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This is Why Dentists Spend Too Much Money – Episode 95

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Do you wonder how your current lifestyle choices will affect your ability to retire comfortably? In this episode of Dentist Money™, Reese and Ryan discuss why it’s so easy for dentists to overspend. They also provide valuable reminders to avoid the most common traps that send your personal budget into a tailspin.

Podcast Transcript:

Speaker: Consult advisor 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 Advisors, a registered investment advisor.
This is Dentist Money. Now, here’s your host Reece Harper.

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

Ryan Issac: I think I am the oldest one here.

Reese Harper: You’re older than [crosstalk 00:00:33].

Ryan Issac: Geez.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: I brought treats today though.

Reese Harper: We need to… the studio audience knows that we have treats here up on our stand.

Ryan Issac: These are not just props. These are real pieces of buttery popcorn.

Reese Harper: Okay, you just chewed on that.

Ryan Issac: No, I just chewed in the microphone.

Reese Harper: The-

Ryan Issac: I’m sorry.

Reese Harper: We have two props here up on stage. We have buttery popcorn and an ICEE.

Ryan Issac: That’s extra butter.

Reese Harper: When I walked in I thought what are these two props doing here on the stage, and I was told that it’s because it furthers the storyline of my spending problem.

Ryan Issac: Well, today we’re talking about spending and you’ve got a story for us. The topic today is do I spend too much money? That’s the question.

Reese Harper: So, I’m going to tell a short story about myself-

Ryan Issac: It’s not rhetorical.

Reese Harper: It’s not. The topic is really do I spend too much money? I think we all wonder this sometimes.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, we all know the answer.

Reese Harper: And we all know the answer. But the thing that was a little confusing to me is a saw an ICEE and some popcorn, okay?

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: But an ICEE and popcorn, I didn’t know how that related to the story I was about to tell, and because the story that I have to tell has to do with attending the theater.

Ryan Issac: There was some mixed message somewhere, okay?

Reese Harper: No. Live events is what I was specifically referring to, and I’m going to tell a story about today. We’re talking about The Echoes Theater for my musicals, my symphony tickets. None of those places let you bring food into the actual theater.

Ryan Issac: Well, I mean the other option-

Reese Harper: Let alone ICEEs and popcorn.

Ryan Issac: The other option though was to bring like a filet mignon and some potatoes, and scallops, and a piece of lobster tail.

Reese Harper: Yeah because-

Ryan Issac: Because that’s what you would eat before the actual theater, but we can’t. So, we have popcorn and ICEEs to represent the theater, okay?

Reese Harper: That’s a good point.

Ryan Issac: Plus, I need to get some carbs in.

Reese Harper: Well, if I was spending money only on popcorn and ICEEs, then I wouldn’t have a spending problem.

Ryan Issac: The answer do I spend too much money is no, because I-

Reese Harper: I only buy popcorn and ICEEs and go to the movie.

Ryan Issac: Exactly.

Reese Harper: So, the challenge is, here’s the story that I think the audience is probably dying to hear now.

Ryan Issac: Pins and needles.

Reese Harper: So, think about the things in your life that you like to spend money on. One of the things that I really like to spend money on is live events.

Ryan Issac: This is new.

Reese Harper: Well-

Ryan Issac: You’ve always liked it [crosstalk 00:02:57] but it’s ramped up.

Reese Harper: I’ve just never had any money to spend a lot of money on live events.

Ryan Issac: Okay.

Reese Harper: Maybe the last five years it’s really picked up.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: So, usually it was once a year where I would go to a concert, and then, in high school I’d go once or twice a year if I saved up all my money. I could-

Ryan Issac: Yes.

Reese Harper: … drive like five hours away and finally get to a live event.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Because in the town where I grew up there wasn’t a lot of live event venues.

Ryan Issac: [crosstalk 00:03:25] now, I went to your town once-

Reese Harper: The local high school has some.

Ryan Issac: I mean, I went to Rupert, Idaho with you once and there happened to be a live event that weekend. It was a rodeo.

Reese Harper: We went to a rodeo together?

Ryan Issac: We didn’t? I think, yeah, we did go and the kids pet some sheep and goats, and that was like normal for you. My kids were like wow, look at these farm animals.

Reese Harper: That was a good-

Ryan Issac: That was a live event.

Reese Harper: That was a live event.

Ryan Issac: Now you’re talking about different ones.

Reese Harper: The cost of that live event, I think was like a firm handshake for the person who brought the goat.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: To the event.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, the cost was the germs.

Reese Harper: The germs that you got-

Ryan Issac: That you got from all the animals.

Reese Harper: People listening to this podcast who are farm people know that you’re just offending us right now.

Ryan Issac: Yeah. That was mean.

Reese Harper: Thanks for stepping on the minorities.

Ryan Issac: Let’s get back to the theater.

Reese Harper: So, here’s the thing is I started out probably like five years ago buying a ticket occasionally to go to the theater.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: With my wife, where I would get probably like some kind of taco beforehand. Spend $10 on a taco and then, I’d go and spend another $25 on tier two back row seats.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Those are the ones that maybe were $50 or something. Or $20. Okay?

