MD & DO Medical school debt is not nearly as bad as people make it out to be

Coldwater_Adler

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You have so drastically changed your argument that I honestly think you are bating people. You went from this:

to this:



43% of American households make more than $80k...so yeah I don't think it is very out of touch to say that is an attainable income.

But like I said, you made one demonstrably false comment, someone calls you out on it, then you change your tune to "a lot of Americans are struggling and $80-150k is a lot." I thought only a doctor's salary was a lot? That is at least >$150k, really more like >$200k when you take out the bottom 10% or so who combine low income specialty with HCOL area. So which is it?

I have also NEVER claimed that most Americans don't struggle to make ends meet. That is one of the underlying themes of this post if you took the time to read critically. Doctors have a better financial situation than >95-97% of Americans.

Oh, do you realize most med schools give you like $1500-2000/month to live on? Most med students without help from their parents have lived a 20-30k lifestyle, myself included.

I assumed you grew up wealthy because it makes no sense for someone that is supposedly raising a family of 5 on $30k to say that you need at least $200k for a "decent and only decent" lifestyle.

Mediocre trolling attempt, but you did get me in the first half. Low pass.

So... I was planning to just drop it because I am being misunderstood and you appear to be on too much of a high horse to hear other perspectives, but I wanted to make one more attempt to clarify my position.

First off, I agree with your initial post. It is definitely very possible to make a comfortable life with the debt. I would not be going to medical school if I didn't believe that. I also appreciate the time that you put into explaining the math. I start medical school this summer and so I am not as knowledgeable on the subject as those who have already gone through medical school and accrued that debt. The perspective I was hoping to get across, and admittedly failed to, is that of one who has had to support a family in relative poverty.

My original comment was intended to be me agreeing with your main points, but also pointing out that the system in America sucks for everyone but the Uber wealthy. We need massive reform in this country and we needed it yesterday.

Even with the debt, I dont think that many doctors realize just how well off they are in comparison to the majority of people in America.

Lastly, who hurt you? You have been incredibly harsh to anyone who disagrees with you. Surely, their experience is just as valid as your own. Its disappointing really because your original post was one of optimism and hope, but your comments have been incredibly self-righteous and hostile. Rather than engage with others perspectives, you attack them for it. Its quite toxic tbh
 
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Splenda88

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Much easier commutes is something I don't think people from giant metropolises like Atlanta or Houston or LA realize they will love so much until they live in a midsized city that lets you drive in rush hour traffic without needing a cocktail of psychiatric drugs just to avoid homicidal rage or crippling anxiety. I'm being a little dramatic, but only a little
I just like to live in suburb close to those big cities so I can enjoy what they offer.
 
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Coldwater_Adler

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Though I do agree cost of living is becoming unbearable for most people in the USA, I wouldn't say you need a physician's salary to have a decent living. A two-income household of 100k-120k would live quite comfortably while saving for retirement
You're right. I wasn't as clear as I could have been as I am just replying on my phone stream of consciousness style. I was just trying to point out that the cost of living is becoming unbearable and that the economy is incredibly biased towards the wealthy
 
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sunshinefl

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Did you rank programs there high?
I'm still rearranging my list for the 163379th time lol... actually doing that in another window right now. But I only have 1 program in Orlando. It wasn't initially where I wanted to live for long term, which is more what I'm assessing than just for residency. However I kind of got into it. I always thought more of Tampa area, Jax area, or Gainesville, and I'm from SWFL. (I hate Miami-Dade/Broward areas but unfortunately have a ton of interviews for those residencies).
 
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Vivid_Quail

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Lastly, who hurt you? You have been incredibly harsh to anyone who disagrees with you.
Medical school plus the internet makes some people more harsh than we should be.

Surely, their experience is just as valid as your own.
Experiences are valid, but a lot of people phrase their anecdotes as if they are applicable to every situation which annoys me. You might have noticed, but I have a borderline-autistic obsession with using median data and backing stuff up with data. This habit is way too annoying to ever do in the "real world" so it admittedly gets cranked up to 11 on forums. Not the healthiest outlet but much more healthy than annoying my friends and classmates and god forbid my attendings with my aggressive arguments.
 
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Splenda88

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You're right. I wasn't as clear as I could have been as I am just replying on my phone stream of consciousness style. I was just trying to point out that the cost of living is becoming unbearable and that the economy is incredibly biased towards the wealthy
I could not agree more with you...
 
