The Popular Press Hurts Doctors

Posted by & filed under Business Owners, Education, Resource, Uncategorized.

Most people believe that there is more financial information available on television, in newspapers and magazines, and on websites than one person could possibly review in a lifetime. They may be right!
Our Google search for “Financial Advice” on August 11, 2007 yielded 112 million results. A search for “investing” yielded 104 million results. We then narrowed our search for sites that had all of the following tags: “investing,” “high income,” and “financial planning.” This narrowed the results down to 133,000. Obviously, we agree with the sentiment that there are an almost infinite number of places one can look for financial advice. However, who is this advice for? Consider this statement:
Most financial information available in newspapers or magazines, on television, or within websites is inappropriate and often detrimental to a Doctor’s planning. How can there be so many places to find financial information and so few reliable sources for Doctors? To answer this question, let’s start by looking at a list of television stations, newspapers, magazines, and websites. Which of these outlets would you consider to be for Doctors and which would you consider to be directed at Average Americans?
Television: Fox News, MSNBC
Newspapers: New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal
Websites: FoxNews, CNN, CNNMoney, USAToday,
WSJ (Wall St. Journal.), Forbes
Magazines: Smart Money, Money, Business Week, Fortune, Fortune Small Business
If you are like all of the colleagues and clients we asked informally, you would say that almost all of the aforementioned media would deliver information which would target wealthier Americans, such as Doctors.

The important point we are trying to illustrate with this data is that almost all of the high-end magazines and websites in the first list have an average audience household income of less than $100,000. Every single one mentioned on that list, except The Wall Street Journal (TWSJ), has an audience with an average household income of less than $150,000.
For the purpose of our next statement, we would like to exclude TWSJ. Though TWSJ focuses on business and financial markets, its primary goal is to report the news. It does not take a position of encouraging or promoting any particular products, strategies or financial philosophies. Given this caveat, our conclusion from the aforementioned data is:
Even the highest level media outlets in the United States are not targeting and delivering appropriate content to an audience with an average income above $150,000. Why is this information important to our discussion of financial planning for Doctors? Let us explain what we learned from the publishing of our last book, Wealth Protection: Build & Pre-serve Your Financial Fortress for John Wiley & Sons.

The Media Business: “Get The Eyeballs”
If you are in the media business, it doesn’t matter if you are publishing magazines or websites, or producing television or radio programs. The goal is always the same if there is advertising involved—provide content that will attract a large enough audience to generate ad revenue. You generate ad revenue by proving that you can deliver a significant audience and that you can accurately track the demographics of the audience. All of the sites, magazines and newspapers mentioned earlier are in business to make money. If they don’t generate content that maintains
an audience large enough to support the necessary ad revenue, the company will go out of business. They must “get the eyeballs.” Their business model is really that simple.
To attract a large audience, these outlets have to deliver content that appeals to a large audience. After writing our last book for John Wiley, we appeared on over 120 radio and television programs. Though the book Wealth Protection had interesting philosophical lessons and over 62 practical lessons on advanced financial, legal, and tax-saving techniques, almost every producer and interviewer wanted us to discuss topics in the book we thought were the most basic. What we were told by one host was that his goal was to keep as many people as possible interested in the interview. He didn’t care if the information was fresh and exciting. He wanted to make sure that “Joe Lunch-Bucket” (his words) wouldn’t be put off by the topic. He told us that talking about ways to save $100,000 in taxes or ways to efficiently buy rental properties would alienate most listeners—which, in turn, would cause the show to lose “eyeballs” (or “ears,” as is the case in radio). He was not going to allow that to happen.
Until John Wiley asked us to write a book about Affluent Americans (Wealth Secrets of the Affluent—publishing date April, 2008), we had received very little interest from the popular press in regard to the education we have regularly offered to high-income clients for the last twelve years.

Consider the following:
· Every information/publishing company is in business to make money.
· The money almost always comes from advertisers.
· Advertisers pay more if the audience is larger.
· A publisher must continuously offer appropriate content to the masses to maintain and grow an audience and attract advertisers.
· Even the high-end distribution channels don’t target consumers earning over $100,000.
If you consider these five statements you can clearly conclude that:
It is almost IMPOSSIBLE for Doctors to find useful and appropriate financial information from popular newspapers, magazines, websites, or television programs. This is why most of the information contained in this book may seem foreign to many readers. The tips, tools, and strategies offered here are not the kinds of things that most information outlets would ever deliver because, quite frankly, there is no business reason for doing so. Fewer than 10% of Americans would find much of the information in this book applicable or beneficial. If it is important to “fit in” and do what everyone else does—even if it is not the best course of action—this book is not for you.

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The Importance of Asset Protection

Posted by & filed under Business, Education, Healthcare, Legal.

