Dear ODs on Finance Members,
We are excited to write our First Official Annual Report! As many of you know, Aaron and I started this small community of personal finance “enthusiasts” back in January 2018, over a couple of beers after a long day of clinic. We were frustrated with the lack of financial education in the optometric community and the amount of debt many of our colleagues were in. We both quickly realized that there were not any vital resources out there.
Hence, the ODs on Finance Facebook group was formed with a mere few hundred doctors. It was quite amusing back in the earlier days because it was usually just me and Aaron commenting back and forth within the thread (kind of sad). We never imagined that the community would become this large!
A special Thank You to every single one of you for sharing our message
In addition, we are happy to officially have Dr. Julie Phan OD on board, as of late 2019! She is a long-term real estate investor (while being a super mom/ private practice owner) and we are happy to have her on our team and in charge of all things Real Estate! We hope that she will be a wonderful resource for all optometrists who want to get into RE investing!
We always keep one single mission in mind at all-time:
“To spread the word of financial freedom for all optometrists and help them build long-lasting wealth”
We also want to be as transparent as possible. So here are our latest statistics year-to-date:
(1) Facebook Group
(1) Facebook Group
Our Facebook group still continues to be our largest level of engagement. We have some of the highest level of active members (Close to 94%) of any group - "active" means members who have viewed, posted, commented or reacted to any group content. We love how supportive and respectful the group is! Personal finance is often a touchy subject but we are happy to say that there are no “major a--holes” in our group. While many people might have opposing views, everyone discusses them in a respectful way.
While Aaron and I tried our best to contribute to every single post to help, we often don’t need to since someone else in the group has done an awesome job at providing some insightful comments! We do read and screen every single comment that is posted!
Special Thank you to our Top FB contributors, you probably already know who you are! Thank you to everyone for taking the time out of your busy clinic schedule to answer questions!
As you might have noticed, we did a complete design revamp for our website to make it more user-friendly. This was a major project in 2019 for us since Aaron and I do not have any web design background at all, but it was a fun learning experience. It is still a constant work in progress as we often worked late into the night to tune out bugs.
In addition, we really want to create more useful articles and guides that are applicable to doctors. If you want to contribute something or there is a financial topic that you are interested in, please don’t hesitate to contact us as a guest writer!
(3) Social Media (Instagram)
We made a big effort here this year with our Instagram account! We now have over 240 followers! Before you laugh at this small number, this was a 240% increase from last year. This was largely in part due to Julie who been an wonderful addition to our team. She loves creating engaging content almost every single day!
We thought about other social revenues such as Twitter, Pinterest or even Reddit but decided against it for now since it would divide our attention too much from our main platforms.
Thank you for following/liking/sharing ODs on Finance on social media. It really does help us spread the message.
(4) PodCast/Facebook Live Events
Did you know that we have a podcast? Yes we do! It is hosted by our wonderful Co-Founder Aaron Neufeld! I know it is a very millennial thing to have a podcast, but apparently Facebook live events where we interview certain experts within their field was the one of the most requested things in our private messages! And then members started to request these events in podcasts format!
So what did we do next? We learned how to produce a podcast of course!
Our sound and video were poor at the beginning, but definitely over time we decide to invest more funds into better production equipment. So please enjoy listening on your commute and we hope for 2020 we will be able to produce more episodes!
We were able to publish our first book “The Optometrist’s Guide to Financial Freedom” in November 2019, which took Aaron and I close to 1.5 years to write. We knew from the beginning that it was going to be a very niche book (targeting optometrist who are interested in personal finance) but we wanted to create a definitive guide for an optometrist to be financially successful!
Some Lessons we learned about how to publish a book:
- 1) Publishing companies take a ridiculously 80-90% of all profits, so we figure the easiest way was to self-publish via Amazon, which still took a whopping 70%.
- 2) We self-taught ourselves (because we didn’t have the money to hire a professional) on everything from how to write a book, how to format/edit and how to actually publish it. Thank you Youtube & Google.
- 3) Aaron had the bright idea to do an audiobook format (thanks buddy), which mean I would have to teach myself how to encode/format audio files to create an audiobook. Our audiobook got rejected by Amazon 3x time before it met its quality requirements. But we are very happy that we did (special shout-out to our narrator: Michael Badger) who did an amazing job at bringing a voice to our book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good content, lots of writing errors
“I think this book is very informative and would be especially helpful for optometry students. There are an enormous number of grammatical/writing errors present throughout the book which made it frustrating to read at times. I just wish they would have proofread a little more thoroughly before publishing”
- Yes, we sadly did pay a lot of money for a professional editor to read/correct our book and honestly she wasn’t very good despite high ratings. We even send it back for a 2nd revision, in addition to Aaron and I doing multiple edits back and forth. It was a good learning experience and we appreciate the feedback from everyone. Always room for improvement
But overall we are actually quite happy by the overall positive reviews by everyone! Thanks for all the messages and emails! We were also so happy to have donated over 120 books to optometry students to different schools! Here are some other reviews!
