“Rich Dad Poor Dad” is a great book written by Robert Kiyosaki. It's a story about a guy who had two “dads”, one of whom was a lecturer with lots of further education and degrees (his real Dad), the other who never finished school. Their attitudes toward money were completely different and as a result of this, the former died with lots of debts and the latter ended up a multi-millionaire.
I read the book several years ago and although I found it a bit Americanised and repetitive, there were some excellent fundamental principles which dentists should ignore at their financial peril.
One of the principles was that his Rich Dad always advised him to pay himself first. So rather than just save or invest whatever is left at the end of each month, decide how much you want to save for yourself first and then pay the bills after that. This is really an extension of the idea that you should spend less than you earn – any dentist that can do that consistently throughout their career is likely to create the opportunities necessary to become financially independent.
Another idea I’ve taken from the book, is to understand the difference between Assets & Liabilities. If you stop working today, an asset puts money in your pocket and a liability takes money from your pocket. So your main residence can actually be seen as a liability as the utility bills, maintenance and repairs carry on even when you’re no longer working.
Understanding this definition should encourage dentists of all ages to consider savings, equity investments and even investment properties before buying liabilities such as expensive cars.
Another difference between the Dads was that Poor Dad just focused on academia whilst Rich Dad took an interest in and learnt about finance. Financial education was the answer to his financial problems. Remember, it's not how much money you make that's important – it's how much money you keep and how long you keep it.
Another fun, easy to read book on the basic but fundamental principles of finances, which I often give clients, is “The Richest Man in Babylon” written by George S Clason. This book covers all the above ideas, plus lots more, told in parables about the ancient world of Babylon.