FINANCIAL PLANNING: Strategies for Doctors and their Advisors




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Written by doctors and healthcare professionals, this textbook should be mandatory reading for all medical school students—highly recommended for both young and veteran physicians—and an eliminating factor for any financial advisor who has not read it. The book uses jargon like ‘innovative,’ ‘transformational,’ and ‘disruptive’—all rightly so! It is the type of definitive financial lifestyle planning book we often seek, but seldom find.
LeRoy Howard MA CMPTM,Candidate and Financial Advisor, Fayetteville, North Carolina

I taught diagnostic radiology for over a decade. The physician-focused niche information, balanced perspectives, and insider industry transparency in this book may help save your financial life.
Dr. William P. Scherer MS, Barry University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

This book was crafted in response to the frustration felt by doctors who dealt with top financial, brokerage, and accounting firms. These non-fiduciary behemoths often prescribed costly wholesale solutions that were applicable to all, but customized for few, despite ever-changing needs. It is a must-read to learn why brokerage sales pitches or Internet resources will never replace the knowledge and deep advice of a physician-focused financial advisor, medical consultant, or collegial Certified Medical Planner™ financial professional.
—Parin Khotari MBA,Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, New York

In today’s healthcare environment, in order for providers to survive, they need to understand their current and future market trends, finances, operations, and impact of federal and state regulations. As a healthcare consulting professional for over 30 years supporting both the private and public sector, I recommend that providers understand and utilize the wealth of knowledge that is being conveyed in these chapters. Without this guidance providers will have a hard time navigating the supporting system which may impact their future revenue stream. I strongly endorse the contents of this book.
—Carol S. Miller BSN MBA PMP,President, Miller Consulting Group, ACT IAC Executive Committee Vice-Chair at-Large, HIMSS NCA Board Member

This is an excellent book on financial planning for physicians and health professionals. It is all inclusive yet very easy to read with much valuable information. And, I have been expanding my business knowledge with all of Dr. Marcinko’s prior books. I highly recommend this one, too. It is a fine educational tool for all doctors.
—Dr. David B. Lumsden MD MS MA,Orthopedic Surgeon, Baltimore, Maryland

There is no other comprehensive book like it to help doctors, nurses, and other medical providers accumulate and preserve the wealth that their years of education and hard work have earned them.
—Dr. Jason Dyken MD MBA,Dyken Wealth Strategies, Gulf Shores, Alabama

I plan to give a copy of this book written
by doctors and for doctors’ to all my prospects, physician, and nurse clients. It may be the definitive text on this important topic.
—Alexander Naruska CPA,Orlando, Florida

Health professionals are small business owners who need to apply their self-discipline tactics in establishing and operating successful practices. Talented trainees are leaving the medical profession because they fail to balance the cost of attendance against a realistic business and financial plan. Principles like budgeting, saving, and living below one’s means, in order to make future investments for future growth, asset protection, and retirement possible are often lacking. This textbook guides the medical professional in his/her financial planning life journey from start to finish. It ranks a place in all medical school libraries and on each of our bookshelves.
—Dr. Thomas M. DeLauro DPM,Professor and Chairman – Division of Medical Sciences, New York College of Podiatric Medicine

Physicians are notoriously excellent at diagnosing and treating medical conditions. However, they are also notoriously deficient in managing the business aspects of their medical practices. Most will earn $20-30 million in their medical lifetime, but few know how to create wealth for themselves and their families. This book will help fill the void in physicians’ financial education. I have two recommendations: 1) every physician, young and old, should read this book; and 2) read it a second time!
—Dr. Neil Baum MD,Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, Louisiana

I worked with a Certified Medical Planner™ on several occasions in the past, and will do so again in the future. This book codified the vast body of knowledge that helped in all facets of my financial life and professional medical practice.
Dr. James E. Williams DABPS, Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Conyers, Georgia

This is a constantly changing field for rules, regulations, taxes, insurance, compliance, and investments. This book assists readers, and their financial advisors, in keeping up with what’s going on in the healthcare field that all doctors need to know.
Patricia Raskob CFP® EA ATA, Raskob Kambourian Financial Advisors, Tucson, Arizona

I particularly enjoyed reading the specific examples in this book which pointed out the perils of risk … something with which I am too familiar and have learned (the hard way) to avoid like the Black Death. It is a pleasure to come across this kind of wisdom, in print, that other colleagues may learn before it’s too late— many, many years down the road.
Dr. Robert S. Park MD, Robert Park and Associates Insurance, Seattle, Washington

