South Florida Hospital News
Monday March 1, 2021
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June 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 12
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Health Care Professionals Need to Prioritize When Considering Financial Future

When you’re a busy health care professional, it’s easy to put your own needs aside when caring for patients. And with all of the focus on health care reform, new government rules and regulations and carrier reimbursements, you may not have taken the time to make sure that your own financial house is in order.
 
“Many physicians and other health care professionals put their own personal financial planning needs off to the side because they are simply too focused on caring for patients day-to-day practice issues,” said Lenny Sklawer, CLTC, a financial services professional and licensed agent with New York Life Insurance Company. “But it’s imperative that they start looking out for their practices and deal with issues such as succession planning and buy-and-sell agreements, in order to protect their assets 100 percent in an IRS-approved fashion.
 
“It’s kind of like when you’re on an airplane and you are advised to don the oxygen mask first before you try to help others,” he added. “In the medical profession, health professionals are so focused on patients and regulations that most have forgotten to take oxygen for themselves.”
 
Sklawer, who served as the president of a logistics company and as the owner of his own manufacturing business for 17 years before entering the financial services market, has always believed in the importance of planning. “The most crucial factor is education - products or product feature are secondary,” he explained. “You have to have an understanding of what economic goals you are trying to achieve, knowing that these goals will evolve over time. None of the decisions you make now are written in stone; as people develop different priorities and face life challenges, things change.”
 
While many people choose to search the Internet for information, this approach can only take a person so far. “There are limits as to what you’ll get exposed to and there are also many conflicting opinions,” he said. “It is best to align yourself with a trusted advisor who will provide you with information that is relevant to your goals and objectives.”
 
Depending on where a person is in his or her life or career, advice can take the form of simple term insurance to sophisticated variable annuities with all the bells and whistles. Just a few of the services that Sklawer provides include estate tax planning, business executive benefit plans, retirement distribution planning and risk management planning. “I liken myself to a personal trainer or coach who helps take his clients to the next level,” said Sklawer.
 
“For example, look at your own personal retirement environment - people are living longer, which increases the likelihood of becoming frail in the future. Do you have a plan? Your money will need to last longer, so you must have a ‘decumulation’ strategy,” he said. “Social Security is not as robust as we thought it would be, and fewer people now have defined pension plans. You might be left with a 401K plan if you’re lucky, so does it make sense to continue deferring dollars when the tax rate right now is at a historical low? It might not be a good idea to defer everything now and pay a higher tax rate when you retire in the future. These are issues that you need to face now, while you still have time to take a balanced approach.”
 
For more information or to talk to Lenny Sklawer, call (305) 613-1768 or email lsklawer@gmail.com. You can also visit www.lennysklawer.com.
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