The biggest mistakes dentists make: Lending money to family members

July 15, 2016
Dr. Roger P. Levin
Dr. Roger P. Levin

Dr. Roger P. Levin is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm. Founded in 1985, Levin Group has worked with over 30,000 dental practices. Dr. Levin is one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry and is a leading authority on dental practice success and sustainable growth. Through extensive research and cutting-edge innovation, Dr. Levin is a recognized expert on propelling practices into the top 10 percent. He has authored 65 books and over 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Time magazine and is the creator of the Levin Group Tip of the Day, which has over 30,000 subscribers. To contact Dr. Levin, visit www.levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com.

People have been lending money to family members since money was invented. Relatives may lend funds to help start a business, pay for education or alleviate an emergency situation. Unfortunately, in my experience at Levin Group, many dentists have experienced financial setbacks and emotional stress after lending to family members who couldn’t pay them back.

Based on his extensive experience with dentists over the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Following is an excerpt from the book.

Related reading: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Investing in enterprises other than the dental practice

Mistake #25: Lending money to family members

People have been lending money to family members since money was invented. Relatives may lend funds to help start a business, pay for education or alleviate an emergency situation. Unfortunately, in my experience at Levin Group, many dentists have experienced financial setbacks and emotional stress after lending to family members who couldn’t pay them back. In many cases, a relationship was damaged in the process as well.

I don’t oppose offering financial help to family members. Family evokes our strongest emotions, and we want to help because we care. But I suggest giving money rather than lending it. When you consider it a gift, you eliminate the bad feelings that can result if the relative can’t return the funds.

Before you give financial help, determine the amount needed: Can you afford to lose that much? What effect will the loss of those dollars have on you? If you can’t afford to consider it charity, then it’s better to decline the request.

Related reading: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Thinking embezzlement will never happen

Free whitepaper: Tired of waiting for things to get better? Find out how a Practice Analysis can give you the answers you need to make the changes you want. Download Dr. Levin’s free whitepaper “How to Increase the Income from Your Practice” by clicking here.

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