Sunday World (South Africa)

Young doctors face financial and lifestyle pressures

Expectatio­ns can put immense pressure on doctors

- Coenie Smith Smith is Nedbank national manager: Medical Private Clients

Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, doctors face many of the same lifestyle and financial pressures as everyone else. In fact, those pressures can often be far more acute for young medical profession­als given the rigorous training and work schedules they are required to maintain, particular­ly in the early years of their careers.

Add to that the often significan­t social and peer pressure that many young doctors experience, due to the misconcept­ion by peers and the public that medical profession­als should meet high wealth and lifestyle standards.

While it’s true that establishe­d doctors can earn a very good income, it typically takes many years to achieve. In addition to having to “pay their dues” via modestly paid internship­s, newly qualified doctors often also have study costs to repay.

It’s only after years of private practice, or specialisa­tion, that most doctors achieve the level of personal wealth that most people expect them to have.

However, those expectatio­ns can put immense pressure on young doctors, leading many to give in to the temptation to live beyond their means and face steadily increasing levels of financial stress and anxiety.

In fact, financial stress is a widely recognised element in medical doctors’ burnout.

While young doctors are highly intelligen­t and have extensive knowledge of their field, there are few, if any, medical degree courses that include comprehens­ive modules on personal financial management.

Given how busy young doctors are when starting out in their field, few have the time to invest in gathering the insights they need to inform the financial decisions they have to make. Which is why it is imperative for medical profession­als, and especially young doctors, to partner with experience­d financial profession­als who understand the financial pressures they face, and have valuable insights into how they can best balance their career aspiration­s with realistic financial planning and wealth management principles.

While a solution to this problem would be for medical degree programmes to pay more attention to financial, business and investment planning for medical profession­als, until that happens the best approach for any young doctor is to team up with a financial profession­al.

In the end, no matter how much income doctors earn at any point in their career, if they are living above their means, and they don’t have a comprehens­ive financial plan in place for their future, the resultant financial stress could place their effectiven­ess as a medical profession­al at risk. Not to mention the negative impact it might have on their mental wellness.

The key to avoiding this situation is working with a qualified and experience­d financial planner – many of whom have vast experience helping young doctors improve their prognosis for a very healthy financial future.

 ?? / Pexels Photos ?? Doctors, especially young medical practition­ers, face the same financial pressures as everyone else.
/ Pexels Photos Doctors, especially young medical practition­ers, face the same financial pressures as everyone else.
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