dive into them. 

I recommend reading this book after another beginner one (like the White Coat Investor or Coffeehouse Investor) as you will have a better foundation to understand and implement the more advanced concepts. 

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Category: Personal Finance Philosophy, Passive Income, Real Estate

Level of Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

This is the classic book by Robert Kiyosaki. He details how he learned about finances from his rich dad (what to do) and his poor dad (what not to do). Both dads are actual, real people.

The book is a philosophical masterpiece regarding the mindset needed to gain financial well-being. It is not a how-to book but it carries a message with an even bigger impact. 

While real estate is a main vehicle of his, the book is not specifically about real estate and is also of benefit to those more interested in non-real estate investments.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is definitely required reading for anyone seeking financial independence.

Well, there you have it! You can easily choose any of the above resources and be fully on your way to financial well-being. 

There are infinite other blogs, books, videos, and podcasts on these topics, but these are the ones that I can promise will have results. 

How am I so sure? Because they worked for me!

Don’t stop here though!

  • Create more simple habits that will lead you to financial success!
  • Follow the links at the top of the post to become more financially prepared today!

What do you think? What resources have you used to jump start your financial education? Did I miss any good ones? Let me know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected].

    2 thoughts on “Financial Education 101: How to Finally Get Started on the Path to Financial Well-Being”

    1. awesome man- would add the 2nd WCI book, and then since I’m a neurologist Your Money and Your Brain literally blew my mind!


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