Financial Tips for Newly Married Medical Couples

September 16, 2008
Physician's Money Digest, February28 2003, Volume 10, Issue 4

We've all been there. Medical marriages offer a unique set of financial circumstancesfrom the start. Often the MDs in training exceed others in their age set (eg,accountants, lawyers, teachers, etc), delaying the onset of that first "real" paycheck.And, unfortunately, debt has a way of attacking from all fronts.

• Medical school debt can be a staggering reality for a new couple. It's virtuallyimpossible to find a new graduate without a student loan of some kind.

• Interviewing for residencies can be costly. And, once matched, relocatingto the new program can add considerable cost. In addition, some specialists goon to a fellowship, which may involve yet another relocation.

• Once successfully completing residency, fees must be paid for all the appropriateboard testing and, again, traveling to interviews for permanent positions.

• Often, especially in the case of primary-care doctors,a practice must be opened solo or a position mustbe purchased within an established partnership.

• On top of this, the advent of children means anadditional strain financially. Oh, and did we mention areal home would be nice?

On the Upside

As they say, what goes down must go up. And in thiscase, there are many advantages to being a doctor. Adoctor's salary usually plays "catch-up" fairly quickly. Soeven though they may have to wait longer than otherprofessionals to start earning decent money, once doctorsstart earning, it's not too long before they're caughtup. In addition, lenders look favorably on the stabilityand security of the medical profession.

Being a doctor, of course, has other perks. Once established, a doctor can opt fora day off mid-week (a well-deserved break in the routine). And if adventure calls,continuing medical education courses offer an affordable way to vacation in ratherexotic locations, which usually provide discounted prices for hotel rooms. But asidefrom a healthy income, respect from banks, flexible schedules, and far-off adventures,nothing can substitute for the realization that a doctor can truly make a differencein a person's life. And how many other professionals can say that?