Physicians, Attorneys, and Accountants: Your Guide to Choosing a Financial Professional
From the financial pressures of running a small practice to the repayment of hefty student loans, these three careers (and the people who pursue them) can have more in common than you may think. Those working in the medical, legal, and accounting fields can have complex financial needs, and a financial professional who doesn’t regularly deal with these needs may be ill-equipped to provide actionable advice. What should physicians, attorneys, and accountants consider when seeking a financial professional?
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Financial Professional
Turning over one’s financial planning and investment management to a third party requires a great deal of trust. After all, with the research skills honed during a long post-graduate education, those the accounting, legal, and medical fields can generally educate themselves on basic financial planning principles.
Therefore, it’s important to feel comfortable with the professional you ultimately select—and for many, this means choosing a fiduciary. A financial professional who is designated as a fiduciary may only make decisions and take actions that are in the client’s best interest.
Some of the other factors to consider when narrowing down a list of prospective financial professionals include:
- Their experience with other professionals in your industry. You may want to reach out to an industry networking group or publication for a list of recommended and/or vetted financial professionals. Knowing that a financial professional is trusted by other members of your field can help you narrow down a long list of prospects.
- How their stated investment objectives and strategies line up with your risk tolerance. If you’re an aggressive investor, you may not want to select someone who specializes in fixed-income products like annuities; on the other hand, if you want to take a conservative approach, someone who focuses on shorting options or investing in cryptocurrency may have trouble recommending investments you’re comfortable with.
Once you’ve narrowed down a list to a few names, you can do a deeper dive into researching your options. Browsing their websites, reading through any linked applications that are available, and looking for public reviews or industry articles about these financial professionals can help you get a better feel for what they offer. You’ll then be able to send an email or give them a call to set up an initial consultation.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Financial Professional
Just a few of the questions to ask a prospective financial professional during this initial consultation include:
- What costs will I pay for your services?
- Are you a fiduciary?
- How will our relationship be handled? (On one end of the spectrum are professionals who provide quarterly updates and require the client to initiate any further communication; on the other are professionals who call clients for guidance whenever there are changes in the market forecast.)
- What investment benchmarks do you use, and when an investment is underperforming these benchmarks, when do you take action?
The answers to these questions can help you assess which financial professional is the best fit for your personality, philosophy, and goals.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax planning or legal advice. We suggest that you consult with a qualified tax or legal advisor.
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