Transition to Practice

Salary comparison reminds residents: Plan now

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.