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What do beer, toothpaste, and 6-month checkups have in common?
How often do you examine some of the important things in your life—your physical health, oral health … financial health? On this episode of the Dentist Money™ Show Reese and Ryan discuss the calendar of financial treatments called Elements® that Dentist Advisors uses to perform financial checkups for dentists on a recurring schedule.
It’s a habit—brushing and flossing daily, seeing the dentist twice a year. It wasn’t always that way. To create better financial health, is it time for you to establish a similar financial routine?
Ryan Isaac: Hey Dentist Money show listeners, this is Ryan Isaac, thanks for joining us for another episode of the Dentist Money show. So, a few weeks ago, I was curious. Why am I supposed to go to the dentist every six months? Is that a scientific thing? Is it a clinical thing? What’s the deal there, what’s the history? And so the answer, which many of you might know, actually takes us back into the mid 1900s to some pretty fascinating advertising and how it stuck around for a while. But then it got me thinking, what things are happening inside of the financial industry, coming from financial media, financial product makers, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, that are similar to the six month hygiene visit in dentistry?
What kind of things do we do that we don’t necessarily need to be doing? What things should we be doing more of? And what pieces of our financial life should we be paying attention to? So Reese and I will discuss these things on today’s episode. We’re glad you’re joining us. Thanks for being here, enjoy the show.
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 Advisors, 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 trusty old cohost Sir Ryan Issac.
Ryan Isaac: Yes, I’m here, trusty and old.
Reese Harper: Elements tee in hand again.
Ryan Isaac: Oh yeah, it’s all basically wear.
Reese Harper: I got a lot of requests for the tee.
Ryan Isaac: I was just going to say, I get requests for the Elements Dentist Advisors t-shirts too, which we appreciate. Thank you for the requests, I’m glad we’re a well respected t-shirt company now.
Reese Harper: It’s a good life.
Ryan Isaac: We’re an apparel company. I’ve got a question for you Reese, I’m curious what you, well this might not be fair because we’ve kind of been talking about this a little bit. The history of the six month hygiene recare appointment. I’ve never, ever thought about why I’m told to go every six months until I started preparing for this podcast.
Reese Harper: Well, I only know a little bit now because of all this stuff you’ve been doing, but I really wasn’t thinking about it before. I was just kind of like, it must be, reluctantly going in every six months. But I did it, and it’s not like I’m proud that it’s hard for me to go every six months. I know I should be going in and be happy.
Ryan Isaac: Have you actually kept to six months?
Reese Harper: I’m just busy [crosstalk 00:02:30].
Ryan Isaac: I wonder if our listeners have ever heard that before.
Reese Harper: Like I’ve said on the airways before, if we could do the hygiene appointment in my office.
Ryan Isaac: Is there anyone doing mobile hygiene?
Reese Harper: Yeah, there are.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, mobile dentistry.
Reese Harper: It’s a growing trend.
Ryan Isaac: It includes the hygiene too.
Reese Harper: Yeah. A growing trend.
Ryan Isaac: Of course it would, I guess. Interesting. Well, they should get out here. I’m sure all the team at Dentist Advisors would be so stoked that corporate brought out the dental truck.
Reese Harper: It’s time.
Ryan Isaac: Hey guys, there’s going to be truck outside at lunch. Everyone’s like, “Is it tacos?”.
Reese Harper: There’s two trucks, tacos and the dentist.
Ryan Isaac: And the dentist. That would be the lamest corporate event ever, I’m sorry for all the mobile dentists out there doing a great job.
Reese Harper: It’s a good life.
Ryan Isaac: They would just be like, “Corporate brought in the dentist truck in the parking lot?”
Reese Harper: It’s better than the caramel apple truck or something.
Ryan Isaac: No. Is there a caramel apple truck?
Reese Harper: Oh yeah. I saw one a couple of weeks ago.
Ryan Isaac: Utah has got some really innovative food truck businesses, really innovative.
Reese Harper: It’s trendy. One of my best burgers I’ve had in the whole year was from a food truck.
Ryan Isaac: From a food truck? What was it called? Can we shout out?
Reese Harper: Haute Burgers, H-A-U-T-E.
Ryan Isaac: What’s that about? It’s that an old name for something?
Reese Harper: Haute is, I think it’s a French name for café.
Ryan Isaac: Okay.
Reese Harper: The burgers are really innovative.
Ryan Isaac: Really?
Reese Harper: They’re really good.
Ryan Isaac: Like toppings are creative?
Reese Harper: They have your classical all-American one that I really like, but all the cheeses are really specific to each burger, there’s a buffalo mozzarella burger, there’s a caprese, there’s a blue cheese raspberry coulis. And the burgers are like $18 out of a food truck.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, that is crushing it.
