Doctor of Savings: Good Financial Tips For Medical Life
If you’re not far along on your journey as a doctor, then you’re probably pretty preoccupied with being the best medical profession that you can be. After all, you didn’t go through so many years of training just to lose focus once you finally made it as a doctor! However, while the first few months may be pretty whirlwind, once things begin to settle down it’s a good idea to take a look at your finances, which, with the debt you’re carrying and the rest, need to be looked at. Below, we offer some doctor specific financial tips that’ll keep your money in as good health as you keep your patients.
Avoid the Initial Temptation
You’ve spent many years with not too much money in your back pocket, and now you might suddenly have found that hey, you’ve finally got a monthly salary that made all of the years of training worth it. However, it’s important to stay careful, because your money can’t all be used to have fun – in fact, virtually none of it can be used for fun. Many new doctors make the mistake of buying a car, or renting an apartment that’s much better than they’ve been used to for the past few years; do your best to resist this temptation. Lifestyle inflation is a problem that needs to be avoided! If you don’t, you’ll only find yourself in an uncomfortable financial situation further on down the line.
Your success as a doctor will depend, in part, on your ability to get and remain organised. There are always places that you need to be, and as you’re likely to have different starting times, you’ll quickly find that your calendar is your best friend! This level of organisation also extends to your finances. When your life is so busy, it’s easy to lose track of your incomings and outgoings, but by setting a small amount of time each week (literally thirty minutes will do it), you’ll be able to get a grip on your financial landscape.
Live with Others
When we talked before about how many new doctors end up renting a big apartment because they think they can finally afford to, there was something we didn’t mention, and that is: what’s the point of having a large apartment when you’re a new doctor? You’re never there! You might be eager to have your own space, but it’s worth considering living with other people. You’ll pay a fraction of the money you’d spend if you had your own place, but you’ll have everything that you need for the time being: which is to say, simply a place to crash after a long day at the hospital. Save the money, and wait until you have the time to enjoy your own apartment before getting one.
Buy Second Hand
You might have finished all of your formal training, but you’re not through with your education. That’s going to go on forever. As such, there’ll be a long list of books that you’ll want to have on your bookshelf. But of course, these are expensive – so buy them second hand instead. There are also a lot of medical journals and magazines that you may wish to subscribe to. Combine all of these costs, and you’ll quickly have a big bill! Before buying, check to see if there’s any place – such as your hospital – where you can read them for free.
You’re going to need certain clothes when you become a doctor, specifically your scrubs and shoes. You can save money by group ordering scrubs with your colleagues from this company. With regard to your shoes, it’s about finding the balance between what’s affordable and comfortable; but remember, you may be better served by pushing the boat out to buy a high-quality pair of shoes rather than looking for a budget option. A $100 pair of shoes that’ll last four years is much better than a $20 that won’t make it through the week.
Asking for Gifts
There are several expensive items that you’ll need or want when you’re a new doctor, so why not make the most of your graduation and ask your loved ones to buy them for you? They’ll be looking for gift ideas anyway, so you may as well nudge them in the right direction. A stethoscope is a classic gift for a new doctor, but there’s also the coffee machine (a doctor needs coffee) and a high-quality coffee flask (seriously: a doctor needs coffee!).
First of all, it is a good idea to live within walking distance of your hospital, even if it’s marginally more expensive. The money you’ll save on transport – not to mention the time you’ll save – makes it a no-brainer. But if you’re unable to live close to the hospital, then you can see who else lives in your neighborhood, and organise group travel to and from work. It’ll require a bit of thinking because people will be starting at different times, but it’s much better than having to buy a vehicle.
Look at your Debt
You’re going to have a lot of debt attached to your name. Of course, this is manageable debt, so it’s nothing to worry about – but, you might want to see just how much interest your paying. It might be worthwhile skipping the other luxuries in life and focusing on paying off your debt. The sense of achievement you’ll feel once it’s out of life will be intoxicating, trust us.
Focus on your Work
Finally, remember the best financial action you can take is to focus on your work. If you put yourself in a strong position to excel in your medical career, then you’ll be on the fast track to becoming a high earner – and there are no financial issues that come from being in a higher wage bracket. As you’ve already shown through years of medical training, sometimes the very best investment you can make is in yourself – and that’ll continue to be true.