What is FinancialMD?

What is FinancialMD?

Residents need help, too – that’s why we started FinancialMD! Jon is a financial planner, and Trevor is a doctor, and together they give you the breakdown of what FinancialMD is and how it helps residents. Here’s a hint – there are things residents can do TODAY. That can make a positive impact on their future finances. Jon shares the technical, financial side, and Trevor knows firsthand what to do and what not to do as a young physician. Don’t miss an episode!

Welcome to the Financial MD Show. This is the only podcast designed specifically for residents and young physicians to help you become educated on financial planning for physicians and avoid many of the common financial mistakes doctors make. Your hosts, Jon and Trevor, explore a different topic with each episode. Jon Solitro is a financial planner and a certified financial education instructor. He’s been working with young physicians for the better part of the decade and lectures to graduate medical programs around the country. Dr. Trevor Smith is a board-certified ophthalmologist with a full-time practice, and he has learned the ins and outs first-hand what it takes to make smart financial decisions as a young physician. And now, here are your hosts, Jon and Trevor.

Jon: Welcome to the very first episode of the Financial MD Show, the only show specifically designed for financial tips for residents. Today, you’re going to hear about Financial MD itself, what it is, why we created the Financial MD Show, and who is Financial MD. You’re going to talk to me, of course. You’re going to hear a little bit about my story, where I came from, what inspired me to even work with this crazy population called physicians, and you’re going to hear from our regular co-host, Dr. Trevor Smith. This guy is going to tell you where he came from, how we got together, and what also got him passionate about helping physicians with finances, and what he’s interested in some of the topics. We’ll touch on things like cryptocurrency and getting through residency, and some of the mistakes that we’ve seen. Ultimately, in the end, we’re going to share some of the great things that are going to be rolling out from Financial MD, resources, and all sorts of information and education that’s going to make you a financially smarter resident. So without any further ado, here’s the show.

Jon: Welcome to the very first episode of the Financial MD podcasts. As a physician, everything you ever wanted to know about finances and a few things that you didn’t. Today, I am one of your hosts, Jon Solitro, and our co-host, Dr. Trevor Smith is on as well. Say hello, Trevor.

Trevor: Hey, hey! How’s everybody doing?

Jon: Yeah. A big round of applause. Thank you. Alright, so we thought we’d start out for most of you that are listening unless this is my mom – hi mom; most of you are probably not completely aware of Financial MD is. I assume you have a little bit of an idea, but we thought it might help to give some introduction on what it is, who we are, why we’re doing this podcast, and how an advisor and a physician ever became friends and friends enough to do a podcast.

Trevor: Yup, that’s right.

A Little Background On Our Hosts [0:03:15]

Jon: I’m going to jump in. I’m Jon Solitro. Where am I now? I live in Lansing, Michigan area, and I am the financial planner of the duo and married. I’ve got four kids – a girl that’s 14; boys that are 8, 7, and 5 – so life is crazy. Both genders are at their craziest ages. I got a teenaged daughter, and then I got young boys that are just insane. But life is good. We are recording this in September, so we’re still in pseudo-pandemic at who knows? Depending on what numbers you look at. Either way, I’m still working a lot from home. Trevor is not. He has to go into the office, but that’s the nature of that. Unless you’re a radiologist, you’re probably going back into the office.

Trevor: That’s right.

Jon: Radiologists always said that. We’ve had a few clients over the years, and they get paid BUCO boxes to sit in their basement and look at pictures.

Trevor: That’s some serious business, though. I’m not jealous of the darkroom personally. I mean, I did some dark rooms for ophthalmology, but that’s a lot of darkrooms. Those guys like to hibernate.

Jon: I know. I had one that moved to Hawaii and then spent most of his days in a basement.

Trevor: Yeah, that’s where they put those guys.

Jon: They had nice weekends.

Trevor: Absolutely.

Jon: I remember when I was an undergraduate at MICU, one of my good friends was pre-med, and she wanted to be a radiologist, and I said, “Why?” And she’s like, “Well, I’m not that much of a people person.” I was, “Okay.” I guess that’s a specialty issue when you have no bedside manner.

