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Are all the years really worth it?

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by jefgreen, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. xnfs93hy

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    I know the majority of my threads on SDN have been geared more towards the financial aspect of medicine. I will try to make this my last.

    The reason I post all these money related questions is because I cannot ask other physicians how much they make and have not come across a better forum than this for asking questions.
    ---
    I am decent in math and science. However, I do not really have a strong passion for the sciences. I love math though, but more like what you do in AP stat or business calculus.

    So, not really having a strong interest in science, at all, really kills me to boot. It isn't that I'm lazy, because I'm not, its just that I am starting to realize how difficult it is to make it in this field. I know I'm smart but you really have to be gifted to become a physician, at least in my eyes.

    Another thing that has crossed my mind a million times over is:What exactly do I want?

    All I want is a nice house and to be able to live comfortably. I have posted another thread about this in the All Students section. I really want to be an accountant but I also want to live where I am (New Jersey). Houses down here are VERY expensive. A nice house can sometimes max out at $980,000. It's nuts.

    I have actually based all my career choices in the past two years on which ones will get me a million dollar house the quickest.

    Why? Well, because that is all I really want. I just want a big house and enough money to live comfortably.
    ---
    So why am I still on here then? Well, accounting is a pretty boring job. I mean, I can deal with it, but, eh. Even though being a physician is much more stressful, what you do day to day beats the hell out of what an accountant does day to day.

    The pre med workload is very rigorous at just about every college, and that is what scares me.

    I keep telling myself "Jeff, don't worry about high school, just do what you need to do to get into a good state school and just go from there."

    But then I get bolted back to reality every time I go to science class. If I cannot handle an AP bio or AP chem course, how the hell will I handle medical school?

    I have come to the conclusion that the only way for me to have a pray at medical school is to work day in and day out studying and studying for years and years and years. Is it even worth it?

    All I want is a good income for a single person. 150k after taxes is an income I can deal with.

    However, it seems that there are NO careers out there that will give me that income without 25 years or so experience. Will I have me million dollar house? Sure. Will I be driving a BMW? Why the hell not?

    When? My 50th birthday it seems.

    It seems like there are no careers out there besides one in the medical field that will give me the income I want in a decent amount of time. Most people coming out of residency make that much.
    --
    So I have come down to a couple questions.

    Should I still consider medicine because I know that I will be compensated well and be able to achieve what I want?

    Because medical school is so expensive, would it be wise to get a bachelors in accounting, work in NYC, and go from the ground up instead?

    And (I do not expect this to be answered)

    I have heard from NUMEROUS people on here that there are quicker ways to achieve my goals, yet no one has been able to give me an alternative career.

    Accountants in NYC start at around 60k out of college, which is pretty good. However, lets say I have a friend who plans on becoming a physician.

    Physician:

    4 years UG
    4 years med (120k in debt)
    3-9 years residency ($40k a year, lets say)

    Accountant:
    4 years UG
    4 years exp (about 200k in bank)
    1-3 years exp additional (70-120k in bank)

    By the physician friend starts practicing I could have accumulate a few hundred grand already. For the sake of argument lets say I have 200-250k in my bank.

    My friend is still paying off his loans while I have a quarter mill and will become a manager next year, making 100k, which is more or less what my family physician friend now makes. Yet, I have much more money than him.
    ---
    This is what I mean. If I can make this much money by the time I am in my 30's, why even bother becoming a doctor if I am just in it for the money?

    However, my doctor friend, will more than likely make much more than me in the long run and be more financially comfortable.

    I cannot hope to achieve my goal of owning a nice house down here until I am 40 which is 20 years after I graduate high school. I do not know if I should just be an accountant or shoot for the stars and become a physician.
     
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  3. DrYoda

    DrYoda Space Cowboy
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    A close family friend lives in what is surely one of the most expensive subdivisions in my state (houses exceeding 1mil which is a palace in the midwest). I visit him and his family fairly regularly and have met many of their neighbors. I've notice (and I've noticed it in other high priced areas as well) that the vast majority of the homeowners are over the age of 40. The ones who are younger seem to usually be from wealthy families, or some form of celebrity. It's simply the way the world works, most people start with starter homes. Some groups, physicians being one, may skip the starter home, but most doctors still won't be in a million dollar house in their 30s.

    I guess the moral is: good things come to those who wait. It may suck, but this little saying holds true for many things in life.

