Course Description


This course offers doctors an academically rigorous introduction to all areas of personal finance, including: time value of money, assets, net worth, debt management, budgeting, investing basics, retirement planning, insurance, dealing with financial advisors, employment contracts, and estate planning.

This online course is self-paced, and comprises a series of modules consisting of readings, audio files, some videos, exercises, links to additional resources, and quizzes. Spreadsheet templates of household financial statements are provided.

The course aims to equip you with the basic, unbiased knowledge needed to make better financial decisions for yourself and your family, without having to rely on anyone else. It also prepares you for more constructive conversations with a financial advisor, should you choose to use one. 

* The course is designed to minimize bias by excluding industry professionals (financial advisors, brokers, insurance agents) from course design and delivery. The Pillars of Wealth initiative is focused on education. No financial products are sold.

Finance Professor and Founder of Pillars of Wealth Initiative

Dr. Yuval Bar-Or

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Introduction to Personal Finance Essentials for Doctors (Video)

    • Course Roadmap

  • 2

    Formulate a Financial Plan

    • Axioms and Time Value of Money (Video)

    • Lesson 1: Formulate a Financial Plan

    • Exercise: List Your Household Financial Goals

    • Exercise: Complete a Financial Planning Checklist

    • Lesson 2: Axioms and Imperatives

    • Exercise: Axioms and Imperatives

    • Optional: Time Value of Money Examples

    • Lesson 3: Pillar of Strength – Your Spouse or Partner

    • Exercise: Involve Spouse/Partner

    • End of Module Questions

    • Financial Planning Quiz

  • 3

    Know Your Net Worth

    • Know Your Net Worth (Video)

    • Lesson 1: The Balance Sheet

    • Exercise: Create a Balance Sheet

    • Lesson 2: Track Net Worth

    • Exercise: Forecast Your Household Net Worth

    • End of Module Questions

    • Net Worth Quiz

  • 4

    Manage and Minimize Debt

    • Debt Management (Video)

    • Lesson 1: Understand Your Student Loans

    • Exercise: List All Your Student Loans

    • Lesson 2: Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

    • Exercise: Are You Eligible for PSLF?

    • Lesson 3: Home Mortgage and Car Loans

    • Exercise: Research Mortgage Loan Offers

    • Exercise: List All Non-Student Loan Debt

    • Exercise: Compare mortgage payments under different scenarios

    • Lesson 4: Credit Cards and Credit Scores

    • Exercise: Obtain Your Credit Report and Credit Score

    • End of Module Questions

    • Debt Management Quiz

  • 5

    Accumulate Assets

    • Accumulate Assets (Video)

    • Lesson 1: Stock and Bond Pillars

    • Exercise: Examine a Corporation's Stock Price History

    • Lesson 2: Cash & Equivalents Pillar and Rainy-Day Fund

    • Exercise: Assemble a Rainy-Day Fund

    • Lesson 3: Real Estate and Direct Business Ownership

    • Exercise: Real Estate Appraisal

    • Lesson 4: 529 College Savings Plans

    • Exercise: Find Your State's 529 Plan Information

    • Lesson 5: Insurance Cash Value, Annuities, and Collectibles Pillars

    • Lesson 6: Precarious Pillars and the Origin of Pillars

    • Exercise: Assess Your Pillars

    • End of Module Questions

    • Asset Accumulation Quiz

  • 6

    Budget to Live Within Your Means

    • Budgeting (Video)

    • Lesson 1: What is a Budget?

    • Examples (Text)

    • Exercise: Create a Household Budget

    • Exercise: Classify Expenses as Optional or Non-discretionary

    • Lesson 2: Generic Career-Stage Priorities

    • Exercise: Career-Stage Priorities

    • Lesson 3: Periodic Financial Reviews and Implications for Net Worth

    • Exercise: Trim Unnecessary Expenses

    • End of Module Questions

    • Budgeting Quiz

  • 7

    Learn and Apply Investing Basics

    • Understanding Risk and Return (Video)

    • Lesson 1: Understand Risk and Return

    • Understanding Risk Tolerance (Video)

    • Exercise: Take a Risk Tolerance Questionnaire

    • Lesson 2: Are You a Passive or Active Investor?

