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February 21, 2012

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I got a headache reading all that. So you are worried about paying for baby needs but are calculating the new home and 529 and no husband's salary in the not too distant future? I don't know which you should be worried about because you didn't give enough information. How much does your husband currently make, how much is his schooling, how much could he be making and what career field will he be in (high demand)? I hope that didn't give you a headache.

Sorry for the headache!

He makes 20-25k/year working parttime.
His current schooling is a few thousand each semester since he's in a public city school.
His future career is medicine. For the field he's going into they start at $250k/year During the 4 years of med school he'll make 0. During the 4-6 years of residency/special training he will make $35-50k and after that he bumps up to the professional salary.

Let me know if I can offer any other info to clear up my post.

I apologize, was going through some stress at that moment. Since your husband will be making about 1000% more money in the future, I would not put so much money now into retirement and 529 just yet. Since you will be relocating to a lower cost of living area and will have baby help, you should be able to lower your expenses when that time comes. Also, when home shopping I would look into a interest only mortgage to reduce your monthly payments on housing. How is your current FICO score? Hopefully it is a good one as banks are tightening their lending practices on these riskier loan options. Once your husband has set into a medical job, then you can on your own start paying more in principal on that zero interest loan.

Good luck!

Hi DM.

I think it would be wise for you to maintain the 401k contribution as you are getting the very high employer match. You can always lower this amount towards the beginning of 2013 to save funds for your home purchase.

Also, you should begin looking for a new home in the area so you can get a firm grasp on the type of home that best suits your situation/finances/market.

correction...INTEREST ONLY loan.

Wow, that is a lot to think about! A little advice to get started:

You have a lot of wants/needs/goals/dreams for the future that are each going to require large financial cushions (staying home with your child, buying a house, moving, building a successful work from home business, your husband's 4 year schooling & eventually entering a career and earning a hoped-for high salary. Oh and traveling all over with your kids). Yet you have very little savings and you&your husband also at present have a baby & credit card & school loans & more schooling & moving to pay for. Plus your husband isn't really "on board" with any financial planning, so you will have to work on that as well.

Time for a reality check: you cannot do ALL of these things, especially not in the next 5 years. You therefore need to sit down and make a list, and prioritize just 1-2 items that are most important to you in the next 5 years, and then focus on making those happen by making a solid plan based on reality.

For example, if your husband is planning on going to school & that is a high priority for your family, then you will not be able to work from home for the next 5 years or possibly longer--you will need to keep your secure job/benefits until he finishes & gets a good job. Perhaps instead you can think about starting a home business later after he gets into his career and your kid(s) are in school, after you have your retirement taken care of, and at a time when you can "afford" to take the risk of starting your own business.

You may also want to wait on buying a home until after your husband graduates from college & gets a job--especially if there is a chance that you might have to move again so he can take the best entry-level job to start his career.

Finally, whatever you do, do not neglect your own career, earning potential, and retirement savings. Many women who quit their jobs & careers to stay home with their kids have had a rude awakening decades later when their husbands left them high and dry.

Keep putting the max in your own 401K to get the match. Don't be too concerned with a 529 just yet. Kids can borrow for college, but you can't borrow for retirement. If you plan to be out of the workforce in the future, it is all the more important to continue maxing out your reitrement contribution now.

Don't shop for or commit to buying a house until some time during residency. Until match day, you really don't know exactly where he will be living. It will be far worse with the burden of a house and mortgage and a child or two if his residency requires him to live hundreds or thousands of miles from you. Keep in mind that a home is probably not a worthwhile investment unless you plan to keep it for almost 10 years. There are bargains galore in rentals and there will be for a while.

Just $0.02 more worth of thoughts: Dreams are not the same thing as goals. You might both have the same dream, but having the same goal means being on the same page about how to make that dream come true.

Good luck, you will get there. My best friend decided at age thirty, to go into medicine. She already had three kids at the time, had one more while finishing her bachelors degree and gave birth to her fifth child while in the middle of med-school. Those kids are all grown and she's a very successful doctor.

