Sole Practitioner

As a sole medical practitioner, you have unique needs and challenges. You must navigate tough obstacles daily to stay afloat. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that, in this constantly changing ecosystem, more practices are struggling to maintain financial homeostasis. The following areas were said to be the greatest concerns for sole and small firm practitioners:

  • Income fluctuations;
  • Managing the practice;
  • Lack of help in the practice;
  • Isolation from other medical professionals;
  • Inability to discuss ideas with colleagues;
  • Financial aptitude;
  • The awareness and appropriate selection of financial solutions;
  • Ability to implement succession plan; and
  • Technology barrier.

This list is not unexpected. It’s very difficult to make plans when your income fluctuates; this becomes more challenging for a younger practitioner who is also growing a new family. Oftentimes, medical professionals are not taught the need or skill set for asset management and to live within their means. Furthermore, it becomes too tempting to live according to the higher end of our income stream, hoping that that sum will not decrease. However, the vagaries of the marketplace, as well as the highs and lows of cash flow, are there and need to be handled. It is a challenge.

Many agree that only 46% of multi-owner firms and 6% of sole practitioners have a written succession plan. There are a variety of succession scenarios that practitioners should work through, including: selling the firm, merging the firm, developing new leadership and transitioning with retiring partners.

Managing the practice like a business, again, was never taught in school, unless you include the School of Hard Knocks. And, most want to do that which they love, make people well, not managing a medical practice.  Some practices find it economically wise to engage help. This brings us into the realm of delegation and "outsourcing," both important principles of running a business.

Planning should be developed from a big-picture, holistic perspective to help practitioners effectively address financial solutions, asset management and their succession management needs. Consider partnering with a financial advisor who has the experience to help you create a plan that strategically addresses your goals and needs. Creating a financial plan will help you:

  • See your finances from a well-rounded point of view, so you understand how your individual financial decisions impact your overall financial independence.
  • Create integrated strategies that take into account the interconnectedness of your financial activities.
  • Identify your long-term financial goals and the steps needed to pursue them.
  • Track your progress and make adjustments as you experience new life events or develop different perspectives.

Some sole practitioners may be thinking, “I can do it myself.” There are many online resources that will help you get started with financial planning. However, some use a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t customize its process for your unique needs. You aren’t able to test models against risks or make any changes based on your situation. As your professional financial advisor, we have received specialized training and have the tools to prepare an individualized plan that maps your financial future. We can guide you through implementing your plan, provide advice on revisions (when necessary) and help you monitor your progress toward making your goals a reality. When you partner with a professional, you’ll gain:

  • Knowledge of options and alternatives tailored to your specific financial situation
  • Connections to a network of professionals when additional services are needed
  • Advice and support from an experienced professional committed to guiding you toward long-term financial well-being

Now may be a good time to re-evaluate your portfolio and your current financial position to discover where you are relative to your future goals. Practicing years pass by quickly. Do not allow 5 to 10 years to pass by before you look back to discover whether or not your current financial habits will afford you the future that you are working toward. ARTAAD Financial has the experience, credibility and tools to help. We look forward to working with you.