This is the story of my moonlighting journey for the past five years. It included a lot of hustling to find more shifts, a manageable workload, and better paying jobs. How much can you make moonlighting as a physician in training? In the past five years, I went from making a few thousand dollars a year to breaking six figures. Read more to find out my strategies and how you can do the same.
Just as a refresher, W-2 income is generally the payment type when you are an employee while 1099 is the payment type when you are an independent contractor. The fundamental difference between receiving 1099 income and W-2 income in the purview of the federal government is the distinction between being employed or self-employed. There are some major differences in tax calculations and how taxes are paid, which I plan to discuss in the rest of this post.
Having 1099 income in addition to W-2 income provides you with a lot of flexibility in terms of retirement accounts and tax deductions. Prior to diving deeper into this topic let me explain that I do already have a day job that is W-2 income and provides all the benefits you would expect, including health and disability insurance, retirement benefits, etc. My preference in choosing 1099s over W-2s is with regards to additional income outside of my day job.
I have a reputation among the residents and fellows at my hospital as being a moonlighting guru -- I think the reason is that they hear that I moonlight a lot, so they think I must know a lot about it! They often ask me for advice on how to get started and what I look for in a moonlighting gig, so I decided to write this post describing my thought process when evaluating a moonlighting gig.
This post is meant to describe what moonlighting is for a physician and why you should do it. It is generally something that can be started during training as a resident, and can continue through fellowship and even as an attending. It will be important to check the terms of your employment to make sure it is allowed. Also, for those in training, be sure to stay within the ACGME duty hours.