Author Topic: Case Study: The perpetual student  (Read 7257 times)

studentdoc2

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Case Study: The perpetual student
« on: April 29, 2014, 02:57:33 PM »
Hello, all! I知 new to MMM, and I知 psyched to be getting a better handle on our finances and starting to plan for the future. A bit about me: I知 a recently married (6 wks!) 27-year-old woman, and my partner is 33 yo. At the moment, we池e both students. My partner (a recovering member of the money-is-there-to-be-spent club) has 1 more year left in his master痴 program. I致e been a student all of my life and have 3-4 more years left -- I知 in an MD/PhD dual degree program. While both of our graduate schools are paid for, we both have debt from undergrad. I知 looking for advice on how to tackle our goals, particularly with some big changes in our lives in the next 10 years, both income-wise as we finish school and lifestyle-wise as we move for my residency and start a family (2-4 kids planned).

Goals, both immediate and long-term:
*Pay off all debt (!!!)
*Establish emergency fund (~$5000 to start)
*Buy a house (after I finish school and move for residency 3-4 yrs at the earliest. We don稚 have a lot of say in where I will go, but we池e hoping for the northwest)
*Start/afford a family (very circumscribed windows available for this, giving my program and future training/career. Earliest would be 2.5 yrs away, more like 4+ yrs (sigh))
*Achieve financial independence! (Although we both will probably always work, working part-time would be fabulous. This is a goal so far in the future that I知 not yet at the point of calculating when/how much)

Income:
$31,000 my scholarship stipend (paid quarterly; I am required to pay estimated taxes on it). Increases ~$500 every 1-2 years.
~$27,000 my partner痴 job ($14/hr; after he graduates, he will looking for community college teaching jobs)
~$24,000 my side job as a contractor doing editing. Pay is variable, but I aim for $2000/mo (~100 hours), . I am required to pay estimated taxes and the ~15% extra for social security, etc. This may disappear or at least significantly decrease in the last 2 years of my program, when my schedule will be insane.)
~$4400 income from TAing 2 quarters/yr. Variable, so I don稚 count on this in planning.
= ~$5,000/mo after taxes (including estimated taxes and self-employment tax)
This will change by a large amount in the next few years, as my partner looks for adjunct prof work (he plans to be our part-time stay-at-home parent; no idea what he値l be making) starting next year and I move on to residency in 3-4 yrs (~$50,000/yr with likely no side income) and eventually an attending (3-6 yrs after that) (~$150,000??? Hugely dependent on the specialty I choose).

Expenses (worth noting that we live in Chicago not a budget-friendly city!):
Rent: $925/mo
Auto insurance: $144/mo (insanely high because my beloved has had 2 cars totaled in the past 5 years. Yes, I have shopped around. A lot. We have a $2000 deductible)
Auto payment: $135/mo (currently paying $400/mo because we can, but this is the minimum. Yes, I know oh, do I know. It痴 a used 2010 Prius we bought last fall, and my partner will not entertain the idea of selling/downsizing. Auto expenses and auto habits are the source of our biggest fights, but we池e both working on being better including all of MMM's tips)
Auto gas: $100/mo (my partner has to drive to school 2x/wk; the rest is grocery trips, visiting family, etc. As a point of comparison, about a year ago, this was $300-$400!! (granted, the car was different, but still))
Electricity: $70/mo (average; recently started hang-drying and will be really working on AC bills)
Heating/cooking gas: $84/mo (average; we keep our apartment 62 deg in the winter)
Phone: $65/mo (under contract)
Student loan: $65/mo (only one loan is in repayment; all others are deferred until we graduate see below)
Internet/cable: $45/mo (cheaper w/ cable than internet alone)
Groceries: $400/mo (I think this is a bit of a face punch. I知 working on getting this down (Costco and LOTS of lentils and rice))
Pets: $100/mo (includes insurance, food, etc. We have 1 Great Dane and 3 cats. We could live without the cats if we found them a good home, but the dog is a non-negotiable. I recently found much cheaper pet insurance and we switched to Costco food to get this to this level)
Personal care: $25/mo (haircuts)
Identity insurance: $7/mo
Health insurance: $183/mo (partner only. My health insurance is paid for as part of my scholarship)
Dental insurance: $85/mo (both of us)
Vision insurance: $7/mo (me only)
Renter痴 insurance: $14.5/mo
Discretionary: $200/mo (Face punch? $100/ea -- covers any clothes, gifts for holidays, dining out, personal items, etc. I知 working on bringing this down, but it痴 a MAJOR sticking point for my partner.)
ROTH IRA contribution: $916.67 (neither of us have any other employer-sponsored retirement plan available we壇 make full use of it if we did!)
= ~$3,570/mo (or $2,653 if you exclude retirement savings)

