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HooahDOc

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I did some calculations and figured up how much one would make post-residency in any military branch.

Using the sites I list at the end of this discussion, I determined someone fresh out of residency would be an O-4 with over 4 years total time.

Monthly Pay:
O-4 with more than 4 years basic pay: $4299 per month
O-4 Basic Housing Allowance with Depdendent: $988 ($859 w/o)
Variable Special Pay: $416 per month
Board Ceritified Pay: $208 per month
Basic Allowance for Subsistance: $175.23
Annual Special Pay: $15,000
Total Monthly Pay: $6,086 ($7,336 if count ASP as "monthly")

Specialties:
Emergency Medicine: $26,000
General Surgery: $29,000
Orthopaedics: $36,000
Psychiatry: $15,000
Anesthesia: $36,000

I used the specialties I'm interested in :) Per year, the basic pay with bonuses came to about $88,032. Of course it may vary a little depending on the residency and such. Adding in the specialty pay I get the following:

Emergency Medicine Physician: $114,032 per year
Psychiatrist: $103,032
General Surgeon: $117,032
Orthopaedic Surgeon: $124,032
Anesthesiologist: $124,032

References:
http://www.dod.mil/comptroller/fmr/07a/07A05.pdf
http://www.dfas.mil/money/milpay/pay/2004paytable.pdf

Moral the story? Don't do it for the money. If I made any errors or omissions, please correct them.
 

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Originally posted by JKDMed
I did some calculations and figured up how much one would make post-residency in any military branch.

Using the sites I list at the end of this discussion, I determined someone fresh out of residency would be an O-4 with 8-9 years total time, 4-5 of which count towards the pay incentives for docs.

O-4 with more than 8 years basic pay: $4809 per month
Variable Special Pay: $416 per month
Board Ceritified Pay: $208 per month

Specialty Pay for a few Specialties:
Emergency Medicine: $26,000
General Surgery: $29,000
Orthopaedics: $36,000
Psychiatry: $15,000
Anesthesia: $36,000

I used the specialties I'm interested in :) Per year, the basic pay with bonuses came to about $65,196. Of course it may vary a little depending on the residency and such. Adding in the specialty pay I get the following:

Emergency Medicine Physician: $91,196 per year
Psychiatrist: $80,196
General Surgeon: $94,196
Orthopaedic Surgeon: $101,196
Anesthesiologist: $101,196

References:
http://www.dod.mil/comptroller/fmr/07a/07A05.pdf
http://www.dfas.mil/money/milpay/pay/2004paytable.pdf


Moral the story? Don't do it for the money. If I made any errors or omissions, please correct them.
i don't think your time in HPSP is creditable toward time in service for pay. so fresh out of residency i think you'll be an O-3 with however long your residency is for time in service.

1. Housing allowance is usually 1-2k/month, tax-free.
2. Basic allowance for sustinence is something like $150/ month, also tax-free.
3. Someone (navy dive doc i think) posted that Additional Special Pay (ASP) as being approx 15k or so/year for all residency trained phycicians.

this being said, you're still right. don't do it for the money.
 

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I must have gotten confused, I think HPSP time only counts towards retirement?

I did read from Luke Ballard, though, that "Promotion to Major is automatic after five or six years, including years of residency training"

Regardless, it's paintfully obvious that military docs don't make crap compared to their civilian counterparts. However, I don't really care I just thought those considering it for the financial benefits might be interested.

Keep in mind that, more than likely, you will end up getting a small-to-moderate loan while on HPSP anyways.
 
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The calculations look okay to me, but keep in mind it depends where you live. In DC you'll make more then in texas b/c of the costs of living (that 95k for GS would be 103k in DC, and the BAH is tax free). Also, after the first two years upon finishing residency, you'll automatically get about a 13k raise b/c of promotion to major.

Furthermore, if you do a military residency you'll make okay money during that time, unlike civ residencies. For example, at Walter Reed in DC, you'll average 63k over the four years, part of which is tax free. So, that you puts you around 80-100k over what civilian residents make over the four years (more if it's a longer residency, less if it's shorter).

The bottom line is still the same though: it's not worth it for the money!
 

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In any calculation, though, you must look at the value of the scholarship. If you are saving 1500/month or more in student loans that's a big deal. Another thing. A peds salary of $90,000 looks good to me. Going into academic pediatrics I won't see much more than that. I think the starting salary at my institution is between 85-95K!!! Of course, the 'pods and derms are going to get killed when it comes to money, but for the FP/IM/Peds folks, the deal looks much better.

