In a world where everything has gotten complex, simplicity will sometimes serve you well, even when it comes to planning for your future. Starting a financial plan for yourself while in school or just after graduation does not have to be complicated. There are some basic rules that you can keep in mind when learning to live on a budget, pay back student loans and plan for the future.
After you begin to practice dentistry, you will seek advice from advisors in all kinds of arenas: legal, accounting, financial and more. You will rely on the advice of these key advisors to make wise and beneficial decisions. Therefore, not only is it important that you form a “team” of dental-specific advisors to help guide you during your entire career, but it is important to understand the areas in which risk management will be imperative to you as a practitioner.
As a busy mom myself, one of the phrases I hear most from others (and think often to myself) is “I don’t have time for this.” It is natural instinct to “push things to the back burner” if they do not require your immediate attention. However, making a financial plan while in dental school and after should receive the same attention as practicing dentistry. This can be difficult when you are prioritizing a career that you have invested so much time and money in. However, if you do not prioritize your finances along with your dental practice, you may find yourself quickly approaching an inflexible financial situation when you least expect (or least need) it. Making a financial plan may not come naturally to you, as you have focused years on dentistry and not finances. Most dental schools offer very little (or nothing) in the way of financial education, which makes it even more important for you to be financially proactive yourself.
So…you graduate from dental school and you want to buy a practice. You know what state you want to practice in, but not much else; they didn’t teach you the business side of dentistry after all! So where do you start?
Many new dentists interview for associate positions. One of our most often asked question from newly graduated dentists is: “What should I ask a prospective employer when I interview for an associate position?” The information you gather can have a major impact on your job satisfaction and your paycheck. Below is a list of the most relevant questions that you should ask when you start the interview process.
A question that I often hear from new dentists is: Do I need a financial advisor in addition to an accountant/CPA? The answer depends on a lot of factors (including one’s personal financial wealth going into dental school), but the vast majority of starting dentists may not need a true financial advisor until they accumulate some substantial wealth. With that said, if you need particular help with personal investments or personal budgeting as you start to work, there are certain things that you should be prepared to ask any potential financial advisor upon an initial meeting. These questions are also great to keep in mind if you are meeting with a professional service provider for the first time, such as your accountant or attorney:
When I meet with dental students and residents at several different schools and programs, one of the things I hear most is that finance and tax are things that “they don’t teach us in dental school.” Today, I thought we would look at some of the things that they don’t teach you in dental school, but will be just as important as your degree once you finish…