Study of retirement plan among dental professionals in Navi Mumbai, India: A comprehensive questionnaire survey


Background: Dentistry may appear to be a rewarding and satisfying job, but the fear of coming up short may haunt many dentists as they approach retirement. Planning for one’s retirement is an issue that concerns all working individuals. The aim of this study was to assess the retirement plans among dental professionals in the City of Navi Mumbai, India. Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional study involving 180 dentists and conducted with the help of a self-reported questionnaire. Results: The response rate was 83.33% (150/180). There was a general agreement that the preferred retirement income would be achieved. Nearly, 83% of the dentists were in debt from banks in the form of loans which were taken either for a house, clinic, or a vehicle. Most of the dentists had a private practice and nearly 60% of the dentists were self-employed. Conclusion: Future planning for dentists is important as decisions can be made based on age, investment planning, and their financial status until retirement. In general, dentists are well prepared for their retirement. They have a significant amount of wealth for a comfortable living standard.

Keywords: Dental health education, dental insurance, economics, health service research, quality of life

How to cite this article:
Pereira T, Shetty S, Chande M. Study of retirement plan among dental professionals in Navi Mumbai, India: A comprehensive questionnaire survey. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:159-64


How to cite this URL:
Pereira T, Shetty S, Chande M. Study of retirement plan among dental professionals in Navi Mumbai, India: A comprehensive questionnaire survey. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Nov 14];9:159-64. Available from:



Retirement has a definitive but variable impact on an individual’s life. Research on the impact of retirement in the general population has shown inconsistent results. Some studies have shown that retirement is often accompanied by poor health, loneliness, depression, decreased life satisfaction, and happiness, whereas at the same time, few other studies have documented a positive impact.[1] Satisfaction in life is dependent on good health, desirable income, good relationship with spouse/life partner and children, and periodic vacations. It is important that one should plan retirement well so that satisfaction remains high, making retirement life enjoyable.

Like any other country, India too will face the challenges of an aging population. As life expectancy increases, the retirement period gets larger. Retirement period is the number of years between the official retirement age and average life expectancy. The larger the retirement period, the bigger the financial burden retirement becomes on both the individual and the state.[2]

To enjoy retirement life, one should start the planning of that phase of life as early as possible. The fruits of whatever we sow at an early age shall be reaped at an older age. Although the dental profession appears to be rewarding and satisfying, dentists are often under a lot of physical, mental, and financial stress.[3] In most developing countries around the world, population aging is said to have a detrimental impact on the workforce. The population aged over 65 years is increasing and this trend is on the rise. While the imminent retirement of a great proportion of dentists does raise the issue about the future of dentistry, little is known about how retirement will affect these dentists. Specifically, very little is known about how financially well prepared are these dentists for their retirement.[4]

Therefore, a need to educate and make dentists aware of their financial security instilled an idea to carry out this survey. The majority of studies were conducted in developed countries, and minimal data are available from developing countries.[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] Hence, this study was aimed at finding out how well prepared are the Indian dentists for their retirement. The other objective of this study was to know whether the dentists were adopting proper measures to improve their situation.

Materials and Methods

The present cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted among the dentists practicing in private clinics and working at Dental Educational Institutes in the City of Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. All the dentists were aged 40 years or more. Since the data on the total number of registered dental clinics were not accessible, it was decided to cover maximum number of dental clinics in the survey. In total, 180 dentists were requested to fill out a questionnaire, out of which 150 (83.33%) complied with our request. Collection of data was carried out over a 4-month period from January to April 2015. Institutional Ethical Clearance was obtained prior to beginning the study. A written informed consent was obtained from the study participants.

A close-ended questionnaire comprising 31 questions was prepared to assess the retirement plan. Subjects were inquired about their demographic variables which included the age, sex, marital status, number of children, self-reported health status, and health of spouse along with the number of years that the subject has been staying in the state of Maharashtra.

The next part of the questionnaire focused on the financial position of the respondents. This included if the subject was engaged in active financial planning for retirement or not, net financial assets, current asset and debt values, whether the practice and residential property are self-owned, and if the subject and his family possess medical insurance.

Finally, subjects were asked questions related to the work type (general dentistry – specialty practice/academics), working hours, work arrangement (self-employed/salaried), number of vacations taken per year, retirement plans from practice, and source of income other than dentistry.

The data were analyzed using SPSS software version 17 (Chicago, IL, U.S.A.). The profile of the subjects, mean, median, range, and standard deviations (SDs) of the answers were calculated.


