New Dentist? Here Are Three Financial Tips for You

Among the perks of dentistry is that it can provide financial security that few other professions can. But to achieve it, you’ll need to pay attention to more than just your basic clinical skills. Here are three tips for new dentists to get off on the right foot financially as you start your career.

1. Money Markets and CDs Are Your Friends

Like I mentioned last week, you’re going to need some cash on hand to buy a practice. As you’re saving up that money, be sure to put it somewhere that it will give you at least some return.

Your checking account earns nothing, or next to nothing, in interest. A money market savings account, or a short- or medium-term CD (certificate of deposit), will get you a decent interest rate that will protect the purchasing power of your money from inflation while you save for that big practice purchase.

2. Invest in Your Earning Potential

This one’s for the GPs out there. Early in your career, you should invest in plenty of advanced CE courses, in any area that interests you. Interested in Invisalign? Implants? Tricky third molar extractions? Go get that CE under your belt.

You’ll not only find out what advanced areas you want to do long-term, but those procedures will also increase your earning potential both now and for the rest of your career. Think of CE like compound interest: starting now will pay massive rewards later.

3. Don’t Close the Door on Possibility

Taking on an associateship is a common, and usually wonderful, stepping stone to practice ownership. But I frequently see, with both associates and employee dentists, notice periods of 90 days. Sometimes more. (I saw one once for a year. Yikes.)

That notice period–how long you have to stay at a job before you can quit–can foreclose on higher-earning possibilities that could come along. You never know when there’s another dentist that wants to bring you on at a higher pay level, or where you can practice those CE skills, both of which will prepare you for practice ownership. That job might not stick around for 90+ days.

When you’re taking a job, be sure to pay close attention to that notice period and negotiate it down if necessary, using a lawyer, preferably. Having a 0-day notice period is the best-case scenario, but 30 days is fine, and even 60 could be acceptable. Lower is better; just don’t close those doors for yourself.