What are your student loans like?

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  • #164090
    MauiMommaMDMauiMommaMD
    Participant

    I’m considering applying for medical school in two years. I’m married with two kids (I’m taking time off from school because my kids are still babies).

    I keep reading horror stories of the amount of loans doctors have, and despite their high salaries, they’re unable to pay them off. I’m not sure if this is speculation or fact. Debt is a huge factor for us: my husband already has $70,000 and I have $25,000. If I pay $100,000 for medical school I need to know that I’ll be able to pay that off in 5 years or so after residency. If not, maybe a MD isn’t for me. As much as I want to be a doctor, I don’t want to be in debt forever. I’m hoping the horror stories online aren’t true.

    So, what is your debt like? And if you’re already a practicing physician, how long did it take you to break free of the debt?

    Thanks!

    #164092
    lyn2006lyn2006
    Participant

    My husband and I both graduated with ~200k (each). We are now third year residents and owe a combined ~500k since interest has accumulated. We pay almost $700 per month right now which doesn’t even come close to covering the interest. We are hoping to pay them off within the first 10 years after we finish residency but will likely put off buying a home in order to do that. Also, we will be in relatively higher-paying fields (anesthesia and cardiology) and both plan to work full time (or maybe 80%). Still, that will be >4k per month to pay them off in 10 years. It’s possible, but a lot of money.

    I’d say it is extremely unlikely you’d graduate from school with 100,000 in loans unless you have family to help you. We each had a small amount of scholarship to help and still graduated with this much in loans.

    #164097
    residentmomresidentmom
    Participant

    I had about 100K and my husband had about 20, and neither of us had debt from undergrad. We are almost 9 years out from med school now. We have paid off his loan and about half of mine. We deferred for all of my residency (3 years). At the time we went, interest was very low for consolidation loans, and tuition was lower than it is now. We both had large scholarships and we had 2 children during med school.

    #164098
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    Check out physician salaries here:
    http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2012/public

    Based on this data, a 2 Doc family (Cardio/Anes) will earn ~ 620K/year.

    Even with 5K/month in loans at the highest income tax bracket, they should still clear ~ 30K/month AFTER taxes. 5K in loans is a drop in the bucket IMHO for what you get in return.(I realize home finances are much more complicated than this, but I think my point is made. Plus high income folks “deduct” out the wazoo!).

    Now if you need to live in a mansion with the 10K mortgage to boot because you’re doctors and earn over a half-milli, you may have a problem.

    Go for your goals, minimize debt where you can, and live sensibly after you finish med school.

    #164100
    sahmdsahmd
    Participant

    Here is an article that explains the finances in some detail:

    http://benbrownmd.wordpress.com/

    I think we can all come up with examples that will sway you one way or another. The husband and wife who are both super-high-earning doctors (per Apop/Path’s example) will reassure you that it will be no problem to pay off your loans. The wife who goes into primary care, is the main breadwinner, and also feels compelled to be the primary parent will be struggling to make ends meet. There are all kinds of people in between these two extremes. However, things have been getting worse in recent years because tuitions are going up and physician pay is going down.

    I have heard lots of stories, here and elsewhere, about physicians who are having trouble making ends meet. It does happen. Here is a discussion from 1 year ago about the different factors that may determine whether it will happen to you:

    http://www.mommd.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/83334/1

    #164107
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    [quote=sahmd]The wife who goes into primary care, is the main breadwinner, and also feels compelled to be the primary parent will be struggling to make ends meet. [/quote]

    IMHO, her main struggle will be keeping that “superwoman cape” on.

    [quote=sahmd]I have heard lots of stories, here and elsewhere, about physicians who are having trouble making ends meet. It does happen.[/quote]

    I’m STRONGLY of the opinion that I’d rather live “paycheck to paycheck” as a Doc than in ANY other career. Perhaps others don’t feel this way.

    I’d also suggest the OP go to the Oldpremeds website for their discussion money.

    #164112
    megboomegboo
    Participant

    I didn’t see where the OP said her husband was a doctor.

    I will have about $270k-$290k when I graduate.

