Balancing Risk and Reward: Investment Tips for Surgeons

One of the most frequently asked questions from surgical professionals is: “What’s the most effective way to invest my wealth while minimizing some of the inherent risks?”

As a busy surgical professional, your days are filled with patient consultations and long hours in the OR. Plus, you must find time to ensure your practice runs smoothly. This leaves little time to plan your financial future and oversee your current wealth.  

As financial advisors who specialize in working with surgeons, we’ve created this article that includes investment tips for busy professionals like you. Our experience shows you need an investment strategy that balances the risks and rewards to enable your wealth to grow over time. At the same time, you want to minimize your tax liabilities to improve your net results and create an enduring legacy for your family. 

While there are many ways to increase your wealth, we’ve identified five important financial tactics to help you pursue financial independence. We’ll look at each one in more detail below. 


Tax-Efficient Investment Strategies for Surgeons

As a high-income earner in a top-tier tax bracket, you need ways to minimize your tax exposure while focusing on the growth of your wealth over longer time periods. This is where a tax-efficient investment strategy comes into play. 

Your wealth management strategy should incorporate tax planning into a comprehensive investment process that is designed to expand your assets.

Here are some examples of tax-efficient investing strategies for surgical professionals:


Tax-Advantaged Accounts 

Maximize your contributions to tax-advantaged accounts such as 401(k)s or IRAs. These accounts offer tax benefits, such as tax-deductible contributions and tax-free growth.

If you contribute to an employer 401(k) account in 2024, you can contribute up to $23,000.  If you are 50 or older, you have the ability to make a catch-up contribution of an additional $7,500. If you have a traditional IRA, you can contribute up to $7,500 in 2024, with a catch-up contribution of an additional $1,000 if you are 50 or older. 


Roth IRAs and Back Door Roth IRAs

Contributions to Roth IRAs are taxable. Growth inside Roth IRAs is tax-free. Distributions from Roth IRAs are tax-free. You only get taxed once – in this case, on money going into the account. Traditional IRAs are the opposite – you are not taxed on limited contributions; you are taxed on distributions.

So what happens if you do exceed those income thresholds?

There is no cap associated with Roth IRA conversions. Your earnings can be at any level, and you’d still have the option of transferring assets in a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.

The backdoor Roth IRA method involves initially contributing to a traditional IRA — an option open to all — and promptly converting this account to a Roth IRA. You contribute pre-tax income to a traditional IRA and then shift these funds into a Roth IRA through a taxable conversion.

This strategy offers a significant benefit because your investments grow in a tax-free environment, and all distributions of appreciated assets are tax-free.


Risk Management Strategies for Surgeons

Another wealth management tactic for surgeons is using sophisticated insurance and financial products. These can offer important protection for what you’ve worked hard to build while offering tax benefits and investment opportunities.   

Here is a look at a few types of insurance products that might suit your specific situation:

  • Various types of disability insurance policies are available, providing income protection in the event of a disability that prevents you from practicing. This ensures a continuous stream of income during such circumstances.
  • You can use key person insurance for your practice, safeguarding against financial disruptions caused by the incapacity or loss of a crucial team member.
  • Business overhead expense insurance assists in meeting ongoing practice expenses, such as rent, utilities, and employee salaries, should you become disabled and unable to work.
  • Another tactic you can employ is captive insurance companies to safeguard your assets from excessive taxation and legal claims.
  • Many surgical professionals have defined benefit plans, or cash balance plans, that enable them to build substantial retirement savings while receiving tax benefits.
  • Structured life insurance can be used for estate planning, wealth transfer, and tax minimization, helping to ensure your legacy is preserved for perpetuity. 


Tax Loss Harvesting

Tax loss harvesting is another important wealth management strategy for surgeons. It involves strategically selling investments that have experienced losses in order to offset gains when you sell appreciated assets.

Harvesting losses can reduce your taxable income, leading to significant tax savings. In this case, even a loss has some economic value. 

Here are a few examples of why tax loss harvesting is so important:

  1. Because of your income level, you are more than likely in a high tax bracket. Tax loss harvesting helps lower your taxable income by offsetting capital gains and reducing the amount you may owe in income taxes.
  2. You may incur capital gains taxes when you sell investments that have appreciated over time. Tax loss harvesting can offset these gains, thereby potentially reducing your tax liability. 
  3. By minimizing tax liabilities through tax loss harvesting, you can keep more of your investment gains intact, ultimately contributing to preserving and growing your long-term wealth.
  4. Tax loss harvesting can create liquidity that may be reinvested in securities with more upside potential. Appreciated assets are not illiquid because you want to avoid a taxable event. 


Five Reasons to Consider Hiring Surgeons Capital Management

As financial advisors specializing in services for surgeons, our foremost duty is to pursue your long-term financial goals. Our approach to serving you is grounded in five fundamental values:

  1. Our unwavering principle is to always act in the best interest of each client.
  2. We stay fully informed about the financial opportunities and risks that impact surgeons. This commitment is why we participate in over 15 annual surgical and professional association gatherings.
  3. We aim to be recognized as the top provider of financial advice and services to successful surgeons, their families, and their practices nationwide. We are dedicated to surpassing your expectations in service, professionalism, and attention to your financial well-being.
  4. Our commitment to you is unwavering: consistently demonstrating the highest integrity, honesty, and respect.
  5. We believe in a collaborative approach, taking personal responsibility for addressing your most complex financial issues and concerns.

Ready to learn more about investment strategies for surgeons? Connect with us.



Please be advised that this document is not intended as legal or tax advice.  Accordingly, any tax information provided in this document is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer.  The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

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, financial, tax or legal 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-6137646.1 (12/23) (Exp. 3/27

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