Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor for Attorneys?

By  Brian Thorp

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Your path to becoming a successful attorney likely included countless hours in the classroom, more than a few sleepless nights studying for the Bar Exam, and a handful of moments when you questioned your decision to become a lawyer. But with persistence, grit, and potentially several thousand dollars in student loans later, you walked across the stage proudly accepting the law school diploma that launched your career in the legal profession.

If you’re now working in private practice or at a BigLaw firm, your above-average compensation trajectory may feel like just reward for years of blood, sweat, and tears. But financial planning for attorneys can often be complicated by outsized student loan debt, lofty lifestyle aspirations, and a desire to retire comfortably, perhaps at a younger age so you can travel the world or make up for lost time devoted earlier in your career to late nights in the library and internships you’d rather forget.

Fortunately, financial advisors who specialize in working with attorneys understand the unique financial obstacles and opportunities commonly faced by lawyers throughout their careers. These specialist advisors can work with you to develop a personalized plan tailored to your individual circumstances and provide the guidance you need to achieve your financial goals in both the near and long-term.

You’ll likely find dozens of financial advisors in your community well-suited to help you reach your money goals with a general financial plan. But it may be more difficult to find a financial advisor with the experience, credentials, and dedicated focus serving BigLaw and private practice attorneys who truly understands what it took for you to get here, and what it will take for you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and retirement.

Today, 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 financial advisor who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their specialized knowledge working with BigLaw and private practice attorneys could help you achieve better outcomes.

⚖️ Smart Money Insights for Attorneys

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

– Financial Advisors for Attorneys –

Three Questions with Matt Smith

We asked Houston-based financial advisor Matt Smith to answer three questions based on his work providing financial planning services to attorneys.

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

Matt: The most common challenge I see with BigLaw attorneys is trying to balance three things: 1) the desire to pay down student loan debt; 2) the desire to save for short-term and long-term goals like buying a house and retirement, respectively; and 3) the need to mitigate the tax burden that comes along with their high incomes.

I help clients sort all this out by organizing the sometimes-competing goals into a manageable framework that they can view in its entirety so they can weigh the pros and cons of a few different strategies. Unfortunately, there is not a “right” answer in most cases, and instead, each person has to make a decision based on their own preferences, which typically lean toward the cold hard math of things or the more intuitive side of things.

Examples of the strategies include things like maximizing pre-tax benefits to lower the tax bill, while treating high interest rate debt like the bond allocation of their investment portfolio to pay the debt down faster and still save aggressively via their investment accounts. Others may prefer to refinance high interest rate federal loans into relatively low-rate private loans, pay the minimums, and leave more free cash flow to save for near-term goals.

Get to Know Matt:

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

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Q: How do the services you offer distinguish Concert Financial Planning from other advisory firms an attorney may have been referred to by a colleague?

Matt: The difference is both personal and professional. From a personal standpoint, I’m married to an attorney who is a Partner at her firm but was a 2nd Year Associate when I met her. I have firsthand knowledge of the sacrifices and work required to hit the hours, earn the paychecks, and make it to Partner. I also have firsthand knowledge of what that Associate to Partner transition looks like, and how to plan for it.

From a professional standpoint, I market my firm to BigLaw and Private Practice Attorneys, and therefore have developed deeper experience with these types of clients as compared to a firm that may be more generalist in nature. I have also developed my own financial planning tools that cater to younger clients (non-retirees) in this profession because the traditional “financial planning” software is mostly geared to answering questions for wealthy retirees.

Finally, I think the attorney clients I work with appreciate the degree to which I’ve focused on building my knowledge via high-caliber accreditations like the CFP® and CFA®, which are fairly rare for one individual to hold. Attorneys know what it means to study hard and appreciate when their advisor has done significantly more than the bare minimum to advance their knowledge.

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

Matt: Most of the attorneys I speak with are aware that the financial advisory industry is opaque and riddled with conflicts of interest between the advisor and the client. They’ve read enough to know that the average person will probably do just fine with some basic financial knowledge, disciplined saving, and avoiding people that want to “sell you how to make it rich”.

However, BigLaw attorneys are not the average person. The higher income, taxes, debt load, and work/life balance that comes with the profession are among the highest and most demanding out there. It means that there are significant opportunities for proper planning that can make a real difference in the financial outcome of their life. I try to remind people that they’ve worked so hard to get where they are, and they should not jeopardize their financial future by making serious financial mistakes, particularly if they can get on the right track early on in their career.

In my opinion, the best way to start is to look for a financial planner (somebody that does more than just investment management) that is held to the fiduciary standard, by law, via online resources like WealthtenderXY Planning NetworkNAPFAFee-Only Network, and/or

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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

Disclaimer: To make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.