There's an old maxim, "There are two ways to get rich in this world, either be born rich or marry rich." If you are rich, you don't need to read this article, but if you count yourself among the less fortunate millions (not dollars but people), this article is for you.

There's another maxim: "It takes money to make money." If you were not born rich or married rich, then there are only two ways to get money: earn it or borrow it and put it to work for you. If you graduate from high school and go out and get a job instead of seeking higher education, you can make money, but in most cases, you will not earn very much money during your lifetime.

To earn more money, you have to invest in an education. Yes, there are distinct parallels between the amount of education you receive and the amount of money you can expect to make over your lifetime. However, education costs money, and you don't have money, so what do you do? It looks like your only option is to borrow money to invest in your education. You are betting that your future earnings will be enhanced enough to pay off this debt and allow you to live a better lifestyle.

If you choose to avoid debt, your future earnings will suffer. So you choose debt in exchange for knowledge and future earning power. It's an investment.

The American Dental Education Association recently stated that the average school debt for 2019 graduates is $292,159. In addition, 64% of graduates report having over $200,000 in debt. These graduates don't see their debt disappearing in the near term, and more than 75% of graduates say that their student debt will have a somewhat or substantial effect on them financially for the next 10 years.

The problem, however, is not student debt, nor the amount of that debt. It's what students do after graduation in their attempt to handle this debt. Unfortunately, 91% of these students are misled into believing they cannot afford to buy a practice when the opposite is true.


Education is a threshold investment. Graduates need more income than they are ever going to make working for some DSO or another commercial dental enterprise. Unfortunately, most jobs will pay a subsidence income, but not nearly enough money to live on and pay off that student debt.

Most graduates will not qualify for a bank loan to buy a practice until they have two to three years of work experience as an employee or associate. It usually takes this long for these graduates to discover that a job offers no solution to their debt problem. They find themselves getting further in debt because the interest on those student loans continues to compound at an alarming rate.

If you are in debt, you need a steady income (not a job where you can be fired). You need to own your practice that is large enough to generate an income sufficient to provide you with a reasonable income and the ability to pay off that student debt. The irony is that being in debt requires you to go further in debt to get out of debt, and that is why you need to buy a practice to secure your financial future.

The problem with education debt is not the debt service but the misinformation provided to recent graduates relating to dentistry and the importance of time and income. Your debt issues are manageable by becoming a practice owner as soon as possible. Our practice buyers have an average pre-tax net income of between $180,000 to $250,000 if they acquire the right practice opportunity.

Remember, your education is a threshold investment. Financial success requires an additional investment in a practice. Unnecessary delay costs money, so find the right practice as soon as possible, and you can retire that debt a lot quicker than you think. It's time for you to call AFTCO at 800.232.3826 or visit our website at

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