Licensed attorneys are capable of commanding highly respectable salaries and high fees from clients, but they also have some pretty major financial priorities that are exclusive to their industries. From advertising costs to expensive suits, legal professionals have to consider finances every step of the way. Here are the top three financial priorities that all lawyers should ideally have under control.
1. Growing Savings and Retirement Accounts
Lawyers can have their retirement accounts established through their employer, if they work for the government or in a private practice. Solo attorneys can also setup IRAs and retirement plans, but the amount that you put into savings is dependent on many mitigating factors. Criminal defense attorneys like those at Edelson Law often have higher marketing expenses, as they have to remain visible. In any case, a very big financial priority for every attorney is savings and retirement. You never know when there will be a slow period, or even a change in the law that will impact your future earnings. Saving for retirement and for a rainy day now can help you to weather future financial storms.
2. Obtaining the Best Rate on a Mortgage
Becoming a property owner can be of great benefit to lawyers, for several reasons. Attorneys who purchase residential property have more stability, as well as an asset that will probably appreciate in value. Purchasing commercial or mixed usage real estate can help attorneys by eliminating the need for them to pay monthly rental fees for their office space. Some mortgage programs specifically geared towards legal professionals are available at lower than traditional interest rates. This top financial priority for lawyers is simple to execute if you have decent credit and a down payment. Lawyers can potentially use their business credit to purchase commercial property if they are solo practitioners, or operate their own private practices.
3. Eliminating All Student Loan Debt
In addition to paying for their undergraduate education, attorneys have to contend with paying for law school. Law is one of several areas of study where people can expect to graduate with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, particularly if they go to a top 10 school. Legal experts have the option of refinancing their student loans if they find that the interest rate they are paying to be too high. Paying down student loans is easier if you make more than the minimum monthly payments. Ultimately, the goal of every attorney should be to eliminate their student loan debts quickly.
Some of the costs associated with maintaining a professional image and preparing for the future can be steep for legal professionals. Ideally, lawyers will begin to tackle their student loans and build their savings immediately upon graduation, but it is really never too late to get started. These costs are very manageable, if all financial priorities are taken care of. Attorneys who have their financial priorities straight are able to build up their law firms, increase their fees and hourly rates, and reach the pinnacle of their careers.