You’ve spent four long years studying, learning and growing and finally it happened: you graduated! Needless to say, this deserves to be celebrated. You’ve worked so hard and you deserve it. Whether it's taking a vacation, purchasing a new vehicle or buying your first home, we agree that you should take a little time - and spend a little money - celebrating your accomplishments. However, one of the most common mistakes new dentists make when they begin their careers is to splurge more than they should. So, before you start spending, we recommend you do some initial budgeting to plan out your expenses - that way you don't end up with too many new toys (or memories) than you can afford. Although your college courses have ended, there's one extra credit course we’d like to offer you: Financial Planning 101.
Three questions to ask as you prepare for the future:
What are my long and short-term goals? Begin by making a list of all your personal and professional goals - remember, some may happen tomorrow, but others may be years away. Capture everything that you think will be important to you - from vacations, to buying a home, to purchasing a dental practice, paying off student loans or even planning a wedding - so you can see everything in one place.
Which goals are top priority for me? Once you have your list, begin to prioritize. What are the things you want or need now - a home or car? What are the things to work towards - purchasing a dental practice? Build your list in priority order from top to bottom.
How can I create a roadmap to achieve my goals in my desired timeline? Before you spend any money, it's important to do a little research and identify what you will need to meet each one of the goals you identified. For example, what is a realistic down payment for your dream home, how much will your student loans cost, or how much should be in a slush fund for vacations? Having a line of sight into what you'll need for each of these goals will help you prepare for the future and make smarter decisions today.
Finally, make sure you share your completed list with your financial planner. It's a great tool to give him or her insight into your goals so that your long-term plan can be customized to help you accomplish each of them.
Life happens. Now what?
You've built your plan and are following it to the letter, but as we all know life sometimes throws us curveballs (good and bad). Those curveballs will mean that you need to continually review and change your plan over time. Keep in mind that even minor changes in your life could cause major changes to your financial plan. Therefore, it's important to have a financial planner who is thinking about the future, but also knows you well enough to be able to help you best navigate the curveballs as they arise. Think of it this way... soon you will be asking your patients to proactively keep you apprised of changes so you can best treat their needs. Shouldn't you be doing the same for your financial future? It's never too early to contact a financial planner. At Codrea Financial Services we're here to help take care of your financial health so you can stay focused on providing patients with healthy smiles.