How to Create and Maintain a Successful Budget for Your Financial Goals

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Jan 10, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

bigstock-Young-Couple-Calculating-Their-budget-small.jpgWith looming student loan debts affecting almost every dental student, it’s important to implement a budget in order to live smart and keep a strong financial profile. Don’t guess where your money is going: Even if you think you have disposable income, you shouldn’t be spending your money blindly. As soon as you start spending, keep an eye on it before you run into trouble. Keeping track of your expenses is the best way to find out exactly where your money is going. For new dentists, living within your means is a big aspect of becoming an associate dentist.

Check your income, and divide up a certain amount of money to be used for each aspect of your life. Use one portion for your living essentials, another for savings, an emergency fund, etc. Continue down this path to dispersing your income, and focus on keeping your spending under control. Save the house, car, restaurants, and expensive vacations for the future once your career is thriving.

Courtesy of Dr. Janki Patel, a THE NEXTDDS virtual training event entitled “Maximizing Your Earning Potential & Paying Down Your Student Loan Debt” discusses topics such as credit health, types of debt, and much more. Here are the major dos and don’ts for how to best create and maintain a budget.

The Fundamentals of Creating a Budget

Research your net income. Identify how much money you have coming in, and don’t overestimate your total salary as how much you’re able to spend. Subtract your deductions: Social Security, taxes, 401k, and other flexible spending account allocations. Research these deductions to see if there are any different options in different states. This might be a good indicator of a relocation, if that is in your plans. The money left over is your “take home” pay, and what you’ll be able to use as you continue your budget goals.

Track and limit you spending. Categorize your spending to better understand where you can make adjustments. On what are you spending the most money? Where could you cut back (or cut completely)?

Writing down all your fixed expenses is a good place to start, and should be at the top of your list. These include regular monthly bills such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities, or car payments. Since you cannot cut these off completely, it’s helpful to know how much of your monthly income they consume.

Next are variable expenses, or ones that may change from month to month. These include groceries, gas, and entertainment. This is where you might cut back. Check your credit card and bank statements as they itemize your monthly expenditures. Could you spend a little less at the supermarket, or cut back on movie tickets and other entertainment luxuries? Do a number crunch—will this free up money? Even these small savings could mean a huge difference in the future.

Mark your goals, and make a plan. Determine your short- and long-term goals. Short-term could be paying off one of your credit cards within the next year. Long-term could be saving to acquire a practice, something that will take years to achieve, but is still on the horizon. These goals don’t have to be a complete focus, but it may be easier to visualize your budget relative to those short-term goals. With your compiled expenses and goals in mind, make your budget. Get a sense of your monthly habits, break your expenses into “needs” and “wants,” and predict how much you’ll be able to save and spend. Even some “needs” could be cut down accordingly, albeit at a more difficult level. Weigh your options and make the best with what you have.

Other Important Notes and Factors on Maintaining Your Budget

In the case of credit cards, checking accounts, and mortgage loans, maximize your spending by looking at what benefits are included. Use an online search tool such as NerdWallet to find the best deals and benefits that work for you, and take advantage of other free online resources available. Keeping an Excel spreadsheet for logging your finances is another good tool to use.

Prepay your loans and credit cards bills, starting with those that most affect your credit worthiness. If your loans are in deferral, don’t start frivolously spending money you don’t have! Find a certified financial planner, and see how you can work with him or her to create a sustainable plan with your money.

Check-in. Revisit your budget periodically to see how you’re doing. Your budget is constantly adjusting to your habits. Did you get a raise or promoted in the practice? Have your expenses increased since you last made your budget? Have you reached a financial goal and want to make a new one? Keep asking these questions to yourself and review where you need to change your budget.


You wouldn’t travel without directions, just as you can't expect to reach your financial goals without developing a plan for spending and saving. Creating a budget can be overwhelming, but the effort is surely worth it. Developing a budget that you can maintain over time can help you build wealth, while simultaneously helping you get out of debt and cut expenses. Luckily, you will soon be in a position where your income will grow, and you will be able to put more towards your loans and major expenses.

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Tags: financial security, student loan debt, budgeting, financial goals

[Webinar] Three Simple Steps for Managing Student Loan Debt

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Nov 08, 2017 @ 10:45 AM


One of the biggest concerns from dental students is getting out from under their student loan debt burden when they finish school. Many people already have previous schooling debt from their undergraduate programs and are looking for recommendations. The good news is that there are various resources and best practices available that can make a big difference for virtually every student.

Financial wellness is essential for students transitioning from dental school into the profession. While education loan debt is a fact of life for most new dentists, careful planning enables one to limit risks and to repay or refinance existing school loans. There are important steps students must take now and post-graduation to protect their livelihood and to maximize their future earning potential.

The following subjects will be addressed within this virtual training event:

  • Understanding repayment options (e.g., loan consolidation, refinancing, federal or state-based repayment programs, income-driven repayment plans)
  • Managing debt and compounding interest
  • Pros and cons of loan consolidation
  • The importance of timeliness and documentation
  • Understanding the implications of deferments and forbearances
  • Modeling one’s self on the characteristics of financially independent dentists
  • Pending legislation that may impact borrowers
  • Understanding the ADMI compensation package and its impact on educational debt

Watch & Listen Now

Tags: debt, student loan, dental school, webinar, student loan debt

Maximize Your Earning Potential: Paying Off Your Student Loan Debt [Webinar]

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Sat, Feb 25, 2017 @ 02:00 PM

Are you starting to worry about how you're going to pay for your dental school education? One of the biggest concerns that we hear consistently from dental students is getting out from under their debt burden when they finish school.

Many people already have previous schooling debt from their undergraduate programs and are looking for recommendations for reducing the burden of dental student loan debt. The good news is that there are plenty of small adjustments that dental students can make to reassess how they manage their student loan debt.

Financial wellness is an important goal as you transition from dental school into the dental profession. Loan debt can be a strong hindrance, but there are many ways to manage it. You can take certain steps both now and post-graduation to understand your overall credit health and to maximize your earning potential.

In this recent NEXTDDS webinar, students learned many of these key points including:

  • Recommendations for protecting your credit / credit health as a dental student
  • Understanding debt and compounding interest
  • Reviewing available repayment options
  • Differentiating between the “big 3”: educational debt, practice acquisition debt, and home ownership debt


Click the picture above or click here to watch the webinar on Youtube.

Tags: debt, student loan, earning, webinar, student loan debt

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