Although this book targets physicians, I was pleased to see that it also addressed the financial planning and employment benefit needs of nurses; physical, respiratory, and occupational therapists; CRNAs, hospitalists, and other members of the health care team….highly readable, practical, and understandable.
Nurse Cecelia T. Perez RN, Hospital Operating Room Manager, Ellicott City, Maryland

Personal financial success in the PP-ACA era will be more difficult to achieve than ever before. It requires the next generation of doctors to rethink frugality, delay gratification, and redefine the very definition of success and work–life balance. And, they will surely need the subject matter medical specificity and new-wave professional guidance offered in this book. This book is a ‘must-read’ for all health care professionals, and their financial advisors, who wish to take an active role in creating a new subset of informed and pioneering professionals known as Certified Medical Planners™.
—Dr. Mark D. Dollard FACFAS, Private Practice, Tyson Corner, Virginia

As healthcare professionals, it is our Hippocratic duty to avoid preventable harm by paying attention. On the other hand, some of us are guilty of being reckless with our own financial health—delaying serious consideration of investments, taxation, retirement income, estate planning, and inheritances until the worry keeps one awake at night. So, if you have avoided planning for the future for far too long, perhaps it is time to take that first step toward preparedness. This in-depth textbook is an excellent starting point—not only because of its readability, but because of his team’s expertise and thoroughness in addressing the intricacies of modern investments—and from the point of view of not only gifted financial experts, but as healthcare providers, as well … a rare combination.
Dr. Darrell K. Pruitt DDS, Private Practice Dentist, Fort Worth, Texas

This text should be on the bookshelf of all contemporary physicians. The book is physician-focused with unique topics applicable to all medical professionals. But, it also offers helpful insights into the new tax and estate laws, fiduciary accountability for advisors and insurance agents, with investing, asset protection and risk management, and retirement planning strategies with updates for the brave new world of global payments of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Starting out by encouraging readers to examine their personal ‘money blueprint’ beliefs and habits, the book is divided into four sections offering holistic life cycle financial information and economic education directed to new, mid-career, and mature physicians.

This structure permits one to dip into the book based on personal need to find relief, rather than to overwhelm. Given the complexity of modern domestic healthcare, and the daunting challenges faced by physicians who try to stay abreast of clinical medicine and the ever-evolving laws of personal finance, this textbook could not have come at a better time.
—Dr. Philippa Kennealy MD MPH, The Entrepreneurial MD, Los Angeles, California

Physicians have economic concerns unmatched by any other profession, arriving ten years late to the start of their earning years. This textbook goes to the core of how to level the playing field quickly, and efficaciously, by a new breed of dedicated Certified Medical Planners™. With physician-focused financial advice, each chapter is a building block to your financial fortress.
Thomas McKeon, MBA, Pharmaceutical Representative, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

An excellent resource … this textbook is written in a manner that provides physician practice owners with a comprehensive guide to financial planning and related topics for their professional practice in a way that is easily comprehended. The style in which it breaks down the intricacies of the current physician practice landscape makes it a ‘must-read’ for those physicians (and their advisors) practicing in the volatile era of healthcare reform.
—Robert James Cimasi, MHA ASA FRICS MCBA CVA CM&AA CMP™, CEO-Health Capital Consultants, LLC, St. Louis, Missouri

Rarely can one find a full compendium of information within a single source or text, but this book communicates the new financial realities we are forced to confront; it is full of opportunities for minimizing tax liability and maximizing income potential. We’re recommending it to all our medical practice management clients across the entire healthcare spectrum.
Alan Guinn, The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc., Cookeville, Tennessee

Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™ and his team take a seemingly endless stream of disparate concepts and integrate them into a simple, straightforward, and understandable path to success. And, he codifies them all into a step-by-step algorithm to more efficient investing, risk management, taxation, and enhanced retirement planning for doctors and nurses. His text is a vital read—and must execute—book for all healthcare professionals and physician-focused financial advisors.
Dr. O. Kent Mercado, JD, Private Practitioner and Attorney, Naperville, Illinois

Kudos. The editors and contributing authors have compiled the most comprehensive reference book for the medical community that has ever been attempted. As you review the chapters of interest and hone in on the most important concerns you may have, realize that the best minds have been harvested for you to plan well… Live well.
Martha J. Schilling; AAMS® CRPC® ETSC CSA, Shilling Group Advisors, LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I recommend this book to any physician or medical professional that desires an honest no-sales approach to understanding the financial planning and investing world. It is worthwhile to any financial advisor interested in this space, as well.
David K. Luke, MIM MS-PFP CMP™, Net Worth Advisory Group, Sandy, Utah

