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Many dentists dream of retiring early, but there are a number of factors to consider before taking the plunge.
Maybe you don’t want to retire early. Maybe you love being a dentist so much that you’re willing to maintain your practice into your late 70s or early 80s. Maybe not. Maybe your health won’t be so great by then. Or maybe you’ll just be ready to put the tongue depressor away. How can you prepare now for an early retirement?
What you can do right now
This doesn’t have to get particularly complicated. If you want to retire early, start saving and investing early—and save and invest A LOT. Save everything you can. Make sacrifices today that will allow you to call it a career by age 60, 55, or even 50. Drive a used Datsun, or forego the car—and the auto insurance—altogether by taking a bike or public transportation to and from work.
Remember eating out? You’ll still have the memories. Each week, put aside the money you’d have spent eating out into a solid retirement plan. Make good smart investment choices.
Try not to have any children; kids are expensive! And they get more expensive as they age, with clothing, food, automobiles, tuition, and perhaps even weddings!
Familiarize yourself with the stay-cation. Who needs Ireland when there’s an Irish pub around the corner? (You can go there, but only at happy hour prices!) Who needs Bermuda when you have Bermuda shorts? Who needs Hawaii when there’s the new version of the television show Hawaii Five-O, which doesn’t even require cable television?
Want to play golf? Well, you can’t. Not yet, anyway. But if you save it all up now, you may be able to play a little bit when you retire. You might be able to eat out occasionally, too, and take the occasional trip. Doesn’t it all sound great?
The Triple Whammy of Early Retirement
Ok, so the previous section was a bit tongue in cheek. The situation isn’t really that dire. Many dentists have successfully retired early and had enough income to last through retirement. But even though living like a monk isn’t exactly a requirement, there is a major complication for those wishing to retire early. I call it the triple whammy:
1. Retiring early means a much earlier stop date to your income.
2. Retiring early means a much longer timeframe during which you must stretch your income.
3. Retiring early means you won’t receive supplemental coverage from Social Security or any pension income for many years.
For most dentists, the triple whammy may mean a later retirement. How late depends on many factors, including some miscellaneous variables such as a significant appreciation of your practice or an unexpected inheritance from Aunt Moneybags. But mostly, it will depend on how early you started investing, how well you’ve invested, and how much you’ve invested.
Still want to retire early? Get started now.