Author Topic: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans  (Read 11010 times)

Derrian

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Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« on: March 16, 2014, 07:40:41 AM »
Hey guys,
I need some advice regarding my wife's student loans. She just started veterinary school this year to the tune of $60k a year for four years. Almost all of it is being financed with student loans (yikes!). When she graduates, we are optimistically looking at $220k worth of debt to pay back at at roughly 6.8% a year. Over ten years, the monthly payment is just about $2500 a month, with the loan accumulating close to $90k in interest. Unfortunately, there is really no option, except her quitting veterinary school, to bring the cost down.

Currently, we live fairly frugally, we both have cars that are paid for, an apartment well below market average in a suburb of an expensive city (though we are looking to downsize), and roughly $300 per month in groceries. We rarely eat out, we rarely drink alcohol, we do not have cable, and we use the library.

What I am trying to figure out is one, are there other things I could be doing to help pay down the huge amount of debt quicker, and two, when she graduates, what on earth do we do.

I am a middle school teacher. I make roughly $50k a year, with an additional 3k for working through breaks. I contribute 11% automatically to the state's pension fund, I max out IRA contributions and this year I put $3000 into a 403b. Im wondering, should I continue to contribute to the IRA and 403b or use those funds instead to help pay down her debt and keep her expenses down?

Daleth

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2014, 08:30:39 AM »
If she wants to spend 4 years of her life and almost a quarter of a million bucks on a science/health-related degree, why is she going to vet school and not med school? Have you guys looked into the economics of being a vet? I googled it and saw a somewhat scary article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/business/high-debt-and-falling-demand-trap-new-veterinarians.html

Quote: "Nor is there much in the curriculum about the prospects for graduates or the current state of the profession. Neither, say many professors and doctors, looks very promising. The problem is a boom in supply (that is, vets) and a decline in demand (namely, veterinary services). Class sizes have been rising at nearly every school, in some cases by as much as 20 percent in recent years. And the cost of vet school has far outpaced the rate of inflation. It has risen to a median of $63,000 a year for out-of-state tuition, fees and living expenses.... This would seem less alarming if vets made more money. But starting salaries have sunk by about 13 percent during the same 10-year period, in inflation-adjusted terms, to $45,575 a year....
 “It’s not a sustainable model,” he says of vet school economics. “For the long-term success and health of the veterinary practice, we’ve got to look at every end of it.”
That is a common sentiment among working vets, many of whom say the job market is the worst they have seen."

Here's something about suggestions on how to save money as a vet student:
http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ansc/undergraduate-programs-1/files/suggestions-on-minimizing-veterinary-educational-debt

But I would urge you guys to really look at this and imagine what it would be like to live with a bare minimum of $30k a year in debts and an average starting salary of... well let's just say, probably half her income (and way more than half of her take-home pay) will go straight back out the door to her student loan servicer.

In 2012, "The average starting salary for all students accepting employment was $45,575, down 3 percent from $46,971 in 2011. When excluding graduates entering advanced education, the average starting salary was $65,404, down 1.6 percent from the average starting salary of $66,469 in 2011."
And notice the phrase "for all students accepting employment": less than 2/3 of graduates actually got job offers right out of school, it seems: "At the time of this year’s survey, 61.5 percent of veterinary students seeking a position in 2012 received an offer of employment or advanced education, down from 74.3 percent in 2011 and from 78.9 percent in 2010. The average number of job offers the students received was 1.6 in 2012, the same as in 2011."
https://www.avma.org/news/pressroom/pages/Veterinary-school-graduates-see-drop-in-job-offers-starting-salaries.aspx


Derrian

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 08:48:19 AM »
Thank you for your reply! I've definitely had that conversation with her, and we both have read the articles about the job statistics and salary ranges. While these things make me nervous, and they do make her nervous as well, she has wanted to become a veterinarian since she was 5 and still wants to become a veterinarian. The good news is that she is in a reputable program with really high job placement rates.

I don't think any amount of reasoning is going to change her desire to become a vet, so, what we have to figure out is what to do about it...

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 09:08:08 AM »
Derrin

I think I can help you quite a bit, I was in your position 10 years ago, but with a crummier salary.  Regarding the second post, my wife actually regrets vet school, wishes she would have spent the time in Phamacy or Dental school for the money.  The work wasn't glamorous, it was actually kind of crappy.  The market is actually getting worse and not better for vet salaries.

