A few months ago, CBS Moneywatch published an article entitled “$1 million mistake: Becoming a doctor.” Aside from the possibility that devoting one’s life to helping others might be considered a mistake, I was struck by the “$1 million” figure.
Was it actually that much? I mean, $1 million is a lot of money. When I was younger, millionaires seemed a rarefied breed. They drove expensive cars and had houses with names like “Le Troquet” or “Brandywine Vale.” The figure was supposedly calculated using the following factors:
- The cost of school, inclusive of tuition, fees and insurance
- The interest on the loans incurred to pay for the above items
- The income lost by not working full-time for 10 years, assuming an average income of $50,000 per year
Before coming to medical school, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry. I even turned down a hefty promotion to start my education as soon as possible, rather than defer for a year or two.
Thus, my back-of-the-envelope calculations made it fairly obvious that, including benefits, bonuses, and potential promotions, my medical decision was not a $1 million mistake, but was more like a $1.3 million dollar disaster.
Of course, people tell me that I’ll be profitable and that I’m a good credit risk, but what I really am is one of a rarefied breed that drive economy cars and have houses with names like “Apt. #203.” What I really am is an anti-millionaire.