It’s A Great Time To Retire!

There’s Never Been A Better Time

Are you thinking of retirement? You’re in luck! There’s never been a better time.  And if you’re like most people, retirement doesn’t mean sitting on a rocking chair the rest of your life. Most likely,  what you’re looking for is flexibility.

Sun America conducted two telephone surveys – in 2001 and 2011 – of 55 – 65 year olds. The purpose was to get their thoughts about how they wanted to spend their retirement. Here are some of the key findings

  • In 2001, most people viewed retirement as a winding down (22%) or a simple continuance of what life was (40%). Today, most (54%) view retirement as an opportunity for personal reinvention.
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) say they would ideally like to include some work in retirement.  Those age 55 – 64 are even more likely than those 65+ to say the ideal retirement includes work (77% versus 56%).
  • Only 4% say they want full-time work in retirement.  Rather, people want to work in a more flexible and balanced fashion – and more on their own terms. A quarter want part-time work, but the biggest response (36%) came from people who want to go back and forth between periods of work and leisure to suit their new lifestyle needs.

Start Planning Early

As optometrists, there are multiple opportunities for a rewarding retirement, but it is critical to start planning early. If you’re a private practice owner, one of the best strategies is to hire an associate as soon as possible. While that often results in reduced income for the owner initially, it provides them with precious time away from the office, or time for planning. And there are few things as liberating as learning that your office can operate without you.

Depending on your income needs, you most likely need to have a practice that grosses at least $700-$800 thousand dollars annually to afford an associate. Make that your priority. Equally important to your time off is the fact that your  associate is a potential buyer for the practice when you’re ready to retire.

For those ready to sell their practice, optometry offers a high number of flexible options when you’re ready to step away from the 9 to 5 grind.

  • Private Equity groups are buying practices at above-average market values. I don’t think this is going to last forever. Many owners are taking advantage now, by selling their practices to these groups and working as employees. Being an employee rather than an owner tends to be much less stressful and to some is a form of retirement in itself.
  • Corporate optometry often has part-time positions available. The positions vary widely – with a little work you should be able to find something that suits your income and time needs.
  • Fill-in doctor. Everyone seems to be looking for a doctor to fill-in for vacations, maternity leave, medical emergencies, etc. Be innovative, and market yourself as a travelling OD! It’s great working in different offices without getting caught up in the drama that every office seems to have.

Remember, your optometry license is a valuable commodity. While it may be scary to walk away from your current situation, the risk of not finding something is low. There are only so many people out there with your credentials.

Planning to retire can be a tricky thing to navigate but here is a blog that can help you start planning how you want to spend life after Optometry, CAN YOU AFFORD TO RETIRE

John Scibal
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