Physicians are busy people and sometimes do not have time to worry about their finances. Here are the best financial advisors for physicians who need some help getting their finances straight.

There dozens of intricate details involved in a relationship with a financial advisor, but there are literally thousands of them across the country. In this guide, I’ll be providing the best financial advisors for physicians – a group of folks with vital, high-paying jobs and specific money needs. 

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I can’t certify that they are THE best, if only because the field is truly enormous and the determination is completely subjective. But, I believe each of the advisors I’ve included is among the best choices available.

This will be especially important for physicians since the financial advisor you will work with needs to specialize in medical professionals with all the financial complications that are involved.

Overview of the best financial advisors for physicians

Financial advisorBest for
Finity Group, LLCSeparate fee structures for investment management and financial planning
Physicians Family Financial AdvisorsComprehensive flat fee structure for financial consulting, financial planning, and investment guidance or management
CMG Financial Consultants, LLCPassive and active investment management
Integrity Wealth SolutionsFlexible fee structure
Shearwater CapitalLow investment advisory fee on large portfolios
Zoe FinancialFinancial advisor network

Finity Group, LLC

  • Fiduciary? Yes.
  • Fee structure: Fee-only; $75 to $300 monthly subscription fee for financial planning; 0.3% to 1.00% of assets under management for wealth management.
  • Financial planning: Yes.
  • Wealth management: Yes.
  • Specialties: Comprehensive risk management, including asset protection strategies; debt management, including home purchase evaluation and practice acquisition and start up financing; income tax preparation and planning.
  • Contact information: By phone at (503)841-5840, or by email at [email protected]

Headquartered in Portland, with offices in Denver, Sacramento, and Seattle, Finity Group, LLC provides financial advisory services in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. What’s more, they specialize in providing those services for physicians in practice, practice owners, and even residents and fellows. Geography isn’t an issue since you can set up a phone or online meeting.

Investments are managed very similar to robo-advisors, focusing primarily on strategic asset allocation. Portfolios are composed primarily of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They also provide comprehensive retirement planning, as well as setting up college savings plans for your children.

Why they’re good for physicians

Finity Group offers separate fee structures for investment management and financial planning, giving you greater control over the cost of the services you want most. They primarily with physicians and dentists, providing comprehensive risk management, financial planning, and wealth management. They recognize the needs and nuances of the unique financial profiles of medical professionals.

Physicians Family Financial Advisors

  • Fiduciary? Yes
  • Fee structure: Fee-only; $315 per month for financial consulting, financial planning, and investment guidance; $415 per month when direct account management is added
  • Financial planning: Yes.
  • Wealth management: Yes.
  • Specialties: Faster payoff of student loans, early retirement; management of Fidelity 401(k), 403(b), 457(b) and 401(a) accounts.
  • Contact information: By phone at (541)463-0899, or by email at [email protected]

Based in Eugene, Oregon, Physicians Family Financial Advisors specializes in work with medical professionals, as the name implies. Financial service packages are comprehensive and include financial consulting, financial planning, and investment management. Depending on the fee structure you select, they’ll provide investment guidance while you manage your portfolio directly, or they’ll provide direct account management.

Wealth management involves the creation of a diversified, balanced portfolio, using low-cost, tax-efficient index funds, within the scope of a long-term, buy-and-hold investment approach. Accounts are held primarily with Vanguard and Fidelity. Physicians Family Financial Advisors is also an approved advisory firm for the Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA funds), which are funds that use a scientific approach promising higher expected returns by concentrating on small stocks and value stocks. 

Why they’re good for physicians

The firm offers a comprehensive flat fee structure for financial consulting, financial planning, and investment guidance or management. They work only with medical professionals, with the entire financial planning and wealth management programs designed specifically for that purpose.

They specialize in two areas that are especially important to most physicians, the payoff of student loans, and planning for early retirement.

CMG Financial Consultants, LLC

  • Fiduciary? Yes.
  • Fee structure: Fee-only; $450 per month with investment management up to $500,000; $850 per month up to $1 million, $1,250 per month on greater than $1 million.
  • Financial planning: Yes.
  • Wealth management: Yes.
  • Specialties: Offers three different pricing plans, each includes virtual meetings, investment recommendations for employer retirement plans, student loan planning, cash flow and budgeting, comprehensive financial planning, annual rebalancing, unlimited phone and email contact, and tax preparation (at an additional charge).
  • Contact information: By phone at (877)695-8004, or by email at [email protected]

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, CMG Financial Consultants, LLC also specializes in financial advisory services for physicians and other medical professionals. They accept portfolios at all levels, including those just starting out (and dealing with student loan debt), and those who are better established and looking primarily at investment management and financial planning.