Until the last part of the 20th century, it might have seemed excessive to be concerned with protecting assets from potential lawsuits. Lawsuits were not particularly common and jury awards were reasonable. In the 1980s, the number of lawsuits in the United States skyrocketed and outrageous jury awards became commonplace. This has been especially the case in employment and medical malpractice claims—two areas where Doctors are specifically targets. As such, Doc-tors have realized that protecting their assets from lawsuits needs to be the focus of any financial plan.

The Lawsuit Explosionpost 4
Why are there so many more lawsuits today? It may be because many Americans see a lawsuit as a way to “get rich quick” rather than as a way to make someone whole and ultimately achieve justice for being wronged by another. In our society, many people believe that misfortune is an opportunity to place blame and seek financial reparations—even if that person wasn’t at fault for the misfortune. Unfortunately, juries routinely adopt the idea that someone must pay for alleged wrong-doings and often disregard the facts of the case when reaching a verdict. Through emotion and bias, juries sometimes give away large sums of money to unfortunate victims, even when the defendants were not to blame for the misfortune.
To illustrate this point, let’s consider the decisions reached in some cases you may have read about in your daily newspaper:
Claim: A woman sues a franchise eatery because the coffee she spilled in her lap was too hot.
Decision: Woman receives $2.6 million.
Claim: A trespasser is injured while burglarizing a home.
Decision: Burglar receives thousands of dollars.

Claim: A Pennsylvania woman sues a physician claiming to have lost her psychic
powers during a routine set of tests.
Decision: Woman receives a jury award for $690,000.
After reading the large settlements these ordinary people receive, it seems rational that other people would begin to ask themselves, “Why not me?” The more press these cases receive, the greater the reinforcement of this belief. The greater the number of people who try to “work the system,” the greater the number of people who will eventually succeed. Each new outrageous success gains more press, and the vicious cycle of lawsuits continues.
Knowledgeable Doctors realize that this lawsuit trend cannot be ignored. They insist on having their advisors devise financial plans that address the protection of their assets. They realize that they have something to lose if they are sued, and that the plaintiff often has nothing to lose. This is especially true in the United States legal system.

American Rule Of Legal Fees
Did you know that in virtually every other legal system in the world, a plaintiff who sues un-successfully has to pay the defendant’s legal bills? That is correct. This rule, called the “British Rule,” effectively keeps people from suing others unless they truly think they have a case with merit. If a plaintiff does not have a very good case, he risks not only paying his own attorney’s fees, but also the defendant’s.
This is obviously not the situation in the United States. In U.S. courts we follow the “American Rule,” which dictates that each side pays their legal fees regardless of the outcome of the case. This rule was originally created so that people wouldn’t be discouraged from suing big businesses. Though this rule may have had some positive impact, it has created two negative consequences:
1. As a plaintiff, you have a lot less to lose if you bring a meritless case. In fact, with the prevalence of contingency fee attorneys, plaintiffs are literally in a no-lose situation as they have no “skin in the game.” This is because contingency fee attorneys do not charge their clients hourly fees. Their only compensation is a percentage of the judgment awards of the cases they win.
2. As a defendant, a winning outcome is still a losing proposition. We say this be-cause a successful defense of a lawsuit still results in significant out-of-pocket defense costs and legal fees. In addition, a legal defense results in time out of work and an unquantifiable amount of stress.
Evidently, the American Rule of legal fees encourages civil lawsuits. Proponents of the system still claim that it allows the poor access to the legal system and is a method for Americans to redress injustices. They may be right. Nonetheless, an unwanted side effect of this rule is that it also allows thousands, if not millions, of frivolous and dubious lawsuits to be filed each year.

People Abuse The Legal System
Whether it is caused by the American Rule of legal fees or not, it is clear that many people simply abuse the legal system for personal gain. This trend is so severe in California that the legislature passed the Vexatious Litigant Act, a law establishing a list of people who routinely abuse the legal system by filing too many frivolous lawsuits. These same individuals cannot be denied their constitutional right to sue. However, this act restricts them from filing suits without attorneys unless they receive a judge’s permission. This list is available to every lawyer in the state.
Who is on this list? The people on this list are those who, in the court’s opinion, have repeatedly filed lawsuits lacking merit or have engaged in other frivolous and abusive tactics.

The Diagnosis
At this point, we hope you realize what the wealthy have known for years. The American Rule of law has afforded people an opportunity to protect themselves through the courts. Unfortunately, many people have taken advantage of the system and a lawsuit frenzy has resulted in our country. In this litigious society, asset protection planning is an integral part of any comprehensive financial plan. For Doctors with greater liability than the average person, asset protection planning couldn’t be more important. Luckily, it can be integrated into a financial plan to protect assets from lawsuits, allow the Doctors to spend more time making money, and provide peace of mind. In the More