Blog   Tagged ‘interest’

How to finance your dental practice: the most important questions to ask

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As a dental professional, you’ve probably spent at least eight years in school preparing for your career (12 to 14 if you are a dental surgeon). After that, your focus will be on growing your new practice by building your patient panels and providing quality dental care to the community you serve.

dental practice financing

But what’s next? There are questions you need to ask yourself as soon as you open a practice:

  • Does your practice need remodeling or construction?
  • Do you see yourself bringing on a new partner at some point?
  • And most importantly, are you adequately planning for your retirement?
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As we work with dental practitioners, we’ve noticed a trend within this profession. A lack of strategic borrowing to pay for their practice’s expenses is a leading cause that prevents dental practitioners from retiring when and how they want. Only around 8 percent of dentists are able to retire and maintain the lifestyle they had during their working days.

Dental practitioners face many challenges in today’s market. Those challenges are further motivation to properly manage your funds. An important aspect of your finances is considering the best borrowing practices for your office. Some questions to consider when thinking about a loan for your dental practice:

What are your goals for your practice?
Determine where you see your practice over time. Figure out how quickly you want to grow your practice or if you have aspirations to open multiple locations. Identify a plan and partner with industry professionals who will help you achieve your ultimate objectives. Then discuss with your banking partner what financing structure will help – not hinder – this plan.

Are you borrowing with the best interest of your practice in mind?
Ask your banking partner to explain all loan options so you can align the loan structure to the best interest of the practice.  For example, some loans have a balloon payment at the end, which could require you to pay additional interest. The money you might have to pay in additional interest could be used instead to help expand the practice or could be committed to your retirement.

What are your ramp-up and wind-down strategies?
In addition to determining the long-term growth of your practice (ramp-up), you will also need to eventually consider succession and retirement strategies (wind-down). Have you considered hiring an associate to purchase your practice as a component of your exit strategy? Have you engaged a CPA firm to complete an evaluation of your practice? These are potential issues to consider as part of a succession plan.

Every practice is unique and you might even find that long-term goals change over time. Start planning early and understand what financing options are paramount for your practice. Find a banking partner who will help you determine the best loan options for your practice and your eventual retirement and succession plans.

For more financial advice, take a look at my video on Business Banking for Dentists.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 


Dave Bauer is a Vice President / Region Manager for UMB Business Banking. He is responsible for leading the Business Banking teams in the St. Louis and Oklahoma City regions. He joined UMB in 2011 and has eight years of experience in the financial services industry.



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Watching the Forecast: Ag interest rates may soon rise

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If you are an agribusiness leader, you have many variables to consider in today’s market. Weather patterns spanning across the too wet/too dry continuum continue to baffle producers. Grain and commodity prices have started to gain strength, and both are up from recent levels but are still below the highs of the past several years. And land prices continue to hold (for now) at historically high levels in many areas of the country.

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These factors are all important, but there is one other variable that may be the most important when planning for your financial future: interest rates. With historically low rates currently being offered for operating lines of credit, as well as some floating rate term debt financing that has been put in place during the last four to five years, it’s important to remember that interest rates can change as fast and dramatically as corn prices.

As the American economy improves and the Federal Reserve Bank looks at beginning to ease its securities purchasing, the stage is set for a return to “normal” interest scenarios during the next couple of years. As that happens, producers with large floating rate exposure can expect to see their interest expense double or even triple during that same time frame. The range between fixedand floating rates will also expand, returning to levels similar to those before the financial crisis. When that happens, borrowers with only floating rates will be at the mercy of the financial markets in terms of controlling their interest expense.

Reviewing your balance sheets and future cash flows now – with an eye toward the next several years – can both produce large potential interest expense savings and protect against possible loan repayment challenges. As you look ahead, here are four steps to better financial planning:

  1. Review your current debt and forecast projected debt levels for the next four years. Include your amounts, repayments required, current rates, and most importantly, whether your rates are fixed or floating.
  2. Optimize how you use your fixed assets (land or equipment) for securing the minimum level of total debt anticipated each year. This should be done regardless of whether it is presently for revolving/working capital lines or fixed assets.
  3. Determine your available cash flow for debt service during the next four years.
  4. Structure new fixed-rate debt now by using a conservative debt service coverage ratio (1.3 to 1 or greater).

By fixing rates now, with proper use of fixed assets as collateral, and carefully forecasting future operational cash flows, you can effectively lock in today’s historically low rates, save tens of thousands of dollars or more in interest expense, and be far better prepared to manage other variables that may come into play.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Watson serves as president of the UMB Agribusiness Division. He joined UMB in August of 2005 and has also served as the president of the UMB Kansas region. Watson is a graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana with a major in Psychology. He has also attended The Colorado School of Banking, The National Commercial Lending School (where he has also been an instructor), and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking.



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