How to avoid financial stress for dentists
Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a fall financial series of New Dentist Now blog posts from Darien Rowayton Bank, which provides student loan refinancing and is endorsed by the American Dental Association. Qualifying ADA members receive a 0.25 percent rate reduction to DRB’s already low rates for the life of the loan as long as they remain ADA members. View rates, terms and conditions and disclosures at student.drbank.com/ADA.
As a dentist, you’re in a great earning position. On U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 100 Best Jobs of 2016, dentist ranks second. Most dentists take home more than $100,000 a year. That said, expenses add up quickly and can become a source of stress especially for newly minted dentists.
If you’re a new dentist, you probably need to start repaying the debt you accumulated in dental school — the average new dentist finishes school more than $241,000 in the hole. If you’re a more experienced dentist, you may be contemplating how to pay for your kid’s college education, or wondering about your retirement security.
Regardless of where you are in your dental career, there’s a good chance finances weigh on you. Here are five things you can do that can help ease the burden.
1. Get a financial advisor.
You don’t have to do this alone. Unless you’re the rare dentist who loves money management as much as patient care, it’s a good idea to hire a financial advisor to oversee your financial life. In exchange for a management fee, financial advisors guide you on investing, savings strategies, and retirement planning (hint: start with the ADA Members Retirement Program), among other things.
A financial advisor can potentially make you money, by directing you away from investing mistakes or toward investments you wouldn’t have known about. But perhaps more importantly, a financial advisor can save you time, by managing your financial portfolio so you don’t have to, and save you stress, by being a confidant who listens to your financial goals and concerns.
2. Download a budgeting app.
Even with a financial advisor on your side, finances can be stressful when they feel out of your control. Everything from covering bills and making payroll to affording your kids’ education and your retirement becomes a source of stress if you’re not routinely tracking your income and expenses. The good news is, you don’t have to be a natural number cruncher to get a handle on your budget.
Money-management apps make budgeting easy and convenient, and even sometimes fun. Once you set up these apps, they practically automate the budgeting process by syncing with your bank account and categorizing your spending. You know exactly what’s coming in and what’s going out, which alone helps to ease financial stress. Some of the highest-rated budgeting apps include Mint, PocketGuard, and Wally.
3. Investigate “doctor mortgage loans.”
As with budgeting, knowledge is power when it comes to home ownership. Even if you’re not currently interested in buying a home, it can be stressful to think that your high debt-to-income ratio may eliminate it as an option. Just educating yourself on your mortgage options can help bring peace of mind.
It turns out that many mortgage lenders are willing to take on the relatively risky debt profiles of dentists because of their strong earning potential. They trust that at your salary and job stability, you’ll be able to manage paying down your student debt and a mortgage. If a bank offers home loans to dentists, the loans commonly fall under the bank’s “doctor mortgage loan” product. Learn about DRB’s Dentist Mortgage Loan.
4. Set up automatic savings.
When you’re making your budget, create a line item for “savings.” Then set up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings or investment account. Some employers let you split your direct deposits among different accounts, so you might even be able to skip the transfer step.
Setting up automatic savings ensures that a portion of your paycheck automatically goes toward your long-term financial goals. Stashing away money, even if it’s a small amount, helps mitigate the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck and feeling like you have nothing to show for all your hard work.
5. Refinance your dental student loans.
Student loan debt leaves many new dentists strapped for cash. With private dental schools costing more than $50,000 a year and public school annual tuition nearing $40,000, dental student loans account for a significant portion of the debt that new dentists have when they get out of school. If you’re in this boat, you may want to consider refinancing your dental school loans at a lower interest rate.
Refinancing your student loans can reduce your monthly payments and help you pay off your loans faster. This is great way to lower your financial stress and improve your eligibility for future loans, since lenders look at debt-to-income ratios when deciding whether to lend money.
Some lenders specialize in refinancing loans for dentists, including DRB, a company endorsed by the American Dental Association for their student loan refinancing product. For more on how DRB can help you secure a lower interest rate on your dental school loans, get in touch.
DRB (Darien Rowayton Bank) is a national bank, marketplace lender and the fastest lender in industry history to reach $1 billion in student loan refinancings. FDIC insured and established in 2006, DRB Student Loan has helped thousands of professionals with graduate and undergraduate degrees across the country to refinance and consolidate federal and private student loans, saving these borrowers thousands of dollars each.
DRB’s student loan refinancing program has been endorsed by the ADA. For more information about the student loan refinancing program, visit https://student.drbank.com/ADA