She quit her job six weeks ago with a move and promotion I took.  I don't know if she'll ever work full time as a vet again.  It just wasn't worth the time and stress for her to clear $3k/mo after taxes as a second income.  We jokingly call veterinary school a poor life decision.

Can you send me the exact breakdown of the $60k?  That seems really high for a state veterinary college.  My wife went from '03-'07, I think costs were closer to 15k/year.  I know its inflated, but 4x in 7 years seems really high.

Now, that all being said, its not all doom and gloom.  I am aware of some veterinarians that do make $300,000 - $500,000, but that is an extreme exception and is only after they took significant risk in starting and practice and really, really studied business, marketing, HR, and sales.   The biggest challenge in the industry is vets don't play nice with each other, so we are surrounded by struggling 1-2 doctor practices instead of them consolidating like the medical industry.  There is too much overhead in staffing, facilities, technologies, and pharmacy for vets to make any money in a smaller practice.   The ones I quoted above were the single owner of a 4-5 doctor practice.  To make that work, they have to be very good at client acquisition and exceptional at building relationships with the owners.   Unfortunately most vets don't care for the business side and just limp along as a 1-2 doctor practice.  Its really an inefficient delivery, because the high income vet owners having a 5 doctor practice seem to have similar costs to the patients as the struggling practice.  This means there's way too many inefficiencies in the industry, and it probably isn't getting better soon.

waltworks

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2014, 09:28:39 AM »
Hey, if she wants to follow her dream, go for it. That said, I think honestly you guys are setting yourselves back something like a decade (back of the envelope calculation) for FI. That's a HUGE chunk of time but if you love your jobs, it might be worth it. If she wants to fix up the cute kitties and make families happy... man, good luck. If she's ok spending a lot of time with an arm inside a cow, you'll be fine.

With that said, ideas. Some maybe useful, some maybe not.

-Why do you have 2 (sounds like late-model, since you mention they are "paid off") cars? At the very least, sell one. Better yet, sell both if you can find public transit/bike/walk routes to work or move closer. That'll save you a fortune in gas, insurance, depreciation, and allow you to pay some of that tuition up front. Huge win if you can make it happen. You could easily spend more to live closer to work/school and come out ahead.

-See if there are work-study options for your wife where she can assist in a lab course or something along those lines.

-Look at scholarships and grants. I assume you've already done this, though.

-Unless you are getting an employer match, stop putting away retirement money and pay down those student loans/tuition. 6.8%/year is a ton and you are better off paying that off/not going into debt than investing *unless* you're getting a match on those funds. The tax advantages aren't enough to make it worthwhile with that kind of debt accumulating.

-W

Derrian

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2014, 09:30:28 AM »
Hey Chasesfish, thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, for the state that we lived in previously, there was not an instate veterinary school option. Ironically, out of state tuition at veterinary schools were slightly cheaper ($40,000) but also much more difficult to gain admission (fewer than 20 students per year).  She is currently attending a private university with a yearly tuition of $46,000 plus an additional $1000 in books. For her first year, we expect the total to come in around $58000 with the $11,000 being living expenses (rent, groceries, gas, insurance).


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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2014, 09:49:48 AM »
She is currently attending a private university with a yearly tuition of $46,000 plus an additional $1000 in books. For her first year, we expect the total to come in around $58000 with the $11,000 being living expenses (rent, groceries, gas, insurance).

So, are you taking out a loan for rent, groceries, gas, insurance in addition to tuition? That's not something I would ever do. If you're open to suggestions, you might want to post your budget for advice on where you can cut back to make your $53k a year go farther.

You say your wife has always wanted to be a vet. Has she expressed why? There may be other options that fill at least some of her objectives. 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 10:25:30 AM by Janie »

stripey

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2014, 09:52:45 AM »
Given the explosion of AVMA accredited schools in the US and abroad, many of which are increasing student intake, I think the vet employment situation has the potential to worsen. However knowing that most vet students have wanted to be a vet since they were a child or teenager, that fact will not be a huge deterrent for most of them. As an Australian, I was very lucky in that I paid a very small fraction of what one does in the US for a tertiary education so I have no practical advice.  I wish you luck figuring out what to do.

highwayskies

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2014, 09:59:06 AM »
My wife loves the field (is a tech), and just opted not to attend veterinary school because of how daunting this all is!  Best wishes to you!  Many do it successfully, I'm sure you'll be okay, and she'll be happy!

waltworks

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2014, 10:04:23 AM »
Man, if she wasn't competitive to get into the cheaper schools that accept fewer applicants, that is a HUGE warning sign.

