Financial Tips for Medical Professionals at Every Step of Their Practice
There is a rising global demand for medical professionals, with Project Hope outlining how the world is already 7.2 million health professionals short. This has put an extra strain on medical professionals in recent years, as they have had to juggle multiple shifts with an increasing number of patients. While there has been a lot of concern over patient health in recent years, not enough focus has been put on medical professionals. In this article we will cover how medical professionals need to focus on their financial health just as much as their physical and mental health.
Financial issues will factor into every stage of your journey as a medical professional. Medical education is very expensive and student loans can haunt your career if you’re not careful. To help you make the right financial decisions throughout your career, here are a few pointers that may help:
Mind your student loans
A BSN program can cost you up to $100,000, excluding lab and technology fees, scrubs, and immunizations. Meanwhile, The Balance outlines how the cost of medical school usually ranges from $150,224 to $248,920. It can be hard to pay this kind of money out of pocket, so you will likely opt to get a student loan. Most medical students will take out a federal loan, which will cover the cost of their education. Some students can also opt for school-based scholarships through the Health Resources and Services Administration, which will help cover some of the costs. Make sure you research which loan is best for you so you don’t end up borrowing more than you need.
At the beginning of your education and career avoid splurging. Save whatever you can so the loans don’t end up making a big dent in your future. It is best to live as frugally as you reasonably can. If you need help you can use a finance app to help with budgeting and other financial needs. Many apps use AI to give financial recommendations based on your data. This will help guide you to financial stability through effective budgeting.
Start a savings account
One of your main goals should be to manage your debt as best you can while also trying to increase your savings. You’ll finally be getting your first paychecks – new RNs can make up to $75,330 a year, while an entry-level annual salary for a doctor is $149,646. While you are still at the early stage of your career it is best to funnel as much money into a savings account with a high interest rate as you can. While you might be tempted to treat yourself often or change your lifestyle, remember you still have a student loan to pay as well as other expenses. Once you get behind it can be hard to come back. According to the New York Times, the US is experiencing a debt crisis with young medical professionals because many doctors are not able to afford their student debt despite getting a job. This is why it is crucial to start saving as early as possible.
Get healthcare/disability insurance
Having healthcare/disability insurance is important in a medical professional’s financial plan. Disability insurance protects your income in the event that you won’t be able to work because of a disability or sickness. If you’re an orthopedic surgeon who can no longer operate, you’ll still be able to see patients and receive benefits to make up for the revenue loss due to not being able to do surgery.
A healthcare plan isn’t just for when untoward things happen either. They can be used for preventive care and health maintenance. Case in point, Medicare Houston shows how some packages include dental, fitness, and medication coverage. You can maximize your plan by establishing a health program to keep you in shape, and with clean teeth, saving you money in the process. Meanwhile, Medicare Oklahoma offers mental healthcare, vision coverage, adult day-care programs. As a medical professional, you’ll constantly be in an environment where you can catch a sickness from patients. Healthcare insurance gives you financial stability in the event that you do catch something.
Mid-career and beyond
Establish a retirement plan
At this point, you’ve hopefully already paid your dues and are financially stable. Once you are, it’s time to start thinking of a retirement plan. Continue to save money by putting it in a retirement savings plan or savings account. Another option is to enroll in your employer’s tax-advantaged retirement plan, which essentially lets you save a portion of your salary with the employer matching those contributions up to a certain percentage.
Another option is to take up additional work to increase income. You can consider teaching part-time or writing scientific columns in magazines. Our article on What Is Telemedicine showed how telemedicine is a good selling point as well, as it’s convenient for both you and the patients. This will allow you practice from home, giving you extra income after you leave the hospital.
Financial planning is never easy, especially if you're only starting. However, remember that you'll eventually start reaping the fruits of your labor, and you'll start thanking your younger self for taking your finances seriously.
Written by Anne Chelsea Holland