PharmD Financial Planning LLC is a fully fiduciary, fee-only (we're not paid commissions via product sales) financial planning firm that works with pharmacists and their families. It can be difficult to tell the difference between financial advisors and the organizations they work for. Anyone can call themselves a financial advisor, financial planner, wealth planner, wealth manager, investment advisor, etc. There is no shortage of unique names that people within this profession have come up with to differentiate themselves. So how is PharmD Financial Planning different than the insurance representative wanting to sell you a whole life policy (usually followed by a referral request for 3 names of your closest family and friends and their contact information) or the "investment guy" in a bright colored tie doing their best to sell you their favorite American Funds mutual fund? In this blog, my hope is to bring more clarity to that question.
- Why we specialize in working with pharmacists
- The importance of being a Fee-Only Fiduciary financial planning firm
- Our most valuable service is our unconflicted advice and guidance. Not just investment management
- The huge importance of tax planning for clients
- Learn why credentials and Certifications are great ways to use as a measuring stick for competence
- The benefits of being location independent for clients
Before you go any further, download this guide: Important-Dates-2021.pdf. Learn the most important dates you should be aware when it comes to your money in 2021.
Don't have time to read a blog? That's ok, we've got you covered! Check-out this PharmD FP video to learn more about PharmD Financial Planning LLC.
So You Work With Pharmacists, Huh?
PharmD Financial Planning specializes in working with pharmacists. To become really good at doing the work of a real financial planning professional and not just some sales driven rep (we'll look closer into this shortly), you need to really understand a client to effectively be able to deliver impactful advice. A large portion of a pharmacists life revolves around their work. And there is probably no one better at understanding the connection between a pharmacists life and their finances better than PharmD Financial Planning.
We can say this with great confidence because PharmD Financial Planning's founder and CEO is a part of a PharmD family. Derek lives it everyday with his wife Kortney (who is a PharmD). Derek can directly relate to many of the same financial opportunities and pain points that come with the pharmacist profession. He's living it himself. This also has directed Derek to focus his financial planning education and credentials to meet the needs of pharmacists more precisely than you will find anywhere else. This is why we specialize in working with pharmacists. Because we can make a bigger and more positive impact for PharmD families than anyone else in the financial services profession.
We also have created service models that provide clients with great flexibility when working with us. We offer ongoing planning services, project based services, and hourly services. So no matter what type of engagement you are looking for, we can most likely accommodate it.
So why do I need you? Can't I just hop on Google to learn everything I need to know? Sure, anyone can hop on Google and find the technical answers to any of their questions. That is considered knowledge. We don't see ourselves as a knowledge provider. If we did, Google would have us out of business in a hurry. Instead we lead with wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to align knowledge and personal circumstance to create true financial wellbeing. And we do this for pharmacists and their families better than anyone else.
We Are A Fiduciary and Fee-Only. Not Commissioned Sales Reps
It's very clear to any pharmacist what the difference is between a pharmacist and a pharmaceutical sales representative. If I were to tell a pharmacist that their job is no different than a pharmaceutical rep, they would laugh me out of the room. Education, ethics, regulations, patient standards of care, and compensation are just a few areas that a pharmacist professional would be different than a pharmaceutical sales rep.
The financial services industry has a similar distinction but is much less transparent about it. At PharmD Financial Planning, we are a fully fiduciary firm that only generates revenue through transparent fee pricing. We get hired when someone is looking to start a relationship with a financial professional that is predicated on delivering unconflicted advice and guidance to help solve their most pressing financial concerns. Most pharmacists don't want to be sold a product or to be forced into some financial transaction just so the "advisor" can earn a payday.
But the large majority of financial advisors/planners/wealth *yadda yadda yadda* within the financial services profession work just like a pharmaceutical sales rep. These advisors literally have "registered representative" on their business card, in the small disclosure text on their website, or their marketing material. It's their job to broker products on behalf of the company that employs them. Their legal obligations and loyalties are with their company, not with their clients. That doesn't mean they are bad people or bad at their job, but it doesn't make them a true fiduciary. And when it comes to something as important as your money and your financial future, you probably want to work with the pharmacist equivalent of a financial advisor and not the pharmaceutical sales representative.
Finally, if you ever find yourself wondering if you are working with a true fiduciary advisor, ask them to sign a fiduciary oath. Many advisors will claim to uphold a fiduciary responsibility. However, only true fiduciaries will legally be allowed to put it in writing.
We Lead With Advice Not Investments
At PharmD Financial Planning we have a passive and evidenced based investment management philosophy. History tells us that successful investing is about staying diversified with high quality and low cost investments. We believe that large investment management fees, over a long period of time, can deteriorate the value of an investment account in a big way. And since we don't believe that active investment management creates any long term positive performance outcomes versus passive investing, you shouldn't be paying that extra cost.