Have she considered working in a related (or unrelated) field for a while to save up some $? I think you really have to look at vet school as more of a hobby expense than something that is going to pay for itself, especially if she's not competitive at more selective schools. So maybe it makes more sense to come back when she's 30 or 35 (not sure how old you guys are now) and you can afford to pay tuition out of pocket.

-W

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2014, 11:09:10 AM »
Okay.  So let me try to give some constructive advice since the train already left the station on career choice and school choice.

Don't take the extra money for living expenses, just don't.  You probably make $4,000/mo plus are going to get nice education credits and not really have any taxable income.  Figure out how to live on what you make, the extra $11,000 per year is insane.  You need to go ahead and move right next to her school, just wait for being on call during rotations, you'll be happy you live close by.  Drop to one car.

What track is she interested in?  Food animal medicine for a few years can help significantly with student loan reliefs, the USDA and FDA need vets.  Nobody dreamed about inspecting chicken houses and beef plants, so there is a shortage.  The boards are they same, so she can then go into small animal practice after a few years.

What does her summer schedule look like?  There should be two summers where she can work and earn a few thousand dollars.

The biggest opportunity is to live within your salary today and not have to take out any extra money,  you may also want to consider a part time job on too of your teaching gig.

mm1970

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2014, 11:53:14 AM »
Hey guys,
I need some advice regarding my wife's student loans. She just started veterinary school this year to the tune of $60k a year for four years. Almost all of it is being financed with student loans (yikes!). When she graduates, we are optimistically looking at $220k worth of debt to pay back at at roughly 6.8% a year. Over ten years, the monthly payment is just about $2500 a month, with the loan accumulating close to $90k in interest. Unfortunately, there is really no option, except her quitting veterinary school, to bring the cost down.

Currently, we live fairly frugally, we both have cars that are paid for, an apartment well below market average in a suburb of an expensive city (though we are looking to downsize), and roughly $300 per month in groceries. We rarely eat out, we rarely drink alcohol, we do not have cable, and we use the library.

What I am trying to figure out is one, are there other things I could be doing to help pay down the huge amount of debt quicker, and two, when she graduates, what on earth do we do.

I am a middle school teacher. I make roughly $50k a year, with an additional 3k for working through breaks. I contribute 11% automatically to the state's pension fund, I max out IRA contributions and this year I put $3000 into a 403b. Im wondering, should I continue to contribute to the IRA and 403b or use those funds instead to help pay down her debt and keep her expenses down?
How much does a veterinarian make a year to start?
What is the income of a vet after 10 years?
How much will the $2500/month be eating into her salary? (That's $30k per year to the loans.)
When does the degree pay for itself?

By that, I mean the following: I'm a senior engineer in semiconductors.  About 10 years ago I considered quitting to get a PhD.  My boss at the time (who was also a prof at the local U) said "you could finish in 3 years!)  I didn't think that was true - I'd be going for a degree in EE and my BS is in ChemE.  So I estimated 4 years.  I calculated:
4 years of lost wages (current wage - grad student wage)
Increased wage after the PhD.
Figured that it was a 14 year time frame to make up the difference.
Decided not to do it.

mm1970

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2014, 11:58:37 AM »
Quote
she has wanted to become a veterinarian since she was 5 and still wants to become a veterinarian.

Then she should work at a job for a few years (maybe in a related field - maybe working for a vet?) and save up the money to go.  Or at least half of it.

bugbaby

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2014, 12:31:53 PM »
If you make 53k a year and her tuition is 46k, why is she also borrowing for living expenses?.

Even if you clear only 3k a month after retirement & tax deduction, could you not pay 1k toward tuition and share 2k expenses? Then she only borrows 34k a year. And if you sell 1 car that's down to maybe 26-30k the first year.  I went to med school in 03-07. We lived on 12-18k a year 2 adults, shared a beater car worth 2k.

