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Is optometry worth it financially these days?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by ddown, May 10, 2007.

  1. ddown

    ddown Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Mar 13, 2005
    Is optometry worth it financially anymore?? Sure, there are always going to be people who by luck, family, or hard work are successful, but what about the majority of students who now graduate with 100-200+K in debt. Average starting salaries for private practice are roughly 65-85k, with corporate a bit higher at 90K. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median ODs salary at ~98K. If you plan to practice in heavily saturated markets like So. Cal. (where isn't a heavily saturated OD market these days?!) then the numbers are lower, and you will probably end up an IC, without benefits. Those loan payments, especially at the higher interest rate of 6.8% are going to take a big chunk of your income for many years. Medicine and dentistry have similar debt loads, but will start at significantly higher salaries and have greater earning potential in the long run, thanks to their reliance on service rather than materials for income and smart control of practitioner supply. IN GENERAL, does the cost of a professional education in optometry, in terms of money and time, now outweigh the possible payoff down the road? I believe the top two things driving down OD incomes are oversupply and the inability to get on many insurance panels.
     
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  3. mlongo1

    mlongo1 2+ Year Member

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    Sep 13, 2006

    Well, personally - I'm not going to answer your question in full or even directly - but you stated my main point: everyone will have debt. Now, granted: you won't make as much as other professions to pay off your debt as fast as you'd like and get that half-million house you've always wanted....but I still think there are other benefits to the job outside of money that people like...and I think with the salary one will make - they can still pay off loans and live comfortably. Alot of people raise faimies on ALOT less. Debt is life - I choose to live with it and be happy rather than choose a profession I hate.
     
  4. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!! Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 25, 2001
    Tampa
    well said. :)
     
  5. ODduck

    ODduck Future Oregon OD 2+ Year Member

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    Feb 9, 2007
    Forest Grove, OR
    Perfect answer, there are many more reasons than money that I chose optometry. I was going to have a high debt load no matter what, and debt is always something that people live with, very few Americans are truly debt-free. Debt load and how long it will take to pay off, while an important thing to think about, still should be secondary to finding a career that you really love and believe you will be happy in for the rest of your working life.
     
  6. BKK

    BKK Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 14, 2005
    Debt is not a part of life. Debt is normal to Americans. I choose to be wierd.

    Granted, getting through Optometry school requires it and you can do well for yourself afterwards. I just paid off my loans after 11 years and a little help from the Air Force. If I had to do it all over again, I most likely would have the same amount of student loan debt but I would not have fallen prey to the trap of credit cards. Having to pay credit cards and student loans really hindered my ability to knock out my SL debt.

    Keep your loan debt down as much as possible, AVOID credit cards and live much below your means for a few years after graduation and your SL debt will be a non-issue. The faster that you get rid of debt is when you can really enjoy the benefits of this profession.

    By being smarter and organized, my wife and I will have paid $50K in debt in only 19 months by Oct 07...

    BK
     
  7. maxwellfish

    maxwellfish Member 5+ Year Member

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    May 9, 2004

    Yes, being happy is one thing... but it would be nice to know that your chosen profession can support the debt you accrued to get there.

    I think that might be what the OP is getting at.
     
    PhysioChick likes this.
  8. BKK

    BKK Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 14, 2005
    One of the best things to remember is that you need to get your life started after graduation, not add to your debt level. Don't buy the dream house, don't lease the BMW, etc. Live well under your means for a few years and get rid of the large majority of your debt. Once that occurs, you get to actually KEEP the money that you were paying on the debt.

    If you lived on $40K while making $65-85K, how long would it take to pay off $100K in student loan debt? About 4.5 yrs or less, give or take with interest. I really wish that I would have taken this advice 11 years ago and I would be leaps and bounds ahead of the financial game at this point in time.

    Get your self to a point to where can afford to live life, don't live life on credit. Debt is not a way of life. Life is a way of life.

    BK
     
  9. Ryan_eyeball

    Ryan_eyeball Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jul 20, 2005
    Kansas

    But..working debt isn't always a bad thing. I graduated with my student loan interest rate at around 2.0% and glad I got out when I did. So financially it would be smarter to pay off a mortage faster in my individual case. Nowadays, the student interest is around, what 7.0%? Good luck guys and girls.
     
  10. doofy

    doofy 5+ Year Member

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    Mar 13, 2007
    While Stafford loans are at 6.8% right now, does anyone have a rough idea what the typical interest rate for business loans are?
     
  11. broadway

    broadway 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 8, 2006
    First do you want to be an optometrist or do you want to make money? If you want to make money go into finance. This advice was given to me but I was stupid. I thought optometrists made good money, but they don't not compared to finance people . My brothers sister inlaw just got a 1.2 million dollar bonus. She's 28. My brothers finace makes over 300k. She is 26. My good friend at the Blackstone group makes millions. My brother inlaw makes about 500k. His brother makes more. These people make crazy money. They also work anywhere from 60 to 100 hours per week. So you ask should I spend 150k to make 100k? I say no that's a bad return on investment for most of you. Now If you are entrepreneral it may not be a bad investment.
    It also depends where you live if you live in or near a major metro-area 100k is not a lot of money. Your thought process has to be that you will be married and supporting two kids. That you will have a home and cars and insurance. Your life will be different. I don't want to read that your mom made 60,000 grand /year and you grew up just fine. That's great. I WANT TO BE CLEAR 100K FOR A PROFFESIONAL WOMAN OR MAN IS NOT A LOT OF MONEY.
     
  12. luckyfool

    luckyfool SUNY Opt 5+ Year Member

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    Jan 13, 2006
    NYC
    I'd like to make over 300k and work 100 hours per week. SHOW ME THE WAY!!
     
  13. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member Optometrist Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 1, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Are you sure you mean 100 hours?
     
  14. broadway

    broadway 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 8, 2006
    Sometimes these guys have to sleep at there offices. It doesn't happen much but it does happen. I think of it as a residency program these young people are paying there dues. But if they make it they will do well financially.
     
  15. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member Optometrist Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 1, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I believe you...my post was in response to the person who wanted to work 100 hours. I know it's possible to make near $300K in optometry working less than 100 hours per week.
     
  16. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!! Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 25, 2001
    Tampa
    I think they were being sarcastic, Ben. But, I could be wrong. Personally I'm very happy with what I make working 35-45 hours a week.
     
  17. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member Optometrist Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 1, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    ;)
     
  18. broadway

    broadway 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 8, 2006
    Is optometry worth it? I don't know. I see about 20 patients/day. Most are cl fits/eval. Most have vision plans. The pay is very bad. I do have medical patients but very few. the pay for that is'nt that great either. The real money is in the glasses but the insurance plans are taking that away also. I was asked if I would choose optometry again , I think not. I find it boring and the money is fair.
     

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