Whoa, a lot going on here. I would de-prioritize the house for the next few years until your future is more certain. You say you are planning to move to a less expensive area near family in the next 1.5 years, but also (in the comments) that your husband is going to be going to med school. Has he already gotten into med school? If not (and I'm really not trying to be rude here), do not make financial assumptions about his future salary. Even if he has, I'd be careful there, despite the high salaries of doctors. It's always dangerous to make choices based on future income/salary. If he does go to med school, there is a really good chance his residency will move you elsewhere. Four years is really not a long enough time for buying a house to make sense, unless you have a contingency plan (renting the house out to students or family, with a family member looking after it) for when you move.

Also, is your husband planning to take out loans for med school? It's extremely expensive so it'd be hard to pay for in cash for most people. That will factor significantly into your financial future.

If your husband is going to be without an income for four years, your income is obviously critical to your family, so finding a stable job/income/career (since you're moving) is priority #1 and should be your main focus. You are basically the breadwinner in your family for the next 8 - 10 years.

Do you only get the company match on the 401K if you also contribute? A 100% match on the maximum contribution of 17K is INCREDIBLE and should not really be passed up in most circumstances, but you also need cash in hand due to the uncertainty in your future, so I am a bit torn. I suppose in this unusual case, it's better to contribute the max. to the 401K - even if you had to take money out of it for an emergency, you'd still come out ahead despite the penalties due to the high company matching.

I agree with Catherine, Medicine does require you to relocate one or more times and on that note I wouldn't recommend you buy a home until school's finished.

A lot to consider, DM. i am in the same position as you, though I had a head start. I'm 34, the wife is 31..she's a physician, 2 small kids, and we live in the Northeast.

First, I've never heard of a full 100% match to the full 17k in a 401k. If that is true, continue to fund it. You have time on your side, and compound interest is king.

I would not consider moving now. As Luis said, it requires you to move, particularly for residency. Since its the Match program, they essentially tell you where you will practice. Only buy a home after his residency and followships.

Regarding 529s, I had a post on my blog about this. I dont' know what state you're in, but we're in NJ where there are no 529 tax breaks..so we looked for a 529 in another state that has low fees. We went with Michigan. I recommend doing it and starting small.

Lastly, I would also consider funding a Roth IRA. Don't miss out on the compound interest.

Not sure if I can help you with your husband other than to tell him to take responsibility and man-up. Tough love.

I think you need a bigger emergency fund.

I wouldn't worry too much about the 529 program. College savings should be a lower priority than your retirement. That 100% match on the 401k is better deal than you could get in almost any 529. Also, which 529 you use depends on what state you are in and we don't know that. You mention moving in the future. Are you moving to another state? 529's are state specific so if you know you'll be moving out of state then that changes where you might want the 529.

House hunting should be delayed until your husband is done with residency and knows where he will be working long term.

DM,

It sounds like your life is crammed full of changes in the near future:
Finishing grad school
New baby
New house
New business
New Career for your husband

That sounds like a recipe for a nervous breakdown. You might want to consider slowing down a bit and enjoying the time with your new child. They grow up really fast- and no amount of money will get that time back if you miss it. You don’t have to achieve all of your goals in a few years.

> would it be foolish to lower my 401k contribution a bit (since I'm getting the match anyway) so >I have more $ to put to liquid savings for down payment/emergency fund?

No it wouldn’t be foolish it is a trade off- both are worthwhile financial goals. The match is nice so try to take advantage of it, but you have to balance retirement with today’s needs. Since your family income should be much larger in the future it wouldn’t be unreasonable to save less now and catch up later.

>My financial issues are saving and investing. I don't know where to begin w/ investing.

My favorite introduction to investing book is:

Investing Made Simple Index Explained

You can read it quickly and get most of what you really need to know about investing.

Some other excellent books to read after are:

Bogleheads Guide to Investing

Random Walk Down Wall Street

Irrational Exuberance

For your situation you should keep in mind that medical school is a huge investment- of time, effort and money. Is your husband sure he is OK with the lifestyle? Working 60+ hr weeks and being on call is difficult. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone unless medicine was their passion and they wouldn’t be satisfied unless they went into medicine.

