As a medical professional & business owner, you might be reading this wondering – why do you need a Financial Advisor? Although you still owe it to yourself to know the basics of budgeting & financial planning, a good Financial Advisor will understand that medical professionals have unique circumstances that impact their finances. For example, doctors have higher than normal insurance premiums, many doctors owe a lot in student loans & like anyone with a high income, they can also fall prey to unscrupulous brokers & bad investments.
Like any specialist, Financial Advisors have built up the knowledge, skills, & network to help you manage your finances & more importantly, reach your financial goals with strategies that are tailor-made for you & your unique business requirements.
Here are 7 primary ways a Financial Advisor can help you:
A financial adviser will typically look at your finances with two main aims in mind. The first is effective ways to manage your debt & secondly, to help you build your wealth. They can offer advice when it comes to good debt like property investments to ensure you have a sound & diverse portfolio. They will also advise on how to reduce debt & interest payments.
2. Investment planning
We touched on maximising good debt, but a Financial Advisor can also help you create an investment plan that grows your money. You might want to invest in your practice, your home, property of every kind, shares or index funds & it’s up to your advisor to establish & manage your investment portfolio based on your budget, appetite for risk & the economic climate.
3. Organise loans or finance
You may need to borrow money for your practice or premises. A good Financial Advisor can help you access a bond or financing. Bear in mind that a good Financial Advisor doesn’t operate singularly trying to be all things to all people – they should have a network of trusted colleagues that they work together with to get you the best option or interest rate or terms. In this example, your Financial Advisor will work closely with a bond originator to help you access funds to invest in your practice premises.
4. Insurance planning
Medical professionals have more complex insurance requirements than most professions. An experienced Financial Advisor creates an insurance plan that is designed to protect your assets, income, family & business against loss due to illness, injury, disability, or death. They act as a broker to help you find the best insurance policies with reputable insurers & underwriters. Here is a list of just some of the insurance policies you will need to take out:
- Life insurance
- Medical aid
- Income protection
- Car insurance
- Home & contents insurance
- Trauma insurance
- Total & permanent disability insurance
- Business insurance
- Liability insurance
5. Tax planning
Although your Financial Advisor doesn’t replace the role of your accountant, they are complimentary roles in helping you build wealth & manage your taxes. High income earners are often in a high tax bracket & your Financial Advisor can help you find ways to legally reduce your tax liability & ensure you have resources in place to cover what you owe.
You’ll need to consider the following taxes with your advisor when it comes to tax planning:
- Income tax
- Capital gains tax
- Company tax
- Payroll & PAYE tax
- Goods & services tax
6. Estate planning
Again, a good financial adviser will work with an attorney who specialises in wills & estate planning to structure your assets for maximum benefit to your estate. Estate planning can be complex & typically involves:
- Developing a strategy to deal with your assets after you die.
- Preparing a valid will that states how you want your assets to be transferred in the event of your death. A will also needs to be updated as your assets & personal circumstances change, & your advisor is key in keeping your will up to date.
- Appointing an executor to administer a deceased estate.
- Establishing a trust under a will whereupon your death, your assets & the income & capital generated by those assets are passed on to your beneficiaries.
- Keeping records of capital gains tax (CGT) assets.
7. Retirement planning
How much money do you need to retire? When can you retire? What do you need to do before you retire? A financial adviser can help you get answers to these questions. After a lifetime of work, most people want to, at minimum, enjoy a financially independent retirement & maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Your Financial Advisor helps you plan & save for this to become a reality. They will also suggest other sources of income to fund your senior years, such as annuity, investments & so on.
How to go about selecting a Financial Advisor
Not all Financial Advisors are created equal & it’s essential to choose a great Financial Advisor that can grow with you & become a trusted source of support & advice in business & personal financial matters. Here are the top 4 criteria to look for when choosing a Financial Advisor:
o They have referrals from other medical professionals
Your peers & colleagues have a good idea of the financial concerns that are specific to medical professionals. Ask them for referrals of advisors they work with, how they found them, & what their experience has been like. Asking for a referral is one way of connecting with a Financial Advisor who may already be well-equipped to handle your specific financial needs.
o They can serve as your ‘one-stop-shop’
Doctors are busy & demands on their time is only growing as the world faces a higher burden of disease & global pandemics. What you want is a Financial Advisor who has a reputable network of colleagues & associates that compliment & enhances their service offering but the relationship is still with you. In other words, you only call your advisor when you have a question or a problem that needs solving, & they take care of the solution on your behalf with specialists on their side.
o They have a reputation for building long-term relationships
Although it may be unavoidable in some instances, the last thing you want is to have to change Financial Advisors regularly. Financial planning & wealth building is a long game, & you want to work with someone who can go the distance with you. Of course, some change is to be expected but your best bet is to choose someone who can commit to helping you reach your goals.
o They help you cut through the noise
We have touched on this previously but ideally, you want to work with someone you can trust & who can act not only as an advisor but someone who has a different perspective to you and can act as a sounding board & business associate.
A good Financial Advisor will embody all these traits & more. Also keep an eye out for advisors with a clear strategy, the highest level of professionalism & a proactive approach to help you make the most of your finances & reach your money goals.
Disclaimer: The information provided is general in nature & should not be considered sound advice. In all cases, you should consult with professional advisors familiar with your particular situation before making business, legal or any other decisions.
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