I have been browsing lately a lot of threads about loans and how to put finances together or how to manage them through medical school.
You might find me naive and oblivious but this is how i have been looking at the situation:)
I come from a place where there’s no loan support system
for students. Education is “free” but only few spots in every university and if you fail to be the lucky one even by 0.5 of a grade point on you entry examinations you have to pay full price out of your pocket.
Yes it’s cheap in comparison to US colleges but yet unaffordable for our citizens.
So it all goes down to weather you have cash: no money = no dreams, no school, no loans, no problem:) Or people end up going into fields that are less competitive and they have no interest in, just to get a bachelor and end up never using their degree;and no chance for a career change later in life either as you are generally stuck living from paycheck to paycheck.
So I tell myself : I would rather pay 50% of my salary to loans and spend every day doing what I love.
This kind of comparison technic helps me with all aspects of life. Every time I have an issue here in the United States I think of what I would have to deal with back home and my problems disappear.
Surprisingly people that I meet in my life are very encouraging and supportive: I ran into an ER doctor the other day and he said laughing " do not worry and borrow as much as you can.You will deal with it when time comes. And when you die your loans are forgiven:))"…He is a shining and happy person in love with emergency medicine later I found out he has been battling cancer for a while.
Ironically the same day I found out the russian community here lost our dear friend a 27 year old life loving Alex. He had no medical issues and lead a healthy life style. He was watching TV and suddenly died of pulmonary embolism. We were raising money for his funeral as he had no family in the United States.
On the happy note, a few of my friends graduated from various dental schools lately with outrageous loans and very happy to practice dentistry:)) And another friend is finishing in a year at Tufts school of dental medicine at 90K per year and very happy that she is the first one in her family to even get into college:))
America is a good place to be if you take over one thing at a time…At this moment I need to work my way through post bacc premed…then med school application…then med school hopefully …then residency and ALL that is only possible if we as well as our loved ones are in good health…i have never been in debt and I will embrace it the day I get a bill:)) why ruin the present moment?))
Thank you for reading and wishing you all love and light.
I love this viewpoint!!! I am not afraid of the loans or the debt either. I figure the fact that I am alive and able to do this is the gift. I know what I make now, and I can live on what I make now. So if a doctor’s salary is 2X what I make and I give that second half to the loans, I will still live comfortably on the exact same salary I had before and get to do what I love. In my world, it is a no-brainer. I am not in it for the money. My life experience has taught me that money comes, money goes, things come, things go. Neither money, nor things are worth stressing over trying to hang on to. Just make a contribution to mankind and society as a whole and do what you love every day. God takes care of the rest. Touch a life, heal someone, and be transformed in the process.
- VickiV Said:
I love this quote!
I simply try and live my life by these principles as well as treating others with kindness and respect. I love this philosophy; Kudos to the both of you for seeing the bigger picture.
Wow… this is just so inspiring… and I can relate to this post very well…
My home country is very similar with yours but my husband is a 100% American and he gets nervous even if we didnt pay off the balance on the credit card for a month let alone any loan… Well, Im woking on fixing that soon with my PreMed and Med school… LOL… Just hope my poor guy wont lose it…
Gonna have to disagree. Once we get down from the altruistic cloud there is the reality that debt is an anchor. Taking the American dream of borrowing until you can’t borrow anymore and not to worry because there is always work…only works if you are healthy enough to work. Nothing is guaranteed, not even graduating from med school. I know more than a few former med students with 2 years of med school debt who never graduated and have 6 figures of debt to repay. One is US trained and the other 4 are Carribean.
Since the US educational system is the cash cow that it is we will all more than likely have to get into debt to pay for it. Minimize that amount of debt because you never know what the future holds (ObamaCare anyone??). Debt is a tool but not a very good one. Strive as much as possible to borrow as little as possible.
Think about it; med school loans, mortgage, car loans, credit cards…all this debt adds up. There are plenty of doctors living paycheck to paycheck and that should be a warning to us all.
