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Column—Smart Tips for Smart Women: Where Will You Be at 60?

Jan. 1, 2005
Where do you see yourself at 60? Touring Italian vineyards? Spending relaxing days with your family at a beach house on the coast?

Where do you see yourself at 60? Touring Italian vineyards? Spending relaxing days with your family at a beach house on the coast? Or, still working long days - and not anticipating retirement for another five years?

If you identify more with the vineyard and beach house crowd, then I have a couple more questions for you. Are you doing anything to make sure your dreams become reality? Do you know how much you should be saving and investing to retire early and comfortably?

If you don’t, judging by some of the latest estimates, you’re not alone. In a recent talk I had with Dr. Lori Trost, editor of Woman Dentist Journal, she dropped a staggering statistic that convinced me of the importance of this column. Out of 100 dentists, one will retire independently wealthy, five will retire comfortably, and 94 will have to work until the age of 65.

Now, before you start any hand wringing or resigning yourself to a lengthier career than you had planned, let me assure you that with proper planning, you can be in the top 1 percent. Notice the caveat though, “with proper planning.”

Many of you are still paying off hefty debt from dental school, and that is a debt many of you have carried or will carry well into your 40s. But don’t let that discourage you from saving, investing, and benefiting from compounding interest.

Make sure you have a will and an adequate amount of life insurance. Make a budget and stick to it. Find a reputable financial advisor. I could go on and on, but in this initial column, my main goal is to get you thinking about your finances. In coming months, I will address all of these issues including key factors to consider when selecting a financial advisor.

As women dentists, you face a somewhat different set of financial challenges than your male counterparts. As women, we live longer than men, and oftentimes we earn less than they do during our careers because some of us with children lessen our workload to care for our families. As a result, statistics show that women in general retire with less savings than men.

Let’s change that. Look here each month for advice on financial matters targeted to you - women dentists. To help ensure that all of the issues I address concern you and your family, I invite you to email me with your financial-related questions and concerns. They will be incorporated into this monthly column. Begin thinking about where you want to be at 60, and next month, we’ll continue discussing how to get you there.

Kathy B. Paal, MBA, CFP, RFC, CTFA
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Ms. Paal is an associate at Heritage Financial Consultants, LLC in Lutherville, Md., and is an investment advisor representative, registered representative, and a licensed ­insurance broker with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation, a registered investment advisor and broker-­dealer. Paal has completed the NASD series 7, 63, 65, and 26 exams and has received the following ­designations: Certified Financial Planner, Registered Financial Consultant, and Certified Trust and Financial Advisor.

She is on the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University’s Graduate School of Business and has taught at Georgetown University, Towson University, and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She resides in Hunt Valley, Md., and has two sons and a daughter. Reach her at (410) 339-6675 or email [email protected].