Sep 30, 2019
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Hello, I would love to have current dentists, dental students, and pre-dental students to weigh in on my financial situation as it pertains to dental school and loan repayment.

I am a 21-year-old male who will be starting my D1 year this fall. My estimated cost of attendance is ~$375,000 not including interest. The entirety of that will be taken out in loans as of right now with an estimated interest rate of 8%. I plan on working in a rural area (the more profitable option on top of the lower cost of living) for at least however long it takes for me to become financially stable and secure. As far as I can tell the average income of a dentist is 150-180k per year. I am aggressively pursuing scholarships to offset the cost of attendance but they are obviously no guarantee.

Positives of my situation: 1) I am not a person of lavish taste; AKA I am okay living like a student for 3-5 years after graduation to focus solely on making a dent in my loans. 2) Willing to practice rural or whatever situation confers the best loan repayment prospects (PSLF, Military, etc) 3) I will only be 25-26 when I should theoretically be ready to earn an income. This gives me many years to repay the loans, build a practice, family, etc. 4) No children at the moment and do not plan on having children during dental school

Negatives of my situation: 1) The school I will be attending is expensive on top of being in a pretty expensive place to live. 2) Questionable future of dentistry as a whole moving forward (Corps, increased work for reduced reimbursements, high student loan debt of graduates >> bad clinical decisions because of pressure to pay back loans >> reduced credibility of the field as a whole) 3) Tuition expected to increase ~5% each year suggesting that estimated cost of attendance is a lowball estimate.

Unfortunately, the current direction of dentistry is giving me anxiety about my future and the ability to pay off my debt. I want to go into my D1 year with a clear head because I know it will be very stressful and challenging in itself. But I am having trouble not feeling down about what I have gotten myself into, especially because I have worked so hard to get here only to see it does not seem as nice as I thought it would.

What are some things I can do to better my situation? What can I do to simply feel better and more focused on going into dental school? What are some of your personal experiences with loans and the future direction dental field?
 
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Believe it or not, I am going to my in-state school...
Oh wow that's definitely a surprise, however I would say you are in a much better position than a lot of people going to even pricier private schools. Apply for scholarships and such, I am at a state school and my cost of attendance ended up being much lower than I was planning for after applying for financial aid and scholarships and such.
 

frentist

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the interest rate for the graduate federal loans this upcoming year should be lower, they are projecting it to be 4-6%
 

charlestweed

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Positives of my situation: 1) I am not a person of lavish taste; AKA I am okay living like a student for 3-5 years after graduation to focus solely on making a dent in my loans.......
This commitment of living like a student for 3-5 years after graduation alone should be enough to help you cut your $400k debt in half by the age of 28-29. That's what people who go into medicine have to do.....after 4 years of med schools, they have to do at least 3 more years of residency, which only pay them $50k/year. With your dental income of $120k/year, you should be able to set aside at least $50k every year to pay down your debt. You don't need to lower your monthly payments by signing up for IBR, REPAYE, or whatever the government programs that are available out there. With less money available every month, you are less likely to spend on things that you don't really need. You don't have kid(s). You should be fine.

It's good that you are willing to commit to this lifestyle for 3-5 years after graduation. A lot of young dentists are not willing to commit to this....they want nice cars and other nice things right after they earn their DDS/DMD degrees. When I was a new grad, I too wanted to have a lot of nice things right away....and that's why I had to work 6 (and 7 on some months) days/week.
 

Cold Front

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To the OP.

Just off the top of my head, you will be looking at about ~$500k with the 8% daily compounding interest and tuition increases factored in. Plus the additional interest during the 6 months grace period after graduation - while getting your license, looking for a job, your first patient, and first paycheck.

Now ask yourself this : How much do you expect to make after graduation? Specially first 5 yrs. Most general dentists will tell you $140-180k a year pre-tax. I’m assuming you will be single, so you will pay higher taxes, of about 33% (for federal + state + city taxes). You will be left with 2/3 of that income, so $90-120k post tax a year. [wild card, Trump taxes will expire in 5 years, very high chance you will pay more taxes in the future - thanks partially to covid-19 National stimulus that needs to be paid by back by every tax payer!]

Now ask yourself this : How much of that $90-120k post tax income will go towards paying student loans? Let’s look at the most aggressive option, $60-70k/yr? Surely not more! That leaves you $30-50k a year for living expenses, which is close enough to student life but not too comfortable either. [wild card, marriage? kids? high maintenance gf/bf?]

Now ask yourself this : How many years can I keep paying $60-70k/yr to pay down student loans to $0? Keep in mind, the daily 8% compounding interest is still increasing the balance after each annual payment. In my quick estimation, it will take you 9-10 years of living like a student to pay off that $500k original balance at $60-70k annual repayments towards the student loans. [wild card, can you actually stick to any financial plan over the next 14 years as a D1, you haven’t even taken your first quiz at DS yet!]

That’s the maths. Can you live with that?


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AVB2104

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Hello, I would love to have current dentists, dental students, and pre-dental students to weigh in on my financial situation as it pertains to dental school and loan repayment.

I am a 21-year-old male who will be starting my D1 year this fall. My estimated cost of attendance is ~$375,000 not including interest. The entirety of that will be taken out in loans as of right now with an estimated interest rate of 8%. I plan on working in a rural area (the more profitable option on top of the lower cost of living) for at least however long it takes for me to become financially stable and secure. As far as I can tell the average income of a dentist is 150-180k per year. I am aggressively pursuing scholarships to offset the cost of attendance but they are obviously no guarantee.