    There's nothing wrong with this, I actually seriously considered taking a few years off to cover costs.

    and if you like accounting, it's a fine degree to get even if you don't take time off.

    I'm not going to suggest careers, but I'll try to give you some insight into why people say this.

    Long term benefit depends on many factors. A physician making 250k+/yr will surely outearn most other professions long-term, this can't really be refuted. However, if you lower this number to what a familiy doctor of pediatrician makes the long term benefit is very little. Remember, it's not all about base salary; while a physician is racking up debt, people (with far less debt) in other careers are buying houses which appreciate (generally), taking advantage of 401k matching, getting MBAs on their employeer's dollar, receiveing x-mas bonuses, playing the stock market (again, generally profitable) ect.

    Also there are things in life which you can't easily put a $ sign on, but are never-the-less valuable. An example would be that to be a physician you are pretty much signing away your twenties for training.

    Now, physician is for sure a great career as far as income is concerned. However, there are many cases were the rich doctor steriotype is not true. It is because of these cases, which become more numberous every year, that you are told there are quicker ways to accumulate wealth.

    You have lots of time to decide what to do, not everyone knows for sure what they want to do at 18. Use college to keep exploring careers and figure out what you want (financially, and otherwise). Also, it would be best to keep the big house as a long term goal, which isn't bad, it's allways good to have something to work towards.

    Edit: Are the years worth it?: depends on the individual.
     
    #2 DrYoda, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  4. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    jefgreen I know you want to have all the answers right now but you are so young. You have your whole life ahead of you! Give yourself time to figure out what the right path is for you, no matter what that means. It's okay not to know what you want to do. Don't look at careers based on what the salary could be. Things change and a career that is stable and making lots of money today can lose its status VeRy quickly. In college people change their minds A LOT because no one has any clue at the age of 17/18 what they want to be for the rest of their lives. Just go to college with an open mind and see where it takes you -- you might be surprised!
     
  5. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig
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    Jef, I think you need to take some time to figure out what you think will make you happy. Because frankly, I don't think you have much grasp of that yet. Which is totally fine. You're still young.

    You say you need a big house and a $150,000 a year salary. Why? Why is that so important to you? I am totally serious. Is there nothing else that motivates you?

    I'm not going to lie. Money is absolutely an important consideration in any job. But you gotta actually take some form of interest in the job. Otherwise you are going to be absolutely miserable. And if you're miserable at work, chances are you'll stink at what you do anyhow. Is that what you want? Never mind the training (which is gargantuan), consider the day-to-day life of a physician... we're talking 70-80 hour work-weeks here. And not much down-time throughout that period. How many non-physicians do you know work like that?

    You want other jobs that pay as well as physicians... there are plenty. Off the top of my head:
    Attorney
    Engineer
    Entrepreneur
    Stock broker/hedge fund manager/investment banker/anything dealing with finance

    The real difference between the salary obtained by those jobs versus that of medicine is security. Doctors almost certainly will hold a steady job and can find work even in difficult economic periods (though admittedly, different doctors can have wildly varying levels of security).

    To obtain the high salaries in those other jobs, you need to make yourself marketable. You need to be especially good at your job. And for the vast majority of people, to be really good at something it helps to really enjoy doing it first.

    This is why the answer to your question of "whether or not it is worth it" can be a little difficult to understand. Most physicians don't look at all the years of studying as simply work. They actually enjoy learning about medicine. They love discussing new tidbits of information they picked up in a recent journal and talking about the ever evolving nature of healthcare.

    Does that make any sense?
     
  6. xnfs93hy

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    Accounting will always pay well and there will always be a need. I understand what you mean but there are some careers with salaries that really just don't change.
     
  7. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    Unless you have a crystal ball there is never any way of knowing for sure that your job will always be needed and always pay well -- and that goes for any career.

    If you want to use the example of accounting, your salary can go up & down depending on how flooded your area is with accountants. My aunt is an accountant in NY and decided to change careers because the market was just flooded at that time. Today might be different but you will never know what tomorrow will look like.

    If you asked the CEOs making a $1 that this economic crisis would have happened they would have laughed in your face.

    Plus, there is that whole thing about being good at what you do that you might want to look into... usually it requires some base level of interest in the field.
     
  8. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
    Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    You forgot assasin.
     
