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5 Habits of Wealthy Dentists – Episode 20

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Making smart decisions with your money requires a certain level of sophistication. It can be difficult to understand the ins and outs of insurance coverage, investing, debt management, real estate, and practice finance. So how do some dentists make it look so easy to build wealth? In this week’s episode of Dentist Money™, Reese and Ryan reveal a few basic fundamentals followed by the most successful dentists.
Tune in for more Dentist Money tips.

Podcast Transcript:

Speaker: Consult an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by Dentist Advisor, a registered investment advisor.
This is Dentist Money. Now, here’s your host, Reese Harper.

Reese Harper: Welcome to the Dentist Money Show, where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host, Reese Harper, here with my co-host Sir Ryan Isaac.

Ryan Isaac: Reese, it is good to be with you. I am jacked for today’s show, we are going to talk a little Crossfit.

Reese Harper: Did you really just say jacked? That must be a Crossfit word, because I never say that. But this is right up your alley …

Ryan Isaac: I could have said peeled.

Reese Harper: Okay. I’ve been trying to avoid this show for a while, and for those of you who don’t know what Crossfit is, I’m going to give you a couple of definitions.

Ryan Isaac: He’s going to get serious.

Reese Harper: I’ve been avoiding this show because my co-host here is kind of an advocate.

Ryan Isaac: Might be considered a cult member.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and then you’ll say, “It’s not a cult.”

Ryan Isaac: It’s not a cult, Reese. Just come join us one day.

Reese Harper: It’s a belief set, it’s a faith-based belief set. I don’t know. It’s not a cult, it’s a community of believers.

Ryan Isaac: Okay.

Reese Harper: Okay, look, here’s what Crossfit is, people. All right, first, you go into this special gym with certified Crossfit trainers, who put you and a bunch of other people through the most painful hour of your life. And second, this is the most important part, as a Crossfit participant you then spend the next day talking to anyone within earshot about the workout that you had done. So to summarize, Ryan, you do the workout, then you talk about the workout to everyone at work the next day.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: It’s pretty simple, it’s a very simple program.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, that’s actually the exact formula. Talking about it on social media, it’s a must.

Reese Harper: You use keywords? There’s insider words.

Ryan Isaac: Yes. There’s acronyms and abbreviations and … But if you don’t post about it, then it didn’t happen.

Reese Harper: Exactly.

Ryan Isaac: Now, here’s the thing now. I know that you, yourself, have also been doing a little Crossfit lately.

Reese Harper: This is true. I mean lately? It feels like it’s been a long time.

Ryan Isaac: For a while, couple years.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Isaac: Has it been [crosstalk 00:02:17]

Reese Harper: Years, maybe? Like I’m not a cult though, I don’t attend … I’m not cultish.

Ryan Isaac: You don’t really talk about it.

Reese Harper: I just go to do it so I can eat whatever I want. When I go and do it then I can go home and just engorge myself. I don’t really do that, but all jokes aside, Crossfit is a great workout and Ryan’s been at it for a long time. He’s actually helped me to have a little motivation to go do it. By motivation I mean guilt and jotting and office kind of [crosstalk 00:02:44].

Ryan Isaac: Making fun of you until you go.

Reese Harper: Yeah, like over the work table, in the break room, like everyone shames me and scorns me, so then I go. But for those of you who haven’t seen Ryan, he kind of has that, maybe a young Bruce Willis look, or Jason Statham thing going on.

Ryan Isaac: Handsome Rob.

Reese Harper: Yeah, maybe. You’re maybe a leaner version of Vin Diesel, if that helps out listeners paint the picture.

Ryan Isaac: All those guys are bald, is that what you’re getting at?

Reese Harper: All I’m saying is that they’re very handsome men and they’re all in great shape. The hairless thing’s definitely like working for them and it’s working for you and you know [crosstalk 00:03:20].

Ryan Isaac: I appreciate it. I don’t mind getting grouped with those guys. I think if you took Statham’s British charm, mixed with a little Bruce Willis wisdom, some grit of Vin Diesel, and some athleticism from the Rock, and if you topped it all off, that little capstone, with the humor of Keegan Michael Key from Key and Peele, you have the perfect guy.