Ed
 

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It is interesting to note that military may start to hire civilian doctors to fill the spots as primary care doctors. Does anyone how this is going to affect the residency selection for the military in the future esp for the Army? Should I even consider IM?
 

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Originally posted by edmadison
In any calculation, though, you must look at the value of the scholarship. If you are saving 1500/month or more in student loans that's a big deal. Another thing. A peds salary of $90,000 looks good to me. Going into academic pediatrics I won't see much more than that. I think the starting salary at my institution is between 85-95K!!! Of course, the 'pods and derms are going to get killed when it comes to money, but for the FP/IM/Peds folks, the deal looks much better.

Ed
yup. unless i decide to subspecialize in peds ICU, in which case i'll be losing a nice chunk of change. some PICU docs here make around 300k/year. of course, they're the only show in town, but that's some nice bank. not to mention they work 3 on, 6 off. i could do that i think :)
 

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Originally posted by Homunculus
yup. unless i decide to subspecialize in peds ICU, in which case i'll be losing a nice chunk of change. some PICU docs here make around 300k/year. of course, they're the only show in town, but that's some nice bank. not to mention they work 3 on, 6 off. i could do that i think :)
Do you mean NICU rather than PICU? The Army's PICUs aren't really in PICUs like we think of in terms of a big referral center. The Army works its NICU attendings like dogs. It's funny. At madigan almost all the faculty are 0-5s or 0-6s except the NICU -- all O-4s They pay they time back and move on to greener pastures it seems.

Ed
 

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Originally posted by edmadison
Do you mean NICU rather than PICU? The Army's PICUs aren't really in PICUs like we think of in terms of a big referral center. The Army works its NICU attendings like dogs. It's funny. At madigan almost all the faculty are 0-5s or 0-6s except the NICU -- all O-4s They pay they time back and move on to greener pastures it seems.

Ed
nah, i mean PICU. i don't think i'd like the NICU setting. and yes, the army definitely doesn't have any PICU's like the one's i've seen in civilian rotations. but i figure they've gotta have a PICU doc or two around, and if i choose to do that, it may as well be me. but who knows, i may specialize in something else-- or not at all. it really depends on how well i like it and if i can justify giving up that much $$$ to stay in as a PICU doc vs waiting until i'm out of the army to do it.
 

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I answered else where, but this response should be made here too.

Also consider that a majority of your pay is FICA/social security tax exempt, you may not have to pay State tax, and some of your income is federal tax free.

For instance, a G-surg who makes $110,000 in the military may bring home as much as a G-surg who is making $140,000-150,000 per year.

After working 10 years, that military G-surg is making $150,000 year or taking home as much as the $180,000-$190,000/year civilian doc.

After working 20 years, the military G-surg is making $160,000-170,000/year. Then the G-surg leaves and collects a hefty retirement while pursuing a civilian career.

Although you won't make 100s of thousands of dollars in the military, you and your family will have a comfortable life-style.

Originally posted by DORoe
yes but doesn't the military cover all of your loans and other medical school costs? Basically over the course of years 1-4 add another $30,000 or so to that as benefits.
Excellent point.

Yes, so add in the extra $30K/year during payback, and many of you will make more than your colleagues during the first 4 years of practice! ;)

In my example above, this equals to $170K-180K/year equivalent income during a 4-year military paypack. In addition, if you qualify for fellowship training, you get to be fellowship trained with a six-figure salary! ;) Another huge bonus many overlook. How would you like to complete a 3-4 year cardiology fellowship and be paid over $100k/year as a fellow?!
 

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To clear up a few misconceptions:
HPSP time counts as NOTHING for time in service, retirement, etc. It used to be that if you made it to 20, HPSP was tacked on so you retired at 23-24. That's no longer the case, except for USUHS grads.
So, when you graduate, you start as an O-3 over 0 years. Trust me, I've lived it.
The calculations need to include BAH and BAS, plus base pay. VSP jumps to $1000/month after 6 years (post graduation).

