Completing your residency is a monumental accomplishment for aspiring physicians. After years of education and training, you can finally embark on your career to improve lives. Putting your knowledge into practice is an exciting time.
However, throughout medical school, you have most likely accumulated debt. When starting out your career, you want to make informed decisions to have a solid foundation and set yourself up on a trajectory of financial wellness. There are many career moves you can make, but in order to choose the right ones, you will need to keep your finances at the forefront.
Consider the following five financial tips to help you not only start practicing medicine, but to also successfully practice for years to come and have a bright future ahead.
1. Refinance Your Student Loans
Medical school is expensive—the average physician will have acquired $215,900 in medical school debt. This is a hefty number and a considerable amount of debt to deal with when starting your career. In order to better manage your debt, you can consider refinancing your student loans to get a better interest rate. Refinancing your loans can be a good solution for those with unmanageable student loan debt.
2. Determine Where You Want to Start Your Career
Upon finishing your residency, you’ll have a lot of options. Will you seek opportunities in the hospital where you have received your training or would you like to work in rural communities helping underserved populations? Would you like to relocate or open a private practice?
There are many rewarding avenues and great places to practice medicine. Where you want to practice can greatly impact your finances, too. Consider the cost of living in the area you want to practice. Look at commute times, housing prices, utilities, food, and even recreation. You will want to be able to balance your living costs with your student loans and any capital you may need to invest into your practice. One way to help you plan a sensible budget can be utilizing a mortgage preapproval when it’s time to purchase your first home. This can help you determine which houses you can comfortably afford considering all your other expenses. Your house can also serve you well financially in the future. Rather than paying rent, investing in a primary home early on in your career is a great way to build equity down the line.
3. Consider a Contract Review
Once you have found where you would like to establish yourself as a physician and have been presented with a contract, it is critical that you review it in detail. Your contract will determine the ins-and-outs of your career guidelines and terms while employed and can even have lasting impacts after you decide to pursue another opportunity. Contracts are extensive and can cover complicated law jargon.
Certain components of your contract will affect your finances as well. Whether it be insurance, relocation expenses, and even continuing education costs, all these aspects can either cost or save you money over time. Therefore, you may want to consider having an attorney review your contract prior to signing off to ensure you’re receiving the benefits that have the most financial advantages.
4. Look Into Life Insurance
When starting your career as a young adult, you most likely are not thinking about the need for life insurance. However, life insurance can be very beneficial for financial planning. There are reasonable premiums you can pay for life insurance that could save your family money in the future when preparing for the unexpected. If something were to happen to you, your loved ones would be able to continue to be financially stable. Life insurance is a good option to consider to protect both your investments and your family.
5. Invest for the Future
When starting your career, you need to be forward-thinking with your finances from the get-go. It is never too early to consult a financial advisor in order to start crafting your financial plan. An advisor can help you find the best ways to allocate your funds to either 401Ks, IRAs, or stocks and bonds, for example. Tax planning is an important component of your long-term financial wellness. You can save money and spend less in taxes if you’re able to invest in your retirement accounts.
When starting out your career as a physician, there is a lot to consider. There are many important decisions that can impact your financial health down the road, so it’s essential to make the best choices and be proactive when starting out your career. Take time to look into your options to best position yourself financially and, ultimately, for retirement.