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Is it smart to pay $300+K for a $45K job?
Old 03-02-2013, 12:18 PM   #1
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Is it smart to pay $300+K for a $45K job?

This vet says that she is sick of the student debt that she ran up going to Vet school in St. Kitts. She would like to save for retirement, but fears that she may never get to that point.

Perhaps she should have done some simple arithmetic prior to running up that student debt. Just sayin...


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At the age of 30, she still has the sign, which is framed on her desk at the Caring Hearts Animal Clinic in Gilbert, Ariz., where she works as a vet. She also has $312,000 in student loans, courtesy of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Or rather, $312,000 was what she owed the last time she could bring herself to log into the Sallie Mae account that tracks the ever-growing balance.
“It makes me sick, watching it increase,” she says. “There’s also the stress of how am I going to save for retirement when I have this bear to pay off.”
They don’t teach much at veterinary school about bears, particularly the figurative kind, although debt as large and scary as any grizzly shadows most vet school grads, usually for decades. Nor is there much in the curriculum about the prospects for graduates or the current state of the profession. Neither, say many professors and doctors, looks very promising. The problem is a boom in supply (that is, vets) and a decline in demand (namely, veterinary services).
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But starting salaries have sunk by about 13 percent during the same 10-year period, in inflation-adjusted terms, to $45,575 a year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/bu...anted=all&_r=0
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
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She needs to marry a rich guy, quick! I don't think her plan of ignoring it for 20 years is going to work. That $200k IRS bill isn't going away and is not dischargeable like a credit card bill or a mortgage!
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:29 PM   #3
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I feel badly for her.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by comicbookgujy
She needs to marry a rich guy, quick! I don't think her plan of ignoring it for 20 years is going to work. That $200k IRS bill isn't going away and is not dischargeable like a credit card bill or a mortgage!
Funny you should say that. My daughter is dating an optometrist in a similar situation. I told her not to even think about marrying him. Live together, have kids, enjoy life, but never ever ever ever ever ever put your name on a any contract with him.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:01 PM   #5
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It makes me wonder who on earth is getting the proceeds of those $5,000 veterinary bills we keep hearing about on this forum, if not the veterinarians.

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Old 03-02-2013, 03:19 PM   #6
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I feel badly for her.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
It makes me wonder who on earth is getting the proceeds of those $5,000 veterinary bills we keep hearing about on this forum, if not the veterinarians.

Amethyst
I had to reread the article twice to make sense of all the numbers, which seem to include some random inflation adjusted terms. After all her debt is only 250K in 2003 dollars .

But buried in all of those numbers are the important ones
She has a starting salary of 60K
Her loan payments are $400/month $4800 a year an amount certainly not horrible burdensome on 60K salary
after 23 more years she will be debt free despite not actually paying off the $312,000 she borrowed sticking the rest of us with unpaid debt.
She'll have to pay roughly $.33 on the dollar in the form of income tax on the unpaid debt.

Despite the NY Times saying it is hard to find salary data, a quick google found 1/2 dozen data point all showing the median vet salary is around $82K. 82,000 is 60% higher than the median FAMILY income in the US.

So even after choosing to go one of the most expensive vet schools in country cause she couldn't get into a regular vet school. She has well paying jobs, which she LOVES (I have yet to hear a vet who didn't love or at least love parts of their job) and her maximum loan repayment is limited to 15% of her discretionary income (another number the NY Times left out).

Why should we feel sorry for her.?
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:14 PM   #8
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Why should we feel sorry for her.?
No reason I can think of. She made the decisions. She got to enjoy living on St Kitts apparently all on loans. She's well compensated and with some business accumen could parlay this into a very profitable business. Tax payers will be picking up a piece of the tab over the long run. I would be absolutely against diverting more tax dollars away from hungar programs, Part D Extra Help for impoverished seniors, or whatever, just to make her payments lower.

Not once, not a single time, did I get an invitation to visit her on St Kitts in February when it's cold and snow time here in Chicago...... Nooooo...... Just sitting here freezing my butt off wondering how to pay my taxes to support all these capers.....
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:54 PM   #9
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American is full of deluded, infantile people. After all, she loves her job, haven't we been advised for over a generation to follow our hearts?

And haven't we heard somewhere else about this idea of income based loan (non)repayment, eventually leading to loan forgiveness?

Her balance sheet would be better if she were a dog walker instead of a veterinarian.

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Old 03-02-2013, 08:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
It makes me wonder who on earth is getting the proceeds of those $5,000 veterinary bills we keep hearing about on this forum, if not the veterinarians.
My guess is either (1) the establish owners of vet clinics who can now hire new grads at low rates or (2) specialists (like the vet who wanted 5k for my dogs knee surgery)

My question is how are students at a university in St. Kitts eligible for US aid? Does the university have a nominal headquarters in the U.S.?
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:50 PM   #11
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Why should we feel sorry for her.?
So I didn't read the article, but from the posts here it sounds like they adjusted some numbers (her income) for inflation, but not the loan balance? That's some cherry-picking! Just goes to show you, tell the right audiance what they want to hear, and they won't question the numbers.