Also figure in what you would make as a civilian resident vs. military residency. As an intern, I made about $52,000 vs. $36,000 for comparable geography as a civilian. I've gone out and done 3 years as a GMO, making about $80,000/year (Sub pay, dive pay, Hazardous duty pay, etc. add up). Now, I'll go back to residency in July, make $64-65,000 for 2 years (the $15k ASP goes away when residency resumes). Then I go over 6 years of service and my pay jumps back over $80,000/year (O-4 over 6 with dependents, BAH/BAS/VSP). When I graduate, I'll be looking at around $130,000/year. Yes, that's a lot less than the listed Radiology salaries, but it's a good living. I sacrificed future earning potential (for the 4 years of residency payback) for a MUCH better lifestyle during residency. $80k/year vs $38k/year is the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and having a life as a resident. I stayed Navy after I did the math. Plus, I would have needed to wait until 2005 to get out and start a civilian residency, that's a year later, so really I'm looking at 3 years of active duty as an attending instead of an attending civilian. Worth it to me...then again, I like the Navy, so MilitaryMD can surely spin the case for getting out.

I also had no idea what I wanted to specialize in as a 4th year in Med school, and unlike my classmates, I didn't have to decide. Radiology wasn't even on the list, so some time to think about things has been invaluable. I still wanted to be a small town FP when I was a 4th year, something that makes me shudder with dread now. So there are some intangibles as well; I've commented enough before and I won't bore the forum with my stories again.

Anyway, check the math but realize that HPSP doesn't count for anything. Don't forget to break down the money paid up front for HPSP, not insignificant, especially if you went to a private school.

Also, there are enormous tax breaks for being in the military. You don't pay state income taxes (unless you're an idiot), you don't generally pay property taxes on motor vehicles, BAH and BAS are non-taxable but you keep your home mortgage tax deduction, etc. I made $80k last year and paid $2k in federal taxes, no state taxes. Still had to pay social security, though, that still stings.

Hope this helps.
DD
 

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I love the Navy! :D
 

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Originally posted by Andrew_Doan
I love the Navy! :D
I believe that 0 years of time in service disqualifies you from making such a statement.

Everyone seems to have agreed that money is not a reason for joining......yet all these threads on how much money you can make while in the military.....I find that very curious.
 
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Originally posted by militarymd
I believe that 0 years of time in service disqualifies you from making such a statement.

Everyone seems to have agreed that money is not a reason for joining......yet all these threads on how much money you can make while in the military.....I find that very curious.
Not necessarily. I have several colleagues who are retired 0-6 or with 15+ years of service. The Navy is a good deal for me and ophthalmologists. Unless you are an ophthalmologist, then you can't disagree with my statement. Tell me why the Navy has over half of their ophthalmologists serving 20+ years? Whether you believe it or not, serving in the Navy is a good deal. ;)

In addition, if a person lives in a box and can't do the math, then he/she will never know how much one can make in the military. Being paid up front during training, being paid during fellowship training, and receiving tax/FICA breaks do add up to a nice compensation package.
 

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Since all of you experts are here discussing these financial mattes, let me throw in another question:

If you were to do your 4 years of AD and then leave to take a job in a civilian hospital, would you generally (for any specialty) jump into the same salary range as someone who has already been there for four years? In other words, even though you would be board certified at the time, would you still make the same as a "first-year attending" than as an attending who has already been at a hospital for 4-5 years?
 

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Originally posted by ek6
Since all of you experts are here discussing these financial mattes, let me throw in another question:

If you were to do your 4 years of AD and then leave to take a job in a civilian hospital, would you generally (for any specialty) jump into the same salary range as someone who has already been there for four years? In other words, even though you would be board certified at the time, would you still make the same as a "first-year attending" than as an attending who has already been at a hospital for 4-5 years?
This depends on what job you take: salaried/academic vs private practice.

If you enter the salaried/academic route, then your pay is usually dependent on your previous experience. However, I bet that your military pay is very competitive when compared to the salaried positions and academic positions in the civilian sector. With all of this talk about money, compare the above figures to starting an academic career at Hopkins for $80K-$100K/year in IM. The military pay is not really that bad. If you speak to guys like MilitaryMD, he'll have you believing that military physicians are working for free.

On the other hand, if you enter private practice, there is usually a 3-4 year period where you must build up your practice and billing. This initial slope is true whether you started after residency, switching practices, or leaving the military.
 

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Originally posted by Andrew_Doan
I
Also consider that a majority of your pay is FICA/social security tax exempt, you may not have to pay State tax, and some of your income is federal tax free.
how do i get out of state taxes? :) are the rest of the tax "breaks" (FICA/SS tax, Federal tax) given without me having to do anything?
 

