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Attending Anesthesiologist Returns to Training with Huge Debt

Home Personal Finance and Budgeting Attending Anesthesiologist Returns to Training with Huge Debt

  • q-school q-school 
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 05/07/2017
    Splash Refinancing Bonus

    Welcome to the board, and thanks for being brave enough to ask some questions with difficult to hear answers by the way.

    hopefully you hear them in the spirit they are intended.  Hard to hear tone on a written post.

    I tend not to offer direct recommendations as much, but there is a lot of truth in the posts above.

    however, i chose to do 3 fellowships and didn’t complete training until after age 35 and had a huge amount of student debt at that time.  So i don’t necessarily think the critical care fellowship is out of the question IF IT TRULY IMPROVES YOUR PROFESSIONAL SATISFACTION AND QOL.   I echo the doubts that the others have about whether your description suggests that the career shift will provide this more than just changing jobs or even possibly negotiating within jobs.

    i will say i think that most members here when faced with similar challenges at age 32 will handle it one of two ways.  They go all in and work hard with plan of retiring in 10-12 years or they cut back to part time and tolerate the negatives of the job (possibly at a different hospital).

    Career shifts are hard on the family.  Dual career families present different challenges—i don’t necessarily agree that wife working is a necessary component of optimizing QOL but it cannot be debated that it would help retire debt fastest.  If the debt is causing stress (which i don’t think it causes you guys as much stress as most members here), then that would be a good solution.

    I do advise you and spouse sit down together and really identify your priorities.  We have compromises all the time.   The requirements of the job change all the time.  The practice of medicine evolves.  Your own goals for your individual practice will change several times over the course of your career.  Her professional and personal goals may evolve as well.

    Over the years i have been in practice, i have had 3 partners who went back to retrain.  One is happy as can be, but financially will never recover the lost years of income.  Two strongly regret retraining several years after the fact.  They thought the new specialty would be better, but have come to realize in some ways the demands of medicine are what they didn’t like, and likely they would have been just as happy if they had just continued.  Of course, any thing can happen, so all we can do is to encourage you to consider as deeply as you can what makes you unhappy.

    in my hospital we recently had a physician suicide, so there is a ton of reflection about what is important going on amongst the medial staff.

    Good luck to you.   I sincerely hope you find a way to be happy.

     

    tl;dr

    figure out what the real problems are and communicate with spouse. Even if wife doesn’t work, if you reprioritize, i still think you could have lean retirement in 12 years and a great retirement in 20 years (only 52!).  Do you really want to retrain and make it 15/25 years instead?  You have the golden ticket!  Think hard before giving it up.

    #227725 Reply
    CM CM 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1210
    Joined: 01/14/2017

    You call to check in, and she has just dropped the kids off at pre-school and is on her way to yoga and to meet some other moms for lunch. It will creep into your thoughts, “Why the F am I working like a dog, to pay off my DW’s debt, and my DW is living a life of leisure?”… it may not come to pass

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    It’s human nature.

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    Maybe that would cause resentment at some later date, or maybe he’d just feel happy and grateful that he is able to provide that life for the one that he loves. Maybe that would be the reason to appreciate such a demanding job and stick with it despite all the trouble. Works for me.

    Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried bags for Cyd Charisse (gracious). Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

    #227726 Reply
    Liked by MaxPower, q-school
    Avatar EndoRobert 
    Participant
    Posts: 71
    Joined: 01/12/2019
    okayplayer wrote:  I also started with a huge hole (2 physician household), so I can relate. We started off -720k net worth on the day we finished residency. Today (5 years later to the day almost), we are +750k. We also had 2 kids in the mean time and my wife took ample time off for each because it was important to us. It can be done. Good luck and feel free to PM me if you would like a sympathetic (non judgemental) ear.

    With all due respect, I doubt OP has as favorable of an income:debt ratio currently as you and spouse did coming out of training.  Maybe I’m  wrong and you are two pediatrician super savings but you’ve averaged building some incredible wealth over the last five years.   (And if OP is killing it and making 6/700k+ then going to CC is an even worse decision financially).

