Dentists’ Retirement Plans Affected by Economy

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dentist retirement planning press release.

Over 60% of dentists in this survey acknowledged that the present economy means they now plan to work longer than they'd expected.

  • 62% say they plan to work longer.
  • 25% say their retirement plans are still holding steady.
  • 11% say “Retirement plans?!? What retirement plans?”
  • 2% say they’ll retire early and be done with the whole mess.

Said one dentist, "I wonder if I’ll ever be able to retire and maintain my lifestyle, which is NOT extravagant."

Unexpectedly, the younger dentists in our survey were more likely to say they anticipate working longer — four out of five dentists under 50 said that, while only 3 out of 5 doctors over 50 did.

Another unexpected result was that the older dentists were more likely to acknowledge that they might not really have retirement plans. Of course,
dentists who plan to work for a few more decades are less likely to think much about retirement.

“I will need to work longer," said one dentist, "but at least I have time on my side since I am 47 years old."

Gender differences were somewhat striking.

Female dentists were significantly more likely than their male colleagues to say they’ll have to keep working and postpone retirement.


  • “I love dentistry, but this sucks!” (New York dentist, 62)
  • “I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be financially able to retire and maintain my current lifestyle (which is NOT an extravagant one, by the way). I'm also beginning to wonder if full retirement is really a worthwhile goal anyway… All I do now is work, and I love my profession! I'll have to find something I enjoy more than this to ever WANT to fully retire. Cut back? Maybe. Find an associate or partner? Maybe. But quit
    completely? Not sure I'll ever want THAT!” (Georgia orthodontist, 54)

Dentists offer advice

  • "Plan ahead, it works!” (Florida dentist and investment advisor, 64, retiring early)
  • “Diversify, be optimistic, and stay the course.” (California orthodontist, 34)

Will they ever get to retire?

  • “I feel as though I may have to work forever!!!!” (California dentist, 65)
  • “Who knows how much longer?” (California dentist, 62)
  • “Mostly steady, however the loss (temporarily I hope) of pension assets is causing me to rethink the time frame.” (New York dentist, 61)

Some enjoy working

  • “I am not interested in retiring. I do want to change my practice to do more implants, dentures and ortho.” (Utah dentist, 63)
  • “Work is not a bad thing. How many folks do you know who waited to enjoy life until they retired and moved to Florida? Two years later they were dead. I say life is filled with choices. Choose what you enjoy, and do it until you die.” (Texas dentist, 71)
  • “Retirement doesn't make sense if you think you can still work part-time or do something to keep your mind and body sharp.” (California dentist, 52)
  • “I'm still happy doing what I do.” (South Carolina pediatric dentist, 64)

What can you do?

  • “I still have 10+ years until I retire. As for now, I am refinancing everything I can to the lowest rates I can so that in 10 years I will be in an even better position to retire than I would have been… assuming we recover at least most of our losses from the past year.” (Missouri dentist, 51)
  • “I do not need to sell for retirement, but I will sell for cash. Otherwise I will continue to buy myself out for as long as it is still fun to practice.” (Georgia dentist, 66)
  • “I plan to maximize my funding with 401 and Defined benefit in order to keep on track with future growth.” (Alabama dentist, 51)

Wait and see

  • “The next two years will determine whether retirement is on course or if more time is required.” (Toronto, Canada dentist, 55)
  • “Even though I started saving very early, with today’s uncertain times, we can only hope the economy will turn around so we do not have to work longer.” (Florida dentist, 42)
  • “Let’s see what happens to the market over the next 10 years.” (Idaho orthodontist, 40)

It could be worse

  • “I will need to work longer, but at least I have time on my side since I am 47 years old.” (Alabama dentist, 47)
  • "I’ve been working 3 days a week for 10 years without loss of production, so retiring in place is working for me… Although the stress of dealing with a more unappreciative public is difficult at times.” (Louisiana dentist, 61)

This is a financial disaster

  • “People rely on me for an honest opinion and to do a good job. Why can't I rely on the advice of an investment professional so that my money is not blown away?! No matter what they advise, at this point in time I think we are all better off stuffing our money into cash investments.” (New
    Jersey dentist 47)
  • “It is all a mess! I was well diversified, and completely out of debt. I have property and still went down $250K from 401K, Etrade, American and Oppenheimer. I was 60% in bonds, and conservative, but still down. This is the rape of the American middle class. It will require more years to work to lay aside money that will continue to go down in value. Unbelievable.” (Indiana dentist, 63)
  • “Liberalism has begun the destruction of this country.” (Minnesota dentist, 58)
  • “We could use those tax breaks to stimulate the economy!” (Delaware dental interior designer, 58)

Enough with the bailouts already

  • “Put 'em in jail…no Bailouts!” (Florida dentist, 52)
  • “They put Martha Stewart in prison over $40,000. She didn't really cheat any of us. How come none of these CEO’s that cheated us out of TRILLIONS aren't even threatened with punishment? If they were forced to surrender the millions and billions they stole, we would be putting out less than half of what is now needed. Perhaps then the crisis would be small enough that no panic would have occurred and the problem could have worked itself out without a bailout at all." (Orthodontist, 65)


Note: Survey sample included 97 respondents.

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