Financial Wellness for Physicians: Balancing Work and Wealth

When you’re in medical school, it’s easy to set your target of financial success at a certain salary. But once you start making that money, it becomes harder and harder to stay financially “well” without increasing your income.

At some point, this struggle to balance wealth with your lifestyle infringes on your well-being. Eventually, if you’re not careful, it can lead to burnout, a problem that affects many in the healthcare industry.

However, the good news is that reaching the coveted ideal balance between work and wealth is possible. If you’re just starting out in financial planning, finding professional advisors who understand doctors’ demands and needs will help you get a firm footing faster. This guide by OJM Group is a great place to start.

When you’re ready to take active steps toward balancing your work and finances, you must understand financial wellness. Here, we’ll explain this term and how you can use your skills to reach this optimal goal.

1. Breaking Down Financial Wellness

In the past, being financially successful meant having money, things, and savings. Today, we understand that there’s much more to wellness than these factors. 

Instead, financial wellness is defined as the ability to live within your means while managing your funds in such a way that you have peace. Whether this means eliminating debt, having savings in place, and/or understanding why you spend the way you do, it’s all part of this term.

When one aspect of your financial stability falls apart, the rest can crumble. For instance, if you must dip into your savings to pay for an unexpectedly uncovered health procedure, that cushion disappears. When you need to cover car expenses, you can’t dip into your savings, so you take on debt. Both of these economic issues cause you stress, harming your peace of mind.

But by having a plan for your economic wellness, you can protect yourself and your family from this domino effect of unexpected expenses.

2. The Dangers of Imbalanced Wealth and Work

Imagine the scenarios we discussed happened to you today. Would you be able to pay for an expensive health procedure that your insurance didn’t cover? And then, if your car’s transmission was messed up and you had to pay for it out of your pocket, could you handle the extra thousands of dollars that would take without too much of a financial setback?

If not, what would you do? Chances are, you’d take on more hours at work or add a side job to take care of these unexpected bills. This extra work would add more stress to your already overloaded physical and mental self, ultimately leading down the path to physician burnout.

Your job is high-stress on a regular day. When you add in extended hours and more patient care, as well as the paperwork and other administrative requirements, it’s a recipe for rushing, exhaustion, and, inevitably, costly mistakes.

3. Balancing Wealth and Work With a Plan

But what if you had invested in supplemental health and insurance plans that would pay for those expenses or reimburse you for your out-of-pocket costs? Or if you had other passive investments that you could dip into without impacting your cash assets?

These solutions are a part of your overall financial wellness plan, which should include the following five integral pieces:

  • Create realistic goals and a plan to achieve each one using a well-designed budget that includes your income, expenses, and savings.
  • Bring your plan to a trusted financial advisor to tweak and collaborate with. These experienced individuals understand the goals and challenges of physicians and can advise you on the best way to reach your target of financial wellness.
  • Add to your retirement fund now. Even if you’re still paying back your student loans and dealing with credit card debt, the sooner you can start investing in your retirement, the faster you’ll reap the benefits of compound interest.
  • Diversify your portfolio through multiple asset classes. This strategy ensures that you’ll still have long-term stable investments when the markets are volatile.
  • Protect your financial wellness assets with insurance. From health to disability, malpractice to death, there’s an insurance policy for that. Ensure you have coverage for everything important or costly, and check the fine print to watch for exclusions.

If any of this seems out of your comfort zone, your financial advisor can help. They know the needs of your specialty and can set you on the path to strong financial health, which will help you focus on better balancing your personal life.

Conclusion

The coveted work and wealth balance is essential to your life as you try to match your lifestyle with your income. From there, creating a life you enjoy outside of your job becomes easier, and you’ll get to prioritize what you want to do instead of what you have to do.

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