Personal Finance for the Radiology Resident: A Primer
By Paul G. Thacker, MD
Financial security is important for the health and well-being of trainees. In fact, a study of radiology residents by McNeeley (et al) found that higher self-assessments of financial strain were significantly associated with lower self-reported quality of life, depersonalization symptoms, and emotional exhaustion. Despite the proven importance of financial security on residents’ well-being, massive debt and poor financial practices have been shown to be pervasive across residencies. In an unsettling survey of surgery residents, Teichman (et al) found that up to 25% had less than $611 in their bank accounts. Despite one-fourth of residents being on the brink of financial ruin, residencies allot little time to money management training.
Glaspy (et al) surveyed 123 emergency medicine programs and found that 82.1% of residents received no debt management education, and 79.1% received no financial planning lectures. The authors also noted that 84.2% reported that financial planning and debt management education should be available during residency. Similarly, in a survey of members of the Association of Program Directors in Radiology and the ACR’s Resident and Fellow Section, Medverd (et al) found that 59% to 69% of radiology residencies provided no personal finance lectures during an academic year, while 57% to 74% provided lectures on medicolegal issues and 56% to 71% provided quality lectures.
Understandably, medicolegal issues and quality are of great importance to residents’ education and the practice of radiology. However, education addressing increasing educational debt, retirement, and income evaluation are arguably as important given their significant impact on residents’ well-being and performance. With projections for declining reimbursements, it is imperative that our future graduates obtain a strong personal finance foundation before receiving their first “real paycheck.”