How dentists can prioritise more holiday

How dentists can prioritise more holiday

Wealthwide shares some advice on how dentists can manage financial and practical concerns to make their goal of taking more holiday a reality.

Many of the dental clients we advise love their work. However, they often express a desire to work fewer clinical hours so they can spend more time with their family, take more holidays or pursue other interests. 

Many are held back by the fear that treating fewer patients themselves is just not feasible and worry about the financial implications.

You may have already booked your holiday for this year, but it’s never too early to start thinking about more! So, for dentists interested in booking more than the average four to five weeks off per year (plus bank holidays), here are some issues to consider and a few suggestions for making it happen:

1. Can I take more holiday?

As financial planners, we’re often able to demonstrate that dentists are wealthier than they think. Dentists often have significant debts and mortgages, so on a month-by-month basis, finances can feel tight.

However, if these debts will eventually be paid off, this reduces the amount of income required in later life. A smaller income in later life means your income tax will be significantly lower. Understanding exactly how much income you really need when you stop working can give you the freedom to reduce your working hours and earnings today. 

Knowing your numbers in detail is often enough to give dentists the permission they need to work fewer hours and have more holiday now – and be fit and healthy enough to enjoy it!

Dentists are often time-poor and are just too busy working to explore the possibility of taking more breaks. To work out if you can afford to take more breaks, allocate some time to calculate whether you could remain financially secure in the future – despite the extra time off. 

Take into account your assets, liabilities, future income and expenditure, and factor in a reduced tax liability.

can I take more holiday?

2. Can my practice survive without me?

If you’re a practice owner, you may think your business will fall apart without your presence. From my own experience, I’ve discovered the opposite to be true. If you have a clear culture and values that you can articulate to your team, they should be able to make key decisions without you. 

The more you train and trust your team, the more responsibility they will take on – leaving you more time for strategy, leadership, and recharging your batteries. If you can build a business where you regularly step away from day-to-day clinical and management responsibilities, you might even be able to increase your profits.

Clearly, NHS dentists and principals with UDA targets to meet have an additional challenge to overcome. However, with the right goals and motivation, it’s possible to lay the foundations to ensure you can hit your targets, satisfy all the LAT requirements and still have 10 to 12 weeks off every year.

3. Dont wait for retirement

Many dentists assume they have to work full time and keep up their pension payments to provide for their retirement when they can take a substantial break or a dream holiday.

I met one of my first clients when he was already retired. He had spent his entire working life looking forward to his retirement as it would provide the opportunity for him to play more golf. Unfortunately, by the time he’d sold his business his health failed him and he wasn’t able to walk a full 18 holes. 

Enjoy the journey – invest in hobbies during your career.

4. Your health comes first

Spending hours every day in one position can lead to neck and lower back pain – even with specialist chairs and equipment.

Taking time out and at least one three- to four-week holiday every year is a great opportunity to give your body and mind a break. You can come back refreshed, re-energised and ready for work again.

5. Create a plan

Although you may be looking forward to your holiday this year, why not start thinking about what you could book in the future too?

If you’re not ready to book a full 12 weeks off, you can start building towards it by working out what you need to do differently (such as team training days, negotiating with your principal, organising your finances) and setting time aside later to plan future breaks.

One practice owner I met wanted to plan his diary so he could work 24/7. What he meant was working 24 days a quarter, seven months a year. I’m not sure I’d ever manage that, but I guess it’s great to have an ‘end to journey towards’!

To speak to one of our advisers about creating a financial plan, contact Wealthwide at or by email at [email protected].

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