Author Topic: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid  (Read 4246 times)

brandino29

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Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« on: March 12, 2014, 01:37:51 PM »
Our life is about to take a major turn this fall as I'm going to be starting med school.  I just turned 30, I have a 1 year old daughter and 2 mortgages (our house and a small SFH rental we purchased last summer). 

I know there are a handful of doctors on here and at least one poster who actually quit med school, so I'm interested to get your all's perspectives and advice on what to expect going back as a non-traditional student with a family. 

There are a few reasonably big hurdles to clear: 1) we'll be going from combined household income of $90k to $40k (plus $400/month positive cash flow from the rental), 2) for the first two years I'll be having to commute 50 miles each way (easier than moving when my wife has a good job she loves 3 miles from our home, right beside our daughter's daycare, and my parents live in town and help out tremendously), 3) learning how to balance spending time with my family and succeeding academically, 4) figuring out a way to take maximum advantage of the commute time, and 5) doing it all while taking out the minimum in student loans that I can. 

Daleth

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 08:05:39 PM »
Congrats on getting into med school!

Once you have your schedule (or whenever you know how many days a week you'll need to be on campus), do the math to see how much that commute will cost in both time and money. And specifically note whether your class schedule would require any commuting during rush hour--a major time suck. I wonder if it might make more sense to find some cheapie rental (a bedroom in someone's house?) and stay on campus for your class days, only going home when you don't have class. Like if you have class Monday thru Thursday morning, drive up on Monday and home at lunchtime Thursday.

Obviously that's a big adjustment for family life but then so is spending 2 hours a day (and, what, $200/mo?) commuting (that's time you could spend doing homework or being with your family). You'll have to see what the workload is, but if you're looking at a 2-hr commute and 4+ hours of homework a night on top of however many hours a day of classes, it might be significantly less stressful to just confine your homework hours to campus, when you're away from family, and then be completely present and available for your family on the days when you're home.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 08:09:04 PM by Daleth »

HopetoFIRE

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 08:39:32 PM »
I really admire people who go through med school while having a responsibility of a family.  I don't think I could have done it.  I would say most of my classmates with families had non working spouses.  I think the biggest changes for you will be coming down to a one income family (like you stated) and the fact that your wife will essentially be a single parent (especially with your commute).

First off, you didn't mention what your expenses are.  Can you afford your expenses on her income alone?  I understand she loves her job, but does it make more sense for her to quit and stay at home with your little one so that you can all move closer to campus?  That way, there's no daycare cost and rent may be cheaper than your mortgage?  My concern would be the stresses of med school, and eventually residency, will build up and take a toll on your family if your wife pretty much has to take care of everything else when you are hardly home. 

If moving is not possible, I would definitely stay as long as you can on campus each day to maximize study time and minimize commuting during rush hour.  I don't necessarily agree with renting a place on campus and going home once or twice a week.  Had a roommate try that and she divorced her husband within six months.  Also, as a woman with a family, I would need my husband at home more than a couple times a week would provide. 

I don't really know how you would maximize your commute time otherwise unless the lectures are online and you can listen to it in the car.  Kudos to you for trying to minimize loans.  So important when most med school loans average $150k or greater.  Don't fall into the trap of relying on future income to pay your current expenses.  I had friends who took out loans during residency and bought BMWs with it. 

I think the most important thing to remember through med school and residency is to remember not only how hard it will be for you, but how hard it will be for your family as well.  Even now, five years after residency, I am so grateful for my husband who stuck by me through everything... The move for residency, the sucky hours and how great he is with our kids while I am gone on weekend calls.

brandino29

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 10:44:18 AM »
Congrats on getting into med school!
Thanks!  Lifelong dream that I had lost sight of for a few years.

Classes are generally 8-4 Monday-Thursday and 8-noon on Fridays, with some variation here and there.  Every lecture is recorded and posted online with the professors personal notes included for review and I've heard from a number of current student say that many people don't go to lecture at all.  Personally, I know myself and know that I will benefit much more from being there in person and having the opportunity to ask questions.  However, with everything being posted online I can also have the flexibility to stay home when it's necessary without fearing getting behind. 