    No one suggesting ramen or q2 call should be taken seriously, you just are not gonna reset the concrete on a 32yo doctor and get them and family to go MMM style.

    But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask a partner in an anesthesia group to aim to make 500k (yes, you might take more call) and live on 100 when they have 1million in debt.

    Avatar Kamban 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2584
    Joined: 08/01/2016
    Therefore I will be starting a fellowship in critical care this summer.

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    As others have said repeatedly, this is your biggest blunder. You will never earn more in CC than anesthesia. You were unhappy with things other than anesthesia but yet you want to come to back to the same area??

    What you need is a job as an anesthetist at a good area and the spouse to work part time in a year or two, and pay down that debt. Please, in the future before you make decisions like CC fellowship or buying an RV, run it by people who are not yes men but would call a spade a spade. Like most of here do.

    #227741 Reply
    Avatar ZZZ 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
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    Joined: 06/18/2018

    Amusing juxtaposition of threads.

    Recent guy making 500k with a wife champing at the bit to work to make 10k at some low wage job. The work is so fulfilling she’s happy to do it for essentially nothing.

    This couple with a negative $1M net worth quitting 1 high paying job while a 6-figure potential spouse doesn’t work. And takes out a note on a RV. And drops 30k on a wedding.

    I wonder if it’d be worth compiling a book of the most egregious financial disasters presented here. Should be mandatory reading for every matriculant prior to year 1 of medical school. Would save untold marriages, grief, and probably even a few lives.

    #227774 Reply
    q-school q-school 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2640
    Joined: 05/07/2017

    Amusing juxtaposition of threads.

    Recent guy making 500k with a wife champing at the bit to work to make 10k at some low wage job. The work is so fulfilling she’s happy to do it for essentially nothing.

    This couple with a negative $1M net worth quitting 1 high paying job while a 6-figure potential spouse doesn’t work. And takes out a note on a RV. And drops 30k on a wedding.

    I wonder if it’d be worth compiling a book of the most egregious financial disasters presented here. Should be mandatory reading for every matriculant prior to year 1 of medical school. Would save untold marriages, grief, and probably even a few lives.

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    30k for wedding is probably less than American average

    the family is only outlier on this website.  Most young people lackadaisically pay off debt.  Most physicians life pretty upper middle class lifestyle.  They are probably more ‘normal’ than most posters here.

    But you ask a question on a finance website, you get these answers.

     

     

    #227785 Reply
    Avatar Brains428 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 482
    Joined: 11/09/2017

    Amusing juxtaposition of threads.

    Recent guy making 500k with a wife champing at the bit to work to make 10k at some low wage job. The work is so fulfilling she’s happy to do it for essentially nothing.

    This couple with a negative $1M net worth quitting 1 high paying job while a 6-figure potential spouse doesn’t work. And takes out a note on a RV. And drops 30k on a wedding.

    I wonder if it’d be worth compiling a book of the most egregious financial disasters presented here. Should be mandatory reading for every matriculant prior to year 1 of medical school. Would save untold marriages, grief, and probably even a few lives.

    Click to expand…

    30k for wedding is probably less than American average

    the family is only outlier on this website.  Most young people lackadaisically pay off debt.  Most physicians life pretty upper middle class lifestyle.  They are probably more ‘normal’ than most posters here.

    But you ask a question on a finance website, you get these answers.

     

     

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    Agree with the last statement.

    Also, @q-school… 3 fellowships?

    To OP. Reconsider doing fellowship and maybe change jobs. If that’s not possible, well then you’ll be moonlighting. Encourage your wife to go back to work.

    You can also just make a financial plan and live with the intent to retire by 60-65 so you don’t feel the same pressure for FI that some here do.

    Good luck

     

    #227788 Reply
    Avatar JBME 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 571
    Joined: 03/26/2018

    It’s 30k for the wedding and the reception and the rings. That’s certainly well below average.