- croooz Said:
The way I look at the debt situation is like this. First, there are plenty of other people living paycheck to paycheck (McDonald's anyone?) who absolutely HATE what they do. Is a Doctor entitled to be resentful about this possibility simply because they're a Doctor? Second, I don't think it's the med school debt that crushes most folks, I think it's trying to live a "Doctor's lifestyle" that hurts most people. In other words, even if you're a Doc, you still need to live on a budget and not upgrade from Benz to a Bentley because your med school classmate did. Third, in order to have ANYTHING in this country you almost have to go into debt whether we're talking about a home, a car, or an education. So why should an education be viewed any differently? Forth, outside of having 3 or more kids or one with special needs, require your spouse to get off their butt and WORK!!!
Now in my mid 40's, I've already done all the stupid things young people do with money which is why a 30 something with 300K debt should be viewed VERY differently from someone like me who been around the block a time or two. I'm almost done raising kids, wasting money, living the high life, which isn't what it's cracked up to be anyway!!
Now it's time to get down to career business, and like other things in life that costs money,and I'm totally cool with the prospect of high debt!
Finally, about this "death" thing. I wish I had some preordained contract with God that could tell me definitely when I'm going to die. But since I nor anyone else has that, I'm going to assume that since I take better care of myself than many people 20 years younger than me, that I'll probably live long enough to practice and pay back my debt.
Path/Croooz–I think you guys are spot on from both perspectives. In my daily work, I help with the financial/business side of physician practice and life, so this is near and dear to my heart. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “If I don’t get this check by Friday, my kids won’t eat!”
Well, first of all…ease up. I’m pretty sure no one’s going hungry. But I have to admit that over the last 9 years of doing this, I’ve gotten less and less sympathetic. Ok, Dr Smith…your kids are going hungry…yet, I have your bank statement here and see that you have a $6k per month mortgage. I understand that you need your student loan reimbursement (about $1500), but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to your lifestyle expenses. Scale it back a bit…feed your kids.
Having said that, I can’t really pass those kinds of judgments, and I don’t…but I certainly file the info away for my own upcoming experiences. Some of these physicians are buying Bentleys while still in fellowship, and then crying because they can’t pay their bills. My mid-range sedan is a year old and paid for…and it will get me where I need to go just fine. My home has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, and I only have 3 children (one of which lives with her mom during the week), with no plans for more…so we don’t need a bigger house. If I start losing my mind and trying to “live big,” somebody slap me. I will be 44 (my husband 49) when I’m done with Residency…already behind the 8-ball. So yes. I understand and accept the fact that I will incur debt in order to fulfill this dream. What I also understand and accept is that I don’t need to incur ADDITIONAL debt to fulfill a lifestyle. If I can’t pay for it, I don’t need to buy it.
We are comfortable. We have more than what we need. So eliminating the med school debt is priority #1 after school…yes, the debt is a necessary tool, but I also need to do what I can to 1) minimize it, and 2) eliminate it as quickly as possible.
The moral of the story that is my job every day? The most brilliant neurosurgeons in the world may not have ever had a business class. They might not understand one thing about income tax implications for the deals they sign. They might have no clue how to interpret the legal verbiage of their contracts. And they might not have a lick of common sense. It doesn’t make them dumb. But I DO wish they’d understand what they don’t know, and seek help appropriately…instead of making huge financial mistakes and then just lamenting in misery later.
Net? Don’t let the idea of debt keep you from your dream of being a doctor. But be SMART about managing that debt (along with the rest of your finances) through the whole process. If you harbor ideas that money will just be falling from trees once you have MD behind your name, think again. Go talk to a family practice doctor and ask them how much it takes every month to keep the doors open… Then talk to an FP whose main patient base is Medicare patients, and ask them how scared they are about their financial future…
Medicine is a good living. But there are other ways to make far more money with less stress, time, and upfront financial risk. Just be informed and make wise choices. Buyer’s remorse on something this big packs quite a punch…
Thank you very much everybody for you comments and thoughts. I cannot but agree that the problem is with managing money as a physician not so much with having debt.
I , myself, have never made more than 45K a year and for the first couple of years my major expense was my immigration process. I own my car but share an apartment rent with a roommate. I have not had any support since I was 18 years old and always managed money well as I have noone to rely upon.
I have traveled almost to every western european country and everywhere in eastern europe, all over the United States, Russia,Mexico and Canada. I always put money aside for all my hobbies.I own a motorcycle, motorcycle racing gear, paddle boards, snowboarding and skiing equipment. I pay for yoga and gym. I made sure I kept an excellent credit score of 786.
