Retire by 50? How dentists have been able to do it.

Dr. Doug Carlsen has worked with well over 100 doctors that have been able to retire by age 50 since 2006. Some of them still choose to work in their practices, yet many have retired. What do they have in common?

Most follow what Drs. Tom Stanley and William Danko have found while researching millionaire traits. Their first book, The Millionaire Next Door, was a big hit in 1996. They interviewed those that had at least $1 million in assets not including their primary residence back in the mid-90s and have published several more books since with updates.

Here are selected traits from the video of dentists Carlsen has interviewed that have been able to retire by age 50.


Almost all lived in one home while practicing.

All saved 25%+ of family income per year. This is not 25% of gross production; it is 25% of net income from the practice.

All paid cash for autos. Some bought new, some bought used. And many bought luxury autos for cash with a twist listed in the video.

The most important personal trait of all is discussed.


Most had small practices.

None had sequel practice loans. This is explained in detail in the video.

More practice characteristics are listed in the video.

What can a mid-career dentist that hasn’t saved at the 25% level do to save better? What types of corrections may be done?

Dr. Carlsen lists five ways the typical dentist can quickly start to build more savings easily. The most important: have both you and your spouse discuss financial decisions.

Additional reading from Dr. Carlsen...

3 big questions every dentist should answer before retirement

The dentist's retirement number explained in 7 minutes

How the dentist can establish a personal budget in 5 minutes per month