Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

Are the financial burdens of medical school worth it? Listen in with D.O. or Do Not as we talk with Dr. Jim Dahle, M.D., and Dr. Ian Storch about money and medicine.

Physicians are notoriously bad when it comes to handling money. Whether it’s the years spent studying nothing but medicine or the desire to overcompensate after decades of deprivation, doctors tend to make more mistakes than their peers when it comes to finance.

In this episode of D.O. or Do Not, Dr. Ian Storch, D.O. braves all by giving us an inside look at his past financial decisions from his undergraduate years, to life today as an attending gastroenterologist. To analyze these successes and mishaps, we could think of no better critic than Dr. Jim Dahle, M.D. (expert financial guru and author of The White Coat Investor) who offered his opinions and advice in the latter half of the episode.

Dr. Jim Dahle, M.D., author of The White Coat Investor

Dr. Storch grew up in a middle-class family tiptoeing the line between “his mom who was a saver and father who was a spender.” Throughout his education, Dr. Storch experienced a mixture of both state and private educational institutions. He touched on the decisions regarding each and the implications they had on his financial future. Storch goes on to discuss several choices he made while in his training years and the importance of living life while remaining frugal.

When it came time to pick his first job as an attending, Dr. Storch discussed the importance of having a 5-year plan. Rather than focusing on the initial pay-day, he found it imperative to envision his future growth within his work environment. Dahle goes on to echo that many young attendings do not take their future career trajectory into consideration and often focus on the short-term picture.

Dr. Dahle, well-known for his popular maxim “live like a resident,” made sure to touch on some of Dr. Storch’s financial decisions while in training. Dahle states:

“It’s important to remember it’s not your money. You’re spending future you’s money and he might feel differently down the line.”

While Dr. Storch admits that while the math of certain decisions might not have made sense on paper, they allowed him to live his life with some sense of normalcy during a vigorous residency and fellowship.

Dr.’s Dahle and Storch, go on to discuss if medical education is even worth it as a whole from a financial standpoint. Dr. Dahle claims that while the overt loan burden might dissuade many from pursuing medical education, the benefits ultimately outweigh the detriments. They eventually reach the consensus that “you can have somethings, but you can’t have everything.”

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