Dentists are generally a hardworking bunch.
On any given day, we’re found buried deep in clinical practice.
We’re all over restorations, new patient numbers, and Mrs Smith’s new dentures.
Our personal finances, however?
I’ve found dentists can sometimes be their own worst enemy.
While we generate great cashflow, we don’t use the cash well.
We make less than ideal business and personal financing decisions.
And we study dentistry at weekend courses, but we don’t research dental business.
What is frequently forgotten is dentists must also be entrepreneurs too.
That means muscling up on personal finances.
As the year kicks off, I’m challenging you to implement a financial resolution or two.
By focusing your personal financial efforts, this time in twelve months, you’ll be a different dentist.
And your personal finances will be in better shape too.
#1 I Will Make My Cash Work For Me
Dentists have a reputation for being cash machines.
Terrific for revenue numbers, but it’s important to do something with the cashflow.
Not doing good things with your cash is a big mistake.
Aside from a cash buffer for emergencies, there’s a logic in keeping cash moving.
This applies both in business and in personal life.
Rather than have it sit in a low to no interest bank or savings account, it’s wise to look for other high interest financial vehicles.
You may need to research or seek advice from experts in this area. They will help you understand what you probably know inherently.
Where you sit on the investment spectrum.
Are you conservative with your cash?
Or more aggressive, speculating on every new shiny big thing.
Regardless of where you sit on the financial management spectrum, resolve to work wisely with your cash this year.
#2 I Will Crush My Mortgage (Or Start To)
The biggest debt most people have is their mortgage.
Dentists are no exceptions.
What most people don’t realise is it’s possible to pay down this debt much more quickly than the typical 30 year loan term.
In fact, with a clear strategy, it’s possible to pay off your home loan in five to seven years.
Imagine being mortgage-free at 40 instead of 65. Love it!
For most of us, it would make a huge difference.
Freeing up cash to apply elsewhere, a strategy to pay down your mortgage makes good financial sense.
Start it this year and be inspired by your progress in twelve months time.
#3 I Will Reduce My Non-deductible Debt ASAP
Many younger dentists striving to make their way as graduates or dental business owners carry the burden of study costs before they’ve even started practice.
Any wonder given the average cost of a dental degree in Australia is between $50k to $60k.
Starting out with debt and getting into your own practice is not impossible.
However, it will take some financial savvy.
If you’re an aspiring dental business owner, or you’re already operating in that space, make a resolution to crush your non-deductible debt as fast as you can.
This could mean consolidating loans or refinancing debt under a lower interest rate.
In 2018, do whatever it takes to crush debt. You’ll be happy you did.
#4 I Will Automate My Money
Once a dental business is making good cashflow, the trick is to optimise cash performance.
A solid financial fundamental at this point is to automate your money.
More than just set and forget, the idea behind automating your money is to establish automated payments.
These payments are made into specific financial vehicles.
In terms of creating leverage, super, indexed funds and an emergency buffer account all fall into this category.
It really is as simple as nominating an amount to be deposited regularly, say each month, and then watching the cash accumulate.
Far from the Bitcoin pathway to financial freedom, automated payments are a slow and steady approach to saving.
Automated payments eliminate the thinking and emotion from saving.
When done automatically, you’re not wondering each month whether you’re going to put aside that cash or not.
It’s done for you.
This year: automate your payments.
#5 I Will Get Smart About Business Finance
Whether you’re already in business, or just thinking about it, you can never be too smart about financing options.
In the past, dentists have tended to rely on banks for business finance.
In Australia, there are now specialised health industry fund providers, meaning other lending options are available.
Regardless of your choice for finance, the key is ensuring the finance offers the best possible value, i.e. you’re not paying more than necessary.
Reviewing your business finance is a worthwhile exercise.
Do it this year.
#6 I Will Look For Leverage
I talk about it a lot with my coaching clients.
And I don’t just mean financial leverage.
What I’m referring to is the ways you can create leverage across a whole host of areas.
Consider ways you can leverage expertise and skills to further your business.
What about suppliers or local vendors? Who could you logically partner up with and then create leverage in your business?
#7 I Will Stick With It
Savvy personal finance management is about consistency.
Nothing will take the place of doing the fundamentals well and doing them often.
This translates as regular savings, timely checks and balances, annual forward planning.
Our objective at Savvy Dentist is to bring together the best of great dentistry and great business.
And sticking with financial resolutions is how you do it.