Retirement – Life After Dentistry

January 16, 2020 North Shetter DDS

On January 10th, 2020, The Wall Street Journal published an article on the changing patterns of retirement. It is worth a look. After 43 years in the world of dentistry, I have now survived three years as a “retiree” and have a few comments about preparing for and transitioning into this significant life event.  

Preparation Tips 

  1. Before you “pull the plug” on work, start to figure out what you would like to do when you have more time. My unhappy retired friends generally failed to do this. I suggest you build on the things you like to do. Include personal time and together time with your spouse. Look forward to a new challenge such as learning a new language or trying your hand at gardening. If you are not now in a service club or a similar group, you will have the time to try that.  
  2. With your spouse, discuss how you will manage money. Long before retirement, create your retirement budget and financial growth plan. The Pankey Institute curriculum will help you with this.  
  3. Be genuinely interested in others. The happy retirees I have met talk much more about the new friends they have made than about themselves. They are outward-focused and active listeners.   

Transition Tips 

  1. Create a schedule and stick to it. If you used to get up at 5:30 am and liked doing so, don’t change. Just get up and do something you did not have time to do in the past.  
  2. Be committed to your plan. Intentionally stick to your financial and time management budgets.
  3. Stay involved in dentistry if you love itKeep your membership in organized dentistry and your study club. Be a mentor and continue to learn. If I am fortunate, I will help a few young dentists be more successful and avoid some of the errors I made. 
  4. Meditate on L.D. Pankey’s Cross of Life. Be committed to spending social time with your family and friends, even volunteer for their causes. And don’t forget your spiritual life. I’ve been amazed at the nice folks we’ve met at church who are interested in us as people and not as what we did in our careers

Final Thoughts 

If you are 30 and have not started to think about retirement, it is time to start. The successful economics of retirement takes time and commitment. If you are nearing the years when you will retire from practice, start thinking about your future lifestyle now. Keep in mind that a life well lived is happy oneContinue intentionally “giving back” after retirement, and you will continue to make memorable, good things happen for yourself and others. 

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About Author

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North Shetter DDS

Dr Shetter attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1972. He then entered the U. S. Army and provided dental care at Ft Bragg, NC for the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces. In late 1975 he and his wife Jan moved to Menominee, MI and began private practice. He now is the senior doctor in a three doctor small group practice. Dr. Shetter has studied extensively at the Pankey Institute, been co-director of a Seattle Study Club branch in Green Bay WI where he has been a mentor to several dental offices. He has been a speaker for the Seattle Study Club. He has postgraduate training in orthodontics, implant restorative procedures, sedation and sleep disordered breathing. His practice is focused on fee for service, outcomes based dentistry. Marina Cove Consulting LLC is his effort to help other dentists discover emotional and economic success and deliver the highest standard of care they are capable of.

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