Is going to med school worth the student debt?

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Q. I’m 31 and recently returned to school to change my career path towards medicine. I have $40,000 of student debt from years ago — now I’m on full scholarship — and I have about $10,000 in a savings account. Because of my age I feel some pressure to invest, or should my priority be making interest payments on the student debt? I’m planning on med school so that debt is going to increase.
— Student

A. Congratulations on your full scholarship and moving to a new career.

While investing for your future is always a good idea, this debt thing is more important.

But before you take the next steps, you should take a close look at what debt you will accumulate and how it will affect your life going forward.

If you’re going to need to take loans to cover all of med school, it’s going to be hard for you to make money over your lifetime, even if you become a doctor, said Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton.

“I have clients that are doctors in their 50s that are still struggling from debt they took on to be a doctor 20 to 30 years ago, Lynch said.

He said that while becoming a doctor is a noble profession, you need to ask yourself if you really want to do this.

Ask yourself, Lynch said, how many years it will take for you to finish your degrees, hang up a shingle and start to make money. Plus, as the healthcare industry changes, what kind of income should you expect to earn?

Then look at how much debt you will have by then.

Take a close look at how many years it will realistically take for you to pay the loans off, and consider what kind of impact this could have on your future and your family.

“Will you be able to support your family?” Lynch asked.

Only you can answer that question.

Email your questions to moc.p1586113334leHye1586113334noMJN1586113334@ksA1586113334.

This story was originally published on March 13, 2020.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.