You’re getting older, and you know you need to make plans to do something with your dental practice, but you are not exactly sure what. You’ve been thinking about looking into your retirement options, but you think, “Why hurry, I’ve got time on my side?” Procrastination... the great common denominator for so many doctors. Why not put off until tomorrow what one does not have to do today (or next month or next year)?

Procrastination is not an overt act; an overt act requires thought and action, which is just the opposite of procrastination. A good procrastinator must also be good at rationalizing inaction. As a matter of fact, procrastination and rationalization go hand in hand. Let’s combine those two words and call it “procrastinalization.”

A practice is one of the most valuable assets a doctor owns. Putting off a decision for the transition of your practice can be one of the most costly procrastinalizations a doctor could ever make in his or her lifetime. As retirement approaches, the financial health of the doctor at the time of retirement will dictate the quality of life for the doctor and spouse for 5, 10 or even 50 years. No one knows how long he or she will continue to live or remain disability free. If you die or become disabled, you could lose fifty to one hundred percent of the current value of your practice. If you are rich then it’s no problem, if you are not rich, however, procrastinalization can be a real issue.

Now let’s review a few common “procrastinalizations” and see if you have been using any of them:

“I know my practice is worth a lot of money as long as I can keep up the production, so what is the risk? What could happen to my practice? Tomorrow might not come, you say... no way. But now that I think about it I will do something about my practice tomorrow.”

“Retire? For what? I’ve got my health; I feel good, I’ve gone this far without doing anything, what’s a few more months or years for that matter. Who knows, I may have five or even ten more good years left before I need to retire, so why worry!”

“I’ve got to work until I’m sixty-five! What’s that you say? Did I turn sixty-five three years ago? Well then, I have to work until I’m seventy.”

“No, I’m not going to die before I retire. Disability? I didn’t think about that. I’ll reflect on that tomorrow. It’s not part of my retirement plan!”

“I have to keep practicing dentistry; I need a place for my wife to work!”

“I am not procrastinating. I’m a DDS which stands for ‘Deferred Decision Strategy.’ I’ve used it often to formulate a plan for my future. It will work for me, you’ll see. I am going to get it started next week.”

You may not be around when the effect of procrastinalization hits your practice. If you are around, however; the negative consequences will be felt immediately (they do not procrastinate). You don’t have to quit practicing dentistry now if you don’t want to, but why not call AFTCO today and discover your pre-retirement practice options. You may be surprised how pleasant life can be without "procrastinalizing" any further. It’s time to call AFTCO!

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