Lacking Confidence With Your Money and Your Life?
Take the FREE 5 Day Confidence Challenge & Up Your Game!
You’ll also get updates from me.

Soapbox Time: Medical School & 6 Figure Loans

  July 29

This post may contain affiliate links.

I’m sitting here surrounded by sticky notes, notes that have blog topics ideas scribbled all over them, but I don’t want to write about those topics right now.

Instead, I want to write about something that I’ve been wanting to share for quite some time.

It’s one of those posts where I’m not really sure how everyone will respond, but I’m taking a risk and publishing it anyway because talking about this topic, which is medical school and the true cost of becoming a doctor, is really important to me.

Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

Over $42,000. For one semester. That’s what we just took out. One click of a button and the hubs paid for his 5th and final term on this island. It really doesn’t matter that I have a well paying full time job. It doesn’t matter that this blog brought in more income than that job in June and July. Because I definitely can’t afford a $42,000 semester and neither can the vast majority of our friends who are also medical school students. What choice do we have but to take out unsubsidized loans that have over 6% interest rates? It just has to be done.

Is It Worth It?

If you really want to see people who have an intense passion for what they do, come to our campus at 11 p.m. any night of the week. It’s filled with hundreds of students working their asses off, harder than most of us will ever work in our lifetimes. These people are smart enough to do any job they want.

They could have started their own companies and made millions more than they would as physicians, but they chose this life. Night after night. 15-18 hours a day. And they don’t stop. They literally. don’t. stop. It’s the most amazing thing to watch.

And for the record, these are some of the most caring, intense people you will ever come across. The media tries to to cast physicians in a certain light (and of course there are bad apples in every profession) but the students I know are here for one purpose only, and that’s to learn how to help other people. If they wanted to make a lot of money, trust me when I say they are smart enough to know that there are better ways to go about it. (Seriously, some of them are freaky smart in a way I can’t even convey.)

Luckily, I can honestly say that every minute of this journey has been worth it. My tears. The hubs’ tears. (Yes, I challenge you to find one male medical school student who hasn’t been brought to tears by the stress and the magnitude of it all.) But we do it anyway.

We gave up so much: Time together. Time with our families. Those precious first few years of marriage when it’s just us without kids. And yet, if I had to choose, I’d choose this path all over again because it’s what the hubs was meant to do.

You know how I get sparkly about the blog and get all pumped and excited about it? Well, that’s how the hubs is about medicine. The dude loves it. It’s his passion. And passions are worth pursuing.

The World’s Perception

What is perhaps most disconcerting about this whole thing is the world’s perception of American physicians. And, if there is one message I hope this blog can get across, it’s how excruciatingly difficult this process is both for the physician and their family and how financially, this generation of physicians will not be as well off as everyone might think.

For one, we are missing about 15 years of investment time. In fact, when we were deciding whether or not to come to Grenada for medical school, we actually calculated out what the hubs’ 401k would be if he stayed in his current job with his company match. Had he stayed at his job, he would have probably had a bigger retirement fund than we would now. That’s pretty serious! And yet, we chose this path instead.

I once wrote a blog post for another website about a similar topic, and I was trying to get across this idea that physicians might not be as wealthy as other people think. Instead of reading the post thoroughly, one commenter said, “Well my friend’s an ER doctor. He makes 200k a year, has a really nice house, and takes vacations all the time. He doesn’t seem to be hurting too much to me.”

That is exactly the type of short sighted comment that fails to recognize the economic changes that have recently taken place. This commenter’s ER doctor friend likely had subsidized loans, and just a few years ago, those loans were at 2-4% not 6+%. This makes a huge difference in the way the current medical generation will approach their debt and the amount of years that it will take us to pay it back.

Besides, even if that ER physician isn’t hurting now, I can promise you that he had many rough nights over many, many years of training to be able to do what he does now. You can’t get that time back, and in my admittedly biased opinion, any six figure income that comes after that level of training is certainly deserved.

Off My Soapbox

I’ll get off my soapbox now, and I truly hope that this post does not diminish the hard work that everyone else does. God knows there are many of us that have intense jobs and had to go through a lot of education to get there. This is just me sharing a very personal, insider perspective amidst a changing healthcare system and an uncertain future.