Positives of my situation: 1) I am not a person of lavish taste; AKA I am okay living like a student for 3-5 years after graduation to focus solely on making a dent in my loans. 2) Willing to practice rural or whatever situation confers the best loan repayment prospects (PSLF, Military, etc) 3) I will only be 25-26 when I should theoretically be ready to earn an income. This gives me many years to repay the loans, build a practice, family, etc. 4) No children at the moment and do not plan on having children during dental school

Negatives of my situation: 1) The school I will be attending is expensive on top of being in a pretty expensive place to live. 2) Questionable future of dentistry as a whole moving forward (Corps, increased work for reduced reimbursements, high student loan debt of graduates >> bad clinical decisions because of pressure to pay back loans >> reduced credibility of the field as a whole) 3) Tuition expected to increase ~5% each year suggesting that estimated cost of attendance is a lowball estimate.

Unfortunately, the current direction of dentistry is giving me anxiety about my future and the ability to pay off my debt. I want to go into my D1 year with a clear head because I know it will be very stressful and challenging in itself. But I am having trouble not feeling down about what I have gotten myself into, especially because I have worked so hard to get here only to see it does not seem as nice as I thought it would.

What are some things I can do to better my situation? What can I do to simply feel better and more focused on going into dental school? What are some of your personal experiences with loans and the future direction dental field?
Please apply for military or NHSC scholarship ASAP. If you’re not willing to do it don’t attend dental school. You’re gonna be miserable
 
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allantois

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To the OP.

Just off the top of my head, you will be looking at about ~$500k with the 8% daily compounding interest and tuition increases factored in. Plus the additional interest during the 6 months grace period after graduation - while getting your license, looking for a job, your first patient, and first paycheck.

Now ask yourself this : How much do you expect to make after graduation? Specially first 5 yrs. Most general dentists will tell you $140-180k a year pre-tax. I’m assuming you will be single, so you will pay higher taxes, of about 33% (for federal + state + city taxes). You will be left with 2/3 of that income, so $90-120k post tax a year. [wild card, Trump taxes will expire in 5 years, very high chance you will pay more taxes in the future - thanks partially to covid-19 National stimulus that needs to be paid by back by every tax payer!]

Now ask yourself this : How much of that $90-120k post tax income will go towards paying student loans? Let’s look at the most aggressive option, $60-70k/yr? Surely not more! That leaves you $30-50k a year for living expenses, which is close enough to student life but not too comfortable either. [wild card, marriage? kids? high maintenance gf/bf?]

Now ask yourself this : How many years can I keep paying $60-70k/yr to pay down student loans to $0? Keep in mind, the daily 8% compounding interest is still increasing the balance after each annual payment. In my quick estimation, it will take you 9-10 years of living like a student to pay off that $500k original balance at $60-70k annual repayments towards the student loans. [wild card, can you actually stick to any financial plan over the next 14 years as a D1, you haven’t even taken your first quiz at DS yet!]

That’s the maths. Can you live with that?


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This should be sticked a top of every college specific thread
 

Frychicken

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To the OP.

Just off the top of my head, you will be looking at about ~$500k with the 8% daily compounding interest and tuition increases factored in. Plus the additional interest during the 6 months grace period after graduation - while getting your license, looking for a job, your first patient, and first paycheck.

Now ask yourself this : How much do you expect to make after graduation? Specially first 5 yrs. Most general dentists will tell you $140-180k a year pre-tax. I’m assuming you will be single, so you will pay higher taxes, of about 33% (for federal + state + city taxes). You will be left with 2/3 of that income, so $90-120k post tax a year. [wild card, Trump taxes will expire in 5 years, very high chance you will pay more taxes in the future - thanks partially to covid-19 National stimulus that needs to be paid by back by every tax payer!]

Now ask yourself this : How much of that $90-120k post tax income will go towards paying student loans? Let’s look at the most aggressive option, $60-70k/yr? Surely not more! That leaves you $30-50k a year for living expenses, which is close enough to student life but not too comfortable either. [wild card, marriage? kids? high maintenance gf/bf?]

Now ask yourself this : How many years can I keep paying $60-70k/yr to pay down student loans to $0? Keep in mind, the daily 8% compounding interest is still increasing the balance after each annual payment. In my quick estimation, it will take you 9-10 years of living like a student to pay off that $500k original balance at $60-70k annual repayments towards the student loans. [wild card, can you actually stick to any financial plan over the next 14 years as a D1, you haven’t even taken your first quiz at DS yet!]

That’s the maths. Can you live with that?


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8% daily compounding interest...? Student loans interest don’t compound daily, unless I completely missed the memo. Interest is taken from the principal amount. It may capitalized after the grace period, but it doesn’t compound daily.
 
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Cold Front

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8% daily compounding interest...? Student loans interest don’t compound daily, unless I completely missed the memo. Interest is taken from the principal amount. It may capitalized after the grace period, but it doesn’t compound daily.
You did miss the memo.

Einstein referred the compounding interest rate as the 8th wonder of the world, if you are on the right side of the equation. He/she who understands it, earns it. He/she who doesn't, pays it.


”On a $10,000 loan, you might think that a 4.45% interest rate would mean $445 paid in interest during the year, but that’s not the case. The annual rate is divided by 365, to get your daily interest rate. So, in the above example, you’d be charged an interest rate of 0.012% each day. At the end of your first day, your interest charge totals $1.20 and it’s added to the $10,000. On the following day, your interest is calculated on $10,001.20. At the end of the year, you’ll pay a total of $455.02 in interest — providing the lender with an extra $10 just because of the way interest is compounded.”

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P7898

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Dude what? No way your state school is $375k..... Try again. Re-apply and move to the east coast.
 

Frychicken

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You did miss the memo.

Einstein referred the compounding interest rate as the 8th wonder of the world, if you are on the right side of the equation. He/she who understands it, earns it. He/she who doesn't, pays it.


