Maximizing Profits and Purpose: A Financial Guide for Dentists with Shannon Blackman


Podcast Summary

In this insightful podcast episode, host Shawn Zajas engages in a candid conversation with financial planner Shannon Blackmon, shedding light on her innovative approach to supporting dentists in achieving financial prosperity. Through an organic and engaging dialogue, the episode not only explores the intricacies of financial planning but also unveils Shannon’s passion projects and dreams for the future. 

The episode opens with Shawn inquiring about Shannon’s unique approach to financial planning and the inspiration behind her innovative methods. Shannon reveals her deep-rooted belief in the significance of inner prosperity, emphasizing the importance of aligning one’s financial goals with their values and authentic desires. This perspective sets her apart in the field, enabling her to offer a holistic approach to financial planning that addresses both the tangible and intangible aspects of wealth. 

As the conversation progresses, Shannon delves into her personal journey, recounting a pivotal moment in her life when her externally successful but unfulfilling lifestyle prompted her to reassess her relationship with money. This transformative experience led her to rebuild her life based on authenticity and values, ultimately redefining her perception of prosperity. Her vulnerability in sharing this journey resonates with listeners, highlighting the relatability and authenticity that underlie her financial planning philosophy. 

The discussion further explores the challenges faced by dentists in navigating the complex financial landscape of their profession. Shannon empathetically acknowledges the pressures dentists encounter, from managing overhead costs to negotiating wage inflation with their staff. Her expertise lies in guiding dentists through these challenges, providing them with the tools and strategies to optimize their financial well-being. 

Shawn lauds Shannon’s ability to instill confidence in her clients and applauds her pivotal role in demystifying financial planning for dentists. He underscores the value of seeking expert advice and the importance of viewing financial services as an investment in the growth and success of a dental practice, rather than a mere cost. Shannon’s proficiency in optimizing tax strategies and creating tax-efficient portfolios is highlighted, demonstrating her tangible impact on her clients’ financial outcomes. 

As the conversation takes an unexpected turn, Shannon candidly shares her passion projects, revealing her aspirations to lead retreats and workshops centered around the intersection of spirituality and money. Her desire to facilitate immersive couples’ retreats aimed at reigniting meaningful connections between partners showcases her innovative spirit. Shawn commends her fearlessness in pursuing these dreams, highlighting her readiness to face challenges head-on. 

The podcast episode concludes with Shawn expressing his admiration for Shannon’s work and extending his support for her endeavors. He emphasizes the power of sharing dreams and passions, as it can inspire collaboration and create a supportive community. Shannon reciprocates the gratitude, underscoring the importance of community and the profound impact it can have on one’s journey towards prosperity. 

In summation, this podcast episode provides listeners with a deep dive into Shannon Blackmon’s innovative approach to financial planning for dentists. Through a blend of personal anecdotes, expert insights, and candid discussions, Shannon’s philosophy of inner prosperity and alignment of financial goals with values is unveiled. Her empathetic and empowering approach positions her as a valuable resource for dentists seeking to navigate the complex financial landscape of their profession. The episode serves as an inspirational call to action for listeners to embrace their dreams and collaborate within their communities to achieve collective success. 

Connect with Shannon:

LI: @shannonblackmon
FB: @shannonblackmon-resetyourmoneymindset

Podcast Transcript

Shannon Blackmon  00:00 

The big leverage comes when they make that leap into entrepreneurship and start their own dental practice. And that that leap there is, is the mindset. 


Shawn Zajas  00:11 

The future of dentistry belongs to the innovators. Welcome to innovation in dentistry. I’m your host, Shawn Zajas. And I believe that the future of dentistry is going to be unbelievably great over the next decade in two decades. But the question isn’t that the question is, are you going to be part of what makes dentistry great? So today, I am so excited, I have the opportunity to interview Shannon Blackmon. And before I set you up, Shannon, let me just say thank you so much for letting me interview you today. 


Shannon Blackmon  00:53 

Well, thank you for having me here. I’m so excited. I’ve always enjoyed your freshness and your authenticity. So yeah, I’m so happy to be here. 


Shawn Zajas  01:01 

Well, thank you, Shannon. So this is called Innovation in dentistry. And innovation can mean so many different things. I say this all the time. But it’s so important. We can be talking about clinical innovation, we can be talking about technological innovation, we can talk be talking about service innovation, but at the base of all of it is some person that says hey, why why can’t I step up? Why can’t I lead? Why can’t I pioneer? And that starts with some sort of belief set or some sort of mindset that’s like, yeah, why not? Let’s do this. So whether there are dentists or hygienists, or their dental professionals or vendors in the space that are listening to this, my whole goal for them is, hey, whatever you’re hearing between the lines from what we’re talking about, they know where that dream is that they might have been keeping on the sidelines, you know, maybe they they’re not in the game, yet really doing what it is that they love, or what’s giving them purpose. And that’s why I love interviewing people that are doing what they love that are inner innovating positive change. And I want to know, How is it changing that you ended up even coming to be in a place where you’re serving in the dental industry? 