I hope we do have a nice life, I really do. I think the two of us have worked hard for a nice life, and I hope we are able to send our children to excellent schools and on incredible adventures so they can learn about the world. However, it will take many more years of sacrifice, careful planning, intense loan repayment, and self-control to be able to get to that financial point. It’s not going to be this guaranteed thing simply because the hubs chose a specific profession.

I’d love to know your thoughts, and as always, please be respectful in your comments.

(Visited 294 times, 1 visits today)

78 responses to “Soapbox Time: Medical School & 6 Figure Loans

  1. It is ALL worth it! There is no greater privilege in life than having the ability to help someone in their time of need.

  2. My husband’s sister is a GP, and she went through so freaking much to get to the point where she actually has a practice and is making money now. I think by the time she was done, they were half a million in debt (including their house). Because of this, I definitely don’t begrudge her six figure salary.

  3. I have a few friends currently in med school (in USA and Canada). They really do work super hard, and they will be rewarded with great jobs afterward. And, just like you said, everyone (most) work hard… for example, some people see my job (PR) as ‘easy’, but if I’m doing my best and challenging myself, I work as hard as my med school friends.

    Out of curiosity, what is med school like in the Caribbean? Some of my friends say that Caribbean med schools aren’t as rigorous at USA/Canadian schools. Does your husband have to write exams to practice in the USA afterwards? Does going to med school out-of-country help or hinder his job search when it comes time to do residency? Just wondering as I’m not in this field but it’s always fascinated me!
    Great job on supporting your partner; I’m sure he appreciates it more than he can explain.

    1. Thanks for your comment! As you can probably gather from my post, medical school in Grenada is extremely rigorous. Some would argue it is more rigorous due to the fact that we live in a developing nation without the conveniences that other medical school students experience. I can’t comment about medical schools on other islands since I don’t have experience with them, but the one in Grenada has been in existence for almost 40 years and is on par with U.S. med schools. Yes, medical school students here who want to practice in the U.S. have to take the USMLE, the board exam all med school students have to take to matriculate into their clinical years. In the past 3 years, students in Grenada have actually had a higher average on that exam than U.S. medical school students. The stigma about Caribbean medical schools is an old one, and it’s unlikely that anyone with that opinion has actually been on this island in class with them to see the rigor. In actuality, schools like the one in Grenada have a lot of respect from the American medical community. It is more difficult for them to get residency in highly specialized fields but not impossible; however, our university placed almost 900 doctors into residencies this past year, more than any other medical school in the world. Also, as mentioned in the conclusion of the post, I don’t mean to detract from anyone else’s profession. It’s just that no one can realize the depth of what it’s like to be a medical school student until you are a member of their family, living in their home, and going through it with them. I wish you the best of luck in your PR career, which I have a lot of respect for.

  4. School loans are tough, but they are what they are, kind of like paying rent, it just has to be done.

    Speaking of doctors, I met the best doctor in the world last week. My son had an emergency appendectomy. His surgeon was so incredible — excellent bedside manner, explained things to us, took time to ask if we had more questions, came out to see us when the surgery was done, etc. My son had to go back to the E.R. later that week and the surgeon called the E.R. doc to talk to them and make sure she understood what was happening with “her patient”. Then she called me a few days later to see how things were going and said if I had any issues in the next week, I was to call her, even though she was on vacation, her office would page her so she could call me back.

    I can’t imagine how much effort it takes to provide that extra level of care and support, but wow, if only all doctors could be like that!!!

    1. Thanks Christine. I just e-mailed my programmer again about the issue, hoping it will move to the top of her list for today! (It seems like it should be an easy fix!)

      And that’s awesome that you had a such a great doctor. Seriously, we love hearing stories about that since we hear many more negative ones!

  5. You bring up a lot of good points. I have a few friends becoming doctors and lawyers. They’ll make a lot more money than me, but they also will have a lot more debt for many more years than I do. It’s all a give or take and you just need to find where your passion lies. Following that passion will result in the most happiness.