Trevor: That’s okay. That’s it. It is a give-on, but you don’t have to deal with all the interpersonal complexities of patient care are certainly reducing that subspecialty, which can be an advantage.

Jon: We need those. I mean, at the end of the day, you guys are scientists and researchers.

Trevor: I think as a scientist would be a very generous description of me at this point.

Jon: Alright. I can truly understand that.

Trevor: In my background here, I’m Trevor Smith. I’m an ophthalmologist in the Flint area in Michigan, comprehensive ophthalmology, but I followed this guy, Glaucomflecken. He’s a famous Twitter ophthalmology personality – a really funny guy. He’s got a site and stuff too. He had this joke the other day that was like, “My patients always ask me if I would go back to medical school again if I’d go back and do it again?” And he says, “Yeah, of course. I know half of the material.” It’s very true for ophthalmology. I think probably a lot of people end up forgetting just a ton of what you used to know in medical school, so you’d have to learn a lot again.

Anyway, my other intro would be that I have under 100 followers on Twitter, so I’m not a famous ophthalmologist like Glaucomflecken, but you can follow me @trevorsmithmd. That’s my one plug. I tweet 50 percent about interesting libertarian things, including bitcoin, and then 50 percent about just random either ophthalmology stuff or hot takes on pandemic issues and pretty apolitical. I just like to think about the ideas more than the opinions. The political aspect definitely does get interesting nowadays because it makes some mashes and twists and turns all the actual what you want to call facts. That’s one of my side hobbies, and just being on Twitter a little bit too much, mostly reading on other people and just learning about finance stuff, which is how I ended up meeting Jon here.

Jon: Yeah.

Trevor: Yeah. We met, what, four years ago? Five years ago?

Jon: I bet it was that. No more than four.

How They Met [0:07:44]

Trevor: It may be in 2017, actually. It might have been between three and four – 2016 or 2017. Basically, I was trying to figure out whether I could have a nice little side gig of disability insurance during residency because every dollar counts, and I wanted to fill out my Roth IRA. I was not going to be able to do it as a resident. Initially, I was paying on my loans before I refinanced. Then I had refinanced, and I was just doing 100 bucks a month or something. Then I was able to get more into Roth, but I was just looking for different options, and I like side gig stuff. That’s why one of the reasons for sitting here. Anyways, I was looking into that, and my cousin works for an insurance company, and then he had some sort of connection, I think, with your dad, right?

Jon: My daddy was his business partner.

Trevor: That’s what it was? Okay. And he was, “Oh, you should talk to this guy, Jon. He works with doctors specifically. He’s a young guy. Maybe, he’ll help you get some information.” I don’t even know what does an agent do, do they take tests, whatever. So he walked me through that, and then I ended up getting certified in health, life, and disability. It’s like there are just different combos of that two of those overlap with one of the other ones. I don’t remember which ones – which you can take separately, or you can take them all in one. It’s not too bad. I learned a lot about whole life and term life and sort of the agent slash – now they’re actually called a producer – but what we think of us an agent. I learned that perspective on the industry, which is kind of cool – the official – this is what you have to know to be an agent, the curriculum, and that was after having read a lot like White Coat Investor stuff. It was cool to see it from kind of both angles – like these are the products, these are the laws, these are why the laws exist and stuff.

When Dr. Trevor’s Interest Started [0:09:45]

My personal interest started with a disability because I had a sore neck one time in medical school studying long hours. Then I went to the doctor because of, not technically hypochondriac, but I was the medical student version like everybody. I think it’s called medical student syndrome. Anyways, I went in. I saw somebody, and because I was on my medical record, it was really tough to get a non-exclusive policy that would cover everything, including my neck and my spine. Fortunately, I went a long time without actually having issues. My initial application had spine exclusion. I got it taken off later because you can actually reapply after a couple of years if you’re not having any issues, so it’s kind of nice.

