May You Live in Interesting Times

Well, it does not get more interesting than this, unfortunately. Seven-year lows for the Dow and the Nasdaq, subprime mortgage mess, banks not loaning money even to other banks, investment firms on the edge of collapse, rising unemployment and this is the good news! All those headlines make for exciting times and in turn, present a need for change. The need for change will always offer opportunity, and there are many opportunities for those who look at the proverbial cup as half-full, not half empty. Let’s review some of the current opportunities available to dentists today.

Perhaps you have taken some big hits in the stock market and currently have that “deer in the headlights” look, frozen with fear because you don’t know what you should do next. Usually, the erroneous conclusion most dentists come to is to do nothing, and this is the worst choice of all. Many of them still invest in the stock market (they were afraid to sell and have to realize the actual losses they’ve incurred, so it was easier to do nothing and try to forget) and they live with the belief that the stock market will recover, and it eventually will.

This economic situation may look bad to you now, but you need to be aware that this position represents a phenomenal investment opportunity. You have the chance to convert your practice equity into cash and be in a position to buy into the stock market while it is down. The best time to turn your practice equity into cash is when the stock market is down, not when the stock market is high; you try to be in a position to buy into it when it is low and then sell high your investments at a later time and reap the financial benefits.

The stock market is down, but dental practice values are at an all-time high. Combine that with the fact that taxes on the sale of a practice are at an all time low and then you understand why cash is considered king right now! This is an incredible time to be in practice if you listen to logic and take advantage of the existing opportunities. It’s all a matter of perception, and your actions now could make your financial future much more secure.

On the other hand, if your practice has slowed down then this is the time to buy and merge a nearby practice into your existing practice (or purchase a satellite office and use your staff to run both offices). There are marginally productive practices that become unprofitable in a recession, and these owners need to sell and work for the merger/purchaser. Dental practices need to be bought and merged to keep up a production level that maintains profitability. Dentists need to understand that solo practice is no longer viable for marginally productive practices. If you are marginally busy, you are marginally profitable. The economy of scale resulting from a practice merger (and/or satellite office) is the answer for most dentists, both buyers and sellers.

Yes, these are exciting times, and opportunities are waiting for those doctors who are willing to do what is necessary to secure their economic future. Call AFTCO today at 800-232-3826 or visit our website at It's time to call AFTCO.

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