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    Evaluating your finance team

    Are you getting good or bad advice?


    3 things you can do today

    First: Get a second opinion. Speak with a tax adviser who works with people at your level of wealth or higher. Ask the smartest and wealthiest people you know whom they would recommend for a very complicated tax problem. Remember, you want someone who can handle the most sophisticated aspects of your tax planning. You don’t just want someone who can file lots of returns on time. If you need a recommendation of someone in your region, please feel free to contact us. Ask them to look over your returns and provide comments and suggestions. Most tax advisers will do this for little or no fee as a way to demonstrate their competencies. It’s a bit of an audition for them.

    Second: Restate your goals with your existing advisory team. Does it get under your skin when a patient gives you incomplete information and then wonders why the treatment wasn’t effective? With that in mind, go back to your existing advisers, tell them what you expect from them, then ask them what they recommend based on your restated goals. You will either be disappointed or pleasantly surprised by the response. In either case, you will know whether this person deserves a seat on your advisory board.

    Third: Interview potential members of your team. Replacing ineffectual advisers and supplementing your existing team with winners are your aims. When you meet with these persons or firms, you should ask for client demographics, client references, and a description of sophisticated solutions that they have put in place for their clients.

    It is also not unreasonable to ask your advisers about their own financials. How do they make money? How do they acquire new clients? Who are their favorite strategic partners? Why do they like some over others? You are trusting them with your sensitive information, they should be forthcoming with their own.

    The purpose of this article is to impress upon you that it can be financially positive for you to take close look at your CPA and tax attorney. We are suggesting that you take an active role in your tax and financial planning, and assemble. Just as a patient is ultimately responsible for his own healthcare decisions, you are ultimately responsible for your own tax planning. 

    When you add the federal, state, property, utility, sales and other taxes, the affluent pay marginal income tax rates of 50 percent and up. In California and New York, that amount can be greater than 65 percent. With so much of your earnings going to taxes, it is clearly beneficial to contract with the best team that includes a tax specialist, a tax lawyer, a certified financial planner, and others with experience in advanced financial solutions. How you can you afford NOT to get a second opinion on the work your tax adviser is doing for you?

    Christopher Jarvis, M.B.A., C.F.P. is author of 12 books for doctors, including The Physician’s Money Manual (order for free at www.daktori.com/contact-us/). Mr. Jarvis was recognized as one of the 150 “Best Financial Advisers for Physicians” by Medical Economics in 2013. With more than 20 years of financial industry experience, Mr. Jarvis is one of the founders of the Daktori Financial Fellowship (www.Daktori.com), helping physicians maximize profitability and exit sale values. He can be reached at 817-749-5000 or [email protected].

    David R. York is a principal with the Salt Lake City law firm of York Howell. David specializes in the areas of estate planning, tax, business planning, and nonprofit entities. He is a fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Professionals. He regularly speaks to professionals on estate planning, tax planning, business entities, succession planning, domestic asset protection trusts, charitable giving techniques, charitable entities, asset protection, defective grantor trusts, and other sophisticated tax and estate planning strategies that are directly applicable to physicians. 


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