Welcome Fall

11412020_387706898086154_2982734113447796355_oYou know fall has arrived! We are already seeing Christmas displays at our local Costco.  I don’t know about you, but this time of year conjures images of the trees changing color, the smell of burning firewood, preparing for the holidays and of course weekend tailgates at your favorite football game.

In this festive time of year we at Income Protection Specialist, just wanted say that we appreciate you our clients and hope this season brings you much joy and happiness.

The Income Protection Team

 

Photo by Richard Gentry Jr. Photography

Taking a vacation the old fashioned way

Vacation ahh, just the word itself brings to mind rest, relaxation, rejuvenation and checking out even if only for a few hours.  Well it used too.  This was my goal when traveling over the holidays. I have to admit there have been a few pangs of guilt over the past several weeks.  Guilt of not being more active with our blogging, social media updates and simply not checking in at home.  I did mention only a few feelings of guilt though,  that is because my desire was to take a break from our daily grind and remember what it feels like to have a time out, a real vacation.

No matter where we are in the world today it seems that we are almost required to maintain contact with family friends and business associates.  The age of technology has made an old-fashioned vacation seem like a relic. I remember the days (not too very long ago) when taking a vacation meant stepping out of our daily lives either by traveling to a different place, just escaping for a weekend, or taking a personal day from work. Though Income Protection Specialist is a business which never stops working for our clients, I took a step back from it for a week and literally checked out.  It was like the old days when there was no texting, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the numerous other vehicles we now have for staying in touch.  When sharing pictures of our trip was done after we returned and the only time we communicated with anyone at home was if there was an emergency or change in plans.  The excitement of coming home and sharing our experience with those around us was part of the process.  In todays world there is no need to wait everyone knows where we are and what we are doing because we upload our pictures right away and chatter with friends during our adventures.

Well I am here to tell you that it is well worth the break. I was able to experience and remember what a real vacation felt like and rest, relaxation, rejuvenation has been achieved. This is something I wish for you all to experience in the coming year, whether it be for a day or a week, disconnect and experience the magic that a true vacation can have on your life.

I am looking forward to the year to come with excitement and anticipation.  For those of you who read our blogs this year is going to be a little different.  There will still be interesting information and articles to share about protecting your income and getting the best disability coverage but we will be writing about real life issues too.  Information that can help improve your lives, finances, and outlooks.  I sincerely hope you have some time to take an old-fashioned vacation this year you will not regret it.

Stacia Musleh

V.P. IncomeProtectionSpecialist.com

Are you a Pack Rat?

Recently, while contemplating the daunting task of gathering important documents in preparation for personal year-end stuff (oh joy), I began to wonder how much of this paperwork do I really have to keep?  It seems that we have boxes upon boxes of documents carefully organized and filed so we can get to them if needed.  How often do we really need to access them and how long should we keep them?  If you are like me space is not limitless the idea of shredding or burning some of this stuff to make room is actually exciting.  So, I decided to do a little research and here is what I found out.

Lets start with what you must never destroy: Life Insurance Policies of any sort (unless you replace or cancel) Disability and Long Term Care or other specialized types of coverage.  Marriage Licenses, Birth Certificate/s, Divorce Decrees, and Current Passports.  You will also need to keep deeds, mortgage contracts, titles, cemetery plot information and wills (unless they are changed or probated). In addition remember to keep your military discharge papers.

Bank Records: go ahead and keep all monthly statements for the current year.  Once you do your taxes then keep any statements that are relevant to prove deductions.  You can dispose of the rest.  It is advisable to shred any documents containing personal information as a precaution against identity theft.

Credit Card Bills: many companies offer year-end statement analysis.  This service is quite convenient for quickly accessing tax related items for personal or business deductions.  If you don’t have this consider investigating whether your credit card company offers it.  On the other hand, unless you need to keep the statements for tax reasons go ahead and shred them.

Bills and Insurance Premium Invoices:  Once you are certain your payment has been received and cleared then you can dispose of accompaning paperwork. Unless they are tax related.

It is also a good idea to keep a running inventory of what is in your safe or safe deposit box.  Just like inventorying contents of your home in case of some disaster, you will know what you have and where to find it

Paperwork to keep as it relates to taxes: After 6 years the government cannot audit you unless they suspect you of fraud.  So on the 7th year its ok to destroy this information unless you really feel the need to keep it.  If that is the case then why not invest in a scanner and save the information to disc or secure cloud.

Junk mail: Things that you may have not considered in order to avoid dumpster divers looking for your personal information, would be those items that you receive on a regular basis through the mail, such credit card, loan applications and the like. These items are a must shredd on the list.

The best time to do all of is of course during tax season.  This way you are already sorting through relevant material and can dispose of what is and what not needed.

Well now that we all know that, I don’t know about you but I’ve got plans for the empty space in my attic.

Stacia Musleh, V.P IncomeProtectionSpecialist.com

Goal Planning!

