Show me the money!

O.K. I need some help with nagging comments of friends. This is a bit along the lines of the last post. I have heard from some doctors and many non-medical acquaintances that the medical industry has changed, that it is no longer that great job. The comment that worries me is that doctors no longer make good money. Now I had allways said to people that I did not want to do this for the money but rather for the passion of medicine. I am worried however, when will I need to stop working and live off of student loans, will I be able to repay those loans once a doctor, and what type of off work lifestyle could I expect. I have kept myself out of school too many years by trying to make " THE BIG BUCKS" as a contractor to pay for school, only to find it never seems to happen. I suppose I am just worried that as an older student, is this going to pan out financialy or am I creating a future hardship. Due to the internal passion for this occupation I would probably persue it anyway but would like some help mulling over this topic.

Are these people telling you this practicing physicians? if not, then they have no business telling you what a physician’s lifestyle is like. Even with the evolving medical system, I highly doubt a physician’s salary will decrease enough that they won’t be able to pay off their loans and live a better-than-average lifestyle.

choose to spend your money wisely and you’ll live like a king. be frivolous and end up a pauper.

I have two friends from my college days who were a married couple when I met them, but they are now divorced, and each has since remarried (to non-physicians, I should add).

One is an Ob-Gyn, and partner in a lucrative practice. She brings down about $300,000 in a good year. Her recent husband owns his own business, and makes a similar (6-figure) amount of money. From the exterior, they have a most desirable life together. I know, however, that their marriage is shaky at best, and they plan to send the child from their marriage to a private military school as soon as he is old enough.

The other is a specialist at an urban hospital, and he makes around $85,000 annually. He owns a reasonably nice house, drives a SUV big enough to accomodate the two children from his previous marriage (he & the mother share custody). The kids go to public school, are bright & well adjusted, and the elder one is a pretty decent athlete. His current wife is charming and very intelligent. She could have easily gone to medical school herself, but enjoys her work as a research assistant at a university laboratory.

Both of the doctors have paid off their school loans. Other than that, their respective lifestyles are reflections of their own natures far more than their choices of specialty or career.

Doctors still make pretty good money (but, honestly, who wouldn’t like to make more?). Paraphrasing Megboo, it’s how you choose to spend it that makes the difference. Last I heard, medical degrees still don’t come with guarantees of any sort. Doctors are still human beings like everyone else (regardless of arguments to the contrary by a few). Fate is still as fickle as ever, and human behavior just as much so. Happiness is subjective, but no more or less elusive for docs than for anyone else.

I feel your pain. My concern was when the time comes for me to get accepted should I was again join the military to help pay tuition and loans. I emailed and spoke with ER physicians and was pretty much told not to worry about loan payback. As long as I don’t get stupid with how much I borrow, once I’m out of residency I will make enough to pay back loans and have some left over to eat some ramen noodles. Basically ~$200k. I’m living off much less right now so I’m not too worried about loans. Not saying I’m going to go out and buy a Benz, 7500sqft home, and yacht right out of med school but I do expect a new car, nice home, and a remote control sailboat as an attending.

Money is out there for medicine, just like any other field. Some fields are better than others. Some locations are better than others. Don’t get all retarded with debt during school, residency, or in general and you’ll be fine.

These are the ramblings of a starry eyed premed. Take what is useful, discard the rest.

Thanks for the input. Sunday I went out and bought a new vehicle to last the next 8 to 10 years. My last one had 265,000 miles. It’s a Ford F-150 with an interior that rivals any mercedes or lexus. My thinking is that I am going to live as conservatively as possible for the next 8 or 10 years and now I have a cool ride to make the trip. I have also been really inspired by those that are getting accepted into med schools, it proves that there is hope for us OPM’s. Now if I can just get an A on that precalc test tomorrow…

My Honda of 13 years just died. 275k miles and the poor thing just had a heart attack on me. So I’m off to buy my next 10 year car, so it’s funny you should post the same thing I was telling my wife yesterday. Right now we’re in discussions about what to get, since I should, by my calculations, start med school in 2009 so I’ll 1 year of payments while in school.

We’ll see. Good stuff. Glad you’re sticking to this because we need all the other crazy OPMer’s in this marathon we’ve got going.

Guys, having a new & hopefully more reliable auto before getting into med school is not too bad an idea. If it is new enough to still be under warranty - even better! Believe me, it is very hard to come up with the extra $$ to cover repairs from day one of med school all the way to the end of residency.

Right now, I am struggling to keep alive my 99 Durango - PIECE OF $HIT - that I purchase w/ an used vehicle warranty - THANK GOD! In the 2 years of the warranty, they (the warranty company) had to fork over >$9000 in repairs!!! I bought the damned thing w/ 58k miles in March 2003 & it just now hit 76k…it has had a complete replacement of the tranny, front-end rebuilt x2, leaks oil like a HOLE & in the shop to rebuild the A/C 5 times just to name the more major issues.

Smart thinking!