Where is all the $$ going? That's the bottom line. Would you care to post your expenses?

Another Reader

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2014, 12:56:50 PM »
If she's going to a lower tier school, the rate at which graduates are offered jobs or advanced education is a lot less than the average of 61 percent.  A couple of hours spent in the school's placement office and talking to students graduating this year might convince her the dream is foolhardy.

What's your plan for paying back the debt if she gets out of school and can't get a job?  Paying off $220k on a $53k income is going to be close to impossible.  Even if she gets a job related to her undergraduate education, it's going to be a huge drag on your financial progress to pay off $220k in loans for a worthless degree. 

I know a lot of licensed vet school graduates out here that are "itinerant vets."  They pick up shifts as substitutes or do contract work at shelters and humane societies on a per diem basis.  Most never get full time work and will never be able to afford to open a practice.  Their earnings are in the $30-$40k range.  And they are not doing the work they wanted to do.

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2014, 01:12:52 PM »
Hey guys,
I need some advice regarding my wife's student loans. She just started veterinary school this year to the tune of $60k a year for four years. Almost all of it is being financed with student loans (yikes!). When she graduates, we are optimistically looking at $220k worth of debt to pay back at at roughly 6.8% a year. Over ten years, the monthly payment is just about $2500 a month, with the loan accumulating close to $90k in interest. Unfortunately, there is really no option, except her quitting veterinary school, to bring the cost down.

Currently, we live fairly frugally, we both have cars that are paid for, an apartment well below market average in a suburb of an expensive city (though we are looking to downsize), and roughly $300 per month in groceries. We rarely eat out, we rarely drink alcohol, we do not have cable, and we use the library.

What I am trying to figure out is one, are there other things I could be doing to help pay down the huge amount of debt quicker, and two, when she graduates, what on earth do we do.

I am a middle school teacher. I make roughly $50k a year, with an additional 3k for working through breaks. I contribute 11% automatically to the state's pension fund, I max out IRA contributions and this year I put $3000 into a 403b. Im wondering, should I continue to contribute to the IRA and 403b or use those funds instead to help pay down her debt and keep her expenses down?
How much does a veterinarian make a year to start?
What is the income of a vet after 10 years?
How much will the $2500/month be eating into her salary? (That's $30k per year to the loans.)
When does the degree pay for itself?

By that, I mean the following: I'm a senior engineer in semiconductors.  About 10 years ago I considered quitting to get a PhD.  My boss at the time (who was also a prof at the local U) said "you could finish in 3 years!)  I didn't think that was true - I'd be going for a degree in EE and my BS is in ChemE.  So I estimated 4 years.  I calculated:
4 years of lost wages (current wage - grad student wage)
Increased wage after the PhD.
Figured that it was a 14 year time frame to make up the difference.
Decided not to do it.

Vets make ~ $45,000 or so a year as a new graduate if they can find full-time employment.

If they can settle down somewhere and get paid somewhat based off their production, they can see $60,000 - $90,000 without ownership after five years of experience or so.  The higher incomes tend to come from the higher cost of living areas.

I think a lot of the other posters are missing the point, he's not at a position to talk his wife out of this choice, but wants some advice about what to do next.  There are a few routes in veterinary medicine that make some money, but they involve food animal work or large animal work in miserable climates (think upper mid-west large animal vet).

ChiStache

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2014, 01:16:03 PM »
Important information for you to understand:

What percentage of her debt is federal? What percentage is private?

Why are her interest rates so high?

kkbmustang

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2014, 01:22:04 PM »
Okay.  So let me try to give some constructive advice since the train already left the station on career choice and school choice.

Don't take the extra money for living expenses, just don't.  You probably make $4,000/mo plus are going to get nice education credits and not really have any taxable income.  Figure out how to live on what you make, the extra $11,000 per year is insane.  You need to go ahead and move right next to her school, just wait for being on call during rotations, you'll be happy you live close by.  Drop to one car.

What track is she interested in?  Food animal medicine for a few years can help significantly with student loan reliefs, the USDA and FDA need vets.  Nobody dreamed about inspecting chicken houses and beef plants, so there is a shortage.  The boards are they same, so she can then go into small animal practice after a few years.

