Medical Student Priorities

Medical Student Priorities

As a medical student your main priorities are most likely focused around understanding debt options and repayment plans, as well as developing healthy consumption and saving habits.

  1. To the extent possible, avoid or minimize debt. You’ll be glad later when you have to start paying it back
    • - Live as modestly as you can without disrupting your studies
    • - Take advantage of grants, fellowships, or scholarships whenever possible
    • - Live with roommate(s) to share rent and utility costs
    • - Buy/rent used textbooks, where available
  2. Understand how student loans work and decide whether to go with federal or private loans  
  3. If you must borrow, estimate how much you will need, identify lenders, the interest rates you’ll be charged and when you must begin making payments
  4. If your parent(s) co-sign(s) for a private loan, consider a term life insurance policy with a death benefit equal to the outstanding loan amount. This will relieve the financial burden on your parent(s) of having to pay back your loans if you meet a tragic end 
  5. Know how to contact your lender(s) and how to track the amounts you owe. It may be a good idea to establish online access to all relevant records. Be aware of your options: Can you consolidate loans? What are the permissible repayment options
  6. Learn the basics of financial planning from an unbiased source: the sooner you understand the key concepts, the sooner you can begin to make constructive decisions. The key word here is "unbiased." Many people will claim to provide you with education, but most of these characters likely have an agenda to sell you financial products and services
  7. Develop healthy consumption and saving habits. Don’t overspend, save when you can, and maintain a household budget
  8. Set some money aside as an emergency or rainy-day fund
  9. Identify constructive outlets for stress
  10. Be involved socially
  11. Nurture interests outside medicine for life-balance
  12. Ask for help if needed


It’s difficult during this stage of your career to think about money matters. But learning the basics of financial planning will save you time, money, and stress later.

In the list above, I assume you don't have dependents (spouse or children) as a medical student. If you do have some dependents, please refer to the Resident or Fellow with Dependents tab for additional recommended actions, in particular those pertaining to life and disability insurance.