Batmansvoice

5+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2012
61
1
Status
Dental Student
Looking at my bank account, some days I think I would have come out much better if I had just stuck with a CS degree instead switching to a BS in bioinformatics to Dental School? Taxes are a killer especially for a single doc with no kids.
 
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321931

Looking at my bank account, some days I think I would have come out much better if I had just stuck with a CS degree instead switching to a BS in bioinformatics to Dental School? Taxes are a killer especially for a single doc with no kids.
When I first started associating, about 10k before tax. 6-7k after tax with a huge tax bomb end of the year.

Second year associating, about 15-20k before tax. 10k after tax with a huge tax bomb end of the year.

First year ownership, about 30-40k but paying myself about 5k before tax. Went 1.2 mil into debt for this.

I don't have anymore student loans though so I'm better off then most. I can't imagine how difficult life would be with half a mil in student loans. I think I will be fine in the end though. Business is alright, and I personally think I have a decent personality. There are some people in my class that I really think will struggle. Having a DDS degree does not equal success anymore. You have to be personable...likable...talk well...look well...do dentistry good.

If I could redo everything, I would look into plumbing, electrician, or CS degrees. I really think plumbers kill it. I sprung a leak in the office and had to wait 3 weeks for a reputable medical/dental plumber and charged me an arm and leg. If I had to stay in healthcare...maybe something that deals less with talking to people and less hands-on. If I could be a PA and prescribe creams all day while the Doc takes all the liability and I work 8-5....that would be awesome.
 
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small

10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2007
444
2
41
University Place, WA
Status
Dentist
I'm definitely in a better position financially than I would have been had I stuck with music or teaching English in Japan, but with all the debt and time involved to get my DDS I MIGHT have opted for a programming bootcamp or something. I live in Seattle metro, and there are not even close to enough coders/programmers to fill all the jobs available, but there are plenty of dentist! Student debt was near $450k out of school, but my $200-300k/year before tax/deductions/loan repayment still leaves me in the income-based repayment category! Ha! I did buy into a practice straight out of dental school, though, and I think that was generally a good move.

I guess going by the popular metrics for success, cars, houses, fancy office, vacations and such, I'm doing OK: office is simple but clean and bright, drive newer Mazda's, have a house we love (nothing fancy, but very lucky find for the area), kids in public schools, take one big trip overseas every year to visit family and several smaller trips in the US or Canada. After tax/loans/practice loan I'm probably keeping less $10k/month, though, which is probably what you could make in this area with only a coding certificate and a few years of good experience.

I only work 3 days a week, though, and have plenty of time to spend with my wife and kids. Very important. Work can be stressful sometimes, but that probably comes from having to deal with the corporate aspect of the practice my partner and I paid an arm and a leg for (PM me if you want details on that). Not sure if I'll ever pay off the student loans, though. Had a friend refinance into a private loan, but then some things changed in his life and he was making a lot less but couldn't have his loan payments reduced. Guess he could file bankruptcy now, though, if he wanted. People always advise on SDN to "keep living like a student, pay off your loans as quickly as possible," which is ideal but not always practical. The student loan debacle in the United States is another subject, though, deserving of its own thread.

Anyway, students considering dental school should definitely do the math with a realistic salary in mind before taking the plunge!
 
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321931

I'm definitely in a better position financially than I would have been had I stuck with music or teaching English in Japan, but with all the debt and time involved to get my DDS I MIGHT have opted for a programming bootcamp or something. I live in Seattle metro, and there are not even close to enough coders/programmers to fill all the jobs available, but there are plenty of dentist! Student debt was near $450k out of school, but my $200-300k/year before tax/deductions/loan repayment still leaves me in the income-based repayment category! Ha! I did buy into a practice straight out of dental school, though, and I think that was generally a good move.

I guess going by the popular metrics for success, cars, houses, fancy office, vacations and such, I'm doing OK: office is simple but clean and bright, drive newer Mazda's, have a house we love (nothing fancy, but very lucky find for the area), kids in public schools, take one big trip overseas every year to visit family and several smaller trips in the US or Canada. After tax/loans/practice loan I'm probably keeping less $10k/month, though, which is probably what you could make in this area with only a coding certificate and a few years of good experience.