Re: commuting---I'll fortunately be going against most traffic and it's about the easiest 50 miles you could imagine, our house is half a mile from the same interstate that I'll stay on for 48 miles where I'll get off and be on one road to arrive at school 2 miles and 4 stoplights later.  Gas is going to be a bummer for sure, my plan is to sell my old beat up pick up truck I currently drive and get an old beat up Civic or equivalent for better gas mileage.  I'm planning to use that drive time to relisten to lectures, focusing on the classes I'm having a harder time with. 

I'm anticipating my schedule will be leaving the house at 7am, generally home about 5, spending the evening playing with my daughter until she goes to bed around 7:30, then studying a couple more hours.  Rinse and repeat.

We live in a pretty cheap area, our mortgage is only $550/month and rent would generally be more than that if we sold the house and moved.  We should be able to get by on her salary after making some small changes, we'll have to decrease her retirement contributions a good bit (while completely getting rid of mine of course) and cancel our phone plan which I'm dying to do anyway, just locked in to contract for a few more months.  The best case scenario is I only have to take out student loans for the cost of tuition and fees (about $20k/year).  Well, the best case scenario is I would get some sort of financial scholarship but those are few and far between and my grades/scores definitely don't stand out among med students.

I think the most important thing to remember through med school and residency is to remember not only how hard it will be for you, but how hard it will be for your family as well.
 

This has definitely been a joint decision from the beginning when I first started reconsidering the idea of going back.  She's very supportive but I've also been trying to be very honest about how much of my time and energy it will take.  She seems to be thinking it'll be like going back to the college days with loads of free time, which is obviously not going to be the case.  On the same token, I definitely have no intention of being an absent father so I'm going to be making sure I allocate time for my family. 

Don't fall into the trap of relying on future income to pay your current expenses.  I had friends who took out loans during residency and bought BMWs with it.

That is insane.  And probably a trap that I would've fallen into if I hadn't ever worked full-time before going to school.  I know what it's like to earn and get by on $30k/year so even earning as little as $100k as a physician will provide more than I'll ever need. 

Daleth

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 10:51:01 AM »
Re: commuting---I'll fortunately be going against most traffic and it's about the easiest 50 miles you could imagine, our house is half a mile from the same interstate that I'll stay on for 48 miles where I'll get off and be on one road to arrive at school 2 miles and 4 stoplights later.  Gas is going to be a bummer for sure, my plan is to sell my old beat up pick up truck I currently drive and get an old beat up Civic or equivalent for better gas mileage. I'm planning to use that drive time to relisten to lectures, focusing on the classes I'm having a harder time with. 

Also check what tax breaks/subsidies there may be in your state for an electric car. If there is a place to plug it in where you're going to med school, you could be set. A friend of mine in Georgia just leased a Nissan Leaf for $199/mo for two years (so $4776 total) and is getting a... wait for it... $5000 tax credit for it. So he's actually being paid $224 to get this car. All he has to pay for is insurance and the moderate increase in electrical bills--he says the increase is barely noticeable.

But there would need to be charging stations where you spend the day, or a window someone would let you run an extension cord through (that's how my friend charges his car at home), because the Leaf doesn't have enough range to drive 50mi there and back without a recharge. I think the range is like 84 miles.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2014, 02:58:13 PM »
Sounds like you really want to do med school and thus aren't interested in ER, but I'd take that 90K combined income you already have and FIRE as soon as I could.