Jon: Well, thank the Lord.

Trevor: Yeah, thank the Lord because ophthalmologists can really have some problems with their necks and backs and stuff.

Jon: Yeah, I think that’s the biggest claim for surgeons, probably.

Trevor: I’m sure it is. I’m thankful that most days, I almost have no even soreness. A lot of times, if I do, it’s not like a chronic or constant thing, so it’s just the regular kind of like make sure you position yourself well kind of thing. Anyways, that’s where my interest came from because I was, “Wow, this is complicated.” I learned after I had that initial issue, years later, I’m in residency, I was, “Oh, I got to get this disability,” and realized it’s not just easy to do and especially if you have any sort of medical thing that was like nothing’s the same that caused any problems. I wanted to help other doctors understand how important and valuable it is and also earn a little side gig income, and I have done just a handful of policies, really. I talked with doctors about the value, and we’ve talked about some strategies. I have kind of my own approach for doing a couple of policies and splitting them. I mean, you taught me that. I really like that idea, in case one goes under, or they go from AAA or whatever not as reliable.

Jon: Yeah. I kind of like that idea too. Remember, we’ve talked about that.

The Idea Behind Financial MD [0:12:00]

Trevor: Yeah, it’s a cool thing, and then you kind of honestly do the heavy lifting in the paperwork. They don’t make it easy for you. There’s no click solution until now that you’re working on Financial MD. That’s kind of the idea. It’s like be a one-stop-shop and solution to just do all the things that doctor’s need and take the work out of it so that they don’t wait years to bank the money so they don’t wait years or until they have a medical problem to try to cover themselves medically. You’re doing it well, and you know the system, and you know what doctors go through and you’re a relatable person. I mean, that’s what has kept us connected, I think, because you know what’s up. You really know how to solve doctors’ problems, and you also could have saved me so much money if I’d listened to you about multiple things and investing. I’m certainly not giving investment advice on the podcast. Jon can actually technically give it. I’m sure there are some disclosures in there, but you’re certified. You’re the real guy.

Jon: Yeah, well, I appreciate that. There’s a lot of quotes that I’ll use in my books so thank you.

Trevor: Perfect.

Jon’s Journey Into Financial Planning [0:13:29]

Jon: Yeah. That was where our lives intersected. Prior to being a financial planner, I was actually a therapist, and I’m a licensed counselor. I got my Master in Counseling and tried that world of mental health care for a while and got burned out pretty quick. I think it felt like a lot of time and a lot of work without a lot of rewards. It seems I didn’t get to always see the patients get better. A lot of them just didn’t. I think a lot of them didn’t want to. I worked for a lot of couples over the years, and what I found to be the biggest quickest impact was helping couples with their finances. It didn’t fix everything, but it certainly gave them something tangible they could walk away with, say, “Okay, we’re communicating better on this, or we understand why we act this way when it comes to money.” I did that for about two or three years in private practice and then transitioned into financial planning when Reuben Levinson, who’s one of our partners, approached me. I was friends with his daughter back in high school, and he was always the cool older brother. I did not talk to him for years and years, and then he ran into me just the right time and said, “Hey, I’ve always wondered how a counselor would do as a financial planner. I think there’s a lot of overlap.” So I said, “Sure, okay, why not. I hate my life now. Let’s try something else and see if that scratches the itch.” Yeah, I mean, it did a lot of things.

Financial MD’s Beginnings [0:15:11]

