Carolyn McClanahan

Carolyn McClanahan

Founder, Life Planning Partners

Many advisers pursue a different profession before entering the financial field. But Carolyn McClanahan, 53, founder and director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Fla., has an especially unusual background: She's also a medical doctor.

She had been a practicing physician for 10 years when, in 2000, dissatisfaction with the local financial services motivated her to enroll in certified financial planner classes. Before long, she realized she wanted to change careers, and established her firm in 2004.

Combining her expertise from these two different professions has been gratifying.

"There’s so much good I can do with my medical knowledge," she said, "especially with understanding aging issues and how to deal with them."

Over the years, Ms. McClanahan has provided education on aging to other financial advisers, many of whom have told her that the subject can feel overwhelming. As a result, she decided to develop an assessment tool for working with clients on strategies as they get older.

To bring the tool to market, Ms. McClanahan co-founded a software company, Whealthcare Planning. Rolling out this year, the three-part tool generates a financial decision-making transition plan, a risk profile of behavioral traits that threaten a person’s ability to make sound financial decisions, and a report that combines health-care cost estimates with a plan for managing life transitions.

Remaining active as a physician, Ms. McClanahan volunteers twice a month at a local homeless center. Proactive regarding her own aging, she makes an effort to stay physically active: In fact, eight years ago, she began throwing the javelin, and now does it competitively.

"It's great being one of the older players," she joked. "There’s not much competition in my class."

– Deborah Nason

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