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What Does The Financial Future Hold For Us?


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Maybe I'm freaking out about nothing, but maybe I have a point. So dental school is going to be running us all about 250k. Let's say you come out of dental school and land an associate job making 80k a year. After taxes that's 60k. So with that 60k salary how are you going to pay your loans back, get a house, car, maybe start a family and all that jazz? What about starting your own practice? How are we going to pay for that? Dentistry is my passion and I know it's what I've wanted to do practically all my life, but I feel like I'll be paying back my debt for a long time and that the profession isn't as financially stable as I thought. My dream is to be an orthodontist, but I keep reading everywhere that the profession isn't what it used to be and is in a pretty bad decline. Basically what I'm trying to say is how in the world are we supposed to pay back student loans, open a practice, and make major purchases like a house and a car. Am I freaking out too much? I honestly don't care about being rich or anything like that, I just want to comfortable and not stressing about being chained down by these loans. I thought a good way to secure my finances would be to join the DOTP that the armed forces provides, but that is a 7 year commitment and so much of your money is locked away in pension (especially when you follow the current increasing trend) and you're paying so much taxes on it too. If I were to join the armed forces I feel like I would barely make enough to pay off orthodontic school and live decently. I just haven't been able to sleep the past two days. Is anyone having similar thoughts? 

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If you want to join the army, they pay dental school for you, with a 60k/yr salary on top during dental school, with a guaranteed 140k/yr starting salary, which goes up every year. If you want to specialize through the army, once you've done your x years of service as a general dentist, they will pay specialty school for you on top of your usual salary. (source: friend is in the army as a dentist now)
 

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Its definitely going to be a tough journey. There is a oversupply and the population to dentist ratio is decreasing. There are more dentists in Richmondhill than there are ATMs! But on the bright side, more dentists are getting old and retiring more people are seeing the dentist, total dental expenditures are going up and demand is definitely increasing. There is three times more demand for dentists in undeserved areas! If you want to make more than 80k then you need to go rural.  The profession is definitely changing but is not going to die! The ones who will adapt to change and can run a successful practice in this competitive climate will thrive and make money. 

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What I take from this line on the website

 

"You receive a salary, medical and dental care, and paid vacation in exchange for working for the Forces for a period of time."

 

...Is that the salary they provide is to cover the total costs of dental school, housing, and give you about an extra 1k/month to live off of. They won't pay for orthodontic school because they don't have the need for them in the military. Also it says they'll pay for the speciality school, but in return you have to give another few years of service. Sure the salary increases each year, but so does your contribution to your pension and taxes. I worked it out to be approximately 435k over 7 years when you add in the current projections of pension and taxes, but thats a pretty rough estimate. So you'll have 62k/year of cold hard cash in which I'd be spending around half of which on orthodontic school (depends on if you stay in Canada or go to the US or Australia) and the rest would be living money. I'd be living off 2-3k a month to house me and make a life for myself. I'd be serving when I'm 25 till I'm 32. Those are some pretty key years of your life to live like that and then to go into a profession that is apparently on quite the decline. I mean sure you can argue that you might get married and you'll also be supported by your spouse, but I have to plan for myself. What if I do all that and come out of orthodontics at 35 and it's just as bad as I thought. I would have wasted my whole life working towards a dream that was never going to pan out. 

 

So I'm not sure if I have this wrong or not...

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What I take from this line on the website

 

"You receive a salary, medical and dental care, and paid vacation in exchange for working for the Forces for a period of time."

 

...Is that the salary they provide is to cover the total costs of dental school, housing, and give you about an extra 1k/month to live off of. They won't pay for orthodontic school because they don't have the need for them in the military. Also it says they'll pay for the speciality school, but in return you have to give another few years of service. Sure the salary increases each year, but so does your contribution to your pension and taxes. I worked it out to be approximately 435k over 7 years when you add in the current projections of pension and taxes, but thats a pretty rough estimate. So you'll have 62k/year of cold hard cash in which I'd be spending around half of which on orthodontic school (depends on if you stay in Canada or go to the US or Australia) and the rest would be living money. I'd be living off 2-3k a month to house me and make a life for myself. I'd be serving when I'm 25 till I'm 32. Those are some pretty key years of your life to live like that and then to go into a profession that is apparently on quite the decline. I mean sure you can argue that you might get married and you'll also be supported by your spouse, but I have to plan for myself. What if I do all that and come out of orthodontics at 35 and it's just as bad as I thought. I would have wasted my whole life working towards a dream that was never going to pan out. 

 

So I'm not sure if I have this wrong or not...

No, from the experience of my friends, the salary they provide is on top of paying dental school. And being 100% dead set on ortho is your call to make! If you enter dental school with an open mind, you may realize you like another field or that you don't want to specialize once you actually start doing different procedures

 

I also have to add that even a first year dentist should not be making 80k if he's flexible (time wise and location wise) lol

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Maybe I'm freaking out about nothing, but maybe I have a point. So dental school is going to be running us all about 250k. Let's say you come out of dental school and land an associate job making 80k a year. After taxes that's 60k. So with that 60k salary how are you going to pay your loans back, get a house, car, maybe start a family and all that jazz? What about starting your own practice? How are we going to pay for that? Dentistry is my passion and I know it's what I've wanted to do practically all my life, but I feel like I'll be paying back my debt for a long time and that the profession isn't as financially stable as I thought. My dream is to be an orthodontist, but I keep reading everywhere that the profession isn't what it used to be and is in a pretty bad decline. Basically what I'm trying to say is how in the world are we supposed to pay back student loans, open a practice, and make major purchases like a house and a car. Am I freaking out too much? I honestly don't care about being rich or anything like that, I just want to comfortable and not stressing about being chained down by these loans. I thought a good way to secure my finances would be to join the DOTP that the armed forces provides, but that is a 7 year commitment and so much of your money is locked away in pension (especially when you follow the current increasing trend) and you're paying so much taxes on it too. If I were to join the armed forces I feel like I would barely make enough to pay off orthodontic school and live decently. I just haven't been able to sleep the past two days. Is anyone having similar thoughts? 