Ryan Issac: All right.

Reese Harper: As time past, my food preferences have changed from-

Ryan Issac: Evolved.

Reese Harper: … from tacos to-

Ryan Issac: Hey, disclaimer, not that they should evolve from tacos because it is-

Reese Harper: I still eat a lot of tacos.

Ryan Issac: … if you have the triangle food group pyramid, the whole thing should just say taco in a big triangle.

Reese Harper: You know the difference between ground beef though and steak in your taco.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, some like high quality fish or shrimp-

Reese Harper: Yeah. So, over time your food preferences start to change slightly.

Ryan Issac: That’s true.

Reese Harper: And now, I can’t hardly go to the theater without spending a lot more than I would have ever spent on a month’s worth of tacos, all right?

Ryan Issac: Okay.

Reese Harper: So, food becomes a little bit more expensive, but really what happens is, let’s break this down to the theater specifically. The Echoes Theater has three tiers and an orchestra section. So, you have the bottom row. Then, you have your first row, and your second row, and your third tier. So, if you get up on-

Ryan Issac: The show in the third tier is basically the back of peoples’ heads.

Reese Harper: Yes.

Ryan Issac: Okay.

Reese Harper: It’s really hard… well, you can see but you have to bring a spotting scope or binoculars to make out facial expressions of the actors.

Ryan Issac: What about a monocular?

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: Bringing a monocular. That seems appropriate for the theater.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: The theater.

Reese Harper: Well, I keep one in the front breast pocket of my vest.

Ryan Issac: A monocular.

Reese Harper: As I’m approaching-

Ryan Issac: And a staph.

Reese Harper: … the theater.

Ryan Issac: Okay. Carry on.

Reese Harper: But looking out into the show those tickets used to be just fine, and I used to be really excited to go. Just being there-

Ryan Issac: Like once a year, or something, yeah.

Reese Harper: Just being there was exciting. Then, it turned into season tickets a few years later. Okay? And season tickets luckily got me moved down a few tiers, but I was still up in the mezzanine section. And spending a lot more money, and obligatorily, going to shows that I wouldn’t have probably gone to otherwise because I-

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: You get the whole season. And I just had to pick I probably would have just selectively picked a few shows-

Ryan Issac: Like two or three.

Reese Harper: But now, I go to every show because I have season tickets.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, yeah.

Reese Harper: And at every show I get…

Ryan Issac: A nice meal.

Reese Harper: A nice meal.

Ryan Issac: Okay.

Reese Harper: And now, this is kind of the year where I’m in crisis mode, is my… I have the opportunity to buy some box seats that are right at the front of the theater. Okay? It’ll like-

Ryan Issac: Triple.

Reese Harper: Well, quintuple my costs. It’s like five times the costs, okay, of my good seats now. I have good seats. They’re not amazing-

Ryan Issac: That I might buy from you.

Reese Harper: Yeah. They’re not amazing, but they’re…

Ryan Issac: They’re good.

Reese Harper: They’re good.

Ryan Issac: Yeah. They’re good seats.

Reese Harper: So, I had a struggle with this, and I went home to my wife, and I’m like I think I’ve got a chance to buy these box seats. They’re-

Ryan Issac: And you do need a monocular if you’re in a box.

Reese Harper: Yeah, you definitely do. Your dress code has to go up a little bit.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, and you’ve got to spend more money on clothes.

Reese Harper: So, I went to my wife and I told her the price of these box seats. She kind of looked at me like, just starting laughing. I was like, “Oh, seriously?”

Ryan Issac: There’s your answer.

Reese Harper: I’m like, well I guess there’s my answer.

Ryan Issac: That’s how you know, when you go home and you run it past your significant other.

Reese Harper: Yeah, when my wife tells me that it’s not… that’s not even good for our budget. And I’m the financial advisor. You know you’ve got a spending problem.

Ryan Issac: When you run a budget [inaudible 00:08:05] passed a significant other you have like three different steps. You have like acceptance, indifference, anger and then, just laughter at the bottom. Laughter is none of those things. Like I think we should buy this thing and you get laughed at. It’s like there’s your answer.

Reese Harper: Yeah, so I think the reason I’m telling this story is because I think all of us probably have this area of our lives where slowly over time something kind of creeps up in costs. This isn’t-

Ryan Issac: Probably multiple things really.

Reese Harper: Even if I did buy the box seats it wouldn’t break the bank, and I would survive. Things would be fine, and I would probably love my box seats.

Ryan Issac: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Reese Harper: And there’s definitely an income threshold that I will hit one day where those will maybe be something I would consider.

Ryan Issac: Lower percentage of the personal PNL-

Reese Harper: Yeah, lower percentage of the personal PNL, but right now, it’s still like a big stretch from-

Ryan Issac: The point is that three years ago you would have laughed at yourself also.

Reese Harper: Yes.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: But now it’s-

Ryan Issac: It’s funny how slowly things kind of just-

Reese Harper: Creep up.

