Today's News

Saturday, March 3, 2001

Financial advisers useful for retirement plans

By Laura Lane

Lecturing in India, visiting the Taj Mahal, volunteering in Kenya, and skiing down the slopes of the Sierras, William Kane, MD, is making the most of his half retirement. Knowing that his financial advisors are managing his assets is probably helping the Reno, Nev., resident to relax a bit more. After all, Dr. Kane wants to avoid common pitfalls and make the best moves, which will allow him to maximize his earnings and to pass on as much as possible to his five children and five grandchildren.

Financial planners who taught a course in retirement planning Thursday would say that the 68-year-old orthopaedist is going in the right direction. With Uncle Sam and his taxes lurking in the shadows, getting professional help in managing assets should be at the center of your planning strategy.

Cynthia Hinds, a financial planner who spoke to the nearly 200 people taking the course, explained that professionals like orthopaedists should pay particular attention to their finances because with more assets they stand to gain, or lose, that much more.

"It's very important to work with professional advisers," Hinds said. "Then you can spend your energy to focus on your practice, family, and other important areas of life."

In addition to hiring a planner, she said that your retirement planning team should ideally include a primary advisor, a certified public accountant, an attorney, a broker, and an insurance agent. This team can help with the several stages you'll encounter during the planning process, when you'll be addressing a wide range of issues, such as estates and wills, tax laws, and life and health insurance.

Finding the professionals to fill spots on your team is much like finding a good doctor, said Hinds who's been a financial planner for more than 25 years and has been advising Academy members since 1991.

Get referrals from colleagues and other people you respect. Check the credentials of potential candidates and their experience. While not imperative, find out if they're specially certified as a chartered financial consultant (CHFC) or a certified financial planner (CFP), both of which require one year of education beyond an undergraduate degree. Then, you'll have some protection against loss and ample opportunity to gain.

Putting yourself in this position requires a strategy that you should discuss with your financial advisors. They'll most likely suggest distributing your assets out into several stocks, bonds, funds, and other categories, diversifying your exposure and giving you plenty of opportunity to make money.

While your strategizing should ideally begin when "the minute you start practicing," Hinds said, it's never too late to start, as evidenced by the title of the course, "Planning in Your 50s and 60s for Life After Orthopaedics."

"If you're going to live to be 90, there's still time," she said.

Kane said that one of the most enjoyable ways to spend the time is to watch his grandchildren grow and mature. And he probably feels more gratified knowing that he's made good financial choices that'll enable him to give his grandchildren some nice gifts in the future.

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Last modified 03/March/2001 by IS