Doctor’s Rounds

*The views expressed by the authors below do not represent the views or opinions of MD Preferred Services.

Life Insurance is not a Retirement Plan

Friday, May 13, 2016

By David I. Katz, AAMS®, COO, CFO Financial Planner

Recently I was asked, to weigh in on life insurance policies in general and more specifically, their place in the retirement planning process.  While at first the topic might not seem directly on point for a retirement planning, many life insurance policies are sold under the guise of saving for retirement.

Should life insurance be a key part of your retirement plan? Life insurance should be a vital part of your overall financial plan, specifically, if people depend on your income (e.g. your children and your spouse). A sizable income tax free life insurance death benefit payment is the best way to maximize the chance that your dependent's standard of living is not dramatically reduced due to your untimely demise. In fact, income replacement is the number one factor couples site as a reason for purchasing life insurance.

Then the question becomes, what type of insurance should you purchase and is it a good idea to use insurance as an investment for retirement. If you listen to Suze Orman, Rick Edelman or other self proclaimed financial gurus the answer you will get is that there is no reason to buy anything other than term insurance and that permanent insurance helps no one except the agent/advisor that sold the policy. Others will argue that term insurance is a temporary fix and since in generally offers no equity it is like renting an apartment versus buying a home and that you are throwing you money away. Insurance industry legend Bob Castigione, creator of the LEAP selling system, will posit that every investment dollar that you have should be invested in permanent whole life insurance. The truth actually is somewhere in between.

When you purchase life insurance to protect your family, you'll want to be sure you buy adequatecoverage.  First and foremost, you want to make sure that if you die there is adequate funds available to take care of your family financially. For many people, that means purchasing Term Insurance which is the most affordable type of life insurance.  Others may still consider permanent insurance (Whole Life, Universal and Variable Universal) because they are drawn to the cash value (equity) that the policy builds over time. The problem is that purchasing the cash value insurance, however well intentioned may leave the family at risk. Let’s take an example of a male age 35 that is in good health and purchases a $1,000,000 whole life insurance policy from a (A+) rated insurance company. His premium as a select preferred rating will be approximately $10,960 per year. The policy will build cash value on a guaranteed basis and may build additional cash value based on what the policy owner chooses to do with any non-guaranteed dividends the company may pay each year.  Over time, the policy will build cash value in excess of the actual premiums that were paid. But what if he dies? As Shakespeare so aptly put it, “there’s the rub”. The family will still receive only the death benefit portion (which may increase over time if dividends are paid and used to purchase additional insurance) and not the cash value/savings portion.  

Does Your 401(k) Have One of These?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Self-directed brokerage accounts have been around for quite some time but don’t be surprised if your company’s human resources department and other plan literature doesn’t offer much information about it.  The reason: the company who hosts your 401(k) plan is often not the company who handles the self-directed brokerage account.  Therefore, when participants opt to allocate assets to the brokerage window, the core plan’s custodian loses out on the fees they earn on those dollars. 
But that should not be a reason not to use it.  Self-directed brokerage accounts are a great way to diversify your retirement account and gain access to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and even add your financial advisor to your account for oversight and personalized service.  The investments available in the core plan are usually limited to a list of 5-20 different mutual funds.  Within the self-directed brokerage account, there are thousands.

Every employer offering a self-directed brokerage account has implemented different rules surrounding the use of the self-directed brokerage account.  To understand the basics, first consider your 401(k) plan as having two separate compartments; the core account and the self-directed account.  These are both within the 401(k) so do not worry that using the self-directed brokerage account is somehow creating a taxable event by taking a withdrawal. 
The core account is the one that you’re probably accustomed to using.  It commonly consists of 5-20 pre-selected mutual funds that are (hopefully) periodically reviewed and occasionally replaced for poor performance.  This lineup will hopefully cover some of the spectrum of investments and include some U.S. large company stocks, U.S. small company stocks, international stocks, corporate bonds and government bonds.  Almost always, these investments are in the form of mutual funds; active and passive (index).  Commonly, 401(k) plans core accounts will offer target-date retirement funds that are supposed to be a single solution that simplifies investing.  By selecting the target retirement date fund near your target year of retirement, you get a pre-made mix of investments.  While these may help you to get a better mix of investments, there are shortcomings to this approach as well.  A primary critique of these solutions are their often high management fees. 

5 Things Every New Physician Should Do to Lower Taxes and Protect Assets

Monday, February 01, 2016

When speaking with physicians, whether it is one on one, or in a group setting, two topics of conversation are a virtual constant, taxes and asset protection. Notwithstanding the litigious environment we live in, I can clearly see why physicians want to do whatever possible to protect their assets. Reducing taxes is something everyone wants to do.

Even if someone pays very little in taxes, they still want to pay less, so it only make sense that physicians want to keep more of what they make, especially after paying insurance and education costs. So if you would like protect your assets and pay less in taxes, read on.

Form a Physician Corporation

Establishing a Physician Corporation will allow you to pay various expenses from the corporation. Since these expenses are paid before you take your salary, they are deductible from your overall income, and are not taxed at all. Owning a Physician Corporation will also enable you to take advantage of other options which are only available to corporations. Pay Yourself a Salary – Of course you want to make as much money as possible, but in the end, it is really about how much you get to keep. By paying yourself the lowest possible salary, your overall tax burden will be lower, because you will not have to pay FICA taxes on the dividends you take from your Physician Corporation.

Contribute to Retirement Accounts

Your retirement accounts aid you in both reducing your taxes and protecting your assets. From a tax perspective, retirement plan contributions are not subject to income or FICA taxes, so the more you can contribute, the lower your tax bill. As it pertains to protecting your assets, in most states, retirement accounts are not subject to levy as payment in the event of a civil judgment. Therefore, the more you contribute to these plans, the more assets you have protected. Create a Physician


As the owner of your Physician Corporation, you are able to establish a Physician Pension for yourself. This does two things. First, it allows you to fund a retirement vehicle for yourself as an expense to the business. These funds are not taxed, and do not require you to take a significant salary in order to make the contributions. Second, as a retirement account, these funds are also protected from civil judgment in most states. 

Can it get any better than this?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BY: Terry J. Kelly, President 


Home ownership is again at all time lows. Some folks are still recovering from the 2008 crisis, others don’t have the down payment or acceptable credit to qualify, and some want to wait until the time is right. There are also those who have a good job, good credit plus a huge earning potential like the medical profession, but still lacking the required down payment. The answer for years has been rent or rent to own. It’s an attractive option for those who want to own their home now and want to fix the value at today’s prices, and gain on future appreciation. Typically on the rent to own programs, the prices and rents are a little higher and the option fee for the right to purchase usually runs from 3% to 5% of the purchase price depending on a number of factors like credit, employment, length of time before purchase, etc.  That’s all changed now.

What’s new for 2016? A new program, where our clients now can pick their rental payment, pick their home in the area they want to live, , pick their price and close in 30 days. So what’s the catch? You need a FICO score of 525 or higher and a gross income of $50,000.

The costs and fees are zero, there are no loans, no banks, and easy qualifying.  There are no option deposit fees.  We even handle the closing costs.  Your responsibility is to agree to a 1 year lease and pay the rental deposit. If you change your mind and decide to relocate after 1 year, no problem.  You can walk away with no liability and you get your rental deposit back.  However, if you decide to stay, you can complete your purchase at any time up to 5 years. Their would be a slight increase in rent and price in the 2nd  through the 5th year.

As I said in my opening statement, it doesn’t get any better than this.  
If you have any questions about this program, please email or call us at or call Terry at 951-200-4130.