Good luck!

mxt0133

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2014, 03:14:58 PM »
Two words motor-cycle.  A used Kawasaki ninja 250 will get you 60 miles a gallon, cheaper insurance, a trunk and tank bag for books, lunch and food.  You can get one used for around 3k.  That will more than pay for it self with the amount of gas you would save about $150 a month on gas, 100x5x4x = 2000 miles a month, for the time you'll be in school.  Including lower insurance and maintenance cost.  They also have great resale value when your done.  I would get good gear tough.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 05:07:41 PM by mxt0133 »

HopetoFIRE

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2014, 04:09:50 PM »
Congrats on getting into med school!
Thanks!  Lifelong dream that I had lost sight of for a few years.

Classes are generally 8-4 Monday-Thursday and 8-noon on Fridays, with some variation here and there.  Every lecture is recorded and posted online with the professors personal notes included for review and I've heard from a number of current student say that many people don't go to lecture at all.  Personally, I know myself and know that I will benefit much more from being there in person and having the opportunity to ask questions.  However, with everything being posted online I can also have the flexibility to stay home when it's necessary without fearing getting behind. 

Re: commuting---I'll fortunately be going against most traffic and it's about the easiest 50 miles you could imagine, our house is half a mile from the same interstate that I'll stay on for 48 miles where I'll get off and be on one road to arrive at school 2 miles and 4 stoplights later.  Gas is going to be a bummer for sure, my plan is to sell my old beat up pick up truck I currently drive and get an old beat up Civic or equivalent for better gas mileage.  I'm planning to use that drive time to relisten to lectures, focusing on the classes I'm having a harder time with. 

I'm anticipating my schedule will be leaving the house at 7am, generally home about 5, spending the evening playing with my daughter until she goes to bed around 7:30, then studying a couple more hours.  Rinse and repeat.

We live in a pretty cheap area, our mortgage is only $550/month and rent would generally be more than that if we sold the house and moved.  We should be able to get by on her salary after making some small changes, we'll have to decrease her retirement contributions a good bit (while completely getting rid of mine of course) and cancel our phone plan which I'm dying to do anyway, just locked in to contract for a few more months.  The best case scenario is I only have to take out student loans for the cost of tuition and fees (about $20k/year).  Well, the best case scenario is I would get some sort of financial scholarship but those are few and far between and my grades/scores definitely don't stand out among med students.

I think the most important thing to remember through med school and residency is to remember not only how hard it will be for you, but how hard it will be for your family as well.
 

This has definitely been a joint decision from the beginning when I first started reconsidering the idea of going back.  She's very supportive but I've also been trying to be very honest about how much of my time and energy it will take.  She seems to be thinking it'll be like going back to the college days with loads of free time, which is obviously not going to be the case.  On the same token, I definitely have no intention of being an absent father so I'm going to be making sure I allocate time for my family. 

Don't fall into the trap of relying on future income to pay your current expenses.  I had friends who took out loans during residency and bought BMWs with it.

That is insane.  And probably a trap that I would've fallen into if I hadn't ever worked full-time before going to school.  I know what it's like to earn and get by on $30k/year so even earning as little as $100k as a physician will provide more than I'll ever need.


It seems like you and your wife have thought this through and seems like you have your financial house in order.  Looking at your tuition, I am assuming you'll be going to a state school.  If you can come out with $80k in loans, that will be impressive.  Keep on living like you are living and you'll be able to FIRE in no time after earning a real physician salary.

It's great that you have access to lectures online (we didn't have it when I was in school).  You may or may not need to go to class depending on the type of student you are.  I know someone who said he never went to class and just studied from his textbooks.  He did fine, graduated, and is actually one of the more successful physicians I know.

Good luck with everything.

brandino29

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2014, 08:12:46 AM »
Also check what tax breaks/subsidies there may be in your state for an electric car.
This is an interesting idea, I'll definitely check into it.  I do know there was in an issue in my state regarding a poorly written alternative fuels vehicle tax credit where a bunch of people (including several state legislators) went out and bought big-ass $50k Escalades and Navigators of the "bio-fuel" type and get huge tax credits.  There was a big to do over it and they made a bunch of changes so they could've spoiled the fun for the rest of us.

Sounds like you really want to do med school and thus aren't interested in ER, but I'd take that 90K combined income you already have and FIRE as soon as I could.