Ryan Issac: The slippery slope of theater tickets and-

Reese Harper: Yeah, and I-

Ryan Issac: Pre-show food.

Reese Harper: So, I think what we want to talk about today is spending really is kind of a slippery slow slide. And, it’s really sticky to have spending go down. Like you can’t… you don’t lose. Spending does not decline greatly.

Ryan Issac: No. It’s easy to increase but it’s almost impossible to decrease.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and it’s just as important to have really accurate spending data in your financial plan as it is to have a really accurate net worth calculation.

Ryan Issac: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Reese Harper: So, we want to talk about a few areas today of personal spending that we think will be good reminders for everyone on how they need to be able to focus on this issue.

Ryan Issac: Or three, or reasons why the question do I spend too much money. The answer is yes.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: And why? So, why? What’s happening? Reason number one is we don’t downgrade stuff.

Reese Harper: That’s a good point.

Ryan Issac: We see that all the time, and all of us, everyone listening, everyone in this room can acknowledge something in our lives that I mean, it’s crept up. It’s gotten better, higher quality. Maybe it’s food, maybe it’s clothing, maybe it’s cars, housing. Maybe it’s all of it. Theater tickets.

Reese Harper: Justin’s golfing habits.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, the golfers. Any golfer listening is like, yeah, I definitely… I have spent more money on clubs and dues.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: As time has gone on.

Justin Copier: And my… I’m at a country club but I’m not at “the country club”.

Ryan Issac: Yeah. I mean, okay, so downgrade Justin. Get the clubs that cost half as much as the ones that you have right now.

Justin Copier: Well, the problem is when you get in the country club membership you’ve got to get all the other things that go along with the country club membership, like the car and the nicer clubs, and the nicer clothes.

Ryan Issac: You better look good.

Reese Harper: So, Ryan’s clubs wouldn’t be good to bring to the country club.

Justin Copier: I mean-

Ryan Issac: Trick question, don’t own any.

Justin Copier: You have to have a lot of self confidence to bring Ryan’s clubs to a country club.

Reese Harper: It’s so funny man. It’s so true. But I mean, there’s just so many things. The point is that we don’t downgrade. One good example is housing. We have an interesting perspective because we get to see people at the beginning of their just getting out of school, getting the first house that they’re likely not going to stay in. We see the people in mid career getting the dream home, and all the stuff they always wanted. Then, we see the people at the end of career… you just eat some popcorn. I’ll just talk. You eat popcorn.

Ryan Issac: Thank you.

Reese Harper: We see people at the end of career that are in the huge house, everyone is gone. There’s landscaping maintenance, there’s high utilities, there’s furniture, costs, repairs, all that kind of stuff. And, the thought is always when I’m older and my kids are gone and I don’t need all this room, I’ll totally downgrade. I’ll totally downgrade, you know?
But really happens is you spend all the time paying off that mortgage. You have all the equity in the house, and then, do people downgrade? Do people get downgraded houses in retirement just because now the kids are gone and they don’t need the space anymore?

Ryan Issac: Well, usually they might be smaller but they’re pretty nice.

Reese Harper: When they downgrade their [crosstalk 00:12:12]-

Ryan Issac: Don’t downgrade quality is the point.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: I mean, we know a fair amount of people in retirement that are still in very, very large homes that they won’t leave.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: They just won’t leave.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that you’ve got kids and grandkids that have grown up and they’re visiting. You want to have that space.

Ryan Issac: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Reese Harper: A lot of people don’t end up sizing down their property.

Ryan Issac: They don’t size down, and the ones that do size down, if you have a… let’s say a half a million dollar house that you live in, and it’s really big. You just go get a half million dollar house that’s small and super really nice. Nicer neighborhood, nicer furnishing, nicer finish. Right?

Reese Harper: Yeah, and you know having gone through some of these decisions the hard way, I think that the thing I’ve learned is that there isn’t anything that you… there is always something that you probably shouldn’t buy. There’s always something that you probably shouldn’t spend your money on, even if you can afford it. Like even if you can afford it, there’s probably a line… there’s a line for everyone, and the line that you cross is different based on your income, your net worth, your liquidity, your career trajectory, like what you believe will happen. And kind of confidently might know will happen. I think there’s a difference between hoping and dreaming about the future. And being realistic about it.
So, I think that one of the things I don’t want people to feel like is that there isn’t room for splurging and enjoying life. I’m not going to give up my season tickets to my… my theater tickets. Sorry Ryan. Even though-

Ryan Issac: No, I don’t think you should-

Reese Harper: And I probably shouldn’t. Because that’s how you get your-

Ryan Issac: Because that’s how I get mine too. So, I totally don’t think you should give them up.

Reese Harper: Yeah. Isn’t that funny? We know, it happens with all of our friends. All of our friends have something that we use-

Ryan Issac: Something like a boat.

Reese Harper: … that we love using, that’s like yeah, I think that’s a good idea for you. I’m glad you have it.

Ryan Issac: In general, you should never buy a boat. Total waste of money, but my buddies who take me all the time, great investment. They should totally keep the boat.