  9. tennisball80

    tennisball80 Membership Revoked
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    Win 61 milion dollars from lottery. It can be a fast way. :D
     
  10. RxWildcat

    RxWildcat Julius Randle BEASTMODE!
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    Read my mind :laugh:
     
  11. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig
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    Don't Senior Mod's get a little somethin-somethin from SDN under the table?

    I've heard reports that they were at least 6 figures. Extortion!
     
  12. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin'
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    oh man. I totally need to renegotiate my contract.... ZIPPYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To me, you've answered your own question with the part I bolded. Medicine is about science. So is dentistry, veterinary, optometry, or any other related health field. They are about scientific curiosity, and learning how and why the body (or a part of the body) works the way it does, and how to fix it when it isn't working properly.

    If there's no curiosity, what's the point? Are you willing to go through all the school, all the training, and a lifetime's worth of work for something you have no passion for? More power to ya if you are, but it sounds like a pretty miserable existence to me.

    You focus an awful lot on what you'd like to HAVE rather than what you want to be DOING.
     
  13. ylrebmik

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    You don't need to have all the answers to your life in high school... in fact... you shouldn't!

    I've wanted to be a vet for 3 years now... and I'm still keeping my mind open and its important.

    My other huge passion is creative writing... and as much as I want to be a vet... when I get to college I'm going to major in bio and creative writing... and volunteer/work at a vet clinic and see if it's right for me.


    Seriously, if it doesn't seem right... explore. Have fun, enjoy your life. My brother went to school for Accounting.. and now he's a Golf Pro going into the PGA. Umm... yeah things change. haha.

    Go to college. Major in math related areas. See where it takes you.
     
  14. xnfs93hy

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    I guess I should keep my options open then. Oh and thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it.
     
  15. tennisball80

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    Study the most you are interested in undergraduate and then you can decide. :)
     
  16. xnfs93hy

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    I don't even know if I can get in, I am going to community college first. Doesn't that kill my chances?
     
  17. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig
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    jef, nothing kills your chances.
     
  18. xnfs93hy

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    Medical school admissions isn't just a numbers game though, people applying to allo medical schools will also have shadowing, volunteer work, and numerous other things. I have a hard time fitting all of that in NOW. I can get great grades if I study and do nothing else.
     
  19. ToldYouSo

    ToldYouSo Student
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    Jef please don't get me wrong, but you are asking and have asked so many financial questions in the past that it's obvious that money is your main factor. You should really focus on going into business if $$$ is what you really want. From questioning residency compensation to asking whether med school is worth it or not, I am not convinced that medicine or healthcare is the perfect fit for you, however I am not you and could be wrong, but please keep this in consideration.
     
  20. pressmom

    pressmom Third year!
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    I think I've said this in response to one of your other threads, but the one thing all people who make the kind of money you're talking about making (and I'm not talking inheriting) have a strong business sense. Whether this means just an innate sense for business or something learned either in undergrad or through graduate education.

    Veterinary medicine doesn't generally pay well but one of the practices I worked for was owned by a guy with good business sense. He owned a nice house with a lot of land and a house in the Caribbean.

    In virtually any profession (except working as a high-ranking person in a large publicly held corporation), you're going to have the POTENTIAL to make more as an entrepreneur. But you also have the potential to lose more. This holds true for lawyers, accountants, doctors, consultants, architects, engineers, financial advisers etc. While in these fields you can make a fair bit working for someone else, if you have your own business you have a higher potential to make money. You also have to grow the business and that requires reinvestment. Also if times turn sour, you still have to pay your employees, for the equipment, for building rent and expenses, etc and that can cut into your personal earnings. Plus you have to deal with personnel headaches. (This is all coming from a girl whose father owns four businesses.) It takes a certain type of person to deal with all these headaches, but the rewards can be great--both professional and personal.

    I hope to own my own practice one day, but I also realize I have a lot to learn and will more than likely work for someone for at least 5 years. For any profession, you have to put in your time learning the business and learning how to do it well before you run your own ship. My dad worked for 8 years for other people before he bought his first business. He opened his second about 10 years later and his third about 5 years ago and his fourth about 3 years ago. We moved into a nice house in one of the nicest neighborhoods in town when my dad was 36. He drove a Cadillac from 93-00 and started driving Mercedes in 2000. He lives the life you want, but he works very hard for it.

    Choose a job from the list above of high paying jobs that you will be good at and be excited about doing. If you are excited about what you do, you will work harder and make more money. There are people in virtually every field who make a lot of money because they have two things 1) an innate or learned ability to do their job and 2) an innate or learned business sense. Once you have these two things, you should do well.
     
