By Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP®, RFC
President, MD Financial &
Josh Lantz, CRPC®
Quick Quiz: Could you name all of your many financial accounts without using a cheat sheet? How about remembering each and every log in and password?
Most of our clients could name some of their accounts, but few could list all. The reason is your life, is complicated and you are short on time.
Most doctors have several disability insurance policies, some personal life insurance, insurance at work, an estate plan, employer retirement plans, brokerage accounts, IRAs, and several accounts from old employers. Each one with a different login (or storage cabinet) making it difficult to see your entire financial position without a trip to MD Financial.
We’ve met some physicians (no shame in it) that have so many accounts that they’ve forgotten where their investments reside! We’ve actually done phone calls to various custodians to help them locate missing funds.
You cannot make good decisions about your future without having dependable financial information. Becoming organized is a vital part of your financial planning.
Let’s face it—it takes time to review your accounts the old fashion way, and time is in short supply these days.
The Good News
Fortunately, we have a new tool for all our physician clients that solves this problem and saves you time. We’ve invested thousands of dollars in new technology as part of our usual services that allows you to track all of your accounts in one place. Plus, it does a whole lot more.
This tool allows you to link your
· Bank Accounts
· Employer Retirement Plans
· Insurance Policies
· Student Loans
· Credit Cards
· Even your frequent flyer miles
Basically any financial account with a login can be linked. Once it is linked the value is always up to date, giving you access to a one-page dashboard of your financial position at any time!
Besides viewing your accounts, the tool gives you a lot of other features.
· First it links to a much more robust financial planning software that we will be using to update your financial plan. It is so sophisticated; it can even help us pin point which accounts should be accessed in the future to reduce your taxes and where you will be getting income in your retirement.
· You can run reports that let you peek into the future to estimate where your net worth will be, or give you a snapshot of your current situation and (in the future), it will be able to compare your current situation to where you were last year.
· Even your beneficiary designations can be tracked.
· There’s a budgeting application. It takes data from your bank accounts and credit cards and automates a summary of your spending so you can track your budget each month. This feature is turned off for MD Financial, so you only see it on your side.
· You can peek under the hood of your investments and see how they are invested and their overnight returns. Yes, this is overkill for most clients—but it is there!
· There’s even an educational center for learning more about personal finance and much more.
The Secure Vault
The website comes with a vault to store important documents. There are private folders that only you see and public folders that you can collaborate with MD Financial on. This is a great place to store your estate planning documents, quarterly reports, employer contracts, tax returns, employer benefits, deeds, passports, or insurance policies. The storage size is unlimited so feel free to store whatever you’d like, even family photos.
Is it Secure?
The short answer: it is state of the art and where Josh and I house our personal financial information. The encryption is 256 bit which is the highest available and twice the level some banks. More importantly the data itself is non-transactional. This means you cannot make a withdrawal or buy/sell a security from the site. We can’t do that from this site and a hacker can’t either. It is just read-only. The maker of the technology is very large and well known in financial services and routinely tests the software to make sure it is completely secure. If you’d like more information about the security please let us know.
Your Next Steps
If you haven’t received an electronic invite to the software let us know---we can send it. Within a few clicks you can setup a password. Once inside you can watch the short tour-guide video and then link your accounts. Linking each account takes roughly 30 seconds.
We have the 5-minute rule! If it takes you longer than 5 minutes to link an account, call us! We will help you out.
The website has thousands of institutions linked, however if you run into one that there’s a problem let us know. We will work with the technology to get it connected for you. We will definitely go through the website at your next meeting, but we encourage you to start today as we are hearing a lot of our physicians say great things about it.
Here’s to your organized and less stressful financial life!
© Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP®, RFC is a nationally known attorney, popular platform speaker and the author of three books. She is a four-time winner of the coveted Medical Economics Top Advisor for Physicians Award. In addition, she was recently selected to be a “Top Woman in Finance” and has been selected as a 5-Star Advisor four times. She served on the Certified Financial Planner Board of Ethics and created an ethics program for American Express Financial Advisors. As the President of MD Financial, she and her skilled team are the personal CFO for busy physicians.
© Josh Lantz, CRPC®, has years of financial planning experience, as well as a specialized professional certification. These are only a snapshot of his expertise. When he isn’t meeting with physicians Josh oversees the financial planning department, portfolio management, insurance department, operations, and client services at MD Financial. Josh previously worked at Ameriprise Financial Advisor’s #2 nationally ranked team.