• Margaret Curtis, MD

5 Ways To Get Rich In Primary Care

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

I have heard of primary care doctors retiring with an eight-figure net worth (heck, we have all heard of secretaries retiring with an eight-figure net worth) so it certainly can be done. This is not the norm, but there is no reason PCPs can't achieve financial independence.

1. Go to inexpensive schools. Going to your state medical school and graduating with low or no debt lets you hit the ground running. This is especially true if the alternative is a foreign medical school paid for with private loans. At a certain level of debt, not only will it be difficult to get ahead as a PCP, you may not even be able to break even.

2. Take advantage of the additional loan repayment programs available to you. Some loan forgiveness programs are primary-care-specific (NHSC scholarships, many state programs) and some have a much greater demand for PCPs because of the populations they serve (Indian Health Service, many more state programs).

3. Go into private practice. This pains me to say, as I have so much respect for academic docs and teachers, but from a strictly financial perspective private practice is the way to go. Negotiate your job contract wisely and maximize your income.

4. Live somewhere cheap. I don't know how a family doc in the Bay Area or Manhattan makes ends meet.

5. Define "rich" for yourself. You may not be able to afford the lifestyle of your classmate who became a Mohs surgeon (and maybe she can't either). But you can certainly have a home, meet all your needs and some of your wants, and retire comfortably. Happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have.

Floating tiny house and dinghy
Dream home.

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