"I always dig to see if we can uncover [career] goals as early in the process as possible," says Daniel B. Wrenne, a certified financial planner and founder of Wrenne Financial Planning, a physician financial planning firm in Lexington, Ky. While a spouse's income and benefits can minimize the financial impact of part-time employment decisions, others making the transition may need to make significant lifestyle adjustments.
Given sufficient time to plan, a solution can often be found for many issues including cash flow and benefit availability. "Planning ahead is key. There are lots of things you can do to prepare like build up cash, pay off loans, and live off of one income," said Wrenne. "Several of our clients work [enough hours] to maintain full benefits." Otherwise, physicians may consider enrolling in their spouse's healthcare plan or purchasing private insurance.
Both the physician and their family members may feel significant stress and anxiety surrounding a potential loss of income or change in employment status. "The reduction in income can be highly threatening to spouses and other dependents [and] you will need their support and understanding," said Moskowitz. A certified financial planner may be able to identify a feasible financial pathway to ease these concerns and gain buy-in from all involved. Similarly, a career coach can walk physicians through the emotional baggage that frequently accompanies a career transition including changes in self-worth, confidence, and how colleagues view them.
While these adjustments take time and energy to work through, Moskowitz says the end result is well worth it: "Transitions to part-time practice are never easy, but always rewarding [and result in] greater self-reliance, personal and professional freedom, and emotional and physical wellness. Follow your intuition."
Steph Weber is a freelance writer hailing from the Midwest. She writes about healthcare, finance, and small business, but finds her passion for the medical field growing in sync with the ever-changing healthcare laws.