Reese Harper: Love it. Love that they’ve done that. Such great memories. Great memories.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: So, I think the point here is that if you’re not constantly evaluating whether you can keep up with this threshold you’re going to get to. For example, one of the really big thresholds that kind of end up hurting people is can you afford two houses? I think that’s one where-

Ryan Issac: Yeah, that’s true.

Reese Harper: There’s a lot of people that pick up that second home because they want a cabin, or they want a vacation property. They don’t want to stay and move from different resorts.

Ryan Issac: They want to create memories.

Reese Harper: They want to create memories in a place.

Ryan Issac: Memory creating.

Reese Harper: And nothing against that. I mean, some people can afford it-

Ryan Issac: I’ve got [crosstalk 00:15:01] great memories because we had a family cabin. It was great.

Reese Harper: Yeah, but that’s like a level. That’s an example of a level you move to that you can’t go back from. Take away the family cabin from everyone, and you’re like the worst person in the world.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Right?

Ryan Issac: It’s hard to do.

Reese Harper: You have to be ready to move to that level and make sure that that fits your net worth, your income, your budget, and your savings rate, and everything is going to be fine.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: I think cars are another great example, right?

Ryan Issac: Yeah, we listed that.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: Well, I mean, just think of the car you drive now compared to the car you drove 10 years ago. Likely, it’s better. I’ve met a few people who were like, they got so sick of… I mean, there are some people that are like I don’t even care anymore.

Reese Harper: That’s an easier one to ditch on though. Cars are an easy… I mean, it’s hard, but if you were in a bind, I mean, I know a few-

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: I know a few people who bail on it, but housing is a little harder to bail on-

Ryan Issac: Way hard.

Reese Harper: But cars are still hard. Like if you’ve ever driven a car that is silent on the freeway.

Ryan Issac: Has nice-

Reese Harper: Really quiet.

Ryan Issac: Comfortable seats.

Reese Harper: Great tech, great AC.

Ryan Issac: Powerful engine.

Reese Harper: Really comfortable seats. Accelerates nice, and then, you go to something that’s like… Loud and noisy.

Ryan Issac: Takes forever to heat up and the AC doesn’t work good. It brings in all this nasty air somehow and you’re like, how is this getting inside my car?

Reese Harper: The easy thing to justify with cars though too, is that it’s literally… like if you have a payment, it’s like a few hundred dollars of difference you know? Between that one and the nice one. It’s not that much.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: That’s what’s tough.

Ryan Issac: It’s easy to go, ugh, it’s $400 man. Let’s just get the nicer car. It’s totally worth it. It’s hard to go back from it.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and once you hit that level it’s difficult.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: So, people usually end up hitting a point where they just migrate sideways on cars. Right, but they usually don’t downgrade. So, that’s a good one. Food, groceries, restaurants, we’ve talked about that.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: I mean, it really is hard to, once you’re used to eating nice food, you just have to be conscious of like hey, spending hundreds of dollars on a meal isn’t a normal… that’s not a normal thing. You don’t have to do that every time you go eat. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for two people.
Now, does that happen-

Ryan Issac: Is this self reflection?

Reese Harper: That happens for me a lot, and I’m always like where are the days when my ticket-

Ryan Issac: was like $30.

Reese Harper: … was like not three digits.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Where are those days?

Ryan Issac: Yeah, there was a decimal after two.

Reese Harper: Yeah, mostly because I’m taking… mostly because you always come, everyone comes with me.

Ryan Issac: So true.

Reese Harper: Then, expects me to pay for everything.

Ryan Issac: You’re a very-

Reese Harper: Jeff. Just kidding.

Ryan Issac: You have an incredible sense of finding good food, and you’re very generous fooder.

Reese Harper: I feel bad. I can’t have like a good meal while Jeff is eating asparagus.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, shout out to asparagus. All right, thank you. Justin, you can [crosstalk 00:17:54] that out. Just want to get Jeff involved here.

Reese Harper: What about other, like Q. We were talking the other day. He was like, “You know, think about your budget in the line item. Even the small stuff. The little incidental, kind of lifestyle things that we pay for.” Who has Netflix? Like $10 to Spotify every month is the best $10 I spend. I use Spotify more than any other service.

Ryan Issac: Apple Music.

Reese Harper: Really? I’m a Spotify guy.

Ryan Issac: I don’t use it.

Reese Harper: Really?

Ryan Issac: Well, I just enjoy it.

Reese Harper: Okay, that’s fair. I mean, think about how many little things do you pay for in your personal little PNL that if you had to get rid of it you’d kind of be like eh, I don’t want to go without unlimited play lists every again in my whole life.

Ryan Issac: My plural site membership.

Reese Harper: Plural site?

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Really?

Ryan Issac: [crosstalk 00:18:40] I get to learn new things all the time. Like when I’m just randomly sitting there in bed I take a class on UX or maybe I’ll like-

Reese Harper: Really?

Ryan Issac: … read up on the latest charcoal drafting designs.

Reese Harper: That’s cool. Okay.