Income Expenses = $5000 - $3570 = $1430

Assets:
Emergency fund/savings account: $1,500 (0.87%)
House fund/savings account: $4,700 (0.9%)
My IRA (Vanguard Target Retirement Account): $1,700
Spouse IRA (Vanguard Target Retirement Account): $4,000
(Car: ~$15,500)
Total (excluding car): $11,900 (whomp whomp)

Liabilities:
Car loan: $5274 remaining (2.49% interest; required payments of $135/mo; currently paying $400/mo)
Student loan #1: $2,200 (5%; $65/mo required)
(all below loans are deferred but accruing interest)
Student loan: $16,600 (6.8%) (repayment begins in ~1 year)
Student loan: $16,100 (6.8%) (repayment begins in ~3 years)
Student loan: $21,300 (5.25%) (repayment begins in ~3 years)
Student loan: $3,500 (5.125%) (repayment begins in ~3 years)
(all below loans are deferred and do not accrue interest until graduation)
Student loan: $5,600 (4.5%) (repayment/interest begins in ~1 year)
Student loan:  $5,600 (3.4%) (repayment/interest begins in ~1 year)
Student loan: $2,200 (6%) (repayment/interest begins in ~3 years)
Student loan: $2,300 (2.35%) (repayment/interest begins in ~3 years)
Student loan: $4,800 (3.25%) (repayment/interest begins in ~3 years)
Total: ~$83,000 at 2.3%-6.8% (ahhhh!!!)


So, we致e basically got $1,400 a month to work with (with lots of possible changes in income in the future), and I知 looking for recommendations as to how to spend it. Although I really, REALLY would love to be in a position to buy a house come residency (3-4 yrs), my gut tells me that it痴 best to pay off the bulk of these student loans (all loans above 5%?) before saving up 20% for a down payment. Am I correct in thinking this way? My current plan for that $1,400/mo is below, but I would love any suggestions or advice! Am I right in assuming I should be socking away the max $11,000 in our ROTH IRA funds each year for the benefits of compounding interest, or should I be using that money to pay off student loans faster? Can anyone see any good spending areas to cut (I would cut the car and all of its associated costs in a heartbeat, but that is a battle with my spouse that I cannot win)?
Emergency fund: $400/mo (until reaching a balance of $5000. Approximately 9 mo. remaining)
Extra car payments: $265/mo (for a total of $400/mo although it痴 a low rate, I HATE having this loan. Approximately 13 mo remaining at this payment level; otherwise, ~3.5 yr)
House fund: $25/mo + extra income (the $25/mo is to avoid fees)
Student loans: Anything left! $710/mo (in the order listed above I assume I should tackle one at a time instead of splitting payments up? (unless they are in repayment then pay at least the minimum, obviously))
Eventually, all of this money would go towards saving for FI!

Thanks, all!!

dilinger

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 05:04:17 PM »
You're directly paying $544/mo for the privilege of owning your own car.  That's gas + insurance; it doesn't include depreciation, storage costs*, the opportunity costs sunk in the car, or the cost of the loan.  You live in Chicago, which has zipcar, public transit, and I hear some fancy new protected bike lanes on Dearborn.

