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Specializing and more loans

dmddmd89

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Hi everyone,


I wanted to get some advice on this matter. I have about 500K loan and I really want to specialize and no not because of money, because I’m very interested in the specialty. I have to take another 200k loan in order to do it. It’s going to be a lot of money :/

I have a plan in my mind, that after graduation, I refinance all my loans hopefully after one year with good credit score to 4%. I calculated that if I get the 4% rate, it will be about $5400 for 15 years to be paid off. I’m hoping that me and my spouse will have an income about 300-350K combined and hopefully it will be manageable to pay that $5400 monthly.


What are your thoughts?
 
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Sl1d3r

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Go for it. What do the kids say these days......... YOLO. Jokes aside. As stated above, do it if your in the position that you think you can specialize and don’t enjoy doing general dentistry. In my opinion it’s better to love what you do everyday. But make that decision with the understanding that you won’t be feeling the reward of your projected salary for a long time. Google the name Mike Meru if you want a potential snapshot of the financial implications of that much debt.
 

Big Time Hoosier

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Hi everyone,


I wanted to get some advice on this matter. I have about 500K loan and I really want to specialize and no not because of money, because I’m very interested in the specialty. I have to take another 200k loan in order to do it. It’s going to be a lot of money :/

I have a plan in my mind, that after graduation, I refinance all my loans hopefully after one year with good credit score to 4%. I calculated that if I get the 4% rate, it will be about $5400 for 15 years to be paid off. I’m hoping that me and my spouse will have an income about 300-350K combined and hopefully it will be manageable to pay that $5400 monthly.


What are your thoughts?
Let me guess, ortho right? You’re looking at like $800,000 after you factor in the tuition and accrued interest in residency. At your stated 4% interest rate and 15 year term, you’re monthly payment is $5,900. That’s $70,000 a year for the next decade and a half! And of course this is after tax money. So you’ll need to earn around $90,000/year just for your student loans. That is not accounting for any of life’s other expenses. I think that’s nuts. I also think it’s nuts to pay $500,000+ for a DDS/DMD.

It’s great you have a “plan,” but remember the best laid battle plans never survive the first shot.

Big Hoss
 
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larryguy1960

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I would want to have a combined income of approximately $600,000 with that future debt load. IMO you made a poor financial decision borrowing $500K for a DDS degree, do not make another one.
 
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Svart Aske

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Apply only to cheap or paid programs.
Otherwise don’t even bother. $7-800k is not a hole, it’s an abyss. Also, as a specialist you should dream bigger than $300k combined income.
 
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People ask this often, should I take x amount of debt to pursue GP/specialty? The answer just clicked in my brain. The ballpark answer is that the amount of loans you should take out should be equivalent to one year's median gross income throughout your dental career. The big question becomes, how much do you expect to make (on average)? If you're taking out 700k in loans, you should make at least 700k/year. Otherwise, you are existing/living just to pay off your loans.
 
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Cold Front

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Hi everyone,


I wanted to get some advice on this matter. I have about 500K loan and I really want to specialize and no not because of money, because I’m very interested in the specialty. I have to take another 200k loan in order to do it. It’s going to be a lot of money :/

I have a plan in my mind, that after graduation, I refinance all my loans hopefully after one year with good credit score to 4%. I calculated that if I get the 4% rate, it will be about $5400 for 15 years to be paid off. I’m hoping that me and my spouse will have an income about 300-350K combined and hopefully it will be manageable to pay that $5400 monthly.


What are your thoughts?

Always plan to pay off your student loans from your own income, and not from a combined spouse income. 15 yrs is a long time to count or lean on a combined income, anything can happen. Ask any dentist who worked for 15 yrs (I worked for 10 yrs) and they will tell you that a lot of things change financially during that period. Not to mention federal, state, and local income taxes going up. You could have kids and they are expensive. You could lose some interest in the specialty and work less hours. There will be at least 1 recession, just look at how covid19 changed dentistry and incomes. You could break up with your spouse and lose the leverage, hopefully not. What about buying a practice? What about buying a home and a car and getting yourself into more debt? But all these are realistic possibilities and can instantly change your plans.

But wow! $700k in student loans. Says a lot about the state of dentistry.
 
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AONLINE

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People ask this often, should I take x amount of debt to pursue GP/specialty? The answer just clicked in my brain. The ballpark answer is that the amount of loans you should take out should be equivalent to one year's median gross income throughout your dental career. The big question becomes, how much do you expect to make (on average)? If you're taking out 700k in loans, you should make at least 700k/year. Otherwise, you are existing/living just to pay off your loans.
Great point @TanMan. In your opinion, what is a reasonable average annual income for a dentist throughout his/her lifetime? Assuming that an average new grad starts out with $130k.
 
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P7898

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People ask this often, should I take x amount of debt to pursue GP/specialty? The answer just clicked in my brain. The ballpark answer is that the amount of loans you should take out should be equivalent to one year's median gross income throughout your dental career. The big question becomes, how much do you expect to make (on average)? If you're taking out 700k in loans, you should make at least 700k/year. Otherwise, you are existing/living just to pay off your loans.

This is what I try to preach and went off when I was looking at schools. If I couldn't find something for less then $200k dental school I was not going to dental school.
 

P7898

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Great point @TanMan. In your opinion, what is a reasonable average annual income for a dentist throughout his/her lifetime? Assuming that an average new grad starts out with $130k.

Variable. My significant other is around $180k going into the 2nd year out of AEGD. I know other people in other regions with an AEGD are around there or $200k. But without an AEGD $120-$130k is what I have seen. It pays to get good at specialty procedures.
 
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Great point @TanMan. In your opinion, what is a reasonable average annual income for a dentist throughout his/her lifetime? Assuming that an average new grad starts out with $130k.

I think a good target during your "steady" phase of practicing should be around 400-500k (income, not production/collections) at least.
 
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Cold Front

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If people are aiming for 200-220k for mid career associate, might as well not do dentistry at all.

A lot of specialists in mid career make about $300k +/- working 3-4 days a week. Which is about $50k post tax from $200-220k mid career associate income. That’s excluding the downward inflation adjustment from year to year.
 
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A lot of specialists in mid career make about $300k +/- working 3-4 days a week. Which is about $50k post tax from $200-220k mid career associate income. That’s excluding the downward inflation adjustment from year to year.

If that's true, then that's horribly depressing.
 
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ToothJockey

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From the 2018 ADA practice survey for a better sense of scale. View attachment 311500

According to this survey, 25% of all dentists are making less than $120k, and 50% are making less than $180k

Was this survey only for dentists under age 35 or something? I have a hard time believing half of all dentists (including specialists) are making <180k, unless they're fresh grads or working part time.
 

Blueshirts

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According to this survey, 25% of all dentists are making less than $120k, and 50% are making less than $180k

Was this survey only for dentists under age 35 or something? I have a hard time believing half of all dentists (including specialists) are making <180k, unless they're fresh grads or working part time.
Also have to question if owners have an S corp, are reporting on this survey what their paid salary is vs salary + distributions. This is why knowing what you can truly make as an owner is hard to know.
 
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According to this survey, 25% of all dentists are making less than $120k, and 50% are making less than $180k

Was this survey only for dentists under age 35 or something? I have a hard time believing half of all dentists (including specialists) are making <180k, unless they're fresh grads or working part time.

These numbers look suspect to me. Either they surveyed the worst possible candidates (people who work 1 day a week or are missing a hand) or they have a company who wants to lower the numbers to lower the expectations of future employees.

Also have to question if owners have an S corp, are reporting on this survey what their paid salary is vs salary + distributions. This is why knowing what you can truly make as an owner is hard to know.

Definitely, there's no way that practice owners would have a NOI that low (on average). If these numbers were to be believed, then there's no point in going into dentistry.
 
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ToothJockey

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they have a company who wants to lower the numbers to lower the expectations of future employees.

This is exactly what I was thinking. I have a hunch that maybe there is some corporate influence behind these numbers. I looked on some corp websites like aspen dental and they always quote the ADA or BLS average of 150k or 180k as a comparison tool for what they offer.

I have a feeling these corps want to make it seem like dentists are earning less than they actually are so they can get dentists to accept lowball offers. It makes sense, because dentistry doesn't have an accurate income survey like medicine does with MGMA. And corporate groups can make major profits off these guys working for pennies on the dollar.
 
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Boat on the Chesapeake

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This is exactly what I was thinking. I have a hunch that maybe there is some corporate influence behind these numbers. I looked on some corp websites like aspen dental and they always quote the ADA or BLS average of 150k or 180k as a comparison tool for what they offer.

There could be some truth to that. I think another big part is that a lot of perks as an owner like expenses you run through the company don’t show up in salary or owner dividends, and so that doesn’t show the whole picture.


This recent Dental Economics article puts the “average” practice revenue at $1.2 million and overhead at 64.5%, therefore owner income at $426k. That still seems a little high to me. By the above logic, wouldn’t the Levin group and other consulting firms have motivation to inspire jealousy in dentists in order to sell their services?

The true numbers probably lie somewhere in between the Levin group survey and ADA surveys. My personal feeling is that most dentists I know are either not ambitious enough and/or not talented enough to average $500k. A lot only want to work part time or with an easy schedule. I only know 1-2 dentists that are on TanMan’s level so they definitely exist though, maybe the top 10% or so of solo owners. My advice would be don’t take out $500k in student loans on the assumption you’ll average $500k for most of your career as a GP (not accounting for inflation).
 

ToothJockey

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There could be some truth to that. I think another big part is that a lot of perks as an owner like expenses you run through the company don’t show up in salary or owner dividends, and so that doesn’t show the whole picture.


This recent Dental Economics article puts the “average” practice revenue at $1.2 million and overhead at 64.5%, therefore owner income at $426k. That still seems a little high to me. By the above logic, wouldn’t the Levin group and other consulting firms have motivation to inspire jealousy in dentists in order to sell their services?

The true numbers probably lie somewhere in between the Levin group survey and ADA surveys. My personal feeling is that most dentists I know are either not ambitious enough and/or not talented enough to average $500k. A lot only want to work part time or with an easy schedule. I only know 1-2 dentists that are on TanMan’s level so they definitely exist though, maybe the top 10% or so of solo owners. My advice would be don’t take out $500k in student loans on the assumption you’ll average $500k for most of your career as a GP (not accounting for inflation).

To be fair in that article you mentioned, it said that the $1.2M revenue was for 1.7 dentists per practice.

"This year’s average total practice revenue of $1,193,934 was 11.4% higher than in 2018. The average responding practice had 1.7 dentists and 1.6 hygienists to produce this amount."

I don't think $1.2M revenues for practices averaging almost 2 dentists and 2 hygenists per practice is a lot. It seems pretty reasonable. If hygiene is doing $300k, then that means each dentist is producing about $450k which isn't that high. It's about ~2k a day which any GP should be able to do.

I agree that most dentists probably won't be making 500k, nor should they be taking out anywhere close to 500k in loans. My personal cap is 200-300k in loans regardless of how much I expect to earn in the future.
 
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teefturnsmeon

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Let me guess, ortho right? You’re looking at like $800,000 after you factor in the tuition and accrued interest in residency. At your stated 4% interest rate and 15 year term, you’re monthly payment is $5,900. That’s $70,000 a year for the next decade and a half!

Big Hoss
At this point, is ortho even worth it anymore? Imagine going to NYU and then an ortho residency. That's financial suicide.
 

Cold Front

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If that's true, then that's horribly depressing.

A majority of dentists make less then 250k (which doesn’t really feel like $250k from 10 yrs ago), and the same majority will not make above $300k for the next 10 years - thanks to declining reimbursements from dental insurances and the ever increasing overhead (rent, supplies, payroll, lab fees, etc). So essentially that’s the bottom line, while student loans balloon at 4-5% every year. People can refute this conservative analysis, but they are mostly pre-dents.
 
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A majority of dentists make less then 250k (which doesn’t really feel like $250k from 10 yrs ago), and the same majority will not make above $300k for the next 10 years - thanks to declining reimbursements from dental insurances and the ever increasing overhead (rent, supplies, payroll, lab fees, etc). So essentially that’s the bottom line, while student loans balloon at 4-5% every year. People can refute this conservative analysis, but they are mostly pre-dents.

