Lifestyle creep is what happens to a resident once they make an attending salary. It can happen to anyone who makes more money over time, but when you have a large leap in salary such as resident—->attending, you are more prone to it.
It may have to do with having a bunch of money that you didn’t have before. Yes, physicians have heavy student loans that they have to repay, but there are many purchases that physicians make that can rachet the golden handcuffs around their wrists.
Wanting nicer things as you get more money is reasonable. You just can’t overextend yourself. The common scenario is that a new physician will get a high guarantee pay for two years, and then buy really nice cars, a really nice house, expensive toys, private school etc.
They then come off of the guarantee and find that they are making less money and have to really hustle to maintain that lifestyle. This puts them in a vulnerable position.
“Wanting nicer things as you get more money is reasonable. You just can’t overextend yourself.”
Large hospital employers like physicians like this because they know they can golden handcuff them. They are more likely to stay through abuse because they quite literally need the money.
The moral of the story is to be conscious of your purchases as any large purchase can erode at your autonomy and, paradoxically, your happiness.