 

I too have been having the exact same thoughts. I'm really struggling with the amount of debt I would be going into if I am accepted and joining the DOTP program is a huge commitment as you're really not gonna have full say of where you live. 

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Oh okay! Wow that changes some things for sure. Service would be so rewarding and would definitely enjoy the adventure and discipline they'd provide, but it has to make financial sense! Thanks for clearing that up for me! Yeah that's pretty true, you never know what'll peak your interest. What do you (guys and gals) think/through your experience believe what a fair outlook for a graduated dentist looks like? Like approximately how long would it take for you to be financially stable enough to open a practice of your own in an urban location? How long would it take to be financially stable to be able to support yourself through orthodontic school without the debt eating away at your soul for the rest of your life?

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You're not going to be making only 80k after you graduate. The dentist I shadowed in the GTA hires associates for 120k minimum. Also your salary will increase quickly as you learn to perform procedures more efficiently. I haven't spoken to a single dentist who said they were struggling.

 

Dentistry won't get you rich quickly though. It isn't even that lucrative of a career. if you consider how much money you can make being a carpenter (say 40k average over 8 years = 320k) out of high-school and the fact that you don't have to pay tuition totaling 280k for 8 years, being a carpenter doesn't seem too bad if you're all about the money. You're starting 600k ahead of a dentist.

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You're not going to be making only 80k after you graduate. The dentist I shadowed in the GTA hires associates for 120k minimum. Also your salary will increase quickly as you learn to perform procedures more efficiently. I haven't spoken to a single dentist who said they were struggling.

 

Dentistry won't get you rich quickly though. It isn't even that lucrative of a career. if you consider how much money you can make being a carpenter (say 40k average over 8 years = 320k) out of high-school and the fact that you don't have to pay tuition totaling 280k for 8 years, being a carpenter doesn't seem too bad if you're all about the money. You're starting 600k ahead of a dentist.

 

I agree with you, except for your reasoning about the carpenter. I come from a family of hands-on businessmen and trust me it's not that simple. You're LIVING on a 40k salary. You're not saving that money. A dentist is investing in a higher standard of living for when they graduate and finally pay off their loans. Not many professions allow someone to make a starting salary of 120 or 100 or even 80k.

Just my two cents.

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I agree with you, except for your reasoning about the carpenter. I come from a family of hands-on businessmen and trust me it's not that simple. You're LIVING on a 40k salary. You're not saving that money. A dentist is investing in a higher standard of living for when they graduate and finally pay off their loans. Not many professions allow someone to make a starting salary of 120 or 100 or even 80k.

Just my two cents.

You're right. I oversimplified the issue. But I still think that if you're simply in it for the money, dentistry is the wrong career. 

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You're right. I oversimplified the issue. But I still think that if you're simply in it for the money, dentistry is the wrong career. 

 

True. The way I see it - any health professional should be after something more than money. A patient does not want to feel like they're a commodity. That is why all of these unethical practices arise when we have corporate-owned dental practices which are just after the bottom line. 

 

Nonetheless, I think a career in dentistry is relatively stable and flexible career which also offers a comfortable lifestyle. We should consider ourselves lucky :)

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True. The way I see it - any health professional should be after something more than money. A patient does not want to feel like they're a commodity. That is why all of these unethical practices arise when we have corporate-owned dental practices which are just after the bottom line. 

 

Nonetheless, I think a career in dentistry is relatively stable and flexible career which also offers a comfortable lifestyle. We should consider ourselves lucky :)

I'll consider myself lucky just as soon as I'm accepted ;)

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Yeah, I'm seeing this 80K figure thrown around a lot, and I think it's more of a cautionary figure rather than a likely figure.

Sure, I know some new grads making that little, but they were also inflexible about hours and location. Most new grads I know made upwards of double that their first year. I made over double that working 4 days a week my first year and I had some sloooooow months in the latter half of that year.

 

Do your research and networking and find a good job or two with enough patients to support you and you'll probably make a solid income.

 

Otherwise, yeah, if you mostly work weekdays in a super saturated area in a poorly visible office where no one walks in, you might end up spending several hours of your day sitting around with nothing to do.

 

 

So you made over 160k working 4 days a week in your first year? It seems kinda high doesn't it?

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No idea. It's hugely variable from what I've seen. I know that I've consistently made more than a few friends who are specialists who started at the same time that I did. It can be a lot harder to build your patient base as a new specialist because you need generalists to refer to you and most of us already have people we like to refer to who have a proven track record.

 

I certainly wouldn't blanket assume that all specialists make a lot more than generals.

So Very True!! Thank You for your response! Am Considering a General and Cosmetic Dental Practice though! And am also thinking of the possibility of combining Clinical Practice with the Academia!!
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If you want to make real money, you"re going to have to own your own practice where you are the primary beneficiary of auxiliary income (ie: hygiene income, percentage of associates income).

As an associate you'll likely max out at $250000.00/year.

As an owner, sky is the limit.

There are many good practices for sale, at least in part.

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250k... seems legit...

 

250 is about the upper ceiling for associates, in my opinion, without working yourself to death. To reach this level you have to be a) fast and B) busy. Don't expect to reach this level quickly, and if you reach this level anywhere within 1 hour of the GTA you are exceptionally lucky. I know of only a select few associates hitting anywhere close to this income level in the GTA, and most of them have been out of school for like 7-8 years.

 

If you go rural though, you can hit this level quite quickly, maybe even in your first year.

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