Preparing for Your Financial Future-Tim Ulbrich
HB: OK, so today, we have a special guest on the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast, Tim Ulbrich!
TU: Thank you, excited to be here.
HB: Yeah. Tim is a clinical professor of pharmacy and program director for the Master’s and Health System Pharmacy Administration at The Ohio State University.
TU: I’m still working at that “The.” They’re trying to train me on that. I haven’t gotten there yet.
HB: Yeah, yeah. Graduated from Ohio Northern University with his doctor of pharmacy and completed residency training in community ambulatory care at Ohio State. After paying off more than $200,000 in non-mortgage debt, Tim is working to empower pharmacists and pharmacy students to take control of their financial future. He is the co-founder and CEO of Your Financial Pharmacist, co-host of Your Financial Pharmacist podcast and co-author of “Seven Figure Pharmacist: How to maximize your income, eliminate debt and create wealth.” So Tim, welcome to the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast!
TU: Thank you. Excited to be here in Nashville. Such a great city, minus the rain and the weather. What’s going on? I tried to escape this from Ohio, and here we are. But it’s been great.
HB: At least it’s warm. But I don’t know, it might have been better if it was colder and could be snowing.
TU: Yes, yes. Thanks for having me.
HB: So yeah. Now that our listeners have heard a little bit about your background, maybe you can fill in any gaps from that intro and maybe share a little bit about your personal life.
TU: Yeah, absolutely. Excited to be here, have the opportunity. I appreciate the work that you’ve been doing. I enjoy following your work, so thank you. And yeah, I think my mission as it relates to Your Financial Pharmacist and what we’re trying to do is help pharmacists achieve financial freedom. That’s really our goal. That’s our goal, that’s our base, and that comes from, as you mentioned, a journey of paying off a lot of debt. And I like to joke that most of what we talk about is from pain and mistakes of what I’ve done personally and what the other two Tims have done. So we like to share that as a message of we’re here with you on this journey.
TU: And I think this topic of personal finance in pharmacy is more important than ever, as we see kind of what’s happening in the job market and other things that we’ve been preaching over and over again that you’ve really got to build a strong financial foundation. You’ve got to build a base, and I think as we see some stagnation in salaries, some people getting hours cut, these other things, you know, all the more reason to be shoring up your financial plan. And I think that’s something that we’re really passionate about. So in terms of me personally, my wife Jess, we have three boys. We have a fourth child on the way, so exciting times for us. And just really passionate about the time that we have together and really passionate about trying to teach my kids entrepreneurship.
HB: Awesome. So Tim, you and the YFP or Your Financial Pharmacist guys, includes two other Tims.
TU: Two other Tims. Yes.
HB: Easy to keep track of all of that. So another pharmacist, Tim Church.
TU: That’s right.
HB: Tim Baker, financial planner.
TU: Certified financial planner.
HB: OK. So of course, there is a really big need for help with this student loan debt. I think I saw some stat that it was over $1 trillion.
TU: Yeah, $1.4 trillion, I think or something.
HB: Which is amazing. And so there are people graduating, including many pharmacists, even though we’re high earners, but graduating from school with mountains of debt.
TU: That’s right. That’s right.
HB: So —
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HB: I think one of the things that you’re working on now is kind of helping to tell people about even though you’re just a high earner, it’s not just that one-sided equation.
TU: Yeah, I mean, the old equation, what we referred to, the old equation says good income = a good financial future. And really, it’s about being affluent with your balance sheet and being able to take your income and convert it into long-term savings. And we talk about net worth. Net worth is essentially your financial vitals checkage, your health. It’s to say, no matter what your income is, what are you actually converting into your worth and value over time? Because what I experienced, what I hear from many pharmacists is that I feel like I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck, despite making a six-figure income. And so if you’re making $120,000-150,000 or two pharmacists making $250,000, whatever, but that’s all going out the door, there’s no wealth building that’s happening. And this is fresh in mind for me. We just finished up at the YFP Book Club a study on “The Next Millionaire Next Door,” which is a follow-up to “The Millionaire Next Door,” written by Dr. Tom Stanley. And his daughter helped him on this follow-up book, which is really cool. And what they do in that book is they study all of the behaviors of those that achieved a net worth of $1 million or in some cases, $10 million or more, decamillionaires. And they really drive home this point about focusing not on income alone. Income is a tool, but looking at how you’re translating that income into long-term financial success. So that’s what I’m passionate about is helping pharmacists say, do you have a great income? Yes. But is your income alone going to allow you to achieve financial freedom? Absolutely not. There’s many cases of pharmacists that have a great income that have a negative net worth, and so we’re passionate about helping people take that income and translate that into long-term wealth and to be able to build their future.
