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Debt of Doctor

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by SlaskWroclaw18, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. SlaskWroclaw18

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    I was thinking about a debt a doctor will have from loans to pay off medical school and I want to ask a question. Don't get me wrong, despite the answers I will get, I still want to be a doctor but I want to address this. The typical debt (from what I hear) is 150,000$. How long does it usually take for a doctor to pay this off? If he/she becomes a hospitalist then does the hospital offer to pay a percentage of or even the whole debt off? How long does it take for a doctor to pay off all the loans.

    PS
    I want to be doctor for the sake of being a doctor, not for the money.
     
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  3. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    The average medical student's debt is something like $160,000, but that number is very misleading since many students will have their educations completely paid for somehow - usually by their parents. Plan as though you'll be $300,000 in debt by the time you can start paying back your loans, just to be on the safe side. If you want to practice primary care, there are many, many ways to have your schooling paid for.

    The most common and heavily pushed method is practicing in a rural area. Many school - probably all state schools - offer tuition forgiveness if you sign a contract stating you'll practice primary care in a rural area. Many hospitals and state Departments of Health offer loan forgiveness if you agree to practice primary care for a certain amount of time. I don't recall if being a hospitalist qualifies as primary care, but it seems like it would.
     
  4. Caesar

    Caesar In Memory of Riley Jane
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    I didn't think it did. How long it takes to pay back depends on how much you pay. if you put off living super comfortably for a few years after residency you can pay it off pretty quick. Some take 10 years some take even longer. Maybe some of the residents or attendings who post here can better answer that part of the question.
     
  5. Algophiliac

    Algophiliac Someday...
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    Although paying back debt seemed relatively reasonable and easy before, I'm wondering about the impending economic crisis. Granted, doctors are most likely not going to be thrown out of business, but with so many changes in healthcare on the way, salaries might take a toll.

    So, let's say I was interested in a profession earning a salary just barely above that of a hospitalist, without the fun primary care options to finance med school.

    *Will paying back debt take too much longer? (i.e. Can I ever move out of a tiny little appartment and start a family?)
    *How does this impact everyone's mindset during medical school and residency? I, for one, don't take being indebted to anything lightly. :(
    *Is the rumor that your debt should never be greater than the amount you're expecting to earn per year as a doctor true? God it would suck if this forced me to change specialties
     
  6. KempDrumsalot

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    No, it will not take too much longer to pay back your debt.

    It is in the back of your mind but you obviously can't let it hang to heavy on your shoulders. You can still go out and have fun, otherwise you won't enjoy school at all. Everyone needs a break.

    No. Most stay if you take a quarter of your salary per year and multiply by 10, it shouldn't be more than that amount. (I believe that is correct, I may be wrong). If you go to *15 it may be alot of extra money that will have to be spent, but it is your decision.

    Hope that helps!
     
  7. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I don't think there's any guideline for how much debt is too much. Look at the current interest rates, add up how much each school will cost, factor in 4 years of interest to account for residency, and then calculate your monthly payments. If those payments won't let you live without too much financial strain, you have too much debt. You definitely can (and probably will) take out more money in loans than you'll make per year. You'll probably have to forego the nice house and fancy cars for a couple of years while you pay it down, but it won't be too big of a deal.
     
  8. xnfs93hy

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    I forget where it is but there was a thread on here created by the staff which had like five different ways to finance med school. A lot of medical schools are expensive but some aren't as expensive as others, you have to shop around and apply broadly and see who takes you.
     
  9. DrYoda

    DrYoda Space Cowboy
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    A easy way to help control debt, is to control debt in undergrad. It is much easier to finance an undergrad education, so if you can find a way to get a bachelors degree with little or no debt you will be thanking yourself later when you aren't paying interest on an extra 20-40 grand.


    People do fine having more debt than they make per year. Student loans along with mortgages and business loans are what is considered "good" debt, and at reasonable levels are looked at as a positive investment in your future. Most other sorts of debt I would say are not appropriate in those levels, but student loans and the other two are alright given that you have the means to pay them back (and as a doctor you will).

    Is this the ideal situation to owe this much? Absolutely not! Here in the land of IOU many people have been brought up with a high debt tolerance, which is not a good thing. Owing less than your annual salary is a good ideal to work towards, but many people start higher than that given what education and housing cost.
     
  10. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    If you don't make enough money to pay back that lone in a reasonable amount of time, then it probably isn't worth it. A lot of pre-meds and even med students think that becoming a doctor is so great that they won't care how much money they make - they just love helping people. I wager that the majority if not all of them have a 180* turn in attitude when they're actually paying all that debt off. It can really be crushing. Though the American attitude about owing money may be all relaxed/not a big deal to some people, eventually it'll catch up with them. Compound interest working AGAINST you is NOT pretty. It seems great to not have to pay for your education right away but believe me, you'll pay it back and then some when your done with school. Mrs. Morgan didn't raise no idiots.
     
  11. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Not that I want to discourage you - just trying to get you to think a little more about it. Money is definitely an issue, whether or not people want to admit it. With all that being said, I'm still gunna do it, so good luck friend :thumbup:
     
  12. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    It doesn't.

    There are fairly specific rules that are stated in your contract if you agree to participate in one of those loan forgiveness programs.

    For instance, the NHSC clearly states that as a physician, you must spend > 32 hours per week IN AN OUTPATIENT SETTING - i.e., in an office. The rest of your 40 hour-per-week minimum can be done taking care of inpatient duties. (The requirements are slightly different for OB/gyns, because they need OR time as well, but they still make you spend over half your time in the outpatient setting.)