Reese Harper: They’re intense.
Ryan Isaac: That’s awesome though. Best burger I ever had had cream cheese on it. Somewhere near the Denver Tech Center, there’s this little outdoor mall shopping place, and there’s burger joint. Someone’s going to know, please comment because I want to go back there. I don’t know where I was, but it had cream cheese on it. It was burger joint, it was so good.
Reese Harper: That’s it, just throw cream cheese on it, people love it [crosstalk 00:04:47] sushi and burgers.
Ryan Isaac: All right, so this history of the six month dentist appointment, it’s kind of interesting. What would you guess it comes from? I would have guessed that it’s definitely scientific.
Reese Harper: I would have thought it would have been some hygiene, scientific time you needed to do it.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, some pretty hard science. So, most sources point to kind of a funny history of this. It actually started in the early 1900s, there was this guy, he was a really clever advertising guy, his name was Claude Hopkins. Sounds like a classic 1900s name, I guess. Claude Hopkins, he was actually this genius guy who boosted a bunch of beer sales. He was just really good at marketing beer, which is kind of funny now that I think about it, because wasn’t that prohibition, early 1900s?
Reese Harper: Yeah.
Ryan Isaac: So his career probably ended, 1910, and he was the beer ad sales guy.
Reese Harper: Wasn’t very long.
Ryan Isaac: But there was the company Pepsodent which approached him to do marketing for them. Pepsodent was a toothpaste company. Now, according to these statistics, early 1900s, about 7% of households actually had toothpaste, and oral hygiene was a pretty big public health issue. Apparently in World War I, the US Army declared it to be a national security risk, because people’s mouths were so unhealthy. They were trying to go to battle and they’ve got cavities or something. So it was a big deal.
Anyways, they hired this guy to do an ad campaign for their toothpaste, and within five years, he had turned Pepsodent into one of the most famous brands in the country. And what he did, was he just associated brushing your teeth with health and beauty. So it caught on as a health and beauty trend, and then within 10 years, almost 70% of households had toothpaste, from 7%.
Reese Harper: Interesting.
Ryan Isaac: So anyway, that was the early story. After World War II, here’s where this began, Pepsodent, the same company, they were still the leading toothpaste brand. They started a new marketing catchphrase, and I actually have the poster, you can look this up. Can you see that? It’s the old timey poster, and it’s like, “Pepsodent gets your teeth brighter.” And then at the bottom it said, “For that Pepsodent smile, use Pepsodent every day, see your dentist twice a year.” And that was the first documented source of see a dentist twice a year. The most famous toothpaste company in the world who said, “See you dentist twice a year.”
And it stuck. And so that was the 1950s, 1960s. 1970s, dental insurance companies enter the insurance market, and kind of just said, “Yeah, we’ll pay for two cleanings a year.” It started from an ad, from an old timey 1950s ad. So that’s the history of the six month hygiene appointment. Now, I tried to find, and this is what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk about the frequency and timing of examining important things in your life. Some of them are kind of arbitrary dates and times and frequencies, but some of them matter a lot. We’re going to talk about that, but that’s how this whole thing began.
And I actually went to our Facebook group, and I asked this question. I said, what’s the reason why most people think this? We got some good feedback here. Most of the responses were, it’s an insurance thing for most patients, it’s not for the docs. It’s an insurance thing, a lot of people can go longer than six months. One doc said it should be three months. She was saying that the bacteria on your teeth only needs 90 days to start destroying your teeth and your gums, so there was a three month one. Six months to a year. But most people said that this was a marketing thing and an insurance thing, and I had no idea. I just thought it was solid clinical scientific data backing that up.
Reese Harper: I’m sure there’s, now I’m wondering what the actual science. I would imagine if you brush and floss every day and you have an electric toothbrush and you’re using the right-
Ryan Isaac: Toothpaste.
Reese Harper: -kind of treatment at home, you could probably extend your visits. I just wonder if I’m okay going once every seven months. Over my lifetime, that’ll save me like 49 hours.
Ryan Isaac: I’ve already started, and I was actually thinking about this in the shower this morning when I put this poll in there. I’m like, I wonder if you could build a dental practice that marketed the annual visit versus the semi-annual visit, and you market it for that and got more business because that just sounds appealing to the person.
Reese Harper: Because more people are like, yeah, my dentist tells me once a year is fine, so I go there. And then maybe they have higher average visits on recare anyway.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, so what if you could double your patient base by marketing with a once a year message, and then actually get more work done out of people’s mouths because you have more people coming to the practice.
Reese Harper: And they’re expecting, probably at that point, with that lack of frequency where they’re like, yeah-
Ryan Isaac: That makes sense.
