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Lives of Doctor Wives: End in Sight

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

End in Sight

Signing bonus, moving expenses, stipends, loan forgiveness, salary, non compete clauses, partnership tracks, OH MY!

These are the words that have been floating around our house lately. With the start of his last year of residency we are in the beginning stages of finding a job. It is very exciting yet very very overwhelming at the same time. Since my husband started residency three years ago we have carefully watched each of the outgoing residents try and navigate their way through the process of signing a contract. Some with more success than others.

We have heard the horror stories enough to know that we will have a lawyer review everything and we have a general sense of what we want/need. We also have a good idea location wise where we want to live. Since we are from KS and that is where most of our family is we are pretty sure we want to move back. KS has a hard time getting doctors in some areas so the recruitment of my husband has begun earlier than we thought with verbal job offers and the promise of contracts to review by the end of the summer. It would be nice to know where we are going to move to and to start looking at houses. We have been just surviving on our income and living in a tiny apartment for so long that it is overwhelming. My husband asked me the other day how much of a house we could afford on the salary figures being thrown around and to be honest I'm not quite sure. We will have 5 times more income but his loans will go into repayment (and even that amount will depend on the loan forgiveness) and we don't want to be house poor. With regards to the signing bonus do we pay off debt to get a better interest rate (will that have a big enough effect to give us a better interest rate) or do we roll it all into the down payment of a house that we may not live in forever (most doctors only stay at their first job for 3 years...or at least so we are told).

This is all in addition to the location, the partners themselves, the practice model (private vs hospital owned, etc).

Although we are excited to be at this point it is still a lot to wade through. It seems like only yesterday we were wading our way through residency applications, interviews, match, and relocating.


Blogger Mrs. Dawkter said...

I have no advice, but just wanted to say I am excited for you guys... the end seems sooo far away for us at this point, but we'll get there eventually!

I hope you guys make it home and find a perfect place!

July 13, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Doc's Girl said...

We're on the same exact boat (J starts his 1 year long fellowship next month and then he is done)... We're having countless conversations about the future, finances, and juggling all of the different job opportunities thrown at him. We even limited our choices to a handful of states but are getting bombarded by every recruiter. It's exciting...and terrifying all at the same time, isn't it? :)

The interviews for J start this week so I will definitely post about them...:)

July 13, 2010 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Dicey said...

Thanks for this fascinating post. I would love it if you kept us informed as you navigate this process. It is something we will all have to go through eventually, and the more food for thought the better! For example, I had no idea a lawyer would be needed to verify contracts.

July 15, 2010 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Adriana said...

I didn't know we needed a lawyer either but several of the residents swear by them. We found one that is used often and has a great reputation. A few of the residents said it really helped to have someone who has read hundreds of contracts so they knew what was OK to ask for and what was unreasonable. He also helped them negotiate a resonable non compete clause. We shall see.

July 15, 2010 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Beth Hollenbeck said...

So excited for you! We, too, are from KS (hubby went to KU Med) and although DrH has just started year 3 of 5 we have a job offer in KS. It comes with lots of perks plus the stipend, but seems like so much to deal with right now and how do we know that is EXACTLY what DrH wants?!?! It sounds like you will be heading back that way and be closer to family. I can't wait for that!

Thanks for mentioning the use of an attorney and some others things in your post. I would love to hear an update as you make some of those big decisions, and your experiences doing so. So many BIG decisions, yet so exciting!

July 15, 2010 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

Wow! So much to learn yet!

July 18, 2010 at 1:29 AM  
Blogger Kathi the wingspouse said...

I read your post and got excited all over again. I remember that first BIG paycheck. I've given this advice before, but here goes:

1. Use an attorney, but don't let them do the negotiation. Bring them in when you think you have a good offer, and let them take a look. Too many times, lawyers have been so picky and nasty that they ruined the offer entirely. If you have specific questions about what to expect in an offer, email me directly and I'll see if I can get my spouse to talk with yours. M used to do the negotiations from the admin end.

2. Bingo-3 years is about how long you will live in your first real home. Don't get house poor. Save save save. Banks are asking a lot more down these days. Ask your bank about a "doctor's loan" when you're ready to buy.

3. If you can pay off your loans, do it, but only after you have gotten whatever you can out of negotiations. We made the mistake of rolling them over into a second mortag and we didn't get those succers paid off until 15 years later!

4. If you are working, put your paycheck directly into a savings account beginning when you get your spouse's first big paycheck. That will get you into good habits saving (before you get comfortable) and will buid a nice nest egg for when you want to build bigger.

Congratulations on the next phase of your lives!!!

July 22, 2010 at 11:32 PM  

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