5 Advisers Whom Young Physicians Should Have On Their Side
For a physician to be successful in all aspects of their life it’s important to have specific experts on their side as they transition from resident to attending. Even those first attending years are splattered with danger as all sorts of entities try to sucker you out of your money, from insurance companies to financial institutions and even your medical board.
Most docs do fine, why pay for an adviser?
Most doctors who make it to a traditional retirement age will have several million dollars stashed away. It’s rare for a doctor to be poor in their retirement age, so why should a doctor get advisers?
Many physicians won’t make it to retirement successfully, stress takes its toll and either cripples a doctor due to cancer, hypertension, diabetes or doctors will succumb to suicide or substance abuse. Finally, quite a few doctors will burn out, battle depression, get fired or deal with massive lawsuits or even worse, terrible medical outcomes which will scar them.
My argument on this entire blog is that physicians need to carve out an escape path. I hope that most will make it through successfully and never burn out or experience anything negative. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a contingency plan.
Is medicine a sustainable career?
Most physicians out of residency who I have had the pleasure of working with say that they love what they do and that it’s quite sustainable. They see themselves practicing medicine well into their 60’s and many would love to practice until they drop.
Doctors in their late 30’s and early 40’s seem to be rubbernecking a bit. They are wondering if this is what life is going to be like for the next 2-3 decades. But still, most of them say that they can hold out until their late 50’s.
I then talk to docs who are in their 50’s and I hear things like “I have to work another 8 years and then I’m okay for retirement, I just gotta make it through.” They seem beaten down. Many are waiting to get away.
The majority of the doctors I interact with are primary care doctors. Maybe it’s different with specialists. Would love to hear what the rest of you health care professionals think in the comment section.
My concern is that there is a sample bias where the vociferous doctors, those who command the most attention, gleam about medicine and the rest, the majority, suffer in silence.
#1. Hourly Student Loan Consultant
When you were busy completing residency, you were too busy to keep up with all the legal changes in the student loan scene. All sorts of new programs pop up every few years. Plenty of new lenders come on the scene, some shady and many genuine.
You need someone who spends their waking hours keeping up with the regulations. Hire this man. Talk to him, consult with him and follow his advice. Even if you decide to not follow his advice, at least you will be making an informed decision.
#2. Fee-only Financial Adviser
Start interviewing financial advisers. You don’t even need to hire one, but you should be sitting down (virtually or in-person) with multiple financial advisers to find out what it is that they can do for you.
Understand what a financial adviser does. They aren’t there to get you the highest return on your money. That’s what most of my colleagues believe. Instead, they are there to protect you from yourself, from making big financial mistakes. In the process, they will teach you a lot about finances and make sure you pay attention to every aspect of your financial life such as trusts, insurance, budgeting, taxes, investments and savings.
I recommend starting with someone who is close to your own age. Someone who you get along with and who can see you and your family through to retirement.
You can start in many places but I would recommend here. Don’t work with someone who makes their money by selling you products. Even if they are well-intentioned, it’s easy to fall in with crooks.
#3. Tax Savvy CPA
Unfortunately, most CPA’s aren’t worth the money they charge. The ones that charge “ridiculous” fees are dismissed by many, when in fact those are the ones you need to be working with. But you can’t afford them. However, you can hope that your young, savvy CPA will one day turn out to be one of those amazing big-baller CPA’s.
Almost all CPA’s who I’ve met with, have sat down with me and asked me for my W2, had me fill out a few forms to figure out my deductions and then ran my credit card and sent me on my way.
When you’re young, fresh out of residency, you need to learn everything you can about your finances, especially your taxes. A good CPA will spend time with you, explain everything to you. They are building their network and an automatic referral because you will refer more of your doctor buddies to her.
#4. Personal Trainer
Doctors are notoriously out of shape. We should be setting a bit of an example for our patients in way of health, exercise, diet and lifestyle. However, after many years of training we may have forgotten how to even be in shape. It’s been a long time since we’ve prepared our own meals and eaten healthy. Many also put their careers ahead of their emotional and physical health.
Get a personal trainer, a good personal trainer. It’s the best money you’ll spend on your health. Don’t look for the beefcake. Find someone who has been doing it for some time, who can tell you a little about diet, healthy habits, how to prevent injury working out and motivate you to get in the right shape.
Maybe you are that health-nut and can start a personal training gig for other professionals to buy into.
#5. Life Coach
I never thought I would recommend a life coach. So many people call themselves life coaches after publishing a few articles, a book and giving a couple of lectures. They may not even be bad but you don’t have to find your life coach on a website or pay them a consulting fee.
Your life coach could be a family member or a friend, not just any of them, of course. Someone who is that great, rare listener, who can be honest with you and someone who you can be honest with and check in with regularly.
My best friend knows damn near everything about me and I have no problem telling her the most embarrassing things about my day. She gives me honest criticism and good positive feedback. I encourage her to be my think tank and keep me on track and set me straight if she sees me going too far in either direction. Maybe I do the same for her, not sure.
I would hire her if she was a life coach.