Let's say you sold your car for $15k, paid off your loan, and pocketed the $10k.  You then turn around and pay off the $2k student loan, holding onto the remaining ~$8k for additional loans or emergencies.  If we factor in the $135 to $400/mo in loan repayments, and $65/mo student loan payments, that gives you somewhere between $744 to $1009/mo of extra cash each month that was otherwise being flushed down the toilet.

But your SO needs to get to school twice a week, and you need to grocery shop/visit family.  Let's look at zipcar (one of many options).  If you rented a Zipcar Prius ($84/day, or 11.50/hr) for an 2 days/week each month, you'd be paying $672.  Pretty comparable, right?  That's the luxurious option, assuming you need the car for an entire 24hrs at a time, and that you have to have a Prius (there are cheaper options available).  If you can instead rent hourly, it gets even better.  Instead of phrasing it as getting rid of your car, you could look at it as gaining access to a bunch of fancy new cars to drive (including cargo haulers - van, pickup truck, minivan).  If you were to factor in maintenance, storage costs, etc, you'd probably come out ahead.  There are also other car share programs, not to mention public transit, taxis, etc.  Also, once you've gotten rid of the car, your mindset changes.  It's no longer, "well, I'll just take a drive over to XYZ to pick something up because I'm feeling lazy."  The monetary decisions stare you right in the face.  "It'll cost me $20 to rent a zipcar for two hours.. and I'd have to deal with traffic.  Or I could take a taxi for $15.  Or public transit for $5, which would take longer, but I could read a book.  Or I could bike for pennies, and get some exercise."

In short, if you live in a large city, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives to owning your own car.  Ditch the car.

 * I don't know if you're using street parking, or if you have a dedicated parking spot.  If you have a dedicated parking spot in the city, you could be renting it out.  When I lived just ouside of Boston, I sold my car and rented my spot for $125/mo to random craigslist people.  Before I had that spot, I was paying at least that in parking tickets; reverse side of the street parking during snow emergencies, etc. 

studentdoc2

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 06:04:47 PM »
I'm not sure I get your $544/mo for the car. By my calculations, it's $144 insurance + $135 loan + $100 gas = $379  (or $244 if you're only talking about gas and insurance). Not great, but not $544. But maybe you're including something I'm missing?

I'm totally on board will living sans-car. I've done it in Chicago very happily for 7 years before moving in with my partner. I am a big fan of public transit and occasional ZipCar use. We do not need a car -- there are a million ways (in my opinion) that we could make non-car life work for even less than you quote. But this is a big, BIG sticking point with my partner. We have had the discussion (and those fights) of how much it costs us more times than I can count. It is a battle that I simply do not think I can win (and trust me, I am a hugely stubborn person). The best I can do at the moment is to eliminate unnecessary trips (car is only for school, late-night meetings, 2x/mo groceries, and family trips) and encourage better gas mileage (having read a ton of articles of how to get the most out of a Prius). There have been HUGE changes in the past few months once I started managing our finances. I'm going to share some of your thoughts with my partner, though, and I really appreciate the input -- with this issue and my partner, though, it's definitely about the long-game.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 06:40:27 PM by studentdoc2 »

neophyte

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 06:21:04 PM »
I'm a total newbie at this, so take what I say with a grain of salt. And I don't know anything about the retirement account vs. paying off loans stuff, so I won't address it.  Other than that, here's what I would do:

Stop paying the extra on the car loan (2.49%) and throw that at one of the 6.8 % student loans that is accruing interest now. I would pick the one you have to start paying sooner, just because it seems to make sense to me.

Drop the dental insurance. Assuming neither of you have dental problems and you're just getting regular check-ups/cleanings, you're probably looking at about $100 each every six months for a cleaning. That would save you around $600 a year.  I had vision insurance for a while but it also turned out to be a bad deal for me because it didn't cover what I needed.  (I love Warby Parker glasses though)

I also wonder about pet health insurance, but I know Great Danes can have health issues. This also depends on your views on how far you go for pets if they get cancer or some other similarly expensive to treat condition.

