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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Transitioning Your Relationship-Based Practice: Part 2

April 28, 2018 Lynne Gerlach DDS

Buyers are actively seeking dental practice opportunities all over the country. With the influx of doctors to desirable areas, sellers must have a strategy for how to identify the right buyer for their legacy practice.

Navigating the Best Transition For Your Dental Practice Legacy

Complementary technical skills to properly care for a patient base are essential. Behavioral considerations like interpersonal skills and communication are part of the success of a relationship-based practice. Timing and financial considerations play a large role in buyers identifying their opportunity as well. Working with a seasoned transition consultant allows for the vetting of these necessary components.

Some practice brokers seek a transactional experience for a changing of the guard with a processing of documents and a single strategy for its completion. This is driven strictly by financial and legal considerations. That transactional mindset is what you have been working to avoid in your practice for a career. So why would you consider growing your practice or ending your career with a philosophy that goes against the grain of what your practice has become?

Curiosity Driven Dental Practice Transition Strategies

Why not become curious about practice transition strategies? You could explore a co-discovery experience of what best fits your practice model and philosophy. Asking more questions and learning more about what makes your practice a successful legacy is the first step.

Transition consultants offer a complete approach to evaluate your relationship-based practice. The approach seeks all the financial and legal considerations plus works to transfer the technical, behavioral, and business culture. The purpose of this is for continuity in your practice and security for your future built on strategic solutions. Finding a transition consultant with successful business experiences helps make them uniquely qualified to collaborate with you to develop your strategic transition or expansion solution.

Whether you are a specialist or a general dentist, seek a consultant that will perform a comprehensive exam on your practice. They should report their findings with a thorough and professional strategy to meet your wants and needs. Developing a legacy plan for your relationship-based practice model that creates opportunity and security for your next phase must be intentional.

Are you ready to discover the best strategies for you and your practice future?

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Lynne Gerlach DDS

Dr. Lynne Spencer Gerlach earned her status as a successful restorative dentist and businesswoman in her 26+ year career practicing in various practice models. From startups to partnerships and solo private practices, her experience in transforming businesses is a passion. Practice systems and management are as much a piece of her puzzle as patient care and continuing education. Dr. Gerlach’s LD Pankey Dental Foundation experience began in 2001. She has served as visiting faculty, a Pankey Advisor since 2008 and has served as secretary for the Pankey Foundation Board of Directors. She served the Dallas County Dental Society Board of Directors as editor and previously served the Texas Dental Association as part of the Membership Council. She currently serves the Texas DENPAC Board and remains active in organized dentistry. She has been a delegate to the TDA since 2005 and is a fellow in the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and a member of ADA, TDA, DCDS, and ADI. Dr. Gerlach completed her Certification in the ADA Kellogg Executive Management Program in Chicago in 2014. She and her husband, Dr. Bill Gerlach have two grown children, Meredith and Creighton. Her hobbies include sports, music, travel, bridge, and cooking.

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Transitioning Your Relationship-Based Practice: Part 1

April 26, 2018 Lynne Gerlach DDS

As dental practices grow and change, new seasons bring opportunity and security for both sides of a transaction. Charting a new path can be stressful and uncertain as many practitioners have not weathered a transition in years.

Considering a Transition Change In Your Relationship-Based Practice?

Young dentists are often seeking that opportunity for the first time. Experienced doctors often bought a practice many years ago or started their practice from scratch as a young doctor themselves.

The practice climate is changing! It is a competitive market with educated young professionals seeking the right opportunity and practice owners wanting to finish well while leaving a legacy with their practices better than they found them.

Organizational changes in practices can take many paths. Growing a practice through a merger or partnership brings its own set of challenges and opportunities. However, a practice based on relationships with patients, teams, referral bases, and communities requires special care.

Evaluating Your Practice Philosophy During a Transition

This process can be a stressful distraction to owner dentists. Those dentists that have committed their professional growth to technical excellence and relationship-based practice culture may need strategic help in navigating the right practice transition.

Dental practice transitions have been around for decades. Selling a practice to a young colleague and walking away has been the standard solution. Today, there are many different solutions that reach the goals of the seller and the buyer. Many relationship-based dental practices are seeking a like-minded professional to carry the torch and move the practice legacy forward. This goal requires intentional planning and careful follow through.

The time to evaluate practice philosophies is BEFORE a transition occurs. Examining wants, needs, timelines, and the type of transition that best suits those needs develops during the pre-sale process. You likely didn’t build your relationship-based, highly technical practice by doing what everyone else has done.

Becoming an expert in your field has been intentional and constructed with the concept of excellence and communication as a basis for that success. When it’s time to expand your dental practice or find your successor those same themes should continue.

To be continued…

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About Author

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Lynne Gerlach DDS

Dr. Lynne Spencer Gerlach earned her status as a successful restorative dentist and businesswoman in her 26+ year career practicing in various practice models. From startups to partnerships and solo private practices, her experience in transforming businesses is a passion. Practice systems and management are as much a piece of her puzzle as patient care and continuing education. Dr. Gerlach’s LD Pankey Dental Foundation experience began in 2001. She has served as visiting faculty, a Pankey Advisor since 2008 and has served as secretary for the Pankey Foundation Board of Directors. She served the Dallas County Dental Society Board of Directors as editor and previously served the Texas Dental Association as part of the Membership Council. She currently serves the Texas DENPAC Board and remains active in organized dentistry. She has been a delegate to the TDA since 2005 and is a fellow in the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and a member of ADA, TDA, DCDS, and ADI. Dr. Gerlach completed her Certification in the ADA Kellogg Executive Management Program in Chicago in 2014. She and her husband, Dr. Bill Gerlach have two grown children, Meredith and Creighton. Her hobbies include sports, music, travel, bridge, and cooking.

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Treatment Planning Your Dental PracticeTransition

January 24, 2018 Mike Crete DDS

What does it mean to treatment plan your transition? It’s all about thinking strategically when it comes to the future of your career and the important relationships you will inevitably align with your goals.

Many dentists in the prime of their career decide it’s time for an associate to join the practice. Often it is because there is an overflow of patients or the senior doctor is interested in slowing down, taking more time off, and eventually planning for their retirement.   

Over the course of my career I’ve had four associates. One who took over a satellite practice I had purchased and three who moved on for various reasons. Even one who walked away from the “altar” when we had spent months planning to formalize the legal documents for a partnership.   

Lessons From a Professional Transition

What I’ve learned is that although the legal documents are important, it’s really the Core Values and Philosophy of the potential partner that form the glue capable of binding a solid long-term relationship.  

Once you have determined (usually with the help of a good practice management expert) that your business can financially support another dentist, it’s important to then reflect and put into writing the core values that are unique to you, your practice, and your philosophy of practice and life.

Share your core values with all potential associates and future partners. Make sure you are aligned in your principles and ideals. With a shared set of values you now have the blueprint for a successful future.  

I eventually found a partner to transition my practice to. It is our shared core values of Excellence, Relationships, and Balance that solidified our future and kept us on course for a successful transition.

What professional skills have you acquired over the years that have helped you throughout your career? 

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Mike Crete DDS

Dr. Mike Crete lives and practices in Grand Rapids, MI. He graduated from the University of Michigan dental school over 30 years ago. He has always been an avid learner and dedicated to advanced continuing education., After completing the entire curriculum at The Pankey Institute, Mike returned to join the visiting faculty. Mike is an active member of the Pankey Board of Directors, teaches in essentials one and runs two local Pankey Learning Groups in Grand Rapids.

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