Reese Harper: -I’m the guy that comes in once a year, I get it. I probably have a boat load of work to do, huh.
Ryan Isaac: And could you convince a huge patient base to just drop insurance because you’re like, you’re only coming once a year anyway. And for the work you do for the follow ups, we’ll just discount it, in house plans. Could it change the marketing and billing and procedures of a practice? I don’t know, that’s a dumb idea [crosstalk 00:10:23] throw that out, don’t listen to that, I was just saying, that’s what I was thinking to myself-
Reese Harper: Yeah, we don’t know-
Ryan Isaac: -as a dummy non-clinician.
Reese Harper: This is outside of Ryan’s scope and my scope.
Ryan Isaac: Okay, three points though. I want to tie this into the frequency and the point of doing financial planning on a certain schedule, and what things are important to talk about on an annual basis. What things should be looked at quarterly, and the why behind that. But here’s three points I took away from this Pepsodent story. Number one would be, some things are just arbitrary. Some things, we just do them because we’ve always done them that way and no one’s really questioned it for decades.
Reese Harper: I always wonder that about the every six month renewal of my property and casualty insurance. I’m like, why do I do this every six months? It’s time to renew your policy. I’m like…
Ryan Isaac: Car loans are five years on average.
Reese Harper: Like, what? I’ll call you when I change something, nothing has changed. Just have to check in. Because people swap their cars every six months on average? Are they switching houses every six months?
Ryan Isaac: It’s just been done that way, no one’s really questioned it.
Reese Harper: Jeez. Did they used to do it every six months? I’m like, that was a cool day and time when cars used to be every six months, when we used to buy cars bi-annually, I don’t know.
Ryan Isaac: Remember those days? Yeah, a car every six months. So, okay, point number one, some things are arbitrary, but the other side of that coin is, there’s also wisdom in keeping an eye on things with frequency. So that’s one thing we’re going to-
Reese Harper: That’s what I was going to say, dentists could very easily justify marketing more frequent, less time-consuming appointment strategy by just saying, the reason we do it this way is because the first quarter, we like to do our whitenings, everyone needs teeth whitening. I mean, if you just assume that I need whitening and you tell me-
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, you as a patient, you’re like, yeah, you’re right.
Reese Harper: You tell me the best time of year to come in to do that-
Ryan Isaac: You know how it would be before summer starts, and you want that-
Reese Harper: Yeah, you know how first quarter is with all our teeth whitenings [crosstalk 00:12:41] you do teeth whitening in first quarter, don’t you? No? What? Huh? What have I been missing out on my whole life? You don’t want to be going into summer…
Ryan Isaac: You know how everyone does whitening before summer, before bikini season, right? Yeah, I gotcha.
Reese Harper: All right, I guess I need a third exam now because I haven’t been periodically coming in for my whitening visit. Okay, well yeah.
Ryan Isaac: I’ve been once a year.
Reese Harper: Need to do that.
Ryan Isaac: Now I need to go three.
Reese Harper: Like, there’s always take home kits. I’m the type of customer that’s like, I don’t want to do this.
Ryan Isaac: Take home, I don’t need it.
Reese Harper: I don’t know how to do this.
Ryan Isaac: I’m not going to keep it up.
Reese Harper: Just tell me when I need to come in and do it.
Ryan Isaac: I’m just going to have all these awkward syringes in my fridge.
Reese Harper: Anyway, so more frequency, there’s a lot of value in more frequency and less in depth frequency. You don’t have to tell me, I can come in three times a year, but during those three times, we’re doing different things.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, so that’s point number one, we’re going to go to that. Point number two is that some situations actually do require more attention and frequency than others. So going back to your point, a lot of the scientific argument for the frequency of hygiene visits does have to do with the type of patient. Are they elderly, do they have dentures, have they had a lot of work done in the past? Do they have some genetic hereditary poor gums and enamel? I’ve got four kids, they all have the same brushing, flossing patterns, and one of them has horrendous teeth.
The poor girl has so many cavities all the time, and then a couple of the other ones, they just never have any problems. So some people, depending on the person and the situation, more frequency, more attention is required. That’s point number two, we’ll get to that. Point number three is, I think this generally applies to a lot of things. When we wait until things become an emergency, it’s usually a lot more costly and painful than if you had just done things more incrementally. And avoidable, those emergencies are avoidable. So those are the three takeaways, so those are the three takeaways, and we’re going to talk about how those relate to financial planning and the steps someone should be taking throughout the year to just have a better handle on their finances, make better, smaller incremental financial decisions along the way.
