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Your Children and Your Money

Rick Kahler MS CFPBy Rick Kahler http://www.KahlerFinancial.com

As a doctor – Do your kids know how much money you make? If not, and they asked, would you feel comfortable telling them?

My hunch is that the most common answer to both these questions is “No.” Talking about money is such a strong taboo that it often keeps us from sharing information about our earnings and net worth even with members of our immediate families.

Yet being honest with children about what we earn and how we spend it is a perfect opportunity to teach them important life lessons about money.

Here are a few suggestions to foster those conversations:

  1. Take advantage of teachable moments. As with many other big questions, like where babies come from or whether cats go to heaven (personally, I doubt it, but that may say more about my prejudices than my theology), the ideal time to answer money questions is when the kids ask.
  2. Provide context for numbers. To a child who gets an allowance of five bucks a week, either $10,000 or $100,000 a year can seem huge. One way to put those numbers into context is with comparisons: “I earn about the same amount as your teachers do,” or, “Most doctors probably earn about twice as much as our family does.”
  3. Talk about expenses as well as income. This is huge. It’s another important way of providing context. Plus it helps open kids’ eyes to the realities of earning and spending. When my kids, at about age 10 and 14, first asked about my income, they were impressed with how high the number was. Then we looked at the family expenses: house payment, health insurance, food, college savings, and everything else. They were even more impressed. Seeing what things cost and where the money goes is a good start to educating kids about spending, saving, and creating healthy money habits.
  4. Share appropriately for kids’ ages and understanding. Seven-year-olds and 13-year-olds aren’t ready for the same information. Don’t underestimate your kids’ comprehension, however; if you encourage them to ask questions and are willing to explain and clarify, they may understand more than you expect.
  5. Tell the truth. If you have financial difficulties that stem from your own money mistakes or other bad choices, being honest with your kids can be a powerful teaching opportunity. If you don’t earn a lot but are managing to take care of the family, that’s something to be proud of. If your kids may inherit substantial amounts, it’s wise to start teaching them early how to deal with wealth. Whether you have a net worth in the millions or are barely getting by from month to month, clean honesty about the family finances is a good policy.
  6. Remember that you’re the adult. Over-sharing about financial challenges can frighten your kids. It’s more useful to be matter-of-fact about problems and focus on what you’re doing to solve them.
  7. Keep in mind that when parents don’t talk about money, kids will make up their own stories. Typically this will be either that you earn and have more than you do, or that the family is on the brink of bankruptcy and homelessness.
  8. Look at your own shame and secrecy about money. If parents never talk about money, kids may never ask money questions. Either the topic is simply not on their radar, or they have internalized the unspoken message that it is off limits. In either case, parents can change the family culture by becoming more open about their finances. Those teachable moments for kids begin to happen when money is no longer a secret.

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Doctor salary

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More on the Doctor Salary “WARS” – er! ah! … CONUNDRUM!

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Compensation Trend Data Sources

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By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

[Editor-in-Chief] www.BusinessofMedicalPractice.com

Related chapters: Chapter 27: Salary Compensation and Chapter 29: Concierge Medicine and Chapter 30: Practice Value-Worth

 

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PERSONAL PREAMBLE

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Physician compensation is a contentious issue and often much fodder for public scrutiny. Throw modern pay for performance [P4P], and related metrics, into the mix and few situations produce the same level of emotion as doctors fighting over wages, salary and other forms of reimbursement.

This situation often springs from a failure of both sides to understand mutual compensation terms-of-art when the remuneration deal was first negotiated. This physician salary and compensation information is thus offered as a reference point for further investigations.

Introduction 

More than a decade ago, Fortune magazine carried the headline “When Six Figured Incomes Aren’t Enough. Now Doctors Want a Union.” To the man in the street, it was just a matter of the rich getting richer. The sentiment was quantified in the March 31, 2005 issue of Physician’s Money Digest when Greg Kelly and I reported that a 47-y.o. doctor with 184,000 dollars in annual income would need about 5.5 million dollars for retirement at age.

Of course, physicians were not complaining back then under the traditional fee-for-service system; the imbroglio only began when managed care adversely impacted income and the stock market crashed in 2008.

Today, the situation is vastly different as medical professionals struggle to maintain adequate income levels. Rightly or wrongly, the public has little sympathy for affluent doctors following healthcare reform. While a few specialties flourish, others, such as primary care, barely move.

In the words of colleague Atul Gawande, MD, a surgeon and author from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, “Doctors quickly learn that how much they make has little to do with how good they are. It largely depends on how they handle the business side of practice.”  And so, it is critical to understand contemporary thoughts on physician compensation and related trends.

Compensation Trend Data Sources

A growing number of surveys measure physician compensation, encompassing a varying depth of analysis. Physician compensation data, divided by specialty and subspecialty, is central to a range of consulting activities including practice assessments and valuations of medical entities. It may be used as a benchmarking tool, allowing the physician executive or consultant to compare a practitioner’s earnings with national and local averages.

The Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA’s) annual Physician Compensation and Production Correlations Survey is a particularly well-known source of this data in the valuation community. Other information sources include Merritt Hawkins and Associates; and the annual the Health Care Group’s, [www.theHealthCareGroup.com] Goodwill Registry.