What does her summer schedule look like?  There should be two summers where she can work and earn a few thousand dollars.

The biggest opportunity is to live within your salary today and not have to take out any extra money,  you may also want to consider a part time job on too of your teaching gig.

Agreed on the point about offering constructive feedback.

Here is my two cents:

I concur with the point about taking loans for living expenses. Let me just say that my husband and I were in this position when I was in law school, except he earned a fresh out of college salary of $23k. We lived on his salary and any money I earned from working. I worked all through law school as one or more of the following: law clerk, babysitter, word processor (typing), temp receptionist/secretary/file clerk, etc.

Your wife could definitely do pet sitting or house sitting. Get through the four years without accumulating any more debt than necessary. She also needs to work her ass off, earning top of the class grades to increase her chances of employment after school. Also, networking with other vets (wherever that may be, such as professional associations, etc). I'm not sure what or where those would be, but still sage advice. Also she can see if she can write animal related articles for magazines, newspapers, etc. She'd earn extra money and build her resume with writing credits at the same time. Just a few thoughts. Hope they are helpful.

Edited for typos.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 01:24:00 PM by kkbmustang »

iris lily

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2014, 01:24:12 PM »
I am glad that others are telling you to at least DO NOT accept loan money for living expenses.

I think that your wife needs to get very realistic very quickly about how this debt will run your lives for the foreseeable future.

mm1970

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2014, 02:22:07 PM »
Quote
Vets make ~ $45,000 or so a year as a new graduate if they can find full-time employment.

If they can settle down somewhere and get paid somewhat based off their production, they can see $60,000 - $90,000 without ownership after five years of experience or so.  The higher incomes tend to come from the higher cost of living areas.

I think a lot of the other posters are missing the point, he's not at a position to talk his wife out of this choice, but wants some advice about what to do next.  There are a few routes in veterinary medicine that make some money, but they involve food animal work or large animal work in miserable climates (think upper mid-west large animal vet).

Well, I'd kind of disagree that he's not in a position to talk her out of it.  Perhaps he just needs to run the numbers with her so that she really knows what she's getting herself into.  Not saying that she's not, but most young people (myself included) rarely "work the numbers" when they consider college and careers.  That's why you have so many college graduates with $100k debt and no job prospects.  Because they got a degree (that's what you do), in something interesting (I'm learning!) without consideration for how the education and experience is going to pay off in the long run.

So she's one of the lucky ones.  She gets a job at $45k per year.  After 10 years she's making $75k per year. (half way between $60k and 90k).
The first year she makes $15k ($45k-$30k).  That's $7.21 per hour.
The second year she makes $18k.

and so on.

I'm not saying not to DO it, per se, but to think about if it's worth that to you.  Do you love it so much that you are willing to do it for $7.21 per hour?  Do you plan to have children?  Will she work after having children?  If not, how will you pay the $30,000 per year?  If so, will what's left after the $30k per year cover child care?

If the answer to all of those questions - desire, math, pros and cons is "I want to do this more than anything", then my recommendation is to figure out a way to NOT borrow that much money.  $58,000 for one year? So over $200k for 4 years?  $11k for living expenses?  If she can work weekends and/or nights, work summers, she can probably save up maybe 1/4 to half of that annual total.  I saved up $3000 one summer working two jobs/ 60 hours for minimum wage, and that was 1989.  I'm sure salaries have gone up since then.

Even just paying 1/3 of the total per year would presumably cut her monthly loan payments to $1700/month.  Ouch, I just can't wrap my head around that loan payment.

It takes tough choices.  You know, my first job out of college paid less than $20k when most of my classmates were making 2x that.  One of the snotty rich kids pointed that out and wondered how awful I must feel.  I said "look, my parents are poor, my dad's not a doctor.  I joined ROTC to pay for college and I'm just lucky to be here."  So yes, the first five years of my post college life was in the Navy, but it allowed me to leave $11k in debt instead of $60k in debt.

iris lily

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2014, 02:32:13 PM »
Quote
Well, I'd kind of disagree that he's not in a position to talk her out of it.  Perhaps he just needs to run the numbers with her so that she really knows what she's getting herself into.  Not saying that she's not, but most young people (myself included) rarely "work the numbers" when they consider college and careers. 


