MedDebt Program at Boston University School of Medicine

Medical Student Financial Estimates

Please contact John Wiecha, MD, MPH at 617-638-5110 to request reprints of our article that has analyses on debt repayment at various debt levels.

Interested in learning whether you would be able to sustain a career in family medicine? Want to get an idea of how much monthly discretionary income (income left over after you pay all your bills in a given month) as a family medicine physician? Well, you've come to the right place!

Using the drop-down boxes below, we can provide you with an estimate of your monthly discretionary income. The estimates are a result of using ESPlanner, a financial planning software package that allows us to input loans, savings, projected income, and housing expenses in order for ESPlanner to smooth out a consumption and savings information over the course of one's lifetime. ESPlanner utilizes market prices for goods like clothing, personal items, etc. that it includes when computing your consumption and savings information. We do not know what these numbers are exactly, but the ESPlanner creators update this information and provide updates for users. The numbers are used based on economic information available on numerous economic statistics websites.

The following assumptions are used to provide us with the monthly discretionary income estimates you will receive:

  1. Boston represents a city where is expensive to live. Monthly discretionary income estimates provided for Boston are more conservative and lower than if you choose Denver, a city where living expenses (housing, food, etc.) are about average for the United States.
  2. A house is purchased in Boston for $400,000 and a house is purchased in Denver for $200,000.
  3. You get married and have two kids.
  4. Your spouse's income is fixed at $40,000 per year (average salary for a Bachelor's degree holder).
  5. You and your spouse pay $20,000 for four years for your first child to attend college and about $8,000 for 10 years towards your second child's education.
  6. You choose to defer payments on your student loans while in residency (forebearance).
  7. You and your employer (and your spouse and his/her employer) contribute 3% of yearly earnings towards your retirement.
  8. You graduate medical school and start residency at age 27.
  9. Nominal interest rates on regular assets are 7.4%, on your retirement are 5.24%, and on your spouse's retirement are 5.24%.

For questions regarding the assumptions or to inquire more about ESPlanner or the MedDebt project, please contact Danielle McCloskey, the research assistant for this project, at or Dr. John Wiecha, the Principal Investigator for this project, at

Note: We want to remind you that this analysis, while it is the best we have to predict your feasibility to uphold a primary care career, is just a prediction based on the numerous assumptions above. It is possible that our numbers or assumptions may be inaccurate, or that ESPlanner, or the analyst may have made a mistake. This analysis is only a rough approximation. There is always a possibility that something has been done incorrectly or modeled incorrectly, and if we discover such an error, we will inform you. Obviously, we cannot guarantee that you will achieve the incomes or cost of living described in the estimates provided from the assumptions. Please remember that we are not certified financial planners, so any career decisions you make based on finances should be done in consultation with a certified financial planner.

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Boston Medical Center
Boston University
Department of Family Medicine
Boston University Medical Center
Dowling 5
1 Boston Medical Center Place
Boston, MA 02118
Admin Ph (617) 414-4465
Admin Fax (617) 414-3345