The financial aspect of retirement planning is not the only thing to consider. When you retire without a plan for how you’ll spend your free time, research indicates it can lead to disenchantment. Developing a non-financial retirement life plan and “practicing retirement” beforehand could help prevent that.
In this episode of The Art of Dental Finance and Management podcast, Art meets with Alan Spector, author of Your Retirement Quest – 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement. Alan speaks on how dentists can avoid some of the common retirement pitfalls so they can live a fulfilling retirement that they’ve worked hard for.
Reach out to Art if you have any questions regarding dental finance and management for your dental practice. More information about the Eide Bailly dental team can be found at www.eidebailly.com/dentist.
Reach out to Art if you have any questions regarding dental finance and management for your dental practice. More information about the Eide Bailly dental team can be found at www.eidebailly.com/dentist.
Being more strategic in all aspects of your dental practice will lead to increased profitability.
Show Notes and Resources:
- Eide Bailly’s Dental Practice
- Decisions in Dentistry magazine
- Academy of Dental CPAs
- What Business Areas to Focus on in Your Dental Practice
- Planning for Financial Independence While Building Your Dental Practice
Art Wiederman, CPA: Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA. Thank you for listening to my podcast. My name for my first-time listeners, we have a lot of first-time listeners every time we do a podcast. My name is Art Wiederman. I'm a dental specific CPA. I am with very proudly with the firm of Eide Bailly. Eide Bailly is a regional CPA firm, mostly in the western United States. I am located in Tustin, California, and today it's very foggy and usually the fog burns off here in Southern California around eight or nine in the morning, but not today. Today it's pretty foggy. So if you're golfing today, it's probably not a good day. You might not be able to see your golf ball.
But anyway, I've got a podcast that I've been really looking forward to doing. And when we had our National Academy of Dental CPA meeting back in May in Napa, one of our speakers was a wonderful man by the name of Alan Spector, and Alan has a consulting business that helps people with the nonfinancial aspects of retirement. Now, when you think about retirement, everybody, you think about, okay, so I'm going to do some retirement planning and I'm going to go ahead and make sure that I have enough money to retire. Well, you know what? I listen to Alan Specter for about 90 minutes, and I was fascinated that there are so many things about retirement that have nothing to do with how much money you have. And that's what we're going to talk about today.
So interestingly enough, there's some interesting statistic. I shouldn't use the word interesting twice. There are some statistics. Let me share from Alan's book, which is called Your Retirement Quest Ten Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement. So some interesting statistics. Alan points out in the beginning of his book that 10,000 people a day will retire. Most people spend less time planning for retirement than planning a two week vacation. This next one was fascinating to me. The average retiree spends 43 hours each week watching TV. Now, if there was baseball, basketball and football, I would probably do that. But I don't do that. I'm not retired. Retiring is as stressful as getting married, losing your job, or having a close family member become ill. The highest suicide rate in the United States for any segment of the population is men over the age of 70. 50% higher than the suicide rate for teenagers.
Now, this is not a negative downer podcast, but I'm just giving you some statistics here. Only 35% of retirees have a written plan for their future finances. The average person today has 1.5 friends compared to three a decade ago. Only 27% of retirees do community service, and less than 4% of retirees invest more than 4 hours per week helping others. We're going to talk about all of that today with Alan, and I'll get to Alan in a moment.
Let me thank my wonderful marketing partner, Decisions in Dentistry magazine. Please go to their website at www.DecisionsinDentistry.com. It is clinical content that is second to none. The who's who of clinical dentists who write wonderful articles about every single type of clinical topic. And 140 continuing education courses that you can get at a very reasonable price. So go to www.DecisionsinDentistry.com.
If you're looking for a dental specific CPA, we're getting into year-end tax planning. We're recording this at the end of September. The October 15th deadline has now passed us and now you're looking at year-end. If you are not getting a phone call from your CPA saying, Hey, Dr. Smith, you need to get into the office or we need to do a Zoom or Teams call and figure out where you are for the year end. That's all we do in the months of November and December is meet with every one of our clients.
And, you know, a tax planner should be doing two things. Number one, doing what they can to reduce your tax liability. And the other is if you're going to owe a bunch of money give you as much notice as possible so you can plan for it. If you want to get a hold of me and you need some help and you're not getting what you need from your accountant, I'm at 657.279.3243 or awiederman@EideBailly.com.
Also a quick reminder, folks, we're now in the fourth quarter of 2022. We will hit the fourth anniversary of this podcast on December 3rd is just absolutely mind boggling to me. If you have not applied for the Employee Retention Tax Credit for 2020, that window will begin to close at the end of April of next year. So you've got about six, seven, eight months to get this done. We have helped over 100 doctors get well over $5 million in very legal Employee Retention Tax Credit money go to you can give me a call at these and at the number I gave you or send me an email if you're interested. We're still getting doctors who are calling us and the 2021 year is wide open.
If you had a greater than 50% reduction in your gross revenues in the second quarter of 2020 when the pandemic hit, or if you had a greater than 20% reduction for any of the first three quarters of 2021 or the fourth quarter of 2020 versus the fourth quarter of 2019. There's a lot of money on the table that we can get for you. So with that said, also want to make a shout out to my Academy of Dental CPAs. www.ADCPA.org. 25 CPA firms that represent over 10,000 dentists across the United States, of which I am a founding member, and we've been doing this for well over 20 years with the CPA, and I've been a dental CPA for 38 years.
All right. I want to get to my guest, Alan Spector. What a nice man. Alan and his partner, he worked with a gentleman by the name of Keith Lawrence. They're both retired from 30 year plus careers at Procter and Gamble. Alan has extensive professional and personal experience with ten key elements of a fulfilling retirement. They're founding partners of a company called Life Scape Solutions, which enables prospective and current retirees to gain clarity and confidence in and commitment to their future. And Alan and Keith both share what they have learned as they did research for this particular book that I'm referencing. And the information in this book is just amazing. I've read the book and it's called Your Retirement Quest - Ten Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement. Alan Spector, welcome to the Art of Dental Finance and Management.