  6. I am not quite sure how medical professions work, though I guess it depends what type of practice your husband decides to pursue. I assume that you have to buy into a practice if you decide to be a GP? It is pretty disgusting how much debt my brother will be taking on in the next few years to buy into a veterinary practice and get a house. Plus, they’ll likely be adding kids to the mix right around the time they sign on for over 7 digits worth of debt for a practice share.

    1. Yes, usually physicians join a practice that is already in existence although the process differs from practice to practice. And I can definitely relate to the timing of kids/loan repayments! I wish your brother the best of luck with his vet practice.

  7. I have a lot of respect for people who go through the medical field and spend all that time to become doctors. Fees are def. ridiculous. I have always been in favor for subsidized fees on medical schools to try and encourage more people to attend. We will always need doctors and I think a lot of great people don’t do it because of the costs.

  8. My mom was a doctor & I live with sisters who are nurses so I see first-hand the struggles they experience. First, I want to thank your husband on choosing medicine as his career & life path. It’s not an easy road and it’s just the beginning. I’ve learned the highest paying careers come with sacrifice so I commend you both. It’ll all be worth it in the end. =)

  9. I’m curious what your, and your husband’s, feelings are about Obama Care? I have a few friends who are either nurses or currently in med school and a lot of them point to healthcare reform as a cause for not being able to pay off loans quickly and seeing a dramatic decrease in pay. You have to invest so much money into becoming a doctor and it seems we’re just making their lives harder by possibly decreasing pay and upping malpractice insurance.

    Congrats to you and your husband for making the sacrifices so he can pursue his dreams. I’m sure he’ll be a wonderful doctor! I can’t even imagine trying to be in the medical field. Blood also makes me queasy so that got knocked off the list of future professions really early in life!

    1. Ha blood makes me queasy too, and thanks for your question about Obama Care. One of the benefits of going to an international school is getting a real, hands on understanding of what other health care systems are like. My husband was able to learn how health care works in other countries when he got his master’s degree in public health down here (before staring med school), and he is actually on his way back from India right now after spending three weeks over there learning about how their system works. Because of that, we realize there are better (and worse) ways to structure health care, and we both believe that healthcare in the States should be reformed and should be available and affordable to everyone. That being said, many aspects of Obama Care do hurt doctors directly and benefit those who aren’t even caring for patients. It’s an imperfect plan that’s worthy of some careful reconsideration. Also, regarding pay, it’s going to be more challenging for people who are doctors right now who will visibly see the decrease. For us, since the hubs is just a 2nd year medical school student, it’s almost like we won’t know what we are missing since the world of healthcare will look very different when he starts practicing in 6-8 years. It will be interesting to see where it goes though. I think as long as we’re smart about the loans and don’t inflate our lifestyle early on, we will make enough of an income to pay them back and live comfortably. Here’s hoping!

      1. Hi! I was reading the comments and waiting for someone to ask this question… I love your answer! So mature and well balanced. I think this was a great post!

  10. Just more grist for the mill, but the taxation that high earners work under makes it much harder to repay those debts as well. I sympathize with doctors because, like you note, they work very hard for many years just to get to their profession, suffering opportunity costs along the way, only to be held to an unrealistic standard once they arrive.

    Our household sends a thank you to your husband for devoting his career to helping people.

  11. Thank you for sharing your insight, Cat. I think a lot of people, as you said, have a tendency to only consider the salary of a doctor, and scoff at everything else involved in the process of becoming one. I have to admit that I haven’t had many pleasant experiences with doctors, but it sounds like your husband and his class are great people that will do great things.

    I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be to see him work so much and not have any time together, and it’s so amazing that you can support him through it all. I know I wouldn’t be able to put myself through what they do day in and day out, so I definitely do have respect for the profession! I’m sure it’s not easy at all to be responsible for the health of others either, but being able to help someone understand what’s wrong with them and why is a great gift to have.

    1. Thanks E.M. I really appreciate the kind words, and I’m sorry you haven’t had good experiences with physicians. I feel like sometimes it takes meeting with several of them to find the one who has the personality that works best with yours. I actually have a doctor right now who does not have a good bedside manner at all, but she is so incredibly thorough and really listens to me so I love going to her. It really takes all kinds!

