Know How to Negotiate Your Contract!

What does it take to thrive? To reach your financial goals, it’s best to enlist the assistance of professional negotiators with your best interest in mind when negotiating a physician contract. We do the legwork for you so you can focus on your patients and life’s work while we fight for the best deal you can get.

It is not advised to rely on basic research when it comes to how to negotiate such an important document. A lot of advice articles that you find online will only cover straightforward scenarios and basics that don’t address the special circumstances that occur during real contract negotiations. That’s why you need experts on your side.

Because they are legal documents that set the stage for you financially, our contract review process includes both an attorney and a financial advisor. The former evaluates your compensation and financial position overall; the latter incorporates this evaluation into the legal review and negotiation process.

The process works like this: you provide us with your employment documents and other information related to the opportunity. Then we schedule two important calls: one with one of our expert financial advisors and the other with an attorney, each of whom specializes in guiding doctors through the contract negotiation process.

During your call with the financial advisor, s/he will provide a detailed, written comparison of your offer to industry standards as well as the MGMA database and our own database, and then use that to discuss what changes could be requested.  During your call with the attorney, s/he will incorporate the issues discussed with the financial advisor, discuss issues posed by the legal documents, and then coach you in negotiation strategy.

After these calls, if you would like to continue communications with the employer, we will wait in the wings, ready to answer any questions, step in if needed, and prepared to review and discuss the employer’s response. If you would like the attorney to negotiate for you, s/he is willing to do so for no additional charge.

The average client will have thorough phone calls with the advisor and attorney at the initial review stage, and then a briefer phone call or email correspondence after negotiation, in order to review the employer’s response, to help decide whether to sign the new (normally final) contract version.

Long story short? Physician employment agreements are complex. We can help ensure you negotiate a contract that will allow you to thrive.

Let’s talk!

We Do the Legwork When it Comes to Disability Insurance

Life happens. As a physician, what would you and your family do if you couldn’t work for an extended period of time because of an illness or injury? Your mortgage and bills? Your savings? Your lifestyle? It’s the “what if” scenarios that lead us to recommend disability insurance, particularly for physicians..

If you’re looking for different disability insurance alternatives and trying to balance cost and value, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to make sure you have access to only the BEST insurance companies for physicians.

When it comes to disability insurance, there’s a lot to consider.

We know you may have questions about the best time to buy, which riders you need, how much insurance you need, whether you need a supplemental policy if your residency already provides one, or how different policies work together — and we will help navigate you through all those details.

We do the research for you so you can focus on what you do best: diagnosing illnesses and saving lives.

Think of us as your personal disability insurance shoppers, pulling together multiple options to help you protect your income at the lowest price possible. And, as we are not tied to any particular insurance product or carrier, we stay unbiased in our approach.

Did we mention we provide discounts? Because so many physicians use us for disability insurance planning, we have access to discounts at most medical institutions across the U.S.

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What Your Kids Can Learn About Financial Health from You

Ask any 4-year-old what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll get a hodgepodge of answers ranging from the adorable to the extreme.

“A firefighter!” “A rock star!”  “A squirrel!”

One timeless profession that has proven to be a top choice for kids decade after decade, however, is that of the doctor. Especially if they have a parent or family member they look up to who is a doctor.

What are we supposed to say to our children, who are looking up at us with twinkly eyes full of hope and excitement, when they tell us they want to be just like us? We tell them that we think it’s great that they want to help people, and they can be whatever they want to be if they work hard and study in school. We certainly don’t whisper about the pitfalls: the long hours, the rough cases, and the…dun dun dun…student loans.

Becoming a doctor is a huge commitment, and that commitment is probably at the back of your mind when your child tells you they want to follow in your footsteps. The amount of extra schooling that it takes and the subsequent debt is nothing to scoff at. Of course, you got through it, and if you got through it, your child can get through it. But after spending 10 years in medical school and residency and racking up sizable debt with student loans, it’s easy to empathize with doctors who may not wish the long journey on their own children.

One of the best things we can do for our kids is teach them about debt and credit and investments to help their future shine as brightly as it can.

