4 Charts Every Investor Should Know

Nate Williams Investments Leave a Comment

(This blog post, 4 Charts Every Investor Should Know, was compiled and revised from a newsletter sent out by Loring Ward, our investing partner).

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. In this post, I’ll share four charts that I believe every investor should understand. These charts focus on some of the basics of investing, like focusing on the long term, diversification, and not letting emotions drive your portfolio.

#1: Let Markets Work for You

Good things come to those who wait—and to those who don’t let short-term news events scare them out of staying invested for the long-term. Every generation of investors has had its reasons to worry and pull out of the market from the Great Depression, World War II, and Vietnam of earlier generations, to the more recent Black Monday, dot com bubble, and Great Recession. But if you had invested $100 in the U.S. stock market back in 1972 and left it alone all those years, that $100 would have grown to $11,086 by the end of 2017. Decade after decade, markets around the world have been significant generators of long-term wealth for patient, diversified investors.

(see footnote #1)

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Nate Williams4 Charts Every Investor Should Know

How to Become a Decamillionaire Doctor, Part II

Nate Williams Financial Planning, Personal Management Leave a Comment

In last week’s blog post, I discussed the first two essential phases of becoming a decamillionaire doctor, which are:

  1. Become a clinical expert
  2. Learn to make money with your clinical expertise by:
    1. Learning to lead
    2. Establishing systems in your business
    3. Learning to sell
    4. Doing your work fast

This week I’d like to discuss the third phase of this process:

3. Learn to manage your money like a decamillionaire

One of the key takeaways with phases 1 and 2 is that you will be far more successful with good help. The most successful practice owners get professional help from consultants to learn how to run their practices in addition to the daily help they get from their staff.

In our complicated world, it is virtually impossible to know everything you need to know about every area of life for the decisions you need to make. For example, in your practice do you know how to run payroll? Are you also an expert on search engine optimization? Do you also know all the employment laws in your state and are you 100% in compliance with those? If your goal is to succeed in your practice (and in life), you need help from those more skilled than you in that area of expertise. To do this, you’ll need to find good, trustworthy help.

Likewise, when it comes to managing your money, you need help. Can you increase your financial intelligence by reading books on the topic? Absolutely, and you should. I will never say that someone will fail if they DIY their finances; but I do say – and will say again – that you will have a much greater probability of success with good help.

Year after year, I am surprised at how few doctors are good at this critical part of the process. Why is this? How can people who are so good at making money (I’ll assume that you’ve mastered steps 1 and 2 if you’re still reading), be so bad at keeping it? There are a lot of reasons for this answer. I’m going to highlight three main problems you face as to why it will be difficult to hang onto your money and get it working for you.

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Nate WilliamsHow to Become a Decamillionaire Doctor, Part II

How to Become a Decamillionaire Doctor, Part I

Nate Williams Leadership, Practice Management 1 Comment

Who Wants to Be a Decamillionaire?

For over a century in the United States, “millionaire” has been the ultimate standard for financial accomplishment. Unfortunately, millionaire doesn’t carry the same “ring” to it as in decades past. Although it is always fun to see our clients’ net worth pass the 7-digit mark, to sustain a lifestyle that most doctors become accustomed to, they will now have to far surpass the millionaire mark.

At Practice Financial Group, we have been preaching for years now that the ideal financial status is to be debt free with a $5,000,000 to $10,000,000 in retirement investments. This number excludes your practice, your building (if you own it), and your house.

Does this sound lofty? Although we are optimistic by nature, we only set achievable goals. This goal of being debt free and having $5-10 million in the bank is quite achievable, but most doctors will not reach this mark.

To become a decamillionaire doctor, there are at least three aspects to this process in which you must succeed. If you fall short in any of these areas, you’ll fall far short of your financial potential, guaranteed.

  1. Become a clinical expert
  2. Learn to make money with your clinical expertise (i.e. run a profitable business)
  3. Learn to manage your money like a decamillionaire (i.e. get out of your own way!)

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Nate WilliamsHow to Become a Decamillionaire Doctor, Part I

Article Share: “What if Rip Van Winkle Invested in the U.S. Stock Market?”

Nate Williams Investments Leave a Comment


The following article was written by a friend and colleague of mine, Sheldon McFarland, from Loring Ward. I thought the article was well-written and useful on a very important topic – to help us maintain a long-term investment perspective. I hope you too find the information relevant.



