I recently had a consultation with a 62-year-old dentist who owned a dental practice that had been recently appraised for $750,000 (let's call him "Dr. A"). The practice was free and clear of any liabilities, so this amount represented Dr. A's net equity in the practice. Also, Dr. A had accumulated about $1,000,000 in savings over the years. When that amount was combined with his practice value, the total could enable him to retire sooner.

So I asked Dr. A what his plans were for his retirement. He just laughed and said, "Me? I'm going to work until I die; that is my retirement plan. I don't need to do anything more than that. The money I have saved plus a modest life insurance policy I have should take care of my spouse's financial needs after my demise, so I've got everything taken care of as far as my retirement goes."

This response prompted me to investigate further. I asked Dr. A if his practice value of $750,000 meant anything to him, and he said it was nice to know that value existed, but he planned to work until he died so that money did not seem real to him. I asked Dr. A if his estate would be better off with or without that $750,000, and he said his estate would be better off with that money, of course. I then asked Dr. A if he understood that, if he died, his practice's value would drop precipitously and could even be lost entirely (and be a significant financial loss for his estate). Dr. A smugly responded that he understood the risk, but he had no plans to sell his practice and retire. He was going to work until he died, so that was that.

So I asked Dr. A just how much longer he planned to live, and he responded that he did not know; of course, no one knows how long they will live. Then I asked Dr. A what would happen to his retirement plan if he became permanently disabled or suffered a long-term illness, and he lived this way for ten or twenty years… what was his plan for this contingency? Dr. A acknowledged that he had no plan; it was not even a consideration for the future.

It is a cop-out to say that you will work until you die because you don't have to plan or make decisions. Life makes them for you. It seems so simple, but life can throw you a curve like a long-term illness or permanent disability, and now that simple plan no longer works. It's not a problem until it becomes a problem… and then it's a real problem!

This problem can be eliminated by taking responsibility for your future and that of your family. Disregarding practice value when considering your and your family's future makes no sense. Especially when AFTCO has made it so easy to safeguard your practice value now, and you can continue to practice "until you die" if that is your choice. Don't risk your family's financial future. Call AFTCO today!

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