Retirement Challenges Facing Women in Dentistry

Being a woman in dentistry can be challenging sometimes, but it is always fulfilling. In few other professions can females create independent wealth and success while improving the health and well-being of other people. And there are more women in dentistry than ever before. Women are graduating from dental schools in nearly equal numbers as men, and more women now own their practices. It’s an exciting shift in dentistry and we can’t wait to see the impact these dentists have on the profession!

While women are changing the practice of dentistry, they’re facing their own obstacles preparing to retire from it. Family and childcare demands and different approaches to practice management make the transition to retirement more difficult for many female dentists.

Survey Says …

According to one survey, more than half of female dentists are stressed about retirement and transitioning their practices, compared to only 25 percent of all dentists. Adding to the stress, female dentists also expect to retire earlier, but without a formal financial plan. Baby boomers, who are retiring now or approaching retirement within the next five or ten years, aren’t much better off. 20 percent don’t have a Plan B if unforeseen circumstances force them into retirement sooner than they plan for.

The predicament makes sense. Female dentists may be catching up in leadership roles and compensation, but they still are responsible for ensuring a smooth transition from work life to home life. When they’re worried about present-day transitions, there isn’t much room for future transitions. Many women don’t save enough for retirement and lack a comprehensive, long-term strategic plan for their practice and finances. Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone.

What’s Causing the Stress?

For some female dentists, lack of financial planning knowledge and advice are barriers to success. For others, the demands of being a primary caregiver for their children and/or aging parents – at the same time as managing their practice – can mean shortfalls in personal or retirement savings. Remaining in charge of their families and their dental practices is a tough balance. More than male dentists, women tend to feel more responsible for achieving a balance between their career and family.

Until primary caregiver responsibilities are more equal, female dentists may need to take extra steps to ensure their family needs are taken care of, so they can better focus on their practice. Building a formal support network or plan to manage and share family responsibilities are vital to success.

Looking Ahead

Reports from retired dentists point to a similar trend: the desire to have saved more for retirement earlier in their careers, and to seek out more knowledge and guidance from other professionals. Many dentists, especially women, don’t save enough for retirement. But being a successful, profitable female dentist doesn’t mean compromising one’s family or personal life. Homing in on the vision for the future is a good place to start.

Women generally live longer than men, and many women dentists want to retire sooner. Stay tuned for our next post on tips for female dentists to save more and better prepare for retirement. We understand the unique needs that female dentist owners face, especially as they approach retirement. Contact N/L Transitions or call us at 410-453-5500 to talk about a transition plan that makes sense for your practice – and lifestyle.