As a physician with formal management training Dr. Warner has long had an interest in personal finance and integrating the worlds of business and medicine. In 2016, he started AdvisoryMD as a consultancy providing Financial Education and Career Coaching to physician clients.
AdvisoryMD knows that the financial services industry can be challenging for physicians to navigate and that it is difficult for them to know if they are getting the best advice tailored to their specific situation.
Dr. Warner provides one-on-one concierge level financial education geared towards physicians in the first 10 years of independent practice. AdvisoryMD reviews incorporation, tax planning, balancing debt repayment with saving, home purchase timing, budgeting, investment strategies, insurance and practice management.
AdvisoryMD also provides career coaching for physicians looking to extend their practice beyond patient care into adjacent areas such as healthcare consulting, entrepreneurship, and working with start-ups.
Over the past four years the company has taken an interest in residential real estate and has been able to introduce clients to exciting investment opportunities in the GTA and beyond.
You are a relatively new client, what is the relationship and how did you get started with Simon, how did you connect with TCS? Could you talk about the origins and how/when you started seeing the offers?
I met Simon through a mutual friend who happens to be a Hedge Fund Manager I invest with. He told me about Simon and how TCS has grown into a successful business with a group of loyal clients, many of whom are physicians. Given my own interest in real estate and my experience providing financial education to physicians, he thought an introduction would be worthwhile.
My first call with Simon lasted about two hours. No matter the area, I value expertise so I pushed Simon to explain the TCS business model in detail and provide me with an outline of the client experience and his views on the pre-construction condo market. Since then, we have had many conversations, both in person and on the phone. I am confident in the value TCS provides its clients and have become one myself.
Over the next few months, Simon introduced me to other pre-construction projects around the G.T.A. that he felt I should invest in through his firm. I liked the projects and in-turn introduced him to my family, friends and business associates who were always looking for an inside track to investment opportunities. For this new group that I organically put together, Simon provided us with deal flow and access that was beyond what we could source independently.
TCS: You have been one of the medical faces of the pandemic here in Canada, can you tell us how that has been and perhaps what you think of the media coverage and how the medical profession has been covered?
COVID has been challenging for everyone. Kids have been out of the classroom, businesses have suffered, non-COVID healthcare has been delayed and deferred and the mental health of most of us has been harmed by lack of social interaction.
As an ICU physician my focus has been on protecting people from ending up sick on a ventilator, and dying from COVID. It became clear, early on, that essential workers, those living in multi-generational homes, long-term care home residents and poor, racialized individuals were most at risk for bad outcomes. For the past 18 months I have used my social and mainstream media platforms to advance the interests of these groups and, more recently, to promote vaccination as the best way to prevent people from getting sick, so we can all get back to the lives we had before.
TCS: For everyone, 2020/21 has been a trying year (year+), away from the hospitals, how have you and your family been managing through all the public protocols and distancing?
I am very fortunate to have a supportive wife and three healthy children. I am also lucky to have been gainfully employed during the pandemic and able to provide for my family. This being said, the last 18 months has been challenging.
Like most, I have missed my friends and extended family. Virtual school was difficult. My wife is a teacher and, anticipating that I would have to be available to work, she took a sabbatical to be at home with our kids. She kept our family going while I spent longer than usual hours in the hospital. Wave three was the most challenging as the ICU situation in Ontario was quite dire. It’s unclear how Wave Four will play out, but with vaccines here for those 12+ and coming for those 5-11, the future is looking better.
TCS: You founded AdvisoryMD in addition to your duties in the hospital, what was the motivation there and what did you see amongst your colleagues that sparked the need for this service?
I have always had an interest in entrepreneurship. When I was 11 I started selling pop and chocolate bars out of my backpack at school. I continued this business all the way through high school during which time I also ran a window cleaning company.
After finishing medical school I was confident in my decision to become a physician but my interest in business never waned. I was able to complete the two-year full time MBA program at Rotman during my final year of residency and first year of independent practice. From there I have been able to parlay my management training into a series of roles in the business world.
Despite my experience and interest in business, I found the financial services industry a challenging space. Most financial advisors had only a basic understanding of what it’s like to be a physician and I wasn’t confident I was always getting the best advice. I also found it difficult to figure out how those advising me were being compensated. At the same time, because of my business background, colleagues would often ask me for advice on their own financial situation. I decided to take these experiences and turn them into a business. I improved my knowledge of personal finance, vetted accountants, lawyers, insurance and investment advisors that are now part of my referral network and started to take on clients.
TCS: What are the main factors that younger physicians need to consider when mapping out their financial futures? And perhaps what is the biggest thing that is missed through the physician’s career as it relates to investing and finances?
One of the advantages I have in working with physicians who are typically in the first 10 years of practice, is that I have had to navigate most of the financial issues they face.
Coming out of residency, most physicians have debt, many are in their early 30s with a family and dependents, and some are ready to buy a house. It can be difficult and overwhelming to figure out what to do first.
While each client’s situation is unique, there are several fundamentals I try to impart. First, create a budget and update the budget routinely. If you don’t know how much you spend, it’s very difficult to know how much you can save and invest. Second, establish goals. Some physicians aspire to retire, while others plan on working for as long as possible to support their children financially until they complete post-secondary education. One’s investment decisions and tax planning are contingent on their financial goals. Third, create the best team. When it comes to investing, there or some things you can do on your own, and other areas that require the advice of experienced specialists. Getting the right team that can grow with you as your financial situation evolves, is key.
TCS: What about away from the office/hospital, what do you like to do when not working?
Basketball is the main sport in my family. My wife and I played competitively all the way to university and continue to play today. I spent summers in Algonquin Park growing up, and going up north for a couple weeks at a cottage or a few days on a canoe trip, is my favourite type of vacation.
TCS: If you could give some advice to someone that is looking to invest in the condo market, perhaps a younger doctor, a younger version of yourself, what would be the top factors that they should be focused on?
Once physicians reach the stage where their debt is under control, their income is stable and they can forecast how much they save each year, it’s important to create a robust investing strategy. Most physicians focus on the the stock market first as the barriers to entry are low and it seems to be where everyone else puts their money. As I’ve matured as an investor I have diversified beyond the stock market into hedge funds, venture capital and real estate. In hindsight, I wish I had discovered the pre-construction condo market earlier. It’s a unique asset class for which TCS amplifies the benefits. TCS negotiates a favourable deposit structure allowing clients to put minimal money down, while the full value of the asset appreciates. For the young physician who wants to build wealth over a 20-30 year career, investing in pre-construction condominiums is a way to do it.