Medical school students graduate with an average student loan debt of $192,000, according to a 2017 survey.1 And with a demanding career ahead of them, most healthcare workers could use the help of a dedicated financial professional. From tackling student loan debt to preparing for retirement, an advisor can help take the lead on managing your biggest financial goals. As you begin your search for a financial partner, consider looking out for these four signs.
Sign #1: They Have Referrals From Other Medical Professionals
No one knows what specific financial concerns you have better than your peers. Ask your fellow medical professionals who they work with, how they found them and what their experience has been like.
Alternatively, if you work in a larger institution (such as a hospital), you may have access to pre-screened referrals. Ask your human resources department if they can connect you with a financial advisor who may already be well-equipped to handle your specific financial needs.
Sign #2: They Can Serve As Your One-Stop-Shop
In a 2014 study conducted by the American Medical Association, around two-thirds of physicians reported working regularly between 40 and 60 hours a week, while another 20 percent reported regularly working between 61 and 80 hours per week.2
While this study is a few years old, you know as well as anyone that the demand placed on our healthcare professionals has only grown in recent years - especially amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
But, what does this have to do with finding a financial advisor?
As a healthcare professional, you need to find someone who can answer your questions efficiently and effectively. You don’t have the time or desire to bounce between insurance agents, investment advisors, student loan specialists, etc. You either need someone who can take care of all aspects of your wealth for you, or coordinate with other specialists on your behalf.
Sign #3: They Can Help Cut Through the Noise
Doctors tend to accumulate an astronomical amount of student loan debt - which isn’t exactly a secret. From residency to retirement, doctors are often targeted by companies and agencies looking to address their financial pain points - namely their student loan debt, life insurance, disability insurance, etc.
You want to work with a dedicated person who understands you need help sifting through your options, silencing the noise of a crowded market and focusing on your personal financial goals. You need someone who can think through your options for you, someone who understands what you need and which path forward may be most beneficial.
Sign #4: They Can Build a Long-Lasting Relationship
Medical professionals never stop needing financial guidance. And their needs will grow, evolve and gain complexity over time. While in your younger years you’re working to pay down student loan debt, you’ll likely encounter more financial endeavors like buying a home, starting your own practice, purchasing a vacation home, preparing an estate plan and eventually enjoying retirement. As you’re searching for the right financial partner, you may want to consider finding someone who's prepared to work with you for decades to come - or someone with their legacy plan in place to make your transition to working with a new advisor seamless.
If you’re a young physician in residency, is an advisor with a 30+ year career who specializes in helping physicians retire the right partner for you? They may come highly recommended by others, but they may not be the right person to help kickstart your own financial journey.
As a medical professional, you work, live and breathe your profession. Your job is demanding, your financial situation is complicated and you need someone who can take the reins and guide you from residency to retirement. While searching for the right financial advisor for you, ask questions about your unique financial concerns, gather recommendations from your peers and find someone who will be in it for the long-haul.