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Is it still worth it?

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fuzzydoc303

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I've wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I have tried to expose myself to the medical environment as much as I could (via shadowing, scribing etc). Routinely, I ask the doctors I interact with whether they are content with their decision to go into medicine, and the answers I receive are an indecipherable mixed bag. I see that a genuine passion for the field and a realistic understanding of what it entails are requisite to being a "content" physician, but...

They always complain about the money.

Let me preface by saying I don't expect to be "rich" as a physician. But I do want to be comfortable, in a good neighborhood, able to provide my (future) family the lifestyle I envision for them. Constantly, however, I hear doctors horrified about the state their retirement savings. Other times, resentful at their income and cynical about the grim prospects of incomes in medicine in general.

I am hoping I can take this with a grain of salt because for many reasons I won't expound upon here, I believe medicine is my calling. But I know myself, and I know the oppressive weight of financial stress would likely break me and make me grow increasingly miserable over the years.

How scared should I be?
-A nervous premed
 

CornFed

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I've wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I have tried to expose myself to the medical environment as much as I could (via shadowing, scribing etc). Routinely, I ask the doctors I interact with whether they are content with their decision to go into medicine, and the answers I receive are an indecipherable mixed bag. I see that a genuine passion for the field and a realistic understanding of what it entails are requisite to being a "content" physician, but...

They always complain about the money.

Let me preface by saying I don't expect to be "rich" as a physician. But I do want to be comfortable, in a good neighborhood, able to provide my (future) family the lifestyle I envision for them. Constantly, however, I hear doctors horrified about the state their retirement savings. Other times, resentful at their income and cynical about the grim prospects of incomes in medicine in general.

I am hoping I can take this with a grain of salt because for many reasons I won't expound upon here, I believe medicine is my calling. But I know myself, and I know the oppressive weight of financial stress would likely break me and make me grow increasingly miserable over the years.

How scared should I be?
-A nervous premed
There is absolutely no reason to be scared about how "small" your income will be as a physician. You WILL live comfortably if you play it smart. You would be surprised how many physicians don't play it smart, financially speaking.

More than likely, you're talking to physicians who entered the field when medicine was a whole different ballgame. There are older physicians who are very upset with compensation because they lived through some considerable changes in compensation over their career. At one time, doctors and lawyers were the ones living in the large houses on lakes, driving expensive cars, etc. School was a helluva lot cheaper and the compensation was better at that time = $$$ in their pocket. They are likely upset because their sights were set on a different lifestyle than they are able to live now. It's always possible, too, that no matter how much people make, even >$500K/year, they will feel like they deserve more. Keep that in mind.

Now, school is expensive and compensation continues to trend downward. *BUT*, we are talking about guaranteed >$150,000 salaries here... Believe me, it costs an arm and a leg to go through school now and it's not getting any cheaper, but we are some of the luckiest people on earth. In the grand scheme of things, to be nearly promised exceptional job security and almost 2x the national median household income as a starting salary after residency is unheard of in other careers.

If doctors are complaining about their retirement savings and they're past the age of 50, they likely didn't do a very good job of planning/saving in their early careers.

As a wise physician mentor of mine told me, "You aren't going to be filthy rich, but you can eat steak every night of the week if you want."
 

Saifa

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no





if you listen to a lot of retired physicians that is
 

fuzzydoc303

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Thanks for the reply! Would you mind elaborating?

Also, love your thee oh sees profile pic :)
 
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PageDrT

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You're pretty much being like a prospective professional athlete wondering if you'll live comfortably 40 years from now. The answer is: if you're a ******* you won't. If you play it smart you will. You'll live comfortable don't worry about that, you'll be in debt of course cos med school but you'll pay it off and you will not be the only one. You will be fine, just don't act like a rapper and focus on what matters.
 

Saifa

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Thanks for the reply! Would you mind elaborating?

Also, love your thee oh sees profile pic :)

Just being flippant.

Many retired physicians I speak to are appalled at the prospect of becoming a doctor in the modern age. They balk at the cost of applications, the need to apply to ~20 schools, the new hoops to jump through. Even from the perspective of someone who has served a fruitful career in medicine and retired into a very favorable lifestyle, I often hear how it's no longer worth it and you're better off "just" being a scientist.

The burden of deciding rests on the applicant, it is certainly a new world for us.

I have to change my avi now ;)
 
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