How financial wellness can improve overall well-being
Content submitted by Florida Veterinary Advisors, a dvm360® Strategic Alliance Partner
The veterinary community is changing at a rapid pace. One of the pain points brought up lately is compensation for the veterinary team. Surprisingly, compensation is not the biggest stressor or reason that employees leave.1 Yes, everyone needs to receive a reasonable wage for their duties and skill sets. If you’re not actively meeting with team members, reviewing their results, and adjusting compensation based on inflation and their contributions to the practice this is one of the first places to start. Too many practices fall into the category where the team does not know where they fit within the overall vision of the practice and how their efforts contribute to the overall practice success. When the team member feels appreciated and knows their purpose within the practice, the focus on compensation becomes less of a conversation especially when the owner brings it up often.
There is so much attention brought to compensation because there are discrepancies with how people are being paid and, for the longest time, people would turn their eye. After someone is being compensated appropriately, there are many other things that get in the way to distract and make team members discontent. One of the biggest factors is their confidence on how to manage their day-to-day finances and be better prepared for the future. For the longest time people have been encouraged to get an education, go to college, and begin their career. But what about how to effectively manage finances?
We hear time after time that veterinary schools do not provide any or adequate amounts of financial education. Student loans are getting out of control and the guidance that students receive about how much they should borrow along with the future responsibility to repay those loans is brushed over. Student loans become a big part of people’s lives because they did not have the funds available to pay for education. The problem lies when there are no guidelines on what schools can charge and getting student loans is incredibly easy. Even technicians and others within a veterinary practice can be in a similar position where the amount they own in debt seems impossible to repay.
With all this in mind, the best way to position your team is to make sure they have the proper tools to manage the daily pressures and to organized themselves to capture as much opportunity over time. There is a lot of emphasis to provide retirement accounts, health insurance, CE reimbursement, but not enough people talking about how to really impact and change the relationship people have with money.
There are programs available that can educate the team beyond just investing. Several plans have started to be introduced but it encourages people to invest, understand risk, but ignore most other critical pieces. This includes things like how they are protected in an automobile accident, an unexpected sickness or injury, random expenses that appear without an emergency fund, or how to save money, pay debt, and live a balanced lifestyle. There are about 19 major areas within someone’s finances and the focus is usually on 3-4 of them.
Financial wellness can be offered in many ways and the most effective is to actively provide something to the team. Yes, retirement accounts can come with basic retirement planning and investment knowledge. This is helpful for those who have done little within their finances. Where the bigger impact happens is when the owner actively promotes and encourages the team to participate. Here’s a sneak peek into some of the crucial areas that people should be reviewing and planning.
This is the one area that most people buy something and check the box without knowing the impact to them. The car company told them to get a set liability amount and “full coverage” on the vehicle. Work offers disability insurance, but they don’t know how much income it covers or what events will make someone qualify to start receiving payment. This is the one area where catastrophic loss can happen, and most people are dramatically under protected.
Most of society jumps into buying things like houses, cars, and enjoying life right from their first paycheck. The main emphasis gets placed on the day to day life and maybe repaying debt as fast as they possibly can. When there is little to no structure people tend to have underfunded emergency funds, worry about living check to check, and losing out on many opportunities in life.
We often get told debt is bad. But why is that? Debt is bad because it is often used inappropriately. Credit card offers are sent out constantly, borrowing money is easy, and people will try to enjoy those things in life without having any money yet. Debt is a good thing when used right and finding a balanced approach on when to use debt and repay debt is important.
The first place most people think about saving money is a retirement account. It might be from the constant propaganda telling people this where they save for the future. There are short, mid and long term goals that people usually do not have clearly defined. The 3 factors to consider when building assets are taxes, risk, and accessibility.
There are ways to implement this type of education to the team where it is readily available and where there are prescheduled times to provide one on one support. If you want to enhance the culture and reduce stress for your team this is one place that should not be ignored. The best place to start when improve the overall teams’ confidence about their finances is to offer them the tools. Finding the right resources and people to offer them is even more important. If you are in the position where compensation is a big issue, or you just want to provide more for the team then you should begin to explore financial education for the team.
Tom Seeko has worked with practice owners and veterinarians since 2014. He is the cofounder of Florida Veterinary Advisors that work with veterinarians throughout the United States, Certified Exit Planner (CExP), business and personal financial advisor, and cohost of the Smarter Vet Financial podcast.
This material is intended for general public use. By providing this content, Park Avenue Securities LLC is not undertaking to provide investment advice or a recommendation for any specific individual or situation, or to otherwise act in a fiduciary capacity. Please contact a financial representative for guidance and information that is specific to your individual situation. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.This material contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily those of PAS or Guardian. registered representative and financial advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, N.Y. PAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Florida Veterinary Advisors is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Florida Veterinary Advisors is not registered in any state or with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a Registered Investment Advisor. The individuals associated with Florida Veterinary Advisors do not maintain specialized licenses or qualifications for the financial services provided to veterinary professionals. CA Insurance License #0K80141. 2022-142264 (Exp. 8/24)