Pay down debt today, or set money aside for the future?

In our work, we see many recent dental graduates with huge debt loads — $300,000, $400,000 or even $500,000 right out of school. They end up in our practice, often overwhelmed with how to pay down their debt. And while most of them know that their income is solid and poised to grow, they still grapple with whether it makes sense to pay off their debt, or to minimize their loan payments and, instead, set aside money for the future.