The Money Meets Medicine Podcast

Want More Money In Your Bank Account?

As an employed physician, many doctors may wonder how they can take home more money each month for a variety of reasons. Maybe you are paying off your student loans? Or have an upcoming expense that you want to cover? The reasons vary, but there is often a desire to see more income in your bank account. With a little outside-the-box thinking and some smart strategies, you can boost your income without losing your mind.

Let’s jump in and explore some real-world tips to help you earn what you’re worth.

Table of Contents:

Negotiation

Before we dive into the ways in which you can increase your income utilizing both your medical knowledge and also outside of medicine, it is important to remember that the first step is to discuss your pay with your employer. This could be mean a conversation with the chair or your CEO, whoever is the decision maker in your situation.

In academics, this may mean seeking a reduction in your FTE for support toward academic endeavors. This often can provide the benefit of either fewer days worked or, in some institutions, increased income if you are able to maintain your clinical volume with that support.

For others, this might mean asking for a retention bonus or an increase in base salary to reflect your years in service. Regardless of the ask, the worst answer you can receive is “no,” in which case you are no worse off than your current situation. In other words, there is no harm in asking. Don’t skip this step.

Another step that is sometimes overlooked is that protecting the income you have is paramount. While increasing income is great, if you lose the income you have this is a financially catastrophic situation. This is why disability insurance is the #1 financial task for doctors. You can understand everything else about investing or paying down debt, but without an income none of it matters. Make sure you protect your income by obtaining own-occupation disability insurance from someone you can trust.

Maximizing Physician Income Beyond Clinical Work

As a physician, you’ve spent years honing your craft. You’ve dedicated countless hours to studying, training, and providing top-notch care to your patients. But what if I told you that your earning potential doesn’t have to stop at the clinic doors? Physicians can boost their income or, at least, what you see in your bank account in multiple ways. And the best part? You can often leverage your medical expertise to make it happen.

Diversifying Income with Locum Tenens

One of the most popular ways for physicians to earn extra income is through picking up shifts. For some specialties, including my own as an anesthesiologist, this can sometimes mean picking up shifts where you are employed. This is what I did and it allowed us to pay off $200,000 of student loans in 19 months. It also allowed us to save a significant portion of our income such that I am now able to work part-time while employing the Coast FIRE concept.

For others, this may mean locum tenens work. Locum tenens allows you to work as a temporary physician at hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare facilities that need coverage. The shifts may vary from one week per month, every other week, etc. There is really no one-size-fits-all assignment in locums work.

Disability Insurance for Physicians

 

Not only does locum tenens offer flexibility in your schedule, but it also often comes with higher hourly rates than traditional clinical work. Plus, you get to experience different practice settings and expand your professional network.

Engaging in Medical Surveys for Extra Pay

Another way to leverage your medical expertise for extra income is by participating in medical surveys online. Many survey companies offer incentive payments for physicians to share their knowledge and opinions on various healthcare topics.

These surveys can often be completed in your free time, making them a convenient way to earn some extra cash. And the best part? You’re getting paid for your valuable insights as a medical professional. While it is not always a high-paying endeavor, it is an option to be aware of if you want to increase your income.

The Role of an Expert Witness in Healthcare

If you’re looking for a more specialized way to utilize your medical knowledge, consider becoming an expert witness. In legal cases involving healthcare issues, attorneys often seek out physicians to provide their expert opinion and testimony. As an expert witness, you can earn significant income for your time and expertise. Plus, it’s a unique opportunity to apply your medical knowledge in a different setting and make a meaningful impact on legal proceedings.

In the medical expert witness world, you can often charge lawyer rates (e.g. $350 – $500 per hour, depending on your specialty and experience). This is also a great way to keep up with the literature and cases in your field as you’ll have to be abreast of current guidelines and practices in order to provide the best product.

Real Estate Investing for Physicians

I’ve gone on record saying that I’m not a fan of a lot of the real estate deals that are often pushed on physicians. Particularly, in a high-interest, high-cost housing environment and when bad investing practices are promoted (e.g. telling physicians to liquidate their 401K in order to invest in real estate – this is on par with financial malpractice).

