Physician Side Hustles Part 3: Turbo Charge Your Goals

Welcome to Part 3 of our Physicians Side Hustles series. In Part 2, we talked about secondary sources of income that physicians are tapping into to supplement their earnings and pay off debt. In this third installment, we’ll explore how a side hustle can not only help you take care of necessary spending, but also turbo-charge your goals. 

Both new and seasoned physicians are taking second jobs in their limited spare time to make money and save money. These side hustles can be online or in the real world, scheduled or workable anytime. 

It’s not forever

Though medical school can feel like it will take forever, and the life of a resident can feel impossible sometimes, remember that these phases of your career are not forever. Additionally, when you’re a new physician, the amount of debt can feel insurmountable, and the amount of spare time can feel nonexistent. There will be a time, however, even early in the income-generating portion of your career, when you will realize that a second job will feel doable. This side hustle may be a way to explore your non-career passions, or it could be a way to utilize your hard-earned skills in a new and exciting way. 

Powering your long-term goals

Most physicians come out of medical school with a hefty amount of student loans. They may find it hard to pay those loans down while also paying for financial goals like buying a house or investing for retirement. This is where the power of a side hustle can really be effective. By taking advantage of those secret sources of secondary income for physicians, you can earn the amounts needed to get out of student loan debt, buy the house you want, and save for a comfortable retirement. If you’re really smart, you’ll already be thinking about retiring early! 


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In fact, working as little as five hours a week in a chosen side hustle can change your life and help you reach your goals sooner. Let’s run through a few examples to help you visualize this. 

Side Hustle 1: Locum Tenens Work. 

As of June 2023, the average hourly pay for a Locum Tenens in California is approximately $135 per hour. We talked more about Locum Tenens work in an earlier blog post you can reference here “Physicians Side Hustle: Are They Right for Me?” Doing Locum Tenens work is probably one of the most popular side hustles for physicians, largely because of the earning potential. Working on a temporary basis in healthcare makes a lot of sense and the earning power is right in line with your salaried position. It’s also a great way to expose yourself to new skills, new work environments, or even new cities. To get started, you can contact national agencies that place physicians in Locum Tenens positions. 

Side Hustle 2: Medical Expert Witness Testimony. 

The amount a physician expert witness can charge is determined by what the physician expert witness and retaining attorney agree on. Physician expert witnesses typically charge $500-$1000 per hour for their time. Of course, these numbers can vary by case and locality, but earning potential like this makes becoming an expert witness very attractive as a side hustle for physicians. Keep in mind that working as a medical expert witness may not be as dependable or predictable as you’d like. You might go months between cases, or you could have three in a month. Contact attorneys in your area to let them know you’re interested or check out the expert witness directories we listed in our previous post.


Invest $100K the Right Way

At some point, you may find yourself with $100,000 in the bank and questions on how to invest it.

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Turbocharging multiple goals

Let’s assume you work five hours a week in your chosen side hustle and 50% of the earnings goes to taxes. The after-tax income from side hustles can help you pay off student debt, save up for a house or retire early. However, if you work 10 hours a week in your side hustle, you can power two goals. Let’s look at how the two side hustles compare:

 Locum Tenens Work Annual After-Tax Income: $17,500Medical Expert Witness Testimony Annual After-Tax Income:$65,000
Goal 1: Pay off $200,000 of student loans at 5% annual interest. Approximately 17 years to pay off the debt. Approximately 3.5 years to pay off the debt. 
Goal 2: Save $100,000 for a house down payment. 6 years to reach this goal. Approximately 1.5 years to reach this goal. 
Goal 3: Early retirement*Retire up to 3 to 7 years sooner. Retire up to 12 to 15 years sooner. 
*Assuming you are 30 years old and already saving and investing $30,000 per year. Standard retirement age is 65. You plan to spend approximately $80,000 per year in retirement[1] . Results will vary depending on how the portfolio is invested and actual market conditions. 

Finding the right hustle takes some time and you might have to try a few before landing on that right combination of flexibility, level of interest in the work and compensation. If you are interested in starting a side hustle, we can help you analyze its financial impact, prioritize your goals, and set up appropriate investment strategies for each goal. 

Earlier posts about side hustles for physicians: 

Disclosure: The opinions expressed within this blog post are as of the date of publication and are provided for informational purposes only. Content will not be updated after publication and should not be considered current after the publication date. All opinions are subject to change without notice, and due to changes in the market or economic conditions may not necessarily come to pass. Nothing contained herein should be construed as a comprehensive statement of the matters discussed, considered investment, financial, legal, or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and no investment decision should be made based solely on any information provided herein. Links to third party content are included for convenience only, we do not endorse, sponsor, or recommend any of the third parties or their websites and do not guarantee the adequacy of information contained within their websites.

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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