I only work 3 days a week, though, and have plenty of time to spend with my wife and kids. Very important. Work can be stressful sometimes, but that probably comes from having to deal with the corporate aspect of the practice my partner and I paid an arm and a leg for (PM me if you want details on that). Not sure if I'll ever pay off the student loans, though. Had a friend refinance into a private loan, but then some things changed in his life and he was making a lot less but couldn't have his loan payments reduced. Guess he could file bankruptcy now, though, if he wanted. People always advise on SDN to "keep living like a student, pay off your loans as quickly as possible," which is ideal but not always practical. The student loan debacle in the United States is another subject, though, deserving of its own thread.

Anyway, students considering dental school should definitely do the math with a realistic salary in mind before taking the plunge!
But you obviously don't work hard enough, or didn't find the right opportunity, or there's no way you are taking home less then 10k/month or you didn't go rural enough! You are doing it all wrong my friend!

Thanks for painting a realistic picture of what it is like with all the repayments. Even though my practice generates a profit of 30-40k, thats before paying the loan which ends up going down to either 17-23k. And then don't forget about taxes to pay yourself that extra money....so yes, we are looking around 10k take home. But guess what, I don't take home that much because I leave a few extra thousand in the business bank in case of emergency/savings/repairs. So yes I def take home less then 10k and then I have a home to pay for...I don't have student loans thankfully. I also dump alot of money into 401k so some it's even less.

Mind you, I went 1.2 million dollars in debt for this. I think it will pay off in the end, but it's hard.

There's no porsche and vacations in my foreseeable future for a while. I would of been richer as a computer programmer, or a plumber or alot of other things. No PTO, no vacations, just alot of responsibilities on top of doing actual dentistry. Oh well, being my own boss is nice at least.
 
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sanfransunshine91

2+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2017
29
15
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Dental Student
Do you take home less than you were as an associate?

But you obviously don't work hard enough, or didn't find the right opportunity, or there's no way you are taking home less then 10k/month or you didn't go rural enough! You are doing it all wrong my friend!

Thanks for painting a realistic picture of what it is like with all the repayments. Even though my practice generates a profit of 30-40k, thats before paying the loan which ends up going down to either 17-23k. And then don't forget about taxes to pay yourself that extra money....so yes, we are looking around 10k take home. But guess what, I don't take home that much because I leave a few extra thousand in the business bank in case of emergency/savings/repairs. So yes I def take home less then 10k and then I have a home to pay for...I don't have student loans thankfully. I also dump alot of money into 401k so some it's even less.

Mind you, I went 1.2 million dollars in debt for this. I think it will pay off in the end, but it's hard.

There's no porsche and vacations in my foreseeable future for a while. I would of been richer as a computer programmer, or a plumber or alot of other things. No PTO, no vacations, just alot of responsibilities on top of doing actual dentistry. Oh well, being my own boss is nice at least.
 
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321931

Do you take home less than you were as an associate?
I like to think to myself that I make more:

1) There is business write-offs that amount to a certain percent saved. Meaning 150k as a W2 is alot different then 150k as a self-employed owner. So you make more
2) I work only 4 days a week now as compared to 5. On my best associate months, I took home about 10-15k after tax- but I WORKED HARD. Now I work less days....make more technically per day and do less dentistry...but more administrative headaches.
3) I am putting equity into my practice, so if I tech. wanted to sell, I could sell out in 7-10 years for I dunno 80-90% of collections and be well off.

Is the grass greener? yes, but its not for everybody. Everyone thinks buy a big practice and money rolls in. I'm not trying to be arrogant, but alot depends on your leadership, ability to talk to patients, to staff, to hire, to manage and I know quite a few people in my school that aren't cut out for it. I don't have student loans anymore though, so its a huge burden off my back.
 

Steins;Gate

2+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2015
233
85
Status
Dental Student
I like to think to myself that I make more:

1) There is business write-offs that amount to a certain percent saved. Meaning 150k as a W2 is alot different then 150k as a self-employed owner. So you make more
2) I work only 4 days a week now as compared to 5. On my best associate months, I took home about 10-15k after tax- but I WORKED HARD. Now I work less days....make more technically per day and do less dentistry...but more administrative headaches.
3) I am putting equity into my practice, so if I tech. wanted to sell, I could sell out in 7-10 years for I dunno 80-90% of collections and be well off.

