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Episode 555: Keeping Up with the Money Game

personal finances Jul 27, 2022

This episode is about a listener-requested topic! When you’re in the dentistry field, it’s easy to feel as if you’re financially behind all of your non-dental friends. Kiera shares her own experiences with this mental game, and how she was able to get through it.

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0:00:05.6 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone, welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I have this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants for we have traveled to over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A Teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

0:00:51.5 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners, this is Kiera and you guys, I hope you're having an awesome day today. I hope you're just remembering that you are the luckiest person in the world and I genuinely mean that. And the reason why? It's because we get to work in the amazing profession of dentistry. That's right, guys. I am so happy and so thankful for dentistry, and not because we get to work there, but for me, I believe that changing people's smiles is the best way to give somebody confidence. And so, I just feel like we are ridiculously blessed to work in dentistry. So if you're not having a great day, just remember, we're so lucky we get to work in dentistry, which to me is the absolute best profession we could ever work in. So guys, with that, today, I hope you're ready. I hope you guys are ready for this, because I am ready to dive into a podcast topic that came in from a listener.

0:01:44.3 KD: So this one is, how do I catch up with the money game with friends who didn't pursue a dental degree? Okay. How do I catch up in the money game with friends who didn't pursue a dental degree? So shoutout to this listener, I love answering questions from podcast listeners, and also if this podcast has helped you in any way, shape, or form, guys, help us out, spread the word, share this in a Facebook post, tag us right now, take a picture of listening to it, I don't care where you are, how you are. One, it's really fun for me to see you guys because I don't actually know who's on the other side of listening. Just so you know, I can see how many downloads, I can see what countries we're getting downloads. So guys, go in and be sure to download, that helps us out. But I don't know exactly who's listening and who our podcast friends are, so when you actually take a picture or tag us on social, one, I get to see you, see your cute faces, see the people that are the listeners behind the numbers, and number two, it also helps us do our mission of positively impacting the world of dentistry in the greatest way possible. Guys, that means affecting and impacting more lives.

0:02:45.7 KD: So do us all a favour. Take a picture right now. Tag us on social. I'd love to see you, say hello to you. I also would love you to help us share. So reviews, posting in groups, tagging us, that is the best way you can help us because of all the value we've been able to serve with you. Alright guys, so how do we keep up with the money game of those who didn't pursue a career? Well, this is actually a solid question, and honestly, I think... Well, no, I'm not a dentist. I do feel like I can resonate with this a lot because, yup, my husband went to pharmacy school and kinda like med school, it's not for the weak of heart. Pharmacy school, dental school, med school, all those things, yes, we put a drastic, drastic weight on us by going to school. Am I thankful that we did? Of course! My husband loves his job. We almost got divorced, like, it was crazy town, it was not an easy time to go through all that and I remember looking at our loans, man, oh, you guys, we made our last loan payment December 2019 and then loan interest rates got frozen in 2020.

0:03:54.7 KD: Don't worry, I was already upset about us paying off the loans, 'cause I thought it was stupid [chuckle] I was like, "Whatever, they're just gonna get forgiven in the end", but my husband just felt like he had literally a noose around his neck, and then we paid them and then lo and behold, they paused all interest rates. So of course I'm just a bit jaded. Ryan Isaac with the Dentist Advisors, if you guys don't know them, check out. They're phenomenal financial advisors and can actually give a lot more in-depth on this topic then maybe even I can shed light on. But Ryan, Ryan knows that this is a hot topic for me 'cause I was adamant not paying them off, and my husband was adamant to pay them off. Guys, they always say, "Happy wife, happy life". I believe "happy relationship", and sometimes that means compromising, sometimes that means changing for the greater good, and seeing how stressed my husband was with his loans really, really, really was something I just saw as a priority for my husband. I've also found in relationships, one of my favorite things is being addicted to my spouse's needs and meeting them, so I'm addicted to meeting Jason's needs, and I will say that by me having that focus and him having that focus of me, it's not about me, it's not about what I get out of it.

0:05:06.8 KD: It's literally about making sure that he feels seen, heard, in the way that's most important to him in his needs. So being addicted to fulfilling and meeting his needs. So with that, the money game, guys. So, my CPA also gave me really good advice, I'm like, "Preston, I feel like I never have any money, like ever". As a business owner, we've got taxes, we've got loans, we've got all these different things. As a dentist, you have so many things you are facing, you've got... I know when we first got out of school, guys, I was living in probably the worst apartment I have ever lived in in my life. When we were in pharmacy school, we sold my husband's truck, we had a 97 Honda Civic, we rode our bikes to school. We were dirt poor. We lived in Arizona and we did not turn our AC on. True story, my husband, one night, slept on Otter Pops. I'm not kidding, guys. They were frozen and he was so hot, he just pulled them out, put them on the bed and laid on top of them. When we would do the sheets in our washer, some nights we would sleep with those cold wet sheets on our bed because it was so hot at night, we found out how to fall asleep really fast because we would mist our sheets with squirt bottle and have the fan on high for evaporative cooling. When I say we were dirt poor, and understanding this money challenge of catching up to friends who didn't pursue a career, the answer is, it's hard.

0:06:26.0 KD: Because for me, I felt like, shoot, we just finished... My husband's a pharmacist, we should be rich, we should have all these great things. That was my expectation and that's why I was so frustrated because I'm like, "What the heck?" We went to school, my husband... Residency was like pennies on the dollar, we got paid nothing. And then, guess what? Yup, you got it, we're dirt poor because we're paying thousands of dollars on our student loans in debt. So I felt more poor post-pharmacy school than I even did when we were first married. And so it's a very real thing and I don't think it's not. And so all I can do is just speak from what I've heard from other practices, other doctors, also from my own personal experience on this. And my CPA said it really well. He said, "Kiera, eventually you're going to buy the items that you want and it's not going to feel like you don't have money all the time." And he said, "It actually gets easier and easier and easier the more established, if you will, in life, you get." He said, "It seems like you don't have enough money when you're trying to buy a house, when you're trying to buy a car, when you're trying to go on those vacations because you just gave up four years of your life to school, that you feel like, "Hey, I'm a dentist, I deserve to go.""

0:07:36.7 KD: And I think it's possibly even shifting the mindset of, guess what, I'm starting where those other friends started four years ago. And yes, I've got a four-year lag, however, your potential to earn money as a dentist and in dental practice is much greater and much higher than it is in other professions. So I know the doctor that I worked with right out of school, I called her 2.5, it's 'cause we had 2.5 million on us in debt. And I was like, "Get that back straight". I need that back to be healthy and productive for as long as we can go because at the end of the day, you're the person who's making us money. Like get that back straight, we have a lot of debt on us, they have great perfect ergonomics. But it was hard, and so I think it's just a really big... It's honestly a mental game more than a dollar's game, because you can make all the money in the world, but it's really solidifying what's most important.

0:08:28.5 KD: So for me and my husband, we have delayed buying house. Guys, I am 36 years old and I have never owned a home, not once at all, period. And does it sometimes bother me? Yes. We don't have children yet, we're starting IVF this year 'cause we haven't been able to get pregnant, and does that kind of bother me? The answer is yes, it does.

0:08:48.5 KD: How many of you would just love to DIY and get the secrets of people who have been there, done that, on your own time? Because I know for me, I love to learn from the best of the best, the people who have been there done that and can give me the shortcuts. That's why we have created our Dental A Team Virtual Academy, where it's on-demand courses for you, at your fingertips. Where you literally can learn the secrets from all of my experience, all of Tiffany's experience, Britney, Dana, our entire team's experience at your fingertips. So stop taking the hard route, guys, there's a shortcut sitting there waiting for you, and it's also CE. Head on over to and click on our Virtual Academy. Be sure to use coupon code, Podcast, and get started on that DIY and become the practice of your dreams.

0:09:34.9 KD: However, the decision me and my husband made that was best for our family was we're gonna live in an apartment, we're going to drive our used cars and we're gonna pay down his debt. Now, Ryan, with dentist, and I agree with Ryan, that wasn't for me with my husband as a pharmacist, the reason we chose to do that is because his salary is capped. Out of hospital, they cap what pharmacists can make. A lot of medical professionals, their income is capped. However, in dentistry, your income is not capped, so Ryan Isaac and I actually have discussed this in-depth on another podcast where we talked about how, for some dentists, it actually makes sense not to pay down your debt as quickly, reason being is because if you can put that money into buying a practice, that practice is actually going to pay you a lot more than your interest rate on it is. For me and my husband, we're paying 7% interest rate on our loans. It's pretty high. The stock market doesn't even guarantee a 7% return. So for us, my husband's salary is pretty much capped. Yes, he gets raises, things like that, but we don't have bonuses, we don't have high months of production, there's literally nothing he can do, he can't go expand his skill set.

0:10:40.2 KD: He can a little bit. He did a residency, so he's obviously higher tier there. But for the most part, he's pretty well capped on what he can make. So for us, it made sense for us to pay off our loans first and not live like a lot of our other friends were living because for us, then we had the freedom. Dave Ramsey is a big proponent of no debt, you just have to decide what you agree with and what you want to do, because I don't think there's actually a right, I think there's a right for you. So yeah, it was super frustrating. We're driving our little 97 Honda Civic, sexy Roseanne, which honestly, I still miss her. We drove that thing, my husband said there are four squirrels under the hood, and we drove that thing for years because she was paid for, she was very great on gas mileage, and we were paying down our student loans. That was what was most important for us. Did it bother me? Yeah, it did. It bothered me to not be able to pay for all the things I wanted to pay for, it bothered me to feel like we had this noose around our neck, but I think catching up with people... Just realize, yes, it's four years, which does seem long, but for most dentists, I've seen them recoup and become just the same, buying homes, buying nicer cars, having kids, usually about two years post-graduation. And so it might feel like forever, just like when I'm doing a wall sit. One minute feels like forever.