Reese Harper: That’s the Mount Rushmore of bald men, the Mount Baldmore. Mount Baldmore, yeah. Okay, so now I’m going to ask you a real question, because there’s a lot of workout programs out there. What is it about Crossfit that makes you like it so much?

Ryan Isaac: You really want to get into this?

Reese Harper: I guess.

Ryan Isaac: Okay. It’s weird to be openly invited to talk about it, I usually have to think of a way to creatively sneak it in to a conversation, like you do with farming.

Reese Harper: Hazing.

Ryan Isaac: Okay.

Reese Harper: I may haze you if you bring it up too often.

Ryan Isaac: I’d say there was a couple things. At Crossfit you have a trainer and you have other people there to kind of keep you accountable, so that’s really good. I never get bored of the workouts because they’re always changing. The point of it is to work on simple things like pushups and pullups, or sprinting or squats or gymnastics, jumping, whatever, and do them in different combinations all the time. I never get used to it, I never have a certain routine, I’m always sore. I’m always on my toes and every workout feel like a new challenge.

Reese Harper: And actually what you said can be applied to financial planning too, did you know that?

Ryan Isaac: I’m glad, because we’re like five minutes in and people are not going to appreciate that.

Reese Harper: Let me add one more thing about Crossfit that I think makes it a good program. For all of our listeners who don’t know, there are Crossfit competitions that crazy, fit people compete in all across the world. You’ll see them on ESPN every once in a while. The founder of Crossfit, his name’s Greg Glassman, he wrote to all the Crossfit trainers about the final details required to achieve a perfect score in competitive Crossfit routines. He said a quote that Ryan’s a big fan of-

Ryan Isaac: I’ll let you say it though.

Reese Harper: He talked about something called virtuosity, and here’s how he said it. He said, “Virtuosity is defined in gymnastics as performing the common uncommonly well. Virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive. It is, however, readily recognized by audience members as well as coaches and the athlete. But more importantly, it is always the mark of true mastery and of genius and beauty.”
That’s a little over the top for me, but it’s a quote, and I do like the substance of it. It got a little bit flowery-

Ryan Isaac: Okay, I like, “… performing the common uncommonly well.” We’ll just go there, and that’s a good way to summarize it and it’s the constant challenge to master simple things.

Reese Harper: I like that part.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: It’s similar to another quote that we reference all the time around here from Leonardo da Vinci, your favorite.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: What did he say?

Ryan Isaac: He said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Reese Harper: Yeah, and we believe it’s true in financial planning. It’s about doing the common uncommonly well.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, so we worked in a little Crossfit, Mount Baldmore, [crosstalk 00:06:22] very classy move, but let’s talk about five common activities that our most successful clients do uncommonly well, which makes retiring on time look easy.

Reese Harper: Sounds great. Go ahead, let’s get into it.

Ryan Isaac: Let’s go, here’s the meat. The first thing they do is they master the ability to put away money each month without fail. More specifically they set up automatic savings programs so that a percentage of their income is always going towards savings. It’s nice because they don’t have to remember the make transfers between banks or deposits every month. It’s out of sight, out of mind, it’s automatically saved.

Reese Harper: Yeah, it’s also nice because then you don’t have to remember to save for retirement. It’s also smart not to give yourself an option when it comes to saving money. If you’re making a decision every month about whether you’re going to save money and how much it will be, you’re going to be a lot less likely to stick with it. It’s better to see never see the money come into your account in the first place and just let your savings go on autopilot, just make it happen without thinking.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, and if we’re going to stick with the fitness analogy, if rue going to get results you can’t go for a month and then back off a few months and then come back for a few weeks and then take a few weeks off. You just won’t stick with that if it’s irregular like that.
The next fundamental that our successful clients have mastered is that they engage with their financial advisors on a regular basis. I will just personally say I love the clients that will call or text or email regularly and get in touch a lot. It gives us a better chance to catch things and give better advice. I really appreciate people who communicate a lot.