Alan Spector: Well, thank you, Art. It's a pleasure being here, and I'm looking forward to the conversation.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Well, I'll tell you what. I listened to your lecture at our Academy of Dental CPAs meeting, and I was just absolutely mesmerized. You present the information wonderfully, and I want to we've got lots of things to talk about, but let's start off with you have a passion that I have, and it's for a game called baseball, I hear. Now, you are you know, I think the oldest baseball player out there right now might be 38 or 40. I won't give your age away if you choose to do that, that's up to you. But my understanding is that you're playing organized baseball. Tell me about that real quick.
Alan Spector: Well, I will do Art. So, yeah, you're right. Here in Saint Louis, we've been obviously following Albert Pujols, who's like 42 now, and he's not old enough to play in our league. We in our local league here in Saint Louis, where I live, we have a 60 and over and a 65 and over division and in tournaments that I play in in Florida, assuming Hurricane Ian doesn't blow it all away, we have a 70 and a 75 and over division as well, and I happen to be 76 and still play in the game. One of the things I've been doing in retirement, along with writing about this planning that you're talking about, a couple of the books that I've written, of the 11 that I've written are baseball related.
The first one was called Baseball - Never Too Old to Play the Game, and the most recent one that was published is calling Playing Baseball with Kids Our Own Age. So yeah, I'm still playing the game and loving it. And I still compete with the, quote unquote, young folks who are only 60.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So I'm sure you hit Aaron Judge homeruns on a daily basis.
Alan Spector: Not so much. I did back in the day in college, but not so much anymore.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And real important what position you play.
Alan Spector: Third base and I'm actually still catching a bit. I'll get four or five innings in every week.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Which means that you have better knees than I do because I can't squat as much as you.
Alan Spector: Probably better knees and artificial hips. Yeah.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Well, that'll always do it. So anyway. Hey, Alan, tell us about your journey, your professional journey. I know we mentioned you worked for Proctor and Gamble, but how did you get in? Tell us about your career and how you got into this work.
Alan Spector: Sure. So I spent 33 years at Procter and Gamble Art and retired. My buddy Keith Lawrence, who by the way, as I refer to some things that we'll be talking about, I'll refer to we sometimes that means Keith and me. But yeah, Keith, that I got into this, this discussion together as we were both winding down our careers at Procter and Gamble. I've been retired now for 20 years, although I've been practicing retirement for 23, and we may actually get into that concept a little bit here.
Art Wiederman, CPA: We probably will.
Alan Spector: Yeah. So I spent the full 33 years of my career at P&G, about a third in manufacturing, a third in research and development, a third in quality assurance. And about two or three years from when I thought I'd be retiring, I figured, you know, maybe I need to figure this thing out. So I started interviewing former Procter and Gamble colleagues who had already retired and asked them questions like, What's working and what's not working? What surprised you? Those sorts of things. And what I heard was actually pretty discouraging. A number of them were struggling with retirement, not the financial side, the non-financial side, like figuring out what to do and how to be fulfilled in retirement.
So I mentioned that to my buddy Keith, who was also asking questions of folks. And he said, you know, that's not new information for me. We actually have some retirees coming back saying can they have their old jobs back? We see people roaming the halls looking for people to talk to. And so he and I together decided that we needed for our own benefit to figure this out. Once we got into that, we realized we had something to share with others. So we began running some public seminars in Cincinnati where I lived at the time, and somebody came up to us after one of those workshops and said, Hey, I'm a financial advisor and I think you could help my clients. So that's what started both the book and the work. We did eventually write the book, and it also helped us get started on speaking to people about this. And we've been doing that now for 12 or 13 years around the country, including, as you said, the Napa thing that you were participating in.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I mean, when I have a client that I can think of and it was husband, wife, and the husband was the practicing dentist. And I remember this doctor being in my office telling me that he was 68 years old and that, you know, he decided that it was about time for him to retire. And then he broke into tears. And here was the conversation. We'll get into all this. But here the conversation. Conversation was all right. I'm scared about what I don't know what I'm going to do after this. So that's part of this whole conversation, actually, just several times. So let's get into the topic. So in the book, Alan, you talk about and this is a good place to start, you say retirement is the wrong word. What does that mean?
Alan Spector: So the word retirement, if you look it up in the dictionary and look for synonyms, etc., basically talks about an ending. You're ending your career; you're retiring from your career. And we want to view retirement as something to move toward, not just move away from. We think about it as a new beginning. And so the actual word is the wrong word. We don't want to retire from something. We want to move towards something. So we wrote this part of the chapter in the book that you're referring to. It's called Retirement's the Wrong Word. But at the end of the chapter, we say, Yeah, but guess what? We're going to use it anyway, because people know what it means. It's a time of life. But then we challenged the reader to think differently about what that can be. Not a moving away from something, but a moving toward something.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So I just pulled up the definition on my phone and it's amazing what these phones do, right? Their retirement, the action or fact of leaving one's job and ceasing to work. Quote, a man nearing retirement to the well that has to do with a jury. But anyway, so that's what the definition is. So. Right.
Alan Spector: And that's like that's not. Yes, that's true. But it's not all that there can be. So how do we challenge ourselves to really create the retirement that is the one that doesn't make your client cry about retirement is going to be. And that, by the way, is a classic story. We've seen that time and time again.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Oh, absolutely. And you know, we talk about the fact that, you know, retirement is freedom from things like work, having time and choices and being able to explore and learn. I mean, it's you know, people do, I talk to a lot of people, Alan. They say they're busier in retirement than they were when they were working. So talk about what, again, we're using the word retirement, even though we don't want people to retire. We're using the word retirement. So how does it give us this freedom and to get into that a little bit?