”On a $10,000 loan, you might think that a 4.45% interest rate would mean $445 paid in interest during the year, but that’s not the case. The annual rate is divided by 365, to get your daily interest rate. So, in the above example, you’d be charged an interest rate of 0.012% each day. At the end of your first day, your interest charge totals $1.20 and it’s added to the $10,000. On the following day, your interest is calculated on $10,001.20. At the end of the year, you’ll pay a total of $455.02 in interest — providing the lender with an extra $10 just because of the way interest is compounded.”

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That is incorrect. The interest accrues daily off of the principal, but it does not get compounded.

 

P7898

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That is incorrect. The interest accrues daily off of the principal, but it does not get compounded.

I was once wrong and told people this. MY B..... but still interest and money being made that you ow more and more of each day nonetheless.
 

hersh_98

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375k would run up to about 450k with 8% interest, but I’ve been reading that new interest rates will be lower, so you’re probably looking closer to low 400s after interest when you graduate. Still not cheap but it’s cheaper than a lot of other schools
 

yappy

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Dude what? No way your state school is $375k..... Try again. Re-apply and move to the east coast.
Most state schools are 350k+ for total cost of attendance. Years ago me and my friends who went to state schools were well into the 300k+ range. This is not a private school phenomenon. However, If you happen to live in one of the few states that have a cheap public DS (TX) then that is fantastic.
 
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I haven't even applied, and I already feel like it's too late to turn back now. So I definitely sympathize with you bro. It's definitely getting to a point where even state shools are too expensive and not worth it.

Maybe we can use our wisdom to encourage pre-dents younger than us to really look into the financial burdens of dentistry. When I was a freshman in college, I was completely ignorant about finances and debt, and my skull was too thick to listen to advice from people more experienced than me. Maybe we ought to start a pre-dental finances club in undergrad, that could be a way to get freshman aware of the realities of dentistry.

Prevention is better than cure
 
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P7898

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I haven't even applied, and I already feel like it's too late to turn back now. So I definitely sympathize with you bro. It's definitely getting to a point where even state shools are too expensive and not worth it.

Maybe we can use our wisdom to encourage pre-dents younger than us to really look into the financial burdens of dentistry. When I was a freshman in college, I was completely ignorant about finances and debt, and my skull was too thick to listen to advice from people more experienced than me. Maybe we ought to start a pre-dental finances club in undergrad, that could be a way to get freshman aware of the realities of dentistry.

Prevention is better than cure
It is never too late. A year or two in your early lives in nothing over your career.
 
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It is never too late. A year or two in your early lives in nothing over your career.
For sure. It's just that I don't have a viable backup plan. I'm on the wrong path for CS or Finance (not that I care for those careers anyways), I don't really have the risk tolerance to become an entrepreneur starting from nothing with nothing to fall back on if I fail. I suppose I could take a year and apply to med school, but I'll take my chances with dentistry.

Plus since my parents are helping with my educational cost for D school, realistically I shouldn't even get anywhere close to 400k debt no matter which school I attend. I would have to make some big mistakes to get in that big of a hole. I also have some entrepreneurial aspirations in dentistry, owning a practice, growing it and expanding/scaling it into something bigger. Hopefully coming out with less debt will allow me to fulfill my aspirations.

If I was looking at 400k debt and just wanted to be an associate, not worth it at all imo
 
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charlestweed

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....Maybe we ought to start a pre-dental finances club in undergrad, that could be a way to get freshman aware of the realities of dentistry.
So the purpose of creating this pre-dent finance club is to tell the incoming freshman not to pursue dentistry because dentistry sucks (oversaturation, pay cut from insurance companies, medicaid, HMO etc) and the debt is too high. It's essentially an anti-dentistry club.
 
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charlestweed

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For sure. It's just that I don't have a viable backup plan. I'm on the wrong path for CS or Finance (not that I care for those careers anyways), I don't really have the risk tolerance to become an entrepreneur starting from nothing with nothing to fall back on if I fail. I suppose I could take a year and apply to med school, but I'll take my chances with dentistry.
Many predents have this thinking as well. And that’s why they take their chances with dentistry.
 
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So the purpose of creating this pre-dent finance club is to tell the incoming freshman not to pursue dentistry because dentistry sucks (oversaturation, pay cut from insurance companies, medicaid, HMO etc) and the debt is too high. It's essentially an anti-dentistry club.
No I wouldn't say so. It's just educating them about the finances of dentistry. Talks about debt, talks about expected starting salary. Talks about loan repayment. Sure you can talk about oversaturation, pay cuts etc. because these are all valid topics that should be talked about. Don't you think pre-dents have a right to know the realities of the profession they are about to enter?

I feel a club like this is way more useful than the cookie cutter pre-dental clubs we have right now. No one ever talks about important topics in these clubs. It's the blind leading the blind. These people are genuinely unaware of how tough a 400k+ loan is to pay back. I have actually brought up such topics among some of my peers and the general attitude is "I'll worry about it when I get there". That's not a healthy mindset to have.

Educating pre-dental students on the financial realities of dentistry is a way to prevent expensive dental schools from preying on them. Schools can't charge obscene amounts of money if pre-dents are too smart to apply to these schools.
 

charlestweed

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No I wouldn't say so. It's just educating them about the finances of dentistry. Talks about debt, talks about expected starting salary. Talks about loan repayment. Sure you can talk about oversaturation, pay cuts etc. because these are all valid topics that should be talked about. Don't you think pre-dents have a right to know the realities of the profession they are about to enter?

I feel a club like this is way more useful than the cookie cutter pre-dental clubs we have right now. No one ever talks about important topics in these clubs. It's the blind leading the blind. These people are genuinely unaware of how tough a 400k+ loan is to pay back. I have actually brought up such topics among some of my peers and the general attitude is "I'll worry about it when I get there". That's not a healthy mindset to have.

