While orthopaedic surgery residents have a “disproportionately high” amount of student debt, they give themselves low marks for financial literacy, according to data reported at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Diego, California.

John Jennings, MD, from Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and colleagues analyzed responses to a financial literacy survey completed by 85 orthopaedic surgery residents.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median cost of medical school for the class of 2016 was $306,171 for private schools and $232,838 for public schools.

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Debt burden invariably produces stress and burnout in the short term. Over the long term, debt burden makes it difficult to accumulate savings, to repay student loans in a timely manner, and to plan for retirement.

Currently, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education does not require that medical residents of any specialty complete any training in practice management, financial literacy, or retirement planning.

The present survey aimed to determine orthopaedic surgery residents’ depth of knowledge regarding debt, investment, and retirement savings.

Results showed that 42% of survey participants had over $200,000 in outstanding student loans. While 66% paid their entire credit card bill each billing cycle, nearly 25% had over $1000 in monthly credit card debt.