Alan Spector: Well, one way to think about it is that retirement can be doing what you want when you want, with whom you want. So there's a freedom to that. And as a matter of fact, another way to think about it is, is while we're working, almost regardless of any career you can think of. Much of our day is spent on non-discretionary tasks. You know, we have to do this. We have to do that. It's the next patient, it's the next class. It's the next whatever our profession is. And now we move into retirement and all kinds of opportunities show up and we can pick which ones that we want to take advantage of. So there's a freedom of, again, what you want to do when you want to do it and with whom you want to do it. And for folks who are busy doing meaningful activities, that's a great gift to have. So that's the freedom that I think is worth thinking about.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And you know, one thing I've talked about, Alan, on this podcast for my dentists who are listening to the podcast is the next time you go in, we're now back to Live Dental Society meetings. I just attended the California Dental Society meeting in Anaheim, and they just had the Northern California one in San Francisco. And I'll say to you, doctors go around and walk around the convention floor and go to all the vendors, but don't look at what impression material you're going to buy. Don't look at which CBCT machine you're going to buy. Go to each booth. And if this is what you want, if you want to stay in the profession of dentistry, look at what each company might offer you as a retired dentist that doesn't involve that thing or dentistry. For example, my dear partner and friend Dr. Phil Potter, his second career after practicing for 33 years Alan in San Clemente, California. He became my partner and he sold dental practices. And it was a wonderful second career for him. We have people that become dental consultants. We have people that go to work for Shine and Patterson and Glidewell and all kinds of jobs. So, I mean.
Alan Spector: You know Art, as we were writing the book, we actually came across some research that said on average, people who go from full work to full stop do not have as successful retirements over the long haul as people who go from full work to some kind of winding down, whether it be part time in the industry you came from, as you described the dental industry, whether it be changing directions, the classic is I've been an engineer all my life, but I've always wanted to teach. It could be a significant volunteer opportunity that doesn't have a paycheck associated with it, but it has a lot of the aspects of work. So this is not about starting a new total second career, but it is an opportunity to transition into retirement more smoothly. And as in the way that you described.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Now also in the book, Alan, you talk about the fact and I think it's one of the main themes in your book is that money is not the primary source of happiness in retirement. Talk about that a little bit.
Alan Spector: So one of the one of the myths, if you will, as people into retirement is it's all about the money. And again, the research is very clear. A relatively small percentage of our happiness comes from material things. As a matter of fact, when we first wrote the book, the working title of the book was The Best Things in Retirement Are Free. The gentleman, the young man who was doing our graphic design for the cover and doing the inside of the book said, By the way, I had this conversation with my mom, and she said, What are you working on? And I said, Well, these guys are writing this book and I'm doing the design. And then the title of the book is The Best Things in Retirement Are Free, she said, Boy, I can't wait to read that. It'll help me find free hotel rooms in Florida. I said, Well, wait a minute. No, no, no, no.
Art Wiederman, CPA: You don't understand.
Alan Spector: Yeah, right. And it's like, Oh, well, that's not what we want people to do. So we changed the title of the book, rewrote a bunch of it to do that. But the concept is still true. The best things in retirement are free. And you referred to the ten key elements of a fulfilling retirement. I know we're going to get into talking about some here shortly, but many of those have nothing to do with how much they cost. They're at least less expensive than you might think. But many of them are, in fact, free. So the concept still applies.
Art Wiederman, CPA: We have a lot of dentists who have retired in our practice, in our CPA practice Alan and what they a lot of what they do sometimes they will go to underserved countries and underprivileged countries and they will do dentistry. You know, Habitat for Humanity, things like that. And then they're just I hear the stories of how fulfilled they are in doing that kind of work. And again, I think folks and I want to know, is your book available on Amazon or wherever it is available?
Alan Spector: Yes, it is.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Again, guys, it's called Your Retirement Quest. As you know, having been most of you listening to this podcast for almost four years, I mean, I don't promote my guest as far as to try and sell stuff. I mean, this book is really good. And if you're having, as my late mother used to say, conniptions about what you want to do in retirement. Great. It's called Your Retirement Quest -Ten Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement. Now, you know what? And this is one of the major things we'll talk about is and in the book, it talks about that there are five stages of retirement. So maybe we go through them quickly. Let's start off. The first one is called anticipation.
Alan Spector: So anticipation is what it sounds like, which is I'm not yet retired. I'm getting close enough to kind of taste it. I'm anticipating it. And in general, it's a sweet spot for starting to talk about planning for the nonfinancial side of retiring your retirement. And if it's okay, ah, this might be a good time to get into the concept of practicing retirement. Would that be okay with you?
Art Wiederman, CPA: Okay, absolutely.
Alan Spector: So here's the concept of practicing retirement. And again, it works very well in anticipation because you're not yet retired. If you spend the time putting together your retirement life plan. You know what you're excited about. You know what you want to do when you retire, and you're looking forward to it. The idea of practicing retirement is bringing part of that into your life today while you're still working. And many people will say, you know, really, I don't have time. I've got you know, I'm spending lots of hours. Every person to a person that we've worked with on this has been able to find time to, in fact, practice retirement, bringing part of it into your life. I started playing in a Sunday baseball league before I retired. I knew I didn't have time to go to a lot of tournaments to play four times a week, etc., etc. But I practiced retirement.
