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Using a Personal Loan for Residency Relocation Costs

By Janet Siroto · December 19, 2023 · 6 minute read

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Using a Personal Loan for Residency Relocation Costs

Congrats: You did it! You got through some tough training for your career in medicine, and now you are going to find out where you’ll start your career as a full-fledged doctor. It’s an exciting moment as you wait to hear about your residency.

However, because residencies are spread across the country, there’s a good chance that you’ll not only be starting an intense new job; you will also be moving and getting settled in a brand new town.

Moving can mean major stress on its own, but moving at the very end of medical school can heighten that. After all, new doctors have an average of $202,453 in debt from their education, and moving can cost money. Learn about how to finance this important next step here.

Residency Relocation Costs

There’s no way around it: Moving is expensive, and residency relocation costs can add up.

•   There’s the move itself. Even if you’re moving to a new house in the same city to be closer to your work, you may need to hire movers or rent a truck, buy boxes, and get help packing. Plus there are those unexpected moving costs, such as replacing little things like shower curtains and cleaning products that seem to always get lost in the move.

The average cost of moving locally is $1,500, and a long-distance move can be $4,000 or more. That’s a significant chunk of change.

•   Even if you follow moving tips to economize during the process, guess what? The expense of settling into a new city can be even higher. You will likely need to put down a security deposit if you are renting, as well as possibly update your furniture and equip your new place with essentials like trash cans, towels, and cooking supplies.

•   Another thing to include in your budget: the costs of exploring a new city and eating out while you set up your kitchen. And don’t forget any expenses you may have to incur for your new job, like clothes, or potentially even transportation costs.

Plus the cost of living may be higher than what you are used to. Those little expenses can add up to a major headache if you’re not prepared.

If you’re feeling the pinch, there are a few loans specially designed for medical residents that may be worth considering. They could help make your transition a lot smoother.


💡 Quick Tip: Some personal loan lenders can release your funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved.

Medical Residency Relocation Loans

Here are some options that can help you out financially when you relocate for a residency:

•   One loan new doctors may choose to take out is a medical residency relocation loan. You can take out a residency loan from a private lender — for example, a Sallie Mae Medical Residency and Relocation Loan.

•   Or it could be as simple as taking out a personal loan. Some private lenders may offer student loan-type benefits for loans to be used for medical residency relocation, such as a longer loan payoff term (though you may pay more in interest over the life of the loan if you opt for an extended term).

Residency loans may be specifically geared toward new doctors who are beginning their residencies and need to pay for essentials while settling into a new job and a new city. These loans can allow medical residents to fill the financial gap between graduation and your first residency paycheck.

They can help new residents cover the cost of moving and getting settled in a new city, including providing for your family while you adjust to a new job. For instance, if you’re making a move for residency and bringing your family along, it is likely that your spouse will also need to look for a job in your new city, which means that they may be giving up a paycheck temporarily as well.

Recommended: How to Qualify for a Personal Loan

Home Loans for Medical Residents

Another aspect of your finances to consider is whether you rent or buy the next place you live. Here are a few important points to consider as you embark on your career.

•   As a medical resident, you might qualify for a home loan designed specifically for doctors. These loans can have some big benefits, like low down payments, no requirement for private mortgage insurance, and no rate increases on jumbo loans. It’s important to do some research to see how you can qualify for these loans.

•   Of course, there are things to consider before buying a home during your residency. Even if you qualify for a home loan for medical residents, you might not be ready to buy a home just yet. This is especially true if you’re moving to a new city or state and you want to settle in, find your favorite neighborhood, and make sure you really like the city before deciding to buy a home.

•   If you do decide to start the home buying process, it’s probably a good idea to check out both traditional mortgages and loans designed specifically for doctors. You won’t know which one is right for you until you compare the benefits of each.

When both partners transition to new jobs at the same time, there can be a significant gap in income. A medical residency relocation loan can help you maintain your lifestyle while you and your spouse acclimate to new jobs.

Getting Ready to Get a Loan

If you’re thinking of getting a loan for relocation costs or to purchase a home, you may want to do some financial housekeeping. Here are a few moves to make:

•   Check your credit score, and see if there may be ways to build it, if necessary. A higher score can earn you the best (meaning lower) interest rates.

•   Determine exactly how much money you may need to borrow. Like all loans, consider only borrowing the amount you actually need to tide you over until your residency starts paying.

You can get a good idea of how much you may need to borrow by taking a look at your monthly expenses and then adding any additional cost-of-living increases based on your new city and the cost of moving. Don’t forget to list one-time expenses like a security deposit for a new apartment.

•   When you’ve figured out how much you want to borrow, take some time to shop around for a loan whose terms work for you. Each lender has different terms and benefits, so make sure to understand them fully before making a decision on if a personal loan is right for you.

Recommended: Can I Take Out a Personal Loan When Unemployed?

The Takeaway

Becoming a doctor can be a challenging and rewarding path. As you embark on your residency, you may find that there are significant relocation and housing expenses. Depending on your situation, you may want to review your loan options to see if there’s a good fit. For instance, a personal loan might allow you to cover the cost of setting yourself up in a new place for your medical residency.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.


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