PS. Dropping haircuts will save $300/year.  Or, if haircuts are also non-negotiable, you could roll that into the $100 per person per month discretionary category.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 06:37:37 PM by neophyte »

Lans Holman

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 06:29:34 PM »
I'm pretty impressed that you are maxing out IRAs and have money left over while you are still in grad school.  Should only get better once you are actually getting paid.  My question is, you say you don't think you will buy a house until you have paid down the bulk of your loans, but you've got a chunk of money sitting in savings earning nothing, while the loans accumulate.  I'd say decide what your plan is and stick with it.  Especially given that it might be a while before you will be in one place long enough to want to buy instead of rent. 

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 06:41:14 PM »
I'm totally on board will living sans-car. I've done it in Chicago very happily for 7 years before moving in with my partner. I am a big fan of public transit and occasional ZipCar use. We do not need a car -- there are a million ways (in my opinion) that we could make non-car life work for even less than you quote. But this is a big, BIG sticking point with my partner. We have had the discussion (and those fights) of how much it costs us more times than I can count. It is a battle that I simply do not think I can win (and trust me, I am a hugely stubborn person). The best I can do at the moment is to eliminate unnecessary trips (car is only for school, late-night meetings, 2x/mo groceries, and family trips) and encourage better gas mileage (having read a ton of articles of how to get the most out of a Prius). There have been HUGE changes in the past few months once I started managing our finances. I'm going to share some of your thoughts with my partner, though, and I really appreciate the input -- with this issue and my partner, though, it's definitely about the long-game.

I'm normally all for working things out with your partner, but perhaps he needs a more daily reminder.
Here's an idea:  first, go here, print this out and put it on your fridge
http://lifehacker.com/5855550/the-true-cost-of-commuting-you-could-buy-a-house-priced-15900-more-for-each-mile-you-move-closer-to-work

Then make a habit of calculating how much each and every trip costs. Understand what driving into work costs, or what a trip to Marblehead costs, etc.
 Use the formulas from the poster or better yet calculate your own with the fuel efficiency of your car, parking and insurance.  Put that real cost into your monthly expenditures (you can use the odometer to make sure there's no cheating).  Hopefully when the cost is right there staring both of you in the face it'll become obvious.


dilinger

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2014, 06:49:36 PM »
Totally agree with prioritising the 6.8% currently-accruing-interest loans first.

The reason why I focused on the car was because it's the easy, low-hanging fruit.  There's plenty of other ways to scrimp and save (lose the renter's insurance, the identity insurance; cheaper or no phone plan, subsist on ramen/beans&rice, etc).  However, none of that is going to make as big a dent as the car in one fell swoop.  There's also the lifestyle change.  Going car-free in a big city is actually really really easy and pleasant, once you get the hang of it (learn bike routes, public transit schedules, your car sharing options, etc).  On the other hand, scrimping on electricity, food, not going out to meals with friends, and so on can be unpleasant.  Downright hard, even.  That's not to say it isn't worthwhile, but there's a big easy option staring you in the face.  A $1k/mo after-tax raise, basically.

Good luck!

squatman

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 07:21:53 PM »
I don't have much advice past what's already been stated, but how do you manage 25 hours/week of editing (side note: have you looked at AJE? Some of their short turnaround papers might get you a better hourly if you're good) beyond MD/PhD? That's a ton of extra work beyond what I know from experience is FT+ work.

studentdoc2

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2014, 08:19:37 PM »
 
I don't have much advice past what's already been stated, but how do you manage 25 hours/week of editing (side note: have you looked at AJE? Some of their short turnaround papers might get you a better hourly if you're good) beyond MD/PhD? That's a ton of extra work beyond what I know from experience is FT+ work.

Yeah, AJE is actually the company for which I work. 25/hr a week is a vague estimate, but maybe it's a bit high. I do editing for ~2-3 hrs in the evenings after I get home -- so maybe more like 20 hrs/wk? The hourly rate is hugely dependent on quality of the papers and availability. And yes, I work in lab FT+. Between that and editing, I don't have time for much else :-P.

