Bruce Bryen is a certified public accountant and certified valuation analyst with over forty years of experience. Mr. Bryen is a principal at RKG Tax & Business Services, LLP, an affiliate of Robin, Kramer and Green, certified public accountants located in Fort Washington, Pa.

Mr. Bryen specializes in deferred compensation, such as retirement planning design; the determination of the proper organizational business structure; asset protection and structuring loan packages for presentation to financial institutions. He also served as Chairman of the Board of a regional bank.

Mr. Bryen is experienced in providing litigation support services to dentists with Valuation preparation and Expert Witness testimony in matrimonial and partnership dispute cases, as well as damage claim presentations. He is also a financial writer for several dental journals.

You may contact him at 215-641-8300, extension 123 or 609-502-0691 as well as through his email address Also visit his website at

Student Debt: How to Maximize the Payments to Your Advantage

The beginning of the debt cycle is the right time to think positively about how much you – as a dental student – will incur. When school starts, a lot of people dream of the achievements available upon graduation and how the debt will have been used to get an education for the future. It’s never too early to get some guidance on what to do with the liabilities owed to various lenders to get that dental degree. That insight might come from business courses in school or from advisors and dentists who understand the importance of the young graduate in their own practice growth. This is where the astute dental grad will separate from their classmates. They may be terrific clinicians, but may lack the business sense to succeed financially like someone who seeks advice on those topics. They use everything at their disposal for profit. This is where the issue of the liabilities incurred to graduate can be an advantage to the new dentist.

What are some of these resources?

Lenders who understand the future potential of dental school graduates are more than happy to provide referrals for advisory services that will pay for themselves many times over. Many specialty lenders also provide consolidation loans that may become deductible for the graduate. These loan providers will definitely give access to future resources offering a less-complicated life with lesser monthly payments and longer terms. The foundation for the graduate’s future may lie with the lenders who understand dentistry, as well as with dental CPAs and other dental financial advisors. These resources should be approached with confidence, as they want the recent graduates to assist in their growth as well. A continuing relationship will serve both the graduate and lender. Dental specialty lenders are unique compared to other general commercial business lenders. They understand cash flow and loans that are not secured by real estate or other physical assets. These loans are secured by the dentist’s goodwill and reputation.

Success with Dental Lenders

Many times, a recent graduate will go to a commercial bank for assistance with student debt as they begin as an associate in an established dental practice. It may be a parent or some other relative or friend who refers them to the bank. The problem with a great deal of the financial institutions regarding lending to dentists is that they don’t recognize the income potential of the dentist and look merely at the credit history, existing debt or income of the applicant for the loan or debt consolidation. Speaking with someone who specializes in financing dentists and dental practices will save an enormous amount of time and aggravation for the graduate. There are quite a few commercial banks offering packages to dentists as a special service. They are easy to find, and on occasion they will visit a dental school to speak to upcoming graduates about utilizing their services. The soon-to-be-graduate should speak to these people, as they will help set a foundation for the financing of a dental office, in addition to addressing existing debt.

Success with Dental Advisors

Those who feel they can take care of business on their own are making a big mistake. Sometimes, it’s the lack of funds that causes the recent graduate to resist retaining an advisor. There are other reasons that may exist for the lack of the use of a dental advisor. It’s an especially poor choice when no advisor is available as income increases. Errors made in this cycle of development end up costing thousands of dollars. Finding a dental CPA – and not a general business CPA – is a must for both the dentist with a mature practice and the recent dental school graduate. Dental CPAs have so much more knowledge of how things work in that world. Assisting with tax return preparation may be the first step for the graduate. They are probably going to work for someone and will need help with business expense lists and record-keeping requirements. It’s also a must that a dental CPA prepares and reviews any employment agreement. An introduction to lenders acquainted with a dental CPA will help break down loan options. It will also assist with potentially merging current debt with a line of credit to ease the decision-making processes. This step also forges a relationship with lenders who will be there for the long term, including part interests and complete acquisitions of dental practices.

Bringing Together Student Debt with the Lender and Advisor

For those with the vision to employ a dental CPA or another type of dental financial advisor at an early career stage, good things are bound to happen. One of the first things the advisor will do is to assess the debt that the recent graduate has and to offer suggestions about what to do with it. Should it be combined with another loan from the dental specialty lender and packaged as a business loan to reduce the monthly payments? Should it be renegotiated with the current lender in order to accomplish a lower interest rate and a shorter term as the graduate finally begins to earn enough to afford to do so? Will the current lender offer a discount if the graduate pays off the loan? The dental advisor can assist the recent graduate in finding a lending source that will advance new funds. That will allow a substantial reduction in the amount owed to the current lender in exchange for a lump sum payment. What tax effect does this nice early pay-off discount have to the dentist? Does the graduate know that it is even possible to pay off a $200,000 loan with a lump sum payment of $150,000, as a hypothetical example? The $50,000 reduction is a real possibility if the advisor is knowledgeable about the world of dentistry and has the banking contacts. Are there other areas in which an experienced dental advisor can help the new graduate and associate at his or her first employment opportunity?

Dental Advisor and Employment Opportunities with Bonus Arrangements

Can an advisor assist the newly minted dentist with an advance, such as a signing bonus, that can be used to reduce the student debt? If the employer wants to hire the graduate and the situation exists, the new employee and the employer may agree to an upfront payment that goes directly to the lender. Sometimes a reduction in monthly compensation is worth it to the owner of the practice. It may also be worth it to the new associate to ease the payment schedule for servicing the debt. The monthly salary at a lower level may be enough without the higher debt payment to live more comfortably. Trade-offs in the employment agreement terms and negotiating non-compete and non-solicitation agreements may be to everyone’s advantage by allowing the upfront payment from the dental practice to the associate. A dental advisor can be a big help for the owner and the associate in formulating the finalization of the employment agreement. The tax ramifications or the potential to gain equity in the practice while building it is also an opportunity that can be facilitated by an advisor. The use of a direct debt payment by the practice as part of the employment agreement can also build equity in the practice. The concept would be based on a formulated concurrence between the graduate associate and the owner, with production and other job-related achievements being the focal points.