Why Chemotherapy That Costs $70,000 in the U.S. Costs $2,500 in India — The Atlantic

Well that's precisely the problem. You see a salary of $225,000 and think that looks amazing. What you're ignoring is:

  • 4 years of medical school
  • 4-6 years of residency and fellowship
  • $200,000-$250,000 in medical school loans borrowed at 6-7% interest, which compound during training
  • 80 hour work weeks during training
  • >60 hour work weeks post-training
  • malpractice insurance
  • opportunity cost of income and equity/savings early in your career (< age 30).

So take that $225,000. Assuming a 33% tax rate, you get ~$150,000. After 6 years of residency/fellowship, your loan principal from med school is now at >$300,000. So throw $35,000/year at your loans (which will still take >10 years to pay off), and you're left with $115,000.

Now factor in malpractice insurance. This varies by state and subspecialty, but can be approximated to $20,000. Obviously if you're in a highly litigious specialty like neurosurg or ob/gyn, you'll be paying up to 10x this amount. But for the sake of simplicity, we'll ignore those fields as outliers.

So now you're left with $95,000. But then we have to account for licensing costs, and other costs associated with continuing medical education and maintenance of certification. Let's say this costs $5,000/year. Now you're down to $90,000....

So you're in your mid-30s, with no equity or savings, taking home $90,000 after taxes. That still doesn't sound too bad until you realize you're working at least 1.5x what most other people work. And all your friends from college have been making that money for at least 5-6 years.

You'd be an idiot to go into medicine for the money, and this is why.

/r/Economics Thread Parent Link - theatlantic.com