      Thanks also for acknowledging the support, etc. I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to being the supportive wife, but we just take it one day at a time. 🙂

  12. I can only imagine how hard your husband has to work and the sacrifices you’ve both made so that he can pursue the career he obviously loves and wants. I think it’s easy to forget how hard doctors work to get where they are. How much money they spent on schooling and the long hours they work. We see it as a cushy job and I have no idea why! I have no doubt that your husband will be an amazing doctor and reap the rewards he deserves.

    1. Thanks so much, Shannon. That’s so sweet. I think the stereotypes are a holdover from a more golden age of medicine that no longer exists. I really appreciate you reading and being willing to think about my perspective. 🙂

  13. Great post!! My husband is in his first year practicing at Physical Therapist and graduated with 6 figures of student loans. We have the same plan that you do as we are trying not to increase our standard of living. It has been interesting with other people perceptions of his degree and assumed salary. I don’t think people get that just because you make “a lot” doesn’t mean you have “a lot” to spend. We are currently living off one salary and pay off his student loans with the other. Even if we throw his entire salary at his loans it will take us almost 5 years to pay it all off. It’s definitely daunting and has taken a lot of sacrifice, but I am hoping we can do it for a more comfortable lifestyle later.

    1. Hey Sarah! Congrats to your husband for finishing school and to you, the supportive wife, for helping him get through the process. I wish you the best of luck in your loan payoff. 5 years – wow. I think that would be an awesome goal for us too. 🙂

  14. I have a great respect for physicians and their line of work. Not easy and very noble. Especially in the US, I like that many still give back, by putting time into research. Most breakthroughs have come from the US. In Europe doctors just get comfy, they never train again and if you visit a 50 year old doctor he is just bored to death and counting the days. Because medicine is so cheap ($30 a consult, $10 out of pocket) they make less and have no incentive to be better, as they couldn’t raise their rates.

    1. Thanks so much, Pauline. I have heard that! Since we’re at an international school, we have friends from Europe & Africa who really want to practice in the US because of that high earning potential.

  15. Hi Cat, I’m a first-time reader, and I’ll definitely be returning after this post! You sum up a lot of my frustrations. I’m currently applying to medical schools, and the debt is terrifying. I’m following my passion and never questioned it for a second, but the bills are certainly an unpleasant side of it. I would agree that people have a strange bitterness about physician’s salaries, using the phrase “six figure income” disparagingly. I don’t understand why one would be jealous or malicious; as you point out, physicians don’t get into the field for the money, as the hard work, rigor, and long hours make it a difficult career. Some people see only the benefits, not realizing the years of hard work and time invested. Many of the doctors I shadowed were around 40 and only just paying off their debts–and this was when interest rates were far lower. While, as I said, I’m 100% committed to life as a physician, some economic aspects of it make me nervous, including the debt I will accumulate, the possibility that Obamacare/government restrictions will make practicing difficult, and yes, society’s perception that “doctors can afford it.” Even well-meaning people say that paying off tuition debts is normal, that it has to be done. We’re not a country that subsidizes medical education, true, but shouldn’t the nation invest in the future of healthcare, at least to an extent?

    1. Hi Laura, I am 100% with you in thinking we should invest in the future of healthcare! I wish you all the best of luck in your career. Please come back and keep me updated on your journey!

  16. I am certainly with you. My wife is a resident with one more year to go. A story in regards to health care reform, she had no plans to do any cosmetic procedures (she is dermatology) once joining a practice, however, with our loans and the threat of lower salaries, she considered it as a way to supplement her income to pay off the loans. In the end, she is sticking to what she wants to do, regardless of potential income losses, in order to help more people that truly need it.

    I have certainly met some super people through her work and they are all very dedicated. Bottom line, until a sporting event costs less than a visit to the doctor, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to hear people say they make too much.

  17. My dad is a doctor and I definitely appreciate all of the hard work they put in to take care of us. I agree that it is much more of a thankless job than people realize. The best part is when people sue doctors for their efforts!