HB: Yeah. No, that’s great. I think that you’ve got to have some of those goals and some — there’s just not a lot of teaching about budget and things like that.
TU: Yeah, we don’t talk about it, right?
HB: No. Yeah. Not a lot about that.
HB: So what are some of the most common financial stress points that you’re seeing among pharmacy professionals?
TU: Yeah. You know, it’s funny. When I do a talk like the one I’ll do here today with the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, one of the first questions I ask is, what’s your biggest financial stressor? And I always preface that by saying, let’s just throw student loans on the table. That’s a given, right?
TU: So No. 1 on the list is student loans. I think the most common thing I hear, though, is that I’m trying to balance all these competing financial priorities, and I’m overwhelmed with how to prioritize them. So I’ve got six figures of student loans, we have aspirations to buy a home, you’re telling me I need an emergency fund, you’re telling me and my parents are saying you’ve got to start your 401k and, you know, I should save for my kids’ college. You have all these competing priorities, and at the end of the day, how do you prioritize those? How do you begin to achieve the plan related to those? And that really, for us, gets to the point of setting goals, defining your why when it comes to your finances, and then working into the budgeting process where you build those goals into there. What we often do is we jump into the budget, we get stressed, we get frustrated, we get annoyed. You know, if you’re doing it with a significant other, it maybe goes south quickly, right?
TU: And what we really preach is that if you can start with your why, if you start with your dream, and you alone or you and a significant other get on the same page, you then back in to say, OK, if this is our big vision of what we agree on together, which is fun and exciting, right? Then we get in to say, OK, what are we going to do in the next year to make that a reality? Which then gets into what are we going to do next month to make that year a reality. And then all of a sudden, the budgeting process — I’m never going to say easy — but it becomes much more manageable along the way. So I think that competing priorities, to answer your question, a lot of new practitioners say, “I’ve got 10 things going on, and I just can’t figure out how to prioritize them.” And then obviously, the gorilla being the student loans sitting there as well.
HB: Yeah. No, I think that’s great. And you guys even did a webinar through APhA just this past week on —
TU: Love and money.
HB: Love and money.
HB: I think that’s so helpful.
TU: Yeah, it’s an important topic.
HB: Definitely. Well, Tim, how would you — so I think that probably some of that one-on-one coaching is great, which is one of the things that you guys are doing, more of a personalized approach.
HB: So how would you tell a pharmacist or students or anyone else how to evaluate or find a financial planner?
TU: I think that’s a great question, and we just this week, which is exciting news for us. We launched financial planning services as a part of Your Financial Pharmacist, which is at YFPPlanning.com. And we’ve been with Tim Baker and his services as a part of Script Financial, we’ve kind of finally all brought it under one brand and one umbrella, which is really exciting because of the customized approach to pharmacists and what we can do. I think this topic — and credit here to Tony Robbins, who wrote a great book called “Money: Master the Game.” And I read that book about four or five years ago. And in there, he has a great section on what to look for in a financial planner.
HB: Oh, OK.
TU: And he exposed the industry in a way that I never had any idea. And that, for me, was a light-bulb moment of, wow, I had no idea that the vast majority, about 95% or so by estimates, of financial planners legally are not obligated to act in the best interest of their clients.
TU: And as a pharmacist, you know, I just assumed like, you’re a pharmacist, you act in the best care of your patients. That’s just what people do, right? And so I heard that, and then I heard this concept of fee-only financial advising, fiduciary standards, and I was like, what is this? Like I had no idea. And simultaneously, while I was reading this book, I was out there just talking to financial planners, trying to understand the industry.
TU: And I sat down with about seven or eight of them. And most of them, I left their office, and I had no idea how they got paid. And that was like, OK, I get it. Big red flag. Lack of transparency, and historically, the way this industry has been built is most financial planners get paid based off of either the assets that they manage, so they take some percentage of the assets.
TU: Or based on the commission associated with the sale of a product. It could be an insurance product like life insurance, it could be an investment or something. And does that inherently mean if they’re getting paid in that way that they’re a bad planner? No. But you have to follow the dollars in terms of where the incentive goes for the advice that they’re giving, right?
