6 consultants you need to engage to plan your retirement

December 7, 2015

Some of us plan better than others. Some of us save better than others. In my years in dental practice, I knew three types of dentists.

Some of us plan better than others. Some of us save better than others. In my years in dental practice, I knew three types of dentists.

The first type had a cash cow in the basement. These were usually my specialist referral doctors: endodontists, orthodontists and oral surgeons. They had such good practices they had few financial woes unless they had multiple marriages. The second were those that were very frugal from birth. This, I think is a genetic thing, or something taught early in life by their families. I never totally understood these amazing people. The third is the category I fell into: spendthrifts or late-bloomers. I always had something that could require that next dollar I was producing until I had an epiphany at about age 50.

I finally realized that if I did not change something, I would have to work until I died. It was a scary awakening, but luckily I found some good help to plan for retirement. Once I realized my plight, I sought out good advisors to guide me along the way to the proper planning. This is a list of the types of advisors I sought out and used to help me achieve my goal of adequate funds and a plan for retirement.

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Financial planner

The first step in a plan is to know where you want to go. My planner showed me how much I needed to save, using my lifestyle and my cash flow. He helped me understand I needed to be more productive, and save most of that new production. He also showed me how many years it would take, and the financial instrument I needed to use to achieve this.

Financial advisor/broker

Most planners also have a broker service, but these two are different in function. The broker is responsible for the return on your investment, which ultimately determines if any of this plan will work. I used a personal friend at a big firm to achieve my goal.

Practice management consultant

I had several practice management consultants help me over the years. When I hired my last one, I was on a plateau in production and knew I needed to increase substantially what I was doing in able to save any money. With their expert help, I increased my production by about 30 percent over three years, doing two important things. I was able to save money for retirement because I kept my spending the same with more income. And the second thing was that I increased the value of my practice leading up to the sale of the practice.

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Practice broker/appraiser

In my case, my practice was my biggest asset. I had spent 40 years developing a patient base, outfitting my office and putting money back into the development of a good, thriving practice. The price you receive for you practice is often a multiple of how much you produce, coupled with where your office is located and economic conditions in your area. You need an expert to determine the worth of this asset. I sold my practice for more than I realized it was worth because I hired this consultant.

Lawyer

Find a good, knowledgeable lawyer, who can guide you through the maze of contracts and agreements. Once again, I used someone I knew, who had helped me with my wills and other associate doctor agreements.

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Banker

Luckily I had found a great private banker to guide me through my office notes and lines of credit when I was building up my office and buying equipment. Banks are a funny bunch. When you don’t need to borrow money, they are all over you wanting to do stuff with your money. I was lucky enough to have a relationship with a banker who understood my needs and trusted me enough to loan me the money when I really needed it.

The last step in this story is to figure out how much is enough. When I thought I finally had enough to retire, I went back to my financial advisor/broker and sat with him to look at the numbers. Numbers don’t lie. We looked at how old I was, my life expectancy, my standard of living and spending habits and finally how much money I had saved. We decided if I only took out of the plan a set amount that we agreed was reasonable, coupled with my other sources of income, I could retire.

The only caveat was that I had to promise not to live past 93 years old. With my family history, that will probably not be a problem. In the spirit of being a full-service broker, he also mentioned that if that was a problem, he had some old high-school friends from Jersey City that could help me out.

None of us want to use old high-school friends as part of our retirement plan. Very few of us have the expertise to do all of these different jobs required to plan and implement our retirement plan. Find good people to help you. It is more of an investment than an expense. It will pay big