I am an entrepreneur at heart. I think Trevor would say the same thing in a lot of ways. We’ve got kind of that entrepreneur spirit, love building something and love creating new ideas and then seeing them grow. So we were able to do that with Financial MD six-and-a-half, seven years ago now, and really took off in the area and what our goal was this year and I think in a lot of ways this pandemic accelerated us. We wanted to do what works so well in Michigan because what I do is I speak to residency programs. That was kind of the way that we get our message out. We get our education out, and we found years ago when we started this residency workshop curriculum/financial literacy curriculum is that residents were often jumping from $50,000-a-year salary to $250,000 a year with no idea of what to do with it. They probably heard bits and pieces here and snippets from the other residents or their attending or something they found online or whatever – some good, some bad info. But what we found is that there was no formal education. You go through four years of undergrad and four years in med school and however long the residency all without anybody really taking out enough time in a class type of setting to say, “Here’s what you need to know and what you need to do.” And so we started with one residency program in Lansing, Michigan, until last year we probably did 220 or so – all of them at Midwest. We branched out in Chicago, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. That just got me thinking of how much bigger impact we could have if we could take this thing virtual and we weren’t limited by location. Along comes the pandemic and says, sure, and a lot of people are going to be more open to that here this year. It’s really paved the way for where Financial MD is going. I’ve been super honored to have Trevor along for the journey because he is kind of my wise sage that is able to share some experiences, go through them, and I might come up with a dumb idea of, “Hey, I think physicians will like this,” and he’d be, “Dude, no they won’t. You’re way off face there. Come back.” I think it worked. We’re kind of the yin and the yang, and hopefully, we’ll make the show entertaining.

How Financial MD Can Help Residents and Attendings [0:17:42]

The bigger vision – and I think Trevor and I can both share into this – but my vision for Financial MD why I think people ask me the questions, especially older advisors who ask me, “Why do you work with physicians. I hear they a-holes,” or “Hey, they’re really difficult to work with,” or “God complex” or whatever – all these words, and that haven’t been my experience by and large, but I know that there’s good people wanting to help people for sure and do they make an income? Sure, they make a high income, and that’s great. But what I have seen over the years is way too many physicians that are just working, putting their head down, coming home from work, living their life doing whatever and the income at the end of a year, they may have made $250,000, $300,000 and they got nothing to show for it. Add to that maybe they’ve married physicians and also double income. Add to that, and maybe, they’ve got it much higher, whatever the case might be. But over the lifetime of a physician, run these numbers one time and if there’s a million-and-a-half physician, which is probably given or take a couple of hundred thousand in the United States, and average physician income if you take them all is probably between $200,000 and $250,000 over a 30-year career on average, multiply that times a 30-year career, you’re talking in the low trillions of dollars that are at stake here. In my mind, that can do a lot of good. Not only for the physician himself, not only for their families but then once we hit those checkpoints, I have this kind of checkpoint roadmap process that I take everyone through even in residency. It’s step one complete this, then you can run step 2, and it kind of builds up like this. Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and kind of identifying this is the basic need, then you move on to more kind of discretionary or optional things.

In my mind, there’s a lot of good that can be done, and I hate to see physicians that have such income potential over the years and such financial potential to look back over their 30-year career and if I tell him, “Hey, did you know you made 20 million dollars over the last 30 years,” and they just looked back like, “I’ve no idea where that went,” and if we can start as early as possible for that income starts getting into good financial habits so money is not necessarily wasted or put into stupid things or somebody talk to him into this kind of policy or talk to him in this or whatever. We tried to prevent that. But also as to become an attending to say, okay, do this to take care of yourself, do this to take care of your family and those that are close to you and that mean a lot to you, and then beyond that if we work this right – and I think 99 percent of the time we can – you’ll still have money left over to do great things with over the years and our dream at Financial MD is that we’ll be able to maybe not literally but be at the physicians’ death bed when they’re 90 years old and say, “Hey, because of what you did and the decisions that you made, you donated a million dollars to ABC over the course of your career,” of 2 million dollars, 5 million dollars, which seems like crazy numbers when I tell this to residences or young attendings, but it’s possible, and if we can do that for one, we can do it for a hundred, or we can do it for a thousand. I believe that Financial MD is going to be a force for good in this culture if we can stay the course and start to shift where some of the mentality and the behavior is going in the world of physician’s finances.

Trevor: Yeah, it’s nice if you make a lot of money if you know where your money is going. I mean, pick an investment, you can argue over different types of investments, and there are different opinions on automating things, or there are 10 different investment opinions, but if you don’t even know your money is going, it doesn’t even matter what you’d think would be a good investment. It’s like their ninth conversation.