  21. xnfs93hy

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    The only reason I want a million dollar house is because that is literally how much a nice big house costs in NJ where I live, and I want to live here. Actually, I take it back, houses around here are like 600-850, but that is still pretty steep.

    I agree with what you said. The thing is, just like most other people, I just want a good/high salary in a field that is stable (like law, accounting, medicine, etc.) I could never deal with running my own business.

    One of my friends' dad owns his own fencing business and another girl I know, her dad owns a roofing business. They are loaded, but they work their ass off (don't get me wrong, I am all for hard work and big rewards) but I do not think that I could deal with all of that, EVEN if my business was successful, it's too much.


    Medicine is interesting to me, however, since I do not have much interest in the sciences, and am struggling in my high school science courses (not even AP), I am just going to give it up because I cannot make it.

    I just can't think of any other careers that pay as well as that of a physician.

    Unless I become a lawyer or something.

    If all else fails, I will probably just go into accounting, because if I am going to stay SINGLE, then my income will be more than sufficient.

    The one thing I really don't know if I can deal with is having to send my kids to a public school. Private schools are so expensive around here and I do not know if I would be making enough to send my kids off to an expensive school. Not just that, then there's college to worry about.


    More likely than not I will end up going into accounting, the salary is spectacular, for a single person, not for raising a family.
     
  22. freddydpt

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Look into the following professions:
    Physician assistant, Anesthesia assistant, Pathology assistant - many make 120-150K right out of a 2 yr masters
    Dentist - only 1 yr of residency and make a load of moula
    Lawyer - if you're smart, get into a top twenty law school, you'll make guaranteed cash coming out of school

    Hedge funds, stocks, finance, MBA, etc...

    No, getting an MD is NOT worth the money and putting off your life for a decade... it's worth it for reasons other than money (for some people in medicine - not all)
     
  23. niranjan162

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    It sounds like medicine could be interesting to u say if u were watching house or something, but not the actual study of science which is wut medicine is all about.

    I think business is the way to go for you. Your life will be much easier and u can make great money. You may not get the house right away, but you can def get the car after a couple years.

    Plus in business there are so many perks. Bonuses, expense accounts, etc.

    But college is a great place to discover urself. Consider that as step 1. Then you can worry about where your kids goto school.

    And in all likelihood all the plans you made in highschool will goto crap as u get further along in ur life.
     
  24. vasca

    vasca En la era postpasambre
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    A good post overall indeed. If you enter med school with no passion, you'll probably drop out before you finish your second year. It's just too emotionally demanding and depressing to think how poor you are while your HS buddies are already earning some salary and are soon about to move out to their own flats. If you don't love medicine or at least you're really ambitious and hardworking thinking in the long term, you won't finish med school.

    If you think HS science classes are tough, you're going to get your face slapped in med school. It's just on an entirely new level of commitment. My HS was pretty tough and made you work, but you had a lot of free time and you could ace subjects if you worked decently well. In Med school, the work you put in because of sheer difficulty, will barely get you a passing grade.

    I even think my HS science courses (save for calculus which was indeed really hard for me), Biology was for kids and Chemistry was very lightweight. I didn't fare too well in Physics, but luckily I didn't need to take it as a senior (I do love Physics, but the math kills me).

    Do I think the sacrifices are worth it? You will only know when you're in a hospital knowing that you really did help save a life even if it was a small thing. It feels awesome. The social prestige (at least in Mexico) can be overwhelming at times. :cool:

    Luckily for me, I was really into hard science as a kid. While normal girls played with Barbie dolls, I was really into reading Geology and Paleontology books. If my parents had bought me med books to read as bedtime stories, I probaby would have freaking loved them. Yeah, medicine does attract quite.. interesting individual doesn't it?
     
    #23 vasca, Dec 22, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  25. Thrombomodulin

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    #24 Thrombomodulin, Dec 22, 2008
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  26. xnfs93hy

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    Yes, but except for the medical professions that you mentioned, you are not GUARANTEED to make the big incomes. In medicine, you are pretty much guaranteed to make the big bucks.

    How many people are actually successful in business? Hedge funds?

    Investment banker?

    Yeah...

    EDIT: What I meant by that is, you are not guaranteed to make tons of money in those professions. If you are, I don't know, a spinal surgeon, you are going to make bank.
     
