It’s true that success begins with setting good goals for physicians and dentists. Financial goals shift for medical professionals over the course of their careers in unique ways compared to other professionals, which is why it is good to seek assistance from a financial planner who specializes in the needs of healthcare providers.
It is prudent to think about implementing professional financial assistance from the outset of your medical training when you usually don’t have much in the way of material assets and need to come up with a plan to pay off your education debt. Beginning early will give you a greater reward on your planning efforts, as you develop a good relationship with a professional financial management firm.
Working closely with a financial advisor, you should develop and implement a comprehensive plan that includes strategies around the six money decisions: earn, spend, save, protect, and borrow. These discussions should cover budgeting, debt management, and a risk assessment for disability insurance, life insurance, and long-term care.
Begin by understanding your idea of success. Is it a luxurious lifestyle, a large family you will need to support and educate, a big house, fancy toys, like boats, cars and planes? Maybe you want to own a solid practice that will provide enough future financial security so that you can avoid money worries. Maybe you want to practice for an intense but focused period of time and retire early to a more relaxed lifestyle in which you can pursue other interests.
The key is visualizing where you want to be down the road and then working backward to set goals and milestones along the path that are aligned with your values.
Having a consistent and plentiful income is a wonderful asset, but without proper management it may not deliver as much as it could. You want to make sure you are paying down debt, establishing an emergency fund, choosing good investments, and estimating what you’ll need for retirement. And the earlier you begin the process of setting goals and implementing the steps, the more you will have to show for your efforts and foresight. You need to think both short term and long term.
Basically, you can expect to experience four primary financial phases during your career.
In Training – is often a time of limited cash flow and trying to meet a high debt load.
In Transition – is typically when you see an intense increase in income following residency. This is a crucial time to learn good money management skills to avoid potential pitfalls.
In Practice – is a phase that usually lasts the majority of your career and can yield great results with a cohesive strategy vs. a patchwork plan.
In Retirement – involves some unique considerations for physicians – including balancing income needs, tax liability and future concerns.
Others need assistance as they plan and execute the succession of a practice.
Physicians and dentists experience very different financial phases and challenges during their careers – from the lean days while in training, to the dramatic upsurge in income after residency, to becoming established in a practice and later, planning for retirement and the possible succession planning for your practice. Spaugh Dameron Tenny has developed expertise in each of these areas over the last half century.
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For over 50 years, Spaugh Dameron Tenny has provided comprehensive financial planning for physicians and dentists in Charlotte, NC. In addition to providing personalized advice, we walk our clients through their options to help maximize finances and maintain financial security.
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