A lack of understanding regarding these two facets of student loans can have a significant impact on your wealth. Let’s start with interest capitalization. When you borrow money, you have to pay for the use of that money. It’s called interest. Interest is usually charged as a percentage of your outstanding principal.
Second is taxable forgiveness. When you get to year 20 (under the PAYE plan), any outstanding debt gets forgiven. Throw a party because that’s really great. But… there’s a catch. All of that debt forgiveness is considered taxable income.
The time has come. You’ve fulfilled your dreams of becoming a dentist! People will start referring to you as Dr. (insert your name), and that may take a little getting used to. But like most new accomplishments, this one comes with a set of new challenges to sort through. One thing to consider when buying or establishing a dental practice of your own is where to live in proximity to your practice. Here are a few pros and cons to consider when making the decision.
One of the reasons that many of you have chosen dentistry as a profession is to establish autonomy. You’d like to set your own schedule, take vacations when you please and not answer to a boss. However, patients want to be seen early in the morning and late at night, so your workdays will be long. Patients want to be seen during the weekend, so your weekends will be short. While it’s tempting to believe that you will be able to schedule your patients to meet your needs, you may not be able to meet your financial obligations if you do. If you learn to balance your work and your life while you are in dental school, it may be easier for you to continue to do so once you enter the profession. We have some simple suggestions that might help.
Where would you like your dental career to take you? Clinical dentistry is not your only option. Many dentists pursue non-clinical dental career opportunities. The ADA Center for Professional Success has career resources to give you a better picture of options open to a graduating dental student.
Following dental school, we search high and low for the perfect fit. No matter the practice setting, chances are you’ll be working alongside another dentist. I’ve been blessed to work with an incredible mentor for the past 1.5 years.
From the moment I met him right before graduating dental school, he’s been there to support me clinically with complex cases, emotionally on the days when dentistry has kicked my butt and through leadership challenges when I’ve struggled with the team. We recently sat down for a meeting where he shared with me, “I’m happy where I am with dentistry. My greatest success will be when you succeed.”
“Adam, stop suturing. You’re bleeding.” A look of terror flushed over me as I removed the needle from the extraction socket. I recalled my patient’s mention of Hepatitis B and immediately panicked. Thoughts of possible co-infection with HIV or Hepatitis C set in. My first sharps injury, and there I stood, helpless and afraid, as I bled from a cut to my thumb.
We learn all about these types of occupational exposures in the classroom. But sometimes, when faced with a real-life situation requiring a rapid decision, it can be hard to know how best to react. While we work carefully to avoid these incidents, they can and will happen. It’s our duty to protect our patients and ourselves by quickly managing and accurately reporting these exposures as they occur.
Depending on who you talk to, choosing to specialize could be either a premature decision where you miss out on the satisfaction of practicing a broad spectrum of dental procedures, or a great decision that will enable you to refine a highly-honed skillset simply by investing in a few additional years of schooling. This often means spending some time sorting through advice and anecdotes from friends, family and mentors in order to form your own decision on the matter. However, I believe that the best way to make an informed decision about specializing is to honestly assess yourself.