Ryan Issac: Learn how to type in certain mathematical formulas into a spreadsheet. I like the stuff.

Reese Harper: Okay.

Ryan Issac: So, I can’t give it up though because I’ve had it now. I feel like I have a little teacher always beside me.

Reese Harper: You’ve got something.

Ryan Issac: I’m like, I don’t know that. So, it’s enjoyable, but I look at it and-

Reese Harper: A gym membership.

Ryan Issac: Yes.

Reese Harper: I mean, there’s a lot of little things too that would just be hard. So, the point of this, all this, is it’s hard to downgrade this stuff. It’s really difficult to downgrade this stuff.

Justin Copier: Have you guys heard that comedian Ryan Hamilton?

Reese Harper: I watched it… we watched, he has a special on Netflix now.

Justin Copier: Yeah, called Happy Face.

Reese Harper: Yes.

Justin Copier: He talks about how impossible it is to cancel a gym membership.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Justin Copier: He’s like he calls them up and they’re like, “You have two options. You can either come into the office, or you can write a letter. Those are the only two ways to cancel your membership.”

Reese Harper: It’s hilarious man.

Justin Copier: He’s like talking about how he had to go to Walgreens and buy a packet of 50 envelopes just so he could have an envelope.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and pass his gym on the way.

Justin Copier: To write the letter.

Reese Harper: Passes the gym to go buy the envelope. Yeah. Find that, yeah, Ryan Hamilton on Netflix. Happy Face, right?

Justin Copier: Yeah. It’s a good one.

Reese Harper: The point is, it’s hard to unwind things.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Logistically it can be hard too. So, let’s pause there. Let’s have a commercial break because I’m staring at a full bucket of popcorn, and a beautiful blue ICEE, which is my favorite ICEE flavor, and I’d like to drink a little.

Ryan Issac: 10-4.

Reese Harper: Be back in a minute folks.
Hi, this is Reese Harper. I’m the host of the Dentist Money Show and CEO of I want to take just a minute and explain why is different than your average team of financial advisors. We help you plan, invest and retire better using a unique set of tools you won’t find anywhere else.
First, we use our proprietary methodology called Elements to assess your financial health. The Elements framework enables us to give you data driven, objective advice based on a comprehensive picture of your personal and practice finances. We maintain that picture in a custom dashboard that tracks all your assets, debts and accounts so you know what you’re worth any time and any where. And because we work with Dentists and specialist, we can leverage our industry expertise to weigh your progress against your peers. We are the premiere wealth management firm for dentists and specialist. We’re ready to put you on a more predictable path to financial independence.
Start now by booking your free consultation today at Thanks again for listening. Now, let’s get back to the show.
Welcome back folks. Time to discuss personal spending problems number two. Saying no is really hard to do.

Ryan Issac: Yep.

Reese Harper: That’s what I would summarize this second one at. The more money you make the more people just start to show up-

Ryan Issac: There’s more stuff to buy!

Reese Harper: … to sell you stuff and bring you things.

Ryan Issac: It’s amazing how many-

Reese Harper: And opportunities.

Ryan Issac: There’s so many things to buy when you have higher income.

Reese Harper: It’s like how do I say no to all these requests? The second thing that starts to come is like family members start to ask more questions too. That’s a hard one. Saying no to sales people is really hard, but saying no to family members is hard too.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, we talked about this in episode 19 of the Dentist Money Show. It was called will your personality cost you a better retirement. There’s a personality characteristic called, if you want to explain a little bit, the family steward.

Reese Harper: Yeah, the family steward. You can read up on it in episode 19. Listen up on it, but it basically is someone who, everything… someone who has a high propensity to help their family or wants to help their family or wants to help their family more than-

Ryan Issac: At the expensive of other things sometimes.

Reese Harper: … anything else. At the expense of their own personal finances.

Ryan Issac: We have met people who have higher savings rates into kids college funds than their own retirement.

Reese Harper: Yeah. And for a short, short period of time that might be okay, but it shouldn’t… if you don’t have enough money to fund your own retirement, funding kids college at the expensive of you getting any money put away, that’s a risk. I think it has more to do with just constantly feeling like you need to support your family members at a maybe disproportionately high level. I do think that there’s just a reality of being parents and grandparents that if you’ve earned enough money to be stable yourself, you want to help out your family.

Ryan Issac: For sure.

Reese Harper: You want to see them enjoy their life, and sometimes you want to part with some of your money to help them through tough times. But a lot of times that comes at the expense of someone’s own personal financial security.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: And that’s where it can dangerous.

Ryan Issac: Well, sometimes those are the personalities too. And even more than thought out planning for a family member, sometimes it can just be cleaning up messes for family members. Some people just have bleeding hearts and they happen to have good incomes too. They end up paying for things that maybe hurt them a little bit. It’s not healthy, but that’s another reason why spending can be difficult, and go up without really knowing it’s going to go up. It’s hard to say no to family.