Jon: Any of those things is better than nothing, right? There’s not a right or wrong there. It’s like at least do that, and then we can talk about secondarily what to do within those things.

Trevor: Yeah, that’s really true. Yeah, unlike a pyramid, if you’re kind of doing one of those things, it’s helpful. It’s better than doing none, but certainly, if you know where your money is going, which is not necessarily budgeting. I don’t know if you’re a big-budget guy or not, but a lot of people start with budgeting as the core thing. Whether that’s good or bad doesn’t necessarily matter. If you generally know where your money goes, like I haven’t been a strict budget guy, but I can always tell you generally how much I spend on this for that or where my money has gone. I spend it on purpose even if I don’t know where every single dollar is, and then if it’s not making sense to me, I kind of do it just a little bit larger, and I think honestly, as a physician, that was not as true as a resident. I had to keep a little closer track, but now that I’m attending, you can kind of afford to do that. If you’re not blowing, if you’re earning a decent paycheck, let’s say you’re at that 250 range starting out if you just don’t spend all your money that the first month, you’re going to have like a nice cushion in your checking account of between 5 and 10,000 dollars. You’re not going to have overdraft fee problems, and you’re going to be able to keep track to a certain degree, and that’s not necessarily I should say which other people that do, you have those issues. We kind of have an easy mode in terms of doing some of the basic things right as long as we are playing by the correct rules, as long as we had good information. The correct premise goes a long way if somebody who makes a decent income and you can even make mistakes that other people don’t make and bounce back from them. There’s a lot of legroom like doctors are so set up to succeed even with 10 percent of the effort of the average person, they’re going to do better. Having a high income is a big advantage. Dave Ramsey talks about if you have a lot of debt, you got a big hole you are in. This is a weird analogy. Actually, I’d love to get your take on this. I think the analogy he gives is you’re in a hole, but you have a big shovel.

Jon: Does that make you deeper?

Trevor: Yeah, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he says, every time you got a big shovel, and it will get you out of it. And I was like, “Aren’t you in a hole?”

Jon: Because of that, shovel? Didn’t that shovel make that hole?

Trevor: Yeah. It doesn’t quite add up. I mean, it’s true. I mean, it’s a big shovel, but that’s sort of like if you’re trying to make a hole – I don’t know. It doesn’t work well. Anyway, those are just my quick thoughts now that I’m an attending, which I should say, yeah, I am a board-certified ophthalmologist. Those boards are tough. I’m glad they’re over, and I’ve been out from residency for a couple of years and I kind of wish I would have been a little less stressed in residency. I wished I had just set up the things that you advised and then not been, “Oh, I need to make every little extra dollar,” because the dollars come after. They really do come after and just enjoy the time, the limited time they have in residency, but I mean in a matter of 10 hours, probably less an hour a week over 10 weeks, you would have every single thing in your financial life set. You see it, and you’re like, “I want to make money the time I get out of this.” But you also have to live life outside the spreadsheet, and there are different stages. As a resident, I’m always stressing about this or that because I’m a driven person, but I wished I could go back and tell myself, “Just chill, man. Just learn and just get your stuff in place. Just get your disability and maybe try to fill up that Roth IRA if you can. Refinance those loans to save tens of thousands of dollars. That’s the easy one. The sooner you do it, the more you save.”

Jon: Yeah.

Trevor: Yeah, you know what I mean. You can’t do it all at one time, but you can get a plan early, and then you just get to execute that plan real slow.

