Wealth management for female physicians

December 18, 2018 Michelle Masson


Over my career, I've worked in the technology and financial services industries and my work with early career physicians here at MD means I interact with medical professionals. That's three fields that have traditionally been dominated by men but I'm pleased to say that's changing.

I remember being at the Women in Wealth Management Conference, surrounded by many accomplished and articulate women. When you see the sheer quality of the professionals in the room, it makes you really proud to be there and reminds you of the influence women can have going forward.

Times are changing...

In 2016, women made up 56% of enrolment in Canadian Faculties of Medicine. That's compared to about 14% in 1969.

I've talked about creating an internal culture that carries through to a great client experience. We want our clients to trust us, to know that we've got their backs and that we can work with them to achieve their life goals. In order to do this with the influx of female medical students that will go on to become medical professionals, we need to think of them as female physicians rather than physicians that happen to be female. We definitely find that our female clients want to have conversations about their life goals and how financial matters support those goals as opposed to just a conversation about investing money.

We have a couple advantages when working with this group, we have a significantly higher female-to-male advisor ratio than industry averages, which isn't to suggest that female physicians need a female advisor but we do have a unique perspective and deeper insight for when we work with them.

For example, our early career clients are hitting milestones like student loan repayment, buying their first home and deciding when to start a family. We found that while all early career physicians have these common concerns and questions, there were some questions raised by female clients specifically around investing and life goals.

... So too should our financial planning conversations

I hate to stereotype, but generally speaking, women feel they have less financial literacy than men and can lack confidence in their investment knowledge. Studies have actually shown that they often do better with their returns when they do invest. We also see that female physicians tend to be a bit more planning oriented. They're thinking about the broader community that they're in, the family, and how all of that is going to show up later in life and how they can create a legacy for their work and family.

That's why, apart from our OnboardMD program, we run seminars and events specifically for female physicians. We provide specialized resources around integrating professional and personal lives from the perspective of achieving life goals. It's all part of MD's complete approach to wealth management, advice on incorporation, insurance, tax, private trusts, estate planning, investments and more.

So what I see is female physicians who do want to have that conversation about investments, but what's missing is the proper context of how investments will fit within the overall plan. Wealth planning for female physicians isn't about wrapping it in a pink bow, rather it's about listening to their needs and respecting their unique point of view.

About the Author

Michelle Masson is the Executive Vice President of the Early Career Segment at MD Financial Management. She leads a dedicated advisory team focused on the holistic needs of medical students, residents and early practicing physicians. She was also pivotal in redefining MD’s business strategy and the transformation of the corporate culture.

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