The last trip I made was to Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara…I rented a room from locals for $20 a day near the beach. I am sure some people payed 1000 a night at a generic hotel. There’s always a way if you want something really bad .
Since I went back to school my main focus is education and money is tight. Maybe I will have to sell everything I own but money come and go.I think I would be just fine even with primary care doctor’s salary.:)))
As teacher with three young children, we don’t make a great deal of money, but we mostly get by. Taking all these classes for medical school has been a real stretch, so in the end I know we’ll have some serious debt. But, we don’t drive new cars, we have a modest, but suitable house and you know, its all we need. Sometimes my wife and I fantasize about buying a McMansion or what not, if I am a doctor, but in the end that is fantasy. We want to do, that we cannot do as teachers, is provide our children with a quality education, from beginning through college. So, the goals are, love what I do, have a level of control over my career that I don’t have as a teacher, and provide for my children better than I can as a teacher. None of this involves a big house or a nice car as far as the “doctor” lifestyle.
Just my thoughts on the matter.
- croooz Said:
- pathdr2b Said:
Sure but there is accident and disease that you can't prepare for. I'm not concerned about death in that we have term life insurance. However docs do get sick and suffer disease. I know two surgeons who had the worst of situations. One was stuck by a needle and contracted Hep C. His surgery days were over and he was one month from getting out of the military. The other had gotten out and the same thing happened to him within a year of getting out of the military. My point? We never know, therefore avoid high debt as much as possible regardless of your current health or specialty choice. Debt is not an investment in your future, it is debt...avoid it...or not. It's your choice.
- croooz Said:
I'm a STRONG believer in disability insurance. And sure, there's no way to know with certainty whether or not you will deal with the issues of accidents or diseases. But living ones life in this type of fear of the unknown is simply unacceptable to me.
The biggest issue in health and disease that I see is that people tend to do one of two things that significantly affects their health: They either smoke and/or are overweight. How much disease could be prevented by addressing those two?
- croooz Said:
I agree that avoiding high debt is a good idea in general. But since most people I know can't afford to pay in full for a home or a medical school education, I'm going to take my chances with debt for both.
Finally, I think anyone adverse to debt and who isn't independently wealthy should consider a cheaper career option. And never buy a home in large metropolitan city.
I'm going to end my post with my new favorite quote:
"If it's important to you, you will find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse."
Have I said something to offend you?
- croooz Said:
Have I said something to offend you?
Not at all, and I apologize if what I said offended you in ANY way.
But what I love about this site is that we can be honest from whatever perspective we're coming from and folks remain civilized.
And the place I'm coming from is the "no more excuses" place because quite frankly, that's a large part of why my 40 year old career dream remains unfulfilled. As a middle age person with a family and kid on the way to college in 2 years, I could never run out of reasons why med school is a bad idea. But at this point, with half my life over (if the stats are correct), I'm just not willing to allow myself ANY more excuses. And someone else on this site needs the SAME message I need, NO MORE EXCUSES!!
So that's who my post is directed at, not at you, and I apologize again if you were offended.
Wasn’t offended because I needed to know what your intentions were. Since they weren’t to offend then I wasn’t offended.
I see where you’re coming from. I’m in the same place. I just have the habit of projecting and since I’ve resolved myself to finally to go for it I figure everyone else has as well. Yet I get your point because the money discouraged me years ago. Now that I’m in a much worse financial position to go after med school is when I’ve resigned myself to “get er done!” Makes zero sense but it’s never felt more right.
There is the reality of debt but the greater reality of going after the dream. So now I see what you meant when your response to mine about docs living paycheck to paycheck. If things got ugly for me would I prefer to live paycheck to paycheck as a physician or as anything else? Clearly as a physician, so I get it.
I just wanted to make sure I understood your points and that I hadn’t offended you. I’m very, very, very, very, very, very, very,…(did I say very?)…good at being offensive without even trying so I just needed to make sure I hadn’t offended you.
Plus…my mentor told me not to worry about money. He earned >$400k last year as a general Internal Med doc and will make $500k next year…no problem paying back loans or anything else. So the money is out there but it all depends on how flexible we are where we work.