Yesterday was National Financial Awareness Day and I thought it was pertinent to discuss this topic in the optical industry. Financial Awareness Day is a great opportunity to gain some awareness of your finances, whether you are a rep, an optician, an associate optometrist or a practice owning optometrist. While an exact retirement amount does vary among individuals, the common amount that financial professionals suggest is $1 million to $1.5 million, or that your savings should amount to 10 to 12 times your current income. You can't rely on social security to live on fully, especially if you're younger, because we don't know how much longer it will be around. So my question is- what is your retirement plan? Do you have one?
My next question is. why work for your money when you can make it work for you? Smart investment choices can help you spend less time working and more time enjoying your life. That’s why it’s imperative to make sound financial decisions now, so you’re not suffering later on. You never know what kind of curve-balls life may sling your way, so having a safety net with a nice contingency fund in your pocket will assist in those crazy times.
Practice Owning Optometrists:
Sometimes optometrists don't set up any kind of retirement plan besides their business and assume they will be able to sell their business and retire comfortably. I'm pretty sure unless you have a multi-location extremely thriving practice, you won't be selling your practice anytime soon for $1 million plus. Often times, optometrists think they will have a large return on their practice investment when their practices are actually not valued as much as they thought due to multiple reasons. Don't make this mistake! Set up investments and savings separate from your practice. If you need a referral for a reputable financial adviser to assist you with making a plan- see the last paragraph of this post.
Also- do you offer financial benefits for your employees? Offering basic financial benefits is an added perk for many optical employees and a draw to attract quality employees. Even if you don't contribute to your employees's retirement accounts, having the option to enroll in these through work is always a plus.
In a near-future blog post, I'll delve into ways to make sure the optical shop in your practice is financially profitable with tips and tricks to have it make more money.
Associate Optometrists & Opticians:
Whether or not you would like to own your own practice or optical shop in the future or would like to move up the ranks at your current employer or are content with your current job, you still will retire someday and need a plan. Does your employer offer financial or retirement benefits? If not, have you asked them? If they won't, you should 100% set something up on your own. While the future may seem too distant, starting now will reap rewards in the long run. Not sure where to start? See the last paragraph of this post for a good referral to get your started.
There are also plenty of ways to bring more value to your employer which in turn can help you get paid more. If you implement different processes, bring your practice more patients, etc that makes your employer more profitable and can show the numbers backing what you've done- you can ask for a raise with full confidence as well as your employer (if they are smart) will probably agree or at least agree to some form of better compensation package for you. I'll discuss ways to bring value to your employer in a near-future blog post.
Depending on your company, the majority of us are 1099 Independent Contractors aka we pay our own taxes, and receive no benefits- including retirement benefits. For most of us, it's a fend for yourself mentality and sometimes we don't know where to start. If you don't already have a financial plan- talk with your fellow reps and see what they are doing and also talk with a financial adviser to get the ball rolling. None of us want to work until we physically can't anymore, so we need to start saving as soon as possible. It's also never too late to start!
While I'm not a financial expert or professional, I do know that I need to have a plan and set myself up to live comfortably when I retire as well as be prepared for emergencies, save for a home, etc. As a 1099 rep, I knew I needed help with what is best for me regarding retirement savings, my goals and my overall financial well-being. I don't have all the answers nor do I know what's best for you or what options are best for anyone. I do however, have a really phenomenal financial adviser that is licensed in most states, if you would like a referral. (This isn't sponsored nor do I get a kick-back or referral fee, just trying to help my optical fam out!) He has been great with truly helping me and not pushing things I don't really need. He took into account my short-term and long-term goals and he helped me a devise a plan that was best for me. He can also help practice owners that want to offer benefits to their employees. Shoot me an email if you want his info!
California Glasses Girl