    Loans are a valid point to consider. Especially if you are an older student or have a family.

    #164114
    lyn2006lyn2006
    Participant

    [quote=megboo]I didn’t see where the OP said her husband was a doctor.

    [/quote]

    I think Apop was referring to my post. My point really was just that we both have a lot of loans. I just wanted to add that we are lucky to both be going into higher-paying fields so it won’t be such a big deal.

    #164504
    MauiMommaMDMauiMommaMD
    Participant

    Thanks so much for your honesty.

    My husband is not a doctor…he is a software developer. He wasn’t very careful with money during his undergrad and he has over 70K without a master’s degree. He makes a high salary now and will support me during school. I know I can’t get too high (100K plus) or it’ll take years and years to get out from under it.

    #164519
    displaceddisplaced
    Participant

    My loans for private med school from 2000-2004 were about 300,000. My husband’s were about 200,000. Average debt from public med school is 150,000 and private 180,000. Consider average debt is Not average cost (some people have family pay tuition, books, lab fees etc), and does not include food, rent, etc. Books are usually $100 each or more. Plus there are a lot of fees to take board exams ($1,000 each test or more), state fees for licensure, etc.
    When considering average salaries for physicians posted on the Internet, be very sceptical. For instance, after medical school, you must do usually three years of residency before working at a private job. Residency pays about 35,000-45,000 per year. Salaries after residency probably start ( from personal and colleague experiences) at 100,000-120,000. Higher salaries are reserved for people who own their own businesses, or are super specialists or surgeons.
    We pay 1,800 each month on student loans (which is just my loans, not my husband’s, and we will pay for 30 years).
    Personally, I would recommend looking at the finances very carefully. Who will watch your kids while you’re in school or studying? If you have to pay for daycare that can be prohibitively expensive.
    Also research happiness of physicians: google a survey of America’s physicians by the physicians foundation. A lot of docs are not happy being physicians and the majority do not recommend the field as a career.
    They do have loan repayment grants after residency, but the work is hard mentally and physically.
    I would personally recommend spending no more than four or five years total post secondary (undergrad or maybe masters). Pick a field you can make a good salary at when you graduate. Look into programs peri medically, such as ultrasound or respiratory or other fields if you want to be with patients. Debt will be minuscule but salaries are good, avoiding Years of loan repayment.

    #164520
    southernmdsouthernmd
    Participant

    Whoaaa….residency salaries are between 47,000 and 62,000 for me. I’ve never heard of anything under 45K a year.

    Also, if I make 100K a year as an anesthesiologist after I graduate from residency, I am doing something terribly wrong.

    #164521
    Doc201XDoc201X
    Participant

    [quote=displaced]Residency pays about 35,000-45,000 per year. Salaries after residency probably start ( from personal and colleague experiences) at 100,000-120,000. [/quote]

    I don’t know ANY resident that is/was paid so little, and the ONLY Docs I know make between 100-200K are: 1) Working part-time, 2) Working at Public health clinics or 3) In Academia in a field like Family Practice.

    #164529
    AmmaMDAmmaMD
    Participant

    My residency pays around 50k/y (lower at first, goes up with seniority).

    Psych jobs out of residency, full time, are generally 130-160k starting, per what I’m hearing, for typical join-a-standard-practice jobs. That’s probably skewed low, if anything.

    #164534
    LoveBug14LoveBug14
    Participant

    .

    #164559
    Baby EinsteinBaby Einstein
    Participant

    [quote=Path201x][quote=displaced]Residency pays about 35,000-45,000 per year. Salaries after residency probably start ( from personal and colleague experiences) at 100,000-120,000. [/quote]

    I don’t know ANY resident that is/was paid so little, and the ONLY Docs I know make between 100-200K are: 1) Working part-time, 2) Working at Public health clinics or 3) In Academia in a field like Family Practice.

    [/quote]

    Residencies paid 45-55K when I applied 3 years ago, depending on cost of living in the area. Probably has gone up a couple of grands but there’s definitely residencies paying in the high 40s still.

    100-200K is actually pretty standard for any primary care field, in private practice, in my area.

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