BUSTED BASEBALL CAREER LED JIM YURMAN TO A LIFETIME OF HELPING OTHERS AVOID BAD BREAKS
Heads firm advising doctors on how to avoid headaches and build wealth.
When the young doctor gave Jim Yurman the devastating diagnosis that his sports injury would end his minor league baseball career, it forever dashed his hopes of playing in the majors. At that moment, Yurman felt the sudden sense of despair that overtakes those who fail to anticipate, and prepare for, life’s sudden downturns.
“I had only a single goal, with no thought whatsoever of contingencies should I ever lose control of the circumstances and direction of my life,” said Yurman. That unexpected experience imbued him with the guiding principles that have since enabled him to enjoy a successful career by helping hundreds of other professionals realize their own dreams.
Ironically, while Jim’s first serious encounter with the medical profession was associated with the end of his dream of becoming a professional baseball player, he would later head a business consulting firm concentrated entirely on providing physicians across the United States with comprehensive planning services.
The company’s niche, in effect, is providing doctors contingency planning services that enable them to pursue their medical careers with complete assurance that potential pitfalls and land mines have been professionally smoothed over.
The Specialist’s Specialist
Jim’s early, aborted baseball experiences are the philosophical foundation upon which he built his business practice. Since 1962, his firm has been building the enviable reputation as a doctor’s agent. In fact, James D. Yurman & Associates, Inc. was called “The Specialist’s Specialist” by Medical Economics in 2004.
“I have tremendous empathy for those goal-driven individuals, like young interns, residents and fellows, who are embarking on new careers totally focused on achieving success,” says Jim. “But, as importantly, I also have the sharpened instincts to help them anticipate, and plan for, the pitfalls and setbacks that could derail their hopes and ambitions” said Jim, president of Cleveland, Ohio-based James D. Yurman & Associates, Inc.
For example, after perhaps 20 years of study, preparation and training in science and medicine, many physicians are ill-prepared for the next major challenge in their lives: financial planning.
The range of issues, from the initial employment contracts all the way through wealth accumulation and estate planning, require time consuming analysis and experienced conclusions that the physician is ill-equipped to make, without professional advice, Yurman explained.
“If you think of baseball as a metaphor, playing ball equates to your skills and talents to perform. However, your ultimate success is often contingent upon influencing the draft selection process, negotiating player contracts, product endorsements and fee agency, i.e. the business of baseball,” Jim explains. “That’s why behind the most successful ball players you’ll find the most expert agents representing the players’ best interests.”
Total Career Lifecycle Planning
“Physicians have their own, unique personal and professional circumstances and issues to deal with in building a successful career,’ declares Jim.”This lifecycle journey begins with the arduous requirements of medical school, internship and residency, and continues through the wealth accumulation phase, estate planning and ultimately, asset transfer at death.
Consider that the young physician typically begins this journey financially impoverished. With accumulated debts easily approaching $200,000, the urge to sign the first employment contract offered is overwhelming.
However, in the haste to get the revenue stream ramped up quickly, a hurriedly signed contract could result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the contract. At this critical juncture in a young physician’s career, the advice of an experienced employment contract specialist could save doctors enormous headaches, as well as lost revenue opportunities.
For example, once successfully launched on his medical career, the young physician confronts myriad issues relating to complex decisions, such as how to fund the children’s education’s; how to accumulate funds for retirement; and, the appropriate estate planning steps to be taken. Consulting with professional advisors, like Jim Yurman & Associates, Inc. could help the doctor determine the most appropriate actions to be taken to protect his unique situation.
“We take a holistic approach to our relationship with our clients,” Jim asserts. “This means that we establish a personal relationship that will carry forward throughout the person’s lifetime. We provide customized solutions for each client. This comprehensive approach leads to the best decisions, based upon circumstances and needs of the individual and his family.”
Everyone is familiar with the stories about how doctors are lousy investors. According to “Why You’re Not as Wealthy as You Should Be,” written by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD and published in Medical Economics on July 20, 1992, the stories have proved statistically accurate. In fact, in a survey of high earning occupations, doctors rank dead last as accumulators of wealth. College professors and corporate middle managers outranked doctors, while earning far less, on average.
The reason: accumulation of wealth requires careful attention to money in, and money out. Doctors have the money, but not the time. Without professional advice, this is another area where the physician can seriously hamper achieving maximum results, counsels Jim.
At the height of his career, Jim is still eager and enthusiastic about meeting the challenges of the diverse needs of the firm’s doctor-clients across the United States. Keeping abreast of changes in medical health plans, government regulations, benefits and insurance programs, and tax laws requires constant revision of strategies and recommendations.
Specialization Is A Competitive Advantage
“One of our strengths is the ability to anticipate changes, revise strategies, and adapt new recommendations for each client based upon their individual needs,” Jim states. “We can do this because our staff includes experts in contract law, disability insurance, pension and retirement strategies and estate planning. We do not prescribe cookie cutter solutions to our clients’ needs. Every client relationship requires its own unique program.”
