Physicians Highlight Personal Finance Regrets

May 8, 2014
Laura Joszt

While all physicians share some of the same concerns and have similar regrets, there are distinct differences among age groups when it comes to personal finances.

While all physicians share some of the same concerns and have similar regrets, there are distinct differences among age groups, according to a new report.

AMA Insurance’s 2014 Work/Life Profiles of Today’s U.S. Physician surveyed nearly 5,000 physicians and compared the answers across 3 age groups: ages 30 to 39, 40 to 59, and 60 to 69. The survey focused on many areas of physicians’ lives, such as marriage, work, practice plans, and personal finance.

“We found that there is no ‘one’ profile for physicians when it comes to lifestyle, but rather a number of profiles related to different age groups, with some reflecting gender differences,” D.S. Friday CLU, vice president of Sales and Marketing of AMA Insurance, a wholly owned subsidiary of the AMA, said in a statement. “Together, they offer an intriguing look at physicians at work and during leisure time, at every stage of their career.”

The survey found that while just half of physicians in the oldest age group had medical school debt when they graduated, that number has increased significantly over the years: 62% of physicians age 40 to 59, and 73% of physicians under the age of 40 reported loan debt after medical school.

Furthermore, 74% of the oldest age group reported having just $50,000 in loan debt or less, while 70% under the age of 40 had at least $100,000. According to respondents, a quarter of physicians between the ages of 40 and 59 and 3% of those ages 60 to 69 are still paying off their student loans.

The largest financial concern for physicians is the same across the age groups: will retirement money last? The youngest age group is more likely to worry about what to invest in and having enough money for college, while the older age groups said they were more concerned about long-term care.

Worryingly, only 6% of physicians consider themselves ahead of schedule when it comes to retirement savings. More than half of physicians under 40 (54%) and physicians ages 40 to 59 (53%), and close to half (46%) of physicians ages 60 to 69 are behind where they would like to be with their savings.

According to the results, many physicians wish they had spent more time learning about financial planning early in their career (37% of those under 40; 32% of those ages 40 to 59; and 27% of those ages 60 to 69).