Although not a substitute for a formal business education, this book will help physicians navigate effectively through the hurdles of day-to-day financial decisions with the help of an accountant, financial and legal advisor. I highly recommend it and commend Dr. Marcinko and the Institute of Medical Business Advisors, Inc. on a job well done.
Ken Yeung MBA CMP™, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, Hong Kong

I’ve seen many ghost-written handbooks, paperbacks, and vanity-published manuals on this topic throughout my career in mental healthcare. Most were poorly written, opinionated, and cheaply produced self-aggrandizing marketing drivel for those agents selling commission-based financial products and expensive advisory services. So, I was pleasantly surprised with this comprehensive peer-reviewed academic textbook, complete with citations, case examples, and real-life integrated strategies by and for medical professionals. Although a bit late for my career, I recommend it highly to all my younger colleagues … It’s credibility and specificity stand alone.
Dr. Clarice Montgomery PhD MA,Retired Clinical Psychologist

In an industry known for one-size-fits-all templates and massively customized books, products, advice, and services, the extreme healthcare specificity of this text is both refreshing and comprehensive.
Dr. James Joseph Bartley, Columbus, Georgia

My brother was my office administrator and accountant. We both feel this is the most comprehensive textbook available on financial planning for healthcare providers.
Dr. Anthony Robert Naruska DC,Winter Park, Florida

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Thank You


The TRI-PHASIC Road from Medical Practice to Retirement Planning for Doctors


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Determining Your Retirement Vision

There’s an aspect to retirement that many physicians do not plan for … the transition from work and practice to retirement.  Your work has been an important part of your life.  That’s why the emotional adjustments of retirement may be some of the most difficult ones.

For example, what would you like to do in retirement? Your retirement vision will be unique to you. You are retiring to something not from something that you envisioned. When you have more time, you would like to do more traveling, play golf or visit more often, family and friends. Would you relocate closer to your kids?  Learn a new art or take a new class? Fund your grandchildren’s education? Do you have philanthropic goals? Perhaps you would like to help your church, school or favorite charity? If your net worth is above certain limits, it would be wise to take a serious look at these goals. With proper planning, there might be some tax benefits too. Then you have to figure how much each goal is going to cost you.

If have a list of retirement goals, you need to prioritize which goal is most important. You can rate them on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being the most important. Then, you can differentiate between wants and needs. Needs are things that are absolutely necessary for you to retire; while wants are things that still allow retirement but would just be nice to have.


Recent studies indicate there are three phases in retirement, each with a different spending pattern [Richard Greenberg CFP®, Gardena CA, personal communication]. The three phases are:

  1. The Early Retirement Years. There is a pent-up demand to take advantage of all the free time retirement affords. You can travel to exotic places, buy an RV and explore forty-nine states, go on month-long sailing vacations. It’s possible during these years that after-tax expenses increase during these initial years, especially if the mortgage hasn’t been paid off yet. Usually the early years last about ten years until most retirees are in their 70’s.
  • Middle Years. People decide to slow down on the exploration.  This is when people start simplifying their life.  They may sell their house and downsize to a condo or townhouse.  They may relocate to an area they discovered during their travels, or to an area close to family and friends, to an area with a warm climate or to an area with low or no state taxes.  People also do their most important estate planning during these years.  They are concerned about leaving a legacy, taking care of their children and grandchildren and fulfilling charitable intent. This a time when people spend more time in the local area.  They may start taking extension or college classes.  They spend more time volunteering at various non-profits and helping out older and less healthy retirees. People often spend less during these years. This period starts when a retiree is in his or her mid to late 70’s and can last up to 20 years, usually to mid to late-80’s.
  • Late Years. This is when you may need assistance in our daily activities.  You may receive care at home, in a nursing home or an assisted care facility.  Most of the care options are very expensive.  It’s possible that these years might be more expensive than your pre-retirement expenses.  This is especially true if both spouses need some sort of assisted care. This period usually starts when the retiree is their 80’s; however they can sometimes start in the mid to late 70’s.


Planning Issues – Early Career

If early retirement is a major objective, start thinking about activities that will fill up your time during retirement.  Maintaining your health is more critical, since your health habits at this time will often dictate how healthy you will be in retirement.

Planning Issues – Mid Career

If early retirement is a major objective, start thinking about activities that will fill up your time during retirement.  Maintaining your health is more critical, since your health habits at this time will often dictate how healthy you will be in retirement

Planning Issues – Late Career 

Three to five years before you retire, start making the transition from work to retirement. 

  • Try out different hobbies;
  • Find activities that will give you a purpose in retirement;
  • Establish friendships outside of the office or hospital;
  • Discuss retirement plans with your spouse.
  • If you plan to relocate to a new place, it is important to rent a place in that area and stay for few months and see if you like it. Making a drastic change like relocating and then finding you don’t like the new town or state might be very costly mistake. The key is to gradually make the transition.