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Splenda88

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I'm still rearranging my list for the 163379th time lol... actually doing that in another window right now. But I only have 1 program in Orlando. It wasn't initially where I wanted to live for long term, which is more what I'm assessing than just for residency. However I kind of got into it. I always thought more of Tampa area, Jax area, or Gainesville, and I'm from SWFL. (I hate Miami-Dade/Broward areas but unfortunately have a ton of interviews for those residencies).
I was told Tampa and some of its suburbs are good... North Broward is ok. Palm Beach is good IMO (might be biased on that one). Definitely avoid Miami-Dade county.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm and reminder that this "Excludes “Nurse Anesthetists” (29-1151), “Nurse Midwives” (29-1161), and “Nurse Practitioners” (29-1171)"

25% of nurses make >$90k and 10% >$111k. This is RNs we are talking about so 10% making >$111k is 290,000 people...

BLS also famously underestimates salaries, at least for physicians. Maybe more accurate for nurses though...the big problem with physicians is that they include the like 100,000 residents that make $60k/yr in the average for all physicians.

You realize that 25% is still the significant minority, right? You literally just provided supporting evidence for my point. I’ve lived and worked in half a dozen states. MOST nurses are not making over 100k and what you just posted supports that.
 
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Vivid_Quail

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I was just trying to point out that the cost of living is becoming unbearable and that the economy is incredibly biased towards the wealthy
This is 100% true. I think healthcare jobs and especially becoming a physician is the best chance for class mobility we have in this country. Now, most medical students are from upper two income quintiles, so it isn't a great chance statistically, but unfortunately that trend is true even in countries that try VERY hard to have a more equal distribution of wealth and excellent education for all. In my buddy's medical school class in Germany, only 3-4 students out of 200 were not ethnically German, and almost all had professional parents. And income inequality is much less of a problem there but they still struggle with getting "poor" students access to medical school.

Trust me, I am no fan of the US in many ways, and we have to acknowledge that healthcare workers benefit greatly from income inequality. The US is heavily biased towards the wealthy (top 1% and especially the top 0.1% which almost no physician is in), but the top 20-30% in this country still have it really really good too, both on a global scale and in comparison to high-income Western countries. You have much more disposable income as someone with an 80th percentile income in the US than you do as the 80th percentile in Germany or Sweden.

My crackhead plan is to save up enough in 10-15 years as an attending working 0.3-0.5 FTE and move to Latin America or Southern Europe and retire at like 45...but I am also admittedly a little intense about this kind of stuff compared to the average person.
 
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Vivid_Quail

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You realize that 25% is still the significant minority, right? You literally just provided supporting evidence for my point. I’ve lived and worked in half a dozen states. MOST nurses are not making over 100k and what you just posted supports that.
I never said it was a majority lol...and it also really depends on how you look at it. Yeah, 25% is not a mind blowingly high percentage, but 725,000 RNs making >$90k is still pretty impressive to me.
 

Splenda88

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My crackhead plan is to save up enough in 10-15 years as an attending working 0.3-0.5 FTE and move to Latin America or Southern Europe and retire at like 45...but I am also admittedly a little intense about this kind of stuff compared to the average person.
Lol... I kind of have the same plan except will do mine ~ 50 y/o... Plan is to have 3 homes paid off (worth 1M total) for cash flow and 2M in 401k/Roth/Stock. Plan to retire in Malaysia/Panama/Mexico in that order of preference.
 
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Vivid_Quail

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Lol... I kind of have the same plan except will do mine ~ 50 y/o... Plan is to have 3 homes paid off (worth 1M) for cash flow and 2M in 401k/Roth/Stock. Plan to retire in Malaysia/Panama/Mexico in that order of preference.
Glad to know there are at least two of us haha. I would love to be a little more creative in my choices and say I will learn another language to B2-ish before I retire, but once I start residency that is probably not going to happen haha. Fluent English and Spanish will have to do 😃
 
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Splenda88

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Glad to know there are at least two of us haha. I would love to be a little more creative in my choices and say I will learn another language to B2-ish before I retire, but once I start residency that is probably not going to happen haha. Fluent English and Spanish will have to do 😃
How about 6 months in the US and 6 months overseas? My spouse prefers that plan.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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I never said it was a majority lol...and it also really depends on how you look at it. Yeah, 25% is not a mind blowingly high percentage, but 725,000 RNs making >$90k is still pretty impressive to me.

You responded to a comment I made responding to someone else who was implying that the majority of nurses were making more than 100k.
 