    OP, you can get out of this. Our big mistake was getting the doctor house 9 months after residency. We were $900k in debt then, which was close to net worth. We’re 7 years out now and NW is around +500k, and it’s improving 250-300/year. I also believe we’ll reach FI by 50 and we’re 37 now. My physician wife is internal medicine, so much less pay than you. But I work. Your wife really should be willing to go back to work soon. Why did she get all of that education only to stay home? She and you together have a big shovel. Use that to your advantage, stop making mistakes, and you’ll be okay in the long run then

    #227798 Reply
    Liked by billy
    Avatar JBME 
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    Sorry, meant to say 30k for wedding and honeymoon and rings is actually not too much. Keeping a wedding to 20k where there’s a reception these days is hard

    #227801 Reply
    CM CM 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1210
    Joined: 01/14/2017
    30k for wedding is probably less than American average

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    It’s 30k for the wedding and the reception and the rings. That’s certainly well below average.

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    Come on guys. You can’t really believe this. That number is in the range reported by sources in the business of making money off of your wedding, but it has nothing to do with a properly collected, statistically valid average.

    It’s based on a (purposely) self-selecting group of high spenders, not a representative sample. Beyond that, the median is a much more useful number. It’s not helpful if George Clooney skews the figure.

    Now, it might be average or median in your social circle, but you/we have a significantly above-average, above-median standard of living.

    Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried bags for Cyd Charisse (gracious). Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

    #227803 Reply
    Avatar shantster 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 118
    Joined: 01/16/2016

    What has happened with your wife’s financial concerns? From your prior thread posted 9/28/2018:

    https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/forums/topic/spousal-chapter-13/

    “My spouse, who is not a physician but has significant student loan debt, was forced to declare Chapter 13 before we met. The debt amount is close to what I owe from medical school. I have refinanced with a great interest rate for my own loans. My question is would it be worthwhile to explore a debt settlement while in the protection of bankruptcy if we are financially able to do so?”

    It sounds like there’s a lot more concerns with debt and abilities to pay for debt prior to this decision for you to go back to training. Why was she unable to pay loans and why is she not planning to work despite such marketable skills and high debt load herself?

    #227812 Reply
    Avatar nephron 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 288
    Joined: 05/09/2019

    You need to clean up your debt before you go back into training.  Maybe prove that you can live on a fellow salary while paying off your debt then actually become a fellow once your debt is gone.   I think that going back to fellowship with your current degree of indebtedness would be a disaster.   I agree with looking for another position that makes you more happy if you are unhappy in your current position.   Critical care is not an easy position either, I don’t see why you wouldn’t get burnt out there if you are getting burnt out doing anesthesia.

    #227821 Reply
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 01/03/2017
    (Not anesthesia itself, but a lot of the things that come with it.)

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    Can you expound on this? Will you really be able to get away from these things after your fellowship?

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #227825 Reply
    Liked by Tangler
    Avatar G 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
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    Joined: 01/08/2016

    I’ll add my two cents.  Doing a fellowship–particularly for one that 1) isn’t really needed and 2) pays less on an hourly basis than your prior gig–amounts to a luxury choice.

    You have an incredible amount of debt.  Great that you’ve funded a 401k/PS/CBP and saved a little cash, but 35k towards $1MM debt over 2 years as an attending is not impressive.

    You’re not really in a place to make luxury choices.

    I just went back and reread your initial post.  What kind of advice are you looking for?  I would cancel the fellowship plan, go back to work for my group, try to pick up their nights/holidays for a stipend, moonlight in the boonies, tell my dear wife that 250k of debt is not something she is going to pay off “with no current plan to return to work”, airbnb the RV or just sell it for a loss, plan on having my child take out loans for her own school ie no 529, not have another kid, not do CBP, trade one or both of the cars for something cheaper, light my credit cards on fire, cancel cable, cancel amazon.

    #227833 Reply
    Avatar Brains428 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 482
    Joined: 11/09/2017

    airbnb the RV

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    I think this is a great idea. Obviously, it depends on where you’re living. But I could see it being a novelty for people on an extended multi-destination vacation.

    #227839 Reply

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