Choosing the Right Financial Advisor: A Vital Decision for Surgeons

Choosing the right financial advisor is a critical decision that can shape your financial future for several years. This is particularly true for surgical professionals who face unique financial challenges and opportunities that require specialized knowledge and expertise.

Financial advisors for surgeons should provide strategies that help you accumulate, preserve, and transfer assets. At the same time, their advice may help you safeguard your wealth, develop tax-efficient strategies, and take advantage of financial opportunities as they present themselves.

Finding the right financial advisor is about working with someone experienced who understands the intricacies of your profession, from managing hefty student loans to contingency planning to planning for an early retirement. Your wealth is more than a balance sheet—it’s about the quality of your family’s lives.

This comprehensive guide is designed to highlight important considerations when selecting a financial advisor. Whether you’re in the early stages of your surgical career or contemplating your retirement options, this information can serve as a roadmap to help you make an informed selection decision. Trust us, your future self will thank you.


The Importance of Working With a Wealth Management team Who are Specialized in Working with Surgeons

Precision and expertise are necessary for high-stakes surgeries that impact the physical well-being of your patients. And the same principles should apply to achieving your financial well-being.

As a surgeon, you will face unique financial opportunities and challenges, from complex tax situations to sophisticated investment strategies that can impact your future lifestyles and financial security. This is why enlisting a financial firm who specialize in working with surgical professionals should be an important part of your strategy.

Your patients benefit when they select the right surgeon. You benefit when you select the right financial advisors.

You need a financial advisor who grasps your profession’s unique characteristics. By working with a financial advisor who has specialized in the financial issues that you face as a surgeon, you can let this professional handle the creation and execution of a comprehensive financial plan and wealth management strategy that is unique to you.

Researching and Shortlisting Financial Advisors

Choosing the right financial advisor as a surgeon is not just another task you check off your to-do list; it’s a critical decision that impacts your lifestyle and financial well-being later in life. 

Like a patient might conduct due diligence on medical professionals, you should conduct thorough research before choosing someone who can help you achieve your financial goals.

One of the first things you should consider is researching the financial advisor and firm’s compliance and disciplinary background. Using FINRA and/or SEC websites, you can review information about their compliance with industry regulations. If a professional or firm has disclosures, you should consider requiring a written explanation for the infraction and the outcome. If the infraction was settled, you should understand who paid the settlement (the advisor or the firm) and how much.

All financial advisors may claim to be trustworthy and experienced. This claim may be more true for some than others. It is incumbent on you to know the difference.

Another way to vet financial advisors is by reviewing their background: Education, relevant experience, and certifications. Designations and certifications are particularly important because they can be specialized knowledge sources (planning, investment, risk management).

High-quality certifications require extensive education, testing, continuing education, and adherence to ethical standards designed to protect you. Following are some of the degrees and certifications that you should look for when conducting your due-diligence before choosing a professional claiming to specialize in working with surgical professionals: 

  • Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF)
  • Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Master of Law (LL.M.)
  • Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA®)
  • Life and Annuities Certified Professional® (LACP)
  • Certified Retirement Education Specialist® (CRES)
  • Registered Health Underwriter (RHU)

Remember, your financial well-being is on the line—due diligence that helps you select the right financial advisor should not be taken lightly.

Trust, Transparency, and Communication

Trust, transparency, and frequent communication should be the cornerstones of a successful financial advisor-surgeon relationship. These elements are important because they contribute to the quality of the surgeons’ and financial advisors’ relationships.

Your financial advisor should build trust through consistent, reliable guidance and communication that aligns with your unique financial interests and goals. This transparency is also important for information that impacts you: Fees, investment alternatives, risks, taxes, and potential conflicts of interest that could impact your financial well-being.

High-quality communications should be based on a two-way interaction. Regular updates, meetings (virtual or in-person), performance reports, and check-ups can keep you abreast of the financial issues that impact pursuing your goals.

Interviewing Potential Financial Advisors

Following are several examples of interview questions you can use when evaluating prospective financial advisors. Using an objective process to make a comparison based on their ethics, credentials, and experience vs. their personalities and sales skills is important.

  1. Do you hold the CFP® making you a fiduciary financial advisor? 
    • This is a critical question. Fiduciary financial advisors are legally obligated to act in your best interest. They must prioritize your financial well-being over their interests.

     2. Can you explain your fee structure in detail? 

    • Understanding how your financial advisor is compensated is essential. Ask about their fees, including layered fees, commissions, and sources of payments. Surgeons often have complex financial situations, so transparency is vital.

     3. Have you worked with clients in the medical profession, especially surgeons, in the past? 

    • Surgeons often have unique financial requirements, so understanding the financial challenges associated with your situation is an important issue.

     4. How do you tailor your financial advice to individual clients? 

    • Financial planning should be personalized. Ask about their approach to understanding your financial goals, risk tolerance, and long-term plans. A good financial advisor should demonstrate their ability to customize their advice to meet your needs.

     5. What investment strategies do you recommend for someone in my profession? 

    • Surgeons may have a higher income but also face unique financial challenges. Inquire about the financial advisor’s investment strategies, such as tax-efficient investing, asset allocation, alternative investments, insurance, and retirement planning, tailored to your profession.

Why Consider Surgeons Capital Management as Your Wealth Management Provider?

You’ve worked tirelessly to excel in your surgical career, so shouldn’t your financial firm work just as hard for you? Being focused on financial planning for surgeons, we’re committed to safeguarding and growing your assets as you advance in your profession and transition into retirement later in life.

Here’s what sets us apart, rooted in our five core values:

  • Client-First Approach: We’re here for you. Always. Your best interests dictate every financial strategy we develop, recommend, and implement.
  • In-Depth Understanding: We’re not just about numbers but about people—specifically, surgeons like you. We invest time and resources to understand your practice, field-specific challenges, and the future financial landscape. That’s why we’re a fixture at over 15 surgical and professional association meetings annually.
  • Unwavering Vision and Mission: Our goal is to be the premier choice for financial solutions among the nation’s successful Surgeons and their practices. More importantly, we aim to go above and beyond in delivering exceptional service, professionalism, and attention to your financial well-being.
  • Integrity as a Guiding Principle: We know what you expect and deserve from us: unwavering integrity, unbridled honesty, and best-in-class services for all of our interactions.
  • Collaborative Responsibility: Financial complexity is often the norm in your profession.

Rest assured, we’ll work hand-in-hand with you to tackle your most important financial concerns, taking accountability every step of the way.

Your dedication deserves ours. Let’s build your financial future together.

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This article is being provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute a solicitation or offer of any particular product or service and is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as insurance, investment or financial advice.

Duly registered and duly licensed financial professionals with Surgeons Capital Management offer securities through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA/SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN); offer investment advisory products and services through Equitable Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor; and offer annuity and insurance products through Equitable Network, LLC (Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC; Equitable Network Insurance Agenc y of Utah, LLC; Equitable Network of Puerto Rico, Inc.). Equitable Advisors and Equitable Network are affiliates and do not provide tax or legal advice or services. Surgeons Capital Management is not owned or operated by Equitable Advisors or Equitable Network. PPG-5985188.1 (10/23) (Exp. 3/27)


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Surgeons Capital Management is a private wealth management firm that works solely with surgeons and surgical practices.