Shannon Blackmon  02:15 

Yeah, well, it’s pretty interesting because I have been working in financial services for decades, and not really finding a place where I fit in, you know, if you can, I don’t know if you can tell by looking but I don’t look like your dad’s financial advisor, right? I’m just kind of, yeah, I’m a unicorn in in my my space. So I had been working in financial services for decades. And I finally was approached by a firm Thomas doll, and their niche is dentists. And I was like dentists, you know, I’ve been kind of like doing social justice and LGBTQ planning and very mission driven. But we really aligned with our integrity and our desire to give the best customer experience possible. So I was like, let me get this, give this a try. So that’s how I ended up serving dentists. It’s been four years now that I’ve been working exclusively with dentists. And I’ve really fallen in love with can I say the women in dentistry? Yes, yes, absolutely. They’re the most supportive group of healers and business women, they wear a lot of hats. It’s really, really unique. 


Shawn Zajas  03:26 

I believe 100%, that the women in dentistry are doing such a great job of establishing community, establishing a support system that I mean, come on, you know, dentistry is just downright difficult. There’s so much challenges to it. And I think for so long, it’s just been this whole, like, everyone is isolated, and people don’t talk about their struggles. And people don’t know where to go for help. And then unfortunately, because of that, like suicide rates, over the last few decades have been really high in dentistry. And I feel like so much of that is changing. And some of the women that both of you, you and I know are pioneering that change, and, and it’s amazing. So Shannon, what was one of the main differences you noticed, the second you went from just going coming into the dental industry, like, from not probably knowing much about the specifics of it. Was there anything that shocked you when it came to? I don’t know either either reaching dentists or communicating with dentists or them understanding the value that you were giving anything that was just different than other industries you’ve been in? 


Shannon Blackmon  04:34 

Yeah, well, I think it’s it’s it’s hard to reach dentists in a lot of ways because they’re so over marketed to, especially when it comes to financial services. They are just bombarded with offers and products. So it’s been really really hard to get through in this this especially the social media jungle with so many voices. I think it’s been hard to get through what surprised To me is a few things, challenges that I see that they’re facing, like the hiring challenge and the staffing challenge. That’s seems I mean, it’s it’s pretty uniform across healthcare because of the health care crisis, the burnout crisis for health care workers. But that was it’s been, that’s been something new, like since 2020. That’s been a big shock. And other thing is realizing how physical dentistry is. That’s not something I actually realized before I started talking to dentists. 


Shawn Zajas  05:35 

Well, it’s true because unlike some other areas of healthcare, where they’re just, you know, either prescribing or, you know, they have to know everything about the body, but they don’t actually have to be a surgeon. You know, here, dentists, hygienists are also clinicians, which means they’re bending over in the mouth, performing procedures all day. It’s so so wearing. So I want to know more about you, and just even how you got into financial planning. So is this something that coming out of high school you knew, let me go to college I this is the route that I want to take, was your, your path into this fairly linear? 


Shannon Blackmon  06:16 

No, not at all. Not at all. And so my, my undergrad degree is in psychology. So I was always fascinated by the mind and behavior, and you know, how we make sense of the world around us. So that was, that was my big focus. That was what I nerded out on. And when I was in college, I took classes like, you know, Hindu philosophy, and, you know, it was just really into my own my own world, when it came to that, that type of stuff. It wasn’t till I actually stopped going to school, then I went back to school, older as a mom. And I was interested in finance, it just kind of opened up to me. And the last class that I took, for my degree was a class and personal financial planning, they didn’t even have that the first time I went to college. But when I went back, they had a class in personal financial planning. And I got really just obsessed with it. I was like, This is how I want to help people. This is how we can use psychology and finance to help people. So that’s how I got into that. And then I started off as an insurance agent. And it was the most unsatisfying job I ever had. Because it was so transactional, you’re trying to sell people a product, but you don’t know anything about their their lives. And I just have this infinite curiosity about what’s really going on. What do you want? What are your goals, because I want to make those dreams come true, I want to deliver financial freedom. And I couldn’t do that with a product. So I went back to school studied even more, got my CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING designation. And that really opened up to me comprehensive financial planning, which is all areas of someone’s financial life, and then layering on to that life planning, which is really pulling a person’s goals and values from them, so that we can really build that life, it’s about life building. And then the finances just is just the financial architecture that gets you there. That’s just like the scaffolding right of your life. 


