December 6, 2023

Why Are Dentists Scared to Hire a Financial Advisor?

By Taylor Richardson, CRPS®, AIF, Financial Advisor

As someone who partners with a dental CPA firm, I have come to understand that there are dentists out there who are hesitant, reluctant, or just plain scared to work with a financial advisor. This didn’t make sense to me before because my colleagues and I work every day to help dentists build wealth and live good lives. It didn’t make sense until I saw the parallels between dentists who don’t want to work with financial advisors, and patients who avoid dental checkups.

The Myth of Saving Money by Avoiding Costs

Probably the biggest reason people don’t go to the dentist is because nothing hurts – so they decide not to bother with dental appointments. They think they’re being savvy by saving money, but dentists know it will cost them more, later. The classic example is the patient who hasn’t been in for a cleaning or check-up in years, and now needs multiple root canals. Had they been getting their teeth cleaned regularly, the patient probably could have prevented the root canals from ever happening. In the end, the wait-and-see approach often proves to be far more costly. The same is true when you avoid partnering with a financial advisor.

A dental advisory firm helps you avoid the pain of paying more taxes than necessary and can help you do things like implement industry best practices, manage debt, and develop an investment strategy that allows you to meet your future goals. If you seek out a dental advisory firm after you experience the financial equivalent of a root canal, you’ll get the help you need, but it’s better to be proactive and avoid the problem in the first place.

Fee Structure Confusion

When people don’t understand how something works or how much it costs, it tends to undermine trust. This is a common problem when it comes to health care insurance, including dental insurance. Someone thought they were in-network or had coverage for a procedure, only to discover later they must pay more than they had planned. This experience undermines confidence in the system and may discourage patients from returning for future care.

Financial service fees can also be complicated, and frankly, our industry doesn’t do a good job of explaining exactly how a client will pay. In part this is because clients have a vast array of services and products available to them and what they pay depends on the services and products they choose.

If you’ve looked into financial services in the past and felt put off by the lack of clarity, I get it. What I would tell you is that it’s worth having a conversation with a financial advisor before concluding that the cost exceeds the value. In short, don’t make assumptions. Yes, pricing may be complicated, but it will cost you nothing to meet with an advisor and get the facts, and by doing so, the potential impact on your long-term ability to build wealth could be substantial.

Don’t Want to Change Behavior

Sometimes, the truth is just annoying. Dentists know what it’s like to tell people things they don’t want to hear – like telling patients they need to consume less sugar or floss more. Financial advisors face similar challenges when we coach dentists on making good financial decisions and then hold them accountable. It’s not fun to tell a newly minted dentist that paying down debt or building up savings should come before buying a new luxury car. Remember, just like you, financial advisors are trying to help clients make decisions that benefit them in the long term.

Bad News Spreads Fast

Most of us are familiar with the phenomena that if you’ve had a bad experience, you are far more likely to tell others about it than if you had a good one. It may not be fair, but this behavior is part of our human psyche – we are wired to focus more on the negative than the positive. Consequently, the one dental patient out of a hundred who wasn’t totally numb before the dentist started drilling is going to tell everyone. The other 99 who had great experiences probably won’t say anything. The same thing happens in the financial service industry. My advice is to take negative stories you hear with a grain of salt knowing that the vast majority of clients are satisfied – you just don’t hear about it.

The bottom line is that firms like ours are here to help dentists. If you have questions about how a dental advisory firm can help you navigate the financial challenges of building a successful career in dentistry schedule a call with our team at Engage Wealth Advisors. We can help you build the wealth needed to have the retirement you want.