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High-end position

Babu has spent eight years as a medical trainee earning just $6,152 a month. However, his residency has just ended and he has already received job offers that push his income into the stratosphere.

The best offer is $42,000 a month. Babu says even the interview process was lavish. “As ridiculous as it sounds, my interview was, like, a private dinner at one of their homes cooked by a private chef who owns a restaurant for, like, 30 people, just for me and Mel to meet everyone. It was fantastic!”

Babu can also access several perks, such as recruitment assistance for his wife and a signing bonus that clears much of his student loans. “I think it's cool for everyone to know this is how the world works at very high-end positions,” Sethi said.

High-end positions in the medical industry come with unbelievable pay packages and extraordinary perks. Specialists such as urologists, oncologists and anesthesiologists can earn annual salaries averaging from approximately $305,000 to $362,000, according to Indeed. Some doctors have even leveraged their skills to enter the billionaire club.

However, not all doctors have access to such high-end positions. “I can never make that amount of money ever, even if I decided to open up my own private practice,” said Mel, who currently earns $17,000 a month. She wants Babu to look beyond money and prioritize her satisfaction with her current job.

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Money isn’t everything

Babu’s income is about to leap, regardless of which job he accepts. One “lesser-paying” offer on the table would still quintuple his current monthly income, while allowing the couple to avoid relocation and allowing Mel to retain her current job. “I’m tired of delaying gratification and I finally found something that works for me,” she said.

Mel also believes that her compromises during Babu’s medical training are being overlooked. “What I really wanted was just acknowledgement that I have followed him all over the country for his career and I have made sacrifices — personally and career-wise — in order for him to have what he wants,” she says. “I think I just wanted him to be more understanding of what I was kind of going through and battling within my own head.”

Disagreements over work are a common issue for couples. A recent survey by Forbes Advisor found that 46% of Americans said “career choices” was the leading cause for conflict within their relationship.

However, unlike most couples, Mel and Babu are on track to generate immense income regardless of which job Babu ultimately picks. Even the lower-paying job would allow the couple to retire at 47, while the higher-paying one would push up retirement earlier by a few years, according to their calculations.

Focusing on getting to retirement as soon as possible, Sethi believes, is like “the tail wagging the dog.”

“Unlike the structured questions where you [seek to] maximize [your] GPA, this is the first time that maybe maximization purely based on numbers may not be the only way to look at the solution,” he told the couple. “Beware of picking a number and building your entire life around it.”

Mel and Babu are in the enviable position of prioritizing their experiences, relationships and lifestyle rather than income. Talk about living a rich life.

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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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