Financial Planning for Physician Moms – Part 1

Working as a physician while starting a family is tough. It can require a great deal of juggling both at home and at work, and financial concerns can add to the stress. Financial planning is especially critical for physician moms who want day-to-day organization, long-term financial security, and peace of mind. With the right strategies in place, physician moms can achieve financial success for her and her family. Below, we outline key considerations and actionable steps for busy working moms to effectively plan their finances. 

The first step in financial planning for physician moms is to identify their financial goals. These goals may include budgeting, saving for retirement, funding children’s education, paying off debt, purchasing a home, and/or starting a business. By clearly defining their objectives, physician moms can tailor their financial plan to meet their needs and aspirations. 

If you’re a female physician who is thinking about starting a family, even if a pregnancy is years away, it’s important to start planning early. There are many financial matters you’ll need to consider that may result from having a child, including lost or reduced income, increased health insurance costs, and childcare needs. 


We’re happy to answer any questions you have about our firm and our processes. Here are answers to some of the questions we receive most frequently.

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In this first installment of the two-part series, we’ll discuss planning for a physician mother-to-be. In the second section, will discuss planning considerations for a physician mother who already has young children. 

Planning Ahead (Before and during pregnancy)

As you know, there is never a right time to have kids but financially and practically, the best time to become a mother is as a medical student or resident. This may sound counter-intuitive but consider this: as a student or resident, you don’t make much money, if any, so the potential income loss is minimal. The impact on salary will be much higher once you are earning a full physician’s income.

You’ll never be as young and healthy as you are now. As you age, the likelihood of using fertility treatments increases and most health insurances cover only a small portion of the cost. Gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and postpartum hemorrhage can also affect your health and recovery time. Before attempting to get pregnant, women who work as physicians or are in training should consider the following:

  1. Find out what happens when you take leave
    Will you get paid leave? Large hospitals tend to offer “paid maternity leave” by using a short-term disability plan. You’ll want to find out the specific terms of a program like this. If you are pregnant prior to starting employment, for example, you may not be eligible. You may also need to work there a certain amount of time prior to becoming eligible. 
  2. Find out how taking leave affects your salary and bonus structure
    It’s always a good idea to consult an attorney when looking over contracts and plans like this. 
  3. Find out your total out-of-pocket medical costs for your pregnancy and delivery
    You’ll want to keep this in mind when looking at your medical insurance options. Having children during residency is often cheaper because most large hospitals offer great medical benefits for trainees. 
  4. Start saving and living well below your means
    It is important to start saving in advance so that by the time the baby comes, you have:
    1) a lump sum to pay for initial expenses such as out-of-pocket medical costs, car seats, and baby gear.
    2) room in your budget for ongoing monthly expenses such as childcare, health and life insurance, diapers, and food. 
  5. Purchase term life insurance and disability insurance
    Before your first attempted pregnancy. Otherwise, medical complications may significantly increase the cost of insurance. Insurance companies may also delay issuing a policy until after you give birth. 
  1. Take a “Babymoon” if you can
    A wonderful time to do this is in the beginning of your second trimester. The nausea and unrelenting fatigue of the first trimester are over and you are not inhibited by your growing belly yet. Your lives will never be the same (for the better!). 


We are fiduciaries, and it’s not just a word. It’s a binding commitment to put your interests first.

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One final tip before you get pregnant: start hoarding vacation days! 

Financial planning is a critical component of success for physician moms. By establishing clear objectives, creating a budget, researching leave options, protecting assets and income with insurance, and thinking about future costs, physician moms can navigate the complexities of financial planning with confidence and achieve long-term financial security for themselves and their families.

About Monica Ma

Monica Ma, CFP®, CFA® is an advisor and the chair of the Investment Committee at Blankinship & Foster LLC. She helps clients build sound investment portfolios and develop strategic plans to reach their goals. Since Monica is passionate about sharing her knowledge with women and retirees, she co-leads the firm's Wise Women and Living Wisely Educational Series. Monica is a member of the International Community Foundation's Investment and Finance Committee. She has been living in San Diego since 2008 and enjoys travelling and cooking with her family.

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