How many years is a productive career? Does it even matter?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Phil McCracken, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Phil McCracken

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    Hey guys,

    This is an issue that pops up here and there for me. I'm finishing up fourth-year at SGU and will probably match to my first choice program in IM. I'm 38 years old now so I'll be 41 when I'm done with residency.

    Do you think it matters whether or not you started young or older? I'd like to work up till 70 but that's actually less than 30 years of useful work whereas younger students can have a career of up to 40 years or more.

    Do you ever feel that medicine is only worth it when you practice it for your whole life?
     
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  3. OrthoTraumaMD

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    If you love it, it doesn’t matter how long you spend in it. If you found the love of your life in your 60s, would you not marry them because it wasn’t worth it?


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  4. doc05

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    If you need to work past 60, you're doing something wrong.
     
  5. togaedere

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    Started med school at 32, graduated at 36. I plan to work until I’m 100 or more. Basically until I’m absolutely not able to anymore.

    But the point is who cares. Some people retire when they’re 30, some people never retire. Maybe you get 10 years in your career when you realize you need to change it a bit. Doesn’t matter. Age is a pointless thing to care about cus it can’t be helped and the alternative is not doing what you want. People change, they want different things at different times in your life. Maybe you’ll get 15 years into your career and think that’s enough, maybe you want to work forever. Do what you want. I say this as a person who has done her fair share of age fretting but stopped a long time ago.

    You can work in IM forever. There’s a pulmonologist in our TB clinic who always says he’s going to retire and he’s 90 something. He’s a little slow with the computer but he provides good care to patients. Might be kind of different if you were talking about surgical subspecialties but even then there are always stories of the older grads who match cus they love it.

    Do what you wanna do.

     
  6. Phil McCracken

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    Good to hear the advice guys.

    I guess I've heard from more than one person that if I wanted this so bad, why didn't I just get it done in my 20's. Now that I'm here, I do regret not doing what I needed to do to get here sooner. I think it's also related to all the debt I have now. It'll get paid off eventually but it's just a lot of debt lol. It's frightening actually. I honestly think I'll just feel happier once it's not as big of an issue.
     
  7. masaraksh

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    I’m looking to get out ASAP
     
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  8. The Physician Philosopher

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    If you put 20-30% of your AGI into low cost index funds you'll be able to retire in fifteen years and you can do whatever you'd like with the extra years after that.

    Feel like working longer? Go for it. Feel like going part time? Go for it.

    Financial independence gives you the freedom to make your career to be however you want it!

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Phil McCracken

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    I have no business mind. I need to start planning all of that out.
     
  10. The Physician Philosopher

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    Recommendations:
    1) Read white coat investor and bogleheads guide to investing. Both are easy reads and will put it all in perspective.
    2) visit physician specific financial websites (shameless plug for my own website, also recommend white coat investor, and physician on fire)

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  11. Phil McCracken

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    Thanks, I'll take a look at both.
     
  12. precisiongraphic

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    As a fourth-year, isn't it a bit late to ask now? You can't change your age and your tuition fees are now a sunk cost.

     
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  13. Phil McCracken

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    It's just a discussion man.
     
  14. Gray Fox

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    Live without regrets. You're gonna be a great doctor, and many of your patients will live better lives because of you. When you started and how you got here won't change that.
     
  15. Phil McCracken

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    Thanks, as I'm getting older I'm slowly starting to accept that.
     
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  17. Microshaft

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    is it weird that I read this in Frank Jaeger's voice as he's getting his exoskeleton pressed by a giant Metal Gear Rex
     
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  18. togaedere

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    Respectfully ignore all haters — bonus points if you can do it for the rest of your life.

    My family tried to pull that guilt crap when I told them I was applying to school, almost exactly in the way that you say here. There’s this pervasive attitude against people changing their minds and/or going for something different when they’re older. I think it’s worth ignoring if medicine is really something you want to do. I also think my family was afraid I wasn’t going to get in or wasn’t going to be able to hack it or whatever. Now they’re proud.

    There’s tons of people in jobs they hate that they’ve had for years. Second career medicine people are at least trying to make sure that doesn’t happen to them. A lot of people will try to make you doubt your choice for a thousand reasons, but you’re the only one living your life. Ignore the negative, do what you want. Rinse wash repeat.

     
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  19. Phil McCracken

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    Thanks, it's good to hear I'm not the only one who went through that. I guess the frustrating part is you always think the other person somehow knows something you don't know about the journey you're undertaking. When I was in school, even though I put my head down and did the work there was always this doubt that I would never succeed because I always used to think that these people knew my outcome before me.

    But in all fairness, going to medical school later in life for me at least was a giant gamble...a gamble that has paid off. I guess this is one experience that has really helped me to see that in life sometimes to succeed and be happy, you have to put it all on the line.
     
  20. togaedere

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    I hear you, I just also needed to bring a decent amount of persistence to the equation and eventually my family backed down. The crazy thing is that it’s not even like early mid 30s is that old. And 41 out of residency is basically where I will be (I’m in a 4 year program so I’ll be 40 when I graduate provided everything else happens on time). Also not that old in the grand scheme of things.

    Agree also on a gamble.. I was on my way to making decent career moves in my prior career, and had to turn down a few tempting job offers in the middle of the application process. There’s never a guarantee, but thankfully things worked out the way I wanted them too and it sounds like you’re having a good interview season. Congrats!

     
  21. precisiongraphic

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    OP - I didn't mean to be negative... just thought those were weird questions to be asking now as a fourth year instead of as a pre-med non-trad. At this point, how long you practice depends on your desires and how your health holds up. I know several doctors practicing into their 70s and I'm sure some are close to 80. But you do you. So the answer to how long you practice doesn't matter. As far as being 40 that will matter quite a bit less when you're done with school and working.
     
  22. DocWinter

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    I had a blue collar career and a likely ceiling of 70-80k annually before going to med school in my late 20s. Now I get to look forward to 3x the pay and less wear and tear on my body and possibly the choice to retire at 60 or 65 if I choose. If I want to work to 70 or 80, great. Medicine is tough but it sure beats pushing wheelbarrows and digging ditches in the cold.
     
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