I mentioned at the start of this book that some of the greatest financial minds I know are those of dentists. I have had the benefit of learning from a financially savvy group of dentists during the past 20 years. These experiences have had a great impact on my life, my business, and the families I work with at McNulty Group.In writing this book, I took the opportunity to ask four of these individuals a series of questions. With so many dentists not able to reach their financial goals, I wanted you to hear firsthand how this group has been able to achieve such a high level of financial success.Each contributor is a client of our firm. Drs. One and Two were discussed in the last issue of The Professional Advisory.
Dr. Three and his spouse are another “millionaire next door” type. They have a modest lifestyle, live in a small town and aren’t very interested in “keeping up with the Jones’ .” Their retirement portfolio is over $3.5 million and the practice will be selling in the next few years for around $700,000. Dr. Three and his spouse are both 60 years old.
How did you achieve your financial success?Slowly, over time, with a plan – everything advocated in the first six modules of this book. The first thing we (my wife and I) did was clear our student debts. Even then, it was clear that interest paid (even when deductible) would never be as good as interest earned. This was accomplished as a result of two key factors. The first was to find positions that would pay relatively well, and then go there to work. The second was to live completely within our means. We never had personal credit card debt that couldn’t be cleared interest-free. If we couldn’t pay for it now, we didn’t buy it. Our student debts were cleared in less than two years.
The next key is to get advice to help with investing/saving (and continue to live within your means). Not all investment advisors are created equal and different advisors may be right for different times. You will need a plan, it needs to make sense to you, and it needs to be monitored closely. Regardless of the result of the plan, you need to understand why it is or isn’t working. The rest is time and discipline.
Another key is having a life partner with the same goals. This is the core of your team – choose carefully.
I spoke with Dr. Four at his hotel in Toronto as he and his wife prepared for a trip to visit one of their adult kids in the U.S. Dr. and Ms. Four have a retirement portfolio closing in on$9 million. Dr. Four was in dentistry for 40 years.
1. Focus on the bottom linea. “Financial success is not measured by practice gross, but your net income.” Dr. Four always ran a lean practice with only a few staff. The staff were loyal and well compensated. If a snow day occurred or there was a decline in production for some reason, Dr. Four’s net income was not as much affected as those of his colleagues who had large practices and many “mouths to feed.”b. “We have never parked a Mercedes or Cadillac in our practice parking lot.”
2. Investinga. “Blue-chip, dividend-paying stocks are not a gamble.” At the foundation of his financial success and investment strategy is a select group of blue-chip, dividend-paying stocks in Direct Reinvestment Programs (DRIPs). Like clockwork every quarter, he adds another $5,000 to certain stocks.b. “Companies like Bank of Montreal are not going out of business. When 2008 came, the stock was down 40 per cent. This was a great time to be adding to our holdings.”c. When Dr. Four saw a good opportunity, he invested in it and never sold.
Other Legends:While this is a great group of contributors, there are another dozen or so I didn’t ask to contribute in the interests of space. However, I can tell you each has the same traits:1. They are “patient-first” at all times.2. They pay themselves first – they first pay debt or save money before taking a big vacation or spending money on a car.3. They track their practice and personal finances.4. They rely on good advice from other professionals, but still participate and hold their advisors accountable.