Personal affairs curtailing the potential of the associate

By: Bruce Bryen

Like much of the general population, dental school graduates also face challenges while ascending to more lucrative and clinically challenging positions in professional dentistry. 

One major problem with personal growth in this field is the toll it takes on the home life of the dentist. The stress of the job does not automatically vanish when it is time to end the day’s work. The news of the day, including patients’ tough times individually or family-wise, comes home with the dentist, who is usually a compassionate feeling man or woman. 

Dropping issues like these at the door just doesn’t happen. Putting on a smile when a day has gone bad doesn’t help the situation at home. Sometimes, the upside feeling at the dental practice overcomes any resistance at home, so going to work becomes the exciting part of the day with clinical rewards for assisting patients in need and monetary rewards of the profession. 

Stress, stress, and more stress:

First came dental school, then the learning curve through associateships until finally, the perfect job to learn and to advance clinically and financially. This associate dentistry position will assist in the ultimate goal of obtaining an ownership interest in another office or within the current practice. All of the related stress that was part of the advancement seemed worth it as discussions may have been underway for the acquisition. 

Now, it seems like everything is falling apart.  What does the upwardly mobile dentist do to overcome this obstacle?  It is possible that the associate had developed a relationship with a financial advisor or dental CPA by this point in his or her career.  If not, talking to the current owner of the practice or to a peer who has gone through this process may be a big help in finding someone who can assist. 

The dental CPA who has experience with dentists who face similar stress at the dental practice will be a terrific resource to help. Interviewing prior to choosing or having a source of referral that is absolutely trustful is a big step in overcoming these stressful issues. 

What are some of the matters that the dental CPA can assist with in turning the stress and current issues into something that can be overcome?

How a dental CPA can turn around the current state of affairs for the dentist:

Getting back on the upward trend and relieving the stress at the dental practice and at home are the keys to success in the associate’s career. Unfortunately, one of the ways that the home situation is resolved may be to file for a divorce.

A first step for the dentist may be to contact a dental CPA who has experience with divorce work and mediation. This is certainly the right person to help in getting the dentist’s financial affairs in order so that life can continue financially with the least amount of interruption possible. A dental CPA will also be realistic as to the outlook on what a financial settlement or alimony will look like, based on the dentist’s financial position at the time of the filing. 

The outlook for the future should also be discussed, in addition to the reduction of stress at home and what that will mean to the dentist financially and emotionally going forward. The dentist wants someone who is going to be honest with the information and not sugarcoat what is going to occur. 

What to expect when speaking to an experienced dental CPA about the financial aspects of divorce:

The important point for the dentist is to know that his or her future is bright.  Thinking about the current state of financial affairs that the dentist has achieved should make the dentist feel a positive mood about what his or her life will be like financially once the divorce has been finalized.  The steps that will take place in preparation for the divorce and the time and expense needed to resolve it are very expensive and all-consuming. 

The hours spent gathering information and meeting by phone or in-person with the dental CPA will make the dentist feel like things will never end.  They do, however.  When they do, there is a new life available with an incredible amount of stress relieved because there is no one at home causing problems for the dentist at the end of the day. The dentist should imagine what would have happened if there was no advisor who understood and explained in advance what was going to take place.

The dentist’s profession is one of care, understanding for his or her patients, solid clinical skills and potential problems from many directions.

Since this was the profession chosen, help should be afforded to assist in managing it to the best of the ability of the dentist.  Being able to retain those who can help is an opportunity the dentist has since he or she is fortunate enough to be able to pay for the best service that is available for assistance. Being able to continue living with an upbeat attitude and the potential for substantial earnings is not a bad place to be.

Up Next: How to Run a Successful Dental Practice

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Bruce Bryen

Bruce Bryen

Bruce Bryen, CPA/CVA Dental Practice Valuation Analyst, Baratz & Associates, PA