Shawn Zajas  08:22 

It’s crazy to me that you got so close to it, meaning, you know, you had a psychology background, then all of a sudden, you start getting into finance. And it seems like the two are coming together with, you know, even the insurance product that you were offering. But since it was still disconnected from people, it was a feeling. You know, it was like it was like getting there. And it was so close to that kind of actualization. But you realize, probably pretty early on, I can’t do this if I can’t actually really connect with the clients that I’m serving, and get to know them. So it sounds like you really, like you’re definitely people first and people centered with your entire approach. So contrast, what you were doing with insurance to what you’re able to do now when it comes to being with clients. 


Shannon Blackmon  09:12 

Yeah, and so insurance was very transactional, people need this, you give it to them. And there they go. What I do now as I’m so engrossed in their stories, right, I like to hear how their practices doing year by year and compare that I love to see the children growing up and launching and going to college and what they’re doing, you know, I like to hear like, Oh, we’re going to you know, buy a house house in Idaho. Can we do that? What does that look like? Or you know, whether it’s that or a workshop, Outback or the vineyard, I just love the passion projects that people are, are you know, engaging in it’s it’s just so fun for me, because there was another pivot where I was I’m really good at trading and doing the inverse Spend analysis, I’m really, really good at that. And it feels good to do something that you’re good at. But it was taking me away from my clients, right? I was doing all the back office work. But the position that I’m in now, I really don’t do any paperwork, I delegate most of that. So that I get to be sitting face to face with clients, and really, you know, walking through the journey. And my favorite question for them is, you know, tell me, you know, tell me how you got here, we get to this place where we talk about their net worth, right? It’s just their assets minus their liabilities. You know, sometimes that’s a really big number. Sometimes when they’re just starting out, that might be a negative number. But I like to ask them, like, what’s your secret? How did you get here and hear the story that they say that’s like, the best part of the meeting for me is hearing their story of what what that journey has been like for them, right? Because that’s their net wealth. That’s a number. But their worth is how did they get there? You know, how do we get here? So I that’s what I love the stories. 


Shawn Zajas  11:06 

I hope whoever is consuming this podcast isn’t just listening to it, but they get to actually see it because you you actually come alive. The second you start talking about your clients and the people you care about and these dentists, it’s really awesome to behold Shannon, because, again, you know, certain questions I’ve asked, nothing elicits that sort of light shining as much as when you get to talk about your clients. So I’m curious, Shannon, from the perspective of you probably deal with all sorts of dentists and some that have higher net wealth than others. Do you? Do you notice a difference in mindset, for those that are really crushing it versus those that are that are struggling? Like, can you pick up on anything different about their story where they haven’t yet turned the corner when it comes to some sort of mindset shifts or belief sets? 


Shannon Blackmon  11:59 

Right? Well, it’s, it’s an entrepreneur, entrepreneurial mindset. And it’s a prosperity mindset, so that they can have it even before they start making money, right? Because there’s this this key, which is being able to live within your means at any point in the cycle, you know, and so at the very beginning, that’s pretty lean, right? Because they graduate from dental school, they have a huge load of student debt, how are they going to pay this off, most likely, they’ll get a high paying associate job and be able to pay some of that down, the big leverage comes when they make that leap into entrepreneurship, and start their own dental practice. And that that leap there is, is the mindset, because having that faith in yourself to be able to do that, you know, it’s one thing to leverage, you know, student loans, it’s one thing to leverage debt on your mortgage, but to leverage your own human capital like that. It’s that’s huge. And that’s what I see is the big difference. And, you know, just talking dentists through or listening to them as they talk through that decision, whether they’re whether or not to buy a practice, I really love that process. And just seeing, seeing that, you know, you kind of have that faith in yourself, and I’m speaking to myself, too, you know, I’m an intrapreneur. So I’m building my business within the business of Thomas doll, my own relationships. And it’s, it’s tough, I had to get really vulnerable this week, and just be like, Wow, this is really tough. You know, I might put on an event that I think is going to be really good. And crickets, you know? So it’s been able to bounce back from failure, and to take failure as a lesson to pivot, right? Everything is the scientific method. So you’re like, Okay, that didn’t work test failed. Now we’re going to shift and do something new. So I see that in my most successful, my most successful clients, they have that they’re able to pivot. 


Shawn Zajas  14:07 

Yeah, I mean, that is incredibly profound. Because what you’re saying I found from the highest performers, and the highest achievers, Shannon, they understand, like you said, it’s about being able to pivot and about being able to be agile, and learn quickly, instead of just taking it as a failure. Right, you do something, you put something into the marketplace, it doesn’t work instead of being like, wow, I just failed. It’s like, well, no, I just learned something that doesn’t work. And what else? What else can I get from this experience so that the next time I do it, it can be more honed in more intelligent and hopefully resonate more with the marketplace. It’s a totally different take on on what real learning is and on perceived failure. And then encourages us instead of discouraging us. So I absolutely love that. And I’m curious, even when you You were making that transition to Thomas doll? Did you have any hesitancy of like, man, I’ve never been in this industry? I don’t know what it’s gonna be like, and was it at all a struggle? Kind of getting a grasp on what was happening in dentistry for you? Was it? Was it a? Was it a process? Or was it pretty quick for you to kind of understand, okay, this is what dentistry is like and build those inroads? 


