Pulling Teeth

Dear Dave,

My husband just finished school and is now a dentist. He can either build his own practice, which would involve start-up costs of about $500,000, or he can work for a company that would take 30 percent of what he makes. We also have $250,000 in student loan debt. What do you think he should do?

Teresa

Dear Teresa,

I don't think those are the only options. But I do think that you guys going another half-million dollars deeper into debt when you've already got $250,000 hanging over your heads is a really bad idea.

Why couldn't he find an established practice to work in that offers the chance for him to eventually become the owner? Lots of dentists sell their practices every year. Plus, working as an associate instead of just a hired hand offers a lot more chance to gain valuable experience and opens the door to even greater possibilities.

So what if it takes 10 years or even a little longer to become the owner of a practice? That's a whole lot better than starting out your professional life a million dollars in debt!

-Dave

This Dave Says column originally ran on April 15, 2008.

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