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3 non-financial ways to prepare for retirement


Retirement. How is your spouse/partner going to put up with you when “that” time comes? Here’s a more important question: What will you do with your time without patients, an overflowing

Retirement. How is your spouse/partner going to put up with you when “that” time comes? Here’s a more important question: What will you do with your time without patients, an overflowing inbox, or your dental assistant’s help? You’ve dreamed about travel and taking classes, but what will happen a couple weeks after you’ve said goodbye to your “work” family? You’ll finish the “honey do” list ... and then what?

You plan for it. But when it arrives, are you really ready for retirement? For some of you, retirement is going to be everything you ever dreamed of. For others ... there may be some surprises. You will miss the structure. You will miss knowing what you are supposed to do each day. You will miss the patients and their crazy behaviors. At first, it is great. You get to sleep in. You don’t have to put on scrubs. You don’t have to wear makeup (hallelujah!). You get to do what you want when you want (hallelujah!). But, without some planning, some of you will struggle with the transition. You may feel like you hit a wall of depression and don’t know what to do.

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Here are 3 ways to strategically plan for this life-changing transition.

Get a life. I am dead serious. There is no sarcasm here. It is important to plan what you will do with your days. What do you want to do? Take classes? Golf? Go bungee jumping? Travel to exotic places? Babysit your grandchildren? Join a book club? Torment your spouse? Note: That last one, hopefully, was a joke! 

Find a purpose or passion. For some of you, this is critical. Some of you have your identity 

wrapped up around your career (I’ll be honest. I am guilty of this one.). Do you believe what you do is who you are? If so, this can be particularly devastating upon retirement. But how does one stop feeling that way? You could mentor and help someone else achieve his or her goals? How about volunteering your time and expertise either within the dental profession or in an organization that you believe in? How about a second career? Find what will excite you and go for it.

Redefine your relationships. If you traveled quite a bit or worked more hours in the day than you’ve spent at home, how will you manage the transition at home with your spouse/partner? Will you be underfoot all the time? This may be what you have waited for all these years, but you both need to figure out how to be independent yet function together. Some couples have trouble with this adjustment. The key is to communicate about this ahead of time. Know where each other stands and what may occur as a result of having time on your hands. Does your spouse/partner want to continue to work while you retire? Will you resent that you can’t travel together as much as you like because of this? These are the conversations worth having as you go down the path of retirement planning.

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When thinking about what retirement looks like for you, remember it isn’t just about your finances. Advisors (like these) will help you to strategize that part. Instead, it is about thinking and planning for what to do with your time. Contrary to what we all think, money is crucial ... but it really isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is to plan and dream and then go after it. 

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