In this Leadership Challenge on the ailing veterinary profession, Veterinary Economics examines how your colleagues say they’re doing financially, shares a game plan for turning around a struggling practice and puts you well on your way to financial mastery with a personal budget.
Click next to take a look at the data from the VPI-Veterinary Economics Financial Health Study, see where you fit and start taking charge of your practice, your career and your financial security.
Accept the challenge Watch this video from dvm360 editor Kristi Reimer, Veterinary Economics and Firstline editor Brendan Howard and Veterinary Medicine editor Mindy Valcarcel as they discuss the goals of the dvm360 Leadership Challenges and what you can expect from the most trusted media brands in the veterinary profession throughout all of 2014. Read all Leadership Challenge content here.
“I hear people say they can’t open a practice because they have so much debt. But I tell them not to count themselves out. That’s one way to pay off your debt. We have vets maxed out [in salary] at $80,000 a year. We have people with modest practices who bring in $130,000 a year. That makes a big difference.”
– Mark McGaunn, CPA, CFP
The new normal (associate)
Gen Y Associate, Age 25 to 32
“[Associates with high student debt] need to earn more money, earn as much as they can. Work on production so when you gross more, you make more. And then they need to look at the other side, what they’re spending money on. That Gen Y associate making $66,000 with that debt, they’re just treading water or losing ground.”
— Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV
“Once you factor in that home mortgage, auto loan, home equity line of credit and taxes, I can’t imagine there’s much left for anything else.”
– Tom McFerson
“I think [the debt] is horrifying. It should be 1-to-1, hopefully borrowing no more than their starting salary for school.”
— Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP
You're smart ... right?
“A lot of people don’t keep track of their financing—as long as they have a cash balance on their iPhone, it’s OK to spend,” says Mark McGaunn, CPA, CFP. “The budget is a starting point for framing a discussion about your spending, your income, what’s left to invest, what’s left to spend.” Got budget? Most of us don’t. But veterinarians are smart—too smart to ignore this vital tool to take charge of their and their families’ future. Get started with your own budget today.
Which owner are you?
And how is your practice doing?
“[Practice owners] tell me, ‘I know our practice is worth $1.2M,’ and we have to walk them through. Maybe the practice is really only worth $800,000 or they haven’t factored in taxes. That’s the reality check. They’re going to be short several hundred thousand dollars for retirement.”
— Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV
12 months to a brighter future
If veterinary finance consultant Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP, is right—“The real tragedy is the person who wanted to be a veterinarian and isn’t”—then it’s not a matter of whether to take on debt for veterinary school but how to make the most of your bright passion for animals and pet owners and make sure your financial security and future retirement are just as bright. Don’t be a casualty of ignoring the money side. Get new and classic tools, articles, videos, tips and more to improve your personal finance picture throughout 2014 and beyond.
Special thanks to our experts Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV; Mark McGaunn, CPA, CFP; and Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP.