There are a million things to consider before you retire. That's true for anyone. If you own a dental practice, there are specific considerations about how to sell that practice and make sure your long-standing patients are cared for after your retirement. You'll also need to take steps to prepare for your own financial needs after retirement.
For dental practice owners, the day-to-day work of running your practice often takes center stage. Retirement planning can be fairly complex for anyone, but there are added pressures to the task of selling your practice and making sure that all of your patients and team members are taken care of after you've stopped working. Then too, there is the personal side of retirement. You need to have a firm understanding of how you'd like to live after retirement. Do you want to travel, invest, move, or simply live off of your retirement without having to work? There are fiscal considerations involved in any of your planning.
People often put off retirement planning because it's complicated. There are a lot of things to consider, but that's why it's best to start early. The sooner you start your retirement planning, the better prepared you are to launch your exit strategy. You should also remember that plans can be changed. None of your retirement or estate planning needs to be set in stone. You can pivot with the market and different life changes. Preparing as far in advance as possible just gives you more information to make the best decisions.
Here are some things you should consider as you start your plans:
You've spent your entire professional life working to build your dental practice into a success. Your practice can be as important to you as your family and children. And you have every right to be proud and concerned about how it will manage after you've stopped working. You also have your patients to consider. For many dentists, patients can be like an extended family. You need to make sure that their dental needs are met after you've stopped practicing.
Whether you are the sole practitioner of your dental practice or you have other partners, you'll need to take some time to prepare the practice for succession before you retire. With partnerships, it will often be a matter of selling your shares to the other partner(s). There can be a number of ways to address these considerations that meet with all parties' best interests.
If you are the sole practitioner in your practice, there are some things to consider well before selling. Preparing in advance will help you maximize the practice's sale price. It's recommended that you start the planning process a number of years in advance, 3-5 at least. This will help you make the practice its most valuable and enticing for a new buyer.
Some things that you should concentrate on to improve your practice for sale include:
Another possible option might be selling to a Dental Support Organization (DSO). In most cases, a DSO will want you to stay on with the practice for a set length of time to make the transfer as smooth as possible. This will help them retain many of your patients and a lot of dentists find this to be a beneficial way to do things, because they have time to help their patients adjust, as well.
Some things you should consider to successfully sell your practice to a DSO include:
When you are working toward preparing to sell your practice, you'll also want to consider how that impacts your team. You will also need to look at and adjust your insurance as needed, as well as verifying that your malpractice insurance remains in good standing as long as is necessary.
For more information on DSOs and what they value, read our article on Dental Practices that DSOs Value the Most.
If you're currently considering your retirement, or even if it's years away, contact the experts at Dental & Medical Counsel today! Our experienced team has a long history of working with doctors just like yourself and can help you plan for your best future.
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