Reese Harper: Yeah. I think it’s hard to say no to yourself sometimes. That’s probably the hardest one.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: You know, because I think everyone wants to get rewarded for the hard work that they put into their lives, and sometimes that results in vacations, cars, houses, shopping, just things that we want. I mean, I can think of like 30 things I want right now that I can’t buy. And, I’m sure everyone could think about same things.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Well, yeah, I do want that.

Ryan Issac: There’s one on my mind.

Reese Harper: I want this, and I want that. And you’ll ultimately… there will never be a point in your life where you don’t struggle with those emotions. It’s not a moment when it’s like, “I finally have all the stuff that I wanted.”

Ryan Issac: No, it’s funny. I think about this a lot. I mean, if you just compare where you’re at, I mean most people, to where you were 10 years ago. I mean, you have most of the stuff in life that you thought 10 years ago you always wanted. You know? In 10 years you’ll probably think the same thing, but I mean, it doesn’t really change much.

Reese Harper: Yeah. I think this is just a good checkpoint to kind of say, you know, I think if you’re not saying no to things that you want often enough you’re going to find yourself being… you’re going to find yourself overspending so long that you’re just out of cash and liquidity, and your working life gets extended. I think it’s really just about piece of mind every day knowing that you have stability.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: That’s an important aspect of this.

Ryan Issac: I was just going to say too, just for a little context, I think it’s easy for everybody to get into a trap of thinking about people who make more money, and think like, well they probably don’t struggle with wanting stuff they can’t have. Or, they probably don’t struggle with overspending because there’s just so much money there. But, I would just give… and I know that’s a common feeling. I mean, everyone feels that way, you know? But I would just kind of give people the context that even very, very high income people, like seven figure high income people, still overspend. They still spend more than they should even though the money is just rolling in, or there’s still things that they can’t buy that bothers then that they still want.
There’s not… it’s kind of what you were saying. There’s not a limit. There’s not an income limit where you get to be like, now it doesn’t matter what I spend.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: And there’s no… you know, everything is fine.

Reese Harper: Yeah, I’ll give you an example of this [inaudible 00:26:08] this week. I was talking to somebody and they were frustrated about the fact that they couldn’t afford to buy this $5 million boat on their own. It’s a boat that you live on in this really nice lake in a certain part of the country.

Ryan Issac: It’s big enough.

Reese Harper: You live in this boat and, it’s only a vacation boat. It’s a vacation boat that can only be used like six months out of the year based on the weather of this lake. And, this boat was costing $5 million. This person was frustrated that they had to share it with four other people. And they’re just mad that they only get like a fourth of the year, a fourth of the season in this $5 million boat.

Ryan Issac: It’s pretty frustrating.

Reese Harper: Yeah, it’s like, that’s the example of where you get like… and I’m just-

Ryan Issac: Some people are like I want air conditioning in my car.

Reese Harper: Yeah, like-

Ryan Issac: Remember in the student days, you know?

Reese Harper: Like one of my big things, and [crosstalk 00:27:06] I’m sure a lot of people listening to this probably already have this item. I want a boat that is a fraction of the costs of this life mansion boat. I’m just hearing this story and the person is telling it to me like we’re peers.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Like you know-

Ryan Issac: You get it.

Reese Harper: You get it.

Ryan Issac: I mean, you know how that goes. You know how frustrating that is. You’re like, yeah.

Reese Harper: And I know that people that I’m friends with, probably people in this room, I know I’ve said stuff about my own finances where everyone else is looking at me like, bro, I wish I had your problems.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: It’s just a waterfall of…

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: It’s all relative, you know, and we never will have enough stuff to keep us totally happy unless that stuff isn’t where we get our happiness from.

Ryan Issac: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Reese Harper: And it’s okay to want things, and I think that’s a good… it’s good to have those goals to look forward to. Like I’m working my tail off every day so that I can have that vacation, or I can get that home, or I can get that boat one day, or I can have that kind of lifestyle that I want. I want that country club membership. These are good goals to shoot for-

Ryan Issac: Yeah, I’m a big fan of that. I mean, I’m totally a big fan of you’ve got enjoy some of it now.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: The whole point of financial planning isn’t to wait until your 70 to finally do something fun in life.

Reese Harper: No!

Ryan Issac: Like it’s so lame. It’s so boring. That’s not how it works.

Reese Harper: Well, and when you’re between 60 and 80 at the point you’re going to slow down, you’re not really… it’s a different phase of life, right? You have different… you’re moving at a different pace. You’re life is definitely not as hectic as it used to be. Some of our clients are probably more active in their 70s and 80s than I will be in my 50s, okay?

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: But ultimately I think the point we’re making is when you want stuff, and you really want it, it’s not okay to accelerate the time frame that you get things by leveraging yourself. By borrowing, by living too much in debt with too little cash, and just using credit to get everything you want.
So, there really is an unlimited way… there’s an unlimited amount of money that you can borrow to buy things if you really want to. And I was…

Ryan Issac: Which is kind of the third point, that it’s so much easier to get stuff now because of that.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: And then just worry… it’s so easy to just be like my future income will handle this payment later. I’m getting it now.

Reese Harper: Yeah, like I’m going to make good money, so I’ll figure it out later.

