Balancing the Relationship Between Personal and Financial Well-Being

  • by Eric S. Studley, DDS, and Ivy D. Peltz, DDS, MSEd, PhD, MAGD
  • Aug 30, 2021

No matter where you are in your career, you can always benefit from the advice of experts in particular fields. We hope you have financial advisers, and many of you may also have personal advisers. We’re fairly certain, however, that neither of these two types of advisers considers the vantage point of the other. So, when it comes to balancing the relationship between your personal and financial well-being, the responsibility is yours. 

However, we believe that not only are personal and financial well-being related to each other, they are dependent on each other. It can be very difficult to achieve personal well-being without financial well-being, and the reverse is also true. Understanding this interdependence is essential to helping you achieve balance. 

How do you achieve that equilibrium? You’ve been trained to problem solve and think critically. You can apply those skills to create a formula for yourself for overall well-being, taking into account both your financial goals and responsibilities and your personal goals and desires. 

First, reconcile your personal goals with your financial goals. Dentistry is a demanding profession, and, if your top priority is profit, be prepared to sacrifice some personal time. The reverse is true — if personal enrichment is your priority, you will forfeit some of the time that would otherwise be allocated to producing income. The right mix is as individual as you are, so you will need to spend some time determining your personal priorities and what finances will be required to achieve them. At the same time, realize that as priorities change over the course of a career, the balance you need to maintain between personal and financial well-being may need to shift as well. 

Our well-being is based on the way that we perceive our health, happiness and prosperity. It comprises our physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual and financial selves. While wellness may seem like a passive state, we are suggesting that you can control your wellness through simple practices and attitude. 

Physically, make sure that you do the best with what you have. We know you have a career that monopolizes your time, but incorporate healthy eating, exercise and restful sleep into your schedule. Get an annual physical, and comply with your doctor’s orders. 

Emotionally, give your brain time to rest with planned and spontaneous vacations. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to colleagues to see if they are experiencing anything similar and how they are handling their experiences. If necessary, find a therapist who can help you regain some emotional stability. 

Intellectually, stay stimulated and up to date. It’s easy to rest on your laurels once you have your degree in hand, but, in order to stay intellectually well, you must continue to challenge yourself. Evaluate your knowledge base and level of skills honestly, and then enroll in continuing education courses that will improve your practice rather than courses that entertain you or cover topics in which you are already knowledgeable. 

Socially, make sure that the relationships you build are nurturing and respectful. Find ways to communicate that are honest without being hurtful. Make time to spend with those you care about. 

Spiritually, find some way to feel and express gratitude daily. Take time to meditate in a way that makes sense to you. Make sure that your days are filled with meaning and purpose. Let your values guide your practice. 

Financially, make sure that your advisers understand the balance you wish to reach between your personal and your financial well-being so that they can structure a plan that will take you easily from graduation through retirement. Then stay within your budget. Create an emergency fund of at least three months of expenses, and don’t touch it. Make sure that you have all the insurance policies, wills and trusts required to maintain your wellness balance or to provide for your family in any event. Review your plan, policies, wills and trusts annually to make sure that you are still balancing the relationship between your personal and financial well-being. 

Eric S. Studley, DDS, and Ivy D. Peltz, DDS, MSEd, PhD, MAGD, are the co-founders of Doccupations, an online algorithmic dental job-matching service. They are both retired from academic positions at the New York University College of Dentistry. Studley is president/CEO of Eric S. Studley & Associates, Inc., an insurance brokerage firm specializing in the insurance needs of dentists. 

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