"It is important you find individuals you trust who have the expertise to assist you," Jeff Witz, CFP, advises.
What financial professionals should be included in my financial network?
Creating a network of financial professionals is important if you want to stay on track and reach your financial goals as efficiently as possible. Physicians often attempt to manage their own financial lives but quickly realize their demanding schedules prevent them from devoting the necessary time to effectively grow and sustain their wealth. Whether due to exhaustion, burnout, or just procrastination, important tasks fall by the wayside.
Over time, physicians fall behind in their financial goals and have difficulty catching up later in their careers. Building a network of financial professionals can ensure that all tasks are handled in an efficient manner to keep you on track.
Everyone’s needs are different, but here is a list of financial professionals you may find useful:
Certified public accountant (CPA). A CPA can assist with many areas of your financial life. These services may include business and individual tax preparation, tax mitigation, financial reporting, and charitable gifting.
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Financial adviser. This title can mean many different things. Many financial advisers hold different licenses that allow them to provide different services. For example, a stock broker can facilitate the purchase or sale of stocks for a commission, and a certified financial planner can manage a much wider range of financial services. These services may include investment management, wealth preservation, tax mitigation, cash flow management, insurance, education savings, asset protection, and estate planning. Make sure you understand the various licenses and the difference between advisers.
Estate planning attorney. This attorney should help you prepare a last will and testament, draft health care and durable powers of attorney, draft living trusts, develop a plan to mitigate or avoid estate taxes, and safeguard your life’s savings and assets from creditors.
Insurance agent. Like the financial planner, it is important to know which products an insurance agent is licensed to sell. Some agents may only specialize in disability, life insurance, long-term care, and annuities. Others may only focus on car, homeowners, health, renters, flood, and umbrella policies. It is likely you will need two insurance professionals in your network.
Continue to the next page for more.Banker. You should develop a relationship with a banker at the bank where you have a checking and/or savings account. Additionally, they may be able to assist you if you need short-term savings instruments such as certificates of deposit.
Mortgage broker. Many banks offer mortgages, but it is not always their core area of competence. It is typically better to find a mortgage banker/broker who specializes in only mortgages.
The professionals listed here could all play a role in your financial life. It is important you find individuals you trust who have the expertise to assist you. If you are just developing your financial network, we recommend interviewing multiple professionals. Ask them questions about their experience, how they approach their craft, and how their services may be able to assist you. Then, choose the person you feel most comfortable working with. These are relationships you may keep your entire life, so it is important to take your time and get it right.
If you are looking to expand your network and aren’t sure where to start, speak with your existing financial professionals. Many will know excellent options in each category and may assist you in interviewing candidates. Another good place to start is family and friends; just use extra caution as these suggestions can be hit or miss.
If you can develop a network of professionals that work hand in hand, where everyone is working toward your goals, you have a much greater chance of being financially successful throughout your lifetime.
As a young physician, are there any estate planning items I should take care of early in my career?
If you own a home or assets of significant value, have children, and/or are married, then you may want to consider putting a last will and testament in place. It can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes in the event you were to pass away unexpectedly.
If you are not in any of the above situations, then at least getting a durable and health care power of attorney (POA) in place is important. A health care POA will identify who will make health care decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated. A durable POA will identify who will make financial decisions for you (pay your rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, debts, etc.).
Mr. Witz is educational program director at MEDIQUS Asset Advisors, Inc. in Chicago. He welcome readers’ questions and can be reached at 800-883-8555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information in this column is designed to be authoritative. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, investment, or tax advice.