  27. gluon999

    gluon999 Senior Member
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    To the OP, as a current MS3 now trying to decide what field I want to pursue for residency/life, I can say that I am glad I chose to go to med school. I think I am fairly intelligent and I probably could have done well in the business sector, but it is the sciences that I love more. Even pursuing a PhD would not suffice it because I like the social aspect of treating a patient, rather than just working in a lab.

    As far as the money factor goes, it is pretty much a universal trend that salaries for all physicians are going down. Sure you could make bank as an orthopedic surgeon or a cardiologist, but it is not what it used to be if you compare it to the 80s for example. Nurse practitioners, CRNAs, PAs, are invading primary care and therefore many med students want to stay away from it and pursue specialties. But pretty soon it is not going to be feasible for every med student to be a specialist.

    In any case, when you are in college and take some biology courses, ask yourself if you really enjoy learning the pathophysiology part of it. Shadow internists/surgeons/pediatricians. If you enjoy it, and are willing to put in the hard work for the next 7-10 years, go for it.:thumbup:
     
  28. xnfs93hy

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    They still make a hell of a lot though. I know what you mean by the 80's, all docs used to make a lot. It is no wonder NP's PA's and CRNA's are killing PC and FP, it is because PA's actually make a nice salary, not as much as a family doctor but not too far behind. Nurses (I think) who give anesthesia or something make A LOT, and none of those people went to med school.

    Family Practice docs and PCP's need to be compensated much more and we NEED THEM, there will definitely be a shortage if everyone keeps going into these specialties.

    Although, I do not think that people do it for the money they will make in the future. Most MS's just want to pay off their giant mound of debt.

    I did a research paper on this for my English class, but, yeah, that is pretty much why no one wants to go into Primary Care or family practice, it just doesn't pay enough, unfortunately.
     
  29. xnfs93hy

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    And why do people compare todays physicians' incomes with those from the 80's? Did ever freakin doc make 200 billion a year or something?
     
  30. gluon999

    gluon999 Senior Member
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    So since you have figured out that they "still make a hell of a lot" I think you can stop fixating on the money factor.

    Decide whether you like the content itself to commit to make a commitment for a life time.
     
  31. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig
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    Guaranteed big bucks? Umm, not exactly.

    The specialties that make the "big bucks" are among the most difficult to obtain within medicine. They are the exception, not the rule. MOST doctors are still primary care folks, where cracking $200 grand can be tough to do.

    Just because you get into medical school, doesn't mean that you'll automatically land orthopedic surgery or radiology. Not by a long shot. Check out their forums to see just how hard it is for a lot of these medical students (myself included) to land one of these residencies.
     
  32. xnfs93hy

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    That is what is annoying, you work you butt off in UG and in MS and you don't even know if you will get into the specialty that you want =[. Unfortunately that's how it works I guess.
     
  33. xnfs93hy

    7+ Year Member

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    I guess if someone wants to be a spine surgeon or a heart surgeon that bad they will make it happen somehow...
     
  34. glowworm

    glowworm inching along
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    Yeah but I think what everyone is trying to say is that only the top few percent of people in every field make $200,000+, and that it is probably easier to get in the top percent of law or business than to get in the top percent of medicine. And plus as a doctor you are kinda stuck in your specialty, whereas in other fields you can just "climb the ladders" and at least get there eventually. And if you don't enjoy biology, you will probably have a hard time getting a good specialty since you will be competing with serious science nerds who are passionate about medicine for its own sake.

    You said you were good at math and physics, why not go with those? There have to be some good jobs involving those subjects-much better than being,
    say, an English whiz.

    Your seem to be afraid that you are not guaranteed a good job in other fields. But what if you don't get in to med school, or worse, get stuck in a low paying specialty? All fields weed people out, just in different stages of the journey.

    Like everyone else has said, explore lots of stuff in college before you pick a job.
    But with whatever you decide, good luck:luck:
     
  35. ejay286

    ejay286 Member
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    I know this kinda goes against the grain of this thread but I recently stumbled upon this article about who lives in the million dollar homes around my city. Of the 20 people profiled 10 of them were doctors, I'd say thats not too bad.

    http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/printable.asp?aid=94449
     
  36. tennisball80

    tennisball80 Membership Revoked
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    You might fall in love with a person and will never come back to NJ. Family is more important than money.
     

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