Educating pre-dental students on the financial realities of dentistry is a way to prevent expensive dental schools from preying on them. Schools can't charge obscene amounts of money if pre-dents are too smart to apply to these schools.
I think most predents are aware of these problems. They all have access to the internet. I am sure most of them know about this SDN forum and dental town forum. They are smart and they can read. Before they can apply, they are required to have certain number of shadowing hours. I am sure the dentists, whom they shadow, told them about the pros and cons of the profession. When the students shadowed at my offices, I also told them what have been discussed here…..I warned them about debt problem and told them that they need to work hard and continue to live like a student for at least 3-5 years after graduation. I've always encouraged HS students, who want to become an ortho like me, to work hard in school so they'll have better chance of getting into cheap state dental schools.

They are aware of the debt problem but there’s nothing they can do to stop the greedy schools from raising their tuitions. They need the schools because they desperately want to become a dentist. I am sure they have done just as much research about dentistry as you do. You are fully aware of the fact that dentistry is not as good as it once was and yet you still want to become a dentist.
 
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I think most predents are aware of these problems. They all have access to the internet. I am sure most of them know about this SDN forum and dental town forum. They are smart and they can read. Before they can apply, they are required to have certain number of shadowing hours. I am sure the dentists, whom they shadow, told them about the pros and cons of the profession. When the students shadowed at my offices, I also told them what have been discussed here…..I warned them about debt problem and told them that they need to work hard and continue to live like a student for at least 3-5 years after graduation. I've always encouraged HS students, who want to become an ortho like me, to work hard in school so they'll have better chance of getting into cheap state dental schools.

They are aware of the debt problem but there’s nothing they can do to stop the greedy schools from raising their tuitions. They need the schools because they desperately want to become a dentist. I am sure they have done just as much research about dentistry as you do. You are fully aware of the fact that dentistry is not as good as it once was and yet you still want to become a dentist.
There's only so much you can be aware of if you haven't experienced it yourself. You can read all the books in the world about being punched in the mouth, but until said punch lands in your mouth, you won't know what it's really like. Also, most dentists don't discuss debt etc with students who shadow them. In fact, debt wasn't even an issue for most older dentists.
 
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I think most predents are aware of these problems. They all have access to the internet. I am sure most of them know about this SDN forum and dental town forum. They are smart and they can read. Before they can apply, they are required to have certain number of shadowing hours. I am sure the dentists, whom they shadow, told them about the pros and cons of the profession. When the students shadowed at my offices, I also told them what have been discussed here…..I warned them about debt problem and told them that they need to work hard and continue to live like a student for at least 3-5 years after graduation. I've always encouraged HS students, who want to become an ortho like me, to work hard in school so they'll have better chance of getting into cheap state dental schools.

They are aware of the debt problem but there’s nothing they can do to stop the greedy schools from raising their tuitions. They need the schools because they desperately want to become a dentist. I am sure they have done just as much research about dentistry as you do. You are fully aware of the fact that dentistry is not as good as it once was and yet you still want to become a dentist.
Even if everything you said is true, I don't see why a finance-minded dental club shouldn't be created. It should be a nationwide thing like pre-dental clubs are. Especially with the rising prices of schools, this is going to be key going forward.

Think about it. It's pretty bad now, but in 5-10 years with ~4-5% tuition increases per year, we will see schools costing close to a million dollars, This is a financial climate we have never seen in dentistry, ever. So I think it's a good idea to prepare pre-dents.

I would create this club at my school, but with the Covid situation I doubt it's gonna happen before I graduate. But maybe some of the younger pre-dents can have a crack at it. Financial education is never a bad thing.

Even though I consider myself decently educated in the finances regarding dentistry, I'm still missing a lot of info. For example, a few months ago I learned you can't declare bankruptcy on student loans (yeah i know I'm an idiot, I got roasted on SDN lol). It's because I've never taken out student loans so I never had to worry about that sort of thing. So I know for sure there are lots of things I don't know, and talking about these kinds of things with other people in the same situation cannot hurt. There's always something new you can learn, some new perspectives you can discover.
 
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Cold Front

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There's only so much you can be aware of if you haven't experienced it yourself. You can read all the books in the world about being punched in the mouth, but until said punch lands in your mouth, you won't know what it's really like. Also, most dentists don't discuss debt etc with students who shadow them. In fact, debt wasn't even an issue for most older dentists.
That... plus, pre-dents visual cues on dentistry misleads them in a big way. Most shadow at an office where the dentist is the practice owner, has a nice watch, nice car parked outside, has a Facebook and IG profiles with traveling around the world filtered photos, the perfect life, etc. Now, the thought of being a dentist kicks into a higher gear. “Is $500k+ in student loans going to stop me from pursuing dentistry? Ofcourse not! You will pay that money back in couple of years!” Or “in few years” as many who never took that level of student debt on these forums would like to suggest.

Speaking of forums, I think many dentists on these forums downplay the high debt, which is a side problem on itself. The least that should be said is “approach with caution”. Not “go ahead, move to rural town, and pay that big debt off in few years”. The odds of a young person/dentist moving to rural town is near zero. Who actually takes that advise as if rural America is just waiting for you 4-5 years from now as a pre-dent? That’s like going to a casino and sitting on a roulette table and betting everything on black!. Life (specially in future terms) is way more complicated than that.

Assess every goal from year to year, while steering toward your personal long term goals.


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Big Time Hoosier

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Most shadow at an office where the dentist is the practice owner, has a nice watch, nice car parked outside, has a Facebook and IG profiles with traveling around the world filtered photos, the perfect life, etc.
Yeah, how many are shadowing at a DSO? Maybe they should because it’s increasingly likely that will be their future.

