"Hindsight is 20/20" or "If only I knew then what I know now" are both common sayings that refer to the idea that it is much easier to understand and evaluate past events or decisions than it is to make predictions or decisions in the present or the future. This phrase suggests that with the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see what could have been done differently, what mistakes were made, and what could have been done better. These idioms remind us to reflect on our past actions and decisions to gain insight and avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.
You may not have a way to give advice to your younger self, but what you can do is help the next generation of dentists. Those young, new dentists are eager to hear advice and well-learned lessons from established professionals like you--especially when it comes to finances.
Part of CDSPI’s mission is to educate and empower early career dentists with the knowledge, tools, and resources needed to achieve financial security. The right advice from an established dentist could be life-changing for dental students and new dentists who are just starting their careers. When individuals unite as a community, they have the ability to achieve great things. Even established dentists can benefit from hearing advice from their colleagues, which can have a positive impact.
If you could go back in time and give yourself financial advice, what would it be? We were curious, so in the fall of 2022 and at Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations (FCDSA) 2023 we asked established dentists to share the advice they’d give their younger selves to help inspire valuable money habits to those just starting out in the profession.
After looking through the responses, there were a few common themes:
Always carry appropriate amounts of insurance. It seems unnecessary when you are young, but [expletive] happens, so be prepared. Having said that, shop around and get the best deal you can from a reputable source. It's your money, don't throw it away. There are lots of people wanting to take it from you.
Invest early. Compound interest is your friend when it comes to saving and investing. If you wait for your 40s, you're going to have to save a lot more than you would have saved in your 30s.
Learn about the market and how it works.
Your time is valuable. Time is the currency of life. Spend it wisely lest someone else will spend it for you.
Dentistry today has become a business. Young dentists need more training in human resources and finances.
Invest in your education and staff, spend WAY less than you earn, minimize personal debt, and invest as much as you can. Simple.
Start growing a TFSA account. Start learning about finances - read the news.
Although practice overhead, disability and practice interruption insurances are important when you are early in your career, remember to review coverages and limits as you near the end of your career.
With the benefit of hindsight, these small pieces of advice from peers are a helpful starting point when thinking about the future. Everyone's financial situation is unique, so it's important to speak with a licensed certified financial planner® professional from CDSPI Advisory Services Inc. to tailor your financial decisions and goals to your personal circumstances. It can also help to avoid potential pitfalls or obstacles that may be unique to an individual's situation. Our advisors are non-commissioned, salaried advisors who only work with dentists and dental students. When it comes to trusting someone with your money and your future, CDSPI has been a trusted partner to dentists and the dental community for over 60 years.