Residents, Fellows, Disability Insurance and Personal Finance

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Beginning your career as a  Resident or Fellow, means you can count on a regular salary and finally have money in your pocket. So, now you can afford that new car you’ve been dreaming about right? Well I don’t want to be a Debbie downer but maybe you should think about some things before getting that new set of wheels.

Make sure you have a grasp of you current situation

First it is really important to evaluate your current expenses.  For example could that money for a new car be better spent aggressively paying down student loans? Probably and it is most likely in your best interest. Paying down debt is a smart choice. Financially speaking, placing your current responsibilities in front of your wants is always the wise decision. But lets look at the flip side of the coin.

Buying a new vehicle can help with building a solid foundation of credit.  Although most banks consider residents and doctors a good risk, we all know it is difficult to buy anything without credit these days even though.  Building it while in your residency will make the larger purchases in your future easier.  While you evaluate your financial situation and whether you can or should buy that car, take these items into consideration and then you should be able to make an educated decision.

  • Supplemental salary (Spouse)
  • Rent
  • Living costs (Food and Clothes)
  • Other debt (Credit Card)
  • Financing on a new car
  • Miscellaneous costs such as disability and life insurance

Simply said only you can make this decision. It is hard not to live in the moment and look to the future but that is the advice we suggest. If you have any questions, or are interested in learning more please reach out to us at www.incomeprotectionspecialist.com.

Splurging After Graduation? Why Not?

You just finished four grueling years of Medical School. Time to celebrate right, possibly even get a new car? I mean why not, you’re finally going start earning a salary and can probably afford one. Unfortunately, this may not be the best option for you. There are a few factors we should take into account first before splurging.

You probably guessed it, student loans are the biggest factor here. Could that money for a new car be better spent aggressively paying down those loans? Probably, and it is most likely in your best interest. Paying down debt will always be beneficial, especially in the days and years to come, rising interest rates will make those loans even more costly. Financially speaking, it is better to pay off current loans rather than taking out new ones for an emotional want.

On the other hand, maybe purchasing a new car might be beneficial or even necessary, especially if you do not already have a car and need reliable transportation for work. It’s an even better situation if student loans aren’t a problem.

Whether paying down debt or buying a car the most important thing to consider, is that the first few years of being an M.D.  making smart financial decisions should be at the top of your list when considering how to spend your money especially with the limitations of a resident‘s salary. Here are some things to think about before you take the leap and buy that car.

  • Supplemental salary (Spouse)
  • Rent
  • Living costs (Food and Clothes)
  • Other debt (Credit Card)
  • Financing on a new car
  • Miscellaneous costs such as disability and life insurance

Simply said only you can make this decision, but an impulsive purchase like a new car can cause unforeseen financial repercussions. Most likely it is better to begin creating a savings for the future and start building a solid financial foundation.

If you have any questions, or are interested in learning more please reach out to us at Income Protection Specialist.com.

Authors:

Kyle Musleh and Spandan Garg

Kyle@incomeprotectionspecialist.com

What’s next?

Now that you have completed medical school and are heading into your residency program your mind must be racing. The questions are in the hundreds but the most pressing are things like; where am i going to live? how am I going to get my belongings there? what is my schedule going to be like? what kind of insurance do I need? The list goes on, but one thing is for sure as you move into the final training stages for your chosen career, the reality of real life decisions becomes more focused and choices need to be made so that the transition from
learning to be a physician to actually being one is smooth.

I’d like to break it down for you. The most pressing decisions right now are finding a place to live that is affordable, flexible and in a location that suits your needs. Should you rent or buy? Renting is a great option because it is usually affordable it offers flexibility. This is important because it allows you to investigate the places that you may want to practice and settle down in.  Buying a home is an investment that could strap you to a location if you decide you want to practice elsewhere.  Transporting your personal items can be expensive depending on how far and whether you do it yourself or hire a private company. Obviously, the best option is doing it yourself but if that is not possible and your finances do not allow for private services, check with your local banking institutions and see if they offer small short term loans for this type of expense. Hopefully, you have already considered the need for Income Protection Insurance i.e. Disability Insurance. If not, I would strongly urge you to invest in this most important protection now. Why? because you are young, healthy and its cheap! In fact it will never be cheaper than this, and once you buy it the rates don’t change.  You know as a medical professional the risk of health issues arise as we get older but you also know anything can happen at anytime to anyone, including you. That said make sure you work with experienced, knowledgeable professionals.  I would recommend and independent advisor, as they work for you not a particular company.

written by:

Stacia Musleh

VP Incomeprotectionspecialist.com

Congratulations: Open Letter to the Class of 2015

To The Medical  School Class of 2015

It’s Match Day and from all of us here at Income Protection
Specialist
we would like to Congratulate you the Medical  School Class of 2015 for making it to this point! Match Day is an exciting day, so soak in the experience and have the time of your life. We understand the personal and financial sacrifices you have made and today all of that hard work will pay off! Upward and onward to your future residency!