Big Hoss
 
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Speaking of forums, I think many dentists on these forums downplay the high debt, which is a side problem on itself. The least that should be said is “approach with caution”. Not “go ahead, move to rural town, and pay that big debt off in few years”. The odds of a young person/dentist moving to rural town is near zero. Who actually takes that advise as if rural America is just waiting for you 4-5 years from now as a pre-dent? That’s like going to a casino and sitting on a roulette table and betting everything on black!. Life (specially in future terms) is way more complicated than that.
There's too much truth to this statement.

Also another thing I wanna add, regardless of if you go rural/urban etc. you're still going to miss out on many years of savings/investments because you're busy paying off your student loans.

Your first 5-10 years of investing are the most important 5-10 years of investing in your life, because its going to be the driver for compounding interest in the future. Missing out on investing during these key years is gonna hurt no matter if you're rural or metro. This is one huge advantage older dentists have over us. Because they didn't have huge loans to pay off in their early years, they could put money away which paid major dividends towards the end of their career (aka all the dentists you see now with big houses, rolexes and AMG mercedes)

You can't pay yourself if you're busy paying the government
 

yappy

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There's too much truth to this statement.

Also another thing I wanna add, regardless of if you go rural/urban etc. you're still going to miss out on many years of savings/investments because you're busy paying off your student loans.

Your first 5-10 years of investing are the most important 5-10 years of investing in your life, because its going to be the driver for compounding interest in the future. Missing out on investing during these key years is gonna hurt no matter if you're rural or metro. This is one huge advantage older dentists have over us. Because they didn't have huge loans to pay off in their early years, they could put money away which paid major dividends towards the end of their career (aka all the dentists you see now with big houses, rolexes and AMG mercedes)

You can't pay yourself if you're busy paying the government
Toothjockey, I had some classmates that joined the military (HPSP) and they have really enjoyed it. Will they make it a career? No, it doesn't sound like it. However, it seems like a good opportunity if you're set on dentistry. You will be debt free, able to invest, and get what sounds like great experience as a young dentist.
 
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Toothjockey, I had some classmates that joined the military (HPSP) and they have really enjoyed it. Will they make it a career? No, it doesn't sound like it. However, it seems like a good opportunity if you're set on dentistry. You will be debt free, able to invest, and get what sounds like great experience as a young dentist.
Absolutely. But I hear military is very competitive, and I'm guessing it will continue getting more competitive as schools get pricier. The harsh reality is the military cannot accomodate all pre-dents, many are gonna be stuck having to take on full loans by themselves.

Military and parental $ make up the lucky ~20-30% of dental students that can graduate with little to no debt. The rest gotta slug it out
 
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charlestweed

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There's only so much you can be aware of if you haven't experienced it yourself. You can read all the books in the world about being punched in the mouth, but until said punch lands in your mouth, you won't know what it's really like. Also, most dentists don't discuss debt etc with students who shadow them. In fact, debt wasn't even an issue for most older dentists.
You are right. In order to understand the problem , you have to experience it yourself. But what other choices do the predents have? Not applying to dental schools? What are they going to do with their useless BS degree? Wasting another year or two to apply for a different major? And will this new major guarantee them a good paying job? What if some of the predents (like the original poster of this thread) don't mind living like poor students for 3-5 years and working 6 days/week after they become dentists?

Although older dentists didn't have a lot of student loans but most of them still had to take out loans to set up their own offices, to buy cars to buy houses, to invest etc....unless they had rich parents who helped pay for everything. Most of them have the experience of paying back debts. I am pretty sure most older dentists are aware of the current debt problem that younger grad dentists are facing right now. They too are well read people. In fact, many of them have kids who are applying for colleges and professional schools now. I don't think the predents would listen even if the dentists, whom they shadow, told them not to apply. The predents think these old dentists are afraid that they will become future competitors.
 
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yappy

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Absolutely. But I hear military is very competitive, and I'm guessing it will continue getting more competitive as schools get pricier. The harsh reality is the military cannot accomodate all pre-dents, many are gonna be stuck having to take on full loans by themselves.

Military and parental $ make up the lucky ~20-30% of dental students that can graduate with little to no debt. The rest gotta slug it out
Don't worry about everyone. Make your own situation work.
 

fermi555

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Not “go ahead, move to rural town, and pay that big debt off in few years”. The odds of a young person/dentist moving to rural town is near zero. Who actually takes that advise as if rural America is just waiting for you 4-5 years from now as a pre-dent? That’s like going to a casino and sitting on a roulette table and betting everything on black!. Life (specially in future terms) is way more complicated than that.
Yep. That's what student loan planner was saying he was seeing.
If you train in a big city you just won't move to small town America where the big bucks are. That's what I've seen anecdotally
 

2TH MVR

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That... plus, pre-dents visual cues on dentistry misleads them in a big way. Most shadow at an office where the dentist is the practice owner, has a nice watch, nice car parked outside,

Not “go ahead, move to rural town, and pay that big debt off in few years”. The odds of a young person/dentist moving to rural town is near zero. Who actually takes that advise as if rural America is just waiting for you 4-5 years from now as a pre-dent?
Years ago I was invited to a social mixer by my GP friend who teaches at Midwestern Arizona. Free alcohol and food ... so I went. The mixer was attended by GPs, specialists and 4th yr dental students. ALL of the dentists invited were relatively successful. Plenty of talk of high collections, fancy cars, nice houses, boats, vacation homes, etc. etc. I do no recall a single conversation re: the excessive DS debt that these 4th yrs were going to be saddled with. Everyone was happy and lively. Of course the students were. They were being exposed to successful dentists. Do you think a struggling, local dentist in his/her 40's still paying off his Midwestern, NYU, USC DS debt would be there? Of course not. It's common nature for successful people to paint a rosy picture and less successful people to hide in the shadows. Pre-Dents definitely need to read these forums and get educated FAST. Because most everyone (program directors, successful older dentists who like to brag, press polls on best careers, etc. etc. are painting a very rosy future for these naive predents.