Ryan Issac: Yes.

Reese Harper: My grandpa told me once, he’s probably… I think he’s in his late 90s now-

Ryan Issac: I like your grandpa stories man. 90 year old farmer. He still works on his farm, doesn’t he?

Reese Harper: He’s more of a rancher.

Ryan Issac: Okay.

Reese Harper: But he does have a farm and a ranch-

Ryan Issac: For us city folk that seems like the same thing.

Reese Harper: For you city slickers. So, he told me, he said, “It’s sure a lot easier to borrow than it is to pay it back.” He probably said it more like, “It’s easy to borrow but it’s real hard to pay it back.” And he probably, he may have cussed-

Ryan Issac: Like a pig analogy.

Reese Harper: Cussed there somewhere.

Ryan Issac: And like some anatomy of a farm animal in there.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: But the point was-

Ryan Issac: It’s like, “Why buy the cow?”

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: You can milk a cow with three utters but you sure can’t… yeah, you’re like okay. Yeah, right? Yeah.

Reese Harper: So, what he was saying was it’s just really easy to borrow it. It’s easy to borrow, right?

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: But paying it back is always frustrating. I’ve been in that situation before where I mean, everyone listening to this is like, “Yeah, like a 15 year amortization schedule, or a 10 year loan. A 30 year mortgage, like a 20 year loan.” Even a seven year loan or a five year loan on equipment it’s like, I got it really fast. I got the thing that I wanted really quickly, and I got to use it right away. But, within a couple weeks it wasn’t that cool anymore.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Then, I had to spend like seven years paying for something-

Ryan Issac: Paying on this thing.

Reese Harper: … that I didn’t really like any… I mean, after a while I didn’t really like it. I could say that a house kind of gets to that point for a lot of people, but that might be the only thing that you’re like, “Eh, I gotta…”

Ryan Issac: You gotta… I mean.

Reese Harper: But yet, I still have people that over… they get over leveraged and they look back and go, man I’m still paying for this thing and I don’t know if I really wanted it. Maybe I over did it.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, it’s highly likely you need to get a mortgage for a house.

Reese Harper: Yes.

Ryan Issac: That’s highly likely.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: But you still can get too much house, where at first you’re like, “No, that’s totally worth the extra debt.”

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: That extra 3,000 square feet for sure-

Reese Harper: Paying back is hard, it’s just painful.

Ryan Issac: Then, you never visit that west wing of the house after you’ve bought. You’re like this is lame-

Reese Harper: Yeah, you and me were on a mountain bike ride yesterday and the top of the hills with Q. And we saw a house that is probably like 25,000 square feet.

Ryan Issac: There’s few of them over there.

Reese Harper: We knew who… we knew the original buyer/construction owner of this home. And we were like, they didn’t even visit most of that house.

Ryan Issac: You don’t even spend time in it.

Reese Harper: Most of that house.

Ryan Issac: I feel that way now and my house isn’t a super big house. And, it is, I mean you can over extend yourself. So, there’s probably things that are worth financing. I mean, you have to at some point. I mean, we don’t tell our clients to pay cash for everything they ever have to buy in a practice over 30 years.

Reese Harper: There’s a lot of things worth financing.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, there’s things in the business. I mean, if you’re going to build out a space that’s going to cost you $300,000, it’s probably worth getting easy, cheap financing that dentists can get so easily, versus ripping $300 grand out of your investment accounts.

Reese Harper: I’m just… and we’re not… I don’t know that there’s a lot of examples we can give of like-

Ryan Issac: Don’t buy-

Reese Harper: You know what stuff you shouldn’t borrow money for.

Ryan Issac: Don’t borrow for a couch.

Reese Harper: But you know stuff. We don’t even need to list the things-

Ryan Issac: Okay. I said couch, but don’t list them.

Reese Harper: We don’t need to list the things because you know what things you should not be borrowing money for.

Ryan Issac: You can feel it in your gut.

Reese Harper: But, the more nuanced point here is that you don’t need to borrow as much as you think you do for the things that you want. Like-

Ryan Issac: Okay, that’s good.

Reese Harper: If you want to go build out your practice, there really is a way you can do a build out for $250 a foot, there’s a $200 a foot build out. There’s a $185, there’s a $150, there’s a $90, there’s a $70. There’s a $30 a foot build out.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:33:34].

Reese Harper: And all of them end up functioning at some level.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: There will be a point that a certain build out will be more expensive than you’ll ever recoup in your working life.

Ryan Issac: Or care about after a few years-

Reese Harper: There’s a diminishing value for somethings. And everyone has their different things too, that-

Ryan Issac: That matter.

Reese Harper: That matter.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: And if, for you, you can’t stand practicing dentistry in a space that has a horrible low grade industrial carpet that you just can’t stand looking at, then maybe you need to pay more for that. Or, maybe you do have to have better surfaces and better treatments on your walls. And you need to have better décor, and a better build out because that’s just the way you want to live. But that excess that you might choose to have in that one area, it’s going to come at the expense of another area in your life, and that’s okay. You just need to make sure that you’re not able to splurge in all of the areas that you would ideally like to, because an excess in one area has to come with a cost of another.
So, because I have my theater tickets, I still drive a Chevy truck, all right? I still drive a Chevy truck, and it’s not the best truck in the world. I would have rather had a-

Ryan Issac: You bargain shopped it.

