I Shall Call Him Mini-Me
Something exciting is happening in the world of physician financial independence blogs. A major disruption that might, in retrospect, be entrepreneurial genius. The White Coat Investor has formed an alliance with Physician on FIRE and purchased a stake (along with his business manager) in the latter’s website. Why does this matter? Why should you care? Why, in a cynical world where consolidation of power is often viewed with skepticism, does this union seem to have the support of their considerable followings?
The Beloved Veteran
The White Coat Investor (WCI) is the James Brown of physician financial blogging - he is the hardest working blogger in show business. He’s a self-made phenomenon who lived frugally; posted prolifically as a Boglehead before it was a thing; served our country in the military; achieved millionaire status by age 37; and somehow finds time to be a dad to four kids, reply to blog comments, and enjoy canyoneering trips most of us only dream of. We love him because as readers he's been speaking to our better financial angels since 2011. If only we applied the same discipline and work ethic to our personal finances that we once did to studying organic chemistry, we might live a personal variant of his life.
The Charismatic Rookie
Physician on FIRE (PoF) dropped into the scene in January 2016, and took off like a rocket. This doc and his logo appeared extensively throughout comments in many financial independence blogs, resulting in numerous reciprocated guest posts that further catapulted his already rising star. The story was spectacular: lovable mathlete forsakes ivy league acceptance to attend affordable state schools, works his tail off in anesthesiology locums jobs, builds a fancy dream house out of residency only to take a loss on it, and despite it all achieves financial independence by age 39! If this guy can support his wife, 2 kids, and a love of beer (while still answering no to the CAGE questionnaire), there is little preventing the rest of us from calling it quits after a decade in medicine as well. PoF is the person many mid-career docs dream of being, the well-mannered team player with sufficient F-U funds saved to work on his terms, and to walk away completely when a more interesting second act (travel, parenting, blogging) comes along. We co-opted his dreams as our own, and vicariously thrilled at his progress toward walking away from all the aggravations of modern medicine. He is our Dolly Parton in 9 to 5, and we continue to cheer him on as he prepares to stick it to the boss.
Axis of Good
WCI recognized that despite being the leader in his field for the entirety of his blog’s existence, a bold new voice had finally arrived, and both were now being endorsed by the same enthusiastic fan base. WCI, who has mentored a number of physician financial bloggers, apparently served as a resource for PoF as his site grew and traffic increased. Where a lesser blogger might have felt threatened, the entrepreneur in WCI saw an opportunity too good to pass up. PoF is the dream for those of us who want to exit medicine completely. WCI is the dream for those who want to optimize the business of medicine in order to more fully enjoy and extend the practice of medicine. Most practicing physicians fall somewhere along the spectrum and stand to learn a great deal from both bloggers. In fact, the complementary posting dates naturally incline the content-hungry reader to alternate sites depending on the day (smart move, PoF!).
So now we find the physician finance blogosphere to have consolidated some upper tiers of influence and power under the aegis of the WCI Network. The reception has been encouraging, the readers are excited, and both bloggers have no shortage of talent or ideas.
As one who has taken great vicarious pleasure in their personal victories over the years while devouring their posts, I look forward to this newly formed Axis of Good, and wish them success in helping other physicians take control of their financial lives. May your bromance help more of us reclaim time as our most valuable asset!