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Originally posted by Homunculus
how do i get out of state taxes? :) are the rest of the tax "breaks" (FICA/SS tax, Federal tax) given without me having to do anything?
You get out of paying state taxes by begin a resident of a state with no income tax like Texas. I don't know how you get out of federal taxes, other than untaxed stipends such as BAH and BAS. Geez, you can't even deduct the cost of your uniforms once you are on active duty.

Ed
 

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Originally posted by edmadison
You get out of paying state taxes by begin a resident of a state with no income tax like Texas. I don't know how you get out of federal taxes, other than untaxed stipends such as BAH and BAS. Geez, you can't even deduct the cost of your uniforms once you are on active duty.

Ed
so do we get to just check some box for what state we want to be a resident of? because i've never lived in texas-- unless you count an ADT, lol.
 

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Originally posted by Homunculus
how do i get out of state taxes? :) are the rest of the tax "breaks" (FICA/SS tax, Federal tax) given without me having to do anything?
The BAH/BAS are federal tax exempt and doesn't even compute into your income. This lowers your tax bracket too.

If you intend to live in FL, TX, WA or any state that doesn't have state income tax, then you will not pay state taxes while on AD.

FICA/SS tax is not taken out of your specialty pay. For physicians, this is ~half of your income.

These are big tax breaks for someone earning a six figure salary.
 

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Originally posted by Andrew_Doan
The BAH/BAS are federal tax exempt and doesn't even compute into your income. This lowers your tax bracket too.

If you intend to live in FL, TX, WA or any state that doesn't have state income tax, then you will not pay state taxes while on AD.

FICA/SS tax is not taken out of your specialty pay. For physicians, this is ~half of your income.

These are big tax breaks for someone earning a six figure salary.
wow. i didn't know that about the specialty pay.

so i guess i can't claim texas as my state of residence for pay purposes, eh? i actually have to live there? oh well. :( i was hoping there was a "check the box of the state you wish to be a 'resident' of" form or something ;)
 

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Originally posted by Homunculus
wow. i didn't know that about the specialty pay.

so i guess i can't claim texas as my state of residence for pay purposes, eh? i actually have to live there? oh well. :( i was hoping there was a "check the box of the state you wish to be a 'resident' of" form or something ;)
You can claim TX if you "intend to move there" afterwards and if you have lived/worked there. For me, I hope to be based first in Florida or Washington. If not, then I'll claim my home state of Oregon where Military working out of state aren't taxed Oregon State Tax.

Read this article:

http://www.detrick.army.mil/services/tax/homeofrecord.pdf

I intend to live in FL, WA, or OR when I'm done! :D

http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/statetax/blstatetax.htm
 

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There is a form at PSD or online with your mypay account that lets you select a state of residence. I have friends who simply went in, chose New Hampshire and made it so. The "intention to live there" is likely enough if anyone ever questioned it, but I doubt they would. Other states have varying laws. I was a Connecticut resident, not exactly a tax utopia. However, if you are on active duty, don't physically live in the state for the year you can get a full tax refund, or just claim exempt at the beginning of the year. I haven't paid state tax since I graduated from Med school.

I never knew about the lack of FICA/SS from special pays, that made my day, thanks
DD
 
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Originally posted by Navy Dive Doc

I never knew about the lack of FICA/SS from special pays, that made my day, thanks
DD
I just spoke to a LT COL in the ARMY, and he said that FICA/SS is not taken out of his medical special pay that he receives twice yearly as lump sum payments. Federal Tax of 28% is taken from the pay, but people will get some of this back based on their tax exemptions and deductions.

As I understand it, FICA/SS is only taken out from monthly wages. The lump sum special pay is a taxable bonus, but it's not included as monthly wages. This is why I think FICA/SS is not taken out of the special pays. This is what I gleaned on the net about this topic:

http://www.tpub.com/content/administration/12967/css/12967_42.htm

You must pay federal income tax on your Navy pay. The amount deducted depends upon the withholding statement (W-4) you file with your disbursing officer. You must pay federal income tax on (1) basic pay, (2) incentive and special pay, (3) certain travel pay, and (4) other pay as applicable. You do not pay tax on allowances such as subsistence and allowance for quarters.

