Preparing for Life after the Sale of Your Dental Practice

You’ve spent years building a successful business as a dental practice owner. Hopefully, it has funded a satisfying lifestyle for you and your family and allowed you to employ a great team. Now, let’s suppose you’re beginning to think about the potential sale of your practice. In that case, it’s very easy to focus squarely on preparing the business for sale and all of the transaction’s exhaustive details.

But have you thoroughly examined what impact the sale of your practice could have on multiple areas, or “elements,” of your life? To help dentists prepare for a transition from a personal perspective, we created the Elements of Life – Transition Impact self-assessment.

The primary purpose of this tool is to raise self-awareness of the potential impact (both positive and negative) on 10 unique elements of your life. They are (in no particular order):

  1. Work
  2. Health
  3. Family
  4. Home
  5. Growth
  6. Leisure
  7. Social
  8. Giving
  9. Money
  10. Purpose

Now, it’s not realistic to compartmentalize life into perfectly defined elements. Life is more of a tapestry of these elements put together. The assessment seeks to help you identify areas to improve through the transition. It also can help you identify and prepare for potentially challenging changes.

The secondary aim of this tool is to catalyze conversations between doctors and their spouses/partners, as well as their advisors and other key stakeholders in their life. Discussing your results with others (using the corresponding conversation guide) may reveal blind spots in how you view the impact of this major transition. Where are you overly optimistic about how a change may improve your life? Where are you unnecessarily pessimistic? 

Current level of satisfaction

We’ll divide this self-awareness exercise into three columns of responses. In the first column, on a scale of 0–10, rate your current level of satisfaction with each of the 10 elements listed above. How you choose to define these areas is entirely subjective, as are the ratings you assign. We’ve included some examples to get you started. Think about all the financial and non-financial aspects of each. For instance, under Home, you could consider your current house, your neighborhood, how close you live to your children or grandchildren, etc.

Post-transition level of satisfaction

For the second column, using the same scale, rate your anticipated level of satisfaction for each element in your post-transition world. Think about this in terms of having completed the transition and now entering a “new normal” phase. A significant transition, such as a business sale, has many moving parts and may cause plenty of stress (both good and bad). Think about life when things have settled. How satisfied do you expect each element of life to be for you? For some elements, we might commonly expect the sale of your practice to improve satisfaction, such as Family and Leisure. Conversely, we might expect someone to struggle with other elements, such as Work and Purpose.

The projected impact of a transition

The third and final column is simply a calculation of the gap between your current level of satisfaction for each element and what you anticipate it to be post-transition. These numbers can help you prioritize the areas you may want to “pressure test” or create a plan for addressing. For those areas with a large gap (either up or down), ask yourself the following four questions:

1.    Will that gap happen solely as the result of a transition?
2.    Could the quality of the transition process change the impact?
3.    For those with improving satisfaction levels, what factors or decisions could keep that higher level from being a reality?
4.    What preparation or decisions could improve the potential outcome for those with decreasing levels of satisfaction?

While every dentist hopes it to be the case, it’s nearly impossible to know with certainty that selling your practice will benefit you. However, it is possible to reveal areas where additional assessment and planning may be required to help the transition be successful while also roughly estimating the likelihood that this transition will improve overall satisfaction in your life.


Brett Miller, CPA, CFP

Brett Miller, CPA, CFP


Brett is Partner, Wealth Advisor in our Charlotte, NC, office. He joined from legacy firm Brightworth, where he led the Dental Services Practice Management group. Brett graduated from The Citadel with a degree in Business Administration (accounting concentration), obtained his Certified Public Accountant certificate in 2008 and became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional in 2010. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants.

Brett is a native of Gastonia, NC. He and his wife, Sarah, have two children and live in Mint Hill. Outside of work, Brett enjoys running and golfing and is actively involved in his church and local Citadel alumni club.


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