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Financial expectations

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by DoctorRx1986, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. DoctorRx1986

    DoctorRx1986 10+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2008
    Everyone says pharmacy is a lucrative career. That's certainly what it appears like. However, after working as a clerk and discussing compensation with pharmacists, I am not so sure about the reality of making $100,000 per year or perhaps more. The reason I say this is because both of them have told me that the money isn't really that great at all once you have tax deductions. One even told me he knows of a pharmacist who graduated from pharmacy school and makes only $61,000 per year.

    They even tell me it is unrealistic to think that you will pay off $150,000 in student loans within a few years. That amount will take a lifetime to pay back, according to them. Though my primary motivation in going into pharmacy is an interest in the profession itself, let's not be compensation is extremely important.

    I somewhat felt discouraged today when I was told these things. To think that I am going through years of rigorous training, only to make $60,000 per year and not be able to pay off my loans quite comfortably for an entire professional career span of about 40 years, makes me think about whether all of this will pay off. I don't want to work, no matter how much I love my profession, only to realize that the money I'm making is not really as great as it initially appears to be as a student and to live just to pay bills and pay back student loans.

    It is only natural for one to desire a reward of some kind. I'm sure as a pharmacist, you want to buy a nice house, a car, live comfortably, etc... However, being told that the money isn't that good at all is just completely discouraging. Especially the part about the pharmacist making a mediocre $61,000. I don't understand it. I always read that pharmacists make about $100,000 and are even breaking that mark, but I'm just skeptical about things right now. I am afraid of being in that position and landing a mediocre $50,000 job when I graduate instead of being compensated for my level of education and knowledge. What is $61,000 after 6-8 years of school and thousands of dollars in debt? The pharmacists I work with are extremely pleasant and wonderful people. I get along with them very well and they have taught me so much about pharmacy. But this particular aspect is something new. Maybe they were so discouraging about this topic because I am in New York City. I can imagine the tax rate here is absolutely insane. One pharmacist told me almost half his money goes to taxes and he was happier as an intern.

    Your feedback and thoughts are much appreciated. :thumbup:
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  3. IrishRxMan

    IrishRxMan 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2008
    I don't know of anywhere that pays a pharmacist as low as 60K a year anymore. Those days are long gone, and if someone is still getting paid that amount, they need to change companies. Yes, by making 100K a year, you go to a different tax bracket, but you will need to itemize your deductions and have your money working for you. I'm not talking about just contributing to your 401K, but doing your own investments and growing the money you earned. You can mess with the interest on your loans by paying an extra payment or two per year. The extra payments go directly to your principle amount and will lessen the amount of time you pay on them. You do have thirty years to pay them off b/c of the amount and type of degree you will earn. All of the people I talk to say we are entering the "golden age" of pharmacy. Think about it. We have a humongous population of baby boomers, which hold something like 70% of the nation's wealth and they are all getting older. Most are on at least one to three health maintenance meds and will be on them for probably the rest of their life. I don't know how it is in Florida, or wherever you are, but here in Texas, retail starts out at about 105K and I know someone that graduated a year ago that is making a minimum of 118K per year and that goes up if her store has higher numbers.

    Pretty much, pharmacy is a field that is expanding into new arenas that some don't know much about and some areas that haven't even been thought of yet. In the last ten years alone, the field of pharmacy has truly become a very diverse and more respected profession. Almost ten years ago, it was projected that pharmacists were going to be the most in demand profession for twenty years. One of the most important things is, don't live like a celebrity from the start. Be smart with your money and get help from financial planners and accountants to maximize your earnings and limit your tax base. A talented CPA is worth their weight in platinum.

    As for the tax in New York, unless you just absolutely have to live there, I would find somewhere that doesn't tax its residents to death. There are only a handful of states that have no income tax, Texas being one of them. But again, get a good CPA and financial planner and don't spend every dime you earn or try to have the big flashy car and huge house filled with expensive things right off the bat. Be sensible with your money, remember "a fool and his money are soon parted." Warren Buffett still clips coupons and he's the richest man in the world right now. Bill Gates wears a Timex, not a Rolex and he's third richest and an extremely smart man.
  4. tharper14

    tharper14 P1.5 2+ Year Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    $60,000 after taxes, or $60,000 before taxes? I am hoping to make about $80,000 when I get out but after taxes, that's only $60,000. I'm happy with that. I'd be happier with more, but hey, if I was doing it for the money I would have gone to med school.
  5. DoctorRx1986