There's lots of reasons to do that. One is you may find that something you're excited about really doesn't do it for you when you actually try it. It helps you with your financial advisor to confirm with them that here's what you really do want to do in retirement. But the big reason for me is, is that if, in fact, you are excited about these things that are in your future, why not bring them into your life today and get the full benefit from them today? So the concept of practicing retirement is one that we pitch pretty hard and has really done well for people over time, and it happens in the anticipation stage because you're still working.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Now that's a great point. So the next one is after anticipation is honeymoon. So this sounds like this sounds like the same thing you do when you're dating somebody. Is that kind of sort of like.
Alan Spector: Maybe there's a little you know, there's a certain a certain aspect of euphoria in this because yeah you really have in this right after you retire, you have in fact retired from something, right? The work may be like I've had a good run, but I'm done. You're retiring from rush hour or you're retiring from late afternoon appointments. I mean, all those things. And there are some euphoria associated with that. The problem is, is that for many people in the range of 6 to 12 months, some longer, some way shorter, they get to the point where they ask. They have to ask themselves either consciously or subconsciously, is this all there is? Right.
I'm laying around watching television all day. There's nothing wrong with leisure. But if that's all you're doing, then you're not having the fulfilling retirement that you've worked so hard to deserve. So the honeymoon phase is, again, if you don't have a plan, is a good time to spend time putting that plan together.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And then you say disenchantment is next.
Alan Spector: It is. And this is the one that we want all of us to spend either no time in or little time or as little time as possible. This is where one of the other facts that we've uncovered is, is that there's a significant portion of the retirement community that, in fact, exhibited signs of depression. They get become isolated. They spend a lot of time in front of the television set and in front of the social media screen, etc., etc.. And while again, a little bit of that is not a bad thing. That's a very passive activity and we don't want to spend a lot of time in that with that risk of symptoms, of depression and that sort of thing. So many people fall into that phase. Maybe sometimes more than once they're in it, they get out, they come back to it, and we want to avoid that. Planning your retirement can help do that.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So once we get out of this very short, hopefully, disenchantment phase, the next phase is rejuvenation. Talk about that.
Alan Spector: Right. So that is rekindling the spark. Let me tell you a brief story where we're interviewing a woman for our book and she says, you need to talk to my husband, because he basically was spending all of his time sitting in front of the television watching Rifleman reruns. And it was like he's just really down in the dumps and whatever. But I got to tell you, he got a call the other day from a guy he knows who he used to work with on political campaigns. And the guy asked him to help. And I haven't seen him be this excited in a long time. He's going to get involved in a political campaign. And she said and I'm confident that it's going to get him out of the doldrums.
Well, picture this, Art. What if he had a plan that identified what he was passionate about, what his purpose in life was? And we could talk more about those things in a moment. But if he had that plan, he may have never fallen into disenchantment. Right. But because he didn't have a plan, he did. And now he was rekindling the spark in rejuvenation. So that's why the fourth stages is there.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I mean, a lot of people, they get up, they go to work, they come home, they eat dinner, they watch TV and they go to bed. And they don't think about like these other things and stuff. And they're thinking about work on the weekends and stuff. So the last phase is fulfillment, and that's the one we want to get everybody to, right?
Alan Spector: That is and I think we can talk about some things that are part of these ten key elements of a fulfilling retirement that if, in fact, you build them into your plan, then you will again live the retirement that you have worked so hard to deserve. It's basically if you interview retirees in their first year of retirement, almost half of them will tell you that they're not enjoying retirement. So think about that. It's a flip of a coin as to whether or not you're going to enjoy it or not. Why not build in these key elements and get to this fulfillment stage a lot faster if you do.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah. Now, your company, you still do consulting with individuals and helping them with this process, right?
Alan Spector: We do. We mostly work with financial firms, CPA firms, financial advising firms, even estate planning firms. And they put us in front of their clients. And typically that leads to doing some one on one coaching. But yes, we do.
Art Wiederman, CPA: But if you have if we have a dentist listening to this and again, folks, I do this for your benefit, I don't do this for my benefit or for Alan's benefit. Alan is busy playing baseball and doing whatever he does. And he does this work because he loves this work, not because he has to do this work, I'm sure. So, Alan, if one of our dentists says, Gee, this really is hitting a nail, I need your help, Alan, to help me. Can you maybe give out some contact information that they might be able to give you a call?
Alan Spector: I'd be glad to do that. Probably the best thing to do and I don't mind doing this Art is giving you my personal email address. If I'm gonna do that.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah, I'll give it out here then.
Alan Spector: Yeah, let me tell you the whole thing and then break it up because it's a little long.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Okay.
Alan Spector: Bballnever2old@AOL.com. So it's the letter B, the word ball. The word never. The number two, the word old. B ball never 2 old at AOL.com. And just when they send me a note, just remind me where you heard about me. So I've got the relationship here and we can talk about what to do next.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah. And again, doctors, if you have if you're getting at or close to retirement, you could be 40, you could be 50, you could be 80. And this is an issue for you. That's why I just think this is a such an important topic. You might want to give Alan a jingle on his email.
Alan Spector: Art if I could interrupt for a second. The point you just made brings up another concept that I think might be worthwhile for people to hear about. And that's how do you make the decision when to retire? Yeah, and it's not about age. Age is not a factor in that decision. And if you don't mind, I'll go through it very quickly.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Now, this is important. Go ahead.
Alan Spector: Please. Okay. So there are four questions to ask yourself. And when the question when the answer to each of the four questions is yes, it's time to retire. Question one is, Do I have enough? But that's the financial question. Question two is Will I have enough to do? Said another way. Will do I have a retirement life plan? And by the way, a written retirement life plan. Writing down your plan gives you five times more likelihood that you'll actually do it. So do I have enough? Will I have enough to do? The third question is, have I had enough? Again, you know, I've had a great career, but maybe it's run its course that I'm just not excited about going into work every day like I used to be. And the fourth one is does somebody want me around 24 by seven. And this is the one where it's like spouses, partners, adult children, aging parents, good friends have in fact, you have the crucial conversations with them to make sure that everybody's aligned on what your plans are. So asking those four questions, answer them all yes, it's time to retire. It's got nothing to do with age.