  18. I just read the book Mind over Medicine and it confirms what I kind of though about physicians and what they go through…that they are often more stressed out and sicker than their patients. Between insurance issues and malpractice issues, I can’t imagine what stress a doctor might be under, but that goes to show you we have a pretty screwy health care system. So I wholeheartedly applaud your husband and anyone else willing to go through all of that AND go into a lot of debt because their ultimate mission is to help people. I’ve met my share of doctors who had no bedside manner, but met way more who were wonderful!

  19. I totally agree that being a physician is no longer guaranteed to be lucrative or even status-conferring. I think that’s actually a good thing, generally – it means the people who do it are doing it because they really love it. I’m contrasting this with some other high-paying professions that are popular with young, smart people who only care about making money and not bettering the world.

    I can’t help but think of my own path to a doctorate in comparison with your husband’s and my many med student/resident friends. I went to a job-finding seminar recently for people who are getting or have PhDs in the biomedical sciences, and the speaker opened with talking about how every person she’s ever asked why they got a PhD in that cluster of fields has said he did it to help people (much more upstream, obviously, in comparison with a physician). PhD students take on a high opportunity cost when entering grad school, like you mentioned for your husband’s peers, but we don’t have the additional debt burden because as you know our tuition is paid for and we are given a liveable stipend (in most programs).

    I wonder why the federal government has chosen to pay for our doctorates through training grants and so forth while not supporting future medical doctors in the same way (just with loans). I always hear in the media about a shortage of physicians and in academic publications about the surplus of PhDs. Maybe there wouldn’t be enough science/engineering PhDs if the degrees weren’t free to the students, but it seems like the incentives balance between the two is off given the needs of the country and particularly as the social standing of physicians is decreasing (not that scientists ever had any). Or perhaps the federal government is trying to generate more science/engineering industry while pushing more medical care toward nurses/PAs? I’m not sure if anything is intentional at that level these days!

    Not really coherent thoughts, but it’s where my mind went when when thinking about the sacrifices med students sign up for. It seems like it’s out of line with the value they provide – although come to think of it those loan forgiveness programs are probably picking up some slack on the back end.

    1. Hi Emily! Thanks so much for the great comment as always. You bring up an excellent point, and while I don’t know the answer, I feel like it must come down to the antiquated idea that physicians will be wealthy enough to pay down the loans so why not charge them a lot for their education? There are a good number of loan forgiveness programs as you mentioned. We’ll definitely be looking into those!

    2. Fellow grad student here- I am also in school for a PhD in molecular medicine (so biomedical field, program is in a medical school in the US). Just my two cents- I always thought that the PhD students got stipends and MD students did not because PhD students end up provide thesis work that return’s the NIH’s investment in us within a shorter time frame, and end up furthering research programs that NIH funding was already paying for anyway, but at a lower labor cost, so everyone wins (BTW I am *definitely* not saying that MD students do not work hard, or return to their community – many of them are great people who work their butts off, its just always been a different funding system). Also, any discoveries made by students while in school, the school has intellectual property/gets money if there is profit from the idea.
      Also, it surprised me to find out that PhD students are not guaranteed funding at all schools, although most of the stronger PhD programs do offer funding, and add to the stipend amount set forth by NIH (I think it’s about $20k/year from NIH).

      I thought that this article was really well written- I actually thought long and hard about becoming an MD before applying to grad school and one of the BIG turn offs for me was the current situation with insurance and paperwork. It’s important also to note that although as an MD you make more money, but it’s harder if I ever want to take time off for having kids, you have fewer weekends, and yes the delay in not only income, but LIFE! School is not much easier for a PhD program, but I don’t have a brutal residency after I graduate. Also, you pointed out the delay in when you can earn income, as well as the debt load, however you failed to point out that since many doctors work well over 40hrs/week, they have less time at home, which means more money spent on childcare, home repairs, purchasing more services/ready made products, and some doctors have to live closer to the hospital, which is often in a more urban expensive area, so really a physician’s salary does not necessarily go as far as people might assume. I decided to enter a PhD program, because I thought it would give me a better work/life balance in the end, while still being able to help people. Either MD or PhD, people are not going to just sit back and easily earn a six-figure income. It’s hard work, but just being able to look back, even at the end of the semester, and think holy crap I’ve achieved a lot 🙂

  20. My boyfriend’s a paramedic, so a lot of this is similar for him (although on a smaller scale). While he went to a 2 year college vs. 10 years of University and beyond, his program was not eligible for student loans at all, so he had to get a high interest private loan which took years to pay off. And now he has to take MORE classes to upgrade, and is fighting with his company over it. He had to pay for the last upgrade class himself, but the company should have, and it’s just a big mess. He just wants to improve his skills to help people better than he can now! I don’t get it…

    1. Hey Amanda. Ugh, sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s struggle. It seems like people should be rewarded for wanting to further their education, not punished. I appreciate your comment very much, and I’d love to hear how it goes!