What Is The Roadmap for Residents [0:26:52]

Jon: That’s totally true. That’s why we created the roadmap for residents so it would be kind of a one bite-at-a-time type of thing, like ideally we meet with a resident in their first year and say, “Okay, PGY1, here’s what you do,” and then the other stuff, we can put off until PGY2 and 3 and 4. We take it in bites because it’s hard enough to spend any time as a resident about anything, let alone your personal finances and so what I wanted to do with Financial MD was: A. Figure out a way to first automate as much we can. B: But have somebody for a reasonable price that even a resident could afford. Hey, I know they’ve got my stuff. I may have just sat for three to four hours a year, but I know that somebody is taking care of it, making sure I do what I got to do, and I don’t have to be. What we’d seen before Financial MD was you could get that kind of service, but you had to be an attending because these advisors were only working with people that had 100,000 or 500,000 saved up or they had these minimums because I get it, they had to pay their bills, and it takes some time, or they were paying out of pocket a couple of thousand dollars a year, but by the time you’re through residency, you’ve already built some financial habits, and it’s too late at that point a lot of times.

So, yeah, that’s totally true, and going back to the budgeting thing, I agree with you on that, and we’ll show in another show how we do this concept. It’s brilliant or proprietary, but it’s the word for some I kind of came up with called reverse budgeting, which, if that’s not out there, we’ll trademark it. Basically, the concept of, “Okay, what do you think you need to do all these different categories of life from housing to the car to student loans to food to groceries to gas and all these different things. It’s like, “Well, I think I probably need this and this and this.” I’ll go through this conversation the first time I sit down with a resident and, usually, we find some, “Okay, if we do that math, and there’s this whole spreadsheet with formulas, and it says you should have 150 dollars a month leftover in surplus, and they’re like, “Oh, well, that doesn’t seem right. I usually have nothing left over.” And so like, “Okay.” Probably true, and that’s usually what happens. But if these numbers are right, and we look over and, “Yeah, it looks right. You should have 150 surpluses, right?” “Yeah, I guess that makes sense. We thought of everything that I spend in a month.” Okay, so let’s take that money first and do something smart with it. Then we don’t have to worry about budgeting. You should do whatever you want with the rest because you know you’re smart with the extra, and if we can kind of slowly tweak that up every six months, then you’ll be doing better and better and starting knockout stuff on that roadmap. The first step, get an emergency fund. Knock out some credit card debt if you have to. Get your disability insurance. Those are some of the basic first steps that, with 150 bucks a month, we can do that, and you’ll know that you’re doing better than 90 percent of the other residents out there, just by doing that. Actual budgeting is hard to do; sounds good in theory. I have rarely seen it work, so why don’t we just take care of one budget, and that’s saving and just personal finance stuff, and then you do whatever you want with the rest.

Trevor: Yeah. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a product where you’re basically like contributing a pre-tax to your employer’s retirement plan where they just take the money out? It never ends up in your checking account. It’s one of the reasons it’s such a great way of investing – you kind of never see it. It’s sort of like, would you pay Social Security if they gave you the money in there like, hey, we’re going to put this in your bank account and then if you want to be a part of this then give us whatever like 2 percent. That’s more than that, right? I can’t remember how much Social Security is. Medicare, I think, is 2 percent, right?

Jon: Yeah.

Trevor: Anyways, I just don’t remember.

Jon: Well, your FICA of Social Security – all that stuff – I mean your 7.65 percent is just employee share. Yes, it’s a lot, and that’s why most people have most of their money at the end of their career in their 401(k) because it’s the easy button, because you don’t see it.

Trevor: Yes, right.

Jon: It’s hard to believe you can do this, but it’s a good thing – employers can automatically enroll every new employee at 1 percent or 2 percent.

Trevor: Yeah. If Social Security wasn’t mandated, a lot of people wouldn’t do it even if it feels free tax, and there’s a reason that’s mandated. You can’t say no, and so you’re going to have a little bit of a safety net, not a lot. And if we could do that to ourselves even beyond a 401(k), that would be sweet. In residency, I could have saved more. As I said, it was tight – it’s tight – but it’s also what a lot of people make.

Jon: Yes, average income.

