Retirement? Dentists May Have To Keep Working

San Francisco, California   March 15, 2009   Business News
(PRLEAP.COM) Most dentists are postponing their retirement plans because today's brutal economy is wreaking havoc on their dental practice profits, reveals a survey by dental practice marketing resource The Wealthy Dentist. While 62% of dentists say they plan to work longer, only 25% report that their retirement plans are on track.

Dentists are feeling the pinch of tighter finances as much as any other industry. "I love dentistry, but this sucks!" griped a New York dentist. An orthodontist mused, "I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be financially able to retire and maintain my current lifestyle (which is NOT an extravagant one, by the way)."

So what's a struggling dentist to do? "Plan ahead, it works!" advised a Florida dentist and investment advisor, who is retiring early at age 64. Financial planning for dentists involves deciding whether to sell the practice or take on an associate, whether to hire dental consultants, and maximize profits through careful dental marketing campaigns.

The older dentists in this survey were more likely to acknowledge that they might not even have a concrete retirement plans. "I feel as though I may have to work forever!" said a 65-year-old California dentist. "My plans are mostly holding steady," reported a New York dentist, 61. "However the loss of pension assets is causing me to rethink the time frame."

Retiring is not the end goal for all doctors. "I'm also beginning to wonder if full retirement is really a worthwhile goal anyway… All I do now is work, and I love my profession!" raved a Georgia orthodontist, 54. "I'm still happy doing what I do," agreed a pediatric dentist, 64. Said a 63-year-old Utah dentist, "I am not interested in retiring. I do want to change my practice to do more implants, dentures and ortho."

Even dentists with many years left before they retire are reconsidering their dental management strategies. "I still have 10+ years until I retire. As for now, I am refinancing everything I can to the lowest rates I can so that in 10 years I will be in an even better position to retire than I would have been," said a 51-year-old dentist. Shared another doctor, "I will need to work longer, but at least I have time on my side since I am 47 years old."

Dentists who love practicing dentistry may opt to reduce their hours without quitting entirely. "I've been working 3 days a week for 10 years without loss of production, so retiring in place is working for me," said a 61-year-old Louisiana dentist. Said a 66-year-old Georgia dentist, "I do not need to sell for retirement, but I will sell for cash. Otherwise I will continue to buy myself out for as long as it is still fun to practice."

"Retirement doesn't magically happen when you turn 65," said Jim Du Molin, dental consultant and founder of dental website The Wealthy Dentist. "It takes planning and strategy; that's one of the first rules of dental consulting. The current market is weeding out anyone who doesn't have a firm dental retirement strategy in place."
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Julia Frey
The Wealthy Dentist
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