Editor’s Note: I’m currently roaming the streets of Rome right now on my honeymoon so today I’m featuring an article from my friend Cat at Budget Blonde. I’ll actually get to meet Cat this year at FinCon in New Orleans but for now we’re ‘just online friends’. Cat is a full time blogger and personal finance freelance writer who has been featured on many of the top personal finance sites on the web.
One thing Harry and I have in common is we’re both med school spouses (well, Harry will be married very, very soon!). I am married now 🙂
As Harry can attest, being married to someone in medical school is a pretty interesting journey. Their training is so involved and so intense that much of the normal life tasks really falls on the non-medical school spouse. After all, Harry admitted to pretty much planning his own wedding haha! What a guy. 🙂
One important aspect of any marriage is finance, and if you are married to someone who is about to be in medical school or who already is, be prepared to become the “money person” in your relationship. Here are some of my top personal finance tips for medical school spouses.
1. Be the one to pay the bills.
I’m not saying this is necessary, but if you take charge of paying bills and creating a budget, it will be a huge, huge help to your other half. They have so much work to do, so much studying (my God, the studying!), that it’ll be pretty easy for them to forget to pay the rent so just go ahead and declare yourself keeper of the checkbook.
2. Battle the loans.
My husband is in year 3 of a combined 5 year MPH/MD program, so I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people who are on this journey with us. One disturbing trend I’ve noticed is a real nonchalance about the loans. It’s almost as if we’ve all accepted the fact that we have to take out 6 figures to make this whole career happen. Granted, not many people can afford medical school tuition on their own, but almost every single person I know consistently maxes out their loans every semester.
Instead of doing that, I would encourage you to sit down with your spouse and really add up the numbers. Think about your budget and your plan for the future. Ask yourself how much you can confidently contribute. For us, there have been semesters where we have maxed out everything and other semesters where we’ve sent back almost $13,000 of our loans. With interest rates the way they are, we saved ourselves more than $25,000 in the future by cutting back and sending that money back to our lender.
3. Don’t inflate your lifestyle at the end.
After you go through this med school journey with your spouse, you’re going to want to pat yourself on the back and reward yourself at the end. After all, this lifestyle is extremely difficult and grueling, both for the student and their spouse. It’s only natural to want to reward yourself at the end. However, if you just delay that gratification by a few years and focus on loan repayment instead, you’ll be so much better off in the long haul.
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Do you currently have extensive student loans? What are your plans for repayment?