Debt Consolidation

Plan for Debt Repayment

Many family medicine residents missed out on over $30,000 because they were uninformed. Make sure this year you are not one of them! Do not pay off or transfer your government student debt until you have become fully informed about debt repayment plans in Ontario.

  • Resident Loan Interest Relief Program (RLIRP)If you sign up for a return of service in Ontario for five years after residency, then the government will pay all of your interest on government loans during residency. Be careful though, if you cancel the agreement there is a substantial financial penalty plus back interest. Click here.

  • Canadian Student Loan Relief gives you $8,000 per year for five years, off of your Canadian Student Loan debt. This can be claimed during residency and independent practice. You must spend time in an under-serviced rural or remote community. Click here

You should know that if you sign up for the RLIRP, or if you convert your Canadian Student Loan (OSAP in Ontario) to a private line of credit, you are not eligible for Canadian Student Loan Relief.

 

Budgeting and Debt Management

Staying within Budget, Tracking Finances and Managing Debt inResidency

A 2012 CMA physician study revealed that one in five residents expect their debt load to surpass $160,000 by the time their training is completed. Now is the time to get your financial plan in order, set up a debt repayment plan and clearly track where you spend your money. The sooner you start, the better.

Loan consolidation is a process in which multiple loans are combined and reestablished as one loan. Consolidating your student loans can lower your monthly payments, simplify your finances and free up cash flow. Consolidation also often means that you can extend the time it takes to repay your loans. You may also be able to refinance loans at lower interest rates and reduce your monthly payments. Consolidating your debt can make your financial planning and day-to-day finances more convenient. Before deciding to consolidate, review the government interest relief and loan forgiveness programs that may be available to you. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for thousands of dollars in relief through various programs. Talk to your financial advisor to discuss your individual circumstances.

Residents’ salaries are usually high enough to allow you to live within your means, especially if you’ve set up a realistic budget. If you have money left over at the end of the month, you have the option to invest it or to pay down debt. Typically, paying down high-interest debt, such as credit card balances, is a top priority.

Once you’ve dealt with higher-interest debts, making a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution might make sense. RRSP contributions can trigger tax refunds, which can then be used to pay down debt.

Tips

Financial advisors across Ontario specialize in providing residents and new in practice physicians with practical money solutions and advice. They can help you manage your cash flow, develop a budget and create a debt repayment plan.

References

MD Physician Services