It's been a tough consideration for sure. Like a lot of folks here, I had never thought of myself as one who would ever have enough money to retire early in life until discovering MMM.  We were already doing well with spending and saving when I started reading MMM which has helped even more, and I estimate we could retire comfortably in 12-15 years if we stepped it up a notch.  The problem is that even though I generally like my job, I've sat at a desk all day going on 6 years now and it makes me stir crazy. I couldn't imagine another decade plus of it.  But you make a good point, my hope is to continue with the MMM philosophy after becoming an MD when I will be able to earn substantially more money and keep my working career short and then focus on practicing medicine for medicine's sake, not to make money.

Two words motor-cycle.

This is a brilliant idea. I have a feeling my wife (and my mom) would both be mortified of the thought.  Isn't motorcycle one word though? :)

It seems like you and your wife have thought this through and seems like you have your financial house in order.  Looking at your tuition, I am assuming you'll be going to a state school.  If you can come out with $80k in loans, that will be impressive.  Keep on living like you are living and you'll be able to FIRE in no time after earning a real physician salary.

Yep, in-state. At one point I had ambitions of trying to go to a "brand-name" school but I moved beyond that when I really considered my career goals (to be a physician and treat patients, hopefully do a medical mission from time to time) and decided an MD is an MD is an MD.

What's your field of practice, if you don't mind me asking?

HopetoFIRE

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Re: Going to med school...with 2 mortgages and a kid
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 12:18:45 PM »
Also check what tax breaks/subsidies there may be in your state for an electric car.
This is an interesting idea, I'll definitely check into it.  I do know there was in an issue in my state regarding a poorly written alternative fuels vehicle tax credit where a bunch of people (including several state legislators) went out and bought big-ass $50k Escalades and Navigators of the "bio-fuel" type and get huge tax credits.  There was a big to do over it and they made a bunch of changes so they could've spoiled the fun for the rest of us.

Sounds like you really want to do med school and thus aren't interested in ER, but I'd take that 90K combined income you already have and FIRE as soon as I could.

It's been a tough consideration for sure. Like a lot of folks here, I had never thought of myself as one who would ever have enough money to retire early in life until discovering MMM.  We were already doing well with spending and saving when I started reading MMM which has helped even more, and I estimate we could retire comfortably in 12-15 years if we stepped it up a notch.  The problem is that even though I generally like my job, I've sat at a desk all day going on 6 years now and it makes me stir crazy. I couldn't imagine another decade plus of it.  But you make a good point, my hope is to continue with the MMM philosophy after becoming an MD when I will be able to earn substantially more money and keep my working career short and then focus on practicing medicine for medicine's sake, not to make money.

Two words motor-cycle.

This is a brilliant idea. I have a feeling my wife (and my mom) would both be mortified of the thought.  Isn't motorcycle one word though? :)

It seems like you and your wife have thought this through and seems like you have your financial house in order.  Looking at your tuition, I am assuming you'll be going to a state school.  If you can come out with $80k in loans, that will be impressive.  Keep on living like you are living and you'll be able to FIRE in no time after earning a real physician salary.

Yep, in-state. At one point I had ambitions of trying to go to a "brand-name" school but I moved beyond that when I really considered my career goals (to be a physician and treat patients, hopefully do a medical mission from time to time) and decided an MD is an MD is an MD.

What's your field of practice, if you don't mind me asking?

I'm in one of the general fields (not sure if I want to reveal yet).  It pays surprisingly well.  However, it is quite stressful due to limited patient time.  I am trying to take advantage of my current salary so that I can RE.  I do have to say that our expenses have adjusted up a bit due to increased salary, but we also have kids now who require child care.  I admire you for wanting to practice medicine for medicine sake after RE.  I've thought about it, but not sure if it would be worth the possibility of malpractice especially with higher net worth.  I know, sad but true.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 10:48:14 PM by HopetoFIRE »