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Why doctors are buying the most number of life insurance policies

Why doctors are buying the most number of life insurance policies

Ever thought what scares your doctor the most? It’s no different from your inner fears or the worries that drove India’s greatest son, Buddha, to renounce the world: age, infirmities and crossing over to the other side. Those who deal with death, perhaps end up fearing it the most.

Ask insurance agents and mutual fund brokers what the investment portfolios of some of India’s top doctors and surgeons look like. On average, doctors buy more than half-a-dozen life insurance policies, making them eligible for the list of “negative and insecure” investors.

These are official classifications by the way — not made up ones. What makes these men and women so edgy and unsure about life?

“We start earning very late in life… This makes us insecure throughout our life,” said M Viswanathan, 64, honorary consultant at the department of interventional cardiology at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai.

“We also suffer from some sort of ‘scarcity’ mindset… We’re never sure how much money is needed to keep us well.”

Doctors and perhaps lawyers are among those professions in which income surges take place in later part of the career. A medical practitioner typically starts earning a regular salary only after 32, or even later.

Compare a top-ranking medical student with a well-qualified engineering graduate: The latter starts earning in her early 20s. By the time she celebrates her 30th birthday, she will probably be earning a high seven-figure annual package. The doctor will still be plowing through thick medical books to earn a postgraduate degree in a specialty. He may also have a large education loan to pay off.

“Ironically, both engineers and doctors start their professional education at the same time — after their 12th standard,” said Meena Prabhu, senior consulting gynaecologist at Mukund Hospital in Mumbai. Engineers, after spending four years mastering machine learning or naval architecture, can look forward to working at a bank or a Dalal Street broker… or maybe a shipyard.

“You don’t earn much even after becoming a junior doctor,” said Prabhu, once a resident junior doctor at Mumbai’s KEM Hospital in the 1970s with a salary of Rs 410 a month.

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