So, we’re going to go back to number one. Some things are arbitrary. In our industry, let’s talk about this for a second because it’s kind of funny. Our industry has some historical arbitrary traditional things that you do. Throw some out if you can think of them. One of them would be the annual review. I don’t know the answer to this, when and why did the annual review become a thing?
Reese Harper: Well, it’s just long enough. I think it got to the point where, I haven’t talked to you in however, so long.
Ryan Isaac: It’s now uncomfortable that we haven’t talked.
Reese Harper: It’s getting uncomfortable-
Ryan Isaac: That we haven’t talked.
Reese Harper: -I think we should meet. And I think a lot of people feel that feeling. It’s like, shouldn’t we be getting together? I just haven’t seen you in a while.
Ryan Isaac: Yes. Isn’t there something we should do? Yeah, so somewhere along the line, but it feels arbitrary. How many people do you do that with though, on an arbitrary basis. Like, we just haven’t talked and I think we should, but I’m not sure what it’s about, you know why.
Reese Harper: But we should get together, right?
Ryan Isaac: Should we? Yeah, let’s do it.
Reese Harper: Yeah. Yeah, we should get together. I was just writing about this in an article I’m working on right now where financial planning has traditionally been this, I’ll compare it to the medical field in that I’d say the medical field for a long time, until the recent few decades, has been just basically selling drugs to people.
Ryan Isaac: That’s fair.
Reese Harper: It’s very Rx heavy, it’s very disease-focused late stage treatment, manage pain. And there hasn’t been a real focus on holistic medicine.
Ryan Isaac: Preventative.
Reese Harper: Or functional therapies.
Ryan Isaac: Maintenance.
Reese Harper: Or preventative care. There’s just been [crosstalk 00:16:52] selling drugs, because that made the money. Why did they sell drugs?
Ryan Isaac: Well, it’s easier too.
Reese Harper: It’s easier, it’s faster, but most importantly, this is why, is it made the most money.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, that’s true.
Reese Harper: That’s why they sold the drugs.
Ryan Isaac: That’s why anything gets done.
Reese Harper: Now, the same thing happened in the financial industry, and still does to this day, is for the most part, most people listening to this podcast still to this day are working with someone that basically sells drugs to them, financial drugs. They sell you a product that promises to fix your financial situation, it’ll be an insurance product or an investment product of some kind, some kind of tax product, tax haven, tax shelter.
Ryan Isaac: A little haven. Everyone needs a good haven every once in a while.
Reese Harper: Is there something, I’m not saying everyone, I’m saying the majority of you listening. That’s still a big group of you. But your financial advisors gets paid to sell you something.
Ryan Isaac: A thing.
Reese Harper: And what really needs to happen, kind of like is happening in the medical industry, is you need to have a functional, preventative, holistic approach that doesn’t always involve treatment. It’s sometimes behavioral.
Ryan Isaac: It’s like a health consultant.
Reese Harper: Sometimes it’s just an idea, sometimes it’s a process that you’re going to start improving in your overall financial patterns. Sometimes it’s a mindset that you carry that actually isn’t rooted in actual math or science, financially. And so I think the whole medical industry, you can see it in food science and in medical science, it’s shifting more towards preventative care, towards functional medicine, holistic treatment, comprehensive treatment, the whole body. And in finance, that’s definitely what we feel like we’re doing, and I feel like the leading edge of the industry is that same way, it’s a focus away from selling drugs to people and a focus on treating the whole body, the whole human.
The brain, the way you talk, the way you think, your lifestyle, your behavioral patterns, your spending, your taxes, your savings, your insurance, your investments, your estate plan. Everything is what we’re trying to treat, and we don’t prescribe stuff until we can really take it all in. But man, it’s amazing though how that’s the history of where medicine has been, it’s where financial advisors have been.
Ryan Isaac: It’s where the money’s at, that’s the driver.
Reese Harper: Money is always in selling the drugs.
Ryan Isaac: And then it’s ease of delivery.
Reese Harper: Yeah.
Ryan Isaac: And that’s probably where our industry gets the annual review from, because another bullet point out of my list of arbitrary weird things is it’s time to talk about your insurance again, time to get some more. It’s usually every couple of years, it’s time to up that thing.
Reese Harper: We better meet to talk about that insurance again.
Ryan Isaac: Which, I mean…
Reese Harper: But see, once a year shouldn’t be the trigger. It should be triggered by some actual holistic reason.
Ryan Isaac: There shouldn’t be an outcome that’s the trigger, a desired outcome shouldn’t be the trigger. It shouldn’t be, it’s time to meet to increase your life insurance. Maybe it’s time to meet to see if you should decrease your life insurance, or it’s time to meet to just make sure…
Reese Harper: You’re still paying for it.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, it’s still in force.