Thanks for saying that. Personally, I would not marry into that kind of debt. Now that he's in, he has a perfect right to refuse to take on that debt.

Oh, by the way OP, education debt is not "good debt." Don't fall for that hokum if anyone is pushing it at you two. That's BS.

If you want to read some sad stories about crippling student debt, they are out there on the web. There are people 60 years old, chained to their desks, who cannot even begin to save for their retirement because they have huge SL debt. Sometimes it their own SL and sometimes it is that of their children.

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2014, 02:36:57 PM »
mm1970 - You're points are completely valid and I do hope the OP presents these facts to his wife.   She will basically be working for minimum wage after loan payments, while loosing four years of income earning potential.  My wife got lucky (she might not think so) that we really never needed her income after I started getting some nice salary acceleration when she was two years out of school.  I'm afraid the OP doesn't get that opportunity for income growth as a teach.

I would recommend the OP and his wife search VIN (veterinary information network) and just read the message boards from stories of new graduates, people trying to change careers, ect.

All that being said, there is hope to earn good income in the profession, but it requires a hell of a lot of business sense and a ton of time in the professional associations, there's a very fine line between significant success and indentured servitude in the veterinary profession.  There's also the unpopular type of veterinary medicine, like working night shift at the emergency hospitals for her first couple years or the tracts that I mentioned before.  Salary compression is coming from all graduates wanting the same 8-5, minimal weekend, small animal hospital job.

stripey

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2014, 08:43:13 AM »
  There's also the unpopular type of veterinary medicine, like working night shift at the emergency hospitals for her first couple years or the tracts that I mentioned before.  Salary compression is coming from all graduates wanting the same 8-5, minimal weekend, small animal hospital job.

Emergency work is quite fun, though. Much more of the interesting and exciting stuff happens out of business hours. Plus, the shift work (particularly if they are long-ish shifts, a few times per week ony) can sometimes afford a lot of flexibility and the ability to work around children. I believe it can pay quite well. YMMV.

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2014, 05:26:02 AM »
I think we lost the original poster, which is a shame on this one

MayDay

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2014, 07:46:28 AM »
For anyone else out there reading this, I will throw out a few thoughts.

A friend of mine is a vet. Small animal private practice was hell for her (stressful and having to deal with cheap owners).  She worked PT for VIN for 20$ an hour an enjoyed it. Something to supplement a low vet salary. In the end she left PP after a couple years and now does usda inspection to the tune of 100k a year (it is col adjusted). She picked good salary and low stress but the trade off is she spends all day walking the floor while they slaughter, and having to deal with the workers, who in her plant are mostly ex cons who are..... Not pleasant.

But end of the day, she regrets vet school despite going to a low(er) cost state school and being gainfully employed.

GreenAcres

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2014, 07:59:08 AM »
I looked seriously into becoming a veterinarian and this is the option I would have used to payoff loans.  I planned to work in a rural area and take advantage of a loan payoff program.  Here are a couple resources:

http://www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/animals/in_focus/an_health_if_vmlrp.html

https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/State-veterinary-loan-repayment-programs.aspx


greenmimama

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2014, 08:58:36 AM »
If only all people pre college could get this much great info. A lot less loans to be paid off for sure!

I hope the OP listens, or at least someone else reads this who can benefit from it.

I know it makes me want to put some more money back for my boys College funds, so if something mrs expensive is their life calling, at least we can help them out a bit.

sleepyguy

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2014, 10:09:09 AM »
I'm all for following your dreams but 60k/yr sound crazy for a job that honestly won't pay back much.  Her "dreams" haven't changed in all this time?  She CAN'T consider something less expensive and more lucrative to pursue?  At 8 I wanted to be an NBA pro or Tennis pro... one is next to impossible because i'm barely 6ft, and the other requires year round training and 40k+ expenses per year.  My goals now are much more realistic and responsible.  Build up $1mllion+ in equities, then teach tennis and play poker on the side.

I'm not say your wife is irresponsible but taking the familiy 1/4 million in debt with not a clear future is not too good.

MayDay

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2014, 10:43:15 AM »
Ooh!  I thought of another random anecdote!  (I am so helpful.)

