By Jack Ahern
When do you want to retire? When should you retire? When must you retire? Simple questions with profound implications for anyone let alone a highly skilled, well established, nephrologist. If dates that represent answers to the “want to, should and must” retire questions differ significantly, you are bound for frustration unless you take constructive action or have really good luck and win the lottery.
There is a plethora of information available regarding the general financial requirements for retirement. The majority of guidance offered is aimed at salaried employees who have no significant, non–liquid, ownership stake in their employer and are therefore able to simply retire at will, in the traditional sense, at some optimal point in the future.
Several of my physician friends have followed this model; however, they were primarily full-time employees of medical centers, with corporate benefit and retirement structures in place.
Nephrology practices, in the global sense, embodying all the various revenue generating aspects of a nephrologist’s activities, are complex entities. Significant advance planning is required to allow the full transfer of accumulated value that has been established over the period of several decades of quality patient care and adept business development.
It is important to realize that both the quality of care and the quality of management and business development contribute to the value of a practice. These are absolutely separate but often highly correlated elements of value.