Shannon Blackmon  15:24 

Oh, yeah, it’s been a learning curve. Because not only do I have to, you know, Master my craft, of financial planning and investing and all of that. But I have to understand the business of dentistry, right. But fortunately, the people that I work with have been really open and, and just have this intellectual generosity. And they’ve been able to show me I’ve been able to sit in on really complex transition meetings with them, because some of the partners in our firm have been doing this for over 40 years working with dentists. So being able to just, you know, lean on their expertise has been amazing. I’ve learned so much. You can’t go to school for this, right? There’s no like, dental planner degree, you know, you have to learn it by doing. 


Shawn Zajas  16:14 

Yeah, and you have to learn in the trenches. And I love what you were saying, with, you know, you’re you’re excited, you’re ramping up for some sort of an event, or some sort of maybe online campaign. And then all of a sudden, it’s like, Nope, no attendance, or hardly any eyeballs. And it’s like, so I told you earlier, I’m not a dentist, right? I have a unique electric toothbrush program, that I offered a dentist that can really help them. And yet in the same exact way, I I’m trying to figure out how can I communicate my value to dentists like all the all the time? How can I build momentum, and there’s so many times when I really think I have it dialed in, and all of a sudden, I’ll like launch a webinar, and I get zero people signing up. And it is absolutely humbling to just try to keep up with what is working, not just in the market. But what is working in the dental market. Dentistry is so it’s so unique. And that’s why like, when it comes to financial planning, what types of challenges do you feel like dentists have? That maybe is unique to them? 


Shannon Blackmon  17:25 

Yeah, well, I think definitely the student loan debt. And being over leveraged is a little bit a little not unique, but the the scope of it is, is is larger, right, there’s larger student loan debt. But then at the same time, there’s more potential to earn more and pay that pay that off as well as other debts. So I think that’s, that’s unique. I think, also, in dental school, they don’t really learn about the business of dentistry or practice management enough, or the skills that takes to lead people. So I think that there’s there’s a vacuum there of needing leadership skills, and also meeting business skills. 


Shawn Zajas  18:13 

So in that sense, do you see yourself as an educator that has to kind of come alongside them? And help fill in the gaps at times? 


Shannon Blackmon  18:21 

Oh, definitely. Definitely. Because that’s, and that’s why I like to talk about the inner and outer prosperity, because it there’s the mindset that goes with prosperity, because without prosperity, you know, money is just riches. Right? But do we want riches? Or do we want wealth, you know, that holistic sense of well being that includes financial security, but is not limited to that, right? Because our financial security, I always think of it as like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with financial security at the bottom, like you have to have that right. But it’s not, that’s not the end goal. The end goal is to be self actualized, the end goal is to be living a life of significance, and meaning. So how do we get there, that’s, that’s the the most important thing. So I do like to be, you know, the, I don’t want to say Coach, but I can’t think of a better word guide on the side. I like to coach them through the mindset part, and just, you know, which is really just reminding them of when they are using their prosperity mindset, right and encouraging that. Because it’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. There is this idea that dentists have our rich, right, it should look a certain way they should drive a certain type of car, their kids should go to a certain thing. So there’s this comparison trap that is really, really easy to get caught up in. And wow, we really got to tune out the noise. I mean, not just dentists, but everyone we got to tune out the noise and really think about what is enough for us and and what is it for, because it’s for these higher goals, you know, living a really meaningful life. You know, and that’s beyond money. It’s beyond the numbers. 


Shawn Zajas  20:05 

So was this something that was apparent to you, like early on in your life understanding this prosperity message? Or, or do you even have a story attached to your journey? In discovering this? 