Art Wiederman, CPA: There's a saying and I've heard this and I use this sometimes as dear, I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch. So, you know how that works, right? So.
Alan Spector: Yeah.
Art Wiederman, CPA: All right. So, talk about purpose and values as part of a retirement plan.
Alan Spector: So one of the traps that we fall into when we're in the middle of our careers is we identify our purpose with the work that we do. And that's okay. I mean, that's what drives us in many ways. The problem is that's your purpose on the day before you retire. But what's your purpose on the day after you retire? Do you have a statement of said kind of plainly, why are you on the planet? Right. What is it that is your role in life? Some people for some people, it's faith based. For some people it's not. But once you identify what your purpose is and the book will help you think through that. But once you identify what your purpose is, if you align your retirement activities with that purpose, you're going to get a great deal of fulfillment out of that out of doing so. Same thing with value. Do you know what your values are? What are your core values? And have you aligned your activities to be consistent with those core values. All of the research, all of our experience working with people on this say if you identify those two things, purpose and values, and then line up what you're doing with them, it's a great fulfillment boost.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah, I know that. That's great advice. Now, I know you also talk in the book about a positive attitude. I mean, there are days in this life, and I'll tell you, we are recording this and this podcast is going to come out probably 4 to 6 weeks after today. But God bless the people of southwestern Florida, because today, as we speak, Hurricane Ian is hitting that region, Tampa and Sarasota and Fort Myers and Cape Coral, which is where my in-laws lived for 30 years. So I'm very familiar with that area. So God bless all of you. I hope and pray. And again, by the time you hear this podcast, we will know what happened. But God, but God bless all of you. But a positive attitude is very important to talk about that.
Alan Spector: Well, first of all, in in five weeks, God willing, I'm in a car on the way to Fort Myers, Florida, to play at a tournament. Yeah. And let's you know, it's not about let's hope that about baseball. It's about that community being on its feet or back on its feet or whatever. And I know they're going to have a long haul. So the reason that we included attitude as one of the ten key elements of a fulfilling retirement is that, again, the research is very clear that people who view themselves and are viewed by those closest to them as having a positive attitude, have a significantly longer on average, a significantly longer lifespan. It's about seven years. And also they have a higher quality of life. They're more resilient when difficulties like what we're talking about with the hurricane and other things come their way, they respond to them better. They tend to look for and listen for opportunities and say yes to opportunities that they come up.
Most of us can find lots of reasons not to do things, but if you have a positive attitude, you tend to try more things and you may find that there are things that you didn't even think about that are important to you. So for longevity purposes, quality of life purposes, attitude is a great thing to focus on. And some people think that attitude is kind of hardwired into your personality. It's not again, we don't have time to get into all that today, but the book will guide you to some ideas on how you can improve your attitude over time.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So that was going to be my next question is if someone is a negative person with no offense to anybody on this podcast listening named Debbie, but there's the term Debbie Downer, that type of thing. If someone is negative without getting into a lot of detail because we can spend an hour on each of your chapters of your book, that can be changed that.
Alan Spector: Behavior absolutely can be changed. You know, you've heard a statement attitude through gratitude, being thankful for the things that are positive in your life. There's another thing is take a look around you. Who were the folks in your life that have negative attitudes and are they draining your positivity and decide how much time you really want to spend with those folks? We don't talk about it as Debbie Downer. We use two other characters to help think about attitude, Tigger and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh in our workshops, when we ask people to where on the scale of attitude, are you. We have Tigger at one end and Eeyore on the other, and everybody kind of gets that.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So I love Tigger, Eeyore, not so much. But anyway, so yeah. So next thing I would love to talk about is well being. Now again, you know, Alan, you're a little older than I am. I'm 63. And while my golf swing is getting I mean, I went to the range the other day. I'm, you know, I won't be joining any professional tours anytime soon, but it's starting to look like a golf swing. The ball's starting to go in the right direction, but I don't have the flexibility that I had 30 years ago. Talk about well-being. Talk about why that's important.
Alan Spector: So when Keith and I put our ten key elements together, not knowing that it was going to be ten at the time, we knew that something called well-being or something like it would be important to include. And but we didn't know exactly what it was. How do you talk about well-being? Is it the absence, is it basic health? Is it the absence of disease? Well, yes, it is, but that's not all of it. Is it physical fitness. Yes, it is, but that's not all of it. And we came across a concept that really resonated with us and has worked well as we've described this to others. The concept of is energy. Do you are you following the daily habits? And again, don't have time to go into all of them, but we cover each of these in the book. Do you, are you following the daily habits that give you the energy to do what you want in your life now and predictably, in your life in the future?
So we think about well-being as energy, and it's like, I can tell from you, it's like I go to the driving range, I'm working on my swing, I've got energy for that. I'm doing a podcast, I've got energy for that. Again, you don't need to tell me, but I would guess that you follow some pretty good daily habits that keep you. And these daily habits would not surprise anybody, by the way.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah, well, I mean, I ride my Peloton three, four I'm approaching 400 rides on my Peloton. I do walk the dog once a week. I take my dog out for my dogs named Chewy the blue Frenchie and pisses me off that he got more friends on one day on Instagram than I got in three years. But he's more popular, and we go for a long walk down to be about a two and a half mile with my friend. And his friend is Fin the Golden Retriever. And we do that. And so I mean, yeah, I mean that I'm trying to do the things, it's hard, but you have to do them. You're right. And it's not only physical, but it's mental well-being.
