The savvy dental hygienist, part 1: The hygienist's retirement number in less than 10 minutes

September 1, 2014

A major financial question on dental hygienists’ minds is, “How much will I need to save to retire at the level of spending I’m used to?” Is it $500,000? Is it $1 million? Is it more? Doug Carlsen, DDS, often hears from hygienists that they “have no idea what is needed to support my spouse and myself in retirement.” Financial professionals throw out retirement numbers like Halloween candy: often and indiscriminately, normally with no personal research or mathematical reasoning.

A major financial question on dental hygienists’ minds is, “How much will I need to save to retire at the level of spending I’m used to?” Is it $500,000? Is it $1 million? Is it more?

Doug Carlsen, DDS, often hears from hygienists that they “have no idea what is needed to support my spouse and myself in retirement.” Financial professionals throw out retirement numbers like Halloween candy: often and indiscriminately, normally with no personal research or mathematical reasoning.

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The 70% to 100% of pre-retirement income need for retirees, touted in the media, sometimes is appropriate, yet often is not. Carlsen does assume, though, that all your expenses, except possibly your mortgage, will continue in retirement at the same level as before retiring.

In the video below, Carlsen offers a sound way to approximate your retirement number using simple rules and reasoning. The exercise involves a hygienist’s family netting $125,000 per year, yet can be adapted to those earning more or less.

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A key factor in finding your number is figuring what your annual spending will be in retirement. Unfortunately, there are no software programs available online that provide accuracy for this simple calculation. Carlsen shows you a method to find this key number.

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Carlsen has written more than 55 national financial articles for dentists in the last eight years, taken from the perspective of one that was able to retire at age 53 in 2004. He will now provide weekly financial articles with videos for the dental community through Dental Products Report and Modern Hygienist. His methods follow those of Warren Buffet, John Bogle, Larry Swedroe, and others that follow academic research rather than sales and trader information touted on CNBC and radio salesmen. Carlsen does not invest doctor’s money or sell any products.

To have Dr. Carlsen speak to your group, please contact at drcarlsen@gmail.com.