As for rural or semi-rural. Agreed that that is not the magic bullet or cure for high DS debt. But I still believe that practicing where no one wants to practice is a very wise financial move. Yes. Of course .... it's easier said than done. Yes. It's glamerous to live in desirable areas, but there is nothing glamerous about being BROKE in those areas.



Yeah, how many are shadowing at a DSO? Maybe they should because it’s increasingly likely that will be their future.

Big Hoss
Interesting. People salivate at the opportunity to work as EMPLOYEES at the Corporate FAANG companies. MD docs mostly work as EMPLOYEES at hospitals. Financial people are all mostly EMPLOYEES working for a big Corp entity. People in coding are also employees.

My point is that the new predents and young dents have been raised in this environment with plenty of Corp (non-dental) entities that employ tons of people. It's commonplace to them to be an EMPLOYEE. I practiced at a time when DSOs were a joke. I never took them seriously .... well until the latter parts of my private practice days.

I agree. It's unfortunate that DSO's and other Corps for that matter .... are taking over the MOM and POP sole practitioners. But I've said it before. The younger generation are USED TO THIS enivronment. Amazon is everywhere and it's second nature to order from them. A household name. Everything is online. Even buying cars. Food. Online companies are big CORPORATES. Everything is Corp and unfortunately .... dentistry is headed that way. Maybe that's what the younger generation expects as normal.
 

AVB2104

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For sure. It's just that I don't have a viable backup plan. I'm on the wrong path for CS or Finance (not that I care for those careers anyways), I don't really have the risk tolerance to become an entrepreneur starting from nothing with nothing to fall back on if I fail. I suppose I could take a year and apply to med school, but I'll take my chances with dentistry.

Plus since my parents are helping with my educational cost for D school, realistically I shouldn't even get anywhere close to 400k debt no matter which school I attend
. I would have to make some big mistakes to get in that big of a hole. I also have some entrepreneurial aspirations in dentistry, owning a practice, growing it and expanding/scaling it into something bigger. Hopefully coming out with less debt will allow me to fulfill my aspirations.

If I was looking at 400k debt and just wanted to be an associate, not worth it at all imo
How much are your parents dropping for your education and living expenses?? A lot of private school can cost upwards of 600-700k with living
 

P7898

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For sure. It's just that I don't have a viable backup plan. I'm on the wrong path for CS or Finance (not that I care for those careers anyways), I don't really have the risk tolerance to become an entrepreneur starting from nothing with nothing to fall back on if I fail. I suppose I could take a year and apply to med school, but I'll take my chances with dentistry.

Plus since my parents are helping with my educational cost for D school, realistically I shouldn't even get anywhere close to 400k debt no matter which school I attend. I would have to make some big mistakes to get in that big of a hole. I also have some entrepreneurial aspirations in dentistry, owning a practice, growing it and expanding/scaling it into something bigger. Hopefully coming out with less debt will allow me to fulfill my aspirations.

If I was looking at 400k debt and just wanted to be an associate, not worth it at all imo
You never know. Life might change. And risks of owning a practice might change. You should always go into a profession being financially fine with the lowest amount of income. If you are not, then your heart is not in the right place my friend. Listen to your reasons dude: you do not want to be an entrepreneur of nothing..... yet you are fine being a dental entrepreneur....

You are fine having a big practice and making lots of money but yet if something happens in your life where you have to be an associate for a while I doubt you will be happy. It is not the money aspect that everyone talks about. It is going into a profession for the right reasons. I myself would be fine teaching at a university because I love the profession and what we get to do. But I also would be fine making a lot of money. I want it and would be happy with it both ways regardless. If you wouldn't be happy being an associate then you are just as greedy as the person in front of you in that respects.

You can always change your path. Do not let anyone tell you differently. You are never too far behind. I am sick and tired of people going into dentistry because they think they will be the 99th percentile of the profession. What happen to logic, humility, and sincerity.

I hope you end up in the 99th percentile. Really I do. I hate putting people down. But for the life of me, I did not get into music, I mean dentistry, to become the next Justin Beider, I mean a guy singing at a coffee shop, for the money - I do it because I love it.
 
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Cold Front

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Years ago I was invited to a social mixer by my GP friend who teaches at Midwestern Arizona. Free alcohol and food ... so I went. The mixer was attended by GPs, specialists and 4th yr dental students. ALL of the dentists invited were relatively successful. Plenty of talk of high collections, fancy cars, nice houses, boats, vacation homes, etc. etc. I do no recall a single conversation re: the excessive DS debt that these 4th yrs were going to be saddled with. Everyone was happy and lively. Of course the students were. They were being exposed to successful dentists. Do you think a struggling, local dentist in his/her 40's still paying off his Midwestern, NYU, USC DS debt would be there? Of course not. It's common nature for successful people to paint a rosy picture and less successful people to hide in the shadows. Pre-Dents definitely need to read these forums and get educated FAST. Because most everyone (program directors, successful older dentists who like to brag, press polls on best careers, etc. etc. are painting a very rosy future for these naive predents.


As for rural or semi-rural. Agreed that that is not the magic bullet or cure for high DS debt. But I still believe that practicing where no one wants to practice is a very wise financial move. Yes. Of course .... it's easier said than done. Yes. It's glamerous to live in desirable areas, but there is nothing glamerous about being BROKE in those areas.
I agree with this post 100%.

Optics are everything in this world. As the old adage goes, seeing is believing. It’s natural to think and assume (and judge) based on how our mind leads us to decisions based on a small and general impression of something we see at face value without knowing the full specifics. We do this every day as individuals, and other people/the world does the same back to us. It’s one of the biggest flaws of being a human.