Vivid_Quail

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You responded to a comment I made responding to someone else who was implying that the majority of nurses were making more than 100k.
Well at that point we were so many layers deep into a Christopher Nolan movie that I didn’t even know who or what I was arguing for. Really I just thought it was interesting data. A lot higher than I expected for 75th and 90th percentile.
 
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Coldwater_Adler

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Medical school plus the internet makes some people more harsh than we should be.


Experiences are valid, but a lot of people phrase their anecdotes as if they are applicable to every situation which annoys me. You might have noticed, but I have a borderline-autistic obsession with using median data and backing stuff up with data. This habit is way too annoying to ever do in the "real world" so it admittedly gets cranked up to 11 on forums. Not the healthiest outlet but much more healthy than annoying my friends and classmates and god forbid my attendings with my aggressive arguments.
I can understand that. It just doesn't help an argument when people get too aggressive
 

Coldwater_Adler

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So... let me ask yall this. If I am looking at almost 500k in loans by the time I am done, does that change things or will I still be comfortable?
 

Splenda88

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So... let me ask yall this. If I am looking at almost 500k in loans by the time I am done, does that change things or will I still be comfortable?
You can augment your lifestyle to 100% (live on 80k-90k/yr) after residency, max 401k, HSA, IRA and still can pay off your student loan in less <10 yrs. I am assuming the healthcare system won't blow up by that time and you will be able to make at least ~300k/yr
 
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jambro

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So... let me ask yall this. If I am looking at almost 500k in loans by the time I am done, does that change things or will I still be comfortable?

I would probably be targeting higher-paying specialties if I were you (avoid academic peds). Then again maybe PSLF and yolo...
 
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Splenda88

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You responded to a comment I made responding to someone else who was implying that the majority of nurses were making more than 100k.
I did not imply that. I know better as someone who was a RN for 7 yrs. I said it's not that difficult (not difficult is different from easy) to make 100k after a few yrs of experience if you know how to play the game... I have a few friend ( >4) that I graduated with who are making 120k/yr in south FL doing ICU/PACU. Had my spouse stayed in nursing, her salary would have been >100k working 4x12 hrs a week.
 
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jambro

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I would probably be targeting higher-paying specialties if I were you (avoid academic peds). Then again maybe PSLF and yolo...

Actually.

do neurosurgery + spine fellowship, work at some rural place that pays a boatload for 2 years but still counts as 501(c)3, get 600k forgiven and live like a king!
 
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Vivid_Quail

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So... let me ask yall this. If I am looking at almost 500k in loans by the time I am done, does that change things or will I still be comfortable?
Just don't do pediatrics and you will be fine. If you really want to work with kids, do anesthesia or a type of surgery and do a peds fellowship. Easier said than done if you pick the surgery path though. Ortho, ENT, nsgy, urology all have peds fellowships but are competitive to match into the residency initially. General surgery residency isn't competitive for MD students but peds surgery fellowship out of gen surg is meme level competitiveness. PGY 9-10 to finish it and only 50% match who apply, and it has the strongest self-selection of insanely qualified applicants of any specialty imo.
 
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MedDoc305

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You made the right choice. Trust me!

As soon as I started working as a nurse, I was already looking into medicine because I did not see myself doing it for 30+ yrs.

I just turned down a 230-240k hospitalist job <1 hour away from Orlando, FL. I could live in an Orlando suburb and be 35 mins away from the site. I cant believe I just did that. Lol
Did you give up the opportunity because of pay or because you don't want to live in Orlando? Asking because I'm from Florida so Ill probably want to come back here after residency in the future. Is 230-240k for hospitalists typical in the area?
 
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fldoctorgirl

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You made the right choice. Trust me!

As soon as I started working as a nurse, I was already looking into medicine because I did not see myself doing it for 30+ yrs.

I just turned down a 230-240k hospitalist job <1 hour away from Orlando, FL. I could live in an Orlando suburb and be 35 mins away from the site. I cant believe I just did that. Lol
What offers are you getting for Miami-Dade/Broward? Sounds like you're pretty much practicing where I'd like to be haha.
 
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Splenda88

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Did you give up the opportunity because of pay or because you don't want to live in Orlando? Asking because I'm from Florida so Ill probably want to come back here after residency in the future. Is 230-240k for hospitalists typical in the area?
Pay... I am ok living in Orlando.
 
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Splenda88

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What offers are you getting for Miami-Dade/Broward? Sounds like you're pretty much practicing where I'd like to be haha.
I only had an offer in Palm Beach (nocturnist) for 273k/yr... Won't work night unless you are paying me 350k+.