Reese Harper: You still have it.
Ryan Isaac: Remember when you changed bank accounts, you forgot to pay your life insurance bill. Ever happen before? Yeah.
Reese Harper: There’s a lot of reasons that you should meet about that.
Ryan Isaac: The outcome shouldn’t be driving it.
Reese Harper: Yeah.
Ryan Isaac: The drug outcome.
Reese Harper: So why do most people request to have a meeting with you on an annual basis, that’s because they’re instructed to do that so they can increase the amount of things you’ve purchased from them.
Ryan Isaac: Okay, so the other one I thought of, and then I want to get your take on the reverse of all this, the other side of the coin. The other one I thought of is when you meet, it’s time to talk about what the markets did in the last 12 months.
Reese Harper: Yeah, tell me what economic highlight I should be stressed out about. It’s like, I haven’t been paying attention to the daily news cycle, so what have I missed? What’s happening with the market?
Ryan Isaac: And then tell me what you think the next 12 months is going to bring us.
Reese Harper: And I honestly appreciate those conversations.
Ryan Isaac: Well, it’s entertainment.
Reese Harper: I appreciate the conversation. If I have a financial advisor and that financial advisor is able to provide me with some context around what’s happening in the world and explain something to me in terms I can understand, I value that.
Ryan Isaac: Sure.
Reese Harper: And I like that interaction. I don’t know, I guess I’m pushing back on the negativity of that one.
Ryan Isaac: Very negative about it. I’m a little mad about that one.
Reese Harper: I think it’s negative if people are saying, I feel an obligatory reason to ask you what has been going on and what’s going to happen.
Ryan Isaac: Well this is the feedback you hear, it’s a question we ask a lot for new clients, have you ever worked with a financial advisor? And when it’s yes, it’s usually like, yeah but we kind of just meet once a year and they just tell me about my return and what the market’s done. But there’s a whole body to treat here. That might be a fingernail fungus, just one little thing. Okay, so the reverse side of this then is, for those who are not familiar, maybe just joining the podcast recently or don’t really know much about us, we created a schedule of planning items that happen on a more proactive and frequent basis than a typical arbitrary meet with your person once a year.
Reese Harper: Yeah, a calendar of treatment.
Ryan Isaac: A calendar of treatment. So maybe describe, is ours just arbitrary? Why did we pick the calendar treatment that we chose and how did we arrive at the subjects that we hit on the intervals that we do?
Reese Harper: Well, it started with us being overwhelmed by trying to do holistic treatment in the old school time interval. Basically, we’re sitting down and we’re doing these once a year reviews.
Ryan Isaac: The annual.
Reese Harper: Which I think, it’s nice to think that that will work. Kind of like it’s nice to think that if you just show up at the dentist once a year, that it’s going to be okay.
Ryan Isaac: That’s enough, yeah.
Reese Harper: That would be much better than if you had to show up three times a year for the optimal outcome. Most people are going to be-
Ryan Isaac: Well, it sucks to waste time.
Reese Harper: What’s the minimum amount of time I have to spend on this, so it just is fine, it gets done right? Unfortunately one hour a year or even two hours a year to sit down and meet and review things, or even quarterly. It doesn’t really matter how often you’re meeting with someone. What matters is what you’re actually doing in that meeting and what you’re covering, kind of like it doesn’t really matter if you go to the dentist twice a year, if during those two visits, when you go in and sit down in the chair, you just chat with the hygienist the entire time and there’s no treatment done and you just leave. And you’re like, they never actually did anything in my mouth.
Ryan Isaac: It was cool to catch up though.
Reese Harper: It was good to catch up. Imagine that. That’s what’s happening typically in these financial planning meetings that a lot of you are having with your advisor. You go in, it’s like going into the dentist’s office, and sitting in the chair, and the doctor comes in and gives you a high-five and says, “How you been, how you doing?”
Ryan Isaac: “What’s up, bud?”
Reese Harper: And then the hygienist comes in and she gives you a high-five, or he, and says, “Hey, how you been?” And you’re like, “Good, thanks.” And they leave, and they’re like, “All right, we’ll see you again in six months.” And there is no treatment at all.
Ryan Isaac: The other side of this-
Reese Harper: Imagine that, that would be crazy.
Ryan Isaac: That would be insane.
Reese Harper: But that’s what’s happening in financial planning.
Ryan Isaac: And reviewing things is only half of the problem people want to tackle. You can schedule a review because it’s already happened. You can say, we’ll review on this time interval, but really, a lot of the most urgent things are things that can’t be scheduled, and that’s like, I have a decision to make now, or a decision to make coming up. And you can’t be like, well, every September, we meet and talk about the decisions you have coming up, because you don’t know when they happen. It’s like that other reactive side of things that has to take place.
