Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor for MedTech Professionals?

Brian Thorp
Brian Thorp is the founder and CEO of Wealthtender and Editor-in-Chief. Prior to founding Wealthtender, Brian spent nearly 22 years in multiple leadership roles at Invesco. 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.

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Are you a professional working in the MedTech industry? A financial advisor who understands the unique needs of medical device representatives, executives, and founders in this industry can help you make smarter money moves throughout your career.

Achieving success in the fast-paced world of medical device sales involves more than just knowing your products or being good at selling. Among the non-stop workday filled with appointments and high-stakes conversations, one important thing often gets forgotten: financial planning.

To avoid adding even further stress to their daily routine, MedTech professionals stand to benefit from the expert guidance of a financial planner who understands their unique circumstances.

You’ll likely find dozens of nearby financial advisors well-suited to help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. But it may be more difficult to find a financial advisor who specializes in serving MedTech professionals.

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 MedTech professionals is a better fit to help with your unique financial planning needs.

Financial Planning for MedTech Professionals

💡 In the Q&A below, you’ll gain insights from financial advisors who work with MedTech professionals 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 MedTech Professionals

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 MedTech Professionals
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Financial Planning for MedTech Professionals
  3. Browse Related Articles

Q&A: Financial Advisors Specializing in Serving medTech professionals

Answers to Questions with Matthew Nelson, CFP®, AIF®, ECA

We asked Matthew Nelson, a financial advisor based in Minneapolis, to answer questions about financial planning for MedTech professionals, given his specialization in this area.

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

Matthew: Having sufficient time and energy to step away from saving the world to planning for themselves and their families. 

Executives in this industry are especially busy, with constant complex decision points to make. They are mission-driven professionals focused on the impact they can make through their careers, but their careers don’t allow the time or energy to focus on keeping their own financial house in order. 

They usually have high-income and complex benefits that include equity compensation and deferred compensation plans.  While many work in large publicly traded companies, a significant portion of the industry consists of small to medium-sized start-ups and private companies, which creates unique risk and reward profiles for evaluating job offers and choices about leaving established companies, salaries, and benefits behind.

Medical device sales reps typically make high income, but with a lot of variability depending on their bonus or commission plan.  They often get faced with equity compensation decisions to make, such as whether to take less base pay or variable pay in lieu of more stock compensation. 

Individuals in these roles often have a lot of pressure and high stress, so they need an advisor who understands their situation, company, and industry so they can delegate the details.

Q: For MedTech professionals 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?

Matthew: The question of when to hire an advisor or whether to ever hire one has become more common as information and data are easy to find with simple internet searches.  And now, with AI, it can initially seem advice providers are becoming irrelevant. 

But having all the data available isn’t the same as understanding what to do with it.  Think about your own industry and how it interacts with healthcare providers.  The breakthrough medical device your company created isn’t very good if there is no one in place to help patients decide how and when to use it.  It also requires someone knowledgeable who can interpret the results and make course corrections. 

So, when considering when to hire a financial advisor, think about why you seek help in other areas of life.  When would you hire a Doctor? A lawyer? Do you prepare and file your own taxes?  Much of the information needed to handle these areas of your financial life can be found on the internet as well, but sorting through the options and decision matrixes can be daunting.  It is better to spend your time furthering your career or with your family and pay someone else to do it quicker and likely better than what your capacity allows.

Here are examples of practical questions that professionals in MedTech are faced with where financial advisors can offer expert guidance:

  • Do you participate in any of your company’s equity compensation plans? 
  • Are you working for a private company that has plans to go public or be acquired in the future?
  • Are you earning above $200k if single (or $385k if joint), pushing into the 32%+ tax bracket, and facing additional tax planning complexity?
  • Do you own multiple real estate properties or plan to in the future? 
  • Are you within five years of retirement or planned independence? 
  • Are you considering leaving a long-time position at a publicly traded company to start your own company?

Q: How do the services you offer MedTech professionals distinguish your firm from other advisory firms?

Matthew: Our firm provides a niche offering to the MedTech/MedDevice industry so we can focus on less to provide more. Our focus on fewer companies allows us to understand their career tracks and benefit plans better than generalist advisors. We know the high stress and complex environment Executives and Managers in this industry face and how this can hinder their own planning. 

We understand the unique career challenges of MedDevice sales with its high variable comp, high stress, and job mobility.  Because these positions can be significantly dependent on startup company funding and or at risk of job losses outside their control, it can be difficult to balance a long-term saving plan with the need for short-term emergency cash.  Even with established companies, successful reps often do not trust how long personal success with the company will last and become hesitant to tie up their capital, which can result in too much cash and not enough longer-term risk-taking. 

We also understand the complex benefit plans of many of the industry’s older, larger, publicly traded companies and what to consider when moving to startups or private companies.

Knowing that company founders & start-up entrepreneurs in this industry face outsized risk because they are often starting later in life with more to lose changes how we help prepare those founders to launch and how they protect the wealth they’ve already accumulated. 

We also understand the mission-driven nature of these founders’ work pushes them to put more time, energy, and financial resources into their company than might be prudent.

And finally, when it comes to retirement planning strategies, we know how to account for a career with significant equity compensation and the concentrated stock risks being faced because of it. 

