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The Ultimate Guide To Personal Finance For New Grad Occupational Therapists

Written by Dominic Lloyd-Randolfi, Published on July 17, 2018

If you're reading NGOT, you're probably either a prospective student, in school and paying a lot of money to learn, or a brand new OT looking for guidance.

Wherever you are in your career as an OT, the ultimate goal is to be a proficient occupational therapist. So after the rat race of getting into school, passing the NBCOT, interviewing for a job, and accepting, you finally get to work.

And with that, you get your first paycheck.

So, what should you do? And how do you plan for all the other paychecks to come?

In this article, we'll give you the skills, tips, and tricks to be financially successful no matter what your goals are. For new grad occupational therapists, this includes:

  • Budgeting
  • Saving
  • Paying your debt
  • Investing
  • Insurance

We didn’t choose occupational therapy to be rich. If that was our goal, we probably would have chosen to be physicians or to work on Wall Street. We chose OT because we love helping those with injuries or disabilities return to their everyday activities. We know how empowering and truly rewarding it can be to help people be independent.

But just because we chose a path to help others, that certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of ourselves. It’s important to understand personal finance and its impact on our lives. It can be the difference between exploring our passions versus a job that makes us want to stab our own eyeballs!

Think about your goals and dreams. Do you want to retire early? Travel? Open your own clinic? These goals affect how we save and spend our money. The way you handle your money now definitely influences your future and freedom to pursue your life down the road.

Disclosure: We aren’t CPAs and cannot guarantee all information about taxes or investing. Be sure to double check with a certified professional to answer all of your questions.


This is obviously the most important financial habit for your career as an occupational therapist. If you can’t budget, then it won’t matter how much you make! The word “budget” shouldn’t make you pucker your cheeks. It’s not all about eating rice and beans. It is about giving you freedom to make choices and help you reach your short and long term goals.

Budgeting is all about knowing your goals and where you can give and take. You might value entertaining your friends so saving for your own home is a priority. That is an awesome goal! It just might mean having to avoid traveling so often, or putting off another big purchase. Want to travel? You should! But maybe you won’t get that fancy new car you have been eyeballing.

It’s not about starving yourself or feeling guilty. Budgeting is about setting goals for yourself. You can have anything you want — but you can’t have everything you want.

We've talked about budgeting before at NGOT. We know it’s intimidating trying to balance retirement, loans, bills, and savings.

Sit back, relax, watch our video, and let Excel do all the work.



Personally, I love budgeting. I particularly love using this calculator: it helps me track those monthly bills like Netflix and Spotify, but it also shows me how much I am saving. I have found that if I can see how much I am saving, I feel a lot better and it motivates me to keep going.

If that doesn’t work for you, Mint is also a really cool resource. You link your banking account and the app calculates how much money you spend on food, gas, bills, etc. It’s a pretty powerful tool that shows you exactly where your money is going.

To get the rest of our tips, sign up for our newsletter and download the personal finance guide!

Topics:Financeinsuranceinvestingmoneysavingsstudent loans

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