“I guess you could say we are like doctors, in that sense, observes Jim.”We diagnose each case, and prescribe the most appropriate remedy for that particular client.”
Jim’s bedside manner has also earned him and his firm a reputation that serves as a point of differentiation. Their service is friendly, as in the kind of advice you would expect from a friend. Getting personal could be the firm’s competitive advantage, but Jim would probably call that a contrived description. Quick to flash a smile, and even quicker with slapstick jokes, Jim is genuinely affable and friendly.
Wealth has come to him over time, practicing in his own life the sound counsel his firm administers to its coast-to-coast client base.
“Life is crazy, isn’t it? Chortles Jim, rhetorically. “Who’d have figured that old baseball injury would send me down a lifetime path of working with doctors?”
But then, that’s the whole point. One can’t figure, so it’s best to be prepared. Boy scouts motto, of course, but also a formula for success in business, or in life. Ask Jim Yurman, the young man once caught without a contingency plan.
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LARRY J. RYBKA, JD, CFP®
Larry J. Rybka is the Chairman and CEO for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. Mr. Rybka’s 30+ year tenure at Valmark has been marked by working with independent Investment Advisors to create innovative solutions to better serve clients. He proactively anticipates difficult regulatory challenges which impact how those services are delivered. His thoughts on industry change have resulted in him being invited to address every major industry meeting from main platform, including Forum 400, MDRT, Top of the Table, and AALU. His industry advocacy is also evidenced by testimony before legislative bodies and lobbying on behalf of advisors with FINRA, SEC, and several state Insurance Commissioners. Mr. Rybka is also a noted speaker and author with published articles in numerous industry journals. Two of his articles were recognized with industry awards, including The Journal of the American Society of CLU & ChFC® Author Award and the CFP® Board Article Award. He earned a BSBA in Finance from The University of Akron, where he was a University Scholar, and his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University. Along with Series 6, 24, 63 and 65 registrations, Mr. Rybka is a Registered Principal with FINRA, a member of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU) and a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional.
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Caleb J. Callahan is the President and Chief Operating Officer for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. He is responsible for the overall business operations of the company including sales, marketing, operations and business development of the firm’s broad offering of insurance and investment products and services. Mr. Callahan is also Chairman of Valmark’s Global Gift Fund™, which makes charitable contributions to non-profit organizations and ministries around the world. He is a frequent presenter at industry meetings such as the American Bar Association (ABA), the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). He has also provided expert testimony to the United States Congress, Department of Labor (DOL) and National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Mr. Callahan holds BSBA in Finance and a Minor in Economics from the University of Akron, where he was Valedictorian and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Along with Series 7, 24 and 66 registrations and Life, Health and Variable Annuity Licenses, Mr. Callahan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a member of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU).
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JUDSON FORNER, CFP®, CRPC®
Judson Forner is the Vice President of Investment Operations for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. In his role, he leads the teams directly responsible for processing all investment-related business submitted through Valmark. This includes the handling of paperwork and electronic submissions, principal review and vendor services. In addition, he oversees the trading and RIA teams, manages relations with Valmark’s three custodial platforms and participates on the Product, DOL and Star Ranking™ committees. Mr. Forner has presented on topics such as Money Management, Financial Planning and Annuities at Valmark Member Summit and Member Staff Summit conferences, as well as higher education institutions, such as Ursuline College and The Ohio State University. He has also been quoted in industry publications, including Barron’s, Bloomberg, CNBC, Financial Advisor Magazine, and Investment News. In addition to his Series 6, 7, 24, 53 and 66 registrations and his Ohio Life, Health and Variable licenses, Mr. Forner earned a BSBA in Finance from The Ohio State University. He is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ (CRPC®).
JAMIE SUMMERVILLE, MBA
In her role as Vice President of Communications for our partner, Valmark Financial Group, Jamie Summerville is responsible for cross-department development, collaboration and positioning of insurance and investment marketing initiatives. She assists with branding and marketing strategies as well as the creation of marketing collateral. Additional responsibilities include the design and implementation of technology-based marketing solutions, including Valmark Connect and Valmark’s external website. Mrs. Summerville also serves as project lead for ensuring the vision and integrity of Valmark’s brand. She earned an MBA in Strategic Marketing, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and a BSBA in International Business, graduating Summa Cum Laude, both from The University of Akron.
In his role as an Associate Analyst on Insurance Marketing team for our partner, Valmark Financial Group, Jared Hoffman assists with life insurance case design, research and education to find the best life insurance product for our clients and their families. His main area of focus is Long-Term Care coverage, assisting advisors in preparing LTC illustrations, modules and related educational materials. He also supports senior members of the insurance planning team in their initiatives. Mr. Hoffman holds a BSBA in Finance from The Ohio State University, the Series 7 registration and Ohio Life and Health licenses.