According to the American Dental Association, 71 is the new retirement age for dentists! Amazing! A good friend of mine, however, retired at age 53. He saved twenty per cent of his income each of the twenty-five years he practiced, and achieved financial security. And, oh yeah, he ignored “shiny objects….”
He lived in the same home throughout his career, and paid it off in fifteen years. He made investments in his practice after carefully evaluating the ROI, and he drove each car he owned for at least ten years. He never owned a BMW, had a golf club membership, or a vacation home, but he practiced the way he wanted to, and retired when he wanted to.
Why is it that we often fall into the trap of allowing others to measure our level of success based upon the things we own? A young specialist recently shared his concern with me that he lacked the usual “trappings of success,” and wondered how he was viewed by his peers. My response?
“You’ve got a fabulous practice, a beautiful family, and – by every stretch of the imagination – are very successful! Please don’t worry about what others think of you if you don’t drive the right car or live in the right neighborhood! I learned long ago that things don’t guarantee happiness, and that living within one’s means minimizes the many stresses that you and I endure as practitioners. Schedule to meet overhead by lunchtime, and 83% of what you do in the afternoon goes to your bottom line. Have fun! At this stage of your career, you should be maximally funding a 401(k) or other retirement plan and securing your future financial freedom, not chasing a bigger mortgage, a golf club membership, or a high dollar car. Life is too short!”
It’s not only wrong for others to judge us, but it’s wrong for us to succumb to their opinions of us. No one walks in our shoes but us, and no one else knows what life challenges we have experienced and successfully overcome. We should live our lives, believe in ourselves, remain true to our core values, and focus on those with whom we work, we love, and for whom we care. As far as I’m concerned, shiny objects simply don’t make the list of what’s truly important…
Dentists are typically well prepared to care for their patients through excellent clinical training, but are grossly underprepared to own or operate a small business in today’s changing and challenging marketplace. Learn valuable real life lessons in this dynamic and fast-paced program which will touch on many of the factors necessary to operate your practice successfully.
“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re
better than everyone, it’s walking in not having
to compare yourself to anyone at all.”
Dr. Uche Odiatu
Facebook post, August 13, 2017