Graduating from residency and starting your career is a busy time, but it’s also a time when you’ll experience a large income jump, when your student loans will be due, and when you’ll start to feel the pressure of lifestyle inflation.
So, although you’re busy taking care of others, don’t forget to take care of you too. Below are some ways to do just that.
1. ESTABLISH A BUDGET
While the B word seems boring and somewhat daunting for many physicians, it doesn’t have to be. There are amazing online tools that can help you analyze your spending and get your finances in order.
2. AVOID LIFESTYLE INFLATION
Being aware of your spending can help you avoid lifestyle inflation too. A good rule of thumb is to ensure your spending doesn’t increase by more than 20% in the first 3-5 years after residency.
It is extremely common for new physicians to get caught up in the lifestyle creep, so don’t let it happen to you! As someone who is married to a physician, I know it’s hard living off of a resident salary; however, it’s important to keep some perspective.
3. DO SOME GOAL PLANNING
Doctors are about as goal oriented as it gets, but that doesn’t always apply when it comes to financial goals. So, spend some time thinking about your goals and major expenses coming up in the next 1, 3 and 5 years, and write them down.
4. START INVESTING ASAP
While I can’t give exact investment advice, I invest in passively managed exchange traded funds, also known as index funds. Don’t fall prey to active management and advisors trying to beat the market.
5. HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR LOANS
If you plan on trying to get forgiveness via the PSLF program, make sure you keep up with your public student loan forgiveness employment certification form. If you aren’t going for PSLF, closely evaluate your options and analyze if refinancing your student debt makes sense.
Ultimately, now that you’ve graduated from residency, you have so much potential when it comes not only to your career, but your finances too. Take the time to make a plan for your finances, track your spending, and set strong goals, and you’ll be surprised at just how much wealth you can build in a short amount of time.
To learn more about these tips, including the best programs I recommend for budgeting and more investment tips, please check out the full post on the Physician Wealth Services blog.