The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dollars and Cents

So I recently met with one of the financial planners at MD Management, the financial management company that works hand-in-hand with the OMA to keep residents from declaring bankruptcy before they start practice. It's a nice service. Except for the fact that they were the ones who referred us to the accountant from hell who has caused as many problems for us, tax-wise, as he's solved. But that's another post.

In breaking down my finances, I learned an interesting fact. In the past 12 months, if you add up union dues, memberships to various medical associations, malpractice insurance, educational license fees, fees to the university through which I'm doing my residency training, and the other costs 'required' for me to call myself an M.D. and train in the province of Ontario, the total was $9000.

Yup. You read that right. $9000. Nearly 20% of my GROSS income. And that doesn't include the $1500 it cost to write the LMCC-II, the $1500 it cost to write the CCFP's, and the $1500 it's costing me to apply for my license for independent practice. Altogether, the cost of being a doctor this year was about $13,500. My salary, as is available for all to see on the PAIRO website, was $53,715 before taxes. I don't like to think about how much that is when calculated hourly, because it's just depressing. But what's more depressing is the fact that a full 25% of my salary went to simply being a doctor. To be fair, I get reimbursed about $2500 of my malpractice insurance at the end of the year. But the rest is gone for good. And that's a LOT of money.

This seems somehow wrong.


Blogger Dr. J. said...

One of the worst things about this is that as a resident most of that money is NOT tax deductable. At least once you are in practice you write all those costs off. Residents are underpaid, especially once you consider the $150000 dollars of debt many of them are carrying.

9:40 PM

Blogger Couz said...

I pay about $1000 a month in debt maintenance alone. Is it any wonder I'm struggling?

Glad to hear that at least I can deduct this stuff next year.

9:46 PM

Blogger MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

If I only knew then what I know now...

Thanks for making me hyperventilate! I'll have $250,000 of debt.

12:27 PM

Blogger Irene said...

Ha, I used to work for MD Management. Those were good times. If you haven't, go tell your Financial Planner to take the accountant from hell off their referral lists. The money thing does suck though.

12:25 PM

Blogger Couz said...

We did. And, not surprisingly, someone else must have complained because the accountant wasn't on their referral list anymore.

2:59 PM

Blogger Midwife with a Knife said...

It is totally wrong. Especially the fact that most of this isn't tax deductable. Bleah.

6:28 PM

Blogger mrbunsrocks said...

Residents are brutally underpaid. It's beyond ridiculous to have someone go through eight years of pricey university (I know it's subsidized, but it still costs a LOT to not make money) and then start at an entry level salary like that.

Personally, I'd rather have an intern who is comfortable and happy to be there (and hence attentive) than someone who is freaking out about their finances. I certainly don't think it would be unreasonable to have interns start at much closer to 75k, and then have all of these costs of being a doctor be tax deductible.

With the doctor shortage, it seems to me we should be doing everything we can to keep good doctors both solvent and in the country.

You made great points couz!

12:30 AM

Blogger Ms-Ellisa said...

Yeah this sucks... Point well made...

4:33 AM

Blogger medstudentitis said...

It's funny that I could make 40-50 000, maybe more if I found a really good job, as a first year junior engineer after my 4 year degree and after another 5 years of study (if you include my masters) I will be making the same or less after deductions... There's something wrong about that.

8:35 AM

Blogger med neophyte said...

I read your posting to my husband and nearly gave him a heart attack.

To think that I would be making well into the 6 figures if I stayed on as a geophysicist but instead I am looking at another (at least) 4 years of relative poverty. All my friends think I am just being whiny when I say residents don't make much money. Meanwhile, they're engineers living in half million dollar houses.

4:19 PM

Blogger chris said...

blame canada

no wait ...just stopping by. i'm from toronto, so howdy!

8:44 PM

Blogger SuperStenoGirl said...

Well, at least your gas isn't $1.27/L like here in Vancouver. And at least you'll EVENTUALLY get more money. Only way I'll ever get out of relative poverty is going back to school but guess what - that takes, you got it, MONEY! ~le sigh~ I make ~ $30,000 before taxes. Every pay they (government, hospital, union etc) take of at least $500 from my pay cheque. My saving grace is my rent is super cheap otherwise, I'd probably be starving or looking for food stamps despite working a $20/hr job. ~sighs again~

1:24 AM

Blogger Roberta said...

I'm not a doctor, but I have a ton of respect for doctors. I am shocked to hear the huge numbers in terms of debt and expenses versus the rather average income.

Thank you for educating me. I hope things improve really quickly.

3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a doctor, but I can totally relate to what you said here. I'm a pilot and after school was all said and done and I had a brand new licence, I got to spend two years working throwing bags onto the airplane that I now fly for $9.00 hr. Then got to "move up" to $22,500 when I finally did get flying, which works out to under $9/hr. Not quite the glamourous life that people assume.

4:30 PM

Blogger girlvet said...

I'm not a doctor but I play one on tv.

7:22 PM

Blogger A girl said...

Yes... the MD management... I went to see them when I was just starting medschool. At that time I was thinking of investing into a place of my own, so went for an advice whether it was a good idea (you know - school, no income...) I've got definite NO. I left with an impression that I am total financial idiot and the entire idea was financial suicide. So I listen and didn't buy... One of my friends went for the same advice, got the same story, listened and bought anyway... Today I am broke, in debt way beyond my comfort level, and still paying rent for the place that I not only do not own, but don't even like. While my friend's property made tens of thousands of dollars and she lives in a nice place...
The money issue is depressing... MD management - no more advice from them...

12:30 AM


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