Physicians and Medical Professionals

Is there an industry experiencing more change and uncertainty than Health Care?

We doubt it. The new direction in our nation’s health care policy is on the minds of physicians we speak with, who often have some of the following questions:

  • I used to feel confident that I would be able to earn and save enough to retire comfortably. But I’m not so sure anymore. I’m not looking to make a killing on my investments after I retire; I just want to be able to sleep well at night knowing that my family will be ok. How do I find the peace that comes from knowing that my family and I are still going to be able to live comfortably after I retire?
  • I’m a recent medical school graduate that is starting my career with $150,000 in medical school loans. How can pay down my student loans, and at the same time, buy a home, and save for retirement and my child(ren)’s college education?
  • I own my own medical practice, and am concerned it’s not going to be the wealth generator I originally thought. Revenues aren’t growing as fast as they used to, and my expenses are rising faster than they used to. How can I capture the value of my practice, without giving up the control I’m used to having as my own boss?
  • I’m a surgeon, and while I still enjoy what I do and earn a nice income, I’m burned out. How can I find the joy that comes from a work-life balance that will allow me to do other things, but still afford a comfortable lifestyle?

If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’re not alone. The focus on health care policy has a lot of physicians and medical professionals asking a lot of questions about the future of the industry, as well as about themselves.

With uncertainty come risks, and lower margin for error.

The lower margin for error comes in two forms – planning and investing. For physicians and medical professionals, the uncertainties of their industry make a structured planning process all the more important. In fact, it’s not much different in the medical world than it is in the financial world. Don’t physicians and medical professionals prepare a plan of action that incorporates contingencies before taking action? Being able to foresee and prepare for potential situations is the prerequisite for success.

After a plan has been established, it must be implemented successfully. Unfortunately, this is where a number of physicians struggle. Investment returns are not first and foremost about “beating the market”. They are about the required rate of return the investor must achieve in order to meet his/her financial goals. If an investor must earn 8% per year, and the financial markets drop 38%, but the investor only loses 30%, many would consider that to be a success, until they consider the fact that losing 30% just set them back 5 years in their efforts to achieve their goals.

William Bernstein, a noted author about personal investing, has this to say about the challenges of managing one’s own personal investments:

In the investment world, you are not above average. You are likely not even close.

I believe most folks are about as capable of managing their own retirement portfolio as they are of flying their own airliners or taking out a relative’s appendix.

Granted, we know plenty of individuals that manage their own investments, and some of them do it quite successfully. But they all have three characteristics in common.

  • First, they have the interest.
  • Second, because they have the interest, they spend the time, usually 10 or more hours per week, managing their own investments.
  • Third, because they spend the time consistently, they develop the aptitude to do it quite well.  

It takes all three to be a successful investor.

If you want to learn more about the importance of a structured planning process, or a disciplined investment approach, find yourself asking any of the above questions, or have your own questions and would like answers, we encourage you to call us. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you’re not ready to contact us but would like to learn more about the importance of a structured planning process or a disciplined investment approach, we encourage you to review the following sections:

  • A Structured Planning Process – How do you plan for the future when the future is not only unknown, but unknowable? Pretty daunting task, huh? One might even call it insurmountable, so why even bother? Because even though the future is unknowable, planning for it only appears to be insurmountable.
  • A Fundamental, Disciplined Investment Process – All the planning in the world won’t amount to a hill of beans if the implementation of that plan fails. The investment management of a client’s assets is the implementation. Where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. In order for investors to achieve the rate of return that is required to meet their goals, they must employ a disciplined process that is first and foremost tailored to their own unique situation, and is well-grounded with a proven track record of success. Then it must be structured and utilized in a way that makes it a repeatable process for each individual client, so that it doesn’t just work once or twice, it works for them continuously throughout their lives.