Choosing dentistry as a pre-dent through that visual illusion decision making process is nothing short of a bear trap. The general path to dental school and beyond lacks true guidance for applicants, about everything they need to know. The people who are actively reinforcing pre-dents to apply to a dental school and join the profession are typically those who either have an obvious interest in the process or equally naive as the applicants.

Part of me thinks (probably a conspiracy) that the reason schools require to get shadowing hours at a dentist office is use those offices and dentists for not just showing pre-dents the clinical aspects of dentistry, but also - the “glitter” that comes with dentistry; the autonomy (of non-corporate dentist, which no pre-dent knows exactly what that means), the perceived opulent lifestyle, and all the other illusions. It makes it easier for dental schools to push the envelope on tuition and fees every year using that “must shadow a dentist” requirement. Parents and friends of the applicants also reinforce the dental school decision and push applicants by referencing their personal experiences (“I had a $1,200 crown and almost broke the bank for 1 tooth at my dentist”) and other misguided views on today’s dentistry. Name 1 patient who doesn’t think a dentist is well off?!

I agree, these forums and the likes are the last hope of truth for many pre-dents at this point. The outside and bigger world are still a bad place for them to access true guidance.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Apr 21, 2019
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You never know. Life might change. And risks of owning a practice might change. You should always go into a profession being financially fine with the lowest amount of income. If you are not, then your heart is not in the right place my friend. Listen to your reasons dude: you do not want to be an entrepreneur of nothing..... yet you are fine being a dental entrepreneur....

You are fine having a big practice and making lots of money but yet if something happens in your life where you have to be an associate for a while I doubt you will be happy. It is not the money aspect that everyone talks about. It is going into a profession for the right reasons. I myself would be fine teaching at a university because I love the profession and what we get to do. But I also would be fine making a lot of money. I want it and would be happy with it both ways regardless. If you wouldn't be happy being an associate then you are just as greedy as the person in front of you in that respects.

You can always change your path. Do not let anyone tell you differently. You are never too far behind. I am sick and tired of people going into dentistry because they think they will be the 99th percentile of the profession. What happen to logic, humility, and sincerity.

I hope you end up in the 99th percentile. Really I do. I hate putting people down. But for the life of me, I did not get into music, I mean dentistry, to become the next Justin Beider, I mean a guy singing at a coffee shop, for the money - I do it because I love it.
I think you're being really unfair to me by calling me greedy

I immigrated to this country. I came from literally nothing. Trust me if you have experienced that, you don't want to go back. If you haven't experienced that, then you can't see things from my perspective. I'll say it, I'm too scared to go pursue another path right now, dentistry gives me security. Dentistry is safe for me because I know I have my parents financial support even in the worst case scenarios.

It's not about chasing the top 1% at all, it's about hedging your bets against the bottom 10%. If you take out 400k+ loans, and you end up in the bottom 10%, you are literally screwed.
Military- safe
Parental $- safe
State school + scholarships- safe
High student loans- unsafe

I think you're on a slippery slope when you start talking about passion, this leads to the justification of taking out 500k loans to attend a dental school. "Don't worry about the loans, if you're passionate about dentistry, the loans will start paying themselves"
Also, I don't think any pre-dent can actually be passionate about dentistry, they haven't practiced a single day in their life. They can be passionate about the sciences, they can be passionate about helping people. Passionate about dentistry? I call BS on that
 

charlestweed

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.... I'll say it, I'm too scared to go pursue another path right now, dentistry gives me security. Dentistry is safe for me because I know I have my parents financial support even in the worst case scenarios.
You said you were too scared to pursue another path. You are not alone. Many predents also share your fear. They are fully aware of the greedy dental schools that charge high tuition, which they have no control over, but they are too scared to pursue another path. So no matter how much you try to educate them about the $500-600K debt, they still think it's a safer route. They won’t be rich dentists during the first 5-10 years but at least with their associate incomes, they can make monthly payments on their $5-600k student loans and still have some left for them to live. These new grad dentists should be in better financial shape than many college graduates, who have to get jobs that are totally unrelated to what they studied in college to pay back their student loans. And if some of these new grad dentists have the special talent like Coldfront and Tanman, they can open their own office....and the sky is the limit.....$500-600k debt will then become a small issue.
I think you're on a slippery slope when you start talking about passion, this leads to the justification of taking out 500k loans to attend a dental school. "Don't worry about the loans, if you're passionate about dentistry, the loans will start paying themselves"
Also, I don't think any pre-dent can actually be passionate about dentistry, they haven't practiced a single day in their life. They can be passionate about the sciences, they can be passionate about helping people. Passionate about dentistry? I call BS on that
Yeah, it’s BS. Most people choose dentistry because of the 6-figure income, ease of getting associate jobs after graduation, practice ownership, job security etc.....basically because of money. People just don’t want to admit it for fear of being criticized for being greedy. The whole point of getting an education beyond the HS and college years is to make more money. It’d be a stupid idea to take out student loan to study something that you love and don’t care about how much you get paid. Taking out student loan to pay for college/higher degree education is form of financial investment. It’s hard to love a job that can’t pay bills. You’ve got to be realistic.

There’s nothing wrong with working hard and making a lot of money. I guess some people are ok with making just enough, with paying bills every day and being a slave to the banks. To me, there’s no such thing as good debt. All debts are bad. I want to make a lot of money so I can free myself from being a slave to the banks. This Covid shutdown further strengthens my determination to become debt free ASAP.
 
