Salary comparison reminds residents: Plan now

Timothy M. Smith
Senior Staff Writer
AMA Wire
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An infographic comparing the incomes of physicians and teachers underscores the need for comprehensive financial planning early in physicians’ careers. “The Deceptive Salary of Doctors,” published by, pulls data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and numerous other sources to demonstrate the huge costs of becoming a physician and maintaining a practice.

It draws a stark conclusion: Over a lifetime, physicians make less per hour than teachers do. After loan debt, physicians can expect to make a little more than $4.7 million in their careers; teachers, a little less than $2.4 million. But physicians will work almost twice as many hours.

The real value of the graphic, however, lies not as much in comparing the two professions as in providing a reminder that, with physicians’ working so many hours, they can easily overlook adequate financial planning that can make life easier later in their careers.

Residents in particular need to prioritize financial preparedness. Although many enjoy a huge jump in income from their student years, a 2015 study by AMA Insurance found that 71 percent of young physicians feel somewhat or not very knowledgeable about financial planning.

AMA Wire® regularly features financial planning advice for young physicians. Several resources can help you get ahead on financial planning for the future:

Check back soon for takeaways from the 2016 Report on U.S. Physicians’ Financial Preparedness from AMA Insurance.

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This is such a deceptive graphic. The claimed number of hours worked per week in medical school, if you subtract vacation time, is 83 hours per week. That's absurd. The claimed number of hours/wk in residency, assuming 4 years, is 100. If you want to inflate the numbers to benefit doctors, go ahead and do the same for teachers instead of assuming that teachers are only going to be working 40 hr/wk, 36 wk/yr. The teachers that I looked up to in high school CERTAINLY took work home with them in the evenings and weekends, just like doctors.
This info-graphic is incredibly myopic. An average physician makes 7x more than the median income in the united states.<br/> <br/> Are there specialties that should have increased compensation, absolutely. But whining is not the way to go about it.
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