Your investments are managed based on your investment goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. The firm makes use of modern portfolio theory (MPT) in both the construction and management of your investments. That’s an investment theory that focuses primarily on appropriate asset class allocation, rather than selection of individual securities. They use a long-term, buy-and-hold strategy with periodic rebalancing to maintain target allocations.

The firm may employ the use of mutual funds, individual equities and fixed income securities, real estate investment trusts, master limited partnerships, and even options strategies, in addition to low-cost exchange-traded funds. 

Why they’re good for physicians

With years of experience, they’re well acquainted with the specific financial needs and concerns of doctors and their families. But perhaps their biggest specialization is that they use a semi-active investment management strategy, adjusting your portfolio during times of market dislocation.

Integrity Wealth Solutions

  • Fiduciary? Yes.
  • Fee structure: Fee only; based on assets managed, ranging from 1% for under $500,000 managed, $5,000 for over $500,000, managed to $40,000 for over $15 million managed; financial planning included for portfolios over $500,000.
  • Financial planning: Yes.
  • Wealth management: Yes.
  • Specialties: Flexible fee structure, uses both passive and active portfolio management.
  • Contact information: By phone at (303)716-5777, or by email at [email protected]

Integrity Wealth Solutions is in Denver, Colorado, but works with clients nationwide. They’re a bit unique among the financial advisors on this list in that they also work with clients other than physicians, however physicians are a primary service group.

They provide holistic financial management and planning and can work with clients at all financial levels. However, the fee structure is most attractive for those with at least $500,000 in investable assets. 

With investment management, they work primarily with TD Ameritrade as the account custodian. The primary investment vehicles used are low-cost, tax-efficient index-based investments, and are subject to active rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. And though they rebalance annually – or more frequently during times of extreme market volatility – your portfolio is reviewed daily. 

Why they’re good for physicians

Integrity Wealth Solutions offers a flexible fee structure. Financial planning is included in the asset management fee when there are at least $500,000 in assets under management. Otherwise, financial planning is charged on a per-project basis. The firm also uses a mix of both passive and active investment strategies. 

Shearwater Capital

  • Fiduciary? Yes.
  • Fee structure: Fee only; 0.85% or less than $100,000, 0.75% up to $250,000, 0.65% up to $500,000, 0.55% up to $1 million, 0.45% up to $2.5 million, 0.35% up to $5 million, 0.25% up to $10 million, 0.15% on portfolios greater than $10 million.
  • Financial planning: Yes.
  • Wealth management: Yes.
  • Specialties: Provides sophisticated Monte Carlo analyses to check your progress and determine whether you’re on track to meet retirement savings goals.
  • Contact information: By phone at (314)434-4750, and by email at [email protected]

Shearwater Capital is based in St. Louis, Missouri, but offers their services to clients across the country. They provide comprehensive financial planning, investment management services, and retirement planning to physicians and their families. What’s more, the firm itself was founded by two physicians, who continue to manage the firm to this day.

Shearwater Capital’s investment portfolio uses a combination of mutual funds, ETFs, and individual stocks. They also coordinate taxable and tax-deferred accounts to help minimize the impact of investment-generated income taxes. Your portfolio is adjusted at least annually. 

Why they’re good for physicians

They offer low fees for very large investment portfolios. Shearwater Capital charges an annual advisory fee of 0.25% on portfolios of up to $10 million, and 0.15% of those greater than $10 million. Plus, their fee structure on larger portfolios is comparable to low-cost, robo-advisors.

Zoe Financial 

  • Fiduciary? Yes, all network participants.
  • Fee structure: No fee to use the service, but specific financial and investment advisory fees will vary by the provider selected – all providers are fee only.
  • Financial planning: Yes, all network participants.
  • Wealth management: Yes, all network participants.
  • Specialties: Uses a matching algorithm to match you with the best advisor based on your financial situation.
  • Contact information: You’ll need to go to the website to use the service, but phone support is available at (646)847-2106, and email at [email protected]

Zoe Financial is completely unique among the providers on this list because they are not a direct financial advisor, but rather a network of advisors. When you sign up for the service, it uses a matching algorithm to help you find the right financial advisor for you and your financial needs. The service provides financial advisors who are available to service clients nationwide. And because of the technology used, appropriate financial advisors can be located in a matter of minutes.

