Welcome to our inaugural episode of Money Minutes for Doctors. For our first foray into the shifting sands of medical finance we speak with expert navigator Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP®, RFC, Founder and President of MD Financial Advisors. The goal of this monthly podcast is to help provide fellow physicians with a solid foundation of financial knowledge. Money Minutes focuses on the unique challenges facing physicians and the topic of financial well-being; as well as providing guidance in formulating strategies for a lifetime of security.
About Ms. Vessenes:
Ms. Vessenes works with over 300 physicians and dentists from Hawaii to Cape Cod. Her firm uses a team of experts to provide comprehensive financial planning to help doctors build their wealth and protect their wealth while reducing taxes now and in the future. Katherine is a longtime advocate for ethics in the financial services industry; and has written three books on the subject of investment strategies. She has received many honors and awards including: numerous tributes from Medical Economics as a top advisor for doctors, multiple 5-Star Advisor Awards, honored as a Top Woman in Finance, in addition to being selected to be on the CFP® Board of Ethics. Katherine can be reached at: Katherine@mdfinancialadvisors.com or 952-388-6317. Her website: www.mdfinancialadvisors.com.
- How did you become interested in helping doctors? Raised in medical family with physician father and nurse mother and learned from their financial decisions.
- Physicians are working in a much different environment today than previously. There have been changes in taxes, market performance, salaries and professional liability.
- Physician finances are unique because (1) medical school provides no financial education (2) late start toward earning an income resulting in less time to save, (3) physicians have high debt (4) physicians want to retire early and overall have a long life expectancy (5) physicians are in hight tax bracket (now and in the future) and (6) physicians are high risk for lawsuits.
- Make good decisions regarding debt. Do not take out any more debt than absolutely needed. Consider a state school rather than private or for profit institutions.
- Physician are busy and can’t spend time on finances. Taxes are a large problem for physicians. Common myth that hight tax bracket during years of employment but will be lower in the future however not necessarily true as physicians are in a high tax bracket during their employment and in retirement. Financial plans should work to reduce taxes now and in the future. Physicians are well known to make poor investments. Physicians are highly educated and perhaps makes them over confident in their decisions.
- Lawsuits are a reality of modern medicine. Physicians are always at risk for lawsuits. Ms. Vaseness has not herself encountered physicians sued for more than their malpractice policy. Physicians are viewed as wealthy and thus can be target for lawsuits.
- Be aware of your financial decisions. Know where your money is going. The reality is that you will not be able to buy everything. Focus on your top priorities for your happiness and spend money on those things rather than extras (clothes, cars etc). Make sure you control your money and your money does not control you. After taxes your salary is not as much money as you think.
Pearls & Pitfalls
- "Do you want to look rich or be rich?"
- Live like a resident early on as an attending and aggressively work to manage debt.
- Save early, as compounded interest will benefit you. “It's not how much money you make, but how much you keep”. Be disciplined in your saving and make it a habit.
- Be aware of your tax liability and plan appropriately.