Oh, to answer your question, I would hesitate to take a year off after graduating. The advantages of taking a year off during school is that you still retain the school's support/sponsorship during the match. Plus if you can do some part-time research during a gap year between MS3 and MS4, then you can keep your student status (if you have to check the leave-of-absence box on your residency application, it may hurt you for some programs). Plus waiting to take a year off after graduation *might* affect licensing in your state.
I went straight through med school so I was 30 when I finished residency. I waited a few years before having kids, and I am still going to be able to have 3 kids. I started my first at 32, next at 34, and we are trying to conceive at 36. I do like having an income and the extra help that it affords me. I am able to work part time and spend time with kids. I wanted to have kids during residency, but my husband wouldn't go for it. In hind sight, I am glad we waited. Now if I want a 4th baby, I may regret waiting. But I am hoping my baby craze will end with the 3rd baby
But I second tr. Put your family first and work your life around it.
I went with your plan #1 - married my long term boyfriend early in med school, then had a baby spring of MS4. My timing worked out so I was done with med school once I had the baby (March, right before match day), so I had almost 4 months of "maternity leave". (actually just saved up vacation and then the gap between med school and intern year) Obviously this plan depends heavily on your med school schedule and baby-making timing.
We knew we wanted to get married, so we just did that (at 22!). Then a few years later we wanted a baby, so we did that too. They say there's no "right" time to have kids, but my MS4 baby has worked out well so far. Intern year with an infant was also not too bad, but I'm in a chill specialty.
As far as $$ - I know med school classmates who supported a whole family (SAH wife and kiddos) on their med school loans (and then later residency salary), so it can be done.
TLDR; if you want to get married: get married! You can figure the rest out later.
Anyone have experience with supporting a family on a single income (husband) while in medical school then paying off med school loans and getting a mortgage post-residency? In your opinion is it better to pay off more of the school loans or set more money aside for a down payment on a house?
We had our first kids in med school, because we knew we wanted several and didn't want to be older parents. I think it was easier for us to transition to internship, because we already knew how to be parents, so it wasn't "how do we parent and be doctors," it was "now we will add doctoring to parenting, which we already have a handle on." Also, we supported our family during med school entirely on our 2 sets of scholarships and loans, and we bought a home as well. With the changes in the mortgage market that may no longer be quite so easy. Doctors usually don't need a down payment on a home, there are a number of "doctor loan" programs available that finance 100% and don't count your student loans against you. But really, who knows what the situation will be in 10 years+ when you get there? My bottom line is that I live my life, not my job.
ResidentMom<br /><br />"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." --Jackie O.
Get married soon if you are ready to get married. Then worry about babies when you are ready to have kids. As others have said, there isnt the perfect time to start a family, but there are definitely better times than others.
Since I'm still baking our first child now at 24 weeks, I really cant comment on regrets. But Hubby and I timed (and are very blessed to have our plans work the way we wanted/needed them to) our baby for winter of 4th year. I will be using my 2 months of vacation, followed by 2 months of super easy (couple hours a week) electives as my maternity leave. My situation is probably special, since I'm military. So I'll be interviewing in September/October and matching in December. Once baby arrives, all I need to do is show up enough to my rotations to pass.
Another girl in my class had her baby end of 3rd year/beginning of 4th. It seems like good timing for her since she does not plan on going on externships. Her husband has a flexible job.
If you decide to time for 4th year, you will have to weigh how pregnant and or how old your infant will be when you want to take Step 2s, go on externships and interviews, start of intern year, etc.