Is the grass greener? yes, but its not for everybody. Everyone thinks buy a big practice and money rolls in. I'm not trying to be arrogant, but alot depends on your leadership, ability to talk to patients, to staff, to hire, to manage and I know quite a few people in my school that aren't cut out for it. I don't have student loans anymore though, so its a huge burden off my back.
Do you work rural? And how many years are you planning to pay off the whole practice note?
 

TanMan

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15+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2004
873
1,165
When I first started associating, about 10k before tax. 6-7k after tax with a huge tax bomb end of the year.

Second year associating, about 15-20k before tax. 10k after tax with a huge tax bomb end of the year.

First year ownership, about 30-40k but paying myself about 5k before tax. Went 1.2 mil into debt for this.

I don't have anymore student loans though so I'm better off then most. I can't imagine how difficult life would be with half a mil in student loans. I think I will be fine in the end though. Business is alright, and I personally think I have a decent personality. There are some people in my class that I really think will struggle. Having a DDS degree does not equal success anymore. You have to be personable...likable...talk well...look well...do dentistry good.

If I could redo everything, I would look into plumbing, electrician, or CS degrees. I really think plumbers kill it. I sprung a leak in the office and had to wait 3 weeks for a reputable medical/dental plumber and charged me an arm and leg. If I had to stay in healthcare...maybe something that deals less with talking to people and less hands-on. If I could be a PA and prescribe creams all day while the Doc takes all the liability and I work 8-5....that would be awesome.
Was it a med-gas certified plumber? Those guys do charge an arm and a leg, but that's why I use portable units. Otherwise, if it wasn't med-gas related, a regular plumber should suffice

Edit: He/she is right, I'd even argue that talking to people matters more than the quality of your work.
 
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321931

Do you work rural? And how many years are you planning to pay off the whole practice note?
It doesn't matter rural or not. I know dentists that struggle in metro and in rural areas. What happens when the loca manufacture in the rural town lays off people? What happens when they change insurance to hmo? What happens when a corporate clinic moves in?

Don't be naive to think that rural will mean succes but that is so wrong on so many levels.

I plan on paying off in 7-10 years.

I know some of my classmates that bought their practice and have it harder then me. They stress a lot.

I might be jaded but the reality is dentistry is a hard gig and the money isn't there until you put a lot of time and effort into the practice and even then you may or may not make it. The statement of live like a student for the first 10 years is understated. I think it's live worse then a student for the first 10 years. When you graduate at late 20s with school loans practice loans marriage house kids etc etc... There's no way you can just live like a student and dump everything into loans. You will have other obligations when u graduate. It's tough but in the end, I think I will end up fine.
 
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Steins;Gate

2+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2015
233
85
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Dental Student
It doesn't matter rural or not. I know dentists that struggle in metro and in rural areas. What happens when the loca manufacture in the rural town lays off people? What happens when they change insurance to hmo? What happens when a corporate clinic moves in?

Don't be naive to think that rural will mean succes but that is so wrong on so many levels.

I plan on paying off in 7-10 years.

I know some of my classmates that bought their practice and have it harder then me. They stress a lot.

I might be jaded but the reality is dentistry is a hard gig and the money isn't there until you put a lot of time and effort into the practice and even then you may or may not make it. The statement of live like a student for the first 10 years is understated. I think it's live worse then a student for the first 10 years. When you graduate at late 20s with school loans practice loans marriage house kids etc etc... There's no way you can just live like a student and dump everything into loans. You will have other obligations when u graduate. It's tough but in the end, I think I will end up fine.
Not naive, but you quoted an above poster and kind of said that he didn't go too rural enough. It almost alluded that you went more rural. I.e. reading between the lines.

It's kind of clear you don't really work super rural just looking at how much you cashflow pretax a year versus how much your practice note is.

Yes but when you get married, sometimes there is double income, no kids or DINK. Which is a bit better than just having two people on one income. But yeah it's tough out there.
 

TanMan

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Jul 21, 2004
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This is a good example on why a startup might be more cost effective than purchasing a practice. Going rural could mean more money initially, but if it's too rural, then your upper limit maybe less than a higher populated suburban area.
 
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