All advisors in the network are CFPs, CFAs, or CPAs with a minimum of five years experience and no association with broker-dealers. They are available to provide investment advice and management, financial planning, retirement planning, and tax planning.

Why they’re good for physicians

You’ll be able to select from several recommended financial advisors based on your own personal financial profile and needs.

Summary of the best financial advisors for physicians

Financial advisorFiduciaryFinancial planningWealth managementFee structureSpecialties
Finity Group, LLCYesYesYesFee only; $75 to $300 monthly subscription fee for financial planning; 0.3% to 1.00% of assets under management for wealth managementComprehensive risk management, including asset protection strategies; debt management, including home purchase evaluation, practice acquisition and start up financing; income tax preparation and planning
Physicians Family Financial AdvisorsYesYesYesFee only; $315 per month for financial consulting, financial planning, and investment guidance; $415 per month when direct account management is addedFaster payoff of student loans, early retirement; management of Fidelity 401(k), 403(b), 457(b) and 401(a) accounts
CMG Financial Consultants, LLCYesYesYesFee only; $450 per month with investment management up to $500,000; $850 per month up to $1 million, $1,250 per month on greater than $1 millionOffers three different pricing plans, each includes all services offered
Integrity Wealth SolutionsYesYesYesFee only; based on assets managed, ranging from 1% for under $500,000 managed, $5,000 for over $500,000, to $40,000 for over $15 million managed; financial planning included for portfolios over $500,000Flexible fee structure; uses both passive and active portfolio management
Shearwater CapitalYesYesYesFee only; 0.85% or less than $100,000, 0.75% up to $250,000, 0.65% up to $500,000, 0.55% up to $1 million, 0.45% up to $2.5 million, 0.35% up to $5 million, 0.25% up to $10 million, 0.15% on portfolios greater than $10 millionProvides sophisticated Monte Carlo analyses to check your progress and determine whether you’re on track to meet retirement savings goals
Zoe Financial (Advisor Network)Yes, all network participantsYes, all network participantsYes, all network participantsNo fee to use the service, but specific financial and investment advisory fees will vary by provider selected – all providers are fee onlySelect from several recommended financial advisors based on your own personal financial profile and needs

How I came up with this list

Fiduciary

A fiduciary is a financial advisor who is required by law to put your interests ahead of those of the firms. That is, the firm is not legally permitted to make investment decisions in your portfolio or finances that are designed primarily to benefit the firm. 

This is a critical consideration in choosing a financial advisor. Many practitioners who use the title financial advisor are in reality commission salespeople. They may be selling specific investments, like mutual funds, or financial products like insurance, on a commission basis. That being the case, investment and financial decisions may be made based primarily on how much revenue a particular product or service will generate to the advisor.

In this list of the best financial advisors for physicians, I’ve included only fiduciaries to avoid the commission factor.

Fee structure

This list includes only financial advisors who work on a fee-only basis. As discussed above, that avoids the possibility of a commission arrangement in which your account is frequently traded – or services offered – that results in higher compensation to the advisor and higher costs to the physician.

As well, a commission fee structure is a strong tip-off that a financial advisor is in reality a salesperson using the financial advisor label.

Financial planning 

Wealth management may be the main goal of any physician seeking a financial advisor. But because the medical field has so many more complications and risks than other occupations, a holistic view of a physician’s financial situation is necessary.

Financial planning goes beyond investment management, and also includes retirement planning, tax planning, proper risk management, debt management and payoff strategies, and even business planning and financing.

The purpose of including advisors who offer comprehensive financial planning is to give you a single source of advice and management of your entire financial life, rather than needing to work with a multitude of professionals. In some cases, an outside professional may be brought in to fill a specific need, but the financial advisor remains the “quarterback” of your financial plan.

Related: When Is It Time To Hire A Financial Advisor?

Wealth management 

This is the most basic service provided by each financial advisor I have included on this list. As you can see, there are different investment methodologies, as well as significant differences in advisory fees for this service.

Specialties 

Each financial advisor has certain specialties that may be of special importance to a physician. Where indicated by the advisor, I’ve spelled out those specialties. That should make it easier for you to choose an advisor based on any special needs you may have.