> He's very closed off about the subject of money, didn't have great financial role models >growing up and is uncomfortable with the subject.

I’ve heard good things about:

Pays to Talk: Essential Conversations about Investing

At the very least it could be a good way to start the conversation.

> would it be foolish to begin the house hunt in our future location now even without having the down >payment ready

You could do preliminary research- narrow down which communities you want to live in but I would not look at homes until you are really ready to buy. If you found something you really liked you might be tempted to buy too early if you find a great house.

Also, with all of the changes going on- you might want the flexibility of renting. When your husband is in medical school, is he going to want to do any home repairs or yard work? I like our home- but it is a lot more effort than renting. Remember you lose a lot on the transaction costs for a home. If you would be moving in a couple of years I would continue renting.

-Rick Francis

Oh my gosh thank you all so much!!

@Luis - I thought interest only loans were basically...the devil in disguise? My FICO score is 726 as of jan 1.

@Wilson - thanks, I'll keep it maxed for now then. It would kinda feel weird passing up the free money anyway.

@MC - thanks so much. I think I was unclear, I will be working outside of the home while my husband is in school until he starts his residency. The good thing (thanks to friends/family in the hospitals) is we're certain of where he will be in school and working thereafter so moving again won't be a concern. I'll talk with him about holding off on purchasing until residency starts...that may be helpful...

@Catherine - thanks so you're so right about dreams vs goals. We do know where he'll be, and the area we're looking to buy is where we want to stay and raise children. But holding off on buying until residency seems smart!

@SA - Yes he'll be taking out loans and will not start earning his (low) residency salary until the 5th year.

@1percent - Man up eh? I don't know if that'll be the way to talk about this without drama! Yeah the full match is AMAZING, one of the best benefits of my job really. After every paycheck I check my fidelity account in awe that they've just thrown matching money in there for me for "no reason." haha. Thanks for the 529 info. I can only afford to put 50/month to it right now. There are just so many options.

@jim - re: emergency fund - Don't I know it!! I'm saving my pennies. Yes we'll be moving out of state, I'll keep what you said about the 529 in mind and check out the one for that state since we plan on staying there for good.

@Rick - thanks so much for the resources, and yes medicine is his passion, he's kicking himself for not pursuing it earlier. We'd want to hold on to this house. Good point about the 401k but after reading everyone's comments I feel like it's too good to pass up.

Thank you all SO much. Please keep the info/ideas/thoughts/advice/critiques coming!

OK - so let's just get this out up front: Your biggest problem is your husband. Everything else is details!

You said you have similar financial goals, but I didn't see any in your post - I only saw spending plans: Baby, house, travel. Which goals do you and he share?

Being recently married, I'm sure you don't want to hear this, but money issues are the leading cause of failed marriages. You already don't know how to talk to him about it. Is it possible that he thinks he knows enough already, or that as a doctor, his income will shield him from needing to know? Or maybe even that as a "doctor's wife", you need not concern yourself with these matters?

Would he consider living on a budget with you managing the money? If he will be earning zero, you are surely entitled to some control?

Is he thinking it is OK to live beyond his means because he will soon be a high-paid medical professional? In fact he will have ZERO income for 4 years and LOW income (30-50) for another 4 to 6. This puts you at age 40 and him at 44 when he finally starts bringing in the assumed big bucks.

As several people have already mentioned, you are not likely to live all your dreams in the immediate future. You are looking at TEN years of waiting for your dream. By then your first child will be 10, and college will be looming in your future. You will also have accumulated whatever further debt you take on to pay for hubby's school. How much is that by the way?

I am confused about
1. How you plan to finance med school, and
2. How you intend for him to go to med school and also stay home and take care of baby. Can you do med school paret time in 4 years?

You also said he is financing school on his cards - credit cards? What is his true financial situation? Is it really only a few thousand in student loan debt?

So I am going to be the nasty cynic here and say this: Take care of YOUR financial future. You should continue the max into the 401-k above all else. Protect yourself from the possibility of bankruptcy - yes doctors do it all the time. Also look at how you would fare in a future divorce. No-one likes to consider that possibility but you would be wise to "insure" yourself just in case.

