Today, we hear from a premed parent who has been accepted to medical school and is now worried about the financial ramifications and what to do next. Listen in as I share my thoughts as well as some possible options you can take if this is also something you’re going through.
[01:16] Poster of the Week: Dealing with Financial Stress & Having Fear of the Unknown
“I’m a premed student, have three kids. I’m married. I work full time, my wife works full time, so there’s been a lot of stress. I graduated five years ago from undergrad. It’s been a little while. I’m doing some postbac, work, and everything. But it’s really stressful right now because we have three kids and they’re all in daycare. We have to pay for it and we’re trying to do bills, budgeting, debts. We’re barely in the black in the idea of going to medical school and how to pay for everything.
I got accepted to one medical school so I guess this is a trick to be a little bit of both – overwhelmed for everything but at the same time, being excited and having that security that I’m accepted somewhere.
I don’t know where to go as far as the financial things go. I’m not really sure what the best move is going to be. I’m still interviewing for other schools. I got accepted to one school so I’m really excited about that. But just trying to figure out the finances behind everything. What’s going to be the best for my family to be able to put food on the table for at least just the four years of med school and residency beyond that. There are plans for my wife to work while in school but making sure there’s going to be enough for everything.
I’ve heard advice from other people on federal loans and if it can’t take enough to cover everything then just do private loans. I’m at a loss as to where to even begin or what I should be doing right now. I’ve made some poor financial decisions in the past but we’re beyond that. I think it’s just a little overwhelming. It takes away some of the excitement of finally getting an acceptance and still being excited about interviewing at other schools that are away from where we live right now.
Just a lot of my mind trying to make sure that I keep everything together with my kids and spend time with my wife and we can actually still have our relationship. I know that med school is even going to be even harder than what the journey was to get to this point.”
[04:00] It’s Tough Stuff!
This is tough stuff. This is not easy-peasy. This is the really hard stuff of life. When you’re working toward becoming a physician and also trying to put food on the table for your family, the stress and anxiety that come with that are huge.
But first of all, congratulations on getting that acceptance. That is huge. After all, you only need one acceptance to become a physician. Many of us had one acceptance and that’s where we went. If that ends up being your only acceptance then that’s all you need and you’ll make it work.'You only need one acceptance after all to become a physician.'Click To Tweet
[05:08] Where to Begin
Financially, it’s hard. So I’m directing you to my husband, Ryan’s podcast on MedEd Media Network in terms of where to start.
Check out some of his episodes on The Premed Years Podcast such as Session 94, where he talks with Ryan Michler who runs WealthAnatomy.com. In Session 223, he talked with Dr. Dahle, the publisher of WhiteCoatInvestor.com. These can somehow give you ideas and thoughts about where to begin.
Moreover, once you really know where you’re going to medical school, there are great financial advisors at a lot of medical schools. Now that you have an acceptance, you’re already in the door. So you can call the school, tell them you got accepted and that you really need some help figuring out how you’re going to pay for this.'Just even talking to another person who knows the space may give you some peace of mind and some ideas. And that's always a great place to start.'Click To Tweet
[07:35] Putting Food on the Table
Ryan, my husband, is also a physician, and over the years, we have talked about our kids (we have two now). I remember our conversation before we even had children and he made some comment about how kids weren’t expensive. And he has definitely changed his mind since that conversation.'Kids are very expensive.'Click To Tweet
So having three kids, as this poster has, is very overwhelming, even just in and of itself. For any parent, that is overwhelming. Raising humans is the hardest job on the planet and I say that as a physician who works. So I feel for you with your kids.
As you move forward, your kids are going to just be in awe of you. You’re going to show them over and over again just how powerful you can be and you are because of how much you’ve already accomplished and how much you’re going to accomplish down the road. You’re going to show them just how much you can do in the face of fear and the face of the unknown.
[09:50] Dealing with Debt
We all have fears in life. But even wealth people have probably made a poor financial decision in their life. It’s hard to be human and not make a poor financial decision at some point. The great thing is you have obviously learned from them and you are making it work.
Also, you have awareness of the fact that you don’t want to be in that situation down the road. So the whole fact you’re planning for this, you’re aware of it, you’re already a leg up. It’s a huge part of all of it.
[11:15] More Acceptances, More Options
Hopefully, you’ll have more acceptances as this will give you even more options. Reach out to these other financial advisors at these other schools you’re interviewing along the way. They may be able to give you other tidbits in terms of how to pay for this whole thing. There were so many of us in medical school who took out loans and there are a lot of loans and ways to do this. There are federal loans, private loans, as well as rural programs where you can go and agree that you’re going to work for a specific time commitment. That way, you have a great deal of money saved because of that option.'If you want to be a doctor, you will find a way to pay for it. I know you will!'Click To Tweet
So many nontrads are in a very scary situation thinking about how to pay for this very expensive schooling. You already have jobs and mortgages and car payments. And you’ll make it work. Because this is a calling. It’s not just a job, it’s a calling. And if you want it bad enough, you will make it work regardless of what you have to do and what you have to go through.
[13:10] Strengthening Relationships
And your wife who will also work can help. Leaning on a spouse during a time like this is important and so having that partnership with your spouse is huge. And that relationship will only strengthen during medical school. It’s a very stressful time. But if you go in with a very strong relationship, to begin with, it’s going to be fine.
I’ve seen relationships break up back in medical school, but they’re girlfriend/boyfriend and going different directions in life. But as a spouse, you’ve already committed to another individual and they’re on this journey with you so it’s a different deal.
It’s a matter of how you’re going to make it work and get that time you need to have your relationship still take a priority. No matter what you’re doing, whether in medical school or resident or an attending, you want to prioritize your marriage. How to make that work is different for everybody, but it’s an important thing you want to prioritize.'No matter what you're doing whether, in medical school or resident or an attending, you want to prioritize your marriage.'Click To Tweet
Again, you will make it work! In fact, those with families had a leg up than the rest of us back in medical school, because it’s so important to get home and spend time with their kids. And when they were to study, they were super focused.
Even though it seems scary and daunting – finances, children, relationship with wife – I guarantee that you’re even going to be more focused as someone studying than others. I believe that having children demands that you focus your time in a different way because you just don’t have the option. It gives you a different frame of mind.
Many people out there go to medical school and residency with children already and they make it work. So you will too!
[17:10] More Schools, More Options
Lastly, try to get into more schools not because you need to but because it will give you more options. As humans, we feel trapped when we don’t have options and it feels even that much scarier. So the more acceptances you get, the more options you have. So you can have different thoughts about where you can live. And maybe even if you don’t have family in those other areas, you might have friends, Friends can really help with kids as well as relatives. So there might be other options you may not be even aware of.
[18:00] Fear of the Unknown
Sometimes, the unknown can be a good thing, There are things you don’t know that are wonderful and are coming down the road. Your commitment and dedication to this whole calling of being a physician will guide you and it will keep you centered and grounded.
Any thoughts? Call 833-MYDIARY and just let us know what episode you’re referencing. And I will play your response so we can have a dialogue going.
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