Shannon Blackmon  20:18 

Right? No. Oh, so I, I decided I was gonna go into financial planning, it was all good. At the time I was living, I was married. We had, you know, little house, in the suburbs, everything looked really, really good on the outside. But on the inside, it just wasn’t working. We weren’t friends. You know, we didn’t talk. We didn’t chill together. It wasn’t like that. There was like, no actual relationship, but we had all the trappings of success, right? So I was living like that. And I was working as a financial planner, I was, you know, doing great, just loving living my career, everything was looking good on the outside, have that emptiness, but I was like, you know, it’s okay. You know, it looks good on the outside, we’re fine. And then one day, he lost his business, the business ended, he was an entrepreneur, that a crucial contract was lost, everything fell apart. So now I’m still working in financial services, right. But I’m taking the bus to work because we only have one vehicle, I am going to discount grocery outlets, you know, to get food, I’m swiping the credit card, because I have to like not for the points because I have to. So my whole facade crumbled at that point. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because I started to rebuild my life, about on what was authentic to me, right. And so I stopped seeing money as this outward object, I stopped seeing it as something that I did for other people. And I started to really build my life based on my values, you know, what was most important to me, then part of that process was, there’s a great book, it’s called The Art of money by Barry Tesslar. And I took myself through that process of, of really healing my relationship with money, which sounds wild, right? Because here I am, I’m, you know, helping people manage their millions. But I’m broke, right? So I had to, I had to really assess, you know, what was wrong with my relationship with money? And how can I heal that? So it’s been that journey for me, and I’m still on that journey of, you know, looking at my money story, what have I learned from my parents or from society about money? What have I internalized that I can kind of look at and say, Is this working? Is this still working? Or is it not? So that’s, that’s why I’m such a big proponent of the inner journey, inner prosperity, because without it, if your life is just that empty facade, you know, it doesn’t matter how square footage is, right? If you’re if you’re empty inside, 


Shawn Zajas  23:06 

but I just want to like, honor you for the fact that you had the courage, a lot of people struggle. And just because they have difficult times doesn’t mean they actually find the goal that they could find in those moments. Oftentimes, we just find ways to keep avoiding and running from our challenges. And we just keep getting busy with with something new, or some new thing. And we just keep avoiding the deeper things. So they just stay in one of my favorite quotes is like, avoidance is a great short term strategy for happiness, but a long term strategy for suffering. Like, like, if you avoid something, you’re gonna feel great. Right now, it feels great to avoid things that need to be dealt with. But it’s going to ensure long term suffering. Right? And here you are Shannon, and you’re like, okay, like this bomb goes off in our life. These financial pressures increase, and it starts almost bringing things to the surface, that you then have the courage to look at and go, Okay, what is it that I need to learn? What is the situation teaching me? Where am I? You know, where do I have more to learn about money and healthy relationship? Man, there’s so many times I’ve had these terrible ideas that like, money is greedy. Or if I ask someone for money in exchange for my services, it’s selfish, because the best way to do things is just to give, give, give, give. And yet I get challenged by certain people in my life that are like Shawn, you’re not doing any service to your family. You’re not doing any service to your wife and your kids. By not just receiving the compensation you should receive by doing a job well done, or by providing value to the marketplace. And in reality, people always love that quote, well, money is the root of all evil. And my whole thought is like money just reveals what’s in your heart. Like, if you’re a generous soul, and you want to give and make a huge impact, man, give that person $10 million, they’re gonna make a bigger impact, give them a billion dollars, they’re gonna make a bigger impact. But if someone’s whole aim is just to be selfish, and build themselves up and build their own empire so that they can lord it over people. Yeah, the more money they get, the more selfish they’re just going to become money. This reveals what’s inside. So. 


Shannon Blackmon  25:33 

Right? I agree with that. It just amplifies what’s already there, right? Because when you think about it, money is our energy, right? It’s our human value that we put out in the world, you know, we put it out in the world, it comes back to us as earnings, and then we put that into other money energy cycle. So it’s, it’s really our human, it’s just a way for us to keep track of our human energy that we’re putting out there. You know, so there’s really no good or bad about it itself, other than what we cast onto it, you know? So yeah, if I just feel like if you have a message to share, and you have, you know, good intentions and good integrity to put out there, that you should, you should know what that’s worth right and be compensated for that well compensated for that. Yeah. But I mean, that’s very common, I think, for entrepreneurs to have little blocks around money, and then wonder why it’s not coming to you? Well, it is those little blocks. And if we can, you know, work through those, and like you said, having the support system of people that can kind of catch you, when you start to manifest that scarcity mindset and be like, Well, where did Where’s that coming from? So you can like see it in real time and turn it around. That’s key. 


Shawn Zajas  26:51 

Man, that is just amazing, because dentists, meant to, like, they work so hard, all my dental friends, I know, are so committed to their practice, to their team, to their patients. And yet, if they were able to elevate just even their mindset around money, I know they’d be able to earn, even if it’s just 10 or 15%, more. And so many of the dentists I know, they want to pour as much of the profits back into their team. They want to take care of the people that are faithful to them. And they just have such beautiful caring, giving hearts. But yet sometimes, again, with the pressures with insurance, and the BPOS, and the margins getting compressed, and some team members wanting more post COVID. Like Hi, Jen, is there’s real financial challenges that dentists are up against right now. And I’m sure you’ve you’ve probably seen it all, like you hear everything. 