Military personnel come under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), which provides Social Security coverage for members of the armed forces. FICA taxes are deducted from your monthly pay and are currently limited to a specified maximum during a calendar year.
 

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Andrew_Doan said:
These are big tax breaks for someone earning a six figure salary.
I plugged the salaries in several tax calculators. Being from Oregon, if I'm based out-of-state, then I don't pay Oregon state income tax. The following formula will apply to those who claim a state without state income tax.

To determine the civilian equivalent pay needed to equal the take-home military physician pay, then you multiply your military gross pay by 1.3. As your salary increases with rank/experience, the multiplier decreases slightly. This does NOT include the benefits from retirement, commissary, and other indirect benefits.

For example, as an 0-3 based in Bethesda, MD and working as an ophthalmologist, my Gross Pay is ~$95K/year. I take home ~$85K/year or $7000/month. As a civilian, to take home $7000/month living in Bethesda, MD, I have to make ~$125K/year (equivalent to the average civilian academic department).

Keep this in mind when you analyze your compensation in the military.
 

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Andrew,
Does this include your Base Pay, BAH (Bethesda rate c dependent for you), ASP, VSP (# years???), and BAS? Also, you your board certified pay, hopefully sooner rather than later. Did I miss any of the extra $$$ that you get post residency? And, how many years in service do you get as a FAP, i.e. O-3 <2, or is the "clock" running right now.
 

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r90t said:
Andrew,
Does this include your Base Pay, BAH (Bethesda rate c dependent for you), ASP, VSP (# years???), and BAS? Also, you your board certified pay, hopefully sooner rather than later. Did I miss any of the extra $$$ that you get post residency? And, how many years in service do you get as a FAP, i.e. O-3 <2, or is the "clock" running right now.
My above calculation includes every special pay, base pay, BAH, etc... Except it does not include the multi-year special pay because I must pay back my FAP time before I qualify for the multi-year bonus. As FAP I get 0 service credit; thus, when I go active duty, I'll have 20 years left to serve before I can retire.
 

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I'm not trying to be rude, but how much more comfortably can you live off of 150k a year vs 100k a year? Sure, it's fifty thousand more a year. That's a new car or boat every year. But you're still making three times as much as the average american, you don't pay malpractice or overhead, your taxes are nill, your house is paid for, you can easily afford two cars and a jet ski, and you get to pack up and leave for a month out of the year without having to plan every single return visit around your vacation for months in advance. Sure, maybe you could have bought your wife a lexus and joined the country club by now if you had gone civilian, but in the end, what's the point? You are respected as both a physician and an officer, and to many of the people you treat, you represent what they would like to do with their lives someday if they had the chance. Your patients are most likely far more adherent to their treatments, which is a source of endless frustration with patients who don't like being "told what to do".

I know this sounds stupid coming from a medical student, but come on guys. I grew up pretty poor; most of the men (father, uncles) in my family are now in their fifties and sixties, and still working eight hours a day to put away for what will probably be a short retirement.

100k a year aint bad.
 

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kedhegard said:
I know this sounds stupid coming from a medical student, but come on guys......
100k a year aint bad.
Yes, it sounds stupid coming from a medical student. I used to think the same way - that's what medical school and the years after are for.
 

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kedhegard said:
100k a year aint bad.
I agree. You also get indirect perks in the military too. Access to nice golf courses for cheap. Vacations that are dirt cheap. Check out: http://afvclub.com/search.asp

You can rent civilian condos for $249/week in numerous places in the US and in the world. I rented one in Orlando last year. This fall, we're going to Hawaii.

These are the same time-shares that civilians must pay $20k up front and thousands of dollars per year for 'dues'. ;)
 

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Here's the deal - that extra $50,000 a year doesn't necessarily go to the country club, it can go towards your kids' college education fund, so that when the time comes for them to go to undergrad and grad school, they can join the military solely because they WANT to, not because it is the only way to pay for school (oh, yeah, $100,000 a year means that you DON'T get financial aid, but you probably DON'T have enough extra money to pay for your kids' school at $30,000 a pop). Interesting that our rich senators and congressmen don't have any of THEIR kids over in Iraq. OR MAYBE, much like the people in your family and MINE, who work, 8, no make that 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, just to get by - you can save money in your IRA or 401K (TSP for military) and actually stop working before your death. Listen, I know that $100,000 grand a year sounds like you are going to be sitting around counting your money and finding ways to spend it on your yacht or whatever, but that kind of money in many places of the country you want to live and work will be just enough to pay the mortgage, eat, and put some money aside for the future - you WILL NOT, I say again, you WILL NOT be or feel rich.
By the way, I am career military, so it isn't a go civilian or military issue for me. I have relatives that sell suits for a living and make more money than I do as a mid-career military pilot, so we don't do this for the money.
 

