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

What’s Ruining Medicine for Physicians?

Each year, Medical Economics asks physicians about their top challenges for the new year. During the 2018 end-of-the-year polling, this leading healthcare publication posed a more provocative question: “What is ruining medicine for physicians?” An overarching theme that emerged from the 2018 poll centered on how the business side of healthcare is demanding more of physicians’ attention than any other issue – even patient care. From continuing education requirements to continued declines in reimbursement rates to hard-to-use EHR systems and payer relations, there seems to be fewer hours left in physicians’ days to do what they do best and were trained to do – diagnose illnesses and treat patients. As a Wealth Manager and the spouse of a physician, I’ve called out four of the nine “pain points” that I found most relevant to a physician’s finances:

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Minimizing Surprises at Tax Filing Time

When Congress passed the recent $1.5 trillion tax bill (The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or TCJA), it triggered the first comprehensive revamp of the U.S. tax code in more than three decades. As we prepare to file our 2018 tax returns, Americans will feel the effects of this legislation for the first time. For most, the effects will be positive. In fact, 80% of Americans will see their taxes drop. However, not all the news is good. There will be inevitable surprises as 2018 taxes are filed with one particularly nasty “gotcha” that will likely catch many taxpayers off guard.

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Allowing Yourself to be “Phased” by Retirement

Recently, I was interviewed by U.S. News & World Report for an article on phased retirements. I shared that, “Phasing into retirement can be a wonderful way to move into the next chapter of your life gracefully while still enjoying the rewards of working.” Indeed, retirement for the baby boomer generation and those younger is looking very different from the retirement of our parents. For many, retirement will be a long process of gradually winding down work hours and responsibilities rather than a firm date. There are advantages to this phased in approach and things to watch out for, too.

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Nine for ‘19: Financial Steps You Should Take Now

With the start of a new year, most of us begin making plans in all aspects of our lives for the year ahead – and beyond. One area we should consider is financial well-being —not only our tax outlook, but also investment and retirement strategies, property and personal insurance coverage, and more.
Here is a helpful list of actions you can take now that will cultivate a more fruitful 2019.

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529 Plans Simplify Gifting and Estate Taxes

The 529 Savings Plan, a tax-efficient way to pay for tuition from preschool through graduate school, benefits the plan’s owner as well as its beneficiary. However, state laws complicate their use because 529 regulations vary from state to state. Complications aside, most parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles agree with Benjamin Franklin who astutely observed, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

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Stack Charitable Donations to Minimize Taxes

Recent tax reforms cleared the way for individuals and families to support the causes they believe in while potentially minimizing their taxes. However, this new approach has a few twists that require a bit of explanation regarding how “stacking” deductions work.

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