0:12:00.7 KD: But when I'm talking to patients, one minute is snap of a fingers and it's all relative. And the answer is, you're going to find these different solutions, you are going to find all these different pieces that are going to help you out, and you're going to find what's best for you. So for me, if buying a car is the most important thing to you, maybe you do buy it 'cause that's gonna boost your mood. Maybe the most important thing to you is that you wanna have a really nice home. Perfect. Can you buy your dream home in a few years after you buy a nice home, but maybe not that excessive one, once you have a few things done, but still have that nice quality of life? For me, my biggest thing, the absolute number one thing that I wanted to have in life was I absolutely need to travel. So I found Scott's cheap travel. Scott's cheap travel has saved me thousands of dollars on airfare. I went round trip to Copenhagen for 450 bucks per person round trip, and you guys, I'm not kidding. And this wasn't that long ago. They still have them, I'm still on Scott's cheap travel.

0:13:01.9 KD: I see them come through every day of all the cool places I can go to. My husband and I went to Antarctica. Those are things that I pushed forward because to me, that's me being alive. I drove a really fun car, I love cars, I didn't buy a brand new one, but I drove a really fun car. Those things are super important to me, and so I think it's really to catch up with it, it's one, realize it is going to get easier, and these two, four, five years, well, yes, today feel like an eternity of sitting on a wall sit. They feel like it's forever. Guess what? It's a very short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, even though the person sitting there feels like it's forever. You could sit there, be chatting with your friend for one minute and feel like that went by so fast, you can't believe how the time has gone. Where me sitting there doing a wall sit feels like this is the longest minute of my entire life. It's all relative and it's all perspective. So I would say, one, map it out. For me, setting goals was one of the easiest and best ways for me to not feel like I was not reaching my goals. Setting those goals and saying, okay, fantastic, I know by three years, I wanna own a house, I know by four years I wanna do this, I know by five years I wanna do this.

0:14:11.0 KD: That gave me a good guiding star, and then also having to realize, I made a choice, and every decision in life has consequences for better or for worse. You gotta live your dream job, you get to have an opportunity to be your own business owner. You have a way to change people's lives, and that was a decision you made even when other people didn't choose to pursue such careers. But you did, and guess what, for the rest of your life for the next decade, quadruple decades, like 40, 30, 40, 50 years, all those things, guess what? You get to impact lives. These short two to five years, well, yes, seem long, will go by very quickly, and don't lose sight of why you were there when we're comparing. My mom always tells me this quote, and she says, "Kiera, comparison is the enemy of joy, it's the thief of joy." So comparison is the thief of joy. There's a really great book called Comparisonitis by Melissa somebody, I can't even say her last name. She's great, she's Australian. Comparisonitis for me was a really great book to help me realize, I'm living my life.

0:15:13.0 KD: Guess what, guys, most of my family has children, most of Jason's nieces and nephews have children, I'm living my life, and when I stop comparing and stop trying to be like them, and I realize what does Kiera want? What does Kiera's life look like? It makes it a lot easier to find that joy and that happiness and not feel like I'm behind, because guess what, at the end of the day, it's me myself and I, looking myself in the eyes every day and telling myself that I love myself and that I'm killing it. That's fantastic. Yes, I can look at other people to give me motivation of who I can become and where I can become, but by looking ahead and looking for those dreams and those goals, I cannot... I cannot allow that to take away the joy that I feel by pursuing the dreams that I ultimately wanted. Guys, it's just a season, and this is the season for you to enjoy eating pasta, driving your junky car, and having a ton of fun trying to figure out how to have no AC in your car in Arizona. All those memories are some of my most favorite memories, and now that my husband and I are not in that boat anymore, I can look back and say those were some of my favorite times. Going through them? Not always my favorite, but guess what? Those are the things that made me a person.

0:16:19.4 KD: So during this time when you're trying to catch up to other people, just realize, the experiences you have are perfect for you, the life you're living is perfect for you, set your goals, aspire for something more, obviously, but have grace and have love and compassion for where you are today and stop comparing. They haven't been on your same journey, they don't get to change lives like you do, and at the end of the day, you chose your most perfect preferred profession, and that's what you're living. So every day you're rich, every day you get to live your most amazing dream life. My husband has this song that he loves, and it says, "Every day I'm on vacation because I love my occupation", and I feel like if you can take that on, really embody that. Yeah, you might not have the material possessions that your friends do, but guess what, you are richer as a person, you've got soul, you've got grit, and that's gonna take you a really long ways. When you look back when you're 90 or 95 or 85, are you gonna regret going to dental school and being broke for a couple of years? The answer's no. You're gonna say those are the years that made you.

0:17:16.9 KD: Those are the years that grew you into the person you are, and that to me is worth more than anything else, anything else. Stop comparing, live your best life and know that I'm always rooting you on. Guys, it was fun to chat with you today. If I can help you in any way, sometimes even having coaching that can talk you through this, can work through this with you, that's what I love to do. It's not just dental coaching, it's life coaching. And if we can help you with that, I'd love to. Email us [email protected] and as always, thanks for listening, and I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.

0:17:48.9 KD: And that wraps it up for another episode of The Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.



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