Reese Harper: Well what we started out with doing is building just a giant list, and I’m still working on them to this day, every day, just a giant list of what we call jobs, and we have to say, what are the little tasks that have to be done in order to holistically treat someone’s finances? Okay, at what time during the year does some of those things have to occur? Because in finance, there is actually a frequency that kind of matters.
Ryan Isaac: Well, you only get tax returns on a certain schedule or PNL data.
Reese Harper: Yeah, there’s also life insurance policies renew at a certain time in the year. It doesn’t really make sense to look at your year in review in June. I want to look at my year in review and see that maybe in January, and I can look back. Or if I’m going to make changes to my retirement plan, do I want to make those at a time when I can actually get them done before the year’s over, or am I just going to be like, I didn’t get to doing it this year, maybe I’ll get to it next year.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, you can’t look at analyzing a 401K or profit sharing or pension in October.
Reese Harper: No. And you can’t analyze it in January either, because you really don’t know how your year is going to shake out.
Ryan Isaac: Right, yeah.
Reese Harper: And some things you can do whenever you want, like you can look at your disability insurance whenever you want. But the thing about looking at your disability insurance is, when you go look at that, the way you review disability insurance, you’d also want to review other policies that are a lot like it, so when you look at your disability insurance and you start looking at your personal spending and your overhead in the office to figure out if you got enough coverage, it’s probably a good time to review four or five different policies that share the same information that you need to look up to review your disability insurance.
Ryan Isaac: Or even non-insurance items, like you were just starting to say. What you’re spending and your savings rate and your cash flow and liquidity and net worth growth.
Reese Harper: Bottom line, there’s kind of like you’d think in dentistry, there’s a perfect calendar that optimally, you’d probably follow if you’re trying to get the best treatment. And then you obviously let people respond as they had pain or questions and come in and see you whenever. I think that’s how financial planning should be. It should allow the customer or the client to be able to reach out to you whenever they have questions, concerns and pain. But you should be following a schedule too.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, well there’s two parts to that. We were just talking about this earlier today. What does the typical financial advisor’s day look like? And when an advisor gets enough clients, the day is usually filled with just reacting to questions. If you’ve got 100+ people making 12 to 20 fairly good sized decisions every year of their lives, every day is filled with some questions and some feedback and some follow up. And so there’s two things that have to be happening there. One is, you have to be prompt with getting back on those things, but you can only deliver good reactive advice if there is a proactive system running behind the scenes, independent of all this stuff. There has to be data gathered and organized and it has to be compared to what it used to be, and it has to be compared to other people in similar situations.
The reactive advice giving can’t work without a pretty systematic, rigorous proactive system of being organized. So you were saying, we started with a list of, it used to be several hundred jobs or tasks or decisions that could be made, and it kind of just evolved into this calendar of when to check on things based on when do you get tax returns or when retirement plans have to get implemented and things like that.
Reese Harper: Yeah, and if you’re an advisor, let’s say you’re a financial advisor. You could probably relate to this as a dentist. You go, if I’m in the middle of studying all of the latest information on a particular Perio treatment, ideally, in an ideal world, wouldn’t it be nice to review your entire list of patients at the click of a button and decide if that particular advancement in Perio treatment applied to their situation? In financial planning, we have that luxury because we can do work without physically having you in the office. Dentistry is a little more challenging that way, you can’t do work on the patient without them physically being there.
So when we’re looking up a change to tax policy or a change to retirement plan contributions or a change to loans and interest rates of practice debt, what we can do is, it’s more efficient for us at that point in time to look at everyone’s data, find problems because we’re deep into that subject and thinking about that subject and analyzing that subject, we can accomplish a lot more at the same time if we put all of our clients through that process at the same time. So we look at debt across all of our loans-
Ryan Isaac: At one time.
Reese Harper: -instead of going to each client at different times in the year and randomly reviewing.
Ryan Isaac: Or waiting for their review to come up and then trying to hit it.
Reese Harper: Yeah, the alternative is, you’re either going to dive deep into a subject and go across your whole clientele, or you’re going to react to your client just randomly when they ask for things, and you’ll have no process. That’s mostly what’s happening, is financial advisors responding to client questions and then they’re having to on the spot always do extra work and research on an individual basis, because they’re not prepared to be able to respond to that question.
Ryan Isaac: Which isn’t a reflection of how smart or the intentions of the advisor, that’s just a reflection of business model.
Reese Harper: Yeah, it takes a long time to gather up enough information to be able to provide someone with an answer. In my mind, it just makes more sense to have the financial advisor be prepared with a lot of your information so that when you do call in and ask questions, they’re responding real time to, you get advice on demand that way. It’s faster, it’s more efficient.
