I don't even know what to say about this. I mean I have heard these warnings so many times, but it is true... we won't know what it really feels like until we are in the middle of it. I am worried about all of what you said except for the money part. I mean during the program yeah sure... there won't be much money to spend, but in my personal opinion business profs make a decent amount of money once they are done. Guess this perception is relative. I don't want to live in a million dollar home or have a super luxurious lifestyle. The reason for my desire to get a PhD are exactly the positives you listed. Having the kind of autonomy, being able to pursue your own interests. That's a fantastic profession! Where else do you get to do that?
Hopefully some of you will still be around this fall or next year so we can see how the rest of us are doing.