Alan Spector: It is. It is mental well-being also. And there, again, are things you can do to, you know, having a purpose. As a matter of fact, if you took the ten key elements and broke them down into what are the daily habits that would allow you to bring those into your life, they are consistent with the model for building energy, whether it be emotional or physical or any of that. So, yeah, energy equals well-being.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I know one of the one of the ten items is connectiveness and having a network of family and friends and talk about that.
Alan Spector: So again, this is another one that relates back to comparing work lifetime to retirement time. So many of us have work colleagues, maybe as a dental practice with several dentists. There are people in the office who help support the practice and we see them every day. They're our friends. But are they really, right? At Procter and Gamble, it's like, Oh, I've got all kinds of friends at work, but guess what? You retire and the number of people who were colleagues or acquaintances, aren't on that list of friends. They're not the people that. And let's get into the concept. They're not your 2:00 in the morning friends.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah, that was the next thing I was going to talk about.
Alan Spector: Let's talk about that a little bit. Before I do, I want to preface that by saying if you look at what longevity, how longevity is affected by different things that our lives. Eliminate, if you're a smoker, eliminating smoking can add 12 years to your life. I mentioned seven years relative to attitude. If you have a positive attitude on average, you'll live seven years longer than somebody who doesn't. The next one down the list is connectedness or relationships, whatever you want to call that. So there's a quality of life as well as a longevity, longevity factor. And the way that we think about it is who are your 2:00 in the morning, friends? This is somebody, Art. Let's say you and I are 2:00 in the morning friends. If I had problems in the middle of the night. And you were at 2:00 in the morning friend. I would have no qualms about calling you. And without reservation, tell you what those problems are and fully expect for you to be on the way to me to come help and vice versa.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Well, first of all, you'd be a 4:00 in the morning friend because you're in Saint Louis and I'm in Southern California.
Alan Spector: There you go.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I understand. So let me tell you about my 2:00 in the morning friend.
Alan Spector: Okay.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So I have a friend from college. I'll mention his name. His name is Mitch Gilman. Mitchell and I have been best friends for 40 years. And Mitchell is, I love him to death. There are probably days he wants to put my head through a plate glass window and vice versa.
Alan Spector: That's part of friendship, right?
Art Wiederman, CPA: But I will tell you that every single time that I have had an issue in my life and I'm not perfect, just because you have a podcast with thousands of listeners doesn't mean that your life is absolutely perfect. Nobody is. He is there. This is a guy who twice. Alan We did an April 15th party when I owned my own CPA firm. This is just part of what he does. He came and I invited him, and at the end I go to pay the band the bills like five or 600 bucks as I got ten, 15 people. He grabbed the bill and paid it. And that's what and that doesn't mean money, but everything. Everything about this guy is 2 a.m. friend. Now, I would never tell him. I guess I'm telling him because now it's on the internet. I'll tell him about to listen to this. But Mitchell is just one of those people that you depend on. And he will come through for you no matter what. And that's a 2 a.m. friend. So that's what we're talking about here. And do most people in your work, Alan, do you find that they have a 2 a.m. friend?
Alan Spector: The answer is sadly no. Remember, one of the statistics that you talked about early on was on average, people have one and a half friends were a decade ago, it was three. These are not Facebook friends, by the way. No, that's not what this is. These are deep, personal, emotionally tied to you friends. And when we run in our workshops, sometimes we run an exercise where we say, okay, take a sheet of paper and list your 2:00 in the morning friends. And there are some people who really struggle with that. By the way, on average, men struggle with that more than women. And I say on average, because it's not true of every man, it's not true of every women, every woman. But on average, men have more of a difficult time with this than women do.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I mean, it seems like women tend to get closer to women and they have closer relations. Is that what you find in the work?
Alan Spector: Yes. Yes, that's what we find. The other thing I would mention is, is that the research that we found on what level of relationships helps create this longevity factor and is quality of life factor. We found one piece of research that said you needed to have at least seven of these deep friendships. Another one said 12. Those are hard that those have always felt a little bit high to me. And I haven't gone back and reviewed that research. But I think the point is well taken. If you have zero or one or two, 2:00 in the morning, friends, it's a little bit on the low side if you have four or five or six. So there are two that ought to resonate in terms of this key element.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Now, this is important. So then you talk about giving back to family, friends and community as part of a fulfilling retirement. Talking about that for a little bit.
Alan Spector: We'll do so. One way to think about this is that is, you know, ask yourself the question, why should I volunteer? Right. And the answer is part of the answer is, well, because our communities need us. Well. And define community any way you want it, whether it's the people you know who are going and doing dentistry for folks all over the world who need it, the world community. It could be the community in your religious congregation, whatever it is, there are people who need help and volunteering can help. Can then help them, but not and let's be selfish for a moment. We're talking about how do we create fulfilling retirements. But again, I keep saying this, but we found some very definitive research about this. People who give back consistently get more out of the experience than the people they are giving back to.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yes.
Alan Spector: It's fulfilling. It's satisfying whatever word you want to use. And so from a selfish standpoint, you want to give back because it's fulfilling for you. So finding ways to do that is really helpful. There's a corollary to that concept, and the corollary is, is that the closer you are to the person you're helping, the more personal satisfaction you get. So this doesn't mean stop writing checks to organization because you send it to them in the mail and you're not really face to face with them. They need the donations, etc., etc.. But again, from a selfish standpoint, make sure that you're also as close as you can be to the person that you're helping. Picture yourself sitting across the table from an eight year old who you're helping tutor reading. We have an organization here in Saint Louis called Ready Readers. Adults help teachers tutor young people to improve their reading skills. You're across the table from that young person that's more personally satisfying than it is sending a check to ready readers. All we should do that, too.