Trevor: For a lot of people, it’s the most of them making. It’s not a terrible income. If you don’t refinance your loans, you’re super strapped because then you’re paying minimums between 7 and 1500 dollars a month on a salary take-home of 3,000 a month. It’s pretty tough but doable if you have a cheap apartment or roommates. But if you could filter that like 3,000 a month in residency into a bank account where you’re like, hey, I want 200 or 300 of this every month to go to X, and kind of you can’t access it. There is some sort of artificial barrier you could sign up for that’d be kind of sweet, you know what I mean? Just like stocks go up, but we’re young – we buy them, we trade them, we sell them, and then we buy high and sell low, and that’s really common if there’s a way to lock it up so I’m not allowed to do the stupid thing that I know that I’ll do.

Jon: Yes.

Trevor: But it’s your money, so they’ll let you sell it. It’ll be most nice to have some really purposeful thing. It makes it really tough for you to get to your own money.

Purpose Of A Financial Advisor [0:33:22]

Jon: Well, and that’s what I feel part of the purpose of a financial advisor is to be kind of between people and their money, and someone’s like, “Hey, I need you to sell all that stock,” and the advisor’s like, “Are you sure?”

Trevor: Exactly, that’s what that money is for, and it would have saved, to me personally, a lot of money to have been doing that over the past, even in residency. I think that’s exactly what a financial advisor is. It’s just like, “I have your funds under management.” We can do that. There are some extra fees involved, but that’s not all bad. I mean, that is the barrier.

Jon: Well, and that’s what you’re paying for.

Trevor: Yeah. I listened to White Coat Investor, and I’ve done his course, and I have a plan and all that stuff, but doctors are their own worst enemy, and we’re kind of worse in investing than a lot of the average individuals.

Jon: Well, even you would say maybe 15 to 20 percent of doctors are actually do-it-yourselfers.

Trevor: Totally. You’re absolutely right.

Jon: The rest are going to get fiduciary.

Trevor: Yeah. You read the blog, though, and you’re just like, “Oh, here’s the information. I understand the information. Let me execute based on this.” It’s very simple.

Jon: You make it sound like everybody should do this, and no one should need an advisor.

Trevor: It does come across that way. He’s such a good dude, though. I emailed him a couple of times. He’s so helpful and so responsive, and I think his philosophy, even like his tagline, is helping doctors get a fair shake or something like that,. I think he’s just trying to equip doctors actually to know, and then from a Dave Ramsey kind of approach, it’s like you can find out. If you know a lot, then you can find out if the guy that you’re paying knows more than you or knows how to do the right stuff. That’s my approach, at least.

Jon: I think that makes sense. I’m a big proponent of the White Coat Investor because I know he’s not an anti-financial advisor. Yes, his course is called Fire, your Financial Advisor, but I get it. I mean, it’s kind of a given, but at the same time, he’s out there for the do-it-yourselfers, and I think there’s a lot of people that will make more informed decisions on who their advisors which we’re totally in favor of.

Trevor: Absolutely. Yeah, and having a fiduciary is like, I mean, who doesn’t want to have somebody who’s on their side. I think that’s a totally reasonable thing.

What Exactly Is A Fiduciary? Difference Between a Fiduciary And A Salesman [0:36:12]

Jon: Yeah, and that’s the whole point. If we could give any investment or financial advice today, it’s whoever it is you work with, whether it’s yourself or whether it’s an advisor, it’s got to be someone you like, and you trust, and number three, you know, has your best interest at heart. And it helps if they’re legally bound to have your best interest at heart, just what a fiduciary is.

Trevor: That’s right. Yeah, if not, I mean, salesmen who are not fiduciaries, they have no responsibility to tell you. They’re trying to make a sale, however, and if you’re a fiduciary, then you’re not just a salesman. I mean, you’re trying to better the person that you’re working with. It’s a big difference.

Jon: Yeah, and we’ll go into another episode where we’ll talk about the difference and how to pick a financial advisor. I mean, to get a fiduciary, you’re going to have to pay for it. You’re going to pay for it with some assets under management, or you’re going to pay for it out of pocket, but that’s the price you pay to have good suitable advice and somebody that you can trust. And again, a salesman – I’ve met some great salesman – good people. There are some for sure, but at the end of the day, can you truly say that the guy just can’t be conflict-free? And nobody is – let’s be honest – but if we can try to minimize as much as possible, we’re human, and we’re all driven by money. I’ve met plenty of doctors that are driven by money. It’s not exclusive to just the financial field.