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice and deep content
"Very informative to the point information given at all levels of investment, finance, insurance, retirement planning, and running a successful private optometry practice. Highly recommend for all optometrists at every level of practice"
5.0 out of 5 stars Actionable Advice
"Dr. Bui and Dr. Neufeld have put together a great resource in "The Optometrist's Guide to Financial Freedom." From student debt to investing to practice purchase to long term planning, they've covered the most pertinent topics that come up in their popular Facebook group, ODs on Finance. They've been there, done/learned that, and are kind enough to share that hard-won knowledge!"
5.0 out of 5 stars Great approach to how to tackle finances for a beginner!
"Great approach to how to tackle finances for a beginner! Broken down in relatable and understandable ways for the reader. I think it is especially great for any student thinking of going into Optometry or any student in Optometry school to help form a plan on how to tackle student loan debt. Easy and fast read and I most definitely recommend"
5.0 out of 5 stars Very valuable information!
"I'm a 3rd year Optometry student who finished reading this book in just 2 days. Great information and such an easy read!"
(5) List of Recommended Resources
Almost every single week, we get members asking us for referrals for financial services or professional providers whom they can trust. As many members know, we often replied back with “Naw! You don’t need a financial adviser, just learn on how to do it yourself!” But we quickly realize that not every optometrist has the desire to manage their own finances or simply does not have the time to do so. In addition, even if we don’t need a financial adviser, all of us will eventually need help in looking for a mortgage lender, student loan refinance lender, insurance agent, tax adviser, etc
Hence the list of Recommended Resources was created! This was an extremely difficult project for us to undertake since your trust is so vital to us. We got so many inquiries from potential sponsors and often turned them down after chatting with them and researching them. So our secondary mission is to connect optometrists with the “good guys” in all professional fields. Through multiple phone meetings, endless research & previous client feedback, we try our best to heavily vet all of these firms. But, please continue to send us back feedback (both good and bad) about our sponsors. If we get enough bad feedback, we simply won’t renew their contracts.
Current Recommended List:
Currently in process:
- Financial Planner/Advisors
- Contract Negotiation
Our Student Loan Refinancing Resources was surprisingly the most utilized page on our website. After months of long negotiations, we were able to get some of the best cash back bonus and rates out there for our members! We currently have 8 majors student loan refinancing firms out there and we are still pending with Laurel Road.
(6) Annual Financial Report
- Amazon Affiliate Program (Recommended Books)
- Affiliate Programs
- Book Royalties
- Paypal fees (allows us to take credit cards)
- Business Registration
- Book Publishing/Editor/Narrator
- Audio Equipment/Software programs
- Web Design/Graphic Design Software programs
- Donations to school
We always crack up so hard when people ask how much money we made from our business. The truth is, not much! The amount of hours (on weekends, late nights and between patients) we spend on the business would likely equal to less than minimum wage. Aaron and I both love being optometrists and seeing patients! Aaron owns a successful private practice in Los Altos CA and I am the lead optometrist at our new Apple Wellness Center in Silicon Valley. The great news about this, we don’t rely on this business for income. whatsoever! Thus, when you have that freedom, it doesn’t feel like work. We write and create content simply because we want to help doctors.
Our Financial Conflicts of Interest
While Aaron and I try to be as transparent and unbiased when it comes to recommendations to our members, we realize the need to disclose any financial relationships or possible conflict of interest for all parties involved.
- We are incentivized to run guest content that relates to our advertisers’ businesses and sponsors.
- We are incentivized to recommend professional from our list of resources
- We are incentivized to recommend you to read our book
(7) So What’s Coming Up in 2020?
We hope to continue publishing 3-4 posts a week and constantly strive to improve the user experience though website improvements and constant feedback (good or bad).
We are planning to make a large VOSH donation as promised via our book profits. In addition, we are hoping to start an ODs on Finance Scholarship fund for optometry students. We were broke optometry students too back in the day - so we know students could use the money! We hope to involve ODs on Finance members and advertisers in helping us to fund the scholarship, and a committee of readers in choosing the recipient!
We will still continue to respond directly to every single member as best as we can via Facebook comments, email or IG posts.
We are planning to have more speaking engagements at optometry schools where we give an overview presentation of personal finance and private practice success to OD candidates. As of right now, our co-founder Aaron is scheduled to visit 4-5 schools in 2020.
Personally, Aaron and I tend to be workaholics; especially when it is something we are ambitious and passionate about. Our wonderful girlfriends (who been so supportive during these last 2 years and are probably tired of us talking about how awesome a Roth IRA is) have been requesting that we spend more time with them and our family. Since divorce is the most financially devastating thing that can happen to any doctor, it is definitely wise to invest in dates.
We hope 2020 is a great year for all of you personally, professionally, and financially. We couldn’t do this without each and every one of you, and we want to thank you for everything you do. Keep up the good work!
Sincerely, Dat & Aaron