Dental Fuel Episode 10: Financial Mistake with Dr. Shannon Johnson

Dr. Shannon Johnson has wisdom in dentistry and experience in the field. She knows firsthand about financial mistakes and how to overcome them!

In Dental Fuel episode 10, she shares just that– a financial mistake and the steps she took to overcome it!

🎙️ Listen to Dental Fuel Episode 10 on Apple Podcasts

Dental Fuel Episode 10: Financial Mistake Transcript

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Moving on to a financial mistake. I would love to hear about a financial mistake that you have made in life that you learned from other than going to dental school.

Dr. Shannon Johnson

I’m gonna actually have to say that when I went to dental school it was it was like at a really good time.

So I was fortunate on that matter. So I know the amount of debt that everyone’s graduating with now is so staggering compared to like when I went to school, so I really feel that pain.

But I think honestly, for me, it was not getting disability insurance early on. And what I’m finding is that many of my colleagues, you know, the price goes up, the older we get, maybe there’s enough light here that I won’t look, too old, right like but at the same time, you want to lock that in.

But I’ve seen so many young folks start to have problems, back problems, hand problems, wrist problems, neck problems, and that disability insurance really helped them and I was a little bit late coming to that game.

So I would say that was probably the biggest mistake that I feel like I’ve made financially at that point.

And then just not having a good financial planner. One that would jive with me. I had a financial planner, but they were too rigid, to square for me and my risk.

So I think that relationship you have to find someone who mirrors what you want, so that way you can you can exceed.

Then on a personal level. I will tell you whenever I made that transition back from Kentucky, I mean, from Florida back to Kentucky, I really felt like I could do it all right.

And so for several years, my mom was terminally ill my father had cancer at the time. And I was trying to help with the family but I was still trying to run the practice and was flying back and forth every week. And I was young, I could do this right? I can just do that for days and days and days and what ended up happening is I depleted all my funds. I didn’t get help soon enough.

And so then whenever I sold my practice I basically for lack of a better word, I just gave it away to not deal with a headache and I mean that’s on a very personal level. So we can always talk about those mistakes.

But I think profoundly that was one of the things for me and had I had to go back and do it over I would have reached out for help sooner and just had a really good professional help me and made me say hey, you gotta do this a little differently.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

For those both of those mistakes. Did you feel like you didn’t know about the resources available at the time?

Dr. Shannon Johnson

So that’s a good question. Because I would say I didn’t know. I was at that time what 30,31?

So I didn’t know but I also was like, well, I can’t afford them, I don’t have the time like I kept blowing it off. Like I don’t know, I just felt like it was going to be further in the future, further in the future, like it wasn’t something that I was dealing with now.

And I’ve learned that you really just have to set things up for catastrophic type situations because they do happen. Not to be like a Debbie Downer on that aspect, but things can and will happen that can steer you wrong ways. And I didn’t grow up in like a financially like brilliant type of family. Like my dad was a coal miner, kind of like a machinist, like we didn’t have a lot, so it was tough. I wish I would have just gotten help sooner.

So yeah, having the right resources, being connected to the right people early in your career, finding people that you can connect with that understand you, your goals, not their goals for you, but your goals, and can help you get there based on where you are now but like your what your future self wants to be.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

I will say that I feel like dental schools are doing better as far as bringing information in with regard to dental insurance, sorry, disability insurance, potentially dental insurance as well too. But financial management, I mean, it’s not there.

So you know, buying is huge for those who want to you know, acquire a practice on their own but selling I’m sure it’s its whole own little thing as well, a big thing really.

I can only imagine that was a really stressful time for you. And you kind of just I can see that you kind of just wanted to get to the next thing.

Dr. Shannon Johnson

Well, you get to the point where, yeah, it was just like okay, I need to move on. So great for the people who purchased it, you know, kind of a standpoint.

But I’m like had I just had folks to help me with that and like look at the big picture, or just really realized who I was and where things were going, you know, a year earlier, totally different ballgame.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

I gotta ask, would you ever own again?

Dr. Shannon Johnson

Absolutely, 100%. Yeah, I know I think, you know, again, you can practice dentistry in a way that you want.

And I’ve practiced in DSOs, educational settings that I helped out with, like federally qualified health centers and things like that. I love public health for folks.

Like there’s just a lot of ways to practice, but owning your own, for me, it’s just great. You know, it’s I get to treat patients the way I would want to be treated, I take care of them the way that I want to take care of them and no one can tell me to do that differently.

So without fail now, would I do it smarter? Yeah, you get you get your team together. And you realize, again, you don’t know what you don’t know. And you learn to ask for help earlier or seek out things to help balance out, deficiencies might be a strong word, but that’s how I mean I have deficiencies and some of those things.

It’s not something I understand well or think about, and I don’t enjoy researching it, you know, I mean enough to have a conversation maybe but you know, I don’t want to spend my whole day thinking about that.

So there are other people who that’s what they do, like they love doing that. And I’m like great, you love doing what you do, I love what I do, so you take care of me and then I can take care of everybody else!

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

if you’re listening and you feel like you need help with one of these aspects, we can definitely help you, and if we can’t, I’m sure Dr. David Rice can find the right person for you.

I think that that’s one of the great things about our community, is that even if we can’t help, we’ll find a way to help.

I think that we’re just here to help each other out and help grow individuals and the entire profession as a whole.

Dr. Shannon Johnson

Elevate, onward, and upward, right ignite the passion.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

So join us on our next episode where Dr. Johnson will talk about team building and a team mistake.


Tanya Sue Maestas, DDS

Tanya Sue Maestas, DDS

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas graduated from The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston in 2018. During her dental school career, she served as the national American Student Dental Association President and became involved in organized dentistry. After graduating, she completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency in 2019. Upon completion of her residency, she returned to the El Paso Borderland community where she serves as a Dental Director at La Clinica de Familia in Chaparral, New Mexico. She also serves as a faculty member at the Woody L Hunt School of Dental Medicine in El Paso, Texas. She remains involved in organized dentistry and holds various leadership roles in organizations including the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Texas Academy of General Dentistry, Hispanic Dental Association, and others. She currently serves on the ADA Council on Communications and previously completed the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership Program. She was recognized as an ADA 10 under 10 winner, Incisal Edge 40 under 40, and previously nominated as one of Texas New Dentists of the Year. She currently hosts New Dentists on the Block where she helps showcase the New Dentist story and build connections with new dentists around her and Dental Fuel a podcast dedicated to sharing and learning from industry leaders’ mistakes. She has a commitment to providing dental care to the Borderland community and hopes to encourage the next generation of dentists to give back to the community.