A few more thoughts:
The RothIRA is an underappreciated vehicle for emergency fund, house down payment and college savings. Since you can withdraw the contributions at any time for any reason, that would be where I'd park the next $5K (each) after you've maxed out your 401K.

Regarding having the same goals: Don't fret too much on this. My spouse and I are both quite frugal, but we aren't in perfect alignment on exact goals and saving/investing styles. He likes secure investments with a guaranteed rate of return. I like a whole lot more risk and would be quite content to be 100% in stocks as compared to his cash-in-the-mattress style of investing. It is STILL quite workable, even after decades together. If the two of you are able to function within the same budget, and you have a strong sense of partnership, you are in good shape. Few couples see exactly eye-to-eye. My suspicion about the ones who claim that they are in full agreement with their partners, is that the partner who isn't reading and writing to FMF plays a more passive role in the family finances. You will have alot of hurdles to navigate in the coming decade with the demands of his education and early career competing with family life. You sound like you have a great head on your shoulders and will continue to do a phenomenal job managing the family resources until his career ramps up. Congrats on the baby.

One note on the 401k - if I read your story correctly, you'll be changing jobs when you move. You should see if you're fully vested in your 401k at your current job before making a final decision on continuing to fully fund it. When I left my previous job I had a rude awakening when 2/3rds of the money my employer had "funded" toward my 401k was removed because it hadn't vested yet.

Thoughts on your questions:

• You are getting a fabulous 401k match, I would continue to max out contributions.

• Consider why your husband is uncomfortable with the subject of money. Once you've identified his barriers, perhaps that can help you figure out the right way to have more conversation. E.g. He might be uncomfortable because he's overwhelmed by all of the goals. Solution: Focus on one goal at a time (start with something small) and gradually talk about more difficult goals. It may also be important to celebrate the "small wins" together along the road to your major goals.

• I wouldn't worry about outside investing yet, but I've found Suze Orman's "Money Bible" to be a helpful resource for decoding all of the jargon and acronyms.

• I wouldn't worry about the 529 yet; kids can borrow for college if needed. Also, if your husband is able to achieve his career goals, by the time your kids are in college you should be able to pay for the bulk of tuition via cash flow.

• While I wouldn't physically visit houses, it could actually be quite helpful to begin researching real estate online right now. This is something I personally do, even though we are likely 4 years away from seriously starting to look! I find it valuable to learn more about various neighborhoods and streets (easy to do via Yelp and Google street view), as well as what your budget buys in different locations in a city (or even within a neighborhood)...you start to get a sense for what is typical and what a real gem may be. It also keeps me honest and on track with our savings. YMMV.

Congratulations on the baby and good luck!

The other posters have laid the problems and pitfalls out very well. My first thought is that you are going to need a marriage that is as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar, where you are going to be the Rock for the next 8-10 years before your husband is in his final position. It seems to me that 34 is rather late to be starting Med school. What took him so long to get to this point?

Between you, you seem to want it all. Life isn't like that. You must cross your hurdles one at a time. Google "The best laid plans of mice and men" which is a famous poem of Robbie Burns. You will find it interesting I think.

Re: interest only loans....these loans are for SPECIFIC would be homeowners. Medical Residents are exemplary because they make around 35K per year for 4-6 years and then go on to making several fold more at the completion of their job training. It SHOULD be used to allow people to afford a DECENT home at payments they can afford now and then add principal payments later on.

Interest only loans get a bad wrap because they get ABUSED. Often they are used by irresponsible homebuyers to buy more home than they can afford. You have to be smart and conscientious about "self-amortizing" the loan when you transition into a higher salary career.

Keep renting if you do not see yourself living in a place for more than 10 years.

@Jonathan, it vests immediately! Thank Goodness!

@Catherine, He is definitely the passive voice in our financial life. I tell him what he needs to give me each month/week for bills/gifts and he gives it. The rothIRA, wont i have to pay back the money i took out to use for tuition/house etc? Isn't there a tax penalty as well or am I confused?