  21. People say the same thing about lawyers and being immediately rich which drives me bananas! My brother worked his ass off to get into Columbia Law School and graduated with nearly $200,000 in debt. Yes, he does make good money but it’s not like you can pay that debt off in one year! He continues to work 60-80 hour work weeks because he does like the field he’s in. My sister is also a lawyer but a public defender so she graduated with the debt but will take years to pay it off. Be proud of your husband for doing what he is passionate about in spite of the odds. Not a lot of people can follow through with choices in the face of that kind of adversity.

    1. Thanks so much for the great comment, Tara. And yes I can promise you I am extremely proud of my hubs. He’s amazing! 😀 I feel like lawyers definitely fall prey to the same assumptions, with people automatically thinking they are wealthy without considering the time, effort, and money put in to get to where they are. Best wishes to your siblings as they pay off those hefty loans!

  22. Wow, that is damn expensive!
    Two semesters a year right? Not like in California where there are three.

    It’s tough bc a really good friend of mine is finishing up his second fellowship at Cornell medical in NYC. He said when he entered 13 years ago, cardiologists with his speciality were expected to make $350-400k. Now due to the government and lower reimbursement rates, the figure is now at $250k.

    $250k a year is still good, and should be a comfortable living to pay off your loans. It’s just tough about the income compression.

    1. Hey Sam. Right! It’s actually been the most expensive term we’ve had so far. They are usually about $35k, but this semester includes costs for their big board exam and a few other things. I cannot even imagine how frustrating it must be for your friend to do the exact same work and get paid 100k less. Healthcare will definitely look very different in 6-8 years when the hubs is ready to practice. I think we’ll need to bring home a combined 120-150k to pay the loans off in a reasonable time frame. Hopefully, it’s more than that.

      1. I’ve got to imagine his salary will be more than 150k a year. It’s pretty interesting how the more rural place you go to practice, the more you make in medicine.

        BTW, I don’t have a negative perception of doctors at all given I know how much work it takes. I don’t think doctors make enough for what they do and have been through. What I have to imagine is really irking doctors though are people who do complain about their income but have no idea what it takes, who haven’t studied as hard, who haven’t sacrificed as much.

        It’s the same with ANY person who has experienced some type of success. In blogging, I just invite me detractors to join me in writing 5,000 words a week for a year, but they never do. Who knew building wealth or creating something good takes so much work?

        Fight on!

        1. Hey Sam. We definitely hope it’s more than 150k! That would really help us to speed up the debt repayment. I know that we will be able to live on 50k a year, even with future kids, so I’m hoping all the rest goes to paying down the debt. I’m glad to know you don’t have a negative perception of doctors. Then again, you’re an educated person with some common sense to boot, haha. I couldn’t agree more with your last paragraph. We’re big fans of good old fashioned hard work too, and I really admire all the work that has gone into your blog and how you help others to do the same.

  23. Another interesting article! There are so many things about different professions that outsiders to that particular profession don’t realize. I love how you give great information from your personal experience. That’s what makes people keep coming back to your blog!! It is a wonderful feeling to find a great doctor that you can tell loves his or her job! I’m sure your husband will make a fabulous doctor! I feel motivated and inspired to write an article (not to publish) about my experiences and feelings about what elementary teachers go through and the amount of money we spend weekly on our students and classroom:) Keep up the great writing!!

    1. Hi Regina! Thanks for the kind words. Writing is great therapy, haha, and I have so much respect for teachers for all the time (and $) they invest in their students. You should totally write it!

