At some point in your professional career, preferably sooner rather than later, you need to think about how you are going to plan for your future. Those plans may include early retirement, passing your practice on to an associate or selling it to another dentist. To accomplish your goals, you'll probably need the services of someone to help you invest your money, plan for retirement, and craft your "exit strategy." So, you'll probably want to enlist the services of a financial advisor.
The financial advisor you choose may be a certified financial planner, another partner in the law or accounting firm you use, a stockbroker or a combination of these.
There are a number of financial tools you can use for financial planning including insurance, annuities, stocks, bonds and mutual funds that can help you achieve the goals you set with your financial consultant(s). Initially, you may wish to start slowly, perhaps with an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) — either a standard IRA or a Roth IRA. The IRA can be established at a bank, insurance company or with a stock brokerage firm, any of which can serve as a custodian for the account.
The funds in the IRA, or whatever investment vehicle you choose, can be invested in numerous types of financial products to earn a return. If you initially start with stock investments, you may begin with a mutual fund. There are thousands of mutual funds from which to choose. You may decide to start by buying individual stocks in a company. Again, there are thousands of stocks from which to choose.
The point is that the whole process can be intimidating, and a good consultant can help you. The consultant you use may change over time. Initially, you may choose to use the local banker or an online broker like Fidelity, Schwab, E-Trade, etc. As you accumulate more money, you may decide to change to using a professional planner. No matter what route you take, the two most important rules are:
- Diversification – Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
- Don't buy (invest in) anything you don't understand. Be sure the investment option is adequately explained in terms you are able to fully understand.
The other major point is to start early. Starting early with only a small amount can make several hundred thousand dollars of difference to you over time.
There are a number of good websites that can aid in financial planning including: