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Dec 22, 2020
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I'm currently a third year in college recently gaining interest in the dental field. however, i gained interest around the time the pandemic hit and i havent been able to get much shadowing hours in to know i want to commit 100% this profession.

ive been researching about dental school debt and im feeling very discouraged as im a first generation student living in CA. i want to stay and pursue dental career here in CA, but CA is so saturated and according to bls.gov (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291021.htm), gen dentists here earn less amount of money compared to other states.

im so worried about not being able to afford a (example)house later on with all the dental school debt i will be having alongside with opening a practice too. i dont think i will be able to stay at my house as i get older even if it saves me money just bc its a toxic environment. this occupation really interests me more than other fields but im just so discouraged about it because of how much debt i will be having and how i will be able to pay it off if i want to reside in CA.

does anyone have some advice or anything realistic about managing this debt... :(
 

Bigjt1420

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Go to the cheapest dental school possible, after you graduate go to a rural area somewhere in the US, live frugally for 4 years out there, pay off the vast majority of your debt and save some money, move back to CA and try to be an associate at a practice with a dentist who is like 60 and getting ready to retire, work with them for a few years, buy a smaller house, buy the practice, be in massive debt, work for 15 years to pay them both off, buy a new nice house, and boom you’re good to go hahahah

Im from CA so I know it’s insanely competitive. But I also have multiple family members who are dentists so that gives me a huge advantage. If I didn’t have them, I would probably go the route I outlined above to be honest. My buddy is on the “live frugally for 4 years part” and he is doing well in his rural area of the US. Learning a lot, placing implants, cheap living, etc.
 
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PerioDont

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Go to the cheapest dental school possible, after you graduate go to a rural area somewhere in the US, live frugally for 4 years out there, pay off the vast majority of your debt and save some money, move back to CA and try to be an associate at a practice with a dentist who is like 60 and getting ready to retire, work with them for a few years, buy a smaller house, buy the practice, be in massive debt, work for 15 years to pay them both off, buy a new nice house, and boom you’re good to go hahahah

Im from CA so I know it’s insanely competitive. But I also have multiple family members who are dentists so that gives me a huge advantage. If I didn’t have them, I would probably go the route I outlined above to be honest. My buddy is on the “live frugally for 4 years part” and he is doing well in his rural area of the US. Learning a lot, placing implants, cheap living, etc.
pretty much. living in CA is tough cost-wise for anyone, even dentists. If you really want to live there, be prepared for a lot of sacrifices, and that may mean living somewhere else for a few years as well to pay down debt
 
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PerioDont

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Realistically how long does it take to pay off 400k debt?
The easiest way to pay off your debt is to increase your income, which mainly in dentistry has to be done through practice ownership - which in many cases requires more debt. If you are a practice owner one year out of school, make an avg of 250-300k every year, many pay off their loans over around ten years.

You have to remember though that you will not be paying just 400k. One of my friends graduated at 450, took 9 years or so to pay off everything, and I believe the total he paid was around 800k with all the compounding interest. It is a huge life decision and one to consider very heavily to be in this level of debt without even having started your career.
 
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Big Time Hoosier

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O Cabra

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Big Time Hoosier

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But don’t bring the policies/beliefs that have made California such a terrible place to live with you.
They’re known as “blue locusts” in the surrounding states.


Big Hoss
 
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thetoothguy

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Realistically how long does it take to pay off 400k debt?

If you do the standard 10-year repayment plan and have not accounted for the interest accruing from day 1, you're looking at around 7k a month. NYU claimed we would have around 450k of debt but it was closer to 500 by graduation and 565 by the end of a 1 year-residency, where the standard 10-year bill would have been around 7k a month. If you legit only have 400k in debt by the time you begin repaying, then expect around 5-6k to be your monthly payment.

I can tell you right now that if you make 125k a year, which is a typical starting salary for a GP, you'll bring home about $6400 a month after tax (that's how much I bring home at 125k a year - I also work at a non-profit so the salary is slightly low for a GP).

In short, don't expect to be able to pay that debt off anytime soon. Aim to work at a non-profit, make sure you have direct loans from the government and do income-based repayment for 10 years. The final amount will be written off tax-free, but you only pay around $700 a month during those 10 years - versus up to 10x that amount. Much easier to live on $5800 a month than 400 - 1000 lol. Hope this helps.
 
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Carmencitas

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If you do the standard 10-year repayment plan and have not accounted for the interest accruing from day 1, you're looking at around 7k a month. NYU claimed we would have around 450k of debt but it was closer to 500 by graduation and 565 by the end of a 1 year-residency, where the standard 10-year bill would have been around 7k a month. If you legit only have 400k in debt by the time you begin repaying, then expect around 5-6k to be your monthly payment.

I can tell you right now that if you make 125k a year, which is a typical starting salary for a GP, you'll bring home about $6400 a month after tax (that's how much I bring home at 125k a year - I also work at a non-profit so the salary is slightly low for a GP).

In short, don't expect to be able to pay that debt off anytime soon. Aim to work at a non-profit, make sure you have direct loans from the government and do income-based repayment for 10 years. The final amount will be written off tax-free, but you only pay around $700 a month during those 10 years - versus up to 10x that amount. Much easier to live on $5800 a month than 400 - 1000 lol. Hope this helps.

Is there a tax bomb at the end of the 10 year program and do these programs affect your credit?
 

rippedbx

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Like was said above, the best way to pay off your student loans is to increase your income. I know new associate dentists that make $90k/year working full time here in California. I also know new associates that make $350k/year here too. You need to put yourself in a good situation. If you want to practice in California, you have to be willing to work hard. For comparison, I have a buddy that is 2 years out of school and making $550k this year in the midwest (even with COVID. But he works like a madman). The best thing is to analyze your personality and how you envision working. If the relaxed work schedule is the most attractive thing about dentistry you're probably not going to be a top earner and student loans will really hold you down. But if you're a work horse and financially minded then they potentially won't be a big deal at all. Also, I felt a moral obligation to become a practice owner because I was sick of only getting 2/3 of what I felt I deserved.
My $.02, if you want to make great money I would start dental school with a willingness to practice out of state.
 
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thetoothguy

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Is there a tax bomb at the end of the 10 year program and do these programs affect your credit?

For regular 10-year repayment plans, no. You’re just straight up paying it off (with interest of course). But for the 20-25 year income-based repayment, there is a MASSIVE tax bomb. There’s an article about an orthodontist, Mike Meru, who is gonna get slammed hard with one and likely have a tax bill of 800k due if he opts to have the likely 2 mil balance “forgiven” - I just mentioned that PSLF is tax free so you end up paying 10% of the regular payment but still end with the same result: wiped out debt.
 
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PerioDont

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Like was said above, the best way to pay off your student loans is to increase your income. I know new associate dentists that make $90k/year working full time here in California. I also know new associates that make $350k/year here too. You need to put yourself in a good situation. If you want to practice in California, you have to be willing to work hard. For comparison, I have a buddy that is 2 years out of school and making $550k this year in the midwest (even with COVID. But he works like a madman). The best thing is to analyze your personality and how you envision working. If the relaxed work schedule is the most attractive thing about dentistry you're probably not going to be a top earner and student loans will really hold you down. But if you're a work horse and financially minded then they potentially won't be a big deal at all. Also, I felt a moral obligation to become a practice owner because I was sick of only getting 2/3 of what I felt I deserved.
My $.02, if you want to make great money I would start dental school with a willingness to practice out of state.
What kind of jobs are these people in? Is it corps or PP? I have not seen those numbers for associates in California.

Even the 550k a year guy is he an owner? that is pretty incredible if he is an associate.
 
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