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I agree that $100k/year is not a huge salary, but I'll still be able to pay for my kids colleges if I plan it right. Particularly if I retire from the military, my military pension will be enough to pay for my kids college debt while I make a nice salary as an academic or private practice physician.

If you read the book: The Millionaire Next Door, then you'll realize that the people who have wealth in this country are NOT typically the people making $500K+/year. Most millionaires in the US are people making a little over $100K/year. The common link is that they are good with their money. With $100K/year, one can still live well in this country. In addition, $100K/year is a starting salary for me as an 0-3. The 0-5 and 0-6 physicians are making ~$150K/year, which is equivalent to a civilian salary of ~180K/year.
 

kaikai128

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Just something that nobody has brought up. If you are making 100K/year and talking about paying for the college education of your children, then many will have the second source of income. The 100K will probably only be a portion (maybe the larger one) of the total household income. I may only make 100-150K/year in the future, but I don't exactly expect to have a husband who will be a stay-at-home daddy.
 
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flighterdoc

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Andrew_Doan said:
I agree. You also get indirect perks in the military too. Access to nice golf courses for cheap. Vacations that are dirt cheap. Check out: http://afvclub.com/search.asp

You can rent civilian condos for $249/week in numerous places in the US and in the world. I rented one in Orlando last year. This fall, we're going to Hawaii.

These are the same time-shares that civilians must pay $20k up front and thousands of dollars per year for 'dues'. ;)

The "perks" are indeed there, and they're nice but they're difficult to get scheduled into, and the military's need always come first. So, don't base your decision on the possibility of staying on Waikiki for $39 a night. Getting leave scheduled (and then being able to actually take it) when there is a vacancy is a treat, not a plan.
 

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flighterdoc said:
The "perks" are indeed there, and they're nice but they're difficult to get scheduled into, and the military's need always come first. So, don't base your decision on the possibility of staying on Waikiki for $39 a night. Getting leave scheduled (and then being able to actually take it) when there is a vacancy is a treat, not a plan.
This is where flexibility helps. If Hawaii is booked, then look into getting a condo somewhere else for $249/week. Most places allow advance reservations too. ;)
 

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Andrew_Doan said:
For example, as an 0-3 based in Bethesda, MD and working as an ophthalmologist, my Gross Pay is ~$95K/year. I take home ~$85K/year or $7000/month. As a civilian, to take home $7000/month living in Bethesda, MD, I have to make ~$125K/year (equivalent to the average civilian academic department).

Keep this in mind when you analyze your compensation in the military.
Keep this in mind when you analyze your compensation in the military too: average salary for an ophthalmologist with 3+ years experience is about $250,000, not the 95K you make in the army. (source: physciansearch.com). I'm not saying money is the only consideration, but let's not try to say that the tax exemption at the PX makes up for a pay differential of $150K.
 

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R-Me-Doc said:
Keep this in mind when you analyze your compensation in the military too: average salary for an ophthalmologist with 3+ years experience is about $250,000, not the 95K you make in the army. (source: physciansearch.com). I'm not saying money is the only consideration, but let's not try to say that the tax exemption at the PX makes up for a pay differential of $150K.
I know this and never implied that the military pay is comparable to civilian private practice. Military pay is comparable to academic ophthalmologists, however. For me, I'll be either academic or military. So the pay is essentially the same.

Also consider this. The average starting private practice ophthalmologist makes $120-$140K/year. Thus, if you look at my compensation from the NAVY in regards to civilian dollars, then my compensation is not bad if I decide to leave after 4 years.

FAP = $120K total pay over 3 years of residency which equates to being paid $155K/year x 4 years of military service. This is equivalent or better than new ophthalmology graduates. If I stay longer, then they will clearly surpass me in yearly income but I'll make similar salaries to my civilian academic counterparts. If I stay my full 20 years, then I will catch up because of the military pension. If I leave after 4 years, then I'll be even with the civilian ophthalmologist who has less than 4 years experience.