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Nate WilliamsArticle Share: “What if Rip Van Winkle Invested in the U.S. Stock Market?”

Success in Practice Podcast Event Invitation

Nate Williams General Leave a Comment

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to invite you to join an exciting and informative podcast event I’m participating in beginning Monday, July 17th.

My friend Jill Parker, Practice Advisor, is the creator and host of this Success in Practice Event which brings to your inbox 19 dentistry experts over 19 days. Jill’s goal in creating this content is to provide valuable, free education to dental practice owners.

Some of the experts and topics covered during the event include:

  • Nate Williams, CPA, CFP® (The Future is Yours! Build It Now.)
  • Dr. Howard Farran (Build Your Legacy!)
  • Dr. Chris Salierno (Gross Profit Margin)
  • Gary Takacs (Embrace 3 Easy Systems to Produce More!)
  • Dr. Bruce Baird (Get Off the Dental Rollercoaster)
  • Dr. Doug Carlsen  (Get Out of Debt & Plan Your Future)
  • Adam Zilko (The How to for Internet Marketing)
  • Laura Hatch (Front Office Rocks!)

If you’re interested, click to learn more and register.


Nate Williams, CPA, CFP®

Nate WilliamsSuccess in Practice Podcast Event Invitation

“I Hate Paying Taxes…”

Nate Williams General, Taxes 1 Comment

Congratulations to those who survived the tax deadline and thanks to the IRS for extending the deadline to April 18, 2017! I specifically want to acknowledge Chad Rogers and the rest of the tax team at PFG (Josh, Sara, Kate, Ryan, and Naomi). Most of you who are reading this benefited personally from their tireless work, laser-like attention to detail, and unnaturally high level of ownership. I wish each of our clients could see the inner workings of the well-run machine that Chad and his team have created. We’re always striving to get better, but wow! Good work guys. We’re all better off now that I’m not running that part of our business.

After delivering the final news of how much one client owed to the IRS, he responded via email with this phrase:Tax

“P.S. I absolutely hate paying taxes, about more than anything!”

This year we found this sentiment to be quite prevalent. Did you feel this way?

On the other end of the spectrum, a dental resident called me in a panic on April 10 saying that he had earned a small income ($24,000) and hadn’t withheld any federal or state taxes. He was scared at the thought that he would owe a small fortune. We quickly prepared his return and I delivered the news that he would get a refund of almost $5,000 due primarily to the Earned Income Credit (gov’t welfare delivered via the tax code). This guy was happy to be an American on that day.

Overall, we too feel our clients carry a very heavy tax burden with many of you paying over 40% of your income (that means you work almost to the end of May for the government, then June through December for yourself). I don’t know what to tell you about this – um, vote?Read More

Nate Williams“I Hate Paying Taxes…”

Should I Invest In…?

Nate Williams Financial Planning, Investments 2 Comments

One of the most important things we do for our clients is talk them out of bad decisions. In life, the decisions you don’t make are as important as the decisions you do make. Like the decision not to do meth. Likewise, the investments you don’t make are as important as the investments you do make.

We were recently introduced to a 65-year-old dentist who doesn’t have anything saved for retirement. Admittedly, he spent his life keeping up with the Jones’. Additionally, he blew his entire life savings (several million dollars, he told us) on a bad investment with a friend. Very sad.

My father-in-law, a physician, told me that when he graduated from residency, the director of his program told him to “take the first $500,000 you save and burn it!” When he was asked why, he simply said, “well, that’s what you’re going to do anyways, so just get it over with.”

Doctors are big earners with targets on their wallets. For the person who needs cash for his next gig, doctors are the perfect prey. On the flipside, I think the intelligence of most doctors can hurt them when it comes to investing – they are smart people, but unfortunately many don’t know or admit the limits of their knowledge and experience in this area. And besides, who wants to admit they lack knowledge in matters of finance and economics; or worse, that they can’t be trusted to spot a good investment opportunity? That would be like my third grader admitting to her friends that “she’s just not a very strong reader.”

So inevitably we get a lot of phone calls from our clients asking some variation of the same question: “There is this really good investment opportunity that we’re really excited about. Do you think we should do it?” I should say that I admire our clients who call and ask. Wisdom, as it turns out, has more to do with our ability to seek and receive instruction than knowing all the answers. 