Thank You



Essential Insights on Successful Physician Budgeting

fp-book5Special Report for all Medical Professionals

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA

What: A Special Report Prepared upon the Request of “Podiatry Today”

Who: Dr. David E Marcinko and Hope Rachel Hetico; MHA


Topic: Essential Insights on Successful Budgeting

Reporter: Jeffrey Hall [Editor “Podiatry Today” Magazine]

Where: Internet Ether

Although some doctors might view a budget as unnecessarily restrictive, sticking to a spending plan can be a useful tool in enhancing the wealth of a medical practice. These authors emphasize keys to smart budgeting and how to track spending and savings in these tough economic times. The universal applicability to all doctors is obvious.

Read the Report Here



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On Emergency Funds for Physicians

dr-david-marcinko3Cash Reserves Now More Important Than Ever!

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™



This is a basic question in financial planning circles that has generated much activity in the medical community, of late. Previously considered so mundane – as to be dismissed by some haughty physicians – it has acquired increased urgency with the current financial meltdown.

What Security Level Desired?

Yet, the answer to this question is dependent upon the security level desired by the medical provider and his/her family. Traditionally, financial planners suggested most people with solid employment, and transferrable skills, have at least three months of living expenses (not including taxes) in a reserve fund that is easily accessible (i.e., liquid). The amount needed for a one-month reserve is equal to the amount of expenses for the month, rather than the amount of monthly income. This is because during no-income months – there is no income tax.

The Usual Checklist

We suggest the following questions as helpful in determining the amount of reserve needed by medical professionals:

1. How many incomes do you have in your household?

2. How secure is your current practice, or medical job?

3. Do you have other unrelated sources of income; medically or non-medically related?

4. How long would it take you to find another position in your specialty, if suddenly unemployed? [Hint: Assume one month per ten grand of income; at $150-k annually, this means searching for 15 months].

5. How much money do you spend, and save, each month?

6. Would you be willing [able] to lower your monthly [fixed or variable] expenses, if you were unemployed?

Many Factors to Considerinsurance-book1

But, many other factors come into play when determining how much money a particular physician and his/her family should have on hand. Does the family have one income or two? How stable is this income source? Does the doctor work for himself [managing partner], or is she employed [minority partner, associate, etc]? What kind of firm, company or hospital employs him; private, HMO, MCO, Federal or State entity? Does the family use all of the income each month? What about, life, health, disability or LTC insurance as fringe benefits? Does the family anticipate the possibility of large liability exposures and expenses occurring in the future (i.e., medical school or practice start-up debt, private tuition for the kids, medical expenses, liability suits etc.)? Are you willing to relocate for a new job?

Family Situation Appraisal

If the doctor is in a dual-income family – with stable incomes – and/or lives on a single income – the need for a liquid reserve is minimal; but still much more than for the average layman. On the other hand, if the doctor is a single individual, with an unstable income and she spends everything each month, the need for a liquid cash reserve is higher.

In the previous example, and in the stable past, the doctor may have opted for a six-to-nine month reserve if the need for security was high; and a three-to-six month reserve if the need for security was low. For the last five to seven years however, we have suggested to our medical clients that they expand this reserve cash corpus to 12-24 months; and as a blanket rule of thumb for all medical professionals. Of course, I was roundly criticized for it; until now.

Today, we are suggesting 3-5 years; with considerably less criticism. Cash is power, choice, swagger, potency, freedom and represents options. Acquire it!

Stashing the Cash

Once the amount of reserve is determined, the doctor should consider the appropriate investment vehicles for the reserve fund. At minimum, the reserve should be invested in a money market mutual fund with NAV @ 1.00 USD. Larger income earners may opt for tax-exempt money market mutual funds, as needed.  For larger reserves, an ultra-short term, no-low bond fund, might be appropriate for amounts over three months – in periods of deflation; not so during inflationary periods.


Today, we recommend doctors keep 3-5 years of cash-on-hand. Yes, I am aware of the “paradox-of-thrift” conundrum. But, do you want to help the domestic GDP, or your family; you decide? Personally, my own concern is not the macro-economic milieu.

Full disclosure: I am a former insurance agent, registered investment advisor; board certified surgeon and Certified Financial Planner™


And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. How stressed out are you, right now? You are sleepless if previously considered cash, as trash.

But, if sitting on a little pile; you should be sleeping like a baby.    


Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact:




Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM) 

Front Matter with Foreword by Jason Dyken MD MBA




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