Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor for Physician Practice Owners?

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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Financial advisors specializing in serving physicians who own and operate private facilities help their clients make smarter money moves to achieve their goals and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Physicians who own and operate private practices face multifaceted challenges beyond anything taught in medical school. Managing the financial intricacies of a private practice requires thoughtful decision-making, yet physicians often find themselves stretched thin between patient care and administrative responsibilities. This challenge underscores the critical need for physicians turned business owners to partner with knowledgeable financial advisors who understand 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. However, it may be rather difficult to find financial advisors who specialize in serving physician practice owners.

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 physician practice owners is a better fit to help with your unique financial planning needs.

Financial Planning for Physician Practice Owners

💡 In the Q&A below, you’ll gain insights from financial advisors who work with physician practice owners 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 Physician Practice Owners

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 Physician Practice Owners
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Financial Planning for Physician Practice Owners
  3. Browse Related Articles

Financial Advisors Specializing in Physician Practice Owners

Questions and Answers with Mark P. Eid, MD, MBA & Stephen W. Chang, MD, MBA

We asked McLean, Virginia-based financial advisors Mark Eid and Stephen Chang, co-founders of Acts Financial Advisors, to answer questions they often hear from physicians who own and operate their own private practices. As medical doctors themselves, Mark and Stephen bring a unique perspective and their own experiences to the table to help their clients 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 physician practice owners that you frequently encounter when working with your clients? How do you work with them to overcome this challenge?

Mark: A common dilemma we see physician practice owners wrestle with is how much work to do “in the business” as opposed to “on the business.” Often, they are clinically practicing while also managing an organization. Both functions require a ton of thought and work, and many times, they are competing for a physician owner’s finite time and effort.

We suggest prioritizing a list of personal and business financial planning duties that practice owners need to keep at the top of their short list and then assembling a trustworthy and competent team of advisors around them to handle the tasks they can delegate.

Q: When you first speak with a physician who operates their own private practice, what questions do you like to ask to better understand their unique circumstances and determine how you can best help them achieve their goals?

Mark: There are many parallels between medicine and financial advising. One of them is how we approach the patient and client encounters, respectively. Both are meant to develop rapport while at the same time obtaining relevant and useful information to use. The best diagnosticians that we have ever worked with use open-ended questions coupled with an innate curiosity, and we strive to do the same in our financial advisory firm. We want to be our client’s most trusted and competent advisor and everything we have crafted within our business model is specifically designed with this aim in mind.

Some of the specific questions we typically ask are centered around personal and business short-term and long-term goals. We also want to know the details of how their business is organized, ownership structure and what strategic tax planning they employ.

Get to Know Mark P. Eid, MD, MBA, Financial Advisor for Physician Practice Owners:

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

Q: For physician practice owners 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?

Mark: Hiring a financial advisor for a physician practice owner is like outsourcing any aspect of your business. Some of the obvious reasons to get a financial advisor are that financial planning is something that you don’t enjoy, or it’s something you don’t have expertise in and have no time or interest to acquire the requisite knowledge.

But even for savvy investors or financially conversant physician owners, there is an immense benefit to having an independent, objective third party analyze your financial life and help discover the blind spots that we all inevitably have. Successfully devising and creating solutions for those gaps in our financial lives can often have tremendous returns and help us achieve our financial goals.

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

Stephen: These are some of the good questions we have gotten in the past. Note that I’m not necessarily recommending you ask every single one of these to each advisor you interview!

  • How many physicians do you work with now? How many business owners? How many physician practice owners?
  • How well-versed are you in dealing with medical practices? Have you ever run your own, or at least your own, business prior to being a financial advisor?
  • Have you ever sold a business? Have you advised anyone who was selling a business? What tips would you give for me to ensure I get the largest value upon exit?
  • How large of a staff have you employed? Have you dealt with payroll? If so, did you do it yourself, or did you hire a payroll company?
  • Have you set up and administered retirement plans before? What do you know about the testing process? Have you ever closed a retirement plan? Which kinds of plans are you intimately familiar with?
  • Given my situation, what are some specific recommendations you could make about how I can reduce my tax burden?
  • What is your fee structure? What potential conflicts of interest do you foresee that I should be aware of?

