Physician By Day; Financial Advisor By Night?

Financial Planning for Doctors

I am considering taking the road of entering the financial advising field.  This begs the question: Why should I become a financial advisor? Why would a practicing anesthesiologist making good money decide to do this?

That’s what today’s post is about.  Since I already feel the daggers heading my way, do me a solid and read the whole post before you judge me.

Today, we will discuss the main reasons I am thinking about becoming an investment advisor representative (IAR).  Then, we will discuss what I plan to do with it.

Opening Doors 

Sometimes I get the look.  You know what I am talking about.

The “how the hell are you qualified to talk to my residents about money?” look.  This is often accompanied by the “You’ve lost your mind” look.

Other times, I’ve been asked outright why they should open the door for me.  When I explain my story, most people open up to the idea.  Those that do have been pleasantly surprised so far.

Others simply shut the door in my face because they feel I am not qualified despite the inordinate amount of time I spend talking and reading about this stuff.

They would rather have a conflicted financial advisor come in and peddle whole life insurance products and annuities.  In fact, my medical school had GL advisors come and talk to us. Google that for me (“GL advisors”) and maybe you’ll understand some of the inherent source of my distrust of the financial industry.

With the (fortunate?) predisposition of looking like a prepubescent adolescent, it has become difficult sometimes to get the stage needed to spread the good word on financial literacy.

This is the biggest reason to clear the hurdle of becoming “legit.”  Should I become a financial advisor?  Maybe.  It could certainly help earn me the chops of getting the requirements necessary to help open some doors.

Note: I would still need to perform several other requirements if I proceeded with all of this. 

Increasing the Depth of My Knowledge

In my view, I have a two pronged approach to teaching financial literacy to the medical students, residents, and early career attending physicians of this world.

In-Person Teaching

The first is my in-person teaching with my own students and residents at the hospital where I work. The door that I want to open above relates mostly to my in-person opportunities.

I’ve been granted the chance to speak to our entire first year medical school class already. It went so well that they invited me back to give the same talk to the second year students.

Either way, not only do I want the door open, but when it is opened I want to bust through it and provide an overwhelming amount of help to the students and residents I interact with daily.

The Physician Philosopher

Given the depth and breadth of topics discussed on this website, studying for any of the required exams will be helpful regardless of the outcome.  The increased depth of knowledge will provide help to all of my readers.

It also doesn’t hurt that it’ll provide a ton of new topics for posts.

Even if I fall flat on my face and fail in my quest, it’ll still provide entertainment and information to everyone involved.  After all, who doesn’t like seeing someone catch a pie in the face?

The Financial Industry

Anyone who has read this site knows, my plan has always been to do one thing: Stick up for people when others can’t or won’t.  And help people figure out how to do this stuff on their own. What if they aren’t willing to do-it-yourself finance?

There are a lot of designations out there for financial advisors including Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Investment Advisor Representative (IAR), etc.

Clearly, all of these designations are not made equal.  However, they all can advise you on your investment choices and, therefore – by definition- are financial advisors of sorts.

Most of you will find the journey interesting. Some of of you will be rooting for me while others hope I fall hopelessly on my face.  Regardless of the side you pick, it should be fun to watch.

Should I become a Financial Advisor?  And what if I do?

This is the big question, isn’t it?  Should I become a financial advisor?  And, if I do, what is my plan?

Honestly, my plan is to continue to do more of the same.

I plan to educate my students, residents, and young colleagues.  This website will continue, though the depth of the topics might be ever increasing. Don’t worry, we’ll continue to focus on teaching you the 20% you need to know to get 80% of the results.

When those that I am helping aren’t finding what they need through my site or others, I may point them in the right direction, which will remain – in my humble opinion – flat-fee hourly rate advisors who have experience with physicians.

Tell me what you think.  I know you’ve got lots of opinions.  Lay it all out there.  Sippin’ on the hater-ade? Bring it.  Wanna show some love?  Even better. Leave a comment.


