Why do physicians pay more attention to their business affairs than their personal affairs?
As someone who has worked exclusively with physicians over the past nearly 20 years, I continue to be amazed what a wreck most physician personal finances are. Recently a surgeon unexpectedly died of a heart attack; the physician was only in his 40’s. To make a long story short, he left his unemployed wife and two children with basically NOTHING except for the value of his medical practice (which as you can expect declined in value like a rock in water after his death). No life insurance, no savings, a mortagaged up homestead – basically nothing. I also continue to be amazed at how many physicians “have to work.” In other words, they cannot retire when they want to retire. No personal retirement planning at all.
Why is this I often ask myself. As try as I might with my clients, most simple do not have the time to spend on personal financial planning. The result is either no planning at all or “patchwork” financial planning. The end result can be and sometimes is disastrous.
If you are a physician or anyone else for that matter reading this, ask yourself these simple questions:
1. Do I save money each month?
2. Do I contribute money to a retirement plan product each year?
3. Do I have life insurance in place and is it enough?
4. Will I be able to put my kids through college?
5. Do I have a will?
6. Are all my my non-exempt assets protected from creditors?
7. How much money will I need to retire on?
8. What happens to my personal finances should I be incapacitated with a disability?
These are just a few of MANY questions and issues that must be addressed by every physician on a personal basis – RIGHT NOW. Remember the old saying: “People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.”