Never too late—or too early—to plan for retirement

Never too late—or too early—to plan for retirement

Not long after landing his first job following graduation from the Indiana University School of Optometry, Curtis Ono, O.D., learned the value of saving early for retirement.

When I retire, I want to enjoy the last years of life at the same standard of living I have now.

This week is National Retirement Planning Week, which presents a perfect opportunity for doctors of optometry to contemplate and act to secure their financial futures.

"I had an employer who provided a financial incentive to put money into a retirement vehicle (401[k])," recalls Dr. Ono, co-owner of Puget Sound Eye Care, in Bellevue, Washington. "My employer matched my contributions by adding dollar-for-dollar up to a certain amount. In my view, this was an instant raise in compensation when taking their contributions into account. After I left my employment and built my private practice, I realized that I would not receive a pension and needed to fund my own retirement." 

That was 30 years ago.

"When I retire, I want to enjoy the last years of life at the same standard of living I have now," Dr. Ono says. "I often joke that I don't want to go back to my college days of eating pizza and ramen."  

Retirement resources Three in 10 American workers report feeling stressed over preparing for their retirement, according to a newly released 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. AOAExcel® offers a variety of investment tools for AOA members that can take the stress out of retirement planning, whether doctors of optometry are just getting started in their careers or have been practicing for years.

It's never too late to start saving—you just need to make a game plan for yourself or your staff members and access the resources. Through AOA's partnership with endorsed business partner, AXA Equitable, member doctors can:

  • Sign up for a complimentary consultation with a retirement program specialist. 
  • Register for the webinar, "Retirement Challenges: Expectation Versus Reality," offered on Tuesday, May 2, at 1 p.m. (EST) and also on Wednesday, May 10, at 2 p.m. (EST). Please register in advance.
  • Access various AOAExcel retirement resources based on how many years you've practiced.

Early start? Late start? Just start
It's never too late to start or make adjustments to a retirement saving plan, regardless of where doctors stand in their careers. As a young doctor, it might be tempting to delay saving for retirement in the face of paying back optometry school loans. Or a more experienced doctor might think it's too late to start now. In fact, there are customized solutions for both.

Dr. Ono is glad he started early. "Over the years, you see the retirement funds grow through both investment growth and compound interest," Dr. Ono says. "Starting to save as a young person greatly builds funds over the years." He also pays forward what his first employer did for him. He provides a retirement plan option to his employees. "I think it is only right and just to do a similar thing like my first employer did for me," Dr. Ono says. "With over 20 staff members, we educate each one about the importance of saving early for retirement. We arm employees with information and saving tactics."

April 3, 2017

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