As a medical professional, having high income potential and a sizable portfolio is a common occurrence. A big paycheck and a large nest egg are two of the benefits that come from the hard work they have put in during their career; however, it also can leave them prey to scammers and fraudsters looking to take advantage of them. Here are some tips for medical professionals to consider to avoid falling prey to these schemers.
- Be vigilant – A medical professional’s busy schedule can leave things like opening mail and paying bills in the hands of someone else. It is crucial to be aware of who has access to this information and to have the utmost trust in them. A study conducted by MetLife notes that while half of fraud cases are by the hands of strangers (51%), just over one-third (34%) are by family, friends and neighbors. The bottom line is to know who is doing what when it comes to the management of your personal and professional finances.
- Hire trusted help – In addition to online fraud and identity theft, sometimes medical professionals are taken advantage of by the very people they hire to give them financial advice. Financial brokers can often be driven by the bottom line (see this article for input on differences) rather than what is actually best for their client. Fueled by commissions and kickbacks, they suggest products that are not in the client’s best interest, but only serve to increase their own bottom line. This is why it is important to carefully consider from whom you take financial advice. We always recommend working with a fee-only planner, simply because they do not receive kick-backs, but rather provide insight based on the best scenario for the client’s needs. This protects them from purchasing financial tools that are not in their best interest.
- Carefully select asset protection – Determining the best form of asset protection will shield your portfolio from creditors. However, appropriate structures also protect assets from getting into the wrong hands. A Limited Liability Corporation, trusts and proper titling of assets are paramount to proper estate planning. They also have the added benefit of creating a shield of protection around your assets.
- Have an estate plan – We are often surprised how many people come to us without a formal plan or they have not maximized the tax advantages available to them. Those without a formal, written plan are not likely to have their wishes met no matter what their estate is worth. And the more it is worth, the more they stand to lose. For more information on estate planning take a look at our article about the importance of working with a professional to create your estate plan.
The number of fraud cases against medical professionals rises every year. It is important to make sure that your assets are protected by finding the best possible team to help you make important financial decisions and evaluate your plans and level of protection. If you would like more information on how to protect your hard-earned money, we suggest contacting a qualified fee-only financial planner