The Growing Dangers of Medical School Financing
If you've ever applied to medical school before, or any healthcare school, you have heard of the US World News and Report. It has established itself as the judge and jury when it comes to ranking our med schools. I know that I reviewed its rankings when I was making my own list of schools to apply to a few years ago. And if you're currently interviewing for med school or plan to apply in 2018 after taking the MCAT, I would recommend checking out their rank list. If nothing else, it is a great starting point for gauging the reputation of your school.
The article I will refer to in my following points can be found here: "Stay Financially Healthy During Medical School"
About the author- Dr. Sylvia Morris did a great job adding fuel to the fire of our nation's conversation on medical education and the cost it incurs. Follow along with her on Twitter (@DrSylviaMorris), she just did a fascinating piece about traveling to Cuba.
Dr. Morris brings up the big kahuna in her article- "The median debt for 2013 graduating medical students was $175,000, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges." A staggering number, for sure. Sadly, myself and many of my classmates are on track to breach that number and some are already well past it. The gravity of the situation should definitely be communicated to those who come behind us, but what advice is there for those of us already in our clinical years who are sick of contributing to the problem. What if we want to help fix it?
Maybe it's because I'm a millenial (the urban dictionary definition is hilarious), but for those of us who have the equivalent of a nice house in student loans, reading this article evokes one of two responses- complete denial/avoidance or a call to action. For me, it is the latter. And there will be many more like me who will come after (you perhaps?). It just isn't enough to sit idly by, studying and immersing myself in medicine and denying the reality of the massive sinkhole (which is completely of my own creation by the way) I am sitting at the bottom of. If only MY SINKHOLE was this beautiful and and had a nice little staircase... maybe a mini fridge...
In all seriousness, I want to thank you, Dr. Sylvia Morris, for acknowledging this problem. Medical students need to get a grip on their financial house. We can choose to learn easy financial lessons now, or let reality teach us the hard way later. It reminds of me of my single days, when my married friends would encourage me to keep holding out for that special someone. Inwardly my thought was, "Thanks for the encouragement, but its easy for you to say- you've got it figured out." It's amazing how quickly we forget past painful experiences, and it is the same for married people. They forget the nights of wondering if you'll ever find that person you'd like to spend the rest of your life with. (Speaking of, if you're dating someone or looking for date ideas, check out my other post on cheap, fun ideas) Physicians quickly forget the financial strain of medical school and residency, or their medical school was much cheaper 40 years ago and they can't relate.
Thankfully, as I have started on my own journey towards changing the tide of my financial future, I have found amazing people and blogs who are doing the hard work. Here's a few of the voices I have chosen to surround myself with:
Click on one to read more.
If you're in medical school, regardless of your year, take some time this Christmas break and invest a few minutes in one of these sites. What if you could predict the problems you will face 10-20 years from now? What if you could kill SkyNet (Terminator reference) before it ever started?! We will all be physicians someday, and we will face most of the same issues. So take a play out of the Mr. MedSchool Money Playbook and look into your own future by reading one of these blogs. If you're scatter-brained, sign up for an email list and relevant articles will be effortlessly dropped right into your inbox for your consumption.
Give yourself a 20-year upper hand. Start fighting the battles of your tomorrow, today.