The upside is that your child  – like you – will make a great living if he or she follows through with medical school. One thing that isn’t taught in schools as thoroughly as it should be is financial health. Many kids are leaving high school not knowing how to balance a checkbook let alone understanding the ins and outs of IRAs or disability insurance. One of the best things we can do for our kids is teach them about debt and credit and investments to help their future shine as brightly as it can. That is invaluable knowledge passed down.

Only 21% of physicians are “very confident” in their personal financial decisions. We’re here to help you make all the right investments so that you can reduce debt and plan for a lucrative retirement. We hope that by helping you thrive, you can pass down that wealth (both literally and figuratively) for generations to come, and set a great example for your kids on how to invest in their future.

Retire Early…for Your Family

If you make the right choices along the way, there’s a good chance you will be able to retire early, which would bring a wealth of benefits to you and your family. Those right choices include saving in multiple “buckets,” investing in smart funds, avoiding unnecessary debt, and making other sound financial choices.

It should be no secret to learn that retiring early can increase your quality of life. The reduced stress is good for your physical and mental health, not to mention all the newfound time you would have to exercise, pursue your favorite hobbies, and spend quality time with the people you love. Retiring early means getting to hang up the ol’ stethoscope at age 45 or 50 instead of 65 or even older; and that’s an age you can actually enjoy!

Perhaps most importantly, retiring early will give you more time with your kids and family while you (and they) are still young and you can enjoy activities together. No more coordinating nightmarish schedules to try to be present at important family events. No more working late nights or early mornings and missing out on holidays and invaluable memories. No more worrying about what’s happening at the clinic or with a patient. All those years of working long hours and crazy schedules will finally pay off as your family gets you – all of you – all of the time.

“The good news is that as a physician, you can absolutely retire early.”

The good news is that as a physician, you can absolutely retire early. This is a job perk available to you if you plan ahead. You have worked hard to get to where you are, and knowing how to save and invest your salary will determine when you can retire and live a lifestyle you’re comfortable with for the rest of your years. Unfortunately, most physicians have neither the time nor the interest in investing and financial planning. That’s where we step in.

We work solely with physicians, and all of our financial planning services are centered around your success. Our goal is for your investments to thrive. When you do well, we do well, and we are committed to helping you achieve your full potential.

We plan for the long-term and intend to be your advising partner through your career and lifetime. Just as you vow to look out for your patients’ best interest, we are here to look after yours. If you’re ready to start planning for your early retirement, call us for a complimentary consultation.

Pros & Cons of Investing in an IRA

Is an IRA good for your situation?

For those who don’t know what an IRA is, it stands for an individual retirement account. They are a popular place to save for retirement because they are flexible from the standpoint of what you can invest in. For example you can choose mutual funds, ETFs, index funds, bonds, stocks, and even things like limited partnerships and collectibles. Another major reason for their popularity is that they provide a tax deduction so that you can reduce your income taxes.

What about the bad news? Here are some of the reasons why they are not popular…

  • iraYou cannot borrow from the account. It is stuck in there until age 59.5
  • No selling property to it
  • Not able to use it as security for a loan
  • Cannot buy property for personal use

The big issue with IRAs are the penalties. If you go outside of the investment restrictions it can cost you big time.

Anything from the amount of money taken from the IRA to the entire balance being treated as taxable income if you violate the restrictions.

The penalty is for pulling the money out before the eligible retirement window is 10%

  • The most common limitation to traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are the income limits. Once you make over a certain amount, you cannot contribute to them any longer in the normal prescribed manner. You have to use additional methods in order to participate in them to get around the income restrictions.
  • The biggest drawback of all in my opinion to IRAs is that you can’t invest very much. They limit your contribution to $5500 in 2016.

What about IRAs in the employer sponsored world? Is that possible?

Yes, IRAs can be used for SEPs and Simples. They are employer sponsored retirement plans. Both of them are set up for each participant. Simples are similar but are subject to additional special rules which we won’t get into today.

For self-employed doctors with no employees, SEPs are a great place to save for retirement. Usually, any of that income you earn on your own as a contractor qualifies. Instead of being limited to $5500 you can do up to the greater of 25% or $53k in 2016. For example if you are making less than $200k you would fall under the 25% rule but once you make over $212k you can do the full $53k.