Did not apply for any job in Miami-Dade county...
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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I did not imply that. I know better as someone who was a RN for 7 yrs. I said it's not that difficult (not difficult is different from easy) to make 100k after a few yrs of experience if you know how to play the game... I have a few friend ( >4) that I graduated with who are making 120k/yr in south FL doing ICU/PACU. Had my spouse stayed in nursing, her salary would have been >100k working 4x12 hrs a week.

Misread your post then.
 
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jambro

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Exactly he was a little intense but who cares this is the internet don’t take this too personal.
I wonder what he/she did?

I am not sure that he/she says anything egregious in this thread that violate the TOS.

I have to imagine there was something else. Sure he could have been nicer but he came with straight facts. I like to think I'm more polite online but I def share his frustration with some of the silly things I read online re: finances
 
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Neopolymath

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Probably being antagonistic in the EM forum while talking nonsense constantly to attendings there. He reads like a burner account.
 
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LilJbm

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This was a very lovely read and it's a shame OP was revoked. Nothing I saw was particularly bad, seemed like an abrasive fellow but intentions in the right place and nothing inherently terrible with being abrasive. Either way some of the most real stuff I've read on SDN, and as someone going to medical school with an incredibly poor background (my household has never made over $30k and I'll be the biggest earner even as a resident) the very large debts, large incomes, crazy tax/insurance, just everything has been intimidating. The idea of getting $100k+ into debt is just frightening when I've NEVER had to deal with finances on that scale. Great to hear everyone's perspective, and I definitely will be one of those people living below my means, just living the same poor lifestyle as always except putting my extra $$$ away towards my future family!
 
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VA Hopeful Dr

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I did not imply that. I know better as someone who was a RN for 7 yrs. I said it's not that difficult (not difficult is different from easy) to make 100k after a few yrs of experience if you know how to play the game... I have a few friend ( >4) that I graduated with who are making 120k/yr in south FL doing ICU/PACU. Had my spouse stayed in nursing, her salary would have been >100k working 4x12 hrs a week.
Not a shock given the 8 hours of overtime every week.
 
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sloh

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My spouse was an ICU nurse < 3 yrs ago. Trust me she was making 45k working 2x12 hrs/wk (about 25 hrs/wk because nurses usually clock out late).

For instance, if you are making $40/hr (40x40k52) ~84k and the 10 hrs over time is paid at $60/hr (60x10x52) is 32k... 84+32 = 116k.

My friends in ICU/PACU are able to work overtime...

I’ve dated some ER nurses here in SoCal/LA. For sure, they easily clear 100k/yr. No overtime
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Wait, so he was trying to deceive people on here? How?

Not necessarily. Multiple accounts generally aren’t allowed except in certain circumstances. If someone is posting in threads from two accounts like they’re different people, that’s a TOS violation.
 
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ACSurgeon

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We (family of 4) were ok on a ~1500 sqft on a combined income of 110-120k/yr. Spouse worked 3 days/wk. I worked 2 days/wk. Low mortgage payment (I think it was < $1400/month), 2 vacations/year, kids were involved in all kind of ECs. Life was great. Why did I go to med school?
But this is the exact point of why it’s not unusual for doctors and student doctors to “expect” to be able to afford luxuries. If you want to live your entire life budgeting hard and only buying what you “need” instead of what you want, what’s the point of spending an extra 10 years in school/training and taking on tons of debt? The problem is it’s becoming harder for a physician to afford a substantially nicer life than what they could have done in another career with substantially less time invested...
 
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Splenda88

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But this is the exact point of why it’s not unusual for doctors and student doctors to “expect” to be able to afford luxuries. If you want to live your entire life budgeting hard and only buying what you “need” instead of what you want, what’s the point of spending an extra 10 years in school/training and taking on tons of debt? The problem is it’s becoming harder for a physician to afford a substantially nicer life than what they could have done in another career with substantially less time invested...
I agree... if my spouse and I could stand nursing, we would have been pretty well right now--working 3 days/wk and making a combined income of 150k with ZERO student debt.
 
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CocoMelon0531

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Didn’t read this thread. But I’m 100% certain that there are delusional posts out there about their student loans eventually being forgiven by the government.

Those people are in for a rude awakening.
 
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jambro

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Didn’t read this thread. But I’m 100% certain that there are delusional posts out there about their student loans eventually being forgiven by the government.

Those people are in for a rude awakening.

Almost literally the opposite, it was about how it's not that hard to pay off your loans and live a good life. Also, your student loans will be forgiven if you know how to follow rules and do PSLF.
 
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