@Mark, he doesn't start school until fall 13 after the move. We will have free child care at that point. Until then he's working nights so he'll be able to be with our little one during the day.
He's taking out loans to cover med school tuition. Our shared goals are having a family, owning our home and creating a lifestyle that allows us to travel, down the line. I thought I mentioned it in the post, he has just under $4k of credit card debt. He pays it down, and the next semester rolls around and it's back up to 3800 again.

Max out the 401k, build cash with all remaining funds and wait until your husband is done with school and is practicing medicine.

Keep it simple.

@DM: "He is definitely the passive voice in our financial life. I tell him what he needs to give me each month/week for bills/gifts and he gives it."

That answer to Catherine scares me. It implies that he controls the money but you are the saver and the one earning it. Or do you mean he gives you the part of "his" money that you ask for?

OldLimey asked why your husband started med school so late. You also mentioned that medicine is his passion. Were you the one that finally helped him see the way to med school, or was that in his plans before you guys met? I ask because I am just wondering about his motivation for this versus your.


I don't know DM's husband's story but I do have one of my own...

I have a friend who was in his 30's when he career changed into medicine. Anyone who knows him will say he is the most passionate doctor you will ever meet. He was a passionate hard working Arthur Anderson employee before, and you can sort of see why he switched professions.

Answer = multiple passions....and when the first passion dissapoints you morally speaking you then turn to the second.

Hi DM, one more thing--I do know a lot of MDs.

Great career stability, but being an MD is not necessarily a ticket to riches. Lots of MDs are tremendously in debt due to their med school bills and lack of financial savvy. They also often feel like they need to spend to keep up with "MD Joneses"--they "need" a fancy car, house etc to fit in with their peers and meet expectations.

The reality is that even after residency, many MD positions don't pay that much, considering the debt they have to pay back. Depending on the specialty he gets into and especially the cost of his medical school, you should not count on being a "high income" family even after he finishes his residency, especially if you want to stay home and not work outside the home yourself. You will have a solid, predictable income, but you may not necessarily be able to afford the most expensive home, lifestyle, etc.

Your best bet is to plan on living simply and within your means, keeping your own job & career etc for the next 10 years until you see what specialty he's getting into and what his actual income is likely to be. Everyone will be happy to loan you money for anything during this time--large mortgage etc--just be careful to think about whether you can or want to actually pay it back or not.

Contributions to a Roth can be withdrawn without tax penalty, since they weren't tax deferred when you made them.

A traditional IRA would incur a penalty if you withdraw it early. On further consideration, you might want to get a traditional IRA for hubby as a 'college' savings tool. Since college is 2 decades away for Junior, your spouse will be almost to the age when penalty-free withdrawals can be made from a traditional IRA. (59 1/2). That money can be used to pay off the kid's loans after he graduates successfully or send the two of you on a round-the-world-cruise if you kid opts for military or pro-ball career instead of college.

@Catherine: Hubby is 34 with baby on the way. He will only be 52 when he gets to pay for college - a mere 8 years after he starts becoming a highly-paid physician. I don't think they would be very wise to pull out of the IRA to pay for college even at 59 though, because they will be in a high tax bracket relative to today if hubby is making tons of money. Penalty-free is not the same as tax-free.

Surely a Roth or 529 would be better for that purpose? Pay tax now while in a lower bracket and avoid it later.

I think your advice might be OK if they were high earners now and potentially retired when they have to pay for college. In this case though, it appears that he will be in his peak earning years at that point.

@Mark - excellent points.

My general advise regarding funding kids college is to let them borrow and help pay it down when they are done, so I'm computing based on withdrawals at the child's age 22 thru 25.

In a random sampling of friends and family's kids and college expenses, the absolutely worst prepared for the rigorous study were the kids whose parents were footing the bill thru savings. Much to be said for having skin in the game. Everyone's mileage may vary, obviously, but IMO, the Suze Ormans of the world have gotten us afraid of student loan debt. No body should overdo it or overpay for a degree, but these new parents are going to go 100K in debt for an MD. Their children can certainly handle a little debt, too, if needed someday.

