Dr. Jim Dahle (aka, the White Coat Investor) authored a famous 2014 post describing 150 Portfolios Better Than Yours. While an impressive feat, this is not terribly helpful to the newbie physician investor who just doesn’t want to screw things up while she figures things out. Social science and economics research have demonstrated that too many choices can increase anxiety, result in analysis paralysis, and in some cases lead people to make decisions against their best interest.
Assuming control of your financial life involves scrutinizing multiple aspects of your income stream(s), accounting for assets and liabilities, and establishing a timeline for achieving specific financial milestones . The Financial To Do List I’ve assembled is a checklist that you can run through as superficially or carefully as you see fit. I thought applying it to my own situation could be helpful in demonstrating how other readers might use it.
This morning I read a book review in the New Yorker exploring the inherent tensions in raising a child prodigy: you want your special snowflake to make the most of their potential without spending so much time in competitive mode that their childhood is defined exclusively as a long and dreadful slog toward adulthood.
Starting in middle school, my friends decorated their bedroom walls with posters of sports cars whose names, to my virgin ears, suggested high end Italian prostitutes.
Lamborghini Countach might wear something gauzy and translucent as she lured me into her softly lit Tuscan den of iniquity, while Ferrari Testarossa would teach me moves that were surely illegal in the U.S. in her Milan apartment full of mirrors and vinyl furniture the color of lipstick.
I come from a proud line of Costco shoppers. My father knows most of the cashiers at his local warehouse by first name. When I accompany him there during visits home, he claps backs and greets the staff like a Tammany Hall mayor, all the while whispering conspiratorially to me, “She recently split up with her baby-daddy,” or “Next week he’s getting hernia surgery.” Costco membership is my version of the Corleone family inheritance.
Just like your financial portfolio, once a year it’s worth sitting down with your priorities to ensure that those areas where you’ve made satisfying gains have not inadvertently created blind spots of neglected priorities. This was underscored by a funeral a couple of days ago - a family member I loved died after a long hospitalization. Weirdly enough, his eulogy served as inspiration for a checklist I’ll share below.
Financial Literacy for The Newly Minted Physician