Scalpel-Sharp Tactics: Financial Planning for Surgeons

The life of a surgeon comes with its unique challenges and significant financial rewards. During your peak earning years, you have the potential to build substantial wealth. Yet, just as the precision of your scalpel is crucial in surgery, so is a comprehensive financial plan that addresses how you may accumulate more assets and preserve your hard-earned wealth for a lifetime.

This is where using the services of a financial planner who is highly specialized in working for surgeons can make a difference. Many financial professionals say they can help you plan your future and manage your finances. However, working with a team of financial professionals who are highly specialized in serving surgical professionals and have detailed knowledge of your challenges can be a game changer for you and your family.

Financial planning for surgical professionals should include thorough assessments of investment options, tax mitigation opportunities, charitable giving strategies, and estate planning considerations tailored to your unique needs. Your financial plan shouldn’t just be about accumulating wealth but also addressing how you can preserve and distribute it.

As a surgeon, you’ve invested substantial time in your education, profession, and learning new technologies. It’s only fitting that your financial and retirement plans are just as sharp as your scalpel.

Why Surgeons Need Specialized Financial Planning

Financial planning, in its most comprehensive form, provides a roadmap for individuals to pursue their wealth accumulation goals, encompassing areas like savings, investment, risk management, and tax planning.

However, the list expands when we assess the financial planning requirements of surgical professionals, given the unique challenges and opportunities you face in the surgical field.

As a successful surgeon, you may be dealing with fluctuating issues like fluctuating income, high student loan burdens, and the need for specialized types of insurance to manage various risks. These are good reasons to consider working with highly specialized wealth management surgical professionals who can help you address these needs.

Physical well-being or financial well-being. Which one is more important? The answer is both in a period of rising longevity.

Wealth Management for Surgeons: Beyond the Basics

Here are a few wealth management tactics that should be included in your overall financial plan: 

Diversification of Investments: Diversification isn’t just about owning several stocks and bonds in your portfolio. It’s about strategically allocating assets globally and into various investment opportunities designed for high-net worth doctors and their families. We have found a surgeons portfolio should be diversified in various industries and countries with different performance characteristics and risks. Concentrated wealth has the potential to produce large losses during periods of instability.

Asset Location Strategy: Asset location strategies ensure that assets are allocated to the right accounts to help minimize taxes. This helps you accumulate more wealth and reduce your tax liability burden. It can also help you develop an efficient withdrawal strategy that can stand the test of time. A well-thought-out asset location strategy is indispensable for surgical professionals looking to maximize their accumulation and retention of wealth.

Tax-Efficient Investing: You’ve worked hard to accumulate substantial assets for your retirement years. Your next step is to safeguard it so it lasts a lifetime. Remember that every unnecessary tax dollar is one less for your future use. So, tax-efficient investing isn’t just about minimizing tax payments, it is also about strategically timing disbursements based on your understanding of the various types of taxes that impact gains, losses, and income.

Alternative Investments: Beyond traditional stocks and bonds, alternative assets, like real estate, private equity, hedge funds, or commodities, can offer diversification and, in some cases, a hedge against volatile market conditions.

Proper Insurance Coverage: Lastly, while we often focus on wealth accumulation, protection from unexpected risks is also paramount. Your protection starts with adequate malpractice coverage. Beyond this, consider various umbrella policies that include life insurance, long-term care, and disability coverage.

Remember, the unexpected can strike anyone, anytime – so it pays to be prepared.

Other Tax Mitigation Strategies for Surgical Professionals

As a high-earner, you will likely be in a higher tax bracket. Your wealth management team should assist you in minimizing your tax payments so that more of your wealth is available for future use.

Maximize Retirement Contributions: You should take full advantage of tax-deferred retirement accounts like 401(k)s or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Maximizing contributions can reduce current taxable income, so more of your wealth grows in tax-deferred accounts until you are ready to retire.

Roth Conversions: a Roth IRA conversion may be worth considering if you believe you will be in a higher tax bracket upon retirement. By converting funds from a traditional IRA or 401(k) to a Roth IRA, you pay taxes today on those transfers, but any future withdrawals are tax-free.

Another benefit of a Roth IRA is there are no requirements for minimum distributions (RMDs) during the owner’s lifetime, giving you more control over your withdrawal strategy and allowing assets to grow tax-free until you need them. This strategic move can optimize retirement savings and enhance estate planning, ensuring more wealth is transferred to your heirs.

Consider Tax-Efficient Investment Strategies: With the potential for higher incomes during mid and late working years, surgeons can be more exposed to substantial capital gains taxes. Employing tax-efficient investment strategies, such as tax-loss harvesting or selecting tax-efficient funds for investment, can help reduce any unnecessary taxes you may be paying.

Establish a Medical Practice Structure: If you operate a private practice, consider the right business model (like an S-Corporation or a Limited Liability Company) that can provide legal protection and tax benefits. It’s crucial to consult with a tax professional to determine the best structure that aligns with your practice and goals.

Leverage Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): Consider contributing to an HSA if eligible. These accounts can come with a triple tax benefit because your contributions are tax-deductible, growth is tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free.

Gift and Estate Tax Planning: After accumulating significant wealth later in life, you may be increasingly concerned about taxes on your estate. Strategies such as annual gifting, establishing trusts, or using life insurance as an estate planning tool can help minimize potential tax liabilities.

The Right Financial Advisors for Surgeons – Get to Know Surgeons Capital Management

You’ve dedicated countless hours to mastering your profession as a surgeon. 

As you’ve diligently honed your skills, isn’t it only right that the financial firm you choose exhibits the same dedication to safeguarding and growing your assets? This connection is equally applicable during your working years and selling your practice when you are ready to see the world and play more golf.

Here are the core tenets that guide our relationship with you:

Your Interests always come first. No ifs, and, or buts. We are registered financial professionals who always act in your best interests. This is the highest ethical standard in the financial service industry.

Our relationship is not just about plans, strategies, and numbers. We get to know you and your circumstances, goals, concerns, and tolerance for risk. Then, we develop solutions that are based on this knowledge. We put a lot of value in our relationships with the surgeons who depend on us for specialized experience and services. Our dedication to surgeons reflects our attendance at over 15 annual surgical and professional association meetings.

Striving for Excellence. Our goal is to be recognized as the premier wealth management firm that serves accomplished surgeons, their families, and their practices.

Our promise? To consistently surpass your expectations in our service, professionalism, and commitment to your financial well-being and security.

Integrity Above All. We understand the trust you place in us. That’s why integrity, honesty, and transparency form the foundation of our relationship.

A Collaborative Approach. Your financial concerns become our concerns. That’s what we are here for. Working hand in hand, we take on the personal responsibility to address even the most complex financial challenges you may encounter during your working and retirement years.

Your dedication deserves nothing less than the best. Contact us to learn more about our wealth management services for surgical professionals.



Asset Allocation, which is a method of diversification that positions assets among major investment categories, does not guarantee a profit or protection against a loss.

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 Agency 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.