should I even ask how much programs match on 401k/403b? And other financial benefits (like vesting period, HSA, IRA, etc)

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hsk013

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Never had a chance to ask about 401k/403b, Roth IRA, HSA during the social night or interview day. It just felt awkward, and I didn't want to leave a wrong impression. But, deep inside, I feel like this is an important issue when choosing for any job (and residency). The ranking order list deadline is only a few days away, and the match week is in 2 weeks from now. My question is, should I even ask this to programs as I make my final list? And if so, who should I ask? (I was thinking coordinators) Will it affect how programs view and rank me?

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Yeah you should definitely look into it. That extra 1-3% salary match is a real game changer. Wish I had it over 5 years; now I have to work an extra month as an attending to make it up.
 
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Yeah you should definitely look into it. That extra 1-3% salary match is a real game changer. Wish I had it over 5 years; now I have to work an extra month as an attending to make it up.
Who should I ask? Residency program coordinator? Residents whom I met at a social night? I feel like anyone in a program can impact my ranking, and I want to be strategic about who to ask.
 
ask, but frankly, there is no negotiation on this as a resident/fellow...its consistent for all residents at the institution. Are you going to rank a program higher/lower because of the financial package over the training opportunities? If you are trying to decide between 2 fairly equal programs and the financial package would make the difference, then ask GME or the PC for that information.

when looking for attending jobs, then yes, this is important.
 
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ask, but frankly, there is no negotiation on this as a resident/fellow...its consistent for all residents at the institution. Are you going to rank a program higher/lower because of the financial package over the training opportunities? If you are trying to decide between 2 fairly equal programs and the financial package would make the difference, then ask GME or the PC for that information.

when looking for attending jobs, then yes, this is important.
Agree. This is all nice and everything, but it shouldn't even be in your Top 50 reasons to rank programs differently. Top 100 reasons? Maybe.
 
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Never had a chance to ask about 401k/403b, Roth IRA, HSA during the social night or interview day. It just felt awkward, and I didn't want to leave a wrong impression. But, deep inside, I feel like this is an important issue when choosing for any job (and residency). The ranking order list deadline is only a few days away, and the match week is in 2 weeks from now. My question is, should I even ask this to programs as I make my final list? And if so, who should I ask? (I was thinking coordinators) Will it affect how programs view and rank me?

This should not be a deciding factor in choosing a residency.
 
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Thanks, everyone. My top 3 programs are in the same city (all within 15 miles) with a near-identical salary. I feel like they are very comparable with similar training, resident/attending vibes, so I'm going down on nitty-gritty detail.
 
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Yeah you should definitely look into it. That extra 1-3% salary match is a real game changer. Wish I had it over 5 years; now I have to work an extra month as an attending to make it up.
Is this sarcasm?
 
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Is this sarcasm?

It's sad that I have to clarify, but yes.

Guys - dont make your rank list based on retirement matching plans.

I cant believe anyone has to say that.
 
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Never had a chance to ask about 401k/403b, Roth IRA, HSA during the social night or interview day. It just felt awkward, and I didn't want to leave a wrong impression. But, deep inside, I feel like this is an important issue when choosing for any job (and residency). The ranking order list deadline is only a few days away, and the match week is in 2 weeks from now. My question is, should I even ask this to programs as I make my final list? And if so, who should I ask? (I was thinking coordinators) Will it affect how programs view and rank me?

1) Roth IRA is by definition an individual retirement plan and has nothing to do with your job. Unless your spouse makes a significant amount of money (or you make a lot moonlighting in future years), you will be able to directly contribute to a Roth IRA during residency and likely during fellowship.

2) Most places don't match a 401K/403B for residents. My fellowship program didn't until you had been employed for 2 years, so it wasn't much of a benefit for residents (I think they've now changed it, but still...).

3) You should be able to contact HR/GME to find out any of this information. Make sure you understand the difference between an HSA and FSA, though--people in my residency program swore we had an HSA, but it was actually an FSA and the funds expired at the end of the year.

You won't be able to contribute a ton towards any of these vehicles during training unless you have a spouse that makes a decent amount or you are independently wealthy, so I wouldn't recommend using this as a make-or-break for your rank list.

Now when you get your first job out of training--whole different story.
 
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The info about 401K match programs is often available on the hospital web site under the Human Resources tab.
 
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Looking back, I would easily give up my retirement package during residency for a better residency. Your training will generate more income for you than what you get from a measly resident salary based-anything.
 
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Never had a chance to ask about 401k/403b, Roth IRA, HSA during the social night or interview day. It just felt awkward, and I didn't want to leave a wrong impression. But, deep inside, I feel like this is an important issue when choosing for any job (and residency). The ranking order list deadline is only a few days away, and the match week is in 2 weeks from now. My question is, should I even ask this to programs as I make my final list? And if so, who should I ask? (I was thinking coordinators) Will it affect how programs view and rank me?

This should have 0 impact on your rank list man. You're talking a few extra grand in your pocket over 3-6 years. You can literally make that up with 4 weekend shifts moonlighting as an Attending.
 
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Make sure you even qualify. I started putting money into retirement intern year until I found out I wasnt an “employee”. so did not qualify for any matching.
 
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Make sure you even qualify. I started putting money into retirement intern year until I found out I wasnt an “employee”. so did not qualify for any matching.

Mine had the same policy, but I would argue that an employer not matching is not a reason to avoid investing in retirement. The earlier you start the more compound interest you build up. Delaying during a three year residency is not that much of a loss, but if you have a longer residency plus maybe a fellowship that's a lot of years of interest lost.
 
With no match its wiser to pay down a 7.8% interest student loan than hope to make an equivalent interest rate on a retirement account at that point.
 
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With no match its wiser to pay down a 7.8% interest student loan than hope to make an equivalent interest rate on a retirement account at that point.

I don't disagree, but also would like to point out that retirement savings is compound interest, whereas student loans are simple interest, so the math isn't exactly the same (so a poorer year in the market may actually perform better long term than paying down a lower interest loan...). Not necessarily the case here, just pointing it out.
 
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