    DoctorRx1986 10+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2008

    I believe $61,000 before taxes. As for your $80,000, I think, based on what most people say, you will probably be making $100. 80, from what i've heard, is now a bit on the low side.
  6. DoctorRx1986

    DoctorRx1986 10+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2008

    Hey, thanks for your helpful insights. I'm also surprised by the $60,000 figure. I've never heard of any pharmacist making such a low salary. Even $80,000, like I said to Tharper, is a bit on the low side now from what i've heard. What you say about the minimum of $105 k per year seems to be about right.
  7. RxWildcat

    RxWildcat Julius Randle BEASTMODE! Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Military or other govt. jobs sometimes pay around 60k if I'm not mistaken, but its made up for with benefits, etc.
  8. bklyngirl

    bklyngirl 2+ Year Member

    May 3, 2008
    I doubt very much that there are any pharmacists in NYC earning $60,000 per year. Recently graduated RN's are starting at between $69,000-75,000 per year. That's not including night/weekend differential.
    I remember viewing a job fair notice last year posted for new pharmacy graduates at several hospitals in NYC. The starting salary was in the high 80's, not including night/weekend differential. With that included, I guess you can predict salary to run close to $100,000 per year. ALSO note that hospital pharmacists usually have a slightly lower salary than retail pharmacists, but the working conditions seem to be much better. Most NYC hospital pharmacists are unionized, gaining added perks such as 4 weeks vacation within the first year, 401-K plans, paid life insurance, plenty of paid holiday/sick days, and a great pension plan. I also hear that they are continually raising salaries to become more compatible with retail salaries.
    As far as the tax rate here in NYC, SO TRUE! But that would be a decision you would have to make as to whether or not you would be happier earning $100,000 in a less costly area. Unfortunately, living in NYC is a huge expensive and many residents with high paying careers are finding it difficult meeting the costs comfortably. But they continue to stay due to the lifestyle that NYC has to offer, and take full advantage of it. Many start off purchasing a coop/condo and a few years later sell with a decent enough profit to purchase a home (real estate in NYC continues to rise, although a bit more slowly right now, even though it has depreciated in many parts of the U.S.) One thing that it does offer, compared to surrounding suburban areas, is low real estate taxes. While Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester, etc. pay real estate taxes of $6,000 per year and higher, the average real estate tax cost for a home in Brooklyn is approx. $2,000 per year. Also, when living and working in the city you save traveling time and costs. You can also do without a car and only rent when needed (parking in NYC is horrendous!)
  9. AsianGuy26

    AsianGuy26 2+ Year Member

    May 13, 2008
    Currently at the school that I go to ACP~ all the graduating pharmacist aren't makiing anything less than $80k and with some as high as $120k graduating from school.

    I do know that alot of pharmacist or atleast older pharmacist are underpaid when they stay at a job for many years so that they don't know the reality of the situation.

    But as for debt, there are alot of places that if you work for them for like five years they will indeed pay off your debt for you. Or you can choose to go to Alaska for a few years... get your debt paid... a high salary (relative) and a two million dollar signon bonus.

    There are alot of things you can do... if you only try... :eek:
  10. collegegirl247

    collegegirl247 Accepted Pharmacy Student 5+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    can you provide more information on this??
  11. collegegirl247

    collegegirl247 Accepted Pharmacy Student 5+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    also the only place that I think you would find a pharmacist making $60,000 a year is doing missions pharmacy
  12. sanfranalaska

    sanfranalaska 2+ Year Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    There is no such thing as a two million dollar signing bonus in Alaska. Pharmacists in Alaska start at 45-55 dollars an hour. Which is about 100k, there's no state tax which helps, but no crazy 200k starting with a two million dollar signing bonus. Cost of living and salaries in Alaska are very similar to the bay area of California, only with houses being a little cheaper. If someone plans on moving to Alaska after they get their PharmD, that's great we need more pharmacists up here, but don't expect that sort of income. It takes a certain person to live in Alaska, and they don't do it for the money. The biggest professional advantage to being a pharmacist in Alaska is that it would be easier to get onto the state board.
  13. Idesiretosling

    Idesiretosling 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2006
    If you believe you are going to get a 2 million dollar signing bonus, you are one naive fellow.
  14. RxWildcat