Ryan Isaac: I’m just thinking back to, and by the way, anyone that wants to learn a little bit more about what we’re talking about, our system, our process is called Elements, and you can go to our website, dentistadvisors.com, click on the Elements tab, and it will show the schedule. It does show you, each month has its own element, and so it’ll show you the 12 elements on there. One thing I’m thinking about as you’re saying that, last month, we reviewed everyone’s real estate for hundreds of people. Last month was interesting month because it’s one of those times when there’s nothing really urgent or on fire about someone’s real estate, unless they’re buying or selling in the moment.
Reese Harper: Or they’re in the middle of a lease-
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, a negotiation or something. But it’s not a typical financial planning subject that someone’s going to proactively take hours of their month and go, I wonder how much of someone’s real estate is making up their net worth right now, because it’s not an urgent action item usually.
Reese Harper: Or how much rental income is coming in, or are these properties efficient.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, because it’s not a problem, it’s just kind of like, it’s there and it’s fine. But it’s always fascinating to go through those months. I sometimes even, as the advisor, think that there’s probably not a lot of tasks that are going to come out of this. But every time I go through 100 people’s reports and I’m looking like, okay, this is what it’s valued at and this is the building you own, this is the rental property. It starts trigger other questions too. We end up having conversations about tax and savings and refinancing and future plans and liquidity needs for expansion. It’s just crazy how something that seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal can actually trigger a lot of proactive, forward thinking ahead of time. It’s kind of fascinating. Anyway.
Reese Harper: I think that’s the value or more frequent, smaller touches. I mean, in dentistry, ideally, instead of seeing someone once every 18 months for two hours or more, you’d see them every three months for 30 to 45 minutes, or maximum an hour. You just try to see them more frequently so you can build that relationship and also build the understand you want so that you can service them properly.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, which is hard when your business revolves around someone’s physical time and physical presence. We do have that luxury.
Reese Harper: Yeah, but how many financial planners don’t take advantage of that? They have the opportunity [crosstalk 00:34:02] but they’re like, our annual meeting is coming up in October. We’ll meet with them then.
Ryan Isaac: We’ll hit it then, yeah.
Reese Harper: Why don’t you just do something?
Ryan Isaac: Well again, that’s business model. Most advisors, to make a good living, have to get how many clients?
Reese Harper: 1000+, and sell them a lot of drugs.
Ryan Isaac: Okay, on that note, we’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we’ll talk about some of the situations that do require more frequent planning and waiting until something becomes an emergency.
We wanted to take a break for just a second to remind you how easy it is to book a free consultation with one of our dental specific advisors. What you do, is you go to dentistadvisors.com and you’ll see a big green button that says, book free consultation.
Reese Harper: Can’t miss it.
Ryan Isaac: Click that button and book a time that works for you, or you can just call us at 833 DDS PLAN. Let’s start a conversation about how we can help you with your finances.
Okay, we’re back, and one of the things we were talking about earlier is, there is some good arguments that the six month hygiene schedule is appropriate and maybe should even be more frequent than that, based on someone’s individual situation. So, if you apply it to financial planning, and we track this pretty meticulously because we need to know what type of client is going to take twice the amount of time than someone else. We’ve kind of seen these factors. What are the factors that we know increase the need for someone to have more communication, have more proactive planning on their behalf?
Reese Harper: We did a big measuring process on this to develop some of our internal accounting procedures, because we had to figure out how much time are we going to spend with each person. We went through our entire clientele, interviewed our advisors and asked questions around hours that you spend with each person. Rank your clients based on complexity, estimate the number of hours you spend with each person. And then we went through and built a big spreadsheet, and a client would have a row of data with these answers of how often they would meet with their advisor and how complex they would be, plus all their information. We saw size of practice, we saw family size, numbers of years in business, income, net worth.
Ryan Isaac: Income, net worth, yeah.
Reese Harper: Lots of different factors. We just tried to find the highest correlated factors to someone’s complexity. So if someone’s complicated, what are the things that really-
Ryan Isaac: What drives it.
Reese Harper: -drive complexity, and we found that the primary three that we found were the strongest were, number one, their annual income was probably their biggest driver. Just because someone makes a lot of money, they tend to actually have more financial planning complexity.
Ryan Isaac: More decisions, the more cash flow, the more decisions you’re going to make.
Reese Harper: Yeah, their tax rate is higher, they pay more in tax, they’ve got a lot more options for what to do with their money. It just creates more complexity. And then second would be their net worth, which is how many things do they have, how much stuff do you have? How big is your asset side and how big is your debt side? A third thing was, are they involved in multiple areas of focus or multiple businesses? Do they split their time among a lot of different things, or are they only really focused on one thing?