All this talk about New Years resolutions this past month have us at Income Protection Specialist thinking about a critical part to planning that is often overlooked: the development of a personal plan to compliment your professional plan. This is especially important when determining what specifics of a disability protection policy are right for you.

Many of us have grandiose visions about what we can be: Wealthier, Healthier, Happier, Wiser, etc… This is absolutely fine and perfectly human however, sadly this is where most dreams stay because they are just that dreams.   The fact is that many of our dreams change daily, because they lack the support or the drive to fully make them a reality.  Let me state that I truly feel that you can get whatever you want out of life, with the proper dedication, commitment and persistence. Nothing in my opinion is impossible, however with this said we must be realistic in our pursuits and the amount of time  and energy we are truly willing to devote to a cause. The thing that turns our dreams into reality it placing a time limit on them which then turns them into goals.

Your vision is critical it dictates everything we are going to talk about, but as stated above make sure you are realistic. Once developed it is important to support your vision with proper frame work and routine. What this boils down to is simply  timelines and milestones. First, think about when you want to achieve your vision by, 1 year , 5 years, 10 years or even longer. This is critical because it affects the milestones or goals which you create to insure that your dream is achieved.  Goal setting at its core is breaking your vision down into smaller more manageable timelines, making the task of achieving your vision a bit more palatable. It is very important that these goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (ALSO known as SMART goals) For Example if my vision is to be Financially Independent 10 years out of Residency and be able to take all the vacations I want, My goal would be to own my own practice by my 5th year of Private Practice.

The next step is to create action steps for your goals, in other words create goals to specifically achieve the Smart Goals. Using my Practice example, it may be that one of my action steps, is to find a practice location, where I can become Partner with in the first year.

You can apply this to any area of your life but it does takes dedication and commitment. When you combine your personal plan with a well designed financial/ professional plan, you will be better prepared for achieving your vision. If you are looking for someone to help you create your personal, professional, or even ensure your disability plan complements your vision, make sure you talk to a Specialist

Nothing is impossible remember the word itself Says  I’m Possible!

Written By

Kyle E. Musleh
VP of Operations

Happy Holidays and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all

 

No matter what your beliefs or customs this time of the year brings about a frenzy of shopping, planning, parties, gift giving and hopefully some time for personal reflection of the past 12 months.  In doing my own reflecting I can honestly say that this last year has been one of tremendous growth both personally and professionally for myself and and all of us at Income Protection Specialist.com.  In no small part due to those of you out there that have made Income Protection Specialist your go to company for all your personal and professional disability and insurance needs.

Throughout the last 26 years each an every client from the very first, to those of you who we have just earned, are all an integral part of our success. We want to express a note of gratitude and best wishes to everyone for the coming year.  May you all be healthy, happy and prosperous.

Stacia Musleh

V.P. Income Protection Specialist.

Holiday Spending

The holiday season is exciting and joyful to say the least.  For many it means spending time with loved ones, celebrations and even vacation.  However, if you are like most this includes shopping and gift giving.  It is a time for filling wish lists and when many give themselves permission to splurge with regards to their spending.

Before spending on others this season take a moment to remember that without you the celebration and gifts may not be possible.  Make sure that you have provided the security of  sound Disability and Life Insurance Policies, so that the holidays can continue to be joyful and celebratory. Taking care of you and your family’s needs is the most important gift you can give.

On behalf of everyone at Income Protection Specialist I would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped make our year successful, and to extend warm wishes for the Holidays and coming year.

 

Stacia Musleh

V.P. Income Protection Specialist.com

Contract Negotiation Checklist

YOU ARE IN CONTROL!

Contract Negotiations are an important step to achieving your future professional goals however, they can also be very intimidating. Far too often we see individuals accepting ludicrous terms, thinking that they have no control over the negotiations. Remember your skills are what these employers need and thus you are in the driver’s seat.

Compensation

Compensation should be straight forward with no if, and, or buts.  Even still, there are a number of things you want to look out for in this section of the contract. The most common provisions and situations we recommend avoiding include:

a.) Avoid negotiations that include both a hospital and a group
b.) Avoid production based salaries
c.) Avoid the word draw
d.) Avoid 1 year deals without a guarantee of partnership

Non-Compete Clauses

Non-compete clauses are part of Careful attention to the non-compete language is next in line.  Make sure to pay attention to the following:

a.) The Radius of the non-compete should be 10 miles or less, from the location YOU ARE PRACTICING.  It should not read every location owned, managed or practiced at by the employer.
b.) The Length of time should be no more than 2 years
c.) If you are hiring on as a sub contractor there shouldn’t be a Non-Compete clause in the contract because you are self-employed.

 Employment Status

You will either be an employee or sub-contractor.  There are pros and cons to both.  As an employee everything is done for you. However, if you sign on as an independent contractor you will essentially act as your own employer.   This means that no taxes will be taken out of your check and little or no benefits other than malpractice will be provided.  Your particular situation and medical specialty will determine which category would suit your situation best.  Thus we recommend personal consultation if confronted with this dilemma.

