Thank you for the insight Kenny. You have some good points about the difference between the veterinarians that own practices currently and the newer graduates and their financial situations. Being one of the practice owners that bought in about 20 years ago, I can tell you that I was not financially secure either when I bought my practice, and it was emotionally "risky" to buy a practice. That being said, the rewards both financially and in my quality of life have been significant. What specifically can veterinarians of my generation do to encourage veterinarians of your generation to get the most out of your veterinary career, whether you become an owner, partner or continue as an associate?
I think there is a misconception that young veterinarians think they will not have access to capital to purchase practices. I do think, however, it is much, much more complicated than it was 20, 30 years ago [i.e., when current practice owners bought-in]. Instead, I think it's more of the drive to take on such an immense responsibility. For me, I've successfully managed a short-term mortgage and reduced my interest rate greatly on my student loans, but this leaves less than desired for savings/investing and - overall - my sense of financial security. Thus, taking on an opportunity for practice ownership would have to have risk mitigation beyond what could be considered normal. I find most current practice owners are staying in their role longer than traditionally observed and partnership appears quite complex. Simply put: not every veterinarian has the option to be an owner. Lastly, certain regions are simply saturated making the pool of opportunity for either start-up or buy-in/out quite small. However, I am well aware of the potential financial and professional growth and individual decision making not obtained in an associate role that I would like to partake in as a future, hopeful, practice owner.
I would like to hear from veterinarians that are not currently practice owners as to what do you see as the biggest challenges to your goals of future practice ownership? What can we do as current practice owners to mentor you as an associate into that role?
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