That said, it must be mentioned that real estate is a way that physicians can increase their income outside of medicine. And for good reason – real estate can be a lucrative source of passive income.

One of the most accessible ways for physicians to get started with real estate investing is through rental properties. By purchasing a property and renting it out to tenants, you can generate a steady stream of monthly rental income, if you can maintain a high occupancy rate. The key is to find a property that can cover its own mortgage and expenses, while still generating a profit. Look for areas with strong rental demand, and consider working with a real estate agent who specializes in investment properties.

In addition to the monthly cashflow that you can create, you can also generate equity and tax savings through rental properties. The tax savings, in particular, can help you bring home more money through lower payments to the Uncle Sam.

Another strategy for physicians to consider is short-term rentals, such as Airbnb or VRBO. By renting out a property on a short-term basis, you can often command higher nightly rates than traditional long-term rentals. Plus, there may be tax benefits to operating a short-term rental, such as deductions for expenses related to the property. Just be sure to research local regulations and zoning laws before diving in.

Enhancing Financial Skills and Knowledge

Money Meets Medicine, Jimmy Turner, Justin Harvey

 

As a physician, you’re an expert in your medical field. But when it comes to managing your finances and growing your wealth, you may feel like a fish out of water. That’s why it’s crucial to enhance your financial skills and knowledge. A great way to do this is to build your financial foundation (you can download a free copy of my book here). By understanding the basics of investing and money management, you can make informed decisions about your financial future.

One key area to focus on is the stock market. While it can seem intimidating at first, understanding how to invest in stocks can be a powerful way to grow your wealth over time. Start by educating yourself on the basics of investing, such as diversification, asset allocation, and risk tolerance. Consider working with a financial advisor who can help guide you through the process and make personalized recommendations based on your goals. At the very least, gain enough knowledge to do it yourself if you aren’t going to get help.

Once you gain knowledge about personal finance, you’ll realize that one niche way for student loan borrowers to bring home more money is to make sure your investments are pre-tax in nature. If you have student loans, this will result in a lower monthly student loan payment and, therefore, have more money left in your bank account each month. If you need help sorting this out, you can get a student loan consult to help you determine the best plan for you.

Effective Tax Loss Harvesting Techniques

Another smart tax strategy for physicians is tax loss harvesting. This involves selling investments that have lost value in order to offset gains or income in other areas of your portfolio. By carefully timing these sales and reinvesting the proceeds, you can potentially lower your tax bill and keep more of your investment returns.

The limit is $3,000 in tax deductions each year. This can be used to offset ordinary income. So, for example, say you have a 33% marginal tax rate. With a $3,000 you can expect to keep $1,000 more that year. The better part? You can carry forward any other tax losses you harvest to offset larger capital gains situations in the future, like selling a practice or taking money from your brokerage account in retirement.

Side Gigs and Consulting Opportunities for Physicians

As a physician, your expertise is valuable – and not just in the clinical setting. By exploring side gigs and consulting opportunities, you can leverage your specialized knowledge to earn extra income on your own terms. This may include acting as an advisor for biotech, VC opportunities, or pharmaceutical companies. You could create an online business. Or perform any of the work mentioned above.

There are a plethora of opportunities to advise with the medical knowledge you possess. This is a great way to create 1099 income, which brings in a lot of other potential tax saving and income possibilities. For example, you might be able to write off a cell phone or lap top purchase. You may be able to travel for your work and deduct those expenses as well.

Regardless of how you do it, creating a 1099 income is worth pursuing for physicians looking to take more money home.

Conclusion

Earning more as an employed physician is within your reach. By diversifying your income streams, leveraging your expertise, and making smart financial moves, you can significantly boost your earnings and achieve greater financial freedom.

Listen, you don’t have to burn the candle at both ends to boost your income. Locum tenens, medical surveys, expert witness work, and real estate investing are just a few of the many ways you can pad your wallet and secure your financial future – all while working smarter, not harder.

Disability Insurance for Physicians

 

Begin modestly, maintain consistency, and always be learning. Equipped with the proper perspective and tactics, you have the power to radically improve your fiscal outlook and derive greater satisfaction from practicing medicine.

So, what are you waiting for? Start implementing these tips today and watch your income soar. You’ve got this, doc!

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