Hopefully that's not true since that would really make the debt burden not worth pursuing. Being stuck at 250-350k is a huge downer. When you say majority, are you referring to associates only or owners too?
 

P7898

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Hopefully that's not true since that would really make the debt burden not worth pursuing. Being stuck at 250-350k is a huge downer. When you say majority, are you referring to associates only or owners too?

There is a big difference here. Myself, I wouldn't mind $200k (mid career) a year because I am going to be in ~$130k of debt. I mean the fallacy that you have to make $300k+ to be happy is delusional. But if I were in $400k+ debt yeah I wouldn't be happy financially but I also can make informed decisions on my own. Apparently a lot of people cannot look at facts or numbers and make an informed decision these days.

I have GP friends that did start ups and are making $500k bread and butter in the North Central US and $800k doing implants in the Deep South as a GP. Took about 2-3 years for them to ramp up and they were associates elsewhere while easing into it. Yet they were in double my debt. So it just astonishes me that people choose their career based on a number but can't own up to their own mistakes of not making informed decisions and have to justify it by finding the highest paying thing to do.
 
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There is a big difference here. Myself, I wouldn't mind $200k (mid career) a year because I am going to be in ~$130k of debt. I mean the fallacy that you have to make $300k+ to be happy is delusional. But if I were in $400k+ debt yeah I wouldn't be happy financially but I also can make informed decisions on my own. Apparently a lot of people cannot look at facts or numbers and make an informed decision these days.

I have GP friends that did start ups and are making $500k bread and butter in the North Central US and $800k doing implants in the Deep South as a GP. Took about 2-3 years for them to ramp up and they were associates elsewhere while easing into it. Yet they were in double my debt. So it just astonishes me that people choose their career based on a number but can't own up to their own mistakes of not making informed decisions and have to justify it by finding the highest paying thing to do.

Is it bad to find the highest paying job? Should the potential income dictate the amount of debt that a person should take or is it the other way around? Hindsight is 20/20 and I can't blame people for finding the highest paying job. I don't think it's fair to demonize them for wanting to maximize their profit potential.
 
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Cold Front

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Hopefully that's not true since that would really make the debt burden not worth pursuing. Being stuck at 250-350k is a huge downer. When you say majority, are you referring to associates only or owners too?

Associates. Practice ownership has been declining too for 2 reasons; more student loans and more female dentists who are less likely to own an office. Not my words, the ADA’s. So the future means more associates (hence why DSOs are growing), and majority of associates and some practice owners are less likely to make above $300k in at least next 10 yrs. I can’t think of a scenario for them to make more when you do the maths; inflation, stagnant insurance reimbursements, and corporation encroachments. Except if they go rural, and we all know how many dentists want to work in rural areas.

So... yes, pre-dents should probably know this.
 
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Associates. Practice ownership has been declining too for 2 reasons; more student loans and more female dentists who are less likely to own an office. Not my words, the ADA’s. So the future means more associates (hence why DSOs are growing), and majority of associates and some practice owners are less likely to make above $300k in at least next 10 yrs. I can’t think of a scenario for them to make more when you do the maths; inflation, stagnant insurance reimbursements, and corporation encroachments. Except if they go rural, and we all know how many dentists want to work in rural areas.

So... yes, pre-dents should probably know this.

If it's true, then dentistry isn't really worth going into. I know I'd be miserable as heck if I was stuck at 360k/year as a practice owner.
 

Cold Front

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If it's true, then dentistry isn't really worth going into. I know I'd be miserable as heck if I was stuck at 360k/year as a practice owner.

I’m surprised you think a lot of dentists make over $360k. “A lot” as in most dentists can make over $360k/year. I worked in a busy corporate office, and the lead general dentist in the office made $250-300k at the office (a $2M/yr in revenue). I personally know at least 50 associate general dentists as friends and friends of friends, and few of them make over $300k.

