As physicians, we rely on having a team around us to deliver the best care possible for our patients. We lead teams compromised of nurses, CNAs, respiratory therapists, social workers, and more. We work together with a collaborative goal of efficient and effective patient care.
When it comes to our finances, we also need a TEAM. In order to deliver outcomes that we desire, a financial team must work together to help physicians achieve our goals. If you’ve attended one of our introduction lectures, you’ll know that the lifestyle we’ve worked so hard to achieve comes at a cost that is still above our salary once we’ve completed training. For example, to live a moderate lifestyle (having a $500k+ house, being able to take at least 1–2 family vacations per year, saving for retirement and college tuition, having a decent car, being able to entertain and be entertained, and all other associated living expenses) is still well above the income we earn after taxes.
Simply put, earning a good income is not enough. It is more important to know how to utilize this income in effective ways depending on life goals and the time we have to achieve the goals.
Savvy Docs use a TEAM of professionals to help us with this.
Who is on the TEAM?
You might be saying, “Why would anyone want to work with a resident who has student debt, a low income, and no disposable income?” It’s a good question, but the better question is, “Why wouldn’t someone want to work with a resident who will earn at least $200,000 annually for the next 30–40 years?”
This is how the team members look at physicians. They look at us as potential high earners who will have access to large amounts of money. They want to be part of OUR TEAM because they also benefit from us.
Physicians are universally thought of as poor business people (unless you are a Savvy Doc, of course!). Don’t believe us? Ask your local banker. We have earned this reputation by not taking the time to understand what is required to acquire true financial success. We are not taught the basic skills necessary because we are either too busy or think we are too smart. We rely on the fact that “someday” we will be making enough to live the lifestyle we want to live. Instead, we need to surround ourselves by people we trust to help us get to these goals — we need our TEAM.
How do Savvy Docs select their TEAM?
1. Find a banker.
Go into your local community bank (not big box bank) and ask to meet a banker. Tell them you are interested in starting a long term relationship and would like to learn how the bank can help you. This relationship will help you get your first house loan, consolidate debt, or acquire funds to get your practice started. Your banker should know you on a first name basis.
2. Find an accountant.
Search for accountants in your area that focus on health care.
Physicians will have the opportunities to participate in many types of deals (medical and non-medical). It is important to know someone who is well versed in these types of arrangements and the financial structure of physician practices.
Your taxes will also get more complicated and you will need assistance in learning the tools you need to help maximize your tax advantages and minimize your tax disadvantages. Meeting with your accountant 1–2 times per year can save you tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and other fees.
3. Find a lawyer.
Lawyers are key to helping us navigate some of our everyday issues (personal wills, family documents) and can provide counsel in legal issues surrounding any potential transaction you might participate in. Lawyers and Doctors often travel in the same social circles and often need each others’ help. It is important to foster a relationship with someone so you will feel protected when engaging in any business relationship.
4. Find a Financial Planner.
Savvy Docs learn financial planning skills so they can do most of their financial planning on their own. For others, planners can be important in helping set up retirement accounts and options to provide for short term income. Savvy Docs offers courses and educational materials for learning investment terms, determining risk tolerance, and applying that to different kinds of investments and accounts.
5. Recruit your Life Partner.
It is key that you and your life partner are on the same page when it comes to financial goals. Whether you combine your incomes or not, or live off one income or two, your life partner is a crucial part of the TEAM. Remember this affects them too. They can help you stay on track, help add to the income and lifestyle you want to have for you and your family, and help manage your assets. Enlisting the help of your team can keep you and your partner on the same page.
Having a TEAM costs money and time. But the team will save you tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. They will help you achieve your financial goals and can help you make tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Remember, you are a highly educated doctor. They are highly educated professionals who want your long term business. As a resident or fellow with limited funds, ask these professionals to discount rates for their services. If they are interested in a long term relationship with you, they will accommodate you.
Savvy Docs has a list of professionals we use that share our mission of education. Participation in our online or live courses will allow you access to these individuals.
You are the TEAM OWNER. You have to hire the general manager, coach, and assistants. You are in control. Don’t forget that.
Dr. Shaminder Gupta is a practicing nephrologist in New Orleans, Louisiana. He serves as the President of the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana and the Nephrology Section Chief at Leonard J Chabert Medical Center. He has started multiple ventures in health care varying from dialysis to concierge medicine. Dr. Gupta also serves as an educator at the Internal Medicine Residency Program at LJCMC and is able to share his passion for education with students, residents, and patients. Hurricane Katrina changed the face of his and many other careers over night. As a result, he has learned how to survive in the business of medicine. With his experiences in various business ventures and with education, he has an interest in helping others learn from his experience and learn to rely on themselves to support their families and future goals.