What’s the significance of a “fee-only” pricing structure?

In a fee-only pricing structure, the physician knows upfront what his or her fees will be. The financial planner will work on a flat annual or monthly fee, an hourly fee, or a percentage of assets under management.

This is in direct contrast to how a financial planner works on a commission basis. Since commissions are the primary source of the planner’s income, there’s a financial incentive to either a) direct funds into investments likely to pay the highest commissions, or b) to “churn” the account, with frequent trading to generate higher commissions.

While a fee-only structure may seem higher on the surface, it’s typically lower on an annual basis. It also has the benefit of offering the physician regular access to live financial advice, rather than restricting contact to matters relating only to investments.

Are there any other types of fee structures to be aware of? 

The financial planning field is highly diverse and there are various fee structures, beyond fee-only and commission.

One example is performance-based fees. This is a fee structure in which the number of fees charged by the financial advisor will be based on a share of capital appreciation earned in the managed investment portfolio.

Another is side-by-side based fees. This is a type of fee structure that may be imposed if the financial advisor is simultaneously managing accounts based on performance-based fees and one that does not.

Why not save fees and just use a robo-advisor for investment management?

Robo-advisors have become a popular option for millions of investors. And while they do provide very low-cost investment management, they’re not generally suitable for doctors.

First, they don’t provide personal financial advice, which will be helpful for physicians who have more complicated financial situations than the average person. Second, they don’t come close to providing comprehensive financial planning services.

That’s a key point because financial planning with physicians isn’t limited to investment management. For example, one area of concern is risk management. By the nature of the occupation, physicians face more potential risks than the average person. Only comprehensive financial planning can mitigate those risks.

What’s the process for engaging the services of a financial advisor?

The process will generally start with an opening interview. More than anything else, this is a “getting to know you” meeting between you and the advisor. You’ll be looking to see if the advisor can provide the level of service you’re looking for, while the advisor will be assessing whether or not he or she can provide those services. 

Some firms charge no fee for an initial consultation, while others may charge a flat fee. There may also be subsequent meetings to determine specific needs or to answer certain questions. If you decide to proceed with the advisor, there will usually be some type of onboarding meeting, in which you’ll discuss specifics and provide requested documentation to begin the process.

Because of technology, it’s no longer necessary to meet with a financial advisor face-to-face. Rather, you can do a face-to-face meeting online and accomplish the same objectives. 

What to look for in financial advisors for physicians 

You should understand from the very beginning that engaging the services of a financial advisor is a highly personal relationship. The advisor will not only get to know intimate details of your financial situation, but also of your future goals.

In choosing the right financial advisor, you’ll need to make sure that a person or firm has the capacity to provide the services you require, as well as the expertise to help get you to where you want to go, complete with strategies for avoiding pitfalls.

Though it’s important to have a good personal connection, you must never lose sight of the fact that you’ll be engaging in a business relationship. That is, the products and services offered by the advisor must be consistent with your needs and goals. Personality, while important, should never override the ability of the financial advisor to deliver the promised services.

Fees are a more complicated issue. As you can see from this guide, these structures can vary considerably from one financial advisor to another. But your objective shouldn’t be to select the financial advisor with the lowest fees, but rather the one that will provide the services you need at what you consider to be a reasonable rate.

Though cost is always a factor, the more important consideration is the long-term benefit you expect to get from the relationship with the financial advisor.

Summary

If you’ve never worked with a financial advisor in the past, contact one or more of the firms listed in this guide. If nothing else, it’ll be an opportunity for you to make a contact or two, and learn more about the process by actually experiencing it. 

I strongly recommend you approach choosing a financial advisor with a high level of patience. You may interview several before reaching a decision. Even if you feel comfortable with the first advisor you speak with, you owe it to yourself to investigate the possibilities with at least two or three more. 

Your financial advisor will be a big part of your future financial success so you’ll need to make this decision carefully. And if you choose a financial advisor who proves to be the wrong match, start a search for a new one immediately. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.

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About the author

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Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed “slash worker” – accountant/blogger/freelance web content writer – on Out of Your Rut.com. He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides “Alt-retirement strategies” for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires. He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering work-arounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the “savings barrier” and transitioning from debtor to saver. He’s a regular contributor/staff writer for as many as a dozen financial blogs and websites, including Money Under 30, Investor Junkie and The Dough Roller.