Author: Julianne F. Andrews, MBA, CFP®, AIF®

5 Critical Tax Planning Strategies for Physicians

Whether you are a physician who is still in residency or have enjoyed a mature career and are nearing retirement, strategic tax planning is critical at any stage of a high-income earner’s journey. Smart planning throughout your career not only helps to alleviate tax burdens on a year to year basis, but works to maximize your income in retirement, as well.

Unfortunately, even though the average physician spends roughly a decade in graduate school and training, there is little to no education provided on personal finance or tax planning. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 tax planning strategies that can specifically benefit hard-working physicians looking to reduce their taxable income and improve their lifetime income stream.

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What Is My Number?

As a financial advisor, this is a frequently asked question.  How much money do I need to save to retire comfortably?  In other words, what is my number?

Much has been written about this topic.  Schwab recently released a survey of 1,000 401(k) participants across the country indicating that on average, Americans believe they need $1.7 million to retire.  That may seem like a reasonable number, but is it?  A recent CNBC poll showed that two-thirds of U.S. workers are either very or somewhat confident that they will be able to live comfortably throughout retirement.  However, a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute showed that only 42% of Americans have done any retirement calculations.  And on top of that, according to Fidelity, the average 401(k) balance in the U.S. is $297,700 which is a far cry from $1.7 million.

So, where is the disconnect and how can you actually determine what your own “number” is?

Although every person’s situation is completely different, there are really five things to consider when determining how much you need to save for retirement.  The impact of underestimating any of these factors could be catastrophic, so this is not the time for optimism.  This is the time to be very clear-eyed about setting your goals and expectations.  Let’s get started.

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And the Best Place to Retire is….!

Recently, I ran across an article about the best (and worst) states for retirement.  It caught my attention because the “best” state turned out to be ….  Nebraska!  Many would be surprised at this.  After all, who would retire in such a cold place in the middle of the country?  Actually, I was not at all surprised.  I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and spent the first twelve years of my life there.  I still visit relatives in the Cornhusker state and enjoy the wonderful people, slower pace and beautiful scenery the state has to offer.

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When Bad News is Good News – Or Is It?

As we move past the midpoint for 2019, the economic outlook for the US continues to be positive but at a slowing pace, with market watchers focusing on the Fed and interest rate movements as a signal for what might lie ahead. Why are many focused on the Fed and how do markets react to interest rate moves?

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Planning for a Meaningful and Healthy Retirement

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the financial benefits of “phasing into” retirement. As it turns out, there can be health benefits to doing that as well.How can that be? Many people plan for and dream of retirement for years thinking that leaving the stress behind will be a boon for their health and emotional wellbeing. Not to mention that some professions are actually physically strenuous and take a physical toll as well. Retirement can be a time to follow your passions and pursue activities that you weren’t able to do during the working years, making this next chapter seem to offer a fulfilling capstone to a lifetime of professional accomplishments.

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Tax Season is Over! Now What do I do with All of this Paperwork?

It is always a relief to get your tax return filed and satisfy Uncle Sam for another year. But what about all of the tax documents and records you painstakingly pulled together to prepare the return? And what about all of the other “financial stuff” you have been keeping. Do you really need to keep all of that? The answer is “yes” and “no”… There are two things to consider when determining what to save and what can be discarded. The first is whether or not you will ever need that information in the future (and for how long). The second thing to consider is how to securely store what needs to be retained and dispose of what you can toss. A good organizational system will tackle the first issue (what to save and for how long) in a very systematic way. It may seem painful to set up this system initially, but once it is done and if maintained regularly, you can rest assured that whatever you need will be readily and easily accessible.

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