The Oxymoron of Financial Illiteracy in a Highly Educated Population: Are We Appropriately Equipping Trainees?

Oluwaseun A. Adetayo, Rachel S. Ford, Lakshmi Nair, Myrna Eliann Reinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Medical professionals often incur a significant financial burden in pursuit of a medical education. Despite rigorous medical education, financial education appears to be lacking during training. This study intended to explore the financial preparedness and education of 2 cohorts of medical professionals-alumni graduates of a single institution and current plastic surgery residency trainees. Methods: An electronic survey of the residency alumni at a single institution across all specialties over a 50-year period was conducted. This was conducted concurrent with a survey to current plastic surgery residency trainees across the country. The survey explored several core financially relevant areas, including financial education at various levels of training, fiscal goals, debt profile, spending and saving habits, investment management, financial and family obligations, estate planning, and retirement preparedness. Results: A total of 521 alumni and 84 residents completed the survey from the residency alumni cohort and plastic surgery training programs cohort, respectively. Results from both groups demonstrated that although the large majority considered financial education a priority, this was not prioritized in medical or residency training. Most were introduced to financial education either by a family member or by self-directed learning. Data on investments, savings, finances, and retirement planning are also presented. Conclusions: As a very literate group, there is an unacceptably high level of "illiteracy" concerning financial education at an early stage. Practicing physicians and current trainees believe that a more directed approach to financial education should be adopted, rather than the current laissez-faire climate during medical education and residency training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2329
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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