Art Wiederman, CPA: You know, it's interesting you mention about the feeling. One of my dear, dear friends and clients, Dr. Sherilyn Sheets in Newport Beach. I have no problem mentioning this. Years ago, she took her father's dental office in Inglewood, California, near where the LA Lakers stadium is. The forum, it was the Forum, now it's downtown. But she took it in and turned it into the Children's Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles. And what they do is they bring in volunteer dentists, and I think they charge $25. Maybe they don't charge that. And underprivileged children in the community in Inglewood and surrounding communities come in to get their kids dental care.
So I decided I've got ten, 15 years ago to throw a to put together a charity golf tournament to support the Children's Dental Center. And I pulled in all of my cards. I mean, I just everything. One of our clients is a was the team dentist for the Lakers and we got an autographed basketball and I got some other stuff, like an autographed football from a professional player and we raised $20,000. And I will tell you, Alan, that when I handed that check, it was like a big ceremonial check over to the executive director of this charity. I mean, I can't even tell you how wonderful that felt. So, you know, this is the type of stuff, folks, that when you get into the well, retirement or whatever we're going to call it, that the giving back is really, really important. How about let's switch gears here, because, again, we're getting kind of towards the end of our time identifying, pursuing your passions. Talk about that being is important in retirement.
Alan Spector: Right. So think about again, comparing time at work to time after work, retirement. It is possible and perhaps likely that things that you're passionate about doing, you don't have time to do because you're working. You know, that's just a possibility, as a matter of fact. Our experience is from having this conversation in the workshops that we run is that many people have totally lost track of what they are passionate about. And once we start the conversation, things start to come back. And again, if you identify what your passions are and then pursue them, that will lend credence to and will help you with living the fulfilling retirement you've worked so hard to deserve.
So sometime when people are struggling, we ask the question, What did you love to do when you were ten years old? Right. And it's incredible what that question does, because at ten years old, we were old enough to know make decisions about what we really like to do. But we weren't yet old enough for life to have gotten in the way to keep us from pursuing those passions. For me, it was baseball and books. If I had a baseball bat or a book in my hand, I was good to go. At ten years old.
Art Wiederman, CPA: When I was ten years old, I would sit in my room. I would close the door. Every week I got Sports Illustrated and I would clip the pictures and tape them up to my wall. And I would read the New York Times as if I was a sportscaster. And I went to I went to Fantasy Sportscasters Camp, and that was so much fun. I mean, I could spend an hour talking about that, but that's what we're talking about here, right?
Alan Spector: That's exactly what we're talking about. People will say, oh, I remember I was out in the garden with my mom and I love gardening. Oh, I love to cook. We had a PNG colleague who when he ended his career, he went to culinary school and now he travels around and works with chefs around the world. So what are you passionate about? Identify it and then make sure your activities are aligned with what that passion is.
And one more thing before we move on to the next question is. This is a good time to again share another concept. And that is. But the concept of. When you work with your financial advisor, they will tell you to have a diverse portfolio of investments. When you when you look at your retirement life plan, I would tell you to make sure that you have a diverse portfolio of meaningful activities. Yeah. So if so, if you can identify your passions, build your activities around those, that will tend to allow you to diversify. So when you get tired of something, there's other things that will be meaningful to you.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I mentioned this on the podcast, Alan. One day I flew and saw one of our clients. They happened to be in the Northeast because you know, all the lecturing I do and the speaking and the podcast we do get, we have a, you know, some clients that that that are all over the country. And so I was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and I had an afternoon to walk around and it's kind of a drizzly day. And I walked by a store and it had a little accordion sign that was about, you know, two feet high on the on the ground. And it said, I don't remember what kind of store it said, do the things in your life that make you happy. And I took a picture of that and I posted on my Instagram page. And every time I get upset or disturbed or something, I think back to that. And then I also listen to Robin Williams talking about golf in Scotland. And now I we don't use bad words in on this podcast. So if you listen to that, it's hysterical. But he does use bad words. But anyway, it's you got to do things that get you back into a good mood. Right.
Alan Spector: Right? Exactly. And but you have to know what those are.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah.
Alan Spector: In order to do them. And that's why there's this a balance between identifying passions, identifying your purpose, identifying your values, and then create activities or do activities that are aligned with all of those.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yes, I got a couple more of these. We'll talk about intellectual growth.
Alan Spector: So remember I said that I was interviewing former colleagues of mine and I'm saying when I was thinking about retirement and I said I was asking them questions like, what's working? What's not working? And one of the things that they said in one way or another, and a couple of them said exactly in these words, I'm having a difficult time replacing the intellectual stimulation I got at work. Yeah, you show up at work and you are intellectually stimulated. You've got problems to solve, you got patients to see, you've got to fill in the blank. Right? And so you don't have to think about it. It just shows up for you. Well, now, again, that's the day after and you're retired. Where does your intellectual stimulation come from? It's not from watching television 43 hours a week.
Now, you can choose some things that you can watch that are different than others. But it's not from that. It's from looking for things that are that stimulate you. It can be big things, like I've got a friend now who's learning a language because she wants to visit Israel and she wants to learn Hebrew before she goes. That is intellectually stimulating. It could be big things like that, or it could be small things. The next time you drive to the grocery store, take a different route. Right. Try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. Seems like minor things, but anything that rewires your brain, if you will. And we all know about the dementia stuff. This is like I know that.
Art Wiederman, CPA: My wife Lynne and I talk about my wonderful, wonderful wife, Lynne, who I've been married to for 37 years. And in April I will have known her for 40. She's doing Duo Lingo. And last night she's on Duo Lingo. Right. And what was it the other night? She's. Oh, crap. It's like 10 to 12. And I haven't done Duo Lingo and I'm going to lose my 160 day streak. So she's like, I got to go in the room, do Duo Lingo. And she's done French, Spanish, and now she's and she did Italian. And then last night, she showed me how proud she says she's at the top of the list. And I said, you're number one. So but that's what we're talking about, stuff like that.
Alan Spector: Exactly. Intellectually stimulating. And it brings up one other point and let me just kind of throw it in here. I did write another book about retirement life planning. It's called Retired Agers, Agers. And instead of instead of focusing on the transition from work to retirement, it focuses on the transition of aging through retirement. And this intellectual stimulation relative to the whole dementia issue is critical in that transition.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Last thing we'll talk about and then if I missed any, you can fill in the blanks. Talk about fun.
Alan Spector: So fun is a key element. It's like, you know, what are you doing that's just plain fun in your life. And many of the things that we've talked about already, when you do them, will show up as fun. This is the one key element that sometimes flies in the face of the concept of planning. Right. We urge people to plan their retirement lives. We urge them to spend more time planning the next 30 years of their lives than they did on their last two week vacation. Consistent with the stat that you talked about earlier. But the flip side of planning is spontaneity. And we spend a lot of time in the book talking about what does it mean to be spontaneous and how do you do that? Just one really quick thing.
When my wife and I go on vacation, we've got spreadsheets on where we're going and how we're going to get there and what the weather's going to be and where we're staying. We got it all planned. That's us. If you ask my sister and brother in law, where are they going on their vacation, they point and say that way and then they figure it out from there. Neither one is better or worse, but they get a lot of fun out of the spontaneity of it and God bless them. So just making sure you're doing things that are fun and you'll know it when you see it.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Let's put a bow on this. This is really great and I'm hoping doctors again my podcast is a call to action. Whether I'm talking about investing, whether I'm talking about tax planning, whether I'm talking about making sure that your metrics and your numbers are right, your reappointment percentage or like we're talking about today, is talking about the non-financial aspects of retirement because you could have $100 million. And if you don't do some of the things that Alan is talking about today, you know, what is it? Money doesn't bring you happiness. So, Alan, is there anything else that you want to share with the audience? And I want to let you give out. I want to mention the name of the book one more time. Anything we missed, I think we hit most of the high points.
Alan Spector: We did. There's one term that I used early on our and then we moved on. But I want to come back to it just one time very quickly. And that is the concept of crucial conversations. We need to recognize that when we retire, our retirement is going to affect others. And those others who are close to us are going to affect our retirement. And so we urge people, when they put their plan together, to have the crucial conversations with those closest to them, to make sure that everybody is aligned with where they want to go and that we're in this together. And anyway, so that's the only other thing that I guess I would throw back in there.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And I want to give out the name of the book. Again, it's called Your Retirement Quest. It's available on Amazon. And I don't know if anybody goes to bookstores anymore, but I assume they might be in some bookstores or not just Amazon on Amazon. Yeah. Okay, go on Amazon. Your Retirement Quest - Ten Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement by Alan Spector and Keith Lawrence. And one of the things I like about the book is at the end of each chapter, there's a planning worksheet. So you read the chapter and then like I'm looking at chapter number ten, which is Financial Security, Financial Security Planning Worksheet. What will I continue to apply for financial security? What will I continue to do? What will I start doing? What will I stop doing? So this book is kind of a road map.
And again, guys, I get nothing from recommending this book other than the satisfaction to know that maybe you're going to go towards a happy retirement. So, Alan Spector, your Cardinals again, you know, by the time I think by the time this thing airs, the World Series will either be over or away on its way to being over. But the Cardinals are in the playoffs and Mr. Pujols to hit his 700th home run. I get to meet Albert Pujols once. I also got to meet Mark McGwire once. His dad was a dentist and a 40 year client of mine and Mark's I think I told you this, Marcus Mark McGuire came to my house and gave my son Forrest a three hour batting lesson in our batting cage. And it was you talk about fun, sit there and talk to an amazing athlete about how he does what he does. I mean, I'm in a candy store, right? So those are the fun things you got to be doing. But Alan Spector, one more time, what's the email address if people want to get a hold of you?
Alan Spector: Bballnever2old@aol.com. The letter B the word ball the word never the number two the word old at AOL dot com.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So, Alan, if you would be so kind as to stay with me as I take the podcast out. What a great interview. Great information, folks. Please think about what we talked about today. And if you're not planning your retirement, yeah, it could be two years. It could be three years, it could be five or ten years. Start doing it, you know, start planning it out so that you have something to do on the other side.
With that said, please again, look at our wonderful partner Decisions in Dentistry magazine. Look at their website www.DecisionsinDentistry.com world class clinical content. 140 continuing education classes at a very, very reasonable price. That's www.DecisionsinDentistry.com. If you are getting to year-end tax planning or you haven't done your employee retention tax credit yet, give me a call. My number is my direct line. It comes right to my computer. I won't be watching TV 43 hours a week. I might be watching a ball game or a golf tournament here and there. That's 657.279.3243. 657.279.3243 or email me at awiederman@EideBailly.com.
Also, don't forget if you want information on our webinar series, the Business of Dentistry and Transitions in Dentistry, send me an email, will get you on the mailing list. We're going to be doing we're going to be starting in early October. We're going to have a couple of consultants come on and talk about metrics, talk about what you can do to make your practice more profitable. And a three-part series of which I will be doing one of them on transitions in the dental practice. Either call me 657.279.3243 or awiederman@EideBailly.com. Alan Spector, thank you so much. Great information. Lots of stuff to think about. And folks, I hope you'll think about.
And with that said, this is Art Wiederman thanking you for the honor and privilege of your time. Please tell your friends about the podcast. Please download the podcast and subscribe and you'll get it every time it's published, which is a couple times a month. And with that said, my name is Art Wiederman for the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA. Thank you for listening and we'll see you next time.