A Frank Discussion About Finances

Are you ready to learn the truth about investing and financial planning? In my new blog, I'll expose the outright myths and lies most financial advisors feed doctors like you and me. Here you'll find simple, straight talk about investing and financial planning from a financial planner who is also a physician just like you.

Welcome to “Financial Prescriptions,” your personal finance forum by a physician who is also a financial planner exclusively for physicians.

After the financial meltdown of the last three years, perhaps you lost faith in investing and financial planning. Maybe you lost faith in the financial-services industry and financial advisors altogether.

I like to call most financial advisors the “wolves of Wall Street.” You see, most of them have no intention or obligation to act in your best interest. It’s all about them and it’s all about selling you something -- not about providing you with objective advice. The same goes for most of the media, who feed upon us so they can get precious advertising dollars from doing so.

Imagine if we did that to our patients? Our medical licenses would be revoked permanently.

My goal in this forum is to expose all the myths and outright lies financial advisors and the media tell, and give you the plain and simple truth about investing and personal finance.

The natural question you may have is, “How did a physician become a financial planner?” So here’s a little bit about me. After graduating from Johns Hopkins medical school and finishing my emergency medicine training 10 years ago, my personal financial situation became more complex, especially after I got married -- my wife is a physician also -- and had kids.

But I had no clue how to invest or manage my personal finances. I found myself asking: What do I invest in? How much should I save? Will I be able to retire and not outlive my money? Those were crucial questions I couldn’t answer. That’s when my passion for financial planning and investment management was born.

But something else fueled my passion even more. Like many physicians I hired a financial advisor at a big brokerage firm only to realize later that he was not acting in my best interest. He was just selling me inappropriate investment products to get a commission. Ditto for my insurance agent. At the same time lots -- and I mean lots -- of doctors were being ripped off by financial advisors and didn’t know it.

That made me really mad. I felt like we as physicians deserved better since we sacrifice so much in our lives. So I decided to become a financial planner for physicians.

Now let me make a few things very clear here:

First, I’ll be telling you things you won’t hear on CNBC or read in Money magazine. You simply won’t believe some of the things I’m going to share with you, but I’ll present them in a rational way by discussing the pros and cons of each choice. I want to change the way you think about investing and personal finance.

Second, I’ll be telling you some things you don’t want to hear. I’ve been accused of being a straight talker, especially in the emergency department. For example, on a night shift a few years ago I saw a lady who complained of knee pain for five years and she wanted to know why. Looking at the chart and seeing that she weighed 350 pounds, I said, “It’s because you’re fat.” I didn’t get a great reception from the hospital administration the next morning, but let’s face it: Sometimes the truth hurts, but someone’s got to say it.

Third, I know you’re really intelligent. While only a tiny percent of the population can go through medical school and residency training, being smart and being a smart investor are two completely different things. I want to educate you and help you succeed in your financial life. I know you work really hard -- after all I am one of you -- and I want to make sure you don’t make critical mistakes in your financial life that most physicians I know have made.

It’s a privilege to write for you, and I hope I’ll be able to stimulate your interest in taking control of your financial life and make smarter decisions about your money.

I welcome your comments on this site and feel free to contact me directly if you have any additional questions.

Here’s to your financial health!