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Benefits to look for in intern year

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  • Benefits to look for in intern year

    I’m a fourth year medical student in the process of applying to dermatology residency. I understand that little of what I do in residency will make a substantial impact on my finances, but I want to do the best that I can considering I currently have $330,000 in student loan debt and. What are some of the most high yield benefits that I should look for in my preliminary year of training? All the programs that I’m applying to are in low cost of living areas and I don’t really have a significant preferences on where I complete my prelim year.

  • #2
    While you will not be able to accumulate a significant amount in residency, you can certainly lay the foundation for personal finance and investment principles that will be much more important than how much you can save at this time. It's pretty rare for programs to offer any kind of matching retirement plan so getting used to living like a resident, establishing an emergency fund, contributing to a Roth IRA, and looking into an HSA if applicable will be the best actionable things you can do at this point.

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    • #3
      Roth IRA is the no-brainer.

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      • #4
        Differences in compensation or benefits between intern years will be trivial in the long run. Rank based on where you think you will be happiest for the year.

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        • #5
          First off I am sorry and good luck.

          If offered a match make sure you get it.
          Then it would be Roth IRA
          Then HSA
          Then Roth 403b if available.
          Take care of your life and disability needs


          Keep yourself alive, yeah
          Keep yourself alive
          Ooh, it'll take you all your time and money
          Honey you'll survive

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          • #6
            even if offered a match, be sure to check out the vesting schedule. If you have a 3-year residency that starts June 15 and ends June 1 3 years later and the match is cliff vesting, you get none of that match

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            • #7
              There's nothing offered from 1 residency to another that will actually matter.
              Personal finance education and habits are all that matters.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JBME View Post
                even if offered a match, be sure to check out the vesting schedule. If you have a 3-year residency that starts June 15 and ends June 1 3 years later and the match is cliff vesting, you get none of that match
                Good point. My wife lost her match when she did not work a job for a full 3 years. We knew about it but it still sucked.

                My residency matched for greater then 3 years and because of orientation we were employed for 3 years and 3 weeks. I guess I did not realize how rare that was.

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                • #9
                  Manage your student loans.
                  Look up Resident’s waterfall.
                  Live cheap and find a partner that plans to live cheap and will make a ton of cash.

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                  • #10
                    i would apply to a place ive always wanted to live but likely wont. Example, miami, austin texas, nashville etc. You're derm, you should be fine. Try and enjoy intern year. I wouldnt want to get stuck in bumble**** just to save a few $$.

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                    • #11
                      Did you not apply to any transitional years? IU has a good one (no call from what I recall). Spartangburg, SC has a good one, also. Big plus if you get the opportunity to work with a PP derm for one or more of your electives.

                      2 things I think are important-- smaller private hospitals tend to be better if you're just doing one year there. Less academic BS, specialists will generally still treat you nicely and 2 very important things-- free food and free parking. Those 2 things will save you a ton of money. Liking your co-interns and upper levels is also a plus.

                      But yea- free food, free parking, at least 3 electives, and nice people.

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                      • #12
                        Look at plan and cost of medical benefits. Look at how much vacation they offer. Look at parking, maternity policy (if it applies). Look at meal plan. Look for other perks like paid-for conferences or stipends for books, ipad, etc.
                        Correct that financially not huge differences between programs in the long term, but getting your lunches paid for at hospital cafeteria, or having an extra week of vacation could be huge perks during your time as a resident.

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                        • #13
                          Thank you all for such thoughtful and kind replies. I will take all of your suggestions into consideration when making my rank list. Brains428 interestingly, out of the two transitional year programs that I applied to, Spartanburg was one of them!

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                          • #14
                            For one year, it doesn’t matter. Cost of living is big, but you’ve already considered that. Only other thing (not important for this year, but potentially for residency) that could cause a big swing is moonlighting. I made nearly 6 figures moonlighting during my final year.

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                            • #15
                              As a general rule, you should aim for transitional year programs, with prelim medicine programs as a backup. If you can match derm, you should be competitive enough for a nice TY spot. Just remember to interview at more TY programs than you think you need, since you're also competing against other derms, rads, rad onc, anesthesia, pm&r, and ophtho applicants. The Midwest has LCOL and some of the best TYs in the country. Many of these also have good financial benefits. Even at the cushiest of TYs, you'll still have to work hard for a few months, so go to a place that treats you well and has lots of elective months.

                              For your advanced program, the main thing of course is matching into derm. After that, a few programs might give a 401k match. Check the benefits, such as do they fully pay your health insurance? More rarely, do they also pay your spouse's or kids' health insurance? Cost of living in that city and taxes for the state? Places like Florida and Washington have no state income tax. Calculate your after-tax income in each program and put together a sample budget for your top choices. Do they allow moonlighting as an upper level? If so, are there internal moonlighting opportunities? Most importantly, will you enjoy living there for 3 years and be successful in residency and your life outside work?

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