    RxWildcat Julius Randle BEASTMODE! Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    I know about 120 people in my class that would move to Alaska for 2 mil :D
  15. collegegirl247

    collegegirl247 Accepted Pharmacy Student 5+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    you can add me to that list too! lol
  16. ronswifey

    ronswifey 2+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2008
    yeah i dont know what pharmacist makes 61K per year (especially in New York). I live in NC and pharmacists I have worked with at CVS make $75 an hour, and they both graduated in 2007. But community pharmacists do make more because of the terrible hours they work. Even so, if you graduate from pharm school and are making 100K gross, u still have to take taxes and things like 401K into consideration. Thats 28-30% of your 100K right there. I'm sure the pharmacists meant their net income is 61K. I'm a dental hygienist making $32 an hour and I grossed a little more than 60K last year.
  17. omnione

    omnione SDN Pharmoderator Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Check out and put in some zip codes. Heck, my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska has a mean of around $93,000 (I think that figure is overall and not starting however).

    I have heard that taxes at that bracket will kick our butts. It'll be a good idea to get financial advisors or come up with our own plan to compensate such as investments and such.
  18. mrblah

    mrblah 2+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    You can make way over 100k in socal as a pharmacist. Just keep in mind, that the cost of living in socal is outrageous as well.
  19. TTUMike

    TTUMike Accepted Pharmacy Student 2+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    In Texas pharmacists make $112,000 at Walgreens which is by far the best compensation. If you couple that with signing bonuses of up to $10,000 and 3% pay raises every year it actually is a great job. Not only that but Walgreens pay $3.25 to every $1 that you put in your 401k.
  20. rxlynn

    rxlynn Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Don't panic! It is true that you will pay out a lot in taxes, but you will also have ways to shelter some of that income as you get older. For example, my husband and I have the following taken out pre-tax - his 401, my 401, health saving account (pays for deductibles, co-pays, glasses, etc.), and dependent savings account (which pays for our daughter's childcare). And, we own our house, so we get tax advantage from that.

    Also, as some of the other posters have alluded to - if you are willing to be flexible in location of job your financial situation can be very different. Cost of living in NYC or CA is vastly different across the board than cost of living here in Atlanta. Certainly employers do have some cost of living differential, but I don't think it really makes up for the actual differences.
  21. njac

    njac Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    where does this pharmacist making $60K work? How do you know they aren't working for an organization like Healthcare for the Homeless and have chosen such a job because they want it - not because their boss won't pay more.

    I can think of multiple nontraditional pharmacy opportunities that may pay less but offer a completely different experience. We need the whole story here.
  22. Aznfarmerboi

    Aznfarmerboi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 18, 2005
    I reside in NYC. Going rate right now is 90k for hospital pharmacists (with 15k sign on bonus), or 120k for retail pharmacists (no bonus for wags, and 8k average for other chains). People who work in the Bronx and other undesirable areas can expect to make about 10k more. After taxes and everything, it comes out to about 75k. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions about NYC area pharmacy.
  23. BacardiGirl

    BacardiGirl Go Gophers! 2+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2007
    I work in the mortgage business in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) and did a loan for a 26-year old new grad and her offer letter stated her start rate of $50/hr. at one of the local hospitals. So, there's!:)
  24. ExpressMaiL

    ExpressMaiL alea iacta est Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    You not it dates Summer kuh
    At my UOP interview back in January, I was looking at the job flyers posted on the wall; some areas in California were offering $70/ hour starting. I don't remember the city.
  25. 007rx

    007rx 2+ Year Member

    May 21, 2008
    On a side note, (I know this answer will vary depending on state) let's say a pharmacist makes 100k per year gross and 60k after taxes. If s/he is single and has no kids, how much would her/his tax return be...approximately? Sorry I have no idea how tax returns work.
  26. IrishRxMan

    IrishRxMan 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2008
    It depends on how much you have sheltered and how talented your CPA is. You need to protect as much as your income from being taken by Uncle Sam as possible. It's not illegal unless they have a law strictly forbidding it. Politicians are idiots when it comes to writing airtight laws, which is another reason we as pharmacists have to be politically aware and active at least on a small level. If you have a good CPA and financial planner/advisor you should have more than enough to retire on whenever you want 25 to 30 years post grad.
  27. Farmercyst

    Farmercyst On with the Poodles already Pharmacist Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    I believe Epic posted a headhunters listing a few months ago with locations and salary ranges for several positions. I've gotten a couple spam emails about positions available as well. If I get another relatively soon I can cut and paste a few of the positions and salaries.

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