Why We Specialize in Assisting Physicians with their Financial Futures

Less than two percent of the US population gets to put an M.D. after their name, a testament to how demanding your chosen career path is. And your uniqueness doesn’t end there. Rigorous educational requirements, residency, and a potential fellowship preclude most physicians from beginning their career in earnest until the early 30s, or later.  While many of their friends are growing careers and net worth, soon-to-be physicians are still studying or working grueling hours, often with little pay.  One day the fevered pitch of underpaid long hours breaks, and real compensation begins.

At this point physicians tend to have more income in any given year than the average person has saved for retirement. While that good fortune may presage a fortuitous road ahead, physicians also have a shorter time-frame to reach retirement goals.  If the average career begins at age 25 and ends around age 65 (40 yrs.), physicians are closer to working only 30 yrs. (age 35 to age 65). This situation makes planning riskier than it is for the average worker.

Once income worries begin to wane, stress continues to pile up in other ways. You’re potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, want to limit medical liability, and are juggling with an unmanageable schedule. At this point, you might also be considering starting a family and thinking about vacations to regain some semblance of normalcy after all those years of education and training.

So, physicians go from making little to no money, to making a lot of money, but also have to figure out how to meet their life goals and pay off debt.  Personal finance and investing probably aren’t high on the list of subjects taught in medical school. Most of our clients need help understanding how to manage their finances and meet their goals.


How Centerline Helps Physicians

When it comes to financial planning, it can feel like there is a never-ending gauntlet of financial information and data to wade through.  Many physicians lack the bandwidth to manage their busy clinical schedule, home personal life and their financial future. Physicians are constantly being targeted by professionals in the financial services industry often with a “sales” mindset instead of a consulting orientation. It can be hard to know who to trust.

 We understand this complex interaction of factors because a large portion of our client base includes residents, attending physicians, and retired physicians.  That is why we have specialized a segment of our practice and expertise to understand the unique needs of physicians.

Here is a rundown of physicians’ career stages:

  • Residents: Student debt management strategy, emergency fund build-out, budgeting, taking advantage of employer benefits
  • Early career: Continue paying down student debt, home purchase strategies, disability and life insurance needs analysis, saving for retirement, developing an effective estate plan to protect loved ones.
  • Mid-career: Debt consolidation and eradication, budgeting, maximizing retirement saving strategies, investing for the long term
  • Late-career: Establish retirement budget, update estate plan, consider LTC insurance, discuss charitable gifting strategies, multigenerational planning.

As fiduciaries, we are determined to help you navigate life’s challenges and opportunities.  As a physician, your high-profile career means you need protection and guidance.

Our Process

Gather Information

We will ask you to do some “homework” and gather information like your company benefits, retirement statements, any investment or savings statements, insurance policies, loans or debt statements, etc.  We want to understand the full picture as to how your financial life stacks up.  Your finances are only part of the equation. We also want to understand your needs, wants, and values. We want to know how you envision your future and what goals you hope to achieve.

Analyze Data

After we gather the information, we analyze the data you have provided us and build a custom financial plan that helps you visualize and then meet your goals.  We illustrate alternate scenarios and suggest adjustments for you to consider in order to make your goals a reality.

Present Financial Plan

We don’t talk just about investments.  We will build a comprehensive strategy that helps you achieve the goals that mean the most to you.  Your plan may include: managing debts, building a budget you will adhere to, making sure you are taking advantage of employer benefits, discussing what is most at risk and which types of insurance you should consider, if any, discussing the importance of a will, other estate plan documents, and many others.  You are always in the driver’s seat, but our team will help you implement important strategies and track your progress over time.

Implement

We understand how busy your life is and you need someone to help you prioritize and implement agreed upon strategies. Having a long list of “To-Dos” can seem overwhelming, so we help you prioritize action items and check them off one by one.

Review

We want to meet and review the financial plan and track your progress with you.  Life changes and we routinely update your financial plan and goals to take those changes into account.

Give us a call at 502-242-1561 or send an email to andy@centerlinewealth.com if you would like to learn more about how Centerline Wealth Advisors can help you meet your goals!