Reese Harper: I could have had a truck that would have cost me another $30,000 or $40,000, but I spent less money on my truck because-

Ryan Issac: You got that theater box seat staring you in the face.

Reese Harper: And it’s hard to park at the theater. I’ll be honest with you. Yesterday we went into park-

Ryan Issac: It’s true.

Reese Harper: … the truck downtown and, the parking attendant, he looked at me and said-

Ryan Issac: He’s like seriously?

Reese Harper: He’s like, “Sir, this might be not… this might not fit very well here. I’m going to go ahead and recommend that you park in another lot.” I’m like, no, we’re going to find something in here. We’ll figure it out. Anyway…

Ryan Issac: I’m going to force it. Okay. So, let’s recap then. Do I spend too much money? Maybe, probably yes. One reason could be we don’t tend to downgrade, and be conscious of that every time you’re upgrading a house, a car, food, clothing, something, vacations. Once you stay in the nice hotel, I mean, if you’ve been in a nice hotel before or rented out a nice vacation home, or nice condo or something, it’s hard to go back to the crappy one.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: It’s really, really hard. So, be aware that we don’t downgrade very well. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking once I’m in retirement and the kids are gone I kind of just won’t care about it as much. So, I’ll totally downgrade. I’ll totally live in the smaller house. I’ll drive the cheaper car. I’ll eat at cheaper restaurants. I won’t travel as much. That’s totally not true. We don’t downgrade.
Number two, saying no is really hard to do. It’s hard to say no to sales people, the family members and to ourselves.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Ryan Issac: Number three was it is just easier to worry about stuff later. It’s easy to just put the burden on our future income, and get what we want now.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and the reason this is such an important topic is that spending is an essential part of your retirement calculation. It’s a variable that we have to be honest about in order to assess how much money you’re going to need. I know that the fact that I am a theater going-

Ryan Issac: Truck driving-

Reese Harper: Slightly more expensive meal-

Ryan Issac: Restaurant eating-

Reese Harper: … person, means I have to accumulate more for my retirement than someone else might. And I know what number that is, and I’m going to work to get to that number. But I’m not going to work harder than that goal, and I’m not going to work any less hard. I’m just going to work towards that goal, and I think the trick is knowing what you’re spending allows you to finally set realistic life goals because you’re able to say, “This is kind of the lifestyle that I want.” And restricting the things you want completely all the time isn’t going to be sustainable. Just telling yourself no all the time, I can’t have it, I can’t have this, I can’t do that. Eventually, you’re just going to get frustrated and…

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: Go and just spend all your money. So, what’s important is say realistically, this is what it’s going to take for me to be happy. And I know I’m going to have to make some trade offs and say no in this area, but I want my lifestyle to feel and look like this. So, if there are things in your current budget that you want to be able to have in the future, but you can’t get afford or you’re not paying for; that all comes into this calculation of what your spending really is.
I think right now what you’re currently spending, if it’s inflated above and beyond what it should be, and you’re having a hard time doing any of these things that we talked about today, the amount of money you need for retirement could be extraordinarily high.

Ryan Issac: Yeah, or the-

Reese Harper: If you cant’ make adjustments-

Ryan Issac: How long you need to work.

Reese Harper: How long you need to work.

Ryan Issac: Yeah.

Reese Harper: So, it’s just important with your financial advisor to have an actual conversation not about some estimate of what you think you’re spending, but tracking your spending in a realistic way, having an advisor who is like understanding of the choices you want to make, and not be overly judgmental about the lifestyle decisions that you’re choosing to make. But help you build a retirement plan that matches up with those goals, that’s really crucial.
And I think that your advisor, a good advisor, can help build a financial plan that supports the kind of lifestyle that you want to have, and give you appropriate push back when you’re starting to probably get… when you’re spending gets to a point where it’s outside of what’s realistic for your career.

Ryan Issac: Okay, thanks, thanks everyone for listening. Or, watching. You could have been watching this whole thing on YouTube while Reese eats popcorn, and I drink my slushie. Is that what they’re called? ICEEs.

Reese Harper: These are ICEES Ryan.

Ryan Issac: Oh, ICEEs, I’m sorry. If you have any questions for us, we’d love to answer those questions. We love talking to people. You can call us on our phone number, which is 833-DDS-PLAN. It’s very dental specific, that phone number.

Reese Harper: Yes.

Ryan Issac: 833-DDS-PLAN. If you’d like to book a consultation, put something on the calendar, go to Right at the top of the website there’s a link. You can schedule at your own convenience and then, you’ll have a spot on our calendar where we can talk. If you want to leave a comment or question on any of these episodes, go to Find all the episode lists and leave us comments or questions. We love hearing the feedback. And thanks again.

Reese Harper: Carry on!


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