**This post has been edited from its original version due to some concerns that were pointed out to me from a previous version.


15 thoughts on “Physician By Day; Financial Advisor By Night?”

  1. I can’t wait to see where this takes you. The blessing and the curse of medicine is that we make so much per hour doing our day job that it doesn’t make financial sense to do anything non-medical.

    I hope this opens a lot of new doors for you. Keep us posted!

    • Thanks for the support, SHS!

      I am much more about following what I am passionate about these days. And, honestly, with how much I worked the last year even if I worked a full time FTE, it would feel like working part time (I worked 1.3 because of how short we were).

  2. It says something about the financial industry that a doctor could simply buy a Kaplan course, study for a couple of months, and then become a legally qualified financial advisor.

    Yep… but good on you. Even though most of us in this community advise people that they don’t need a FA, if you become one of the good ones it would help things a lot, plus give you great options for extra income later in life.

    • I advise the same thing, actually. I would prefer for people to DIY, but the more I talk to people the more I realize that there are some people who simply never want to learn this stuff enough to do it all themselves and are much more comfortable getting some help when they need it.

      Setting things up for them, letting them do it themselves, and then allowing a safe place to ask for help when they need it is really important for these kinds of people. And in medicine I bet 30-50% of doctors fit this group. Maybe more.

  3. I appreciate the fact that you are getting the word out there for the many who need it. I hope that your reputation continues to spread. Perhaps even more people will be helped sooner with the added certification. I can’t wait to hear that you passed the exam. Good Luck.

  4. Think it’s a great idea and have been considering a possible “Act 3” (after the first two corporate careers) that involves obtaining CFP certification for somewhat similar reasons. Curious as to why you chose FINRA?

    • I chose to take the series 65 because it is the most direct route for someone without official “real world job” experience to get qualified.

      I could also use the experience as an IAR to get the experience requirements to become a CFP at a later point. I haven’t ruled that out yet, but this is the best first step either way.

  5. I also considered doing this and was discouraged by knowing I probably wouldn’t recommend a resident or student to go see someone with some of these less prestigious credentials since so many advisors with them are basically in sales. But getting a CFP or CFA would be truly nutty.

    After you get your IAR so you be able to set yourself up as a fiduciary?

    Good luck with this. I have no doubt you will use your powers for good and am excited to know how it goes. I really want to be persuaded that I am thinking about this wrong and should do the same!

    • The problem is that there is a large majority of people out there who do not want to do this stuff themselves. They want someone to help set things up for them and make sure that they are doing it right. They want to bounce ideas off of someone and check in to make sure they aren’t making any mistakes.

      Honestly, if I did this, this is what my pipe dream would be. I’d set myself up as a fiduciary and charge a small quarterly retainer and an hourly rate for whenever people needed my help. I’d set them up at the beginning and then check in with them once a year to make sure nothing else needed to be done. Then, I’d be available to ask for help if they need any. Otherwise, my hope would be that they would do it themselves as much as they are comfortable.


  6. That’s great TPP. I applaud your passion in this subject matter. I think people will really appreciate your services and feedback, especially from a fellow MD. You would have insights to specific issues facing doctors today. Good luck.

    • I think so, too, but I may have to pump the breaks on this for a little while. I need to more fully contemplate the impact on both my blog and my work life.

      Some things came up after writing this that may complicate me pursuing all of this. Sadly.

  7. This is a super power, TPP, using the credentials of financial advisors to obtain a pulpit helping other docs understand they need not depend on one for advice. Very Kung Fu, I will use my enemy’s strength against him. I’m curious to see where it leads, and whether it can work with medicine or forces you to choose.

    Excited for your experiment!


    • Yeah, I need to think this one over a bit more before proceeding. It may impact my desire to teach residents and students negatively because of the conflict to “build a relationship so you’ll let me advise you with your money.”

      Lots of moving parts to all of this, but may have to pump the breaks for now and consider it down the road.

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