Dental Practice Management and Retirement Planning (Survey Video)

Dentists and retirement planning

Planning for retirement is an important aspect of dental practice management. Many doctors in their 50’s and 60’s did a good job of that over the years. But the economy derailed many of their plans.

This Wealthy Dentist survey asked dentists for their thoughts about retiring from their dental practices, and if their retirement plans have changed for economic reasons.

Only 30% of the dentists in this survey reported that they are still on their planned retirement track.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss how the economy has changed dentists’ retirement plans:

“There is no retirement in dentistry anymore… All the older guys are going back to work part-time.” New Jersey Dentist, 60’s

“I love what I do, and I am still excellent at the dentistry I provide, so here is how my plans have changed: I WILL KEEP GOING AS LONG AS MY HEALTH DICTATES!” California Dentist, 70’s

“Start early, plan for the worst and don’t count on money you may get from sale of practice,” advised a Missouri dentist. “If you do plan to sell your business, start a good dental marketing plan to double the patient base for the new dentist.”

What are your plans for retiring from your dental practice? How has the economy during the past 5 years affected your retirement plans?

Dentist Survey: Are Your Retirement Finances On Track?

Dentist retirement age and financesThis survey by The Wealthy Dentist asked dentists a few questions about their plans to retire.

We wanted to know if they expect to be financially ready to retire at age 65, and if there was a difference between the age they “hope” to retire and when they really “expect” to retire.

We discovered some good news:

Most dentists are optimistic about being financially able to retire at age 65.

The majority of our surveyed dentists (63%) said they think they would be able to retire at 65 if they wanted.

The rest of our respondents either have doubts (17%) that they’ll be financially ready or are sure (21%) their finances will not allow them to retire at age 65.

“Hope the stock market rallies.” California orthodontist

“Not sure; depends on healthcare and my health.” Michigan dentist

As for the “reality gap” between the age dentists “hope” vs. “expect” to retire, here’ the breakdown:

Most dentists “hope” to retire at age 60, but “expect” it will really happen when they’re 65.

On the low end, age 57 is the youngest age that dentists in our survey both hope and expect to retire.

Age 75 is the oldest age dentists “hope” to retire; age 80 is oldest expected retirement age.

However, a Florida dentist told us he expects to retire “When I’m on the other side of the grass. Retire for me means to go to bed at night.”

There were a couple of “Yes…but” answers to this question: “Do you think you will be able to retire comfortably and on schedule?”

“Yes, but the fact that healthcare insurance premiums have risen so much that I am trying to save enough each month specifically for that cost after retirement.” Texas dentist

“Yes, but I still have over 20 years to prepare.” Oral surgeon

We also got a few good pieces of dentist retirement advice:

“Marrying another dentist makes it easier to retire.” Washington dentist

“Starting early and consistent investment strategy with professional assistance is key.” General dentist

“I may retire from seeing and treating patients and the daily grind in the dental office, but with associate dentists, I should be able to always own and operate my dental office as the president of the company. At least, that is the current plan.” Ohio prosthodontist

How ‘on track’ are your plans to retire from dentistry?

Dentist Retirement Age: Dental Management Survey

Dentist retirement ageOn average, dentists expect to retire around age 69. The average age of dentists responding to this survey was 55.

Younger dentists are looking at even more years of work ahead of them. Dentists under 50 expect an average dentist retirement age of 74. This group, with an average age of 43, forecasts about 31 more years of work.

Even though less that half of dentists expect to retire by the age of 65, two out of three say their retirement plans are still on track. For one dentist in three, though, retirement plans have fallen off track.

Here are some comments about dentist retirement age:

  • “Actually, I do not plan on retiring in the traditional sense. I plan on always being active and doing something productive with my life. Retirement = DEATH!” Nevada dentist
  • “Competition in orthodontics is fierce, and I am not expecting it to improve in the future. With dental insurance companies reducing coverage and a weak economy, I am just hoping to hang on to retirement.” Wisconsin orthodontist
  • “I don’t have a hobby to retire to. I like what I do, so I am not in a rush to retire.” Missouri dentist
  • “I have cut down to 160 days a year for many years, and I expect to continue to reduce days worked. I could retire financially but have no desire at this time. Instead, I only do procedures that I enjoy.” Illinois dentist
  • “I plan on working until I am physically in the grave. However, I want to make sure that I plan that 6 months in advance.” Colorado orthodontist
  • “I’m feeling pretty confident. My house and condo are paid off. $2.5M put away in plans, still funding about $200k/year, and expect to net about $700k when I sell my practice.” Indiana dentist
  • “Thankfully, years ago I put my 401k contributions on automatic withdrawal every two weeks as opposed to what was left at the end of the month. I never missed the extra money that I was saving, and now I am on the path to a comfortable retirement.” Connecticut periodontist
  • “There is a noticeable decrease in demand for dentistry, and we’ve felt it lately.” General dentist
  • “We should be able to retire in five more years at age 52. But I don’t want to retire! I will continue to work as long as my wife and my health will allow.” Florida dentist
  • “We, as a profession, are doomed to the role that Pharmacists play: working for Managed Care. Working for 50% of what was paid 20 years ago based on inflation, with impotent leadership and a willingness on the part of dental schools and those that build dental schools to make it worse by putting out twice as many professionals as the economy and the population dictates. Too bad. This is a great, great profession and has been for over 100 years.” Colorado orthodontist
  • “While the government employees have all voted themselves generous pension plans for life, the rest of us have no such thing. At 62, in the current environment, I have absolutely no business even thinking about retirement. My government employee contemporaries all retired in their 50’s. Wake up, America!” Illinois dentist

What do you think about the economy and dentist retirement age?


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