Weedy Acres

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 02:37:32 PM »
I think your budget looks decent for what you can do right now.  If it were me, I'd definitely drop identity insurance, and probably dental and vision too (unless you do the math and you get more out than you pay in).  And I see no problem with $100/mo each of "blow money" that covers all misc. spending.  Personal finance involves compromise, and if you're united on the long-term goals, it's ok to give in on some of the smaller ones.  If, for example, you keep the Prius but agree that you'll keep it forever and not "upgrade" when you become a doc, then it won't kill you.

I also think it's fantastic that you're getting grad school for free.  That will make such a difference in your future, not graduating with $150K in med school loans like most other docs. Very smart move.

I'd forget about your piddly house savings for now, since it's a few years off anyway.  Throw another $500 into your emergency fund, take the remaining $4200, throw it at the car, along with your extra May cash flow, and have it paid off next month.

Then take your extra $1500/mo (no car payment now) and start chipping away at the SLs, starting with the ones accruing interest.  If residency is 3 years away, and your husband doesn't make any more money teaching than he makes now, your debt will be down to $24K.  If hubby's making $8K a year more, then you're done by the time residency starts.  How cool would that be?

I don't understand the urgency of buying a house right when residency starts.  Won't your long-term future domicile still be up in the air?  I definitely wouldn't buy when I'm still mobile/transient.  There's too much transaction cost involved in buying and selling to make it worth it for just a few years. 

So now you're a resident and a professor, let's say you're both pulling down $50K/year and living off the same $3500.  You can easily sock away $20K/year and by the time residency's done have your down payment for a modest house.  Or earlier if you decide you are going to stay in that location. 

Once you're done and fully employed, ka-pow!  Your net worth rockets upward.

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 04:20:49 PM »
Why do you want to buy a house? Emotional reasons? Financial reasons?

Just questioning it in case you haven't considered not buying a house. Because depending on where you live, renting CAN be cheaper. But it depends on many many factors.

Also, if I were you I would plan in such a way that it would allow for children faster. Time is the only thing you will never have more of.

Gin1984

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 04:30:17 PM »
I just need to know, how did you get into editing?  I'd love to!

squatman

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 09:42:12 PM »
I just need to know, how did you get into editing?  I'd love to!

For AJE I'm pretty sure there are applications online, but they are pretty selective in terms of what school you went to for undergrad/grad school. My wife did it for a couple of years - I could probably ask her how she got started.

Gin1984

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 09:56:58 PM »
I just need to know, how did you get into editing?  I'd love to!

For AJE I'm pretty sure there are applications online, but they are pretty selective in terms of what school you went to for undergrad/grad school. My wife did it for a couple of years - I could probably ask her how she got started.
Please do.  My undergrad probably won't get me in, but my grad school is decent so maybe I'll have a chance.

Fuzz

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 10:04:39 PM »
Seems like you could pay the higher student loan instead of the car loan. Why overpay on the 2.49 percent loan when you're accruing debt at 6.8 percent? 

Hadilly

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2014, 10:21:46 PM »
It sounds like you are in the beginning of your Ph.D. program, right? I'm wondering if you want to go into academia or just practice medicine. Given all the editing you do, are you going to have time to do your research and publish some papers? I would consider cutting back elsewhere (car, etc), doing less editing and really cranking away on your research/publishing. It could make a huge difference in your ability to get the job you want in the future. And if you want a university job, you really need to publish to get hired.

studentdoc2

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2014, 09:24:29 PM »
I just need to know, how did you get into editing?  I'd love to!

For AJE I'm pretty sure there are applications online, but they are pretty selective in terms of what school you went to for undergrad/grad school. My wife did it for a couple of years - I could probably ask her how she got started.
Please do.  My undergrad probably won't get me in, but my grad school is decent so maybe I'll have a chance.