Shannon Blackmon  27:56 

Yeah, yeah. Every day I sit across from dentists and I hear these problems of hiring. And, and it’s, it’s, it’s difficult, because the hygienist and the staff don’t always understand the economics of the practice, right? So they’re saying, Hey, we deserve more, we want more. And it of course, they do. They do deserve more. And especially when you know that right now, though, the environment has been so that there’s this wage inflation, right. And there’s a comparison now that there wasn’t before. There’s like, well, I could be working remote. Or I could be, you know, with my hands and people’s mouth, like, you know, you’ve got to compensate me for this differential now. But my I don’t have all the answers. But what I would say is that if we can start embodying a culture of abundance, and that needs to start with the dentist, as the leader, right? embody that, and that includes work life balance, that means that you have to live that right. You have to live that yourself, and provide that for your team. And it’s so hard. It is so hard, because dentists have to wear so many hats to wear so many hats. I mean, and they’re leaders in their community, their employers right there providing jobs. I mean, it’s just incredible, in addition to being healers, in addition to being masterful technicians, right. And in addition to being business owners, entrepreneurs there, they also mean you should sit across a wish you could see what I see when I sit across from these dentists. They’re brilliant business people as well. I mean, what can’t they do? Right? What can’t they do? But it’s an enormous amount of pressure. And, and I know like I’ve talked about the financial pressures that I felt is one of the most difficult things to go through. And that’s something that they have to deal with every day, balancing the books and making sure that everybody’s provided for Wow Oh, it’s incredible amount of pressure. And that’s what I try to talk them through. Right? 


Shawn Zajas  30:07 

Right, well, I can see why the value that you provide with Thomas stone is so important. So that dentists don’t have to do it on their own. They’re a specialist in so many areas to be able to trust and trust, the financials. And some of the financial strategies with professionals and experts like yourself, is a game changer, especially someone as empathetic and compassionate and caring and committed to their well being, as you are Shannon. I mean, it just it just oozes out of you. So I’m so curious, what is it that successful dentists are doing? That the other ones aren’t doing? 


Shannon Blackmon  30:47 

Well, one, one thing, and this is going to be my pet peeve is they don’t take successful dentists aren’t afraid to pay for advice, when you’re talking about taking the pressure off. Yeah, you pay for that you pay for a solid team, you know, you pay for a solid team, so that you can leverage your your you can have your time back to do what it is that you want to do. So the less successful dentists I would say are, you know, getting information off of tic toc. And, you know, by commission sales, people that are trying to sell them a product without having a plan. And there’s a lot of noise out there, you know. So I would just say like, if you are in a dentist or any, any professional, make sure that you’re working with the fiduciary make sure they’re transparent about their fees and how they get paid. You know, and make sure there’s some checks and balances in place. Like, I’m a fiduciary, there’s certain things I can say there’s certain things I can’t say, there, I can’t just spout out a return to you, like, return on investment to you. I have to prove that to you, I have to show you that with data. So beware of people that are out there, spouting double digit returns, with nothing to back them up. They don’t have any kind of regulation. So I wouldn’t be aware of those things. You know? 


Shawn Zajas  32:10 

Yeah. Yeah. Shannon, I love what you were just saying, though, because so many times I run into this challenge with dentists and the more mature ones have learned when to almost like shift the business cap of like, When am I looking to cut expenses, and, and identifying costs that aren’t necessary or costs that I’m trying to contain Well, versus when I’m looking at, okay, these are investments I need to make in order to keep the business growing. And if they look at financial services, for example, as like a cost. That’s not the right way of looking at it, right? You know, it’s not, it’s not, it’s not the gloves that you need to buy or the PPE need to buy, that’s just a hard cost. And if you can lower that by 10%, awesome. Well, when it comes to growing your practice, and working with a financial services company, now we’re talking about how you need to invest to grow your practice, I was just reading a book, and it was talking about how this young entrepreneur was shocked that this one consultant could get $50,000 for a day’s worth of their time. And when he started realizing that $50,000, for that one individual, the companies he was working with, he would make them an extra, like two or 3 million in that quarter because of that $50,000, like it was a no brainer, to spend that money to invest that money, because of what the return was going to be. And I think that’s where sometimes since dentists don’t have MBAs, and thank God, they didn’t invest that time, because we need them to invest their time and clinical excellence. But that’s where sometimes I feel like that mindset needs to be elevated, like, you need to invest in your practice. And honestly, if you’ve already given 510 15 years into your practice, look how invested you already are, with your resources with your time with your life, it makes sense to entrust the financial experts so that you can just invest in your business. So that’s one of the shifts I see as well. And I encourage dentists, like, don’t get cheap when it comes to working with the necessary experts that you need so that you can grow your practice. 


Shannon Blackmon  34:27 

Right, right. And we deliver big wins for dentists too, because it’s I mean, it’s kind of hard to prove with the investments, right, because investments are going up and down. You’re like, I don’t know, you know, but we save them so much money on taxes, because with taxes, I live in California, so that’s 40 50% of you know, they’re what they were they’re bringing in, it’s insane. But we’re able to save the money on taxes, and that’s something that we layer in. Even when I’m constructing a portfolio, I’m mindful of where I put certain assets, whether they’re in the tax advantaged accounts or if they’re in the tax deferred account, wherever it’s to make sure that it’s tax efficient. At every layer, we’re minimizing taxes. And when there’s big things that happen, like the sale of a practice, that’s where we’re saving hundreds of 1000s of dollars on taxes. When we put together a backdoor Roth strategy, or Roth conversions in retirement, hundreds of 1000s of dollars, savings and taxes, it’s huge is very, very impactful. But you know, I gotta get the word out, I gotta get the word out. Because the, you know, the people that I’ve been working with Thomas Dahl, they have a steady base of clients, they have plenty of word of mouth going on. We’re busy delivering Financial Freedom Day after day, we have a pension department for the doctors 401k. We have a payroll department, we do the tax and accounting. And then I work in the wealth management in the in the planning department. We’re doing this every day. But I want to let the new dentists know, hey, we’re here. This is what we’re doing with the highest ethics or the highest integrity, integrity, and we’re really delivering this across your lifespan. come on board, you know, I have to get the word out, because I can’t let you know, tick tock insurance agents out, out voice me, right. I want to you know, but it’s so it’s frustrating. I really, I I know what we do. I see what we do. And I somehow I need to get this out the message out so that people will come and learn from us. Yeah. 


Shawn Zajas  36:35 

So So Shannon? What? Like I know, it’s common sense that people don’t know what they don’t know. But how do you feel like that shows up? When a dentist is either reaching out to you, or when you meet a dentist, let’s say at a trade show. And you’re starting to have a conversation? Is it the tax advantages that they’re just not aware of? Like, what’s some of the main areas that they’re like? Oh, like that they just don’t know that you guys can provide value in? 


Shannon Blackmon  37:02 

Yeah, I think I think taxes is the main pain point. But I really like to have that conversation that one on one conversation to hear what’s what’s top of mind for them? Because, you know, maybe they care most about their kids doing well, and their kids having a good education? Well, that’s where we can plan for that, you know, we can plan for that. Maybe they’re concerned that they’re not going to be able to retire or wondering if they’ve saved enough we can solve solve that problem. And I think what’s really up for me what I’m seeing on, you know, the dentist, you know, the dentists, groups, and everything is this need for more significance in the work that they do and more meaning in the work that they do. So that’s another thing that we can plan for. We can plan for work life balance, whether that’s hiring, hiring an associate, and working less days. What does that look like? Can we do that? Bringing on a partner forming a group, we can plan for that I want to help dentists plan for those pivots. Those sabbaticals, those transitions, you know, what’s your passion project? Do you have a passion project that you want to get into that will just bring meaning and significance back into your life that doesn’t feel like work? Let’s plan for that. Let’s see how we can make that happen. So it’s not just the traditional financial things that everybody can do? You know, it’s more about like, what’s your dream? And how can I deliver that to you? 


Shawn Zajas  38:36 

So this is where I get to have a little bit of fun. So Shannon, I’m curious, because it seems like you you’re great at what you do that that is incredibly clear. But yet, you still have so many giftings outside of what a financial planner is responsible for being able to do like, you know, whether it’s your empathy, or whether it’s your spiritual connectedness or, or what you’ve learned, even from psychology, like, back to you what, is there a passion project? Is there is there a dream that you still feel like is, is yet to be actualized for the next 1015 years for you? I mean, there’s a chance that what you’re doing right now is 100%. Just checking all the boxes for fulfillment. And I know you probably have a little bit of latitude when you’re with a client, to really get to be more expressive in the way that you can show that kind of care and really, you know, I don’t know coach them, challenge them and just be yourself. But do you feel like there’s also some, I don’t know, I see. I feel like there’s so much in you. Yeah, I’m just gonna leave that with you. What? Yeah, so another passion project that You feel like has yet to be actualized? 


Shannon Blackmon  40:01 

Right? Well, I’m really fascinated by the link between spirituality and money. So I would love to lead retreats and workshops just about that. I also my secret passion project is I want to do couples retreats, where couples like go to a beautiful place and to loom and just spend a week immersed in, you know, going to the snow days, and just you know, having aphrodisiac meals. So like, I don’t know why I want to do this so bad. But I just want couples to like have this immersive experience. Yeah, so I don’t know what that is. It’s just something that’s been bubbling up for the last few months where I’m just obsessed with this, this experience, because there’s lots of different ways to learn. But I love the idea of just being absolutely immersed. Right? And I think it’d be so good for couples. I work with a lot of couples, obviously, you know, it’s so funny, because there’s, there’s usually like one couple who’s the spending one, right? The one that’s like, Yeah, let’s go for it. They’re really expensive with the money. And then there’s the other one, that’s, that’s more conservative with the money. And they’re the ones that like keep the budget, it’s really, it’s really interesting to see those dynamics. And I work with a lot of power couples, and I would just let like love to take them away from their roles, their everyday roles and just plop them into loom. And maybe we would have a session on life planning and what their goals are, and just really open up like that. Because you know, the lights will only come on when you watch your partner, talk about what their goals are uninterrupted their goals, their values, their dreams, like, oh, wow, the lights have come on. And I really want to help you with that. And it might not look the same, right? might look a little bit different. But then then it comes back to how do we build the financial infrastructure to make that happen? I can’t always do that. But I just love those like broader conversations and working with couples. It’s really fun. 


