Hurrah, after 5 long years you are now ready to go out and earn some money!  What should newly qualified dentists be thinking about?

  • How you are paid

Ultimately the contract with the dental practice will determine your status for tax but if you are self-employed, it is up to you to manage your income tax, national insurance and any student loan payments. If you are not confident in your own knowledge, speak to our healthcare accountancy firm who specialises in this sector.

  • Sick pay

What happens if you are off?  If you are working as an associate for an NHS contract holder then you are entitled to 22 weeks sick pay (the first 4 weeks are not reimbursed).  If you work in the private sector, you may have to arrange your own.

  • Pensions

Again, it is NHS v Private.  If you work for an NHS contract holder you will be automatically offered membership of the NHS Pension Scheme.  It’s one of the few remaining “gold plated” pension schemes left in the UK.  This will be arranged through your employer and deductions will be taken from your salary.  Here’s a handy link

If you work in the private sector and want to plan ahead for when you eventually retire then you will have to set up a personal pension scheme if you are a self-employed associate.  If you are employed, then you will be automatically enrolled into you employer’s workplace pension scheme.  As an employed dentist your employer has to make a minimum contribution of 3% of your gross pay and you need to make 5% (this includes 1% tax relief from the government).

  • Life cover

Maybe not something that is important to you if you have recently qualified and have no dependents or liabilities.  If you are a member of the NHS Pension you are entitled to up to 2 x pensionable earnings death in service life cover.  Again, if private you need to arrange your own and consider if this is needed/how much is needed.

  • Saving for your first home

After 5 years of sharing questionable student accommodation you’re dreaming of your own place but are a bit short of a deposit.  We’d say first look at your budget.  The old phrase “what you don’t have you don’t miss” comes to mind.  It’s really tempting to go a bit crazy now that you are earning but think about what’s important to you.  If saving for a deposit is important then perhaps you might have to curtail that Starbucks habit!  Thankfully, the UK Government has introduced the Lifetime ISA to help you save.  Here is a link that tells you a bit more:

Important note – the maximum purchase price is £450,000 so if you are buying in a more expensive area like London, you need to bear this in mind.