Healthcare Blog of Dr. Remo Aguilar

10 Financial Tips Medical Students Should Not Overlook

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Pursuing a career in medicine is one topic I’m often asked during career talks and speaking engagements. Most questions under this topic fall into distinct but interdependent subgroup of questions  known as the “what”, “when”, “where” and “how”.  A few dared ask the “why”. Surprisingly, majority of the few  who asked the “why”  we’re already doctors !

Here’s one question posted in the comment section of a post in this blog. 

Hi, I’m Ian Patrick from Pampanga, I really would like to become a doctor since the day I graduated nursing in 2008. My father decided to loan our 1.7 hectare land for me to pursue the degree. I would like to ask for any suggestion where or what type of bank can we go to, or is there other option other than going to banks here in the Philippines. I really would like to go to med school and I think this is the only way for me and my family to generate money. Thank you.

As far a I know, you can sell a parcel of land to most banks and use the money to finance your medical education. The process of selling land varies from one bank to another. You can directly ask banks of these processes but make sure you have validated documents for your parcel of land. Selling properties to a bank is sometimes tedious paperwork, would take some time (valuation-market assessment-sale) and may not yield the highest amount you expect from the sell of your land. Selling the land to third parties without legal business identities is risky. I’m not aware of any bank that accept a parcel of land as collateral to subsidize a medical education.  I hope this answers your question Patrick.

To help out Patrick and (potential) medical students who are roughly in the same circumstances as he is, here are financial tips that will save you some expense during med school.

  1. Choose a quality medical school with the least expensive tuition fees. In the Philippines, these are most medical schools of state colleges and universities.
  2. Choose a medical school located within or near your place or potential place of practice. Saves you the potential lodging and transportation expenses.
  3. Choose a medical school located in an area where the cost of living is relatively cheaper.
  4. Get a scholarship, if you can. Or if the scholarship is some sort of study now pay later scheme, choose the one that offers a “pay out” maximum of 1:2 ratio (e.g. 1 year of study equivalent to two years of service). A ratio larger than that is typically costly when you look at the expense -payment ratio. (±300%)!
  5. Never sell or loan every asset your family have  and hope you’d be able to pay this right after you graduate medicine. Yes, you will have a job right after med school but I doubt it that would be even enough to even buy you your own car.
  6. Borrow books if you can. Avoid buying books that will probably have another edition in 3-5 years. Maximize your library card! This will even push you to efficiently study and maximize reading time.
  7. I do not recommend marrying during med school, unless of course you’re marrying a millionaire who would subsidize your medical education. A wedding will cost you at least a semester of medical education expense! What’s five years of waiting anyway when you’re too busy hurdling exams and duty schedules?
  8. Get a job during summer breaks and add that income to your medical education’s fund!  Just don’t do part time jobs during med school proper or it will wreak havoc on your grades. Take that from me :).
  9. Join a like minded group of medical students that offer possibilities of sharing resources in med school like books and instruments . Cut off the partying expense however. Admit it, you’re in med school to study medicine. You may party all you want when you pass the boards.
  10. Finally, never pursue a career in medicine with the monetary income as your primary goal after med school.  You’d be frustrated. Yes, you will have a job and you will not go hungry as a doctor. But if you aim to get into Forbes’ Top 100 Richest People via medicine alone, good luck.

You have to finish “doctor of medicine” degree from a recognised medical school and pass the Professional Regulations Commission’s licensure exam to practice medicine in the Philippines.  I’m saying this, because these are the first tangible end goals you should have if you are eyeing a career in medicine. All financial considerations must be tailored efficiently towards achieving these goals. Any expense that is not contributing to the achievement of these goals should be stripped off your “budget” and realigned to your medical education fund!

If you have reactions or additional tips to offer, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment in this post.

 

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is previously Chief of Clinics at St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City and a consultant in Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).

2 Comments

  1. All are great tips, but looking for a scholarship is the best way for me. There are those that offer them not just based on financial status but on the leadership potential of the student.

    Contact hospitals, medical organizations, pharma companies, and similar entities and see if they offer med school scholarships. In short, look for a “sponsor” – but be sure to thoroughly read the terms because you don’t want to have free tuition, but in exchange be tied down forever working for them when you graduate.

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