If you’re already bored reading this blog post, I’ll summarize my answer to the question of whether or not to invest: No. No, you should not invest in this or that. Yes, let this one go by…and the next…and the one after that. Let me tell you why…

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Nate WilliamsShould I Invest In…?

Dental Marketing Gold – ASKING for Google Reviews

Nate Williams General 2 Comments


I recently met with a new client of ours; a very successful pediatric dentist with a thriving practice. I have learned a lot from this client about how to successfully run a practice, but one thing stuck out to me more than anything else…

Upon reviewing his website, I noticed that he had over 100 5-star Google reviews (the Gold of marketing). He also commented that Google had recently removed an additional 100 of his 5-star reviews (for what reason we’re not sure).

Then I asked the million-dollar question: “How did you get your patients to give you so many reviews?”

I loved the simplicity of his two-part answer. He said: “We work hard to give our patients the best experience possible, and then we ask them.”

The first part of his answer is the most important – actually giving your patients the kind of experience they can tell their friends about. This is obvious. Everyone knows that you need to give your patients amazing service to be an experience worth telling about.

This VIP-level service is something you should talk about frequently in your office. The ideas on how to do this don’t have to be yours. In fact, the best-implemented ideas may not be yours, but will come from your team. You need to be the one though to ask the question again and again and again: “What can we do better to deliver an exceptional experience to our patients?” And “how are we doing on delivering an exceptional experience to our patients?” And “what can we improve on to deliver an exceptional experience to our patients?” You get the point.

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Nate WilliamsDental Marketing Gold – ASKING for Google Reviews

Sage Wisdom from the Greatest Investor of All Time

Nate Williams Investments Leave a Comment

Annually, the world’s single greatest investor, Warren Buffett, writes a letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. For decades, this letter has been a much anticipated, widely read treasure for business and investing minds as Buffett shares deep wisdom in simple, witty terms. Click here to read the entire letter.

In this year’s letter, Buffett praises the American economy and gives sound, common sense reasons for optimism. This principle — optimism, or faith in the future — is the first great principle necessary to achieve actual investment success. The whole idea of investing is that your capital will be used in the creation of something better. Without faith in that process, you might as well eat, drink, and be merry today, for tomorrow you’ll be broke.

I wanted to share with you an excerpt of Buffett’s letter discussing this principle of investment optimism. Pay particular attention to what Mr. Buffett says about fear – both widespread fear and personal fear. We have long advised that the widespread fear causing declines in market prices should gladden the hearts of investors as it allows them to purchase larger numbers of shares for less money. What you should experience when the market declines is akin to what a shopper experiences during a clearance sale. Read here for more on this topic.

At Practice Financial Group, we will forever recommend a long-term, buy and hold strategy of a broadly diversified, low cost, tax efficient, passive investment strategy. Why buy and hold? Because we have no idea when the next market swing will happen and trying to guess when is akin to gambling, which we reject on the principle of mathematics (among other reasons). But real wealth will be delivered, over time, to the patient owners of the most predictable and productive assets of all time: publicly traded businesses.

And now, Mr. Warren Buffett:

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Nate WilliamsSage Wisdom from the Greatest Investor of All Time

The Art of Selling Dentistry

Nate Williams General, Practice Management 1 Comment

Recently I met with a client who had an amazing experience. He lived close to a military base and years prior to our conversation he had landed a government contract to provide dental services to returned veterans. This was a lucrative contract as these vets needed a lot of dental work.

Then one day he got a call from the program director; they were cutting their budget and they would no longer be sending patients to my client. Overnight almost 50% of his practice literally disappeared.

Fortunately, he had been wise in his financial decisions and was able to absorb the shock without going bankrupt. But for the next several months his practice struggled. Business was slow and he was not producing. Finally, months later, his lead assistant asked to speak with him in private. She told him she knows why he is struggling and how to fix the problem.

“You just need to recommend treatment,” she said. That simple: recommend treatment.

Most doctors struggle with this concept. They don’t like to actually recommend treatment. So many doctors live under the fallacy that telling a patient “we’ll watch it” is a higher virtue than actually providing treatment. Sometimes it is, sure. But always?

Why? What is the problem?

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Nate WilliamsThe Art of Selling Dentistry