Once Again Congratulations

From the Whole Income Protection Specialist Team

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

Now or Later- The Money Trap

The first years out of residency are the most challenging by far.  For the first time in your life you have money to spend which can be intoxicating and change a person.  Compare it to the young sports rookies.  They are now in a league with large contracts and more money than they have ever had.  The media shows them spending on outlandish parties, cars and living in luxurious homes.   But are they considering their savings or future needs?   The reality is that by the time most of these players are out of the game they won’t have much at all to their names. Tragically we see the same occur far too often with medical residents. They too fall into the mental trap of living on the brink, spending 100% of what is earned.  Beginning a habit of impulsive spending right out of residency is the perfect storm for a long drawn out career, with the inability to retire.  So if you have been thinking to yourself about the large purchases you will make once you are out of your residency, stop!

Now is the time to live modestly, and within your means, in other words like a resident.  A certain percentage of your income is already spoken for in terms of taxes. In addition to your basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), there are potential business expenses, your children’s education (if you have them) and your retirement plans. When you look at the pie as a whole how much does that leave you for excessive spending on wants? If you are able to proverbially “stretch the buck” in the beginning of your practice you can look ahead to a future that will be much more comfortable than if you live the high life now.  This is probably the best financial advice you will ever receive.  Depending upon your specialty you have already been living on a modest budget for the last 3-7 years, what’s another few years?  Live today but plan for tomorrow. Here are some additional points to remember.

  •  With your new income placing you in the top 5% of wage earners you will now be  paying close to a 39% federal tax rate with varying state income taxes. This means  that the salary or guarantees in your contract are not even close to your take home  and may decrease in the future due to changing tax rates.
  •  A child born today will face college expenses upwards of $200,000 for an undergraduate degree
  • With the affordable Care act now a reality there is no telling how your income as a medical professional will be affected

The future is uncertain, living below your means and budgeting now while you are young is more important than ever.  If you want to have control over your destiny and take advantage of everything life has to offer dig in now, work hard and save. We all have dues to pay, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to pay them now or late into your old age. Remember, life is a marathon and not a sprint.

By: Kyle E. Musleh 
Vice President of Operations
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

Location, Location, Location!!!

Starting a business is definitely an intimidating process, especially for many medical residents and practicing physicians. There are a lot of moving parts that you never had to manage, including client solicitation/communication, practice location and finances. When young doctors and dentists come to me for advice about starting a practice, the discussion always begins with establishing the appropriate location.

Finding the right location is challenging and frankly as far as I am concerned is the most vital step for your success. Where you choose to practice is critical to not only the success of the practice but also the well being of your marriage! The wrong location can lead to many financial and personal problems including divorce. So choose wisely.  The following simple steps should be taken by every Doctor/Dentist who aspire to become a business owner in the future.

1. Create a list where you might like to work and loved ones might want to live.

2. Vacation to places on your list to determine it potential

3. Narrow it down to your top 2 locations

4. Research the demographics, the number of practices in a 50 mile radius, the average income of the area, what practices are billing.

  • The US census bureau gives you some wonderful and free resources to find this information.This Is Critical: Get to know your competition!

5. How  Much Market Share do they currently have?

  • Ask around, figure out what people think about this service whether people know they exist.
  • Will these organization be a thorn in your side or asset?

6. Start spreading the word that you are coming in. It is never too early to generate excitement about you business.

7. ACT!!!

These Initial Steps should get you going! So, what are you waiting for get out there and start running your life. If you liked this article visit our website Income Protection Specialist.com or take a look at some of our other articles in our blog.  And as always why trust anyone other than a specialist with you’re financial advice.

 

Kyle E. Musleh

VP of  Operations

Income protection Specialist.com

The Un-Foreseen Benefits of Transitional Residency

Typically when we think of Transitional year, we think of something along the lines of just another year of education. Yes in most institutions this year focuses on broad based general medicine before entering your primary residency program. But such programs do provide benefits to residents outside of additional medical education, especially when it comes to planning for your future.

Transitional year may appear to be an odd time to start thinking about disability insurance, but all things considered it maybe the best time to start. As a transitional resident you are typically viewed as a better risk than your colleagues in traditional residency programs. This provides two very important financial advantages. First, because of the lower risk class you could receive rates at almost half the price of what you would pay in a specialty. More importantly these rates are locked in forever, and can apply towards future increases in you overall protection, potentially saving you thousands. In addition to advantageous rates you  may be able to acquire more favorable protection and language compared to your peers in your chosen specialty.  With this said, it appears that the transitional year is more than just broad based learning year but an opportunity that most miss out on.

For more information about Transitional residency disability insurance or any other question contact us at Income Protection Specialist.com. Why trust anyone other than a specialist with your future?

For more articles about disability insurance check out our blog.

Author: Kyle E. Musleh – VP of Operations

Income Protection Specialist.com Specialist Protecting Specialist since 1987