  24. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Cat. I really think it IS worth the loans and the intense lifestyle planning that it takes to make being a physician work. Physicians are honestly doing some of the most important work in the world. If you have a passion for that, it will all work out in the end. It sounds like there is no lack of passion among your husband and his colleagues, and I know I’m personally thankful each and every day for modern medicine and the people who sacrifice so much.

  25. Hmmm…this is a hard one for me because I have 6 figures in student loan debt and if I had do it over again I would have done it differently. I think that you never know where life is going to take you so while you can anticipate a great income from advanced education–it’s not a guarantee.
    If I was taking out the debt today, I would need a doctor because I would have a heart attack! : )

    1. Sure, I totally understand your point. Nothing in life is guaranteed; you’re right. I wouldn’t be comfortable taking out 100k for undergrad or even for a masters degree because it might not be guaranteed as you said. However, for medical school, they do know that they will secure a good salary, even with the recent healthcare changes. There are people we know who spent a good 50k-80k on a year of med school and decided to drop out, and that’s always a possibility, but at least for us, my hubs loves it and is in it for the long haul.

  26. Nothing boils my blood more than when people just see the “end” result of a six figure income and assume that it didn’t come with a lot of tears, struggle, and extremely hard work and stress. Plus, the friend was an ER doctor for pete’s sake – talk about high pressure! I can’t imagine all the sacrifice you and your husband has gone through, and thank your husband for going into a field that not many people have the guts and heart (or brains) to do.

  27. I admire your bravery for being so honest here! I certainly don’t envy the amount of debt you two are accumulating and having to pay off due to his passion. Although, it sounds like it’s well worth it. You both will come out of this stronger and you and your family will have an amazing life because of the decisions you’re making now. Good luck!

  28. This has been on my mind a lot lately as well–my husband is an MD/PhD (last year!! heading to an internal medicine residency with a hem/onc fellowship), so he has absolutely zero debt–he makes a ~30k stipend throughout med school instead. He was always told that selecting an MD/PhD track was essentially a wash, financially, because of the extra time involved (we’re lucky–he got his PhD done in 4 years, so with med school it’s 8 years total). But as time goes on, we think that’s definitely not the case. Here at UVA, the cost of med school attendance is 75k+ a year, for four years. WHAT. Even though it took forever and we had to live apart for three years of his training, we’re so amazingly thankful to be heading to residency without student loans. It’s basically the most extreme form of super-delayed gratification ever.

    What is your husband planning to specialize in? Primary care?

    1. Hi Emily! Did you write for DoctorSpouses? I’m pretty sure I’ve read about your story before. I agree that you’ve made a great choice. It sounds like the PhD was definitely worth the trade off. We have a good friend that just finished UVA med. (We lived in VA for 4 years.) I bet your husband knows her. 🙂 Yes, he’s interested in internal med with a possible fellowship afterward similar to yall. But, he hasn’t done any rotations yet, so he’s not ready to pick just yet. 😀

  29. I have no doubt that most physicians don’t do as well as people think they do. If we really look at how much medical school costs vs. how much physicians make, it’s still a good wage, but it’s not as amazing as some think it is.

  30. Pingback: Chance with Finance Festival or Carnivalisation! - Chance with Finance
  31. Pingback: Yakezie Carnival- Back to School Edition
  32. I’m super late discovering this post, but just wanted to say a huge thanks. I know little to nothing about medical school and the costs involved. Your post helped educate me. Thanks!

  33. Hi Cat,
    Thank you for your informative website. I stumbled across it whilst looking for information on Caribbean medical schools. My attention was grabbed by your mention of a $42,000 withdrawal for your husband’s 5th semester. I was shocked! I am a professional in my early 40’s with a career change on the horizon. I am in the process of applying to medical schools, but the competition is steep. As such, a few in the Caribbean have become contenders. Is this really the financial cost I should be anticipating? I had imagined about half that per semester. I would welcome any sage advice.
    Cheers,
    DL

    1. Hi DL! Yes that’s the cost of tuition + living expenses for a semester at SGU. My advice is to look at tuition prices on the websites of Caribbean medical schools and factor in about 10k a semester for living expenses. Hope that helps! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright © Catherine Alford.  Designed & Developed with by LizTheresa.com