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  • Help comparing residencies based on cost

    Hi Everyone, I'm trying to compare a few residency locations based on cost. My financial strategy thus far in life has been to spend as little as possible, and I'm hoping to continue that into residency. I do have a family, 3 kids with maybe 1 more over the next few years. My wife drives a 20 yr old van that runs great, and I'm in a little 20 yr old toyota that also is running strong. Current monthly expenses for the 5 of us NOT including rent is around 800-1000. The only luxury we are hoping to afford ourselves in residency is renting a house. The wife has been hauling 3 kids and groceries up 4 flights of stairs. She is very frugal herself, but she'd really like to discontinue those stairs and hopefully have somewhat of a backyard for kids to run around in. Here are the locations we are trying to decide between in terms of rank:

    Nashville, Tn - Vanderbilt
    PGY1 salary 59,000
    After-tax (using an online tax calculator) 3968/month
    Houses seem to rent for 1500 and UP (realistically closer to 1700/2000) in neighborhoods communities where residents with families seem to live.
    **Probably wife's favorite city based on her conversations with other resident's wives

    LSU-Shreveport
    PGY1 salary 52000
    After-tax (with same calculator) 3524/month
    Houses seem to rent for $1500 and DOWN
    **Probably my favorite program of the 3

    UF Gainesville Fl
    PGY 1 salary 54800
    After-tax 3702/month
    Houses around 1500 and UP
    Also covers health insurance for me and my family
    **Closest to wife's family (still around 4-hour drive though)

    Any wisdom regarding ranking these 3? I know so much goes into individual decisions, but I'm hoping for some thoughts regarding affordability specifically. I realize there is a lot I don't know/see having never been a resident so happy to hear any advice/critiques anyone has.

    It seems to me I may just be splitting hairs with affordability here and they are all quite similar.

  • #2
    Rank them according to the best residency for your professional goals. Period.

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    • #3
      Is the training and reputation at LSU Shreveport head and shoulders above the other two schools for your particular specialty?

      Having lived in Shreveport, I’d recommend Vanderbilt or Florida.

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      • #4
        Residency is all about training. The few $$$ you may save based on location won’t matter.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Anne View Post
          Rank them according to the best residency for your professional goals. Period.
          Thanks for your input! This is a good reminder, especially since I might be getting in the weeds with costs.

          Comment


          • #6
            The "favorite city" is not a factor. With the tight budget and residency most of the amenities will be not be used. The specific housing you find in each city is probably more important for both price and convenience. With a family of 5, maybe 6 I would actually start checking out the housing options online. Commute time needs to be 30 minutes or less. A walk to a park and the hospital would be gold. Affordability/convenience for you is more important than the city. You will be working, coming and going in all hours early and late. The focus is training and making it through it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hank View Post
              Is the training and reputation at LSU Shreveport head and shoulders above the other two schools for your particular specialty?

              Having lived in Shreveport, I’d recommend Vanderbilt or Florida.
              What about Shreveport did you not like in particular? Did you have a family while living there? I've heard similar things from other people regarding Shreveport, but then I've also heard pretty positive things about some of the suburbs.

              The Shreveport program is very well regarded. Gainesville and Vanderbilt, though maybe not as renowned as LSU, are both respected solid programs. This is partly why we are trying to find something (like cost) to differentiate. All seem excellent for my professional goals.

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              • #8
                Having lived a bunch of places, both desirable and not, I’ll contend your happiness will depend on the people you associate with (coworkers and neighbors) more than anything else. That said the wife acceptance factor is real. You’ll only get so many date nights, and it’s really easy to show her a good time in Nashville. I trained in Augusta, Ga and my wife’s quality of life was significantly diminished there (two kids under five, nearest zoo or children’s museum was over an hour away, date nights entirely unmemorable).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Molar Mechanic View Post
                  I trained in Augusta, Ga and my wife’s quality of life was significantly diminished there (two kids under five, nearest zoo or children’s museum was over an hour away, date nights entirely unmemorable).
                  Clearly she isn't a golf fan.

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                  • #10
                    If you want to try, I believe PhysicianonFIRE (see his website, google that) I think did residency at UF. Nashville is going to be the most expensive. As the husband of a physician who did her residency in a small town, I agree that quality of life in terms of date nights are important. I worked a ton too during those days since my wife was always working, but in general there wasn't much to do. But we were in a smaller locale than Shreveport (maybe comparable to Gainesville?). If your wife is frugal too, then this might not matter. Nashville might offer you a ton but it sounds like you guys don't need much so I'd go for the other too. But like others said, if you're in residency it's your colleagues and program that matter so much more, at least for you

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Anne View Post
                      Rank them according to the best residency for your professional goals. Period.
                      100% this. Go to the best program you can get into. Wife presumably gonna be busy with the 3/4 kids and you won't have time to party it up in Nashville at least as an intern

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                      • #12
                        Those financials that you cite are all reasonably close, so it’s pretty much a wash from that standpoint, IMO.
                        I think you should prioritize based on your professional desires anyway.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tim View Post
                          The "favorite city" is not a factor. With the tight budget and residency most of the amenities will be not be used. The specific housing you find in each city is probably more important for both price and convenience. With a family of 5, maybe 6 I would actually start checking out the housing options online. Commute time needs to be 30 minutes or less. A walk to a park and the hospital would be gold. Affordability/convenience for you is more important than the city. You will be working, coming and going in all hours early and late. The focus is training and making it through it.
                          Thanks for this. This is a perspective we hadn't thought about... I also wonder, though I don't think this wouldn't affect us, if there is some sort of decrease in quality of life if you are always looking at cool stuff to do (Nashville) but don't have the cash, as compared to being in a place with less to do but not feeling like you are missing out.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Molar Mechanic View Post
                            Having lived a bunch of places, both desirable and not, I’ll contend your happiness will depend on the people you associate with (coworkers and neighbors) more than anything else. That said the wife acceptance factor is real. You’ll only get so many date nights, and it’s really easy to show her a good time in Nashville. I trained in Augusta, Ga and my wife’s quality of life was significantly diminished there (two kids under five, nearest zoo or children’s museum was over an hour away, date nights entirely unmemorable).
                            Thanks, also good to consider. Maybe luckily for us we are pretty boring people haha. Its our anniversary today and our idea of celebrating is a round of $10 laser tag. Our threshold for fun is pretty low haha.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by almostaresident View Post

                              Its our anniversary today and our idea of celebrating is a round of $10 laser tag.
                              Indoor laser tag is open? With how bad Covid-19 infection rates are right now?

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