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. What’s interesting about that is, you could say that those are three criteria that we’ve learned that make someone be more complicated and need more time spent on them. But all three of those things are pretty common traits that most dentists share in general, which makes a dentist, there’s just a pretty typical person who needs more attention and time spent on them.
Reese Harper: On average, dentists just have more complex financial pictures than most people.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, and then you add into the equation some of the anomalies that are hard to track. We tried to do this and it was hard, personality characteristics. How does someone’s personality play into whether or not you spend a lot of time with them? There’s some people who don’t really ever want to talk, and then there’s some people who want to talk all the time. Or the way in which someone makes their financial decisions. Some people make financial decisions in a calculated, thoughtful way, and some people rush things really quickly, emotionally.
Reese Harper: Some people just delegate almost all their decision making.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, so those are interesting characteristics. I thought maybe we could hit a few of the things that are important to track frequently. You were kind of talking about them before. Add to these if you hear anything that needs to be added to. I would say the big three, if someone was just going to say, I’m going to track three things every year to make sure I’m doing okay. Number one would be net worth, number two would be savings rate, and number three would be spending.
Reese Harper: Okay.
Ryan Isaac: If I said just pick three things that I want someone to just track meticulously, write it down every quarter, compare it to what it used to be, I would say net worth, savings and spending.
Reese Harper: Yeah, those are really good ones. It’s hard for me to break it down because I would push back on my three, but what about your insurance rate? What about all your insurance policies? Do I need to look at those at all? What about my profitability of my practice? That seems like a big one. What about my investment returns and whether I’m investing the right way given my situation? What about my taxes? Is there a way to bring my taxes down? What about my debt and all my interest rates? Should I refinance, should I keep them the same, the way they are? Anyway, the list goes on.
I would say there’s an underlying essential set of organizational steps that you just have to complete, or you’ll never be able to do anything with your financial planning that will be very accurate. And so it’s kind of like, you’ll never really be able to get your oral hygiene dialed in until you’re actually going through the steps that are required to make sure that’s actually happening, meaning daily flossing, daily brushing, hygiene visits, Perio treatment. There’s some standard stuff that has to be done.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. In all the research I was doing for why there’s a six month hygiene appointment, there’s a dozen things that everyone will agree to. These things have to be happening on a fairly frequent schedule, and the same thing applies with financial planning or just making sure you’re heading the right direction with your money. There’s a dozen things that they just need to be looked at, checked, compared, at least annually.
Reese Harper: Yeah, and I think for most people, that’s a hard thing to do. It just requires a lot of hours, and so that’s where financial advisors can earn their living and stay in business and help leverage their clients. But it’s also where you as a person that might be taking on the responsibility of doing your own planning and not outsourcing this, you really have to do steps no matter what, or you won’t make progress.
Ryan Isaac: Thanks for listening today. I think the carry over from the story of hygiene and what you guys see in your businesses day in and day out, is that financial planning is the same thing. It’s just better when things are more frequently visited with a purpose, without a specific outcome in mind. The dentist doesn’t see his appointments and be like, regardless of what’s happening, I got to sell a crown on this guy and I got to get that person. Good financial planning should be done the same way, we should just be looking at it and be open to the outcomes of what needs to happen, not sell drugs.
Reese Harper: Yeah. Holistically, I think that’s where the industry is moving. We’re getting to a place where a good advisor is going to be able to see your entire picture and really provide the right kind of feedback in the right order, in the right area of focus. And you just need to be continuing to find people in your life that are trying to treat the whole you, thinking about how does it feel to be busy and travel and want things to buy and also want to have fun with your money and travel and enjoy things, and yet be responsible and stay organized and not put too much at risk.
Ryan Isaac: It’s a lot.
Reese Harper: It’s just easier to navigate when you have someone who can objectively look at your holistic situation and give you feedback that you probably can’t see on your own.
Ryan Isaac: Cool, so if you’re curious about how any of this works, everything that we do with clients, everything that we’ve talked about, we have videos, articles, podcasts, and basically step by step instructions on our website on how we do some of this stuff, our philosophy and methodology. Go to dentistadvisors.com, click on the Elements tab, you can see all the stuff that we’re talking about. There’s some great resources on there. If you click the book a free consultation button, it’ll take you to a calendar, you can book a chat with one of our advisors or go to the Facebook group, go in there and post a question, and we get in there and answer questions every day. That’s dentistadvisors.com/group, and thanks everyone for listening.
Reese Harper: Carry on. Okay.Getting Organized