It used to be that if you wanted to become wealthy than becoming a doctor was the way to go. You studied hard, got good grades, went to Med School and some day would be rewarded with great wealth.
Growing up people always assumed I would be a doctor. I was smart and I was Asian, so it was natural that I would be a doctor. I had thought about it but when I got to Princeton and saw just how much studying was involved in Pre-Med is I was a little turned off. Then I started to Think About It and realized it wasn't where I wanted to be. The medical profession was getting commoditized by the HMO's and I didn't see a bright future for doctors.
A few months ago I was talking to a friend of mine who just graduated from a prestigious medical school. He was about to move in to his New York apartment and start his residency. I asked him how much he and his fiancee (also recently graduated) could expect to earn. He replied that he had a base salary of about 45K and his fiancee about 50K (she was in a more lucrative field). Here is another website that confirms this.
Now to me, that is just ridiculous. I've lived in NYC. 45K is not all that much. You put on top of that the hours you need to put in as a MD and the 4 years and great expense of medical school, and I just don't see how it works out. It will take years before they earn anywhere close to a decent salary and even then they will most likely have to work long hours to achieve it. Considering they were in school for four years, all the time I was earning money, and the picture gets bleaker.
Of course many of my friends will wind up having very fine careers and earn lots of money so there is little to feel sorry for. But still, when did it not become as lucrative to be a doctor.