Despite the headlines, it’s been a solid year for investing. In fact, if you’ve been investing and you don’t have a far higher portfolio value now than you did two years ago, you may be in serious need of a new investment plan.

Part IV, In which we look at an example group and provide some benchmarks for guiding your own group’s discussion of administrative compensation.

If you want to get a handle on your finances, simplify your life by cutting out the excess investments, advisors and fees that are weighing you down.

The fee and payment system in medicine is a big black box. Patients don’t know the true costs of medical care and we have no clue what bill the patient gets when we order all those tests. There’s a black box with financial advisors also: fees. I have not yet met a physician who knows exactly what fees he’s paying to his financial advisor.

A very busy emergency physician, Dr. Smith turned to a financial advisor – Frank – to handle his investments. Initially Dr. Smith was happy, but eventually realized he didn’t understand the investment strategy.

No question generates more angst or consumes more discussion for a democratic emergency medicine (EM) group than how much to pay for practice leadership and administration. In the typical democratic EM group, every dollar of proposed leadership or practice management expenditure is challenged and every dollar of approved expenditure is resented to one degree or another.

In financial advising, the magic “F” word is “fiduciary.” If your advisor doesn’t use this word,  watch your back.

Want to manage your wealth like a pro? Start by checking your ego at the door and avoiding these five classic financial planning pitfalls.

Recap from last month: Dr. Smith, a 45 year old emergency physician with a $500,000 investment portfolio, didn’t have time to manage his investments and hired Frank, a financial advisor at a big brokerage firm. To continue the story, upon transferring his portfolio to Frank’s firm, Frank tells Dr. Smith that after thorough research he uses only the best money managers.

Meet Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith is a 45-year-old emergency physician, married, with two children. He’s been practicing emergency medicine for 12 years. He’s paid down most of his student loans and has been saving some money in his SEP IRA over the years.

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