Did you know that 96% of dentists are still in debt when they retire? Even more surprising is data that tells us that dentists are retiring later than ever before. According to recently published ADA research, the average retirement age is nearly 70 years old. As a seasoned coach with more than two decades of experience in helping dentists build wealth and transform their practices, it is incredibly painful to see those numbers. I know how hard dentists work to run a successful practice and care for their patients. To know that so many dentists must not only delay retirement but also retire with the burden of debt is disheartening.
If dentistry is such a lucrative field, then why are so many dentists retiring with an abundance of debt? The answer is that many dentists need help in mastering their finances and managing the wealth they accumulate as they progress in their careers. Fortunately, we are all always capable of effecting change in our own lives. It’s the reason I do this work and the reason I am sharing five steps you can take to begin your journey to wealth mastery and financial freedom. Let’s jump right in.
Step One: Protect What You Already Have
The first step to accumulating wealth is to protect the assets you already have. You can’t fill a bucket that has a leak and failing to protect yourself is like punching a giant hole in the financial bucket. Start by insuring yourself and your business to protect yourself from liability. Can you afford to rebuild if something unforeseen happens to your commercial property? Are your personal assets shielded from liability in the event of a lawsuit? If finding the answers to these questions means scheduling an appointment with your insurance agent to assess your current plans piece by piece, do it.
Step Two: Create a Plan for the Future of Your Wealth
While it is understandable to feel uncomfortable discussing wills and trusts, estate planning is essential to ensuring that your family is protected after your passing. You have more than earned the right to protect the fruits of your labor and use them to help your surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, charities, or your community once you are gone. Every dentist should have a will and they should update it periodically as they accumulate new assets and wealth. Creating a trust and establishing a power of attorney can also support your goals in the unfortunate event that you become incapacitated or pass unexpectedly.
Step Three: Protect Your Time
The phrase “time is money” is an enduring aphorism for a reason — it’s true. Your time is incredibly valuable and you should protect it just as you would any other asset. Everyone has a finite amount of time on earth to experience joy, perform meaningful work, and contribute to their communities. How are you using yours?
Are you wasting time on tasks that could easily be delegated?
The idea that “I am the only one who can do this right” can stop you from moving forward and focusing your talents on actions that contribute to your goals.
Give up some of the control if you want to grow your wealth. It will feel stressful at first, but you’ll soon realize that your practice isn’t going to burn to the ground because you didn’t review every email or file yourself. Of course, that level of trust is dependent on the people you rely on to support you. That brings us to the next step, curating a quality team.
Step Four: Curate a Dental Dream Team
If you have ever felt like you’re surrounded by incompetence, it’s important to ask yourself, “Why do I keep hiring incompetent people?” If you want a successful practice that puts money back into your pocket year over year, then you need to cultivate a team of experts at every level. From the janitorial staff to the hygienists to the front office crew, you want team members who love to shine. Imagine you had to miss a day of work due to a family emergency. How many of your team could you trust to manage the day alone? The answer should be every single person. It will take time to build a staff of all-stars but it will be worth the effort when you know, unequivocally, that your team is, well, a team!
Step Five: Enlist a Linchpin Partner to Guide You Through the Path to Building Wealth
An all-star staff isn’t the only way to free up your time and delegate responsibility. You can also enlist someone to help you manage your wealth as you are generating it. There’s a reason that financial planning is a career — managing, growing, and protecting wealth is a full-time job. Just like the recommendation for hiring employees in your practice, you want to be very vigilant in vetting your linchpin partner before teaming up. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask in-depth questions with any potential candidate. A good advisor will welcome them, answer them thoroughly, and provide evidence to back up their claims.
These five steps are just the beginning of your journey to transformation. Want to learn more about steps you can take to master wealth and head into retirement debt-free?
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NextLevel also offers free consultations to discuss your goals for the future of your practice. Schedule a call today!