Here is the thing:

1. Associate dentists work on production or base salaries with benefits. By mid career, majority of dentists are not working 5 days a week at age 45-55 and beyond. Maybe some, but most are working 4 days or less a week. So that’s at least 20% drop in their pre mid career income. Do you know a 50 yr old dentist working 5 days a week? So even if they earned more than $300k/yr in income before age 45, which puts them in the top 20% of associate income, the majority are definitely making below $300k for sure after age 45. It’s a very stressful and physically demanding profession, so no dentist works 5 days a week from day 1 in the chair until they retire. Mid career is a turning point in number of hours worked, it’s also when the learning curve plateaus very flat. This comes with contraction of earnings for most dentists too. Decades of paying of debt (student loans, mortgage, raising kids, etc) takes a toll on dentists as humans. So beyond age 45, the exhaustion pulls a dentist back, and with that - their income is pulled back too.

2. Owner dentists also work less days eventually by mid career. But I think they have the extra benefit of getting out of debt sooner and slowing down sooner, but they can enjoy making the same level of income at mid career by hiring an associate. Even that can be a very illusive process, as the average associate works 5 yrs or much less for their employer. So while owner dentists has more headaches than associates to keep their income up, it still requires some level of risk to keep the same income by mid career. Most owner dentists actually don’t hire an associate and just choose to work solo - and just learn to control their schedule productively. It’s still a year to year approach and goals. No owner dentist makes the exact same income year to year; there are some great years, and some not so great years. Depending on goals and life demands, mid career owner dentists work uber hard for few years to pay off their kids college, or pay off mortgage, or buy a boat, or whatever motivates them financially... but when those goals are crossed off, they take their foot off the gas and their income goes down just like an associate.

I should look into doing a CE course on this topic at this point.
 
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I’m surprised you think a lot of dentists make over $360k. “A lot” as in most dentists can make over $360k/year. I worked in a busy corporate office, and the lead general dentist in the office made $250-300k at the office (a $2M/yr in revenue). I personally know at least 50 associate general dentists as friends and friends of friends, and few of them make over $300k.

Here is the thing:

1. Associate dentists work on production or base salaries with benefits. By mid career, majority of dentists are not working 5 days a week at age 45-55 and beyond. Maybe some, but most are working 4 days or less a week. So that’s at least 20% drop in their pre mid career income. Do you know a 50 yr old dentist working 5 days a week? So even if they earned more than $300k/yr in income before age 45, which puts them in the top 20% of associate income, the majority are definitely making below $300k for sure after age 45. It’s a very stressful and physically demanding profession, so no dentist works 5 days a week from day 1 in the chair until they retire. Mid career is a turning point in number of hours worked, it’s also when the learning curve plateaus very flat. This comes with contraction of earnings for most dentists too. Decades of paying of debt (student loans, mortgage, raising kids, etc) takes a toll on dentists as humans. So beyond age 45, the exhaustion pulls a dentist back, and with that - their income is pulled back too.

2. Owner dentists also work less days eventually by mid career. But I think they have the extra benefit of getting out of debt sooner and slowing down sooner, but they can enjoy making the same level of income at mid career by hiring an associate. Even that can be a very illusive process, as the average associate works 5 yrs or much less for their employer. So while owner dentists has more headaches than associates to keep their income up, it still requires some level of risk to keep the same income by mid career. Most owner dentists actually don’t hire an associate and just choose to work solo - and just learn to control their schedule productively. It’s still a year to year approach and goals. No owner dentist makes the exact same income year to year; there are some great years, and some not so great years. Depending on goals and life demands, mid career owner dentists work uber hard for few years to pay off their kids college, or pay off mortgage, or buy a boat, or whatever motivates them financially... but when those goals are crossed off, they take their foot off the gas and their income goes down just like an associate.

I should look into doing a CE course on this topic at this point.

I would think that if you are used to working at such a high level/relatively higher productive level that working any less would just seem boring AF. Perhaps it's my mentality of "all or nothing". Either throw everything you can at me or I really don't feel like coming in. There's no point in working half @ss. I can see where people would take less days, but I would think that in those less days, you can cram in more work... i.e if you were producing 80k/week in 4.5 working days (30 hours), you could cram that in 3.5 working days (24 hours).
 
