Life After Residency: Essential Financial Planning For Physicians

By Wesley Sebacher, CFP®

Completing residency is a significant milestone for physicians. After years of hard work and dedication, you’re finally ready to embark on your medical career. However, as you transition from a resident to a practicing physician, it’s crucial to pay attention to your financial well-being. Proper financial planning can help you make the most of your newfound income and set the stage for a secure and prosperous future. Here, we will outline essential financial planning tips for physicians completing residency.

Contract Review

Employment contract review for a physician after completing residency offers several important benefits. These benefits include understanding the terms of the contract, protection of interests, negotiation power, avoiding legal pitfalls, financial security, providing clarity and peace of mind. Consulting with a contact review specialist is recommended to ensure a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of the employment contract.

Create a Budget

The next step towards achieving financial stability is creating a comprehensive budget. Evaluate your monthly income and expenses, including student loan repayments, housing costs, utilities, insurance premiums, transportation, and personal expenses. Setting a budget will allow you to track your spending, identify areas where you can cut back, and allocate funds towards savings and investments.

Prioritize Debt Repayment

Many physicians accumulate substantial student loan debt during their education and training. Prioritize repaying your loans to alleviate the burden and reduce interest costs over time. Explore repayment options such as loan forgiveness programs, income-driven repayment plans, or refinancing to secure lower interest rates. Avoid accumulating unnecessary debt, such as credit card debt, and focus on clearing existing obligations.

Emergency Fund

Build an emergency fund that covers at least three to six months of living expenses. This fund will act as a safety net during unexpected situations, such as medical emergencies, unexpected unemployment, or unforeseen expenses. Set up an automatic monthly transfer to a separate savings account to gradually grow your emergency fund.

Retirement Planning

Start saving for retirement as early as possible. Physicians have the advantage of high earning potential, but it’s crucial to take advantage of time and compounding interest. Maximize contributions to retirement accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs, or other employer-sponsored plans. Additional contributions to a taxable investment account can be made for any savings over and above your available retirement accounts.

Risk Management

As a physician, you understand the importance of insurance. Ensure you have adequate coverage for health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, and malpractice insurance. Understand the terms and conditions of your policies, review them periodically, and update coverage as needed. Taking steps to protect your financial well-being from unforeseen events is crucial.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is often overlooked, but it’s essential to protect your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out. Create a will, establish healthcare directives, and consider setting up a trust to manage your assets. Consult with an estate planning attorney to guide you through the process and ensure your estate plan reflects your goals and protects your loved ones.

Seek Professional Guidance

Managing finances can be complex, especially with the demands of a medical career. Consider engaging a qualified financial advisor who specializes in working with physicians. They can provide personalized advice, help you develop a comprehensive financial plan, and assist in navigating investment options, tax planning, and risk management strategies.

Work-Life Balance

While not directly related to financial planning, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical for your overall well-being. Avoid burnout and make time for self-care, hobbies, and spending quality time with loved ones. Remember that financial success is not solely about accumulating wealth but also about enjoying a fulfilling life.


As a physician, achieving financial stability and securing your future requires careful planning and diligent execution. By following these financial planning tips after completing residency, you can set a strong foundation for a prosperous and fulfilling career. With sound financial practices, you can make the most of your hard-earned income and achieve long-term financial success.

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©2023 Advisory services offered by Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC, (“MGIA”) an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). MGIA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Moneta Group, LLC. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, is not intended to be comprehensive or exclusive, and is based on materials deemed reliable, but the accuracy of which has not been verified. Examples contained herein are for illustrative purposes only based on generic assumptions. Given the dynamic nature of the subject matter and the environment in which this communication was written, the information contained herein is subject to change. This is not an offer to sell or buy securities, nor does it represent any specific recommendation. You should consult with an appropriately credentialed professional before making any financial, investment, tax or legal decision. An index is an unmanaged portfolio of specified securities and does not reflect any initial or ongoing expenses nor can it be invested in directly. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. All investments are subject to a risk of loss. Diversification and strategic asset allocation do not assure profit or protect against loss in declining markets. These materials do not take into consideration your personal circumstances, financial or otherwise. 

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