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American is full of deluded, infantile people. After all, she loves her job, haven't we been advised for over a generation to follow our hearts?

Ha
I don't have time now, but it would be interesting to compare the responses and posters here, to that recent thread with an 'inspirational' video about how you should just 'follow your dream' and 'it will all work out', eventually people will recognize and pay you for your passion. Maybe by 'it all working out', they meant other people will pick up part of your tab?

-ERD50
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:42 PM   #12
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While there is intense completion among domestic animal veterinarians because of the oversupply of graduates, there is a real shortage of large animal vets in rural areas. First, most vet students do not go into the large animal field, and second, the ones that do are often hired by the big agriculture companies. This also appears tied to fewer people growing up on farms and even knowing what a large animal vet does. Some states are offering to help pay for the educations of large animal vets if they promise to practice in a rural area. Here are two links Shortage of Large Animal Veterinarians - Hot Topics/Problems in the Equine Industry Farm Animal Vets in High Demand | News, Sports, Weather for Great Falls, Helena, and all of Montana | Local Top Stories
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:16 PM   #13
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There must be some kind of job she could do working for a non-profit. Doing that her student debt would be forgiven in 10 years. She should get together with her friends and form a non-profit veterinary operation and they can do their 10 years, have all their debt forgiven with no tax liability, then start looking for higher paying work.

Actually, maybe new lawyers should get together and do something like that too.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:54 PM   #14
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There was a woman vet student and her husband on a House Hunters International show in St. Kitts. The husband had quit his job to join his wife and was living off her student loan money, too, and they ended up living in a nice large house. It was not the kind of place college students usually live in for sure. All their expenses were being covered by vet school on loan money. The husband was kicking back and spending his days at the beach while she was in school.

It seemed financially crazy at the time and that was before I read this article.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:32 AM   #15
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American is full of deluded, infantile people. After all, she loves her job, haven't we been advised for over a generation to follow our hearts?

Ha
If I ever hear that hackneyed phrase, "follow my/his passion", again I will puke all over the speaker.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:56 AM   #16
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If I ever hear that hackneyed phrase, "follow my/his passion", again I will puke all over the speaker.
Really? I don't see anything wrong with following your passion as long as you are fully prepared to accept the consequences.

EDIT: Although I agree that it has become an over-used phrase. I do think that if a person feels very strongly that they want to pursue a particular career course, then as long as they take responsibility for their actions and the consequences, they should feel free to do so.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:06 AM   #17
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Really? I don't see anything wrong with following your passion as long as you are fully prepared to accept the consequences.

EDIT: Although I agree that it has become an over-used phrase. I do think that if a person feels very strongly that they want to pursue a particular career course, then as long as they take responsibility for their actions and the consequences, they should feel free to do so.
This person isn't exactly doing that, she is getting taxpayer assistance to pay her loans, a kinder but less accurate description of a default. Do we get income based repayment for our Visa debts?

Now it is true that the basic theft here is done by the lending agencies and the schools. But it has always been risky to have been born yesterday.

Ha

Ha
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:23 AM   #18
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This person isn't exactly doing that, she is getting taxpayer assistance to pay her loans, a kinder but less accurate description of a default. Do we get income based repayment for our Visa debts?

Now it is true that the basic theft here is done by the lending agencies and the schools. But it has always been risky to have been born yesterday.

Ha

Ha
I agree that her course of action is not the responsible one. It seems to me that she should be able to make more than the minimum required payment, and pay off the loan in full, eventually. I was responding generally to the idea of "following your passion" (though that phrase has become something of an over-used buzzword.)

I screen apartment applications for my landlord on a very part-time basis (no more than a few hours a month) and it is quite surprising how some students leave college with large balances on their student loans, and promptly proceed to take on a lot of consumer debt in the form of credit cards and car loans. I've seen a few young people with good incomes, but a sizable amount of debt, in addition to the student loans. We (the taxpayers) shouldn't have to pay for their willingness to live the credit card-fueled consumer lifestyle by paying their student loan balances for them.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:33 AM   #19
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This just speaks to me about the lack of what I will call "lifetime financial education planning" available to people in general and young people in particular. I was either fortunate or lucky to have been taught by my parents the dangers of debt and to have a plan for repaying it before entering into it - and even I had a few mistakes and needed to be embarrassed for the lesson to sink in.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:58 AM   #20
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This article focuses in an individual who could not get into any US university's vet school (boohoo she got some Bs in undergrad, as she says is the reason no one wanted her--well, she could have retaken those classes. I know a young man who took 2 years to retake courses with less than stellar grades while working full time so he could get into a medical program). Ridiculous that her school can be part of the loan program. She should have aussaged her passion by becoming a vet tech.

To say vets are underpaid and that there is a supply/demand issue based on this dingdong's story is not what I would expect of the NYT.
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