We’re Doing OK

Episode 078

This week was a bit bumpy and I started to make this an episode with me venting. But instead, I put a positive spin on things and had some fun based on the income of an average private practitioner. Check it out…and, we’re really doing OK.

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As I mentioned, my week was a bit bumpy. All of our surgeries went fine and our patients are doing well, but there were some difficult interactions I didn’t see coming. I had some after-hour communications and overall things weren’t as smooth as I would’ve liked them to be.

So rather than getting down on our profession like I may have in the past, I looked for the positive. I went to the American Dental Association web site and looked at their 2015 financial income on dentists, from general practitioners to specialists.

According to their site, the average net income for a private practitioner was $179,960 – just shy of $180k. Specialists make about $320,460. Now that’s net income – billings were just shy of $650k for general practitioners and specialists generated a tad over $1 million. What’s interesting about that is those incomes are solid, even considering this is the average.

And I took it a step further – I found a site that allows you to plug in your income or your net worth, and it tells you where you stand compared to the rest of the world.

Now I don’t know how accurate this site is but it’s still interesting to explore. It’s called the Global Rich List. So you go to the site, put in your location, and your annual income or your net worth/your wealth. They’ll find your net worth for you by asking for the equity in your home, the value of your possessions and assets. Then they compute your results and show where you stand compared to the rest of the world.

So if we take the average net income for a private practice general dentist in 2015 – $179,960. If you add that to the site, next choose the United States as the location (if that’s your location, it is mine) and hit calculate. What comes up next is a graph of people that shows you where you are versus the rest of the world.

Based on the number we gave it – $179,960 – this web site says that income puts a person in the top 1/2% of the world’s richest people by income.

Think about that – the average dentist is in the top percentage of the wealthiest people in the world. We’re in a damn good profession! I lose sight of that sometimes, and when I do, I revisit this site and it puts things in perspective.

That site also gives more data, it says we make $93.73 on average per hour. It then compares that number to other parts of the world. For example, the site says the average laborer in Zimbabwe makes 50 cents an hour.

It also compares your annual income and tells you how long it will take people in other parts of the world to make that same amount. For instance the site says the average laborer in Indonesia would need 242 years to earn the $179,960 you earn in a year. It also says your monthly income could pay the salaries of 1100 doctors in Malawi.

Can you see the good in that? By telling you about this site I’m trying to help you see the positive. We’re fortunate to have the opportunities we have thanks to our profession. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel that way! We get disgruntled and discouraged, and it is a stressful line of work, but there is good in it too. When I get down on what we do I go to this site and it reminds me of that fact – I hope it will do the same for you.

Let me know what you think about this site and any other things going on in your world, positive or negative. I look forward to hearing from you and getting your feedback, after you listen to episode 78 of the Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “For the time we work we do pretty well.”

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