And this is why we lead with financial advice and not investment management. Passive investing can be done with relative ease. It's becoming more of a commodity service due to the rise of robo-advisors. The real value clients get when working with us is our expertise in financial planning. We help our clients define what is most important to them and then help guide them toward the accomplishment of those items though the proper utilization of their financial resources.
Investment management is still important, it's just not the primary way we are able to bring massive value to the lives of our clients. But we do recognize it's importance. Staying with our core belief that passive investment management is superior, we use a robo-advisor, Betterment, to help our clients diversify among high quality and low cost ETFs. And if we mutually agree to carve off a piece of the core investment portfolio to actively buy other investments (stocks, bonds, real estate, cryptocurrency, etc.) we help our clients accomplish that.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, expense in a persons lifetime may be taxes. No one wants to pay more in taxes then they have too. But tax law is always changing and it can be very complicated to navigate on your own. But this ever changing and complicated environment is one of the best ways to instantly make a positive impact on your financial life. Tax avoidance (not tax evasion) is a strategic and direct way to minimize what you're required to pay in taxes each year.
Seeing that this is an area that can make such a large impact on our clients finances each year, we dedicate a large amount of our time implementing tax planning strategies for our clients. We don't do tax preparation like a traditional accountant would. Instead we stay more focused on future planning opportunities. We like to map out what the tax environment might look like for our clients in 1-3 years and use that information to make changes today that could minimize tax liabilities in the future.
Many other financial advisors may dabble in tax conversation. They may mention the benefits of a Roth IRA or something like that. But the majority usually just defer major tax planning conversations to a clients CPA or tax professional. The two reasons I've seen for this is lack of tax planning knowledge and compliance.
Financial professionals may not have the aptitude to give tax advice. There is no tax qualification a financial advisor has to meet in order to become a financial advisor. This is discouraging because it bypasses so many opportunities to better a clients financial situation. At PharmD Financial Planning, Derek Delaney is an enrolled agent. An enrolled agent is a federally authorized tax practitioner empowered by the US Department of Treasury. This type of expertise allows the PharmD Financial Planning to work with clients around tax planning in ways most other advisors simply cannot.
Highly Credentialed And Certified
I mentioned briefly above that it doesn't take much to become a "financial advisor". You study for 2 weeks for a securities exam and if you pass it, you can call yourself a financial advisor. There is no formal education requirement or even an experience threshold you need to meet. You literally could have a high school diploma, driving a truck for FedEx (not a shot at FedEx drivers, just an example) at the beginning of the month and by the end of the month you could have financial advisor on your business card, sitting behind a desk, giving people advice on what to do with their life savings.
Now think about how that compares to the pharmacist profession. Think of the requirements you had to meet to become a pharmacist. All the rigorous schooling, testing, and licensing requirements you had to satisfy. None of that applies when it comes to becoming a financial advisor. And to me, that is scary. Especially considering that those advisors can blend in with and become almost indistinguishable from most other financial advisor professionals out there.
But there is one telling difference for the public to use for comparison purposes. And that is advanced credentials. Again, the financial services industry has done a good job of creating meaningless credentials for advisors to pursue just so they can look more competent. So just having letters behind your name isn't worth a whole lot, but having the right kind of credentials and certifications is a huge deal.
At PharmD Financial Planning, we believe that if we are given the privilege of helping clients handle their most sensitive money issues, we should have the knowledge to back it up. And we do. Derek has earned the Certified Financial Planner practitioner designation, the Charter Financial Consultant designation, an Enrolled Agent credential, and the Certified Student Loan Professional qualification. These are some of the most widely known and respected credentials and certifications that the financial industry has to offer.
PharmD Financial Planning has invested heavily in technology that allows us to work with people all of the United States and beyond. If you have an internet connection. we feel very confident that we can provide you with a world class financial planning experience and relationship. Geography isn't an impediment anymore. If you're looking to work with the best financial planning firm built to serve pharmacists, regardless of your location, you now have that ability!
It also gives our clients piece of mind knowing that no matter where their life takes them, they will always have access to their financial planner.
We take great pride in the way we are able to use the power of financial planning to make massive positive impacts in the lives of our clients. We also understand that every financial planning firm is going to say the same thing. So instead of getting in a word salad war trying to convince you how we're different, we go out and prove it.
- We understand and work with pharmacists and their families better than any other financial advisory firm out there
- We are a true fiduciary firm that works with clients on a flat fee transparent pricing engagement. No commissions.
- We lead with advice, not investment management. Our value is providing solutions to your concerns. Not trying to beat the market in investment returns.
- Tax planning is a huge piece to creating financial wellbeing. We concentrate heavily on this.
- We are highly credentialed and certified. You can't fake that.
- Location Independent. We can work with you wherever you're located. As long as you have an internet connection.
If you're looking to hire a financial planning firm, check us out. We hold introductory meetings (in person, phone, or zoom) with people all the time who want to learn more about us. We invite to you do the same!