Considered one of the highest-paid professionals in the US and beyond, physicians have specific financial goals and needs that warrant a calculated and measured approach. Though they earn good paychecks, the average physician has mounting student loans to offset. Tackling this loan and the necessity to save can be challenging without the right guide and strategy.
Plus, physicians spend many years studying for a degree and working as a resident with meager pay and, as such, start saving for retirement at later stages of their careers. Not to mention lifestyle habits that broaden their spending against their income, leaving minimal room for “savings.”
As a physician, you need to work with a proven financial strategy to help you settle your loans without compromising your saving goals and ensure your earning capacity against unforeseen circumstances. Fortunately, a qualified physician financial advisor can help you accomplish this feat, such that you can live a quality life and retire with a healthy bank balance.
Hiring the Right Financial Advisor
Not all financial advisors are tailored to serve a physician’s unique financial needs, and hiring the wrong professional can ruin your expectations and cost you your future. Hence, it is essential to work with an advisor with ample experience working with physicians is very important. Here is a roadmap to hiring a seasoned physician financial advisor:
Trust is the bedrock of all physician-advisor relationships! Working with someone you trust enough to oversee your financial assets is ideal. Remember, your financial treasury is synonymous with your lifeline and must be protected. The last thing you want is to entrust hundreds and thousands of dollars to an individual or firm without performing due diligence. You must ask the right questions and do your homework.
1. Check Professional qualifications
The advisor industry is teeming with professionals claiming so and so qualifications. Today, some individuals can take a crash course and claim to be financial experts while lacking the technical know-how of the profession. Amid the population of good and bad eggs, it is imperative to single out professionals backed by accredited licenses. You must understand the certifications needed to qualify as a financial advisor. The top four certifications include CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CFP (Chartered Financial Planner), RFP (Registered Financial Planner), and PFS (Personal Financial Specialist).
2. Ensure Good Communication and Rapport
A trusted physician financial advisor communicates, gives honest accounts, and readily answers questions without brushing them off. You want to hire a working partner and not just any professional — someone who listens, addresses your concerns and responds on time. Determine the best communication channels, physical meetings or online calls, and stick to the agreement. The best choice is an advisor who complements your personality and understands your unique financial position.
3. Ascertain the Fee Structure
What is the desired payment structure? The payment structure is an integral part of a physician-advisor relationship. For example, a physician’s financial advisor might be fee-based or fee-only. A fee-only advisor recommends products based on your specific needs or goals, not by commission.
On the other hand, a fee-based advisor gets compensation from you and other revenue sources. The advisor will typically receive payments from bonuses, referral fees, and commissions. Most advisors are often straightforward about charges, so this shouldn’t be a daunting conversation. Nonetheless, confirm the payment structure before making conclusions.
4. Confirm Ties to the Medical Community
Besides hiring a professional with vast experience working with physicians, you should also confirm their motivations or inspirations for working with healthcare professionals. Perhaps, they were raised by physicians or grew up with a sibling who is a physician. Or are they married to one or formerly worked in a medical field?
A physician financial advisor with personal connections with the medical community is more sensitive to your lifestyle choices and will better understand the factors contributing to your life-long financial decisions. The same can’t be said for one who has no personal experience with the economic dynamics of the medical industry and is only interested in earning money!
5. Ask for a Legal Contract
While this is a no-brainer, many physicians must prioritize a written legal contract when hiring a financial advisor. Financial advisors must provide a written plan, but some will deliberately omit this step to avoid occupational death. There aren’t enough standard regulations in the industry, and you may pay a high price if you blindly go into a contract with an advisor.
The legal document will protect your investments and assets and provide a means to track your advisor’s performance regarding your needs and goals. It should include every detail, performance benchmarks, and annual fee reports.
6. Fraud Protection
In a world where cybercrime is at an all-time high, cybersecurity and data protection are non-negotiable. Thus, you must ensure that your prospective financial advisor takes necessary precautions to protect your data and other sensitive information against internet predators.
You should also confirm if they have solutions to counter data breach when it happens. Sometimes, fraudsters find ways to infiltrate even the most protected systems, so it is essential to have a plan B when the inevitable happens. Your financial advisor must have a solid cybersecurity system to safeguard your data.
Hiring the Best Physician Financial Advisor
Physician financial advisors vary by qualifications and experience. However, hiring one who has your best interest at heart is paramount. Carry out due diligence and ensure that the said professional has the right certifications and experience. Hire someone you trust to get the job done without compromising your financial values. Establish trust from the get-go and ensure a good rapport with your advisor. If you get this right, you will be smiling to the bank at the end of your professional career.
Any opinions are those of All Seasons Wealth and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk, and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy selected. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.
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