In 2015, we released our book, The $6 Million Dentist. The objective of the book was to provide real numbers on how your colleagues were doing financially. Our hope was that by providing some numerical benchmarks, other dentists could gain from the experiences of their colleagues.
Why call it The $6 Million Dentist? Well, we searched through our files from the 1990s up to and including 2014 to look at the financial lives of our dentists. Interestingly, we found very few who had crossed the $6,000,000 savings threshold. Only professionals who had made the majority of their money from dentistry were included; so, if they had received a large inheritance then they were eliminated from the research. We wanted to know what we could learn from this wealthy group of dentists.
Currently in 2022, you can assume those figures are outdated. We believe, that given the sharp increase in practice values, the higher end of the benchmark is now $13,000,000. We know very few dentists and specialists that have crossed the $13 million saving mark.
What’s included in Savings?
All investments, investment real estate and the value of the practice is included in this number. However, personal assets such their home and/or cottages are excluded since these will not be used to fund their lifestyles. As a result, we do not include them in retirement cash flow planning.
Who are the $13 million Dentists?
One differentiating trait of your $13 million dentist colleagues is that they are no longer practice owners. They have either sold, recently or over the past several years. As you are aware, thanks in part to dental corp and 123Dentist, practice values reached all time highs in 2022. The $13 million dentist cashed out of practice ownership.The other traits of the $13 million dentist are the same as they were for The $6 Million Dentist.
Too many dentists invest in “stories” as opposed to math.
How do they fund their lifestyle?
Selling your practice is like taking a leap of faith. When you produce an income at such a high level for 25-35 years, it is hard to believe that you can generate a passive income that will meet your needs.
As mentioned earlier, this group on average spends $20,000 per month after-tax! And we do not need to eat into their $13million to fund it. With a savings of $13 million, we can produce $390,000 in dividends. Dividends are taxed in a favourable manner that translates into $24,000 per month after-tax.
We have a high degree of confidence in the ability of the group of companies we own to continue to produce the same cash flow or greater. In the graph below, you can seethe dividends produced on a $13 million portfolio since inception in 2013.
This article is not intended to suggest that dentists should aim for $13 million in retirement savings. The people who have reached this level of wealth have made sacrifices you may not choose to. The good news is that since the release of the last book, in 2015 the wealth of dentists have grown significantly for the most part. The lessons remain the same– keep it simple by spending less than you make, sticking with your financial plan and working hard!
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David Rosenthal is a senior lawyer with Spiegel Rosenthal Professional Corporation whose practice is devoted to corporate, commercial and business law, with special emphasis on advising dentists. He can be reached at (416) 865-0736 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.