 Benefits

Benefits are a bit trickier, they are very personal, and can drastically affect your financial plan. Please note that not all benefits are truly beneficial and can create future problems. There is no single combination of benefits that is perfect for everyone. For this reason we suggest that before signing, you obtain copies of the contract and benefits so that we may review them and the impact they will have on your overall financial plan.

 

Written by Stacia Musleh

V.P. Income Protection Specialist.com

The Importance of Income Protection for Women

Over the past 26 years we have witnessed a tremendous rise in the number of women becoming doctors.  These women are contributing to the bottom line of the family income and in many cases they are the primary bread winners.  According to Pew Research Center the percentage of married couples in which the women earns more that the man has risen from 6.2% in 1960 to almost 30% in 2011 and is bound to increase.

This is wonderful, however, the reality is with greater income there are many financial issues that women in medicine must deal with, including protecting their income and their families future. For professional women Disability Insurance is must.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women are more than twice as likely to claim disability while working. Unfortunately, due to this fact they face higher premiums than their male counterparts. The increasing trend of women being the primary bread winners makes having a strong disability policy all the more important. There is no substitute for making sure you and your loved ones are protected from the financial disruption a disability can cause.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay top dollar for the best coverage.  For most female residents there are association discounts and Uni-sex rates available, making the premiums much more affordable. That said, there are some programs more suitable than others. When you are looking into a disability plan make sure that it contains all the crucial clauses needed to provide the best protection for women in medicine. Should you already own a policy but are unsure if your protection is going to provide what you need, it never hurts to get a second opinion from a specialist either.

Indeed women are working more and earning more than in years past, which means they must take on more of the responsibility for securing their families lifestyle.  It is no longer just the man’s job.  Having the right disability policy can make the difference between maintaining a standard of living or facing major lifestyle changes for the entire family.

Written by:

Stacia Musleh, Vice President

Income Protection Specialist

Disability Insurance Brokers vs. Company Employed Agents

Disability Insurance is a highly complicated product. It is not a one shoe fit’s all choice.  Thus it is vitally important to find a disability specialist, who understands the unique needs of your medical specialty. However, this can be a very difficult task given that everybody selling disability protection claims to be an unbiased expert.  In 26 years of providing high quality income protection the question has often been asked what is the difference between us and an agent who works directly for a particular company.  The answer comes down to the difference between two words: Agents and Brokers. When someone is searching for insurance protection it is important to understand the differences between each so that he/she can make an informed decision.

By definition an Agent is an individual who works directly for the insurance company, he/she is represents the company’s interests and is told what to say, what to sell and in many instances has quotas to fill for their employers. In other words it is the agent’s job to put the company first over the needs of the client. For this reason agents cannot claim to be unbiased. However, even more concerning they typically disappear when you need assistance the most, at claim time. Most of these individuals are recruited straight out of college, do not have life experience and typically have higher aspirations, thus they look at the job as a stepping stone. With that said it is understandable why the attrition or turnover rate over a 15 year period for these positions is roughly 50%. In other words when a physician places his/her trust and private information in the hands of a company man/woman, they are not assured that this person will be the one with whom they will be working with for the life of their policy.

In contrast with these captive agents, Brokers are typically self employed and work directly for the client not the insurance company.  These individuals can represent various companies with the ability to show the best available options to fulfill client’s insurance and financial planning needs.  Also unlike agents, the broker cannot be told to go away at claim time when you need them the most. Good brokers stick it out with their clients and make sure they are taken care of appropriately. I cannot emphasize enough Brokers DON’T WORK FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES and therefore are in the best position to advise you every step of the way to achieving your goals for your future.

The client’s needs should be the only concern of any advisor.  When deciding who to work with make sure you are getting an unbiased assessment of your situation so that you have the peace of mind insurance is meant to provide.

Aritcle by

Stacia L. Musleh – Co-Founder and VP

Income Protection Specialist.com

Interviewing? Get Started Now!

There’s no time like the present to start searching for a job even if you are a first year resident. The key to interviewing in residency is to start early. With the  medical industry under attack by The Affordable care act, also known as Obama Care, finding a job in 2014 and thereafter might be more difficult than ever before..

The truth is, there is no telling how drastically Obama Care will impact doctor’s incomes. But if the enforcement of Obama Care does lead to a substantial drop in doctors incomes one can predict job opportunities will start to disappear.  Simply put; if employer incomes suffer they will forgo hiring and work more shifts or do more cases to make up for personal lost wages.  Even worse if the demand for jobs is still at Pre-Obama Care levels it will give future employers significant leverage when it comes to negotiations. This could mean applicants being forced to settle for less guaranteed salary than Pre-enforcement levels.  As stated above it is hard to predict the future with this affordable care act but one thing is certain, getting the contract signed as soon as possible makes fiscal sense. You have sacrificed so much to get to where you are today, please do not take this situation lightly. Take control of your future before uncontrollable forces determine your path for you.

Kyle E. Musleh – V.P. Of Operations

Income Protection Specialist.com