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Why I Cater To Physicians Thumbnail

Why I Cater To Physicians

Someone asked me recently a question I did not have a good answer to. It seemed like a relatively simple one, but something with which I struggled to answer. And I think it was the first time I was ever asked the question. It’s a three minute read/explanation.  

The Question:

  • It was simply – How come you cater to physicians?
  • After being stumped and then thinking about it some, I think I can now explain why.  

Too Long/Didn’t Read Answer:

  • Physicians are okay with delegating.
  • They want to focus on the big picture.
  • There is an appreciation of my transparent and flat fee structure.
  • Finally, they get stuff done.  

Some Background:

  • This specialization has been an evolution over the years I have lived in this world. I started in this industry years ago at Merrill Lynch. A constant theme from our trainers was along the lines of “physicians make really tough clients.” 
  • I will be honest; I am sure that biased my opinion of taking on physicians as clients for too long. 
  • Heck, I remember my own personal physician asked about becoming a client years ago and I basically blew him off. 
  • Additionally, I have no physicians in my family. The closest I come to that is my wife is a DNP and is a nursing professor. She also says I have the least amount of medical knowledge of anyone she has ever met (hurtful, yet true). However, I have seen every episode of MASH at least 5 times😉 

The Evolution:

  • My initial training in this world was focused on gathering assets, managing investments and charging fees. 
  • Over the years my practice has evolved into an emphasis on what I describe as Real financial planning where we focus on things like a Statement of Financial Purpose, developing a vision of your ideal future, and worth vs money (I will write more about this later). 
  • There is also a huge dose of tax planning. 

So Why Physicians?

  • First off, the physicians I work with are completely okay with bringing in someone who has experience and knowledge in a world they either don’t understand or simply do not want to spend their limited time in. I have assistants. I delegate. My physician clients do the same.
  • When I refer to the “big picture” I am talking about worth vs money. This is where the Real financial planning comes in. Again, it is less looking at where their investments are on the efficient frontier vs more on whether they are working in or toward their vision of an ideal future. Physicians know more than anyone how short life can be and my clients want to focus their time to maximize things. 
  • I know this is a shocker to you, but physicians are preyed on left and right from this big, confusing world I live in called the financial services industry. Unfortunately, this world is made more confusing when you don’t know if the next conversation you have will be someone pitching you some high-commission product you really don’t need. The reason I started my own firm years ago is because I wanted to charge based on my knowledge, experience and services provided. My annual fee is $12,000 a year and this covers everything from financial planning to my investment management fees. I am totally transparent with what I charge and all fees clients pay. My trainers at Merrill Lynch would have a fit about that, but this is the reason I run my own firm. I like that I’ve separated myself from others in the financial services industry and can actually benefit the doctors I work with.
  • Finally, I find physicians are really good with follow- through. Whether it is getting me a tax return to review or their benefits package from a new position, they do not drag their feet and I don’t have to stalk them to get things done.  

Current State:

  • Hopefully that answers the question as to why I cater to physicians with my practice. 
  • My practice is now at the state where I accept one of two types of clients. First is physicians. If you are not a physician, you have to be referred in by an existing client. 
  • Like my physician clients, I know life is short and stressful enough. That is why I cater to clients I like, appreciate what I do, and I know I can help.