The take home message is that if you want to serve your country, then consider the military and being a military physician currently pays fairly well.
 

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kedhegard said:
I'm not trying to be rude, but how much more comfortably can you live off of 150k a year vs 100k a year? Sure, it's fifty thousand more a year. That's a new car or boat every year. But you're still making three times as much as the average american, you don't pay malpractice or overhead, your taxes are nill, your house is paid for, you can easily afford two cars and a jet ski, and you get to pack up and leave for a month out of the year without having to plan every single return visit around your vacation for months in advance. Sure, maybe you could have bought your wife a lexus and joined the country club by now if you had gone civilian, but in the end, what's the point? You are respected as both a physician and an officer, and to many of the people you treat, you represent what they would like to do with their lives someday if they had the chance. Your patients are most likely far more adherent to their treatments, which is a source of endless frustration with patients who don't like being "told what to do".

I know this sounds stupid coming from a medical student, but come on guys. I grew up pretty poor; most of the men (father, uncles) in my family are now in their fifties and sixties, and still working eight hours a day to put away for what will probably be a short retirement.

100k a year aint bad.
You do make a valid point that even at 100K we are making a whole lot more than everyone else, so I won't take you to task specifically over the salary issues.
BUT: I suspect you got no idea what practice is like, either military or civilian.
I DO have to "plan every single return visit" months in advance if I go on vacation (when I'm allowed to). I work 10-12 hour days MINIMUM plus many weekends where I have to go in just to do catchup or purely admin work.
My patients are no more adherent to treatment or compliant than anybody else (in fact, I susptect many are LESS adherent because they are looking for a way out of the military, or to bump up their disability payments, and that "chronic back pain" may be just the ticket.)
You didn't mention it, but a lot of people are also under the misperception that you don't have "managed care" hassles in the military. On the contrary, the military is just a huge HMO with all the attendent bureaucratic crap as Kaiser or anywhere else.
So, for the same hassles and headaches, yeah, I'd rather double my salary. And my civilian boss is never gonna send me to Iraq, either.
 

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Andrew_Doan said:
This is where flexibility helps. If Hawaii is booked, then look into getting a condo somewhere else for $249/week. Most places allow advance reservations too. ;)
And when the reservations open (usually 6 months in advance) they get booked almost immediately.

Now, especially today, what do you think the odds are of booking leave 6 months in advance and being able to take it? BTW, the government resorts will refund your deposit when military duties interfere, most civilian resorts won't unless you specifically negotiate it with them in advance.
 

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flighterdoc said:
And when the reservations open (usually 6 months in advance) they get booked almost immediately.

Now, especially today, what do you think the odds are of booking leave 6 months in advance and being able to take it? BTW, the government resorts will refund your deposit when military duties interfere, most civilian resorts won't unless you specifically negotiate it with them in advance.
Have you ever used the www.afvclub.com service?

http://www.rcihnresorts.com/RT_partners/CDA/RT_partners_index?ID=afv

"In the event of a military contingency, you may be eligible for a full refund of your reservation fee."

These are civilian resorts. They cost $249/week. I've used them. Reservations also open 1 year in advance.

"Units may become available for AFVC Space-A rental anywhere from 2 to 360 days in advance of check-in. As soon as they become available, they can be reserved. Once a reservation is made, the unit is taken out of the available inventory pool and that unit is yours. Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis, so a high demand location may be available in the morning, but gone by afternoon. If all available units have been reserved prior to your call, a counselor will assist you with finding an alternative location or available date. When all available other units at a resort have been reserved, the resort will drop off the web site when the database is updated the next morning. "
 

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I think the point flighterdoc was making wasn't about the locations or the reservations, but taking leave itself. I have many military friends who have been frequently denied leave, allowed leave but denied permission to leave the area, or had their leave withdrawn after being granted permissoin, and have missed many occasions as a result.
 

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My god, I was a med student the last time this thread had any replies

-Ed
 

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After having just read all of this, would be interesting to see how @Andrew_Doan is doing now?

I won't give out too much but if you google the name you will find quite a bit of info that will answer your question. He is still in the .mil and is doing well.


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dear god, it's like a damn time capsule. so young and naive.

--your friendly neighborhood ended up not doing PICU caveman
Yeah this thread's got it all.

Even a pre-med lecturing his elders about how $100K ought to be enough for anyone.
 
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