I would say your #1 priority should be getting on the same page as your husband regarding finances. You guys have a lot of big and exciting stuff coming up and it would be best to tackle it from a united front. What exactly do you mean you tell him how much to give you for bills and such? Is the money he is earning kept/spent/saved seperately from your income? Do you keep totally seperate accounts? To each their own, but I would not feel comfortable with that, especially given all you have coming up, and the fact that you two do not have open communication about money.
I would suggest trying to talk to him again - only you know his hesitations to a conversation about finances, but I would recommend keeping it light and short to start off with. Maybe showing him that not all "financial" talks have to be long and involved will help? Worst case scenario, I would absolutely want all money going in the same pot, and if he doesn't want to be involved, then you call the shots. Seems like that's pretty much what's happening already.
Past that, I would continue contributing to the 401k, enough to get the match. I would also continue saving, but I would not buy a house right away. If it's feasible to rent in your new area, I would do that for at least a year after you move. Why deal with a new job, young child, and a husband in med school PLUS the responsibility of a house and all that entails? Let a landlord deal with any maintenance while you continue to add to your savings. One big change at a time! Best of luck!

@Mark
I admire your honesty, you weren't afraid to voice the very concerns that I was thinking but didn't want to be the one to burst anyone's bubble. An 8 year medical education is a daunting challenge and not one that has any guarantee that you will ever cross the finish line. I have known quite a few engineers that embarked on a PhD program and found that the pressures of work, finances, and personal relationship problems caused them to drop out and settle for less.

I married at 21, had a BS in engineering, and was in total shock when I found out, at 23, that I was going to become a father (Yes! birth control wasn't as reliable back in 1957 before the advent of the pill). Fortunately our "Life Plan" never required two incomes so she quit her job, went on unemployment for a while, and then became a stay at home Mom until our youngest child was well into high school and she could rejoin the work force. My company allowed me to take part time courses towards an MS degree and paid the tuition as long as I made up the time and kept a "B" average, so by the time our 3rd. and last child was born, I was 29, had my MS, had a beautiful new Californian ranch style home, and went on to have a 36 year career before retiring at 58.

We had vacations every year with our children but they were inexpensive and easy ones such as renting a cabin at Lake Tahoe or Yosemite for a couple weeks. By the time our youngest was able to strap on skis we bought a cabin of our own at Tahoe and used to go up every holiday and most weekends during the ski season, and then my wife and the kids would spend several weeks of the kids summer vacation at the lake while I stayed at home.

Unless you have very extravagant tastes you don't need the income of a medical specialist to have a wonderful life. My income when I retired in 1992 was $74K/year but our secret was that we have always lived frugally, saved hard, invested well, and been on the same page regarding our wants and desires. Once the children were out of the way we started travelling in earnest and took multiple overseas trips right through to 2010, when at ages 76 and 77, we decided to call it quits because my wife's walking has slowed down quite a bit. As things turned out we overdid the saving but it's far better to have too much rather than too little.

My gosh! Thank you all. I really appreciate all the input. There are so many responses to respond 1 by 1 but I guess I should have mentioned in my response that I handle the bills/money in the household, and that my husband's medical career/location/specialty (thanks to some "it's all who you know" type contacts) is pretty much set in stone. So the moving/unpredictability isn't a concern, which is why we're looking to buy vs rent.

Not sure what about my post indicated that I was a keep up with the Jones'-er, but...we don't even have cable and drive a '93 car. Haha. It's great getting the input from all these different viewpoints.

@Catherine, thanks for explaining!
We will definitely focus on our retirement savings and repaying my husband's med school tuition debt before going full-on with saving for college, we can always help them repay loans. Thanks for opening my eyes to that

My next 5 years while hubby earns $0 will be tougher than most, thanks for everyone's comments and food for thought!

Sounds to me like you guys need career counseling as much as financial advice. My significant other is about a month a way from surgical match day, so I've been through a lot of this; two out of three of my dearest college friends are also in medical school or just about done.

A few additional thoughts or questions for you to keep in mind:

- Is your husband going to a public medical school? Can he? Even with a public medical education, my significant other is leaving with about $250k in debt. I don't even know what my friends in private schools took out.