Retirement plans offered through the workplace usually limit participants to an 18k contribution per year if they have a 401k, 403 or 457b. With a SEP you can do much more than this which provides a much needed boost toward retirement savings.

What should you do in your situation? Which type of IRA program is best and how should you go about getting the most out of them? Talk with you advisor or feel free to contact us. We are a fee only financial planner and investment advisor and would be happy to take any of your questions.

doctors life podcast

The Doctor’s Life Podcast 046- Financial Planning Technology Has Changed Everything

The Game Has Changed With New Financial Planning Technology

When you think of financial planning, you may think of endless paperwork and hand cramps just to get started. That has all changed. You could say that it’s not your dad’s financial plan any longer.

Nick Schneider is back on The Doctor’s Life Podcast to talk about technology in the financial planning world, and how it has made it easier for all involved. All episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast are available here, iTunes, and Android. Make sure to subscribe and you will be the first to get new episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast. Continue reading…

What’s The Deal With Taxes?

Feel like you’re paying too much for taxes? You are not alone.

“No new taxes!”. Those were the words of George Bush Sr. when he was running for president in 1988. Similar messages are communicated and thought of not only during election years, but this sentiment resonates in the minds of most who are trying to find ways to lower the amount of taxes they pay regardless if it’s an election year.

3D Reduce Taxes Crossword on white backgroundIf I were to ask you if you think taxes are higher than they were 30 years ago, most of you would say yes. While this is true, it’s not quite that simple, let me explain. Approximately 30 years ago, there were only 2 income tax brackets, 15% and 28%. If you filed your taxes as married filing jointly, any income you earned under $29,750 was taxed at 15% and any income you earned over that amount was taxed at 28%. For single tax payers, it was 15% for any income earned under $17,850 and 28% for any income over $17,850. Today, things look a little different. If you file your taxes as married filing jointly, you can make up to $231,450 before you go above the 28% tax bracket. If you file as single, you can make up to $190,150 and still be in the 28% tax bracket. For higher income earners, the highest tax bracket for 2016 is 39.6% and this percentage is used to calculate the amount of taxes you pay for any income over $415,050 for single filers and $466,950 for married joint filers. One common misconception is that if you make $500,000, the entire $500,000 will be taxed at the higher tax bracket. While this might be how it feels, this isn’t the case. You see, your income is taxed at graded increasing levels the higher your total income is. There are currently 7 income tax brackets ranging from 10% – 39.6%. To understand how you’re taxed we need to be familiar with a few terms. You may have heard of the terms marginal tax rate and effective tax rate. The marginal tax rate is the highest tax bracket someone is in based on their total amount of annual income. The effective tax rate is actual tax rate you pay when you figure all of your income because your income is taxed at the different tax rates so some of your income would be taxed at 10%, some at 15%, some at 25%, some at 28% and so on, depending on how much you earn. Continue reading…

doctors life podcast

The Doctor’s Life Podcast 045- Pros & Cons of IRAs

The Good and Bad of IRAs

When it comes to financial planning, there are several routes to go. Each typically has some factors that may make you pause. IRAs are one of the most common financial planning vehicles, and they are no different.

Justin Nabity is back in The Doctor’s Life Podcast studio with a list of pros and cons to IRAs that you may not have thought of before. All episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast are available here, iTunes, and on Android. Make sure to subscribe and you will be the first to get new episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast. Continue reading…

doctors life podcast

The Doctor’s Life Podcast 044- All About The Situation

Maybe you’ve been there before; Wanting out of your employer so bad, you’d probably take anything at this point. When something does comes your way, you realize it’s not ideal, but you still really want to take it because it’s not your current employer. You pass on it though and wonder if that perfect situation is out there. But then, that great situation does come up.

Nick Schneider is on The Doctor’s Life Podcast with a couple of stories of clients that were in this exact situation and are glad they waited it out. All episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast are available here, iTunes, and Android. Make sure to subscribe and you will be the first to get new episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast.