Starting med school in Fall w/ RN wife and 3 year old

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by zach175, May 15, 2012.

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  1. zach175

    zach175 Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    I start medical school in the Fall. I have a wife and we have a 3 year old. My wife is a registered nurse currently. I'll be leaving a software engineering position in the summer.

    Our plan all along has been for her to continue working as a nurse (3 days a week, 7a-7p shifts -- different days of each week) while I go to medical school. This will give us a decent income so that we don't have to max out student loans.

    However, I've read many threads where the advice is for the spouse to stay at home if possible with the child. Our daughter has been going to daycares for a couple years now and is pretty used to them. The most she'll go is 3 days a week every other week, and only 2 on the alternate weeks due to my wife working 2 weekends a month. I also have family close (my child's grandparents and aunt) that can help watch my child some on the weekends when I need to study.

    Do most spouses stay at home with the children and the families just live on loans? Is it doable for me to go through med school while my wife works (notice especially the late shift ending time)?

    Any advice from anyone that's had a similar situation would be greatly appreciated!
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  3. Oxer45

    Oxer45 2+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    Its better for your wife to work than taking out loans at 7% interest. When you graduate, all those loans will be a giant burden. Generally speaking, for every dollar you take out, you'll have to pay back 3 dollars. So 4yrs*50k=200k. You'll have take pay back 600k if you take that in loans vs your wife working.
  4. valkener

    valkener 5+ Year Member

    May 17, 2010
    Yes I can attest to the advantage of having a working spouse. It's a huge financial blessing that can take a lot of stress away (or you could just practice being ignorant about accumulating debt, med students are very skilled at this). You can learn to use the time that you are all together most effectively and have quality time. Maybe your or her parents can relocate if they're retired and take care of the kid otherwise you could arrange babysitters or child care as you have but make sure you know every single person that is handling your kid.

    Congrats on being admitted!
  5. painmd87

    painmd87 Not a pain doctor 7+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    My wife works full time. Our 3 year old goes to daycare. We are accumulating very little debt, our daughter is very social and in a structured classroom, and I am extraordinarily happy to have her.

    Many med student spouses stay home with the kids. It's understandable. It's acceptable. It's ultimately about YOUR relationship -- is your wife going to resent having to work to support you going to school? Is your child going to a babysitting service where they just keep the kids occupied or is it going to be somewhat educational and social? Is your wife going to be too tired from a 12 hour shift to maintain your relationship, and her relationship with the kid?

    It's definitely possible to succeed and thrive with a working spouse and a kid while you're in med school. First year is pretty straightforward -- I treat it like a job and work daytime hours with the occasional long hours around exams. My wife drops my daughter off at school, I pick her up when I'm done for the day. We'll see how it goes during MS3.

    I feel lucky to have a wife who's willing to work and make the sacrifices she makes so that we can own our house, go out for dinner every so often, and save for retirement without borrowing at 7%. Not everyone has that opportunity. It works for us. It doesn't work for everyone. If she can be flexible, and you can be flexible, you can make it work. Some weeks are easier than others -- be prepared for some big ups and downs.

    P.S. The insurance benefits are surprisingly large -- instead of paying $750/mo for the student-family plan, or applying for the state Medicaid plan, we have pretty decent coverage at a pretty good rate.
  6. zach175

    zach175 Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Glad to see someone in a very similar situation. I know there will be challenges with having a child and a spouse working but I'm glad to hear you're making it work. It should be really nice not having to take out so much living expenses, so that's a huge bonus.

    I just wanted to make sure someone was doing it and not all spouses were staying at home. The good thing about her job is the fact that it's 3 days a week so hopefully that'll be to our benefit.

    She's definitely on board with the plan and has been from day 1.
  7. At some of the schools I interviewed at, they strongly recommended that the spouses work since they cannot be accounted for in financial aid/ loans will not be changed to accommodate families. Regardless, it seems that you have a good support system with nearby family and a very supporting wife! :D
  8. WTEngel

    WTEngel 5+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2011
    Lynchburg, VA
    You are almost EXACTLY where I hope to be in about two years.

    My wife is a RN and we have a 6 month old right now. Our plan is for her to keep working so we do not have to take out loans.

    I currently work at a teaching hospital and most of the residents, interns, and attendings seem to think that is the best idea and many wish they were in a situation where they were not racking up as much in student loans.

    For what it is worth...I think initially the student loans seem pretty manageable, but I can imagine towards the end of your fourth year when you see that HUGE number on the loan statement that you may wish you had done things differently.

    Just as posters above have said, there is nothing wrong with maxing out loans and having your spouse stay at just have to do what is right for your family. For me and my family, getting out of school nearly debt free is what is right.
  9. zach175

    zach175 Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    We will still need to take out the tuition, but it will be nice not having to take out the extra amounts. Glad to hear the support and glad to see others in very similar paths that seem to make it work.
  10. Fifty 3rds

    Fifty 3rds tertium quid 5+ Year Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    I'll throw my hat in this ring as another prospective. I'll be getting married at the end of this year and I'm in the process of saving as much as possible for the upcoming professional school expenses. My wife-to-be is an RN (NICU) and we are wanting to start having children relatively soon. With that said, I'd imagine she will still work 3, 12 hours shifts at the hospital to help cover living expenses. With her committing to that, I'm hoping to save enough to majorly offset tuition expenses so we can get through this without swimming in debt. I'll be 30 this year and I'm not getting any younger, I'm not choosing this profession for the money but I also don't want to be swimming in debt in my 50s.

    As long as the children are not neglected, we will continue on this idealized model. Plans should always be amenable because ultimately your children are most important. It's also important that the school bus doesn't pick them up from a cardboard box as you finish washing their hair with rain water.

    Best of luck on this journey
  11. ManBroDude

    ManBroDude Half man, half bearpig 5+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    My fiancee is a new-grad RN, and I'm more than thankful she's supporting me. She has to stay here in our hometown and gain experience before hospitals where I'm moving to will hire her, so she's jumping on the grenade and moving in with her folks for a year and sending food/board checks every month :( But I tell her it will be worth it when we save a ton from not taking out max student loans. We're planning to have kids starting when I'm an MS4 or so, and eventually I promise her she won't have to work after I'm done with residency. She loves loves LOVES babies and wants them all the time, so it's hard.

    But nothing that came easy was ever worth it, was it?
  12. zach175

    zach175 Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Definitely some sacrifices she is making. My wife has made several already and will be over the next 4 years as we "postpone life" -- at least what most people are doing at our age. While our other friends are busy purchasing their homes, new furniture, cars, etc. we'll be hoping our cars last these next several years and that our couch doesn't fall apart lol. But we're very blessed to have what we have and we have a nice place we're renting with good neighbors. Still, she is sacrificing some things and we've already discussed her switching to a part-time doctor's office gig or a school nurse job as well once I'm finished so she can have more time with the children. It's probably the least I can do considering what she'll have to handle over these next few years.
  13. mcrechio

    mcrechio 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Does anyone have any insight on how the mothers who are students tend to do things? I'm applying this cycle and I have two boys, a 5 year old and a 1 year old. They will turn 7 and 3 in late fall of my first year, pending an acceptance. I'm not married but the dad of my younger son is in the picture full time (dad of older son is in Chicago finishing his Ph.D but will be back in MI this summer, which should help out).

    In general, do you find that there are a lot of students with families?
  14. meister

    meister Senior Member Gold Donor 10+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2004
    I was in a very similar position during med school though my wife stayed at home, PM me if you want to chat about it.
  15. Cancer Man

    Cancer Man 5+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2007
    My wife is an RN as well. Your wife working will only work if you have very solid child care, very solid and dependable. If not, it can cause a chain reaction that can snowball out of control.

    My first year was hell because of this. My baby sitter was much less than reliable and i would have to skip/leave early to go and deal with my kiddo. I put my kid first and it almost cost me my medical career because of the marked reduction in study time. PM me if you want to discuss further.
  16. CopToEM

    CopToEM Livin' the Dream 5+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Southeast US
    No offense intended to anyone who did what I'm about to advocate against so please don't take it personally.

    From a financial security standpoint it makes little sense for your wife to become a stay at home mom while you're in school. For DCOM, I figured up as a single person that I will have roughly $800-900 remaining each month after my financial obligations. That's assuming I took out the full cost of attendance in loans (which I did). Throw in another adult and a child into the equation, plus removing my roommate who is paying half the bills, and I can't imagine not being broke. Further, to exacerbate my point, I assumed I would only buy $500 of the $2000 in books and forego the required medical equipment.

    If your child is young he/she will not remember mom and dad not being there with him/her during the day. My mother attended law school when I was about 6-10 and I don't remember her not being around. I remember her not coming to some little league games but it's by far not a traumatic memory in my life. It's a vague thing from the past.

    In my mind, incoming students who are married have to ask what's more important: the financial security of your family for the next 15-20 years or allowing the spouse to remain home.

    Now, with that said, many families make it work and go on to have no problems financially. However, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    My 0.02.

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