If you own or manage your own practice, you need to know how to manage the financial side of running a business and navigate tax intricacies. Historically, though, most doctors don't have formal business training. They aren't taught business management skills or entrepreneurship in medical school and get little, if any, on-the-job training.
The medical profession is stressful, and physicians often have little time or energy to make sound financial decisions. Time scarcity can lead to quick or rash money decisions that don't factor into a long-term financial plan.
Because doctors enter the workforce later than other professionals, their total earning years are shorter. Not only that, the income jump doctors experience as they move from residency to practice can mean "lifestyle creep" as spending surpasses saving and debt repayment.
Physicians' high earning potential also comes with a heavy tax burden. Incorporating your practice can help you defer and reduce personal income taxes, but it also means additional costs and complexity.
Physician compensation models have become more varied and complex – salary, dividends or a mix of both – and deciphering these structures requires specialized expertise.
As your career advances, student debt, irregular income streams, tax implications and unique investment opportunities demand specialized knowledge and professional monitoring.
Five reasons why delegating your finances can be a smart choice
Self-reliance served you well in medical school, but it's not always the best approach to managing your finances – especially as demands on your time continue to grow. While it may go against your natural inclination, delegating the management of your finances has clear advantages.
1. Benefit from professional guidance
Just as patients gain from your expertise, entrusting your finances to an advisor means you'll benefit from a plan that takes into consideration all the facets of your financial health. An advisor will help you make the most of your finances, freeing up time to focus on what matters most to you.
2. Tap into tax efficiencies
Taxes can significantly impact your overall financial well-being; an advisor will work with your accountant and/or tax specialist to consider tax-efficient strategies to reduce tax liabilities and preserve more of your income.
3. Ensure accountability
Tracking your progress is a critical component of financial success. Your advisor will establish clear, achievable financial goals based on your unique circumstances, make shifts if there are changes in your life or financial situation, and help you stay the course so you don't derail your long-term plan.
4. Make rational investment decisions
When markets fluctuate, emotions can get in the way of your investment strategy. A financial advisor offers a level-headed, objective approach to making decisions based on research, data and your long-term investment strategy.
5. Buy back your time
Time is a precious commodity for physicians. While you could choose to go it on your own, self-directed investing requires significant time and effort to research and stay updated on market trends, economic indicators and individual investment opportunities.
Put yourself first.
Delegating financial management can provide relief. And remember, delegation doesn't mean losing control.
If you’d like to talk, contact me at Shannon.Freitas@md.ca.
The above information should not be construed as offering specific financial, investment, foreign or domestic taxation, legal, accounting or similar professional advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of independent tax, accounting or legal professionals.
MD Financial Management provides financial products and services, the MD Family of Funds and investment counselling services through the MD Group of Companies and Scotia Wealth Insurance Services Inc. For a detailed list of the MD Group of Companies visit md.ca and visit scotiawealthmanagement.com for more information on Scotia Wealth Insurance Services Inc.
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