Ep 5. Student debt: what every med student should know


gregleeson    lawrencejarikre

When I got into medical school, I anticipated some stress from the rigorous training. I didn’t anticipate how much stress finances would cause me. I reached out to MD Financial for some tips. Greg Lee Son (left) and Lawrence Jarike (right) are advisers at MD Financial. Greg is an Early Career Specialist and LJ is a Financial Consultant. They took some time to talk to me about student debt and the stress it causes. Note to self: become more financially literate.

Disclosure: I have worked with LJ in the past. He has helped me create a budget and a preliminary financial plan.


  1. How big is the average Canadian medical student debt
  2. The role of interest rate
  3. Paying back a loan
  4. Ways to keep the debt small


  1. In 2012, of Canadian medical students and residents surveyed, 30% expected a debt of over $100,000 and 19% expected debt of more than $160,000.
  2. According to Morra et al. (2008), anticipated student debt accounted for an additional 11.5% in reported stress among medical students..
  3. Walsemen et al (2015) found that those with financial strain perceived more stress, had more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ill-health.
  4. Rohlfing et al (2014) found that high student debt were associated with delaying having children, delaying buying a house, concerns about managing and paying back educational debt, and worrying that educational debt will influence one’s specialty choice.


A large student loan can be a burden a new physician carries for a decade or longer. The larger the loan, the more likely issues like delaying buying a home, or having a family can become. It is important to learn some basic facts about money so that we can make the best choices possible. In my experience,  getting neutral, honest advice can be challenging. I would encourage all medical students to spend some time learning more about a debt that is going with us for a long time after we finish medical school.


Morra, D. J., Regehr, G., & Ginsburg, S. (2008). Anticipated debt and financial stress in medical students. Medical teacher, 30(3), 313-315.

National Physician Survey. CFPC, CMA, Royal College. 2012 www.nationalphysiciansurvey.ca

Rohlfing, J., Navarro, R., Maniya, O. Z., Hughes, B. D., & Rogalsky, D. K. (2014). Medical student debt and major life choices other than specialty.Medical Education Online, 19, 10.3402/meo.v19.25603. http://doi.org/10.3402/meo.v19.25603

Walsemann, K. M., Gee, G. C., & Gentile, D. (2015). Sick of our loans: Student borrowing and the mental health of young adults in the United States.Social Science & Medicine, 124, 85-93.


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