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The Top Financial Planning Challenges Of Physicians And Dentists

The Top Financial Planning Challenges Of Physicians And Dentists

| October 25, 2018

Physicians and dentists often face unique challenges, especially with finance. This can be attributed to the fact that doctors spend most of their young adult years in school and internships, during which time they can often accrue copious student debt.

By the time these students finish school, they’re tasked with the choice of either joining an existing practice and be paid a high-end salary or start their own practice. Much like other professionals looking to erase debt and begin their medical career, this debt and choice can be overwhelming for aspiring doctor and dentists. Here are three financial challenges faced by medical practitioners.

Getting A Late Start

The medical profession, unlike other professions, will require that one stays in school longer. This gives medical professionals only a short time frame for saving. For this reason, most people in the medical industry won’t begin saving until they’re in their late 20s or early 30s, and this limitation can have a negative impact on the success of retirement planning.

When asked in 2013, around 50% of physicians surveyed felt that they were behind when it came to retirement planning and saving, and only 6% felt that they were ahead of the curve.

As one would expect, medical professionals are known for being intelligent, educated individuals, but it’s not uncommon to feel incompetent or “out of the loop” when it comes to personal finance. The goal of Golden Capital Management is to provide superior financial planning based on our commitment to client service and professional judgment. As a physician or dentist, you can work toward financial independence sooner and with less potential risk.

Student Loans

According to the 2016 Report on U.S. Physicians’ Financial Preparedness, published by AMA Insurance, the average physician after medical school in the United States has between $150,000 to $200,000 in student loan debt. While most physicians and dentists can pay off this debt quickly, it’s often recommended that they pay it slowly and progressively over time to avoid focusing all their extra funds solely on paying off student loan debt. In order to do this, it’s recommended that they leverage their low-interest loans, which allows debt to be paid off over time and retirement assets to be built with more time to grow through compound interest.

Saving For Retirement

The medical industry can be extremely demanding. Often, doctors will prioritize their salaries and paying student loans over saving for retirement. Medical professionals who own their own practices need to take more of an active role in planning for their retirement than others who work for employers and have 401(k)s or other retirement plans.

Medical professionals in private practice who are willing to save for retirement should max out their pre-tax savings options through options such as IRAs. Furthermore, they should invest additional money in non-qualified accounts that don’t offer tax savings options but will allow them to keep on track with their retirement plans.

Tackle Your Financial Planning Challenges

Our goal is to be the best comprehensive financial planning organization possible based on our commitment to client service, professional judgment, and the skills of those individuals affiliated with Garland and Associates. Call us today at (515) 226-0115 or email

About Terry

Terry Garland is the founder and CEO of Golden Capital Management with more than 25 years of industry experience. He works with individuals, small-to-medium-sized businesses, and medical professionals, including physicians and dentists, allowing them access to a wide variety of specialized services and investment vehicles to fit their specific needs. He graduated from Drake University and attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a certified wealth strategist and a registered principal. With offices in Des Moines, Iowa, and Carlsbad, California, he serves clients across the country. Learn more by connecting with Terry on LinkedIn.