Q: How do the services you offer physicians who are business owners distinguish your firm from other advisory firms?

Mark: We are unique in that we are trained physicians who have started, grown, and sold our medical practices, as well as other businesses. We have direct knowledge and experiences as practice owners with firsthand knowledge of the joys and challenges of being a physician owner. As such, our firm is distinctive in that it was conceived and dedicated to being a trusted, one-stop shop for busy physicians and entrepreneurs. We offer personal, corporate, and real estate services.

For our personal financial planning clients, we offer holistic, evidence-based financial planning with an emphasis on tax minimization strategies and investment portfolio optimization.

For our business clients, including medical practices, we offer consulting services, including start-up advisement, operational and financial growth strategies, and exit value maximization.

Finally, since we both have developed and bought/sold various types of real estate investment properties, we also assist with tenant suitability and investment property analysis for clients.

Q: Is there anything that comes up frequently in your initial meeting with physician practice owners that surprises you?

Stephen: More than anything, they are interested in the intricacies of the tax code. Whether they’re a single location PLLC, a multi-site, nationwide C corp, or a 1099 doing locums occasionally, tax minimization comes up every single time. On the flip side, asset protection has not come up as often as I thought it would. That’s an area to which physicians should definitely pay close attention.

Get to Know Stephen W. Chang, MD, MBA, Financial Advisor for Physician Practice Owners:

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

Q: For physicians thinking about leaving a hospital staff position to start their own private practice, what actions do you recommend they take before resigning and shortly thereafter?

Stephen: Check your contract and read it carefully to understand what clauses are in there:

  • Is there a minimum notice period you must give?
  • Will there be a clawback of either bonus or salary if you leave within a certain time?
  • What are the non-compete and non-solicit clauses, and is there anything in them that will restrict where or how you set up your practice, including hiring of staff or retention of patients? Even many specialties that wouldn’t necessarily be soliciting patients, such as general anesthesiology or diagnostic radiology, will often have somewhat onerous NC/NS clauses.
  • Will you have to buy your own medical malpractice tail? If so, you’ll need to request a quote and potentially a copy of your loss runs history.

Be very thoughtful about your business start-up process:

  • Do you have a business plan? How will you get patients?
  • How well capitalized are you? Will you need to moonlight elsewhere while your business is ramping up? When are you expecting to hit break even? When are you expecting to be able to pay yourself a reasonable salary?
  • How are you marketing?
  • What steps can you take to minimize your staffing costs?
  • Who will be doing your billing?
  • Have you test-driven your EMR and other IT and equipment choices yet?

Q: For physician practice owners approaching retirement age, how do you recommend they prepare to make the transition?

Stephen: Get your business transition plans in order. Are you planning to just shut the practice down? Are you selling? Do you have a succession plan with either a family member or a current partner or employee?

Get your retirement accounts in order. Is your asset allocation appropriate for your investment time horizon? Will you face significant taxes due to large pre-tax retirement account balances? If so, is there anything you can do to lessen the burden?

Think about the immediate post-retirement year. What’s your health care plan: Medicare or something else? If the former, will you be doing straight Medicare with supplements or Medicare Advantage? If the latter, is the cost affordable? Are you planning to travel significantly? What hobbies and other activities will keep you busy?

Think about your next 20-40 years. Do you have enough socked away to weather the inevitable bear markets? What is your withdrawal strategy? How will your living expenses change? Do you anticipate needing long-term care?

You’ve worked hard and excelled at what you do for an incredibly long time. You deserve to have a carefree, work-optional period in the later years of your life. Working with a knowledgeable, experienced financial advisor can help ensure you’re on track with all of these things mentioned above.

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

Stephen: Many physician practice owners own their own real estate and don’t know what they can do with regard to maximizing expense deductions and accelerating depreciation. A recent conversation comes to mind in which we explained how basis works and what kinds of costs can be expensed immediately vs. what kinds need to be capitalized and depreciated over years.

Another physician asked about the reason she couldn’t offset her earned income with passive losses. We always make sure we take the time to educate our clients because the strongest partnerships are built on mutual respect and collaboration.

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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.
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