Client Story: Dr Chris Harry

Posted on 27/8/2021

Client Stories

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As medical students embark on their journey from university to salaried employment, and eventually private practice, their taxation and personal financial circumstances become vastly more complex. Throughout medical school, students are given only limited education in money management, which can leave them uncertain as to how they progress to the next phase of their career and unaware of the financial considerations that accompany each phase. For Dr Chris Harry (class of 2013), his long-standing relationship with Perks has provided him with the essential accounting support he needed and will be critical as he plans for the next step in his career.
Financial education for medical professional

The journey from medical student to doctor

Since 2005, Perks has worked with the Adelaide Medical Students’ Society (AMSS ) to offer financial mentorship and complementary tax returns for medical students studying at the University of Adelaide. Throughout their time at medical school, Perks are on-hand to support AMSS events and members, notably through the offer free tax returns and advice for medical students. In their sixth year and final year of their degree, Perks also provide a turnkey lecture on financial literacy – covering off the key considerations students will expect to encounter on their journey to becoming doctors and specialists. It’s a hands-on form of mentorship that sees a large percentage of students establish strong rapport with the Perks advisers they meet as students, which continues on after graduation.

As a time-poor medical student looking for advice on how to get the most out of a tax return and better manage his money, Chris turned to the help of Perks in 2014 after being introduced to the firm through the AMSS partnership. Since that time, Chris has completed medical school, moved into salaried employment and is now in his final 12 months of specialist training. Right throughout this journey, Perks has been by his side, and he has taken advantage of a suite of in-house services, including annual tax returns, income protection, life insurance and even organising finance for the purchase of his first home.

“As medical students and junior doctors, our financial affairs might start out pretty simple, but they quickly become more complex as you need to start thinking about things such as insurance and major personal financial decisions like buying a home,” Chris said.

“I’ve heard stories of other medical students who undertook internships, residencies and become registrars and didn’t have advice throughout their journey and ended up deep in debt.”

For Perks Business Advisory Director, Sam Wagner, it’s a problem that stems from a lack of financial education in school and one that Perks aims to work with students to address.

“I take an attitude of education and mentorship as I approach these students,” Sam said.

“They go their whole way through medical school, and they’re not taught a thing about money. By the time they go through their advanced training, still with no formal education, they can be left unsure of what happens at the next stage of their career.”

Financial literacy in practice

Thankfully for Chris, Sam and the team at Perks were there to guide him through each stage of his professional and financial journey.

“Having this kind of advice early in my career was so important to ensuring a financially stable position for myself as I moved through the steps of medical school,” Chris said.

“The benefit of working with Perks is that they have such a wide range of financial services in-house and they know my individual circumstances. This means we have been able to be very strategic at every stage of my career and personal life, which has really set me up well.”

Chris is now planning for the next phase of his career as he completes his training and moves from salaried employment to consultancy work and is being guided through the financial complexities by Sam and the Perks team.

“The further you get towards finishing your formal training it becomes an entirely different ball game. I’ve had conversations with the team at Perks about Medicare billings and how the mix of public and private practice can make your financial structure much more complex,” Chris said.

“Perks are knowledgeable on the entire pathway that a doctor takes, and what changes at each step. It’s useful because it certainly isn’t written down anywhere. You’ve got to try find it on your own.

“I recently had a conversation with Sam about the tax implications of private practice. He explained to me the concept of the ‘tax holiday’ where you can earn money for two-three years before you must pay tax, but once you start paying you have catch-up and can pay three years’ worth in 12 months. You don’t think about those little things and that conversation will be critical so that I can plan for that accumulated tax bill, which will come in a few years’ time.”

Upon completion of his specialist training, Chris also plans to spend a year overseas undertaking a fellowship. He said the guidance of Perks has been important in planning for this period and the financial implications it will bring.

“Sam and I have spoken about what it will mean working and earning overseas for 12 months and how to best manage that,” he said.

“Because of Perks’ integrated service model, Sam’s been able to loop the banking and finance team in on that conversation, which is important because I will be paid differently over there, and this will impact my earning capacity to potentially secure another home loan.”

“Most importantly, I know that I can go overseas with my family and be financially stable; it’s one less thing to worry about.”

In Chris’ opinion, the best thing a medical student can do is start the financial conversations as early as possible.

“Perks knows and understands every step of becoming a doctor; they’ve experienced it with many people before me. They’re experts in their field and have an institutional knowledge of the financial pathway for a doctor going through training and working,” he said.

“I’m confident that I’ve made all of the right financial decisions that I can – I’m well set up for the future.”

Speak to one of our Medical Directors.

Andrew Craig

Andrew Craig

Andrew specialises in tax planning advice and wealth creation strategies for medical practitioners, specialists and other health sector professionals.

Sam Wagner

Sam Wagner

Sam has assisted many pharmacy and medical clients in the key areas of tax compliance, business valuations and restructures, business transactions and transitioning their financial affairs to the cloud.

Brian Nimmo

Brian Nimmo

Brian specialises in providing high level taxation advice. Tax consulting across corporate tax, capital gains tax and international tax, to ATO product and class rulings for managed investment schemes.

Eddie Bell

Eddie Bell

Eddie provides tailored advice to clients on their personal and business risk insurance needs. His client’s unique situation is at the forefront of every risk protection strategy he puts forward.

Bruce Debenham

Bruce Debenham

Bruce provides clients with tailored banking and finance solutions to best meet their business and personal requirements.

Samantha Harrison

Samantha Harrison

Samantha’s unique expertise in Chartered Accounting and Financial Planning allow her to take a holistic approach to helping people plan their financial futures and wealth creation accordingly.

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