By Amy Braun-Bostich, MSFP, CFP®, CFS®, APMA®, CLTC®
As a medical professional, you’ve worked enormously hard putting yourself through school so you can help others while also creating a great lifestyle for your family. Yet far too often, many medical professionals find that while they are making a healthy income, there isn’t much money left at the end of the month.
Then there’s often anxiety surrounding this challenging situation: Should the focus be on paying down significant student loan bills, or should the focus be on investing for the long haul? Or should we focus on saving for our children’s college education instead?
In some cases, though, the urge to save or pay down debt isn’t even top of mind—as you want to provide your family a great lifestyle after living like a pauper for years in school. After all, what’s the point of going through all that work if you aren’t going to reward yourself?
All these questions (and more) go through the minds of the medical professionals we serve. The short answer is that you shouldn’t focus on achieving just one of these goals as they are all important and achievable in the context of a comprehensive financial plan. What we do with our clients is help them create a retirement plan that will achieve their long-term goals while still providing them with a comfortable lifestyle that shields their assets.
Before we discuss exactly how we do that, let’s dive into the advantages and challenges medical professionals face.
After years of school that pushed you to your intellectual limits, you are rightfully rewarded with a great income that is higher than the U.S. average. With that income, you’ll have the opportunity to drastically improve your lifestyle, save tens of thousands per year in investment accounts, and go into overdrive paying off any debt and student loans.
Speaking from experience, the medical professionals we work with are also extremely intelligent, quick learners, and have the ability to concentrate on long-term goals for an extended period of time. In other words, they are prime examples of people who can create and sustain lasting wealth for their families.
Advantages aside, there are several unique-to-the-profession obstacles they face on the way to wealth. Obstacles that prevent most high-earning medical professionals from realizing their ideal image of wealth:
- Their years of school pushed back when they could earn an income, delaying the power of compounding interest on their investment accounts.
- Significant student loan payments cut into their available cash flow.
- After living like a student for so long, many people want to drastically improve their lifestyle, often above what is sustainable.
- With their hectic work schedule, oftentimes they are not able to devote the time and attention to their family’s financial plan.
Although these challenges are very real, they can be avoided or minimized with the help of a trusted financial professional who has navigated these issues before.
Using an All-Inclusive Financial Strategy
One mistake I see people make far too often is only focusing on one specific issue related to their financial lives. While how you handle your debt, save for your retirement, or increase your lifestyle are all important in their own right, those decisions are best made in the context of an overall plan. Just like you wouldn’t create a fitness plan that only accounts for exercise but not your diet, you shouldn’t create a financial plan that only accounts for managing student loans without addressing how to build lasting wealth.
At Braun-Bostich & Associates, our approach is to create and implement a comprehensive, all-inclusive financial strategy that will account for every important aspect of your financial life.
Our strategy typically includes 5 core areas. First, we’ll want to make sure that we have a solid game plan to address your school loans, so you don’t end up like many others who carry these loans into their 50s and even 60s.
At the same time, we’ll create an investment strategy that accounts for your personal goals, your risk tolerance, and ensures you can consistently stick to the long-term plan.
Then we’ll focus on one of the biggest expenses of your life: taxes! Since you’re making a high income, we’ll want to utilize every strategy that can help lower your lifetime tax bill to move toward the success of your overall plan.
While we work to build your long-term wealth, we also have to safeguard the source of your income: you. Given how much you can earn over two to three decades in the workplace, it’s essential that you protect yourself and your family in the event you aren’t able to work.
Lastly, we’ll determine how much you need to save for retirement, as well as what accounts to put them in so you get the maximum tax advantages now and in the future. Given your unique circumstances, your options may be more varied and have more advantages than others who make less in a different field.
Need Help Putting All the Pieces Together?
If you’re struggling with how to handle your student loans while still wanting to enjoy today and plan for your future, we’d love to help. While it isn’t easy, it is possible to make smart long-term decisions that allow you and your family to savor the fruits of your labor. You can start by scheduling a free 30-minute phone consultation or reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724.942.2639.
Amy Braun-Bostich is founder, CEO, and private wealth advisor at Braun-Bostich & Associates, a fee-based fiduciary wealth management firm located just outside Pittsburgh in Canonsburg, PA. With over 30 years of experience, Amy is dedicated to serving her high-net-worth pre-retiree and retiree clients, including medical and academic professionals, and next-generation accumulators, helping them transform their wealth through customized strategies and top-notch services so they can achieve their goals and receive a new vision of what’s possible. With a goal of adding value to the lives she touches; Amy approaches each client with compassion and transparency and prioritizes building lifelong relationships.
Amy has invested countless hours into growing in her skills and knowledge to bring her clients the best advice possible for their situation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA and also holds a Master of Science in Financial Planning (MSFP). She holds multiple certifications, including CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor℠, Certified Fund Specialist®, and Certification for Long-Term Care. She was named one of Pennsylvania’s Top Women Wealth Advisors in Forbes’ 2022 Best-In-State list. When she’s not helping her clients find clarity and purpose, you can find Amy reading, going on walks, and gardening. She loves to travel and spend time with her family, including her husband, two children, and her dog. To learn more about Amy, connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.