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ToothJockey

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I would think that if you are used to working at such a high level/relatively higher productive level that working any less would just seem boring AF. Perhaps it's my mentality of "all or nothing". Either throw everything you can at me or I really don't feel like coming in. There's no point in working half @ss. I can see where people would take less days, but I would think that in those less days, you can cram in more work... i.e if you were producing 80k/week in 4.5 working days (30 hours), you could cram that in 3.5 working days (24 hours).

I wish I got the opportunity to shadow you. I've never seen a dentist hustle as much as you seem to.

Just out of curiosity, do you do a lot of advertising? How do you get so many patients to produce that much?
 
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I wish I got the opportunity to shadow you. I've never seen a dentist hustle as much as you seem to.

Just out of curiosity, do you do a lot of advertising? How do you get so many patients to produce that much?

Yes. I believe that is the key. In these tough economic times, when everyone else is reeling and cutting their ad budgets, I've increased my ad budget. I'm a little on edge since I'm short on rooms and this construction needs to hurry the hell up. My tolerance for non-productive procedures such as fillings is wearing thin.

It is called a hat trick. RTC, buildup, and crown = @TanMan bread and butter.

The bigger hat trick is doing 3 of them at the same hour block.
 
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Boat on the Chesapeake

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Also lol @ TanMan saying he'd be miserable making 360k as a practice owner.



It’s all relative.

002071b206d5abf604739f69879470bf67dc3aaafc0db35c18b4afdc46bedccc_1.jpg
 
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I’m surprised you think a lot of dentists make over $360k. “A lot” as in most dentists can make over $360k/year. I worked in a busy corporate office, and the lead general dentist in the office made $250-300k at the office (a $2M/yr in revenue). I personally know at least 50 associate general dentists as friends and friends of friends, and few of them make over $300k.

Here is the thing:

1. Associate dentists work on production or base salaries with benefits. By mid career, majority of dentists are not working 5 days a week at age 45-55 and beyond. Maybe some, but most are working 4 days or less a week. So that’s at least 20% drop in their pre mid career income. Do you know a 50 yr old dentist working 5 days a week? So even if they earned more than $300k/yr in income before age 45, which puts them in the top 20% of associate income, the majority are definitely making below $300k for sure after age 45. It’s a very stressful and physically demanding profession, so no dentist works 5 days a week from day 1 in the chair until they retire. Mid career is a turning point in number of hours worked, it’s also when the learning curve plateaus very flat. This comes with contraction of earnings for most dentists too. Decades of paying of debt (student loans, mortgage, raising kids, etc) takes a toll on dentists as humans. So beyond age 45, the exhaustion pulls a dentist back, and with that - their income is pulled back too.

2. Owner dentists also work less days eventually by mid career. But I think they have the extra benefit of getting out of debt sooner and slowing down sooner, but they can enjoy making the same level of income at mid career by hiring an associate. Even that can be a very illusive process, as the average associate works 5 yrs or much less for their employer. So while owner dentists has more headaches than associates to keep their income up, it still requires some level of risk to keep the same income by mid career. Most owner dentists actually don’t hire an associate and just choose to work solo - and just learn to control their schedule productively. It’s still a year to year approach and goals. No owner dentist makes the exact same income year to year; there are some great years, and some not so great years. Depending on goals and life demands, mid career owner dentists work uber hard for few years to pay off their kids college, or pay off mortgage, or buy a boat, or whatever motivates them financially... but when those goals are crossed off, they take their foot off the gas and their income goes down just like an associate.

I should look into doing a CE course on this topic at this point.
This is why I always tell young kids to study hard in school and try not to take any gap year. The sooner they start working, invest wisely, and save for their future retirement, the less they will have to work when they when they are in their 40s and 50s...when the aging body starts to have aches and pains. On another post, someone mentioned being 25 yo is young. I don't think so if this 25 yo person doesn't have any college degree and has zero career plan. 25 is a young age if this person is already in his 2nd and 3rd year of dental or med school. After graduation, it will take another 2-3 years (or more) for him/her to save enough to start a practice. And another 1-2 years for the practice to grow. And another 5-10 years for him/her to pay off all the debts (student loans, practice loans, home loans etc).....he/she will be at least 40 if he/she doesn't take any gap year. At 40, one should at least be done with the student loan. And at 50, one should not have to worry about work and about paying bills.....aka financially independent. Time flies and life is too short.
 
