Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor for Anesthesiologists?

By  Brian Thorp

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Anesthesiologists have unique financial planning needs. Financial advisors specializing in serving anesthesiologists help them make smarter money moves to achieve their goals and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

While anesthesiologists, on average, rank among the highest-earning occupations in the United States, expenses can often take a considerable bite out of the total compensation they take home. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual pay for anesthesiologists in 2022 was $302,970. But from these earnings, anesthesiologists often have sizable student loan debt to repay, as much as half a million dollars, and costly insurance policies to maintain.

A financial advisor specializing in serving anesthesiologists understands their unique financial planning challenges and can recommend effective strategies to help anesthesiologists overcome obstacles and achieve their goals throughout their careers and into their retirement years.

You’ll likely find dozens of nearby financial advisors well-suited to help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. But the odds of finding an advisor in your hometown who specializes in serving anesthesiologists are slim.

Fortunately, many financial advisors offer virtual services so you can meet online no matter where you (or they) live. This means you can choose to hire a specialist financial advisor who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their knowledge and experience working with anesthesiologists is a better fit to help with your unique financial planning needs.

Financial Planning for Anesthesiologists

💡 In the Q&A below, you’ll gain insights from financial advisors who work with anesthesiologists to help them make smart decisions to enjoy life more today while preparing for a comfortable retirement in the future.

🙋‍♀️ Do you have questions not answered below? Use the form on this page to submit your questions, and we’ll update this article with answers from the financial professionals and educators in the Wealthtender community. You can also contact the financial advisors featured in this article directly to set up an introductory call or ask your questions by email.

💸 Smart Money Insights for Anesthesiologists

This page is organized into sections to help you quickly find the information you need and get answers to your questions:

  1. Q&A with Financial Advisors Specializing in Serving Anesthesiologists
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Financial Planning for Anesthesiologists
  3. Browse Related Articles

Q&A: Financial Advisors Specializing in Anesthesiologists

Five Questions with Cobin Soelberg, M.D., J.D.

We asked Bend, Oregon, financial planner Cobin Soelberg to answer questions he often hears from anesthesiologists he serves in his practice. As a Board Certified Anesthesiologist practicing in Oregon, Cobin knows firsthand the challenges of accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical school debt and the stress it inflicts.

After being burned by an accountant and financial advisor who each put their interests ahead of his own, Cobin set out to become a financial planner dedicated to serving his colleagues and peers in the medical field as a fiduciary with their best interests in mind.

From his home in Oregon, Cobin offers financial planning services to anesthesiologists locally in person and virtually nationwide. Here’s what Cobin shared with us in a recent interview to help anesthesiologists learn why it’s important to prioritize their finances and the benefits of working with a specialist advisor.

Q: What is a common financial planning challenge unique to anesthesiologists you frequently encounter when working with your clients? How do you work with them to overcome this challenge?

Cobin: There are many unique practice settings for anesthesiologists. You can find anesthesiologists employed in a hospital setting in the OR or perhaps in the ICU. Many anesthesiologists are employed and working in an academic environment, which brings many challenges.

Then there are the private practice anesthesiologists. 

Private Practice anesthesia exists across a continuum – it could be in a small group with 10-15 partners or a mid-size group like I belong to with 40-50 docs. Or with a larger group of hundreds of physicians. Some groups will be physician owned. Some will not. Some groups are owned by Private Equity groups. Other groups will be multi-specialty.

More anesthesiologists today enjoy working as locums providers. Locums can provide flexibility and varied practice locations. There are many advanced financial planning opportunities in all these settings.

I think the biggest challenge for anesthesiologists is that if they are not “squeezing the bag” in the OR (or ICU working), they are not generating income. Many other physicians will be owners in a practice, own their office space and other equipment, and have ancillary revenue. This is not true for the majority of anesthesiologists.

Q: For anesthesiologists who are unsure whether or not they should hire a financial advisor at the current point in their lives, what guidance can you provide to help them make a more informed and educated decision?

Cobin: There are a few questions to ask yourself. Some are behavior-oriented, and some are more specific to your financial situation.

⁃ Do I enjoy managing my finances, investments, and insurance?

⁃ Can I create a savings and investing strategy and stick to it when the markets are rocky?

⁃ Do I want to spend my limited free time managing my finances?

⁃ Do you have student loans? If so, what amount and what is the plan to repay them?