TU: So fee-only, the concept of fee-only, which is only about 3-5% of financial planners, basically says that you are paying the financial planner for the advice that they’re giving, not for what they’re selling in terms of a product or a commission or a sale. So they can’t get any commissions on a life insurance or an investment product or anything like that. So when I heard that and I heard the idea of a fiduciary oath where you have to legally act in the best interests of the patient — or client, I’m used to saying patient as a pharmacist — it just, to me, made sense that why wouldn’t you work with a fee-only financial planner? So all of this is happening at the same time where I met Tim Baker, who has a financial planning firm that is fee-only, fiduciary, working with pharmacists. And that, for me, was the mission and vision to say, OK, this can all come together under that umbrella. And so that’s what we do, fee-only comprehensive financial planning. So whether it’s us or whether it’s somebody else, what somebody needs to be looking for, in our opinion, is fee-only, fiduciary responsibility, meaning they legally have to act in your best interest, they’re not getting paid based on the products and sales. And there’s several questions that you need to be asking about: investment philosophies, education credentials, because we’re in pharmacy. We have a PharmD and maybe a residency and board certification. In the financial planning world, there are umpteen credentials. And so the CFP is probably the most highly regarded, most difficult credential to get. But just because somebody’s a CFP doesn’t mean they’re a great financial planner. Right? No knock to pharmacists, but just because somebody’s a PharmD doesn’t mean you’re a great pharmacist, right? It’s an indicator, but it’s not an end-all, be-all. So that’s an important piece of it. But then also ensuring if they have other credentials, what is the rigor of that credential? And so we are advocating that people start with fee-only, fiduciary standard, certified financial planners but continue from there to ask questions about is this a good fit? But what a fee-only model allows somebody to do is if they’re not getting paid on assets or sale of an insurance product, they can comprehensively look at somebody’s financial plan. So it doesn’t matter if they’re working for somebody on debt, budgeting, insurance, retirement, estate planning, home buying, anything in between, they’re not incentive to get paid on one of those more than the other. Whereas if I sit down with a planner that they’re going to get 1% of the assets that I give them to manage, their incentive is to focus on the investment piece only. And the investment piece is one part of the financial plan, but it’s just that. It’s only part of the financial plan. So that comprehensive nature, for us, when we think about pharmacists, and back to my comment about them struggling with competing priorities, that model allows that planning to happen in a holistic way.
HB: Yeah, I love that. I think that money is also one of those like super emotional issues. And so being able to provide that personalized approach and to be able to — I think a lot of people need help, what are my priorities and, you know, like really like — a lot of times, people aren’t thinking about their goals. And if you don’t have your goals, then you’re not on the same page.
HB: And you don’t really have that drive and desire to, oh, I’m going to skip getting this extra thing at the gas station or whatever it is.
HB: Or that coffee every morning at Starbucks.
TU: And to that point, one of the things we talk a lot about with the budgeting process after we work through the goals is we talk through a zero-based budgeting process, which does exactly what you’re saying is it puts side-by-side your goals and your spending behaviors.
TU: It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend on things that you enjoy. Of course not. Like we all should be doing that. But it’s checking them against to say that, what’s the right balance so that if for my wife and I, we are diehard set on a goal that in 2019, we want to buy our first real estate property, which is what we’re working on. Does it mean that we’re never going to spend money on these other things that we enjoy? No. But it allows us to take a step back and say, alright, if we’re going to go out and spend $300 on this one thing that maybe we need or maybe we don’t need, is it more important than this goal getting achieved? Yes or no? And then we can make that decision.
HB: Yeah. OK, so YFP, now you’ve got — what’s kind of like the next like call to action? Or how do people find out about your services? And I know that you’ve got some webinars that you’ve been working with APhA. You’ve got a book. And then y’all are going to be APhA annual meeting. But how do people learn about you guys?
TU: Yeah, the easiest place to go is YourFinancialPharmacist.com. And credit here to Tim Church, he’s built out that website in a way that is unbelievable. There are so many free resources, guides, calculators, blogs, podcasts, the book. Everything you can find on that site as well as a link to get over to the planning services at YFPPlanning.com or people can go there directly at YFPPlanning.com. We’ve got a really active Facebook group.
HB: Facebook, yeah.
TU: So those that are interested in being in a community where you can ask questions, share your wins, have somebody encourage you, keep you accountable, that’s what that group’s about. And that has been so fun because when we started on this journey, it was very much of like somebody has a question, we answer their question. Now, by the time I see the question, like 10 other people have helped them.
HB: That’s awesome.
TU: Which, to me, is so rewarding to see that group coming together. So it’s fun.
HB: Yeah, I love that. Well, Tim, it’s been such a pleasure to have you as a guest on the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast.
TU: Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it.
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