Another friend of mine had been a vet tech for years, and planned to go to vet school once her kids were in school full days.  Those years of being a vet tech convinced her that although she loved the work on a PT basis, no way in hell would the loans be worth the small bump in pay (or probably no bump in pay when you factor paying off the loans out of your salary).  And now she is in nursing school, which is much cheaper, shorter, and will pay much more. 

Mayan

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2014, 12:39:46 PM »
It may not be of help to to OP, but seriously - if you feel that you absolutely must be a vet, do it as cheaply as possible.  Even if that means moving to another state and working for a year or two to establish residency before applying.  An in-state school will still leave you with an unfavorable debt:income ratio if financed solely on loans, but the cost of OOS/private/Carribean vet school will saddle you with crippling debt that often beyond the ability to repay on a typical vet salary.  A lot of people in this profession are using IBR to scrape by with no idea how to handle the tax bill coming in 30 years when the balance is forgiven. 

For now, I definitely agree with the advice given by other posters. You and your wife need to live on less than your salary alone.  At 53k, it should be possible to pitch some money towards tuition as well.  Your wife should look into picking up weekend shifts at local clinics or in the teaching hospital (if her school has one) as well as working FT during summers.  Once out of school, she should seriously consider emergency or corporate practice if she's small animal oriented.  Large animal is tougher - most of my classmates who wanted to do large animal practice are working in clinics that are 70-80% small animal and making less money than the companion animal vets.  The loan repayment programs are nice if you get the award, but many of them are specific to areas that are "high need" because they cannot support a vet practice without subsidies.  Most new grads are not ready to go out and set up a new solo large animal practice in a rural area where it is of questionable economic viability.  Internships are nice in theory but only pay for themselves if you go on to residency and become board certified in one of the fields where specialist salaries are higher (most except zoo or nutrition).  During your 4 years of specialty training, the interest on those loans is accumulating, and of course you don't benefit if you don't get the residency. 

If OP returns and has specific questions, feel free to PM me.  I'm one of the vets who wanted to be in this profession since I was 5 and is fairly unhappy in practice.  I have the luxury of exploring alternative uses of the degree due to graduating with a low level of debt and paying it off quickly, but I really can't advocate pursuing this profession for the price tag you're looking at. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 12:41:31 PM by Mayan »

MinervaJones

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Re: Advice on Wife's Veterinary School Student Loans
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2014, 11:08:29 AM »
Hello! I am a college graduate who has been considering veterinary school for the three years after a life long love of animals. I wanted to let everyone know I benefited greatly from this thread, and I wanted to thank everyone for the time they put in fashioning their replies.

I was admitted out of state to a veterinary school upon graduation but couldn't handle the price and did not attend. I moved to the state with one of the cheapest veterinary school programs and costs of living with a plan to work for two years in fellowships related to veterinary medicine before heading to veterinary school.

With living fairly Mustachian (I had many weak days as an undergraduate of buying $5 pints of ice cream to drown my sorrows in) and being focused on school, I managed to graduate with 50K in savings and a strong resume which made me a good candidate for medical school, veterinary school, and research assistant positions. I am ahead of schedule to have 80K in savings before I would start veterinary school. However, I am confronted with the same problem as I was upon first being admitted. The level of sacrifice is huge, and the math doesn't make sense (I fudged some of the math to make pretty numbers, but this is a good estimate I keep in my head when I long to pursue this path).

    140K lost to tuition and living expenses
+ 160K for lost income
300K total investment

300K
/ 20K (salary increase)
15 years full-time work

It might be good for beloved to take that year or two off to move and establish residency in a cheaper state (assume you both can find work there), and then take some basic business courses, which would be beneficial later and might give her a useful skill set if she ends up deciding not to get to vet school.

On that same note, it might be beneficial to look at some careers which cost less to train for, would be more lucrative, and can accommodate people from diverse backgrounds. I am currently looking at computer science programs, both masters and undergraduate level, which would involve 2-3 years of training, many of which can be done with a flexible schedule online allowing you to work, and are inexpensive.  The other option is always medical school, but having been a pre-med who couldn't think of working in that environment or specializing to that extent, I can understand that the two are certainly not the same career and are related but not longer interchangeable was they were in the 1800s.

The oldest person admitted to veterinary school at my university of interest was 50. There is always time to revisit dreams when you have the means to.