New Intern Financial Checklist: 5 Things You Should Do

As you embark on intern year, it's vital to prioritize your financial well-being alongside your medical career. By taking proactive steps to address key financial tasks from the start, you can establish a solid foundation for long-term financial success. To that end, let's explore five essential tasks that should be cared for as soon as you can.

1. Maximize Your Employee Benefits
Your employee benefits package goes beyond mundane paperwork. It holds the key to valuable benefits that can significantly impact your life. Take the time to understand and make informed decisions regarding health insurance options, group disability coverage, paid time off (PTO), and the employer match for a 403(b) plan (if applicable). Uncover the benefits that directly affect your financial well-being, and choose the options that are best for you.

2. Loan Management Strategies for Student Loans
As a physician, you may have substantial student loan debt. Develop a comprehensive plan for managing your loans effectively. Consider consolidating federal loans and selecting the most suitable Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan. Strategize ways to keep interest costs low and prioritize paying off private loans whenever possible. For your federal loans, choosing either PAYE or REPAYE (typically the best options) now will get on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) track. Since you may not know for sure where your career will take you after training, making this choice now allows you to earn qualifying payments (of the 120 required) during training. As you learn more about what you will do post-training, you can adapt your debt plan. Let me be clear though: paying off these loans while in training is not more important than taking care of your mental health and relationships. You will be able to pay them off after training. The point is to have a plan to act, even if you must delay action. By taking control of your loan situation, you'll alleviate financial stress and accelerate your path to financial freedom.

3. Making a Resident Budget
Crafting a well-designed budget is the foundation of financial success. Identify your fixed monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, insurance, and any other recurring costs. Calculate the average of your variable expenses, such as groceries, transportation, and professional development. Estimating your take-home pay, which is typically around 70% of your gross salary, allows you to determine your net savings/loss rate. This critical information empowers you to make informed decisions about emergency savings, debt repayment, and even well-deserved vacations.

4. Protect Your Future with Own Occupation Disability Insurance
Physicians face unique risks that necessitate proper protection. Assess the disability coverage provided by your employer, but also consider obtaining your own occupation disability insurance policy. Factor in your savings rate to make an informed decision. It's wise to secure coverage before your training period ends, as it ensures your financial stability in the event of a disability. Safeguard your income and future with a tailored own-occupation insurance policy that suits your needs.

5. Investing: Simplified and Strategized
Investing is a powerful wealth-building tool for physicians. If you have a 403(b) plan, select investment options that align with your risk tolerance. Consider target-date funds for their simplicity and automatic asset allocation. For your Roth IRA, passive index funds provide broad market exposure and long-term growth potential. Embrace the set-it-and-forget-it approach, allowing your investments the potential to grow steadily while you focus on your medical career. Compounding interest of investing can lay the groundwork for a financially secure future.

Your financial success is as important as your dedication to medicine. By following these steps, you can best secure your financial future while making a meaningful impact in the lives of your patients. Maximize your employee benefits, develop a strategic loan management plan, create a comprehensive resident budget, safeguard your income with disability insurance, and simplify your investing approach. By addressing these tasks early on, you'll build a solid foundation for a prosperous medical career and a financially rewarding life. Don't wait—start your journey towards financial empowerment today!

Financial snapshot

The Comprehensive Financial Plan

A quick look at what we can do when working together:

Urgent Matters

Addressing the most important areas in your life first

Retirement & Investing

Creating a plan for existing & future investment goals

Cash Flow

Getting a clear understanding of where your money's going

Debt & Savings

Paying off & saving for college and other life liabilities

Contract Review

Taking a closer look at your benefits and payscale

Insurance Analysis

Reviewing any policies & providing a path forward

For Medical students and physicians in training, we offer an In-Training Financial Strategy Session for $700, providing a 60-minute consultation with Ronnie to address your top financial concerns. The service includes a targeted review of your financial situation and a follow-up email with personalized advice and actionable steps.