If you can’t beat ’em, join them (and make it better). Am I right? This was some of the sentiment I felt as I registered with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) to take the Series 65 exam. Passing this exam will allow me to register in my state as an Independent Advisory Representative (IAR) and function as a financial advisor. This begs the question: Why should I become a financial advisor? Why would a practicing anesthesiologist making >$ 300,000 per year decide to take the series 65 and become an IAR?
That’s what today’s post is about. Since I already feel the daggers heading my way, do me a solid and read the whole post before you judge me.
Today, we will discuss the main reasons I am going to become an investment advisor representative (IAR). Then, we will discuss what I plan to do with it.
Sometimes I get the look. You know what I am talking about.
The “how the hell are you qualified to talk to my residents about money?” look. This is often accompanied by the “You’ve lost your mind” look.
Other times, I’ve been asked outright why they should open the door for me. When I explain my story, most people open up to the idea. Those that do have been pleasantly surprised so far.
Others simply shut the door in my face because they feel I am not qualified despite the inordinate amount of time I spend talking and reading about this stuff.
They would rather have a conflicted financial advisor come in and peddle whole life insurance products and annuities. In fact, my medical school had GL advisors come and talk to us. Google that for me (“GL advisors”), and maybe you’ll understand some of the inherent source of my distrust of the financial industry.
With the (fortunate?) predisposition of looking like a prepubescent adolescent, it has become difficult sometimes to get the stage needed to spread the good word on financial literacy.
This is the biggest reason to clear the hurdle of becoming “legit.” Should I become a financial advisor? Well, after I pass the series 65 exam, I’ll be qualified enough to become one in the eyes of the federal government, state government, and FINRA. That should be enough to grant me the stage.
Increasing the depth of my knowledge
In my view, I have a two-pronged approach to teaching financial literacy to the medical students, residents, and early career attending physicians of this world.
The first is my in-person teaching with my own students and residents at the hospital where I work. The door that I want to open above relates mostly to my in-person opportunities.
I’ve been granted the chance to speak to our entire first-year medical school class already. It went so well that they invited me back to give the same talk to the second year students.
Either way, not only do I want the door open, but when it is opened I want to bust through it and provide an overwhelming amount of help to the students and residents I interact with daily.
The Physician Philosopher
Given the depth and breadth of topics discussed on this website, studying for the Series 65 will be helpful regardless of the outcome. The increased depth of knowledge will provide help to all of my readers.
It also doesn’t hurt that it’ll provide a ton of new topics for posts.
It is my desire to make this site unique in several ways. The most impressive might be to accomplish being a practicing physician anesthesiologist, blogger, and investment advisor.
Even if I fall flat on my face and fail the Series 65, it’ll still provide entertainment and information to everyone involved. After all, who doesn’t like seeing someone catch a pie in the face?
The financial industry
It says something about the financial industry that a doctor could simply buy a Kaplan course, study for a couple of months, and then become a legally qualified financial advisor.
In my view, this low bar is part of the problem in the financial industry. I plan to exploit it. That’s not to say that I plan to exploit people. In fact, anyone who has read this site knows, my plan has always been to do the exact opposite: Stick up for people when others can’t or won’t.
There are a lot of designations out there for financial advisors including Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Registered Invstment Advisor (RIA), etc.
Clearly, all of these designations are not made equal. However, they all can advise you on your investment choices and, therefore – by definition- are investment advisor representatives (or, worse, agents of large broker-dealers).
Most of you will find the journey interesting. Some of you will be rooting for me while others hope I fall hopelessly on my face. Regardless of the side you pick, it should be fun to watch.
Should I become a financial advisor? And what if I do?
This is the big question, isn’t it? Should I become a financial advisor? And, if I do, what it my plan?
Honestly, my plan is to continue to do more of the same.
I plan to educate my students, residents, and young colleagues. This website will continue, though the depth of the topics might be ever increasing. Don’t worry, we’ll continue to focus on teaching you the 20% you need to know to get 80% of the results.
With the new opportunity, I don’t plan on advising anyone individually when I start. I plan to simply use the education to gain experience and to educate others.
When those that I am helping aren’t finding what they need through my site or others, I may point them in the right direction, which will remain – in my humble opinion – flat-fee hourly rate advisors who have experience with physicians.
I do know one thing that will change, though, and that will be my disclosure.
“The Physician Philosopher” is an anesthesiologist who blogs at his self-titled site, The Physician Philosopher.
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