Expert Interview with James Dahle on Reputation Management for Doctors

james dahle

Physicians who seek to invest suffer scrutiny not only as investors but as physicians who are investing. It can be easy for them to get taken advantage of by unscrupulous business people.

Medical professional and investor James Dahle of whitecoatinvestor.com provides some insight on how doctors can protect themselves and their reputations when investing.

How much stock should physicians or anyone else seeking to invest money put into online reputations of financial advisors?

Knowing the trash that shows up on “rating sites” for physicians, I’d be wary to believe much of what I read on rating sites for financial advisors. I do like to look at a financial advisor’s website, but primarily to ascertain their training, experience, fees, and investment philosophy.

What are a few ways a financial advisor can enhance or improve their online reputation?

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Although I don’t put much stock into online reviews of financial advisors, I’m sure many prospective clients do. Responding appropriately to criticism of your services can be very helpful, as can soliciting clients that like you to put positive reviews on the same site. A great example of this can be found on my blog post where I reviewed Larson Financial. Tom Martin not only replied himself in the comments section, but also had many clients post their positive experiences in the comments section as well.

The most important website for a financial advisor is his own. That one should be high quality and sufficient to dispel any bad things written about him on other sites.

Do you worry about your reputation as a physician from the things you post on your blog?

Luckily, I don’t have to worry so much about my individual reputation as a physician; since as an emergency physician, my patients don’t choose me based on that. They are far more concerned about the reputation (or more importantly the location) of my hospital. Of course, I always worry about my reputation as a person online. It helps if you always write as though you were sitting across the room from your reader. There is no anonymity for a blogger like me.

How do you handle negative comments when you write on controversial topics?

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If they’re really negative, I simply delete them. I try to refocus commentators on ideas, rather than personal attacks. Often times I reword comments to change the tone without changing the ideas. But if you want to have an online presence, you need a thick skin.

Should physicians worry about their reputation as doctors when they are investing, especially since any bad investments often make the headline news along with the names of major investors?

I suppose so. Many people probably associate incompetence in investing with incompetence in doctoring, whether that is a fair association or not. Avoiding “specialized” investments like private funds, real estate deals, or hedge funds and sticking with bread and butter index funds not only provides better returns over the long run, but also avoids this concern.

On my website, http://whitecoatinvestor.com, I help physicians and other highly-paid professionals get a “fair shake” on Wall Street. There are far too many physicians struggling financially because of easily-corrected personal finance and investing habits.

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