⁃ Do you have adequate and appropriate life, disability, umbrella, and medical malpractice coverage?

⁃ What is your plan for saving and investing for retirement?

⁃ Are you saving for other large purchases? A mortgage? Children’s college education? A new Sprinter van?

Many of my colleagues are interested in and have the time to spend managing their investments. However, I’ve found most of my colleagues want someone to help address this area of their life and want it to be someone they implicitly trust.

Q: As a Board Certified Anesthesiologisthow has your experience shaped the financial planning services you offer anesthesiologists, and how does this benefit your clients versus them hiring an advisor whose clients’ careers span a more diverse mix of professions?

Cobin: The most fundamental skill I bring is a deep understanding and connection with my colleagues. What it’s like to work late in the OR and miss bedtime with your kids. Or worrying about finding a great job after residency and wondering how you can ever repay your student loans.

I want my colleagues to succeed – personally, professionally, and financially. Working with my anesthesia colleagues, we define success as living your life aligned with your highest values. It’s an honor to be a guide on this journey.

Over the last twelve years working in academic medicine and private practice anesthesia, I’ve gained deep insights into the business and payment structures of these practice settings. 

In my academic position, I served in many roles, most notably overseeing our Department’s billing. In my current job as Treasurer of my private practice group, I routinely interface with our internal billing service, the hospital, and insurance companies.  

These insights into payment models, reimbursement, revenue cycle management, and increasing your practice earnings are invaluable and are something you definitely will not find from any other advisor.

I also have a law degree and use this training extensively in my financial planning practice. Surprisingly (even to me), one of my favorite classes was Federal Income Tax. Financial planning relies on an understanding of federal and state law. Income tax is the most obvious example, but this is true for estate planning, insurance, and medical malpractice.

Q: When you first speak with anesthesiologists, what questions do you like to ask to understand their unique circumstances better and determine how you can best help them achieve their goals?

Cobin: My approach is personal because I come to financial planning from a medical and legal background. No one tells me, “This is how it is supposed to get done.” I get to serve my colleagues in the ways that are best for them. 

Going into these initial conversations, I have a general sense of the financial state of my colleagues. As a fellow physician, my colleagues and I bond quickly and have a sense of trust immediately. 

So rather than dig deep into their student loan debt or talk about a specific investing strategy, we uncover their shared values.  

These discussions are illuminating and fun. I love watching the light go on in their eyes, hearing them ask, “I can do THAT?”

With every big decision we encounter down the road, we will return to these first discussions on values. It helps clarify decision-making.

We are a team, and I am a guide on this journey. Physicians understand this. Medicine has changed over the last 20 years to be less paternalistic and more collaborative. We provide information and guidance to our patients. But we don’t make the decisions for them. We co-own the decisions.

Get to Know Cobin Soelberg, Financial Advisor for Anesthesiologists:

View Cobin’s profile page on Wealthtender or visit his website to learn more.

Q: For anesthesiologists thinking about leaving their current employer to accept a job elsewhere, what actions do you recommend they take before resigning and shortly after that?

Cobin: Right now is the gold rush for residents and any anesthesiologists looking for a change in practice. I am seeing sign-on bonuses ranging from $50-100K. Relocation expenses paid—student loan repayment up to $100K!

More than anything, you want to find an equitable group that assigns work and pays fairly and promotes partnership transparently.  

Think about what is valuable in your life beyond how much you are working and what you earn. Is it flexibility so you can be home with your family? Is it the security of health insurance or other employer-paid benefits? Is it the ability to teach and do academic research? What resonates with you?

When leaving a group, there are many things to consider that may not be on your radar. Health insurance is a big one. I’d want to find out when my insurance will end, and my new insurance will kick in.

A hidden cost is medical malpractice. Many groups buy cheaper claims-made coverage leaving physicians needing to purchase tail insurance when they leave a group, often costing $25K or more!

I’d also want to understand how my residual collections will be paid out. Is it a lump sum or paid out over many months? Are there group expenses that will be paid out?

For those who are employed, I’d want to know how unused PTO or vacation time will be paid out.  

Resources to Help You Choose a Financial Advisor

Top Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost?

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About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

Brian Thorp

Founder and CEO, Wealthtender

Brian and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

To make Wealthtender free for readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
➡️ Find a Local Advisor | 🎯 Find a Specialist Advisor