Early Career Physicians

Financial Headaches for Medical Professionals

The money decisions that resident physicians make now will influence the rest of their life. Making the right financial decision can be the difference between increasing or decreasing their net worth by hundreds of thousands of dollars.


5 Financial Tips for Early Career Medical Professionals

Student Loans

The majority of medical professionals graduate with significant student loan debt. Student loan repayment options including loan forgiveness have become complex these days. There are multiple repayment strategies and confusing requirements for loan forgiveness. 

Keith worked for nearly six years counseling thousands of student loan borrowers on matters like income-driven repayment, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and Default Collections. Getting a professional consultation on your student loans so that you are certain that you are handling them in the best way is a great idea. 

If you plan to work at a non-profit medical center for 10 years, then Public Service Loan Forgiveness may be a great option for you. When your income is still relatively low is the best time to make sure that you’re on track for forgiveness. Working with a professional advisor who understands this program as well as ways to reduce your income to qualify for the lowest monthly payment may be the difference between achieving forgiveness or not have any forgiveness. 

Do not speak with a third party consolidation or document preparation company. These companies are only interested in enrolling you in a program and have little incentive to understand which repayment program is in your best interest. 


Budgeting may seem like a poor use of your time when in residency. Many assume that watching their spending habits at this point is unnecessary. But rest assured watching your spending habits will only help you become more successful in the future. If you’re in residency this is not the time to consider major decisions like buying a home. Use this time in your career to keep expenses low and build your emergency fund.

 A great budget isn’t as hard as it seems. It consists of only two things, income, and expenses. But a budget is only useful if you track your expenses. Otherwise, your budget is only as valuable as the paper it is printed on. Many useful tracking apps are free. 


If there is one area where I don’t recommend that you don’t skimp, it’s insurance. There are a couple of different types of life insurance policies. Most residents ought to consider starting with term life insurance. The premium should remain level for up to 20 years.  Any valuable disability insurance policy will allow you to purchase additional coverage when your income grows and also have a residual benefit rider that will pay a benefit if you’re only partially disabled. Some policies may have a student loan rider which will pay your monthly payment if you become disabled.

Make sure that you work with an independent financial advisor to price your life and disability insurance. Some of the better insurance companies in the Disability Income space include Ohio National, MassMutual, Principal, and the Standard. 

Investing As a Resident

Investing now is a great time to take advantage of compound interest. If you were to invest $25,000 and receive an annual return of 8%, it would only take 9 years before it would grow to $50,000. If you allowed that money to grow for 30 years it would be valued at approximately $251,566.42.

This is a great time to get an education on the differences between a Traditional vs Roth IRA, 401k, 403b, and taxable investment accounts. 

You Have a Lot to Consider

As a medical resident, you have a lot on your plate. Your patients depend on you.

Keith Conley, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is a specialist at helping busy professionals like you navigate through your financial decisions. He has counseled thousands of student loan borrowers and clients to work through their complicated financial situation. 

Contact Keith now to get clarity on your finances.