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Prescribing Financial Health: Tips for Doctors Managing Student Loans

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Canadian doctors often carry six-figure student loans, causing stress for many. When strategizing for how best to manage these debts, you may wish to consider the following

Loan Options:

  • ⚕️Government Student Loans: Many medical students rely on government-sponsored programs to finance their education. These loans may offer favorable terms
  • 💰Private Student Loans: Some med students take out private loans to cover expenses not fully met by government loans. Private loans can have higher interest rates and be less flexible.

Repayment Strategies:

  • 💵Income-Driven Plans: These adjust payments based on income and family size, making them affordable during early practice years.
  • 🔥Aggressive Repayment: An accelerated repayment schedule means paying down debt quickly, minimizing interest payments and achieving debt relief sooner.
  • 🌟Loan Forgiveness Programs: Explore federal and provincial loan forgiveness programs for physicians working in underserved regions or in specific specialties. Partial or full forgiveness may be available in exchange for service commitments.
  • 🔄Refinancing: Lowering interest rates through refinancing reduces overall costs, especially for those with good credit.

Prioritizing Debt Repayment:

💳High-Interest Debt First: Credit card balances can be considered a financial emergency and should always be paid in full ASAP! Other higher-interest debt like private student loans or lines of credit can be considered next.

⚠️Emergency Fund: While repaying debt is important, it's also crucial to build an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses and avoid reliance on high-interest credit.

🏦Retirement Savings: Start early to benefit from compound interest. Consider options such as TFSA, RRSP, IPP and investing within your medical corporation.

• ⚖️Balancing Lifestyle Needs: Maintain a healthy balance between debt repayment, savings and lifestyle needs and wants.

By managing student loans strategically and prioritizing debt repayment alongside other financial goals, Canadian doctors can achieve financial stability and peace of mind throughout their careers. Consult with a financial advisor specializing in physician finances to help navigate these decisions.

This information has been prepared by Ryan Secord who is a Senior Investment Advisor for iA Private Wealth Inc. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the Investment Advisor only and do not necessarily reflect those of iA Private Wealth Inc. iA Private Wealth Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization.

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