Trevor: That’s right. You’re absolutely right.

Jon: Well, I think we’re coming up at the end of our time. Any final thoughts, Dr. Smith?

Final Thoughts [0:37:45]

Trevor: I think my last thought is like not so much from the financial perspective, but I’m curious. Physicians take an oath, right? Just thinking about what you’re just saying, like we take an oath to do no harm. There’s a lot that goes after that, but we usually just say the ‘Do No Harm’ part. But I don’t know that there’s a legally binding fiduciary equivalent in medicine, which is very interesting. Sort of like I must take the patient’s best interest at heart. I’m going to have to chew on that because I don’t think it exists, and that’s kind of interesting that it doesn’t.

Jon: Yeah. That’s a good one.

Trevor: I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist, so I’m going to think about that. That’d be a cool thing, and it’s something that should exist, so it’s, yeah, interesting, once you think about that because there are plenty of conflicts of interest in medicine.

Jon: Yeah, and for sure, in the financial world as well. I mean, I can tell you there are. Just offhand, I’ll give you some looks under the hood. There’s a lot of push in incentives for an advisor, say – and we can’t do this – but, say, a commission-based advisor to sell a variable annuity to someone with a million bucks versus put them in a mutual fund account or brokerage accountant and do it that way and just make maybe half-percent a year on an amount like that. Because a lot of these annuities probably come down a little bit over the years but getting 6 or 7 percent up-front commission one time would not be unheard of, so on a million bucks, that’s what? Seventy thousand dollars, sixty thousand dollars.

Trevor: That’s crazy, yeah. I’ve heard some good podcasts by The White Coat Investor. Let’s talk about that.

Jon: Yeah, it’s not, and even me, as inviting getting into that and seeing this going on like this, how do you expect these guys to even – even if they’re good guys – to make good decisions or feel good?

Trevor: That’s what he says exactly. It’s so much money that there’s just no way. If you’re selling a lot of that product, it has an impact.

Jon: Yeah, so whose fault is it?

Trevor: Yeah, oh, totally.

Jon: The annuity company is it.

Trevor: Yeah, and all we can do is just be responsible for our own actions, and at the end of a day and then in decades down the road, it’s what do you want to look back on.

Jon: Yeah. Don’t you want to sleep at night, and that kind of thing.

Trevor: Yeah, totally. You want to have mattered and feel good about it, and that’s worth leaving money on a sideline. It’s not like you’re losing it. You’re just not gaining it, and that’s okay.

Jon: Yeah.

Trevor: Well, great. It’s good to catch up.

Jon: Good to see you. Enjoy your vacation, and it looks like that’s got to be Fiji?

Trevor: Oahu.

Jon: Oahu, okay.

Trevor: Yeah, I just woke up on the plane, and I’m just here.

Jon: Oh yeah. Send me a fit-flop. Okay, well, put some pants on. It’s great, it’s fun, and that’s a wrap, and we’ll see everybody next time.

Trevor: Sounds good. Thanks, Jon.

Thanks for joining us for another Financial MD Show. Be sure to head over to financialmd.com to get more in-depth resources on financial tips for physicians, and don’t forget to join the Financial MD community group on Facebook, where physicians at all stages of their career gather to share tips and get ideas on achieving true financial success. We’ll see you next time.

The Financial MD Show is for informational purposes only and is not an offer to invest. It is not financial, tax, or legal advice. Be sure to seek financial, legal, or tax professionals when making any financial decisions. Before investing, you should make sure that any investment strategy or investment meets your individual investment needs, goals, and objectives. Financial MD makes no claims or guarantees to individual investment performance. All investing involves the risk of loss as well as the potential for gain.

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