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Also lol @ TanMan saying he'd be miserable making 360k as a practice owner.

If you were making only 360k (real, not accounting-wise), then going through the motions/problems of practice ownership aren't worth the headaches.

This is why I always tell young kids to study hard in school and try not to take any gap year. The sooner they start working, invest wisely, and save for their future retirement, the less they will have to work when they when they are in their 40s and 50s...when the aging body starts to have aches and pains. On another post, someone mentioned being 25 yo is young. I don't think so if this 25 yo person doesn't have any college degree and has zero career plan. 25 is a young age if this person is already in his 2nd and 3rd year of dental or med school. After graduation, it will take another 2-3 years (or more) for him/her to save enough to start a practice. And another 1-2 years for the practice to grow. And another 5-10 years for him/her to pay off all the debts (student loans, practice loans, home loans etc).....he/she will be at least 40 if he/she doesn't take any gap year. At 40, one should at least be done with the student loan. And at 50, one should not have to worry about work and about paying bills.....aka financially independent. Time flies and life is too short.

Exactly. Times flies too fast. Needing to work past 65+ seems like a pointless endeavour/waste of life unless you have nothing else to do (which is unfortunately the situation in this COVID era).
 

Cold Front

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There's no point in working half @ss. I can see where people would take less days, but I would think that in those less days, you can cram in more work... i.e if you were producing 80k/week in 4.5 working days (30 hours), you could cram that in 3.5 working days (24 hours).
Naturally, some people just enjoy working very hard. I have friends who are truck drivers and love being on the road 24/7, but they don’t make tons of money. I also have friends who enjoy working hard but for more money, and if the money isn’t going up with hard work, they tend to change goals to purse more money. The distinction lies in the motivation to work hard and not solely working hard. I suppose the people who work “half @ss” simply don’t enjoy working hard all together, even if it leads to making more money.
 
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Naturally, some people just enjoy working very hard. I have friends who are truck drivers and love being on the road 24/7, but they don’t make tons of money. I also have friends who enjoy working hard but for more money, and if the money isn’t going up with hard work, they tend to change goals to purse more money. The distinction lies in the motivation to work hard and not solely working hard. I suppose the people who work “half @ss” simply don’t enjoy working hard all together, even if it leads to making more money.

Probably take into account the proportionality of hard work v. money. If my hard work yielded very little money, I would definitely not work hard. If there was marginal gain for a disproportionately high amount of additional work, I wouldn't put in that labor just to make a little more. I think these are my terms of working hard.
 
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Cold Front

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Probably take into account the proportionality of hard work v. money. If my hard work yielded very little money, I would definitely not work hard. If there was marginal gain for a disproportionately high amount of additional work, I wouldn't put in that labor just to make a little more. I think these are my terms of working hard.

It’s an elastic mindset. I worked hard to stop working hard, which meant I had to pursue a good “hard work” money, and that money would create the opportunity to not work hard - the “smart” money so to speak. A good smart money can eventually top any hard work money from dentistry - as an individual dentist. This requires embracing change and thinking beyond outside dentistry. Which you have achieved already, doing things that many dentists struggled to do.
 
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ToothJockey

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It’s an elastic mindset. I worked hard to stop working hard, which meant I had to pursue a good “hard work” money, and that money would create the opportunity to not work hard - the “smart” money so to speak. A good smart money can eventually top any hard work money from dentistry - as an individual dentist. This requires embracing change and thinking beyond outside dentistry. Which you have achieved already, doing things that many dentists struggled to do.

Exactly. Take the hard work money from dentistry and dump it into real estate and the stock market
Eventually your money will be working for you. This is smart money.

When you take out 500k in loans (+200k for specializing), you're working hard so you can pay the government. When you have no loans, you're working hard so you can invest in yourself and achieve financial independence. The less loans you take, the earlier you can start paying yourself instead of the government.
 
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