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P7898

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I think you're being really unfair to me by calling me greedy

I immigrated to this country. I came from literally nothing. Trust me if you have experienced that, you don't want to go back. If you haven't experienced that, then you can't see things from my perspective. I'll say it, I'm too scared to go pursue another path right now, dentistry gives me security. Dentistry is safe for me because I know I have my parents financial support even in the worst case scenarios.

It's not about chasing the top 1% at all, it's about hedging your bets against the bottom 10%. If you take out 400k+ loans, and you end up in the bottom 10%, you are literally screwed.
Military- safe
Parental $- safe
State school + scholarships- safe
High student loans- unsafe

I think you're on a slippery slope when you start talking about passion, this leads to the justification of taking out 500k loans to attend a dental school. "Don't worry about the loans, if you're passionate about dentistry, the loans will start paying themselves"
Also, I don't think any pre-dent can actually be passionate about dentistry, they haven't practiced a single day in their life. They can be passionate about the sciences, they can be passionate about helping people. Passionate about dentistry? I call BS on that
I did not mean to call you greedy.... Just a notion of the word and framework surrounding people wanting to enter to this profession.

Congratulations. If you came from nothing then how could you parents afford $400k tuition price tag. I was on food stamps before with no parachute, I mean parental help, to fall back on. Lets not play the big stick here and get back to conversation.

I agree when you talk about passion. Passion in another sense though is thinking without logic. It is actually a sin in the Bible which is interesting. My friend, if you are passionate about doing things with your hands (wood working, drawing, welding, sculpting, sewing, the list could go on) you tie these things into dentistry because your forearms and wrists will be sore for forever. You will have to keep your back in shape on top of it and your neck.

It is hard to experience dentistry because you cannot do it. You can only see it in the eyes of people that want you to see them (aka successful dentists that wanting to "show off" to pre-dents). Regardless, if you do stuff with your hands day in and day out then you will love the profession. I did carpentry for 8 years before I started school. It all is related. I do not mean to bash you in any sense. I am talking to a larger audience than you on this forum. I am just being brutally honest.
 

drcobad

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Absolutely. But I hear military is very competitive, and I'm guessing it will continue getting more competitive as schools get pricier. The harsh reality is the military cannot accomodate all pre-dents, many are gonna be stuck having to take on full loans by themselves.
Times have definitely changed since year 2000. During that year, USAF needed to recruit 150 dentists but only did 30. There weren't enough USAF dentists so they needed to contract with private dentists stateside for their troops while sending their own overseas. During that time, my peers looked down on military dentists but I had the best dental experience to make it worth it.
 

drcobad

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I had some HS and college students shadow me while I was at my previous DMO. What I felt may be misleading to many was that they would come in around 10:00 am and watch me breeze through my high dollar procedures and think dentistry is easy (which was what I thought when I was shadowing). I tried to explain how the DMO system works and that these patients had to come at this location and not other private offices. Many private offices around the area were suffering because of my DMO. I told them that DS tuition is getting very expensive and that I went through the Military for that reason and gained valuable experience. It seemed many looked down on the Military probably because of the stereotype that Military dentists are losers. I had one memorable shadower who is of Iranian Persian descent and he and was so interested in molar RCTs. We have many Persians in my area and almost all of them live in the richest neighborhoods. There is a saying that in the rich areas, Farsi is spoken more than English. He didn't have to worry about student loans and with our numerous conversations on the microbiology of endo, his professor was so impressed, he gave him an easy A.
 
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Mathejm

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Hello, I would love to have current dentists, dental students, and pre-dental students to weigh in on my financial situation as it pertains to dental school and loan repayment.

I am a 21-year-old male who will be starting my D1 year this fall. My estimated cost of attendance is ~$375,000 not including interest. The entirety of that will be taken out in loans as of right now with an estimated interest rate of 8%. I plan on working in a rural area (the more profitable option on top of the lower cost of living) for at least however long it takes for me to become financially stable and secure. As far as I can tell the average income of a dentist is 150-180k per year. I am aggressively pursuing scholarships to offset the cost of attendance but they are obviously no guarantee.

Positives of my situation: 1) I am not a person of lavish taste; AKA I am okay living like a student for 3-5 years after graduation to focus solely on making a dent in my loans. 2) Willing to practice rural or whatever situation confers the best loan repayment prospects (PSLF, Military, etc) 3) I will only be 25-26 when I should theoretically be ready to earn an income. This gives me many years to repay the loans, build a practice, family, etc. 4) No children at the moment and do not plan on having children during dental school

Negatives of my situation: 1) The school I will be attending is expensive on top of being in a pretty expensive place to live. 2) Questionable future of dentistry as a whole moving forward (Corps, increased work for reduced reimbursements, high student loan debt of graduates >> bad clinical decisions because of pressure to pay back loans >> reduced credibility of the field as a whole) 3) Tuition expected to increase ~5% each year suggesting that estimated cost of attendance is a lowball estimate.

Unfortunately, the current direction of dentistry is giving me anxiety about my future and the ability to pay off my debt. I want to go into my D1 year with a clear head because I know it will be very stressful and challenging in itself. But I am having trouble not feeling down about what I have gotten myself into, especially because I have worked so hard to get here only to see it does not seem as nice as I thought it would.

What are some things I can do to better my situation? What can I do to simply feel better and more focused on going into dental school? What are some of your personal experiences with loans and the future direction dental field?
My advice would be to live like a student during dental school and don’t spend 40k in student loans on clothes and restaurant tabs. Spend 20-25k
 

BasicG

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Apr 25, 2018
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I’m about halfway done with my commitment and boy am I really glad I did it. My experience so far has been great and having no debt while making decent money(six figures) is fantastic. I was able to save a lot to buy a nice car and right now saving for a DP for a house. And let’s not forget I’ll have the GI bill later on.

The military is not perfect but I am glad I did it.
Do you agree with people who say you shouldn't take the HPSP for the money?
 
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