Many Americans look forward to retirement, viewing it as a time when they are finally free to do all of the things they put off because of careers, children, mortgage payments, and other responsibilities. However, few Americans are actually prepared for what it will take to be able to retire in this day and age. If you are among the more than 10,000 baby boomers who reach the age of retirement each day, and have been a practicing dentist, understanding what retirement will mean for you and how locum tenens plays into that is an important concern.
A study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research found that, as of 2010, American workers aged 32–64 were collectively “$6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.” Additionally, while a majority of individuals believe their living expenses will decrease during retirement, the harsh reality is that “65 percent of retirees saw their costs rise,” according to a recent Genworth study.
As a dentist, you likely focused on repaying those daunting student loans for a good portion of your career, working diligently to get out from under that burden before even beginning to consider putting money away for retirement. Then you bought a house, or the kids went to college, or the car broke down. Something always seemed to come up that required your primary attention.
You may have also established a private practice, like Jim Rhea, DMD. “I established a private practice in a state-of-the-art office with the help of large, high-interest loans. I thought little about retirement,” Rhea said. “Actually, it was so far distant that I didn’t think about it at all.”
If you are just starting your dental career or if you still have a number of years before retirement, great! Think about when you want to retire, the lifestyle you would like to have, and how much money you will need to save to reach that goal, and then get started. There are a number of tools at your disposal, including an online retirement calculator to make this process more manageable.
On the other hand, if retirement is quickly approaching and you are not ready to hit the beaches or golf courses full-time just yet, locum tenens may be a great solution to supplement your retirement income. Locum tenens placements provide the flexibility to continue practicing without the administrative hassle that accompanies many private practice or employment environments. At Barton Associates, locum tenens providers are paid a daily rate and can decide when, where, and how much they want to work. You could work a few months a year, a few weeks, or a few days, allowing you to make the necessary funds to ease into retirement.