Reese Harper: We obviously think this is super important, because we see the do it yourself approach and how a lot of those people could end up getting burned in a lot of ways. It’s like if you just always went to the gym by yourself and thought your form was really good when you did squats or something, when in reality you aren’t doing it quite right. So you’re making it harder on yourself, and you’re putting yourself at risk for injury. Not that I would ever do that …

Ryan Isaac: I was just going to say don’t get me started on shallow squat depth. That’s how I get … Okay.

Reese Harper: I saw that yesterday, literally, I saw that yesterday, where we were doing overhead squats. There was like a seven footer in there, and we’re talking like a two inch-

Ryan Isaac: That’s hard, long femurs. It’s hard to squat with long legs.

Reese Harper: I felt bad. I just wanted to hold him as he went down.

Ryan Isaac: Gently, my son. Gently …

Reese Harper: I felt bad.

Ryan Isaac: All right, well, this is where a personal fitness trainer can step in and hold you while you do your overhead squats [crosstalk 00:08:59] proper adjustments. It’s true with financial advisors too, there’s a science to what we do, and we will be able to help you make course corrections along your path to retirement.

Reese Harper: And it’s not to say that you couldn’t go the gym and self-direct your way-

Ryan Isaac: There’s plenty of people that do that fantastically.

Reese Harper: There’s plenty of people that do it, it’s just the majority of people think that they can be that person, and then they are in injury zone for their entire life.

Ryan Isaac: Why would I pay a personal trainer in VASA Fitness or Lifetime or Gold’s Gyms nine bucks a month? I’ll just go by myself, it’s cheap.

Reese Harper: I save money.

Ryan Isaac: I save money.

Reese Harper: And then every time …

Ryan Isaac: No results.

Reese Harper: Yeah, no results and you’re in physical therapy like three quarters of the year with lower back injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries, shoulder injuries-

Ryan Isaac: Sounds like we’re still talking about Crossfit.

Reese Harper: Good call, all right.

Ryan Isaac: All right, so the next fundamental that our most successful clients master is that they live by the numbers.

Reese Harper: Amen, brother.

Ryan Isaac: What we’re trying to say is that they don’t just make guesses at things. The famous quote actually, you know what they say, Reese.

Reese Harper: Guesses make messes.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: That’s the quote we use around here.

Ryan Isaac: It is.

Reese Harper: Good call, Ryan. It’s true, guesses do make messes, and to the extent possible you want to make sure you’re making objective financial decisions based on facts instead of feelings. I like that, facts and feelings. Just like your savings is a lot easier when you just do autodrafts, you can make tracking your numbers much easier by setting up an online dashboard to track all your accounts. I don’t think people should be tracking their net worth manually, it’s just not going to happen very easily.
You want to set up a dashboard and link it to your accounts. You can do that through any number of online technologies. We’ve got a good system that we use, where we just link to all of your accounts, keeps everything up to date so you can see all your balances in one place.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, and as an advisor I can say that it’s huge when I can actually use actual numbers instead of sitting in a meeting and going off of guesses-

Reese Harper: I hate doing that, when people make me go with what they say they think the things are.

Ryan Isaac: Like you know, Reese, I’m spending like 10 grand a month.

Reese Harper: It’s worth this much, or the practice is doing about that much.

Ryan Isaac: And you have to make decisions base don that.

Reese Harper: It’s hard, because you’re making huge decisions based on data that you’re not sure is right.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, so having the numbers just gives us a lot more confidence to make specific recommendations [crosstalk 00:11:12] guessing.

Reese Harper: I can give a Crossfit reference if you want.

Ryan Isaac: Let’s go back to this.

Reese Harper: So think of a version of Crossfit would be how much weight you’re lifting or how many pullups you’re doing. You want to record your weight and your reps so you can see if you’re improving or where you have weaknesses.

Ryan Isaac: I do that in my Evernote.

Reese Harper: You do do that. I see.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, for three years I’ve been recording. Okay, we all know the guy, right? He’s like, “I can do 20 pullups.” And then he can’t do three. Don’t be that guy.

Reese Harper: Are you talking to me?

Ryan Isaac: No, I’m just saying though-

Reese Harper: Because I think I can do more than three.

Ryan Isaac: You can do way more than three.

Reese Harper: I can do it right now, in the studio here. Producer’s got a bar for me-

Ryan Isaac: Why do I feel like I’m co-hosting with Ron Burgundy? You don’t want to be the dentist who kind of lies to yourself about your finances. Just don’t guess about it, get the numbers straight. We did a podcast on that, getting the numbers. Okay.
The next fundamental on our list is not making changes too investment accounts during down markets.

Reese Harper: Yes, we’ve done entire shows on this topic, people. Episode six is a really good one to listen to if you haven’t already. There’s few reasons why smart investors won’t pull their money out of a bear market. The first is that they’ve been around long enough to know that markets recover and the longer you invest in a market, the better your returns will be. When you yank your money out, you’re taking an automatic loss and not giving the market time to recover. Trying to outsmart the market is never a sustainable strategy. It’s like collections decline year over year and you just sell the dental practice.

Ryan Isaac: You just sell it and wait to buy it again later, when collections are back up. And plus when markets are down, it’s a great time to just keep buying shares at a discounted rate.

Reese Harper: To be clear, you’ll never know exactly where you’re at in the market cycle in the terms of peaks and valleys at the time they’re happening, but over the course of your career you’ll be able to look back at the low points and be glad you kept picking up shares at those times because that’s where your money worked the hardest for you in those moments.

Ryan Isaac: Is there a fitness analogy we could come up-

Reese Harper: I wasn’t planning on coming up with one.

Ryan Isaac: But maybe we could do something? How about this, when you’re working out, the time when you get the most gains is when your body’s under the most stress.

Reese Harper: I like that, gains … That’s gainz with a Z though.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, you know it is. Sometimes two Zs, if they’re extra gains. What I’m saying is that that first squat, when you go into the gym and your legs are fresh, that doesn’t do nearly as much to the growth of your muscles as that last one when you’re about to fold up like a lawn chair, which also happens to be the same time you want to quit.

Reese Harper: Well played on that one. Where we going next, Ry?

Ryan Isaac: Okay, let’s do one more. The last fundamental success that clients practice is that they keep accurate and up to date financial statements.

Reese Harper: Totally, and this is like the part of fitness where you’re going to look in the mirror or step on the scale and see if all your hard work is paying off. Usually, in my case when I step on the scale, it’s holding true, it’s holding firm. I just tell myself I’m gaining a lot of muscle, and I hope that’s what’s happening. Maybe you’ve been putting the time in at the gym but you’re not losing any weight, that might serve as a good reminder that if you eat lots of ice cream and pizza you’re never going to be able to outwork your bad diet.

Ryan Isaac: We’re nailing these comparisons-

Reese Harper: Yeah, so I’ve cut back on that stuff though.

Ryan Isaac: On the pizza and ice cream?

Reese Harper: I mean, I’m not eliminating it.

Ryan Isaac: We shouldn’t, it’s the flavor of life. So the dentist version of this problem is putting all kinds of hours in at the practice and growing the business and bringing on associates and ramping up marketing, and then realizing that personal income hasn’t actually moved at all.

Reese Harper: That happens, unfortunately too often. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your financial reporting, like your PnL and your balance sheet. Your PnL tells you why your profits haven’t changed or when your collections are up, because you can see which overhead items are killing your profits, right? And then, a good balance sheet or personal financial statement is really the ultimate indicator of your financial progress, because it tracks your actual personal net worth and in categories that you can make sense of. At the end of the day, your net worth is going to determine the quality of your retirement. You never want to take your eye off that number no matter how well things at work are going.

Ryan Isaac: Okay, that wraps it up I think. I think we did it, we got through another one. Now we’ve got to make sure and, like a true Crossfitter, we’ve got to go out and tell everyone about how awesome it was.

