Book Review: Taking Stock by Jordan Grumet, M.D.

Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life has a few significant factors stacked against it that might limit its success in sales. First, people are squeamish about death. Second, people feel awkward talking about money. And third, there is a lot of misunderstanding about Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE). If you are put off by any of these things, I implore you to lean into the discomfort and read this book. [1]This is the first book review I have written for this blog. I had an opportunity to read an advanced copy which I was so excited for because it melds two things I am passionate about, Financial … Continue reading

The author, Doc G, as he is known from his podcast, Earn & Invest, has given a beautiful gift for those who choose to receive it. Through writing he has shared the wisdom accumulated from working as a hospice physician with thousands of individuals and their loved ones at the end of life. Most of us would otherwise never have the privilege to learn from these insights and side-step some of the painful regrets others would wish to warn us of. 

Let’s tackle the barriers to this book one by one. As expected, the author shares stories about death. But, only in as much to give important examples. He does not dwell on dramatic details, which could be overwhelming for some readers. The stories were written with compassion and heart. I found the narratives resonated with just enough emotion to motivate me to take action. Which brings me to the next barrier, money can also bring up a lot of avoidance. 

Money is one of those inanimate objects that can bring up a lot of unpleasant emotions. From worrying about not having enough to feeling overwhelmed by trying to manage personal finances. Doc G does not go into excessive depth about money management, which I consider a positive for this book. He keeps things clear and concise, with good introductory terms to get the reader started on a path to financial literacy that can be expanded upon later. 

Since FIRE has entered the mainstream there has been much criticism of the movement based on half-understanding and misleading headlines. If you are new to FI, this is a great place to start. While many individuals are proving that FI is possible on a lower income than previously thought, the traditional FI audience tends to be moderate to high earners. I think it’s important to keep that in mind as low earners could be put-off by some of the suggestions, such as outsourcing. 

For FI veterans, Doc G gives a different perspective, which reflects the evolving ideas that are now challenging the early FI formula of extreme sacrifice and frugality. Throughout the book are thought provoking exercises to empower the reader to identify their values and allow this to shape their choices. In my work as a psychologist, these prompts are quite similar to what I encourage my own patients to consider.

This book offers a wealth of practical advice. Spurred on by what I read, I have reviewed my old Five Wishes document for changes I would like to make. My spouse and I have started conversations with family members to learn how they want their legacies to unfold. There is still much I need to implement based on the guidance of the book.

As a hospice volunteer myself, I certainly felt ahead of the curve when it came to having my affairs in order. However, this book brought to my awareness certain gaps in my plan that I had not considered. For that, I am grateful Doc G challenged himself to write this book. Undoubtedly its positive impact will ripple beyond the individuals who read it and touch countless loved ones as well.  

Remember, while a certain level of financial security is essential to wellbeing, the most important things in life are not money or possessions. To revise that old bumper sticker, “He who dies with the most toys wins still dies.”

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1 This is the first book review I have written for this blog. I had an opportunity to read an advanced copy which I was so excited for because it melds two things I am passionate about, Financial Independence, and awareness of end-of-life challenges. For my bibliophiles out there, remember, you don’t need to purchase the book yourself. See if your library has it and if not, request a copy for the collection, or that one is brought in from Interlibrary Loan.

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