A Financial Second Opinion

Michael Scott Berry, ChFC, is an advisor to He helps us serve the financial planning concerns of our physician readers. He is also an independent financial consultant with a proven process. He analyzes a client’s particular fact pattern, educates on planning options, and works with the client to implement the chosen strategies. His concierge wealth planning process uses a team of experts in as many as 8 disciplines to deliver comprehensive results.

In this brief video interview he discusses the importance of getting a second opinion on financial matters. It is almost always worth taking the time to consider diverse approaches to major financial decisions.

Life Insurance: An Excellent Investment Option for Physicians

  • Cash-value life insurance can grow tax-free, provide a tax-advantaged death benefit, and is protected from lawsuit creditors.
  • Investors take advantage of life insurance as an investment because of the flexibility it offers as a financial planning tool.
  • No other financial, tax, insurance or legal tool can play as many roles in a financial plan as life insurance.

Double the Value of Your Medical Practice

  • The partners in a reasonably profitable medical practice can more than double the value of the practice by properly structuring the corporation and the books, and by trimming costs.
  • There are numerous benefits to running a fiscally simple practice: easier to manage, easier to sell, potentially be more lucrative.
  • The basic strategies to follow in order to increase the value of your practice are to a) make more money; b) spend less money; c) run the business more efficiently; d) have strategies in place to increase revenue and profitability.

Captive Insurance Company Can Help Your Practice Earn More, Keep More, and Maintain Greater Control of Assets

  • The captive insurance company enables the business to protect itself and the partners against uninsured and underinsured risks.
  • Businesses can use CICs to reduce the costs of third-party insurance, improve insurance coverage, gain access to the re-insurance market, and accumulate assets outside of the central business
  • The insured business pays annual premiums to the CIC in exchange for normal and usual insurance of underinsured and uninsured risks. The premiums are typically tax deductible as business operating expenses, and the not taxable to the CIC.

Consider Long-Term Care Insurance as Part of Your Financial Plan

  • As of 2013, the average cost nursing home care ranged from $80,000 per year to more than $300,000 per year.
  • Americans face approximately a 1-in-10 chance of spending at least 5 or more years in a nursing home after age 65.
  • It is best to simply consider long-term care insurance as part of your estate plan, as you would life insurance.
  • Best to buy long-term care insurance when you are at peak earning and when you are young.

Life Insurance is a Basic, Essential Part of Estate Planning

  • Life insurance is one of the foundations of a diversified and stable investment portfolio.
  • It offers financial flexibility, tax benefits, return on investment, asset protection, and asset accumulation.
  • The death benefit of life insurance is highly asset protected.
  • The policy aids the beneficiary immediately upon the death of the insured.
  • Life insurance is the easiest way for a young physician to protect her family.


Strategies for Finding Your Best Match in a Financial Advisor

  • Select an advisor because you like her, not only because she beats the market.
  • Select a financial advisor who shares your values, goals, and vision.
  • Your relationship with your financial advisor is as much about the relationship as it is about the numbers.

Using an Irrevocable Trust to Protect Assets

  • You can protect yourself and your family from the risks of potential litigation.
  • Irrevocable trusts are one of the strongest ways to shield wealth from litigation.
  • Irrevocable trusts can also provide significant tax advantages by removing an amount from the taxable estate.

Think Twice Before You Sell Your Practice

  • Hospitals and healthcare systems managed by physicians perform better financially.
  • These mergers are not always profitable for both or either party.
  • A recent study of Kentucky hospitals found that 58% of responding hospital CEOs reported losses of greater than $100,000 per employed physician per year.

Newer Insurance Products May Outperform Mutual Funds

  • Bank saving accounts return close to 0% interest.
  • Mutual funds can be associated with high taxes and fees.
  • Universal cash-value life insurance can offer a 54.6% increased return over mutual funds at 40 years.

The Sliding Scale of Asset Protection

  • Asset-protection advisors measure the legal protection afforded a client’s assets by using a sliding scale.
  • This scale represents a continuum of protection.
  • Some assets are completely unprotected and others are highly protected.
Some of the most common questions that arise around asset protection planning are in regard to which assets are protected, to what degree, and which are not. Asset-protection advisors measure the legal protection afforded a client’s assets by using the sliding scale of asset protection in which some assets are completely unprotected and others are highly protected.

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