- What experience has your your husband had in a medical setting? What specialty is he drawn to, and does he plan on doing fellowship afterwards? How many years does the graduate medical education require? This is relevant to your future cash flow. If he wants to do family medicine forget about having an affluent lifestyle with $300k in student loans to pay off. For your fantasy/future budgeting calculations, rule of thumb for each is $100k of student loans is a $1200 repayment per month (I know this from personal experience).

- How many appropriate residency slots are available in your new town? You can find this information on the AMA's FRIEDA database. In my experience, for less lucrative fields like internal medicine generally has more spots available, but my significant other has been interviewing all over the northeast this past fall and the largest surgery program he encountered -- at Mass General -- had only 8 slots. In all of Boston, with all of its surgical programs, there are only about 40-50 categorical surgery residency spots -- and there's no guaranteeing that he would get interviews at every program he applied to.

- Are you prepared to take on renters and be a landlord if your husband doesn't land a residency slot in your new town and his residency lasts longer than three or so years? Alternately, are you prepared to do long-distance marriage if his residency is relatively short (e.g. 3 years instead of 6)? How likely is it that he can get a position as an attending after finishing graduate medical education?

If you can't answer these questions in a way that makes sense, you should certainly reconsider buying a house. There are way too many unknowns in your situation.

And like I always say to women posting on this site (a message often overlooked by our gracious host) -- in marriage, sh*t happens. Don't be the woman who completely checked out of her career to raise kids and finds herself struggling to re-enter the workforce right at the time age discrimination begins to set in. As FMF does always say -- your career is your biggest asset.

I'm really puzzled why you believe your husband's future career/specialty/residency/location is "set in stone" when it appears that he hasn't even started med school yet. I'm a professor a med school and I can assure you it is absolutely not determined by "who you know". For one thing, as "P" notes above, you won't even know where you'll match for residency until near the time when he graduates. But perhaps you aren't in the United States?

@MC
I think your last sentence may well point to some facts about the move that we aren't being told.

@Old Limey, DM stated that she was in an expensive northeastern city.

@MC, you're absolutely right. @DM, interviews might be granted based on "who you know", but speaking from my very personal experience, my MS4 fiance is much liked by his department, highly ranked on his med school's rank list (as the residency coordinator intimated to him, without disclosing his actual rank), and definitely ranked his home institution #1, but we have NO way of having any certainty that he'll match into one of the very few categorical spots available. Even with all of our ducks in a row, ultimately, the only thing we can do is hope that the match algorithm takes mercy on us since there are no other suitable residencies in town.

@P, I was talking about the move to a much cheaper location in the fall of 2013 where they will buy a home, have free babysitting available, and where the husband has connections with friends and family in the hospitals. What if the new location was in a much cheaper country? We have travelled to Bali in Indonesia and also to Thailand many times, and there, when it comes to getting a job it's who you know that matters the most of all. It's also the same way in many other countries that have much cheaper living costs.

One thing to consider is how the world (and pay schemes for doctors may change in the future). In the northeast many doctors are being absorbed into large groups and corporate hospitals so they can make ends meet. That pot at the end of the rainbow might move as you walk toward it.

Second, consider whether another job( like physician assistant might fill the same desire and reduce the schooling/committment level).

Good luck!

@Old Limey: Regarding honesty, I decided to just say it and risk being ignored or even consdered offensive because if DM rethinks a few things now, she may be much better off down the road.

On the positive side, it sounds like she controls the finances, so at least will have the knowledge, skill and ability to take care of herself.

Although


About their move - It is fun to speculate but I don't think it is overseas. Medical education in other countries is generally not as expensive as here, nor is the pay as rich. She also talked about the 529 plan in the state they move to. Exactly how they are so sure he will get the residency he wants would be a great clarification from DM herself.

@DM: I think the "keeping up with the Jones" stereotype came from what you said about your husband's attitude to money more than your specific possessions.

My very first concern is that you and he are not in the same page financially, and that will be a big deal for you guys - especially when his income soars and he may no longer be willing to let you control the money.

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