Physicians in most specialties have no “products” to sell other than their expertise and advice. For that reason, productive use of time, both at work and at home, is critical. It has taken on increased importance among physicians just beginning their careers, for whom lifestyle quality and time management have taken on greater importance in their selection of a practice and even of a medical specialty.
Time management also seems to gain importance as physicians approach the later stages of their careers, and look to enjoy the benefits of many years of hard work and sacrifice. As the saying goes, “No one on their deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at work.’” But scheduled patient care, emergency care, administrative burdens, and adoption of new technology (an EHR for example) can challenge the amount of time left for dealing with all the aspects of family and personal life. Do you really want to spend time calculating your life insurance needs or reading about estate plan options in the few hours you have at home to spend with your spouse and children? Do you really have the time and expertise to know what investment information is important and what is noise? Isn’t there a value to having someone help you with these kinds of decisions?
Many busy professionals have realized that a personal financial adviser can not only provide counsel and advice, but can also coordinate the activities of attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, and investment managers to reduce the burden of financial “scut work.” These are the tasks that so often get inadequate attention or are neglected completely because they are mundane, confusing, and time-consuming. Think of an adviser as the chief financial officer for your home: someone who proactively advises you on the important issues while acting in your best interest on matters you have neither the time nor the desire to handle — you just want them to be done properly.
An adviser, particularly a fiduciary who is independent of sales commissions and referral fees, can help assess business opportunities, identify and plan for potential liabilities and threats, and monitor investments; they are a partner who can help simplify and improve the quality of your life. The benefits of having an adviser are outright: organization, efficiency, and a greater peace of mind knowing that these essential pieces are handled by a specialist whose work is coordinated for the benefit of your family. Equally important, such a trusted adviser can keep you informed of pending challenges, provide a disciplined approach to achieving your goals, and help prevent decisions based solely on emotions. And in the event of death or disability, the adviser provides continuity and is a source of information readily available to help the survivors with the transition.
As physicians, we are trained to make decisions independently, and then act decisively on behalf of our patients. But as medical training becomes more specialized, we have learned that our area of expertise has become more focused. We need medical consultants to deal with those issues outside of our own comfort zone. You have a team to help run your office and manage your patients; you want to devote your time in the office to dealing with patients, expanding your career, and generating revenue. Any distraction from those activities is inefficient and costly. Attempting to micromanage all the financial activities in your personal life can also detract you from the big picture: enjoying family and friends, growing personally, and achieving your long term goals. You need a partner who is free of conflicts, familiar with the challenges you face, and knowledgeable to provide advice and assistance to keep you on the path to financial independence.