PMD: Have You Met a Poor Doctor?

Welcome to another installment of Future Proof posts on Physician's Money Digest (PMD).  There is a lot of pessimism floating around regarding the future of medicine as a career, a lot of which stems from the concern for money.  Guess what?  I like to talk money.  As usual, read the full post at PMD.  An excerpt is provided below.

Have you met a poor doctor?  I haven’t.  No, I’m not including the residents & fellows who, while they may have an M.D. or D.O. behind their names, suffer from significantly negative net worths because of the very medical education that earned them the honor of “Doctor” in the first place (myself included).  I am talking about attending physicians who are at varying stages in their careers.  I have never met a poor doctor and I don’t believe I ever will.  Let me explain.
The Setup:
As the editor of Future Proof, MD, I like to read, especially on financial topics that may impact physicians.  Through my readings, I’ve experienced a sense of “doom-and-gloom” from many of my peers – see 63% of Docs Are Pessimistic About Their Job Future, And More Survey Results.  My overall gestalt is that medical trainees today anticipate their financial futures to be worse off than physicians today and those who have gone before us.  The reasons cited are varied but the common denominator is decreasing reimbursements.  The prediction being that in the environment of cost containment, the total reimbursement provided by third party payers (Medicare and Medicaid being the largest) will eventually reach a plateau and perhaps even decline.  So no matter how you slice the pie, eventually your slice will get smaller.  Recently, I had a medical student reader who wrote in wondering if he will be “poor” which is simply absurd.
Defining “Poor”
The words “poor” and “poverty” can be used in many contexts.  I want to focus on the definition of financial poverty.  For example, if you are a physician working full-time, thrice-divorced, drives a $125,000 car yet complains about living from paycheck-to-paycheck, you are “poor” in your decision making but not financially poor.  Luckily for us, there is an actual definition of financially poor – courtesy of the US census bureau.  Here are the poverty thresholds for 2015:

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Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.