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

Matthew: When meeting someone for the first time, we need to understand what is primarily motivating the person to seek help from an advisor.  Are we dealing with a referring symptom or the primary pain point?  For instance, is there a tax concern driven by recently receiving stock compensation for the first time in a job?  Or is there a much bigger question to answer about how to plan for retirement and whether those goals are on target?  Of the many questions we might ask, some of the key ones are:

  • What specifically is on your mind that caused you to reach out today?
  • What is most important to you?
  • What’s important about money to you?
  • Do you see yourself in your current career and company for more than 5 years?  More than 10? 
  • Do you receive significant income from equity compensation? 
  • What strategies are you using to optimize your taxes? 
  • Do you often owe large amounts or receive large refunds at tax time? 
  • What financially related plans do you have for family and other important relationships in your life?
  • Are you the primary income earner in the family?
  • Do you have dreams of starting your own company or joining a start-up? 
  • At what age do you want to be financially independent? Do you hope to retire early?

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

Matthew: Thoroughly review and understand your vesting schedules.  401(k) plan company contributions often have a graded or even cliff vesting period that could result in giving up significant benefits if you are leaving early.  Likewise, with your equity compensation instruments, make sure you understand what you can keep and how long you’ll have to capture their value.  For instance, have a plan to capture any vested stock options before leaving (or within the required time limit post termination), or all value will be lost.

There may also be key dates of employment to achieve in a given calendar or fiscal year to receive company plan contributions, bonus pay, or equity incentives.  Leaving prior to these dates, which may not all coincide with each other, can be an unintended but still unfortunate mistake.

Understand your insurance plan continuation options. Will your medical insurance be maintained continuously as you transition?  What will happen to the life insurance your family is relying on?  Will the new company offer equivalent benefits, or will you need to obtain coverage on the private market, which will require more extensive medical underwriting than with group plans? 

Finally, understand the job offer – particularly with equity compensation.  In a public company, it is easy to calculate the value of RSUs and Stock options.  But understanding the vesting requirements and volatility of the stock price is also important, considering you are trading base compensation for them.  In a private company, it is difficult to understand the value of equity being offered and whether it will even materialize.  Do not get caught up with offers of large numbers of equity units that technically are not worth anything yet and that you may not be around long enough to realize their value.

Get to Know Matthew Nelson, Financial Advisor for MedTech professionals:

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

Q: For MedTech professionals approaching retirement age, how do you recommend they prepare to make the transition from living off their salary to relying upon other sources of income?

Matthew: You need to have a good understanding of the goals you have and how your resources can be used to achieve them.  Begin by creating a plan that illustrates and organizes all the various income and cashflow sources you’ll have, along with their tax ramifications and whether they’ll continue past your lifetime to those you care about. 

Consider that the concentrated company stock that you have accumulated over many years may have been a core accumulation vehicle with great returns.  But now, as you transition to a phase where this asset needs to contribute to retirement income, it may add significant risk to your overall plan. 

Begin to de-risk your financial portfolio out of company stock and any other concentrated positions in as tax-efficient a way as possible, even if this is a multi-year process.  You can then use the proceeds from sales of company stock to fund a more diversified income portfolio that will support your retirement lifestyle.

Have a plan for RSUs, stock options, and deferred compensation plans that will need to be wrapped up and converted to an income portfolio.  While restricted stock plans may be straightforward, any deferred compensation plans will need careful coordination with other forms of income to minimize taxes owed over a multi-year span.

Make sure to plan for a transition to retiree medical insurance, whether through the company’s retirement benefit or a personally owned policy.  You’ll need to have coverage that will bridge to Medicare age if you are retiring before age 65.  Also, consider whether now is the time to add long-term care insurance.  While it is hopefully many years into retirement before this type of medical care and coverage would be needed, insurance policies will be much cheaper to add now than at older ages.

Q: What questions do you recommend MedTech professionals ask financial advisors they’re considering hiring to help them decide if they’re a good fit?

Matthew: We would encourage MedTech professionals to ask these questions of financial professionals they’re considering to hire:

  • Do you work with many clients that generate significant income from their equity compensation plans?
  • Do you have any special training in equity compensation planning?
  • Do you understand the challenges employees and founders of private company start-ups have that differ from public companies?
  • Is your service focused mostly on investing, or do you coordinate all the financial planning, tax, company benefit, and charitable giving activities I need to consider?
  • Are you able to provide guidance with estate planning?
  • Is your firm an independent registered investment Advisor with the requirement to act as a fiduciary?  Or do you work for an insurance company or broker-dealer that maintains a lower sales suitability standard?
  • Will I need to pay separate fees for financial advice and investment advice?  Or do you offer an all-inclusive wealth management service?

Q: Is there anything that comes up frequently in your initial meeting with MedTech professionals that surprises you?

Matthew: Yes, I am often surprised how MedTech professionals can be so incredibly smart and ambitious in their field of expertise but often be missing out on some of the easier ways to take advantage of benefit plans, tax optimization, and investment portfolio options available to them.  The reality is that it is hard to be as incredibly focused on their careers as they are, but still somehow have the time and interest needed to be as effective with their personal finances.

Q: Is there a particularly memorable experience or a moment you recall with a MedTech professional client when you first realized they have unique opportunities and circumstances when it comes to their financial planning needs?

Matthew: We had been working with a head bio engineer at one of the major device companies in Minneapolis who planned to exit the company for an opportunity with a local startup company.  This professional had accumulated years worth of stock in the company inside their 401(k) plan and held a significant number of stock options from incentive plans. 

We were able to work with the company’s 401(k) provider to utilize a strategy dealing with NUA (Net Unrealized Accumulation) to save a very large sum in future taxes on stock accumulated in the plan.  We also worked to salvage as many of the unvested stock options before the professional left that would have been lost due to time limits imposed in stock option plans post termination. 

This planning case became an eye opener to the incredible value that we could bring to MedTech industry clients to help them make smart decisions with their finances while letting them focus on creating breakthrough medical technology. 

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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. Read our editorial policy and terms of service to learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
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