    Well, you adjust.

    Sure, you move out of the tiny little apartment, but maybe you wait a year or two to start a family.

    Or you sacrifice your free weekends to moonlight instead, and make extra money.

    I don't think that debt ever really forces you to change specialties. As a med student, you see how miserable you can be on certain rotations....and it makes you realize that if you're miserable for just 8 weeks on that rotation, then you'd be suicidal if you did it as a career. So, ultimately, mental sanity tends to triumph over fear of debt.
     
  13. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant
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    Basically when you get to college try to take out the minimum amount of loans to sustain yourself (i.e. get part-time job to pay for some of your things like rent or food, etc). When you apply to medical schools you can try to get into a state school where your tuition will be significantly cheaper than at a private school. You won't have much time to work in med school, but you can still live frugally and use a budget that will give you the minimum amount of debt from med school. I'll be ~$200,000 in debt when I'm done, but looking back it could have been cheaper if I'd done some things differently. My federal loans are most likely going to be cheaper than my mortgage, so I plan to buy a house when I start making a decent salary and pay my loans off over a longer period of time. As long as there are other things I want to buy that have higher interest rates than my loans I will keep making minumum payments on my student loans. If you'd rather have the peace of mind of having no debt you can always stay living in your studio apartment for significantly cheaper while you're making six figures but then you have to realize [with a little basic finance knowledge] that the net present value of your debt principal amount is probably quite a bit less than the net present value of any other investment (house, car, yacht, etc) that you could make at that same amount - so if you pay off your student loans ASAP before you do anything else then you're essentially going to end up financing other large purchases and paying more in the end. What it all comes down to is that if you're not an idiot you'll be able to pay off your loans while living a comfortable life.
     
  14. Trail Boss

    Trail Boss Senior Member
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    I'm 160k+ in debt.
     
  15. docB

    docB Chronically painful
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    Debt is and will continue to be a huge issue for medical students and young doctors. Every indication is that it will get worse instead of better. In addition to the actual debt incurred in the schooling you have to conisder the opportunity cost of a medical education. Doctors sign on for an additional 7+ years of training. So when doctors start their careers their cohorts have already been earning and saving for those years.

    I do want to point out that it is unlikely that any employer or hospital will pay your loans. The vast majority of docs work as contractors and make their money by billing patients, not by getting paychecks from hospitals. Unless you join a program that specifically pays your loans such as the military or commit to work in an underserved area you will be making your loan payments out of your pay.
     
  16. Trail Boss

    Trail Boss Senior Member
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    True above. I think when I started med school I kind of thought the whole "don't get into this to make money" bit was just the party line. Once you hit the wards you see that it is not just the party line. This is really not a career to go into for the money. The paycheck is good, but you are almost thirty when you get your first job that pays more than what most of us who got into med school could have been making the day we stepped out of college had our career plans been different. Plus you sacrifice your youth, your free time, time with children if you have any, in all likelihood your marriage and you have 150+ in debt with no assets (I love it when people tell me they have debt to, their mortgage...yes...you also have a F***house when your done paying off the loan)
     
  17. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig
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    Ever notice that whenever anyone says this, everyone else automatically assumes the exact opposite. :rolleyes:

    Quick advice for all the hsdn/pre-med's out there: if you don't want people to assume that money is your sole motivation for pursuing medicine... then don't--bring--up--money.
     
  18. SlaskWroclaw18

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    Well I have seen in other forums /threads when somebody brings up a question of a salary of a certain type of doctor or whatever, everybody always seems to accuse that person of wanting to be a doctor solely for the money. I tried to avoid but obviously it didn't work. I hope you are not making any assumptions about me.:thumbup:
     
  19. docB

    docB Chronically painful
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    He actually was bringing up the question of debt. I know when I was in his situation I factored the debt into my decisions. It would be foolhardy not to.

    I think one of the reasons that the costs of education in general and medical education in particular keep going up is that students forge ahead without regard to cost and debt. If you liken educational costs to a free market model (which it isn't exactly but is close enough to make this point valid) then the costs will not quit climbing ahead of inflation until a large enough segment of students opt out due to costs. In other words the costs will keep rising until enough people can't afford it that it decreases the demand.
     
  20. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant
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    This is exactly correct. At this time there are tons of qualified applicants out there and they're all willing to sell their souls to become doctors. When the cost of medical education becomes more expensive than the average pre-med's soul then the pool of qualified applicants will begin to drop. Taking the concept of supply and demand into consideration, the supply of "good" medical students (future doctors) will eventually decline due to the high cost of education and the demand of the public for those good doctors will force the state/fed to pick up some of the tab for our education so that more qualified people will again be attracted to the field. Most medical students have no real financial responsibility prior to matriction, so for some of them its hard to deal with $200K debt
     
  21. vasca

    vasca En la era postpasambre
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    It's totaly logical that US med school intuition will stop going over the roof if less people apply in the baby boomer aging soceity we're living in. However, as long as hospitals can still grant VISAs for IMG's that don't have US citizenship who could later on apply for a greencard in exchange for settling down in the US; this probably won't happen anytime soon.

    However, most mexican med students have told me they aren't interested in moving to the US to practise medicine. It's just a really tiny minority that is willing to take the USMLE's and powder up their english skills. I know far more people that would rather go to Spain, Canada or some country in South America that is reasonably well-off.
     
    #20 vasca, Dec 22, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008

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