    • Exercise: Should You Be a Passive or Active Investor?

    • Lesson 3: Create an Investment Portfolio

    • Exercise: Create an Asset Allocation

    • Exercise: Select Securities for Your Portfolio

    • The Three-Fund Portfolio

    • Lesson 4: Some Thoughts on American Stock Market Returns

    • Exercise: Implications of a Prolonged Period of Low US Stock Market Returns

    • End of Module Questions

    • Investing Basics Quiz

  • 8

    Plan for Retirement

    • Retirement Investing Accounts (Video)

    • Lesson 1: Retirement Planning Introduction and Golden Goose Principal

    • Exercise: Draft a Retirement Budget Forecast

    • Exercise: Calculate Your Golden Goose Principal

    • Lesson 2: Retirement Accounts

    • Exercise: Inventory Your Retirement Plans

    • Exercise: Examine Your Current Employer's Retirement Plan

    • Lesson 3: Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

    • Backdoor Roth IRA

    • Lesson 4: Regular Brokerage Accounts

    • Exercise: Assess Diversification Across Your Accounts

    • Lesson 5: Tax Considerations and Asset Location

    • Lesson 6: Prepare for Retirement

    • End of Module Questions

    • Retirement Planning Quiz

  • 9

    Insure People and Property

    • Insurance Introduction (Video)

    • Lesson 1: What is Insurance for?

    • Exercise: How Reliable is Your Insurance Company?

    • Lesson 2: Insurance Types and Terminology

    • Exercise: Types of Insurance to Consider (Video)

    • Lesson 3: Disability Insurance

    • Disability Insurance (Video)

    • Exercise: Obtain Some Disability Insurance Quotes

    • Lesson 4: Property and Casualty Insurance

    • Exercise: Obtain a Quote for an Umbrella Insurance Policy

    • Lesson 5: Life Insurance

    • Life Insurance Policy Types (Audio)

    • Exercise: How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

    • Exercise: Obtain Some Term Life Insurance Quotes

    • Final Thoughts on Insurance

    • End of Module Questions

    • Insurance Quiz

  • 10

    Deal with Financial Advisors

    • Introduction to Working with Financial Advisors (Video)

    • Lesson 1: Financial Advisors' Sales Agenda

    • Do-It-Yourself and Accepting Peers' Advice (Audio)

    • Exercise: Where Does Your Financial Advice Come From?

    • Lesson 2: Advisor Functions, Alignment, Fees, and Expertise

    • Advisor Alignment (Audio)

    • Advisor Fees (Audio)

    • Advisor Expertise (Audio)

    • Exercise: Regulation Best Interest

    • Lesson 3: Finding an Advisor

    • Exercise: Check the Background of Advisor Candidates

    • Lesson 4: Interview Prospective Advisors

    • Exercise: Evaluate Advisor Candidates

    • Interviewing Advisors - Questions to Ask

    • Lesson 5: Final Thoughts - Your Responsibilities

    • End of Module Questions

    • Deal with Financial Advisors Quiz

  • 11

    Negotiate Employment Contracts

    • Employment Contract Introduction (Video)

    • Lesson 1: Review Employment Contract & Compensation

    • Compensation (Audio)

    • Exercise: Draft Your Wish List(s)

    • Lesson 2: Benefits & Medical Malpractice Insurance

    • Exercise: Research Benefits at Prospective Employer

    • Lesson 3: Common Contract Clauses

    • Lesson 4: Interviewing

    • Exercise: Negotiating Skills

    • End of Module Questions

    • Employment Contracting Quiz

  • 12

    Consider Estate Planning

    • Estate Planning Introduction

    • Lesson 1: Estate Planning Documents

    • Exercise: Search for a Basic Will

    • Exercise: Compile All Relevant Estate Planning Documents

    • Lesson 2: Asset Protection Planning

    • Exercise: Assess Your Asset Protection Plan

    • Exercise: Consider Your Legacy

    • Lesson 3: Parents' Estate Planning

    • Exercise: Discuss Estate Planning with Your Parent(s)

    • End of Module Questions

    • Estate Planning Quiz