Shawn Zajas  42:05 

Okay, so if you had a magic wand, not to like be all magical here, but But what? What would you need either support wise, or what sign would you need to start moving on that? Like, like, why why not now? 


Shannon Blackmon  42:23 

Yeah. Wow. I think if I had, you know, five couples, I would probably just pick a date. No. I don’t know if Yeah, maybe next summer. I don’t know if summer is great for to loom but maybe part of my arta next summer, let’s do it. 


Shawn Zajas  42:40 

You have no problem host, you have no problem hosting a retreat. You feel already able to do that? 


Shannon Blackmon  42:45 

Well, you know, I’ve never done it before. And I’m sure you know, I’m sure I’ll be falling for it. Because that’s what walking is right? It’s just like, yeah, actually calling it catching yourself. That’s what it feels like. I’m sure that I would fall foul and catch myself many times. But yeah, I would love to experience. Yeah. 


Shawn Zajas  43:04 

Well, I love just right there, I put you on the spot. And you talk about something that you’re also passionate about. And you have no fear around just making it happen. And again, for our listeners, that’s the whole thing I’m talking about. It’s like, what is it that also makes them come alive, that whether it’s a book, whether it’s being on the stage, because they feel like they have a message to give, whether it’s being a coach, and that really difficult 10 year period in their life, that was so difficult that they almost wish they could erase it, just look at it and realize, wow, look what I overcame. Look at the resilience I developed from this. There’s some people that are just at the very beginning of facing something like that I can help them. I have a message. I have a voice I what my life story has been has value and can bring value to other people. And yet, here you are, you’re like, Oh, I know, I can’t I’ve never done a retreat before. But why not? I’ll figure it out, I will fall forward and learn how to do that. That just revealed so much about your innovative mindset. And just that that beautiful confidence, you have just just a go for it. And the reason why I wanted you to share your dream is because you never know who’s listening that might be like, Wow, Shannon, like I would love to do the same exact thing. Except I would love to plan the retreat. I don’t really have the content, but I’m really great at planning and I’m just waiting for someone that has the content. And now all of a sudden they reached out to you. And the rest is history. And that’s what I’m hoping for because I believe in our listeners is like everything that we need, you know, in our own community, for our dreams to come true. 


Shannon Blackmon  44:50 

Right, right. Because I really do believe that that that community and the people around us our biggest resource, right? It’s not money, especially in this day. Ah, you know, money is a tool, but like really the resources community. So yeah, thank you for opening me up and letting me share that. That’s, that’s so cool. 


Shawn Zajas  45:11 

Okay, so Shannon, if I’m listening right now, and I’m like, Man, I want to work with Shannon, where should I go? 


Shannon Blackmon  45:17 

Oh, you should email me my email is Shannon be at Thomas You can also find me on LinkedIn. I’m on Instagram, Shannon at the dental planner. So I’m easy to find out there. Just shoot me a message and we can do a discovery call because I want to hear what’s important to you. I do. 


Shawn Zajas  45:38 

Okay, so here’s my final question. Are you ready for it? I think so. Okay, so, Shannon, No, today is walking down the street. And often the distance you see 18 year old Shannon, and you know, you have just one brief moment to communicate a sentiment to her. What do you share? 


Shannon Blackmon  46:00 

Wow. I just want Shannon to know that she is divine, she has that spark of divine essence. And that’s what she needs to have faith in. 


Shawn Zajas  46:17 

That is so powerful. I absolutely love that. Shannon, this whole conversation has just been so inspiring. And not just like conceptually inspiring, like, what dentists can actually get from Thomas doll. And from working with you is so important. I just want to say thank you for what it is that you do. It’s been easy to honor you as an innovator. I even love what you’re what you care about with your your passion project, with transforming with transforming couples, and doing retreats and I just want you to know I’m 100% in your corner and any way that I can help you please let me know. But thank you so much for letting me interview you today. 


Shannon Blackmon  47:04 

Thank you, Shawn. Oh, that’s offensive to pleasure and just such a delight. I just feel so opened up. So thank you. Thank you. 


Shawn Zajas  47:11 

Thank you, Shannon. Thanks for listening, and be sure to follow so you never miss an episode. To learn more about what’s going on in dentistry. Check out innovation in 

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