Reese Harper: Hashtags …

Ryan Isaac: Hashtag gainz …

Reese Harper: Hashtag gainzz, double Z … We’ll say words that no one knows what they mean, like wad.

Ryan Isaac: Yeah, am raps-

Reese Harper: Am raps and emoms …

Ryan Isaac: O-H-Ss, yeah.

Reese Harper: Exactly.

Ryan Isaac: M-U …

Reese Harper: We’re striving for virtuosity is really what we’re doing-

Ryan Isaac: That’s the theme, virtuosity, which was doing the common uncommonly well.

Reese Harper: Yeah, if we do this enough times, all of these things, these fundamentals, maybe we’ll be able to make it seem … It will start to seem easy. By doing all these things you get in the habit and … I hope the takeaway for the listeners is that good financial planning isn’t as complicated as you might think. It’s about developing these good habits around fundamentals that build wealth consistently over time.

Ryan Isaac: Okay, so let’s just recap real quick here. Number one, put money away consistently every month using an automated savings plan.

Reese Harper: I like that, just keep in mind that by doing it and getting it going as soon as you can, you’ll just get in that habit, out of sight out of mind. Do it a percentage of your income, as a general rule we like to start around 20% of gross and then work it up slowly. If you’re saving less than 20%, you’re probably spending or your house is too big or your mortgage balance is too high or your debt’s too high. You really should be able to have about 20% left over and then you can save that every month and make sure and automatically put it in the right accounts.

Ryan Isaac: Okay, number two, talk to your financial advisor regularly.

Reese Harper: I like that. I love it when clients will text, call, Voxer, email, stay in touch. I said Voxer because it’s an app we use-

Ryan Isaac: It’s a new one. It’s a walkie talkie app.

Reese Harper: … place texting.

Ryan Isaac: Check it out and try it.

Reese Harper: Some of our clients are resisting it, but I do like the idea of not making decisions without running it by somebody. It only has to take five, 10 minutes and-

Ryan Isaac: It’s a good habit to be in.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and it’s helpful if you’re working with a financial advisor who’s not, every one of those five minute interactions, he won’t bill you for it. Make sure that you aren’t demotivated to give them a call. It’s important.

Ryan Isaac: Number three, use numbers instead of guesses or emotions to make decisions. We recommend setting up an online dashboard, use some kind of technology, track spending, track your accounts, track your net worth electronically, automatically.

Reese Harper: Yeah, practice values, practice debts, student loans, savings account, practice checking, investments, Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, all of your stuff, insurance policies, everything needs to be tracked as automated as possible.

Ryan Isaac: Number four, don’t pull your money out of accounts and don’t stop investing during down markets.

Reese Harper: Yes. Make sure you have good investment knowledge, right? If you have good understanding of your investment accounts, you’re not going to feel the same pressure that other people feel when the market goes through a correction or short-term volatility. Clients who have better investment knowledge and stick with things during tough times are just like that example you gave doing that … That’s the time where your returns are made, that last squat when you’re about to fold like a lawn chair.

Ryan Isaac: Just hoping you don’t die.

Reese Harper: Last one.

Ryan Isaac: Number five, keep accurate and up to date financial statements, and review them. Look at them. Call your financial advisor, review them with him.

Reese Harper: Yup, the most important one I’d say is your PnL and your personal financial statement or your balance sheet. I think you got them all, Ry. Do you want to talk about your workout today?

Ryan Isaac: Tomorrow. I haven’t gone yet, so … I have an automated plan to push out updates on all social media sites the second I’m done with the workout-

Reese Harper: We won’t allow that, we actually filter it. Compliance will filter that out.

Ryan Isaac: Well, with that, let’s call it a show. Thanks to all our listeners for joining us again. Remember to leave us a review on the podcast. If you’d like more information, follow us on Facebook, visit our website, you can sign up for the newsletter, you can schedule an appointment right on our calendar. We also have the phone number on the website, give us a call. We’d be happy to chat.

Reese Harper: Carry on.

Behavioral Finance, Getting Organized, Investing, Tracking Progress

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