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Do You Consider Yourself Rich, Doctor?

Updated on February 23, 2016

Doctors have long been revered and respected not only for their compassion and care, but also for their high income earning potential. Note “potential” as the selective word here, because many doctors’ incomes are offset by their high amount of school and practice debt. There is an oftentimes-false perception of what the lifestyle of a M.D. or D.D.S. actually entails. Do you imagine flashy cars, expensive jewelry, private estates and a life of excessive opulence when you think of the medical profession? If you do, you may be in for a rude awakening.

As a young child with aspirations of becoming a physician, you may have imagined a world of helping others and living an upper-class lifestyle. If you imagined driving a 6-figure luxury vehicle once entering your medical career, you may be shocked to learn that in a recent study of doctors polled, the most commonly driven car was Toyota. Even with an average income of 6+ figures, you may not be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor as you once imagined. Factoring in malpractice insurance, medical school loan repayments, retirement savings, and the standard cost of living, your 6- figure income may quickly dwindle and feel mediocre or average and nowhere near the 6 figures that you bring home annually.

What do you choose if you want to live “the life”? Do you incur more debt as a prize for your many years of sacrifice to become a physician? Do you wait until you have repaid a significant amount of your debt off before you begin to treat yourself to the “finer” things in life? Or do you acquiesce to the modest frugal standard of living avoiding the financial lurings associated with the perception of your profession. No matter your choice, what would your standard of living be if you owed no one? If you could quickly pay of the $200,000 worth of student loans that you have, instead of waiting 20 or 30 years to do so? Would you view your patients in a new light? Would you enjoy and fall in love with your core reasons for becoming a doctor in the first place? Or do any of those things even matter to you?

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