You can go to their website (https://careers.aje.com/) and see if any of the available positions match your interests/background. It looks like things have changed a bit since I joined about two years ago, but effectively you need to be in or have completed a Master's, PhD, or MD in your chosen fields from one of their partner institutions -- when I last saw a list, it was all of the "top" (by things like US News and World Report; I'm not suggesting that those institutions are superior, for the record) institutions. For me, the hiring process was basically a phone "conference" to go over policies, taking a basic grammar/syntax test, and doing 1-2 test edits. If you do well enough, they start you off very slowly. As you gain experience and skill, you can increase your workload and eventually your areas of study.  You can't leap into the type of workload I do right away, but I think it's a pretty awesome flexible second income.

studentdoc2

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2014, 09:29:15 PM »
I think your budget looks decent for what you can do right now.  If it were me, I'd definitely drop identity insurance, and probably dental and vision too (unless you do the math and you get more out than you pay in).  And I see no problem with $100/mo each of "blow money" that covers all misc. spending.  Personal finance involves compromise, and if you're united on the long-term goals, it's ok to give in on some of the smaller ones.  If, for example, you keep the Prius but agree that you'll keep it forever and not "upgrade" when you become a doc, then it won't kill you.

I also think it's fantastic that you're getting grad school for free.  That will make such a difference in your future, not graduating with $150K in med school loans like most other docs. Very smart move.

I'd forget about your piddly house savings for now, since it's a few years off anyway.  Throw another $500 into your emergency fund, take the remaining $4200, throw it at the car, along with your extra May cash flow, and have it paid off next month.

Then take your extra $1500/mo (no car payment now) and start chipping away at the SLs, starting with the ones accruing interest.  If residency is 3 years away, and your husband doesn't make any more money teaching than he makes now, your debt will be down to $24K.  If hubby's making $8K a year more, then you're done by the time residency starts.  How cool would that be?

I don't understand the urgency of buying a house right when residency starts.  Won't your long-term future domicile still be up in the air?  I definitely wouldn't buy when I'm still mobile/transient.  There's too much transaction cost involved in buying and selling to make it worth it for just a few years. 

So now you're a resident and a professor, let's say you're both pulling down $50K/year and living off the same $3500.  You can easily sock away $20K/year and by the time residency's done have your down payment for a modest house.  Or earlier if you decide you are going to stay in that location. 

Once you're done and fully employed, ka-pow!  Your net worth rockets upward.

Thanks! This was a very clear approach that made a lot of sense to me. I appreciate that. I agree, buying a house right away is probably not the best move financially, and that's why I don't think it's going to happen. It's a big emotional pull -- I've been a student for so long while many of my contemporaries are starting their lives, settling down, having families, that the idea of a more permanent residence and place in life is highly desirable. But I'll use that (and FI) as my carrot to help me stay on track now. Delayed gratification :)

studentdoc2

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2014, 09:35:16 PM »
It sounds like you are in the beginning of your Ph.D. program, right? I'm wondering if you want to go into academia or just practice medicine. Given all the editing you do, are you going to have time to do your research and publish some papers? I would consider cutting back elsewhere (car, etc), doing less editing and really cranking away on your research/publishing. It could make a huge difference in your ability to get the job you want in the future. And if you want a university job, you really need to publish to get hired.

Honestly, that often depends on how my research is going at the moment :). Currently, I would like to go into academic medicine, likely not running a lab (the current funding situation is a huge disincentive) but perhaps working as a collaborator and being involved in clinical trials, etc. I'm actually nearing the end of my PhD -- we hope one more year will do it, but it's a little tricky because I can only go back to medical school in the summer, so it's either one more year or two -- there's no in between. Research always comes first before my editing; a few good papers and a solid thesis are more important to my future earning potential (as an academic or physician) than a little more editing each month. But it's not a bad side gig, and I know of people for whom it has opened doors to things like working for the big-name journals.

phred

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2014, 09:39:59 PM »
I wouldn't change anything at this time until you do a wee bit more research.  You'll need to get a better handle on which branch of medicine you'll practice.  Reason is that you'll need a boatload of money to set up your independent practice or buy into an already established group practice.  Deciding which specialty will tell you how much the equipment and furnishings will cost.  Most new docs lease, so right up front you'll have office rent, equipment lease payment, student loans, and wages of nurse-receptionist

BFGirl

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2014, 09:43:22 PM »
I would not drop identity insurance.  I have been dealing with identity theft for many years now and I get an email if someone tries to check my credit.  I have been able to stop several accounts from being created in my name as a result of this.

