401 (k) Plan Management Options for Dentist-Owners

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When it comes to choosing a retirement plan option for yourself and your practice, plan management, maintenance, and remaining compliant with IRS regulation will undoubtedly be a factor in your decision-making. Why subscribe to an overcomplicated plan if there are no benefits that counterpose the extra time and money investment needed to manage it? 

As we discussed in our previous article, "Retirement Plans in the Dental Practice", 401 (k) s are popular qualified workplace retirement plans that allow employees to contribute pre-taxed income to their individual retirement accounts and, in some cases, even receive an employer match up to a certain percentage point. Both employer and employee can contribute to the plans and both receive tax benefits. 

However, 401 (k) retirement plans are also known for:

  • Being highly regulated by the IRS to avoid discrimination favoring more heavily compensated employees
  • Having stringent reporting requirements (Form 5500 and Form 1099)
  • Requiring complex plan outlines to set up and maintain
  • Multifaceted and ongoing maintenance requirements

In short, if the tax and savings benefits don’t outweigh the time or money needed to manage these plans, it might not be right for your practice. Because, at the end of the day, dentist owners have one of two choices: to handle the administrative work themselves or hire someone else to do it, and the former is wildly unrealistic (not to mention risky due to the number of moving parts and IRS regulations required to keep all the wheels moving compliantly). 

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Retirement Plans in the Dental Practice

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Choosing which retirement plan to offer the employees in your dental practice is a major decision, but not one that is without options. From traditional 401 (k)s, 401 (k)s with profit-sharing, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs, you may find yourself wondering which plan will is right for you and your staff. After all, the right retirement plan can:

  • Help you save the most for your own retirement as the dentist owner.
  • Provide valuable tax savings for the practice.
  • Retain key employees.
  • Attract more qualified hires.

The following provides an overview of the most popular retirement plans used by dental professionals and how each impacts the monetary and management aspects of the practice.

Traditional 401 (K)s

The traditional 401 (k) is the most commonly known type of qualified workplace retirement plan. These plans allow employees to contribute a portion of their pre-taxed income to individual retirement accounts and possibly even receive an employer match up to a certain percentage. The employee elects how much of his or her paycheck to contribute each pay period and the funds are transferred through automatic payroll deduction.

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3 Hidden Tax Opportunities Dentists Often Miss

3 Hidden Tax Opportunities Dentists Often Miss 

Tax laws for business owners are ever changing and oftentimes quite complex. What may have worked to help limit your tax liabilities when you first started your practice may not be providing you the same benefits today. After 2018, for example, dentists may no longer qualify for Section 179 deductions on business upgrades or equipment purchases.

However, taking a look at your existing business structure, maximizing your retirement contributions, or opening a health savings account may be three simple, yet effective ways to help alleviate the high tax burdens dentists often face.

1) Is Your Current Business Structure Costing you Tax Dollars?

The business structure you operate under not only impacts how you are compensated, but also how your business entity pays tax. Operating under the wrong business structure is one of the main reasons dentists often overpay on their income taxes.

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5 dental industry trends to watch in 2019

5 dental industry trends to watch in 2019

As 2018 draws to a close and 2019 nears, what are the industry trends dentists should be looking out for? Here are five trends to watch this coming year:

The growth of group practices. More group practices formed in 2018 than ever before, and the trend is expected to continue. One of the biggest reasons for dentists banding together is the rising costs of dental school, the highest in all of the medical arts. A shared practice means shared expenses and shared risk, which are highly attractive to dentists carrying student debt in the mid-six figures.

3D printing. This technology has been around for a few years, but it was mostly used in the dental industry for orthodontics. But now, it's growing more and more popular in general dentistry for implants, prosthodontics and more. Resin technology is ideal for dental devices and can deliver long- and short-term solutions for patients.

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Is re-financing your dental school loans right for you?

Is re financing your dental school loans right for you

How much debt are you still carrying from dental school? Does nearly $287,331 ring a bell? According to the American Student Dental Association, that's the average amount of debt dental students had when they walked out of the door with their diplomas in 2017. So if you've got six figures of student loan debt, you're not alone, and it's not surprising. Reports have shown that a dental school education is the most expensive of all higher education fields. Your peers are in the same financial boat.

If you've only been in practice a short while, you probably haven't paid much of your debt down. While student loans are a necessary evil for most dental students, they can make life difficult later on. Being six figures in debt with high monthly payments can impact a new dentist's ability to:

  • Get approved for a loan for equipment and a location to set up a practice.
  • Get approved to rent equipment.
  • Buy a home.
  • Save for retirement.
  • Pay for children's education.
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Marketing ideas for your dental practice

 Marketing ideas for your dental practice

Every small business needs to focus on marketing to drive traffic through the door, and a dental office is no exception. Connecting with potential new patients and reconnecting with current patients is the lifeblood of a successful dental practice. Here are a few ideas to help you get the most out of your marketing efforts.


Send direct mail postcards to the neighborhood around your office to introduce yourself and your practice to potential new patients. Offer a discount on services for new patients, bundle cleaning and whitening, or make the postcard itself into a coupon.

Create a robust website

If you don't have a website, hire a designer who specializes in dental marketing to create one. New patients search online for dentists, and your practice must have an online presence in order to be found. But your website isn't just for attracting new patients. Build in the capability for current patients to make appointments, check the results of their examinations, and get access to specials and deals online. It's a great way to keep patients engaged and make them feel like a partner in their own dental health.

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Renting a chair and other equipment vs. owning

Renting Vs Owning

If you're a dentist, you already know that it's a very equipment-heavy industry. Especially if you're entering a new practice or starting your own, you're likely faced with multiple decisions about whether it's best to buy or lease your equipment.

Here are some points to consider to help you make that decision:

Leasing isn't renting. And renting isn't leasing. You'll mainly encounter two types of equipment leases. One is known as an operating lease, or a true lease, and it is more of what most people would think of as renting, just like an apartment or anything else. It comes for a fixed period of time, and you may have the option to buy the equipment at the end of the lease with a certain amount of money down. A financing lease is similar to a bank loan.

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You're Buying New Dental Office Equipment - Now What?


Expanding or upgrading your dental office can be an expensive undertaking, but it might be exactly what you need to grow your practice to the next level. It might mean a new office, or expanding your existing one. And it might mean new equipment. 

You've decided to purchase your equipment, and maybe you've even signed on the dotted line. Got sticker shock yet? It's great for your practice to have state-of-the-art equipment, but the price can leave some dentists wishing for Novocain to dull the sting of it. A single new chair could cost upwards of $9,000. An X-ray unit can set you back $5,000. Not to mention the individual TVs and other entertainment systems designed to calm nervous patients. How old is your computer system for patient appointments and billing? Could that use an upgrade, too?

Here are some things to consider when you've decided to upgrade your office or equipment.

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How the New Tax Laws Impact Your Dental Practice


The tax reform bill passed by Congress earlier this year was the first major overhaul of the tax code in three decades. If you're a dentist, you might be wondering how it could affect you and your practice. Here are some changes worth noting:

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Regulatory Disclosure: The information on this website has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. This website is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation to buy any securities. Gerard Gruber offers Securities and Investment Advisory and Financial Planning service through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments are not FDIC insured. Investments are not deposits of the financial institution and are not guaranteed by a financial institution. Investments are subject to investment risks including loss of principal amount invested.