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Portfolio analysis

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Assessment

However, all sources are fluid and should be taken with a grain of statistical skepticism, and users are urged to seek out as much data as possible and assess all available information in order to determine a compensation amount that may be reasonably expected for a comparable specialty situation. And, realize that net income is defined as salary after practice expenses but before payment of personal income taxes.

Conclusion

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US Income Distribution [Doctors versus Laymen]

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Fortunate Medical Professionals

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The income gap between the 95th percentile and 80th percentile grew by $1,424 from 2010 to 2011. Indeed, income distribution appears to be widening, and fast, according to the graphic below.

income distribution

Inequality Grows

Okay, we don’t have inequality figures for 2012 yet. But, we do have income data for 2011, and it suggests that the post-war trend of widening income gaps show little sign of abating.

Assessment

And so, the gap between the top 5 percent and the rest of the country just kept growing. But, what about doctors and related medical professionals?

Conclusion

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Where Does An MDs Salary Go?

Are Doctors Typical or A-typical?

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Here is what typical Americans earn in salary, spend in a month, and how they pay their bills. Now, compare this to physicians and other medical professionals.

This analysis suggests that many people [even some doctors] are most likely spending more than they earn each month. It also shows steady movement away from cash and checks toward plastic and electronic payment instruments, which can result in unfamiliar or unchecked fees and interest charges that can increase overspending and indebtedness.

Source: creditdonkey.com

Assessment

Managing your spending and payments will help track monthly expenditures.

Conclusion

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Are Physicians Really Going Broke?

Am I Prescient, Lucky or Just an Observant Trend Reporter?

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

A few years ago I was involved in a Physician’s Money Digest report that showed the average physician reader (ie, 47 years old and $184,000 in annual income) would need about $5.5 million to retire. This was in 2007-08, right before the infamous financial “meltdown”.

Lifestyle Preservation

Now, that’s if they planned to have the same lifestyle after retirement as in the years just prior to retirement. In other words, to live on 80% of pre-retirement income, my doctor colleagues would need about $4.4 million. Although that isn’t exactly loose change, the average PMD reader at the time, had a head start, with a net worth of $1.1 million. By maxing out on retirement plans, we reckoned the average reader could be in shouting distance of the goal by age 65.

Although the figures were daunting, they were a wakeup call to the fact these doctors, now age 52-53, still needed to save more aggressively to be able to finance the retirement they were working toward. But since then, their home worth and practice value, savings, investment and retirement accounts are probably down in 2012; as is their net worth. Down –  and I mean way down!

Link: http://www.physiciansmoneydigest.com/issues/2005/92/3951

Fast Forward to 2012

Today, some pundits posit that doctors in America are harboring an embarrassing secret: Many of them are going broke. This quiet trend and seeming reality, which is spreading nationwide, is claiming a wide range of casualties including family physicians, cardiologists and oncologists. Sadly, it is a trend that I have professionally observed and personally seen.

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/05/smallbusiness/doctors_broke/

Doctors list shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, rising business and drug costs among the factors preventing them from keeping their practices afloat. And, no doubt, these are all true reasons – in part. But, some experts counter that doctors’ lack of business acumen is also to blame.

So, that’s why we started our physician focused financial planning firm www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com  –  and – our online educational program for their managerial consultants and financial advisors www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com These firms were conceived and launched more than a decade ago; to much derision and haughtiness at the time. Not some much today, however! Why?

Assessment

A decade ago, Forbes magazine ran an article about doctors making six figure salaries and still wanting a medical union to bargain collectively.  This was a bit difficult for the average man or woman in the street to imagine about such learned professionals, formerly considered affluent and a cut above the rest. So, where is medical union clout today? Where is MD salary clout? And, where is physician net worth now – and in the future?  Doctor – what’s in your wallet?

Conclusion           

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Are doctors really going broke? Are they OWS…ers? Was I prescient, lucky or just an observant reporter of this trend, early on? Please review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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Physician Compensation with .ppt Presentation

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Doctor’s Salaries [Trends – Models – Approaches]

By Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA, CMP™ [Publisher-in-Chief]

By Prof. Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™ [Managing Editor]dave-and-hope

Anyone who’s paid a doctor’s bill lately knows that healthcare costs are out of control.

So, it may come as a surprise that the golden era of medicine for physician compensation is over, and that healthcare is the latest industry to tighten its payment belt.  Physician compensation is also a contentious issue in medical group practice, and fodder for public scrutiny.

In fact, few situations produce the same level of emotion as doctors fighting over how a seemingly collegial employment contract should be interpreted. This situation often springs from a failure of both sides to understand mutual compensation terms-of-art when the deal was negotiated.

It is our hope that the attached .ppt file will help you to avoid this contentiously polarizing human and economic polemic.

It begins with the basic principles of student-debt avoidance, the intangible concept of goodwill, and the compensation-versus-value paradoxof medical practice worth. Employer-employee deferred compensation arrangements are also visited as important fringe benefits. Compensation benchmarks for medical and allied healthcare specialties are then presented.

Finally, newer health delivery models such as consumer-directed health plans, cash-based-compensation extenders and concierge medicine, are mentioned. 

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Assessment

This physician salary and compensation information is offered to serve as a reference point for further individual investigation.

Please enjoy and comment. 

Editors and Staff

Slide Link: marcinko-hetico-compensaton-chapter.ppt

Conclusion

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