Gin1984

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2014, 05:19:54 AM »
It sounds like you are in the beginning of your Ph.D. program, right? I'm wondering if you want to go into academia or just practice medicine. Given all the editing you do, are you going to have time to do your research and publish some papers? I would consider cutting back elsewhere (car, etc), doing less editing and really cranking away on your research/publishing. It could make a huge difference in your ability to get the job you want in the future. And if you want a university job, you really need to publish to get hired.

Honestly, that often depends on how my research is going at the moment :). Currently, I would like to go into academic medicine, likely not running a lab (the current funding situation is a huge disincentive) but perhaps working as a collaborator and being involved in clinical trials, etc. I'm actually nearing the end of my PhD -- we hope one more year will do it, but it's a little tricky because I can only go back to medical school in the summer, so it's either one more year or two -- there's no in between. Research always comes first before my editing; a few good papers and a solid thesis are more important to my future earning potential (as an academic or physician) than a little more editing each month. But it's not a bad side gig, and I know of people for whom it has opened doors to things like working for the big-name journals.
What speciality are you thinking of? 

studentdoc2

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2014, 09:56:53 AM »
It sounds like you are in the beginning of your Ph.D. program, right? I'm wondering if you want to go into academia or just practice medicine. Given all the editing you do, are you going to have time to do your research and publish some papers? I would consider cutting back elsewhere (car, etc), doing less editing and really cranking away on your research/publishing. It could make a huge difference in your ability to get the job you want in the future. And if you want a university job, you really need to publish to get hired.

Honestly, that often depends on how my research is going at the moment :). Currently, I would like to go into academic medicine, likely not running a lab (the current funding situation is a huge disincentive) but perhaps working as a collaborator and being involved in clinical trials, etc. I'm actually nearing the end of my PhD -- we hope one more year will do it, but it's a little tricky because I can only go back to medical school in the summer, so it's either one more year or two -- there's no in between. Research always comes first before my editing; a few good papers and a solid thesis are more important to my future earning potential (as an academic or physician) than a little more editing each month. But it's not a bad side gig, and I know of people for whom it has opened doors to things like working for the big-name journals.
What speciality are you thinking of?

My PhD is in cancer biology; I'm currently thinking about pediatric hem/onc (obvious ties to my scientific interests) or emergency medicine (lifestyle flexibility). Either way, I have no real interest in private practice at the moment.

Gin1984

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Re: Case Study: The perpetual student
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2014, 11:40:00 AM »
It sounds like you are in the beginning of your Ph.D. program, right? I'm wondering if you want to go into academia or just practice medicine. Given all the editing you do, are you going to have time to do your research and publish some papers? I would consider cutting back elsewhere (car, etc), doing less editing and really cranking away on your research/publishing. It could make a huge difference in your ability to get the job you want in the future. And if you want a university job, you really need to publish to get hired.

Honestly, that often depends on how my research is going at the moment :). Currently, I would like to go into academic medicine, likely not running a lab (the current funding situation is a huge disincentive) but perhaps working as a collaborator and being involved in clinical trials, etc. I'm actually nearing the end of my PhD -- we hope one more year will do it, but it's a little tricky because I can only go back to medical school in the summer, so it's either one more year or two -- there's no in between. Research always comes first before my editing; a few good papers and a solid thesis are more important to my future earning potential (as an academic or physician) than a little more editing each month. But it's not a bad side gig, and I know of people for whom it has opened doors to things like working for the big-name journals.
What speciality are you thinking of?

My PhD is in cancer biology; I'm currently thinking about pediatric hem/onc (obvious ties to my scientific interests) or emergency medicine (lifestyle flexibility). Either way, I have no real interest in private practice at the moment.
I'm working on my PhD in aging, in neuroscience.  If you decide to expand your research past peds, let me know.  I already have a neurosurgeon on board for a joint grant when I get my own lab and am always interested in other researchers.  :)  Joint grants have better chances than singles, I have been told by some PIs.