A total of 150 dentists participated in the study, out of which 88 were males and 62 were females. Mean age of the participants was 52 years (SD – 5.75, range – 40–65 years). Eighty-four percent were either married or in a de facto relationship. Most of the dentists (45.3%) had a single child, and the mean age of children of all the 150 dentists was 17.56 years. It was observed that 43.33% of the dentists were settled in the state of Maharashtra for the past 30 years and 80% of all the participants were born in Maharashtra. Nearly, 74.7% of the dentists reported an excellent health status. More information on the demographic characteristics of the study participants is shown in [Table 1].

Table 1: Demographic profile of respondents

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The participants were asked to identify their financial assets and debts. Since this was a sensitive question, the respondents were informed that it would be optional to answer. However, 86.67% revealed their assets to be approximately 2.5 million INR while 83.33% said that they were in debt in the form of loans. The participants were asked about their financial planning and medical insurance. Regarding investments, 53.33% of the respondents invested into property while approximately, an equal amount was invested in bank savings and shares. Nearly, 73.33% of the participants had substantial medical insurance for themselves and 60% had a medical insurance policy for their family too. About 13.33% of the dentists had more than two clinics and about 73.33% owned their clinic premises. About 93.33% of the dentists owned their residential property while 66.67% owned more than one property. About 53.33% owned one vehicle while 13.33% owned more than two vehicles.

When asked if they thought they would have their desired income at retirement, a staggering majority of 93.33% gave an affirmative answer while only 6.67% thought that they would have a lot less. No differences between age and sex groups were observed [Table 2].

Table 2: Financial profile of respondents

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Nearly, 53.33% of dentists took a vacation twice in a year. One hundred and twenty dentists were in general practice while only 30 dentists had a specialty practice. It was observed that even though many of the dentists who responded to the survey had done postgraduation, most of them practiced general dentistry. Sixty percent of the respondents were self-employed. Out of the 40% who were salaried, nearly 83.33% of them had an academic attachment. It was observed that 60% of the total respondents worked for 8 h a day while 6.67% of dentists practiced up to 15 h a day.

Nearly, 80% of the respondents saw more than twenty patients per day. About 98.67% of the dentists said that they would want to retire after 60 years of age. When they were asked if they would desire to have their child follow the same profession, 83.33% answered in the affirmative.

Many of the senior practitioners provided some advice to younger dentists on how to best prepare for their retirement. Some advised to start investing early, while most of them advised the younger generation to be sincere, hardworking, and enjoy their profession. Some advised their younger colleagues to regularly update their knowledge and maintain a good will. Finally, when the dentists were asked if they did any part time work other than dentistry as a source of income, only 26.67% gave a positive reply [Table 3].

Table 3: Professional profile of respondents

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Many of them were involved in local nongovernment organization work, social clubs such as Rotary club and Lions club.


This questionnaire-based survey was conducted on dentists in Navi Mumbai City, India, to analyze how well prepared are they for their retirement. A total of 150 dentists completed the questionnaire; response rate was 83.3%, which may be considered satisfactory. The most common reason for not participating in the study was their busy schedule and some were reluctant to reveal any information about their professional and personal life. Mean age of the participants was 52 years (range 40–60 years). Dentists aged above 40 years were selected, since it was assumed that by this age, the dentists would have settled in their personal and professional lives. Taylor et al. studied the future career plans of doctors in National Health Services and had a response rate of 71.6% (2180/3045) with a mean age of 51 years.[10] Gender division showed that there were 88 males and 62 females. Brown and Lazar analyzed the retirement savings of dentists in private practice on a sample size of 2025 dentists. The age range varied from below 30 years to above 70 years of age.[11] In the present study, 60% of the study participants were self-employed while 40% had a private practice. In a study done by Schofield et al., the number of male dentists was 125 compared to only 18 female dentists.[4] Jin et al. in 2015 studied the burnout and its related factors in Korean dentists on 359 males and 85 females.[12] In the present study, the number of working hours was about 8 h/day (60%). The number of working hours in a study by Jin et al. was 44.2/week on an average.[12] The average number of working hours/day among the study participants was also similar as compared to that in the study conducted by Jin et al. Sibbald et al. in 2003 who carried out a survey of job satisfaction and retirement intentions among general practitioners in England found that the average working hours/week was 48 which is similar to the present study.[13]

India currently enjoys the fortunate position of people with relatively high savings rates, and many expect to be better off in retirement than their parent’s generation. In addition, India does not face the pressing demographic challenges of most of its peers. However, its “demographic dividend” is unlikely to last, and Indians will eventually face the same challenges of how to provide for an aging society. Many Indians are concerned that their savings will not be sufficient, actually expecting to be worse off in retirement than their parent’s generation, mainly due to rising job insecurity and to the impact of the global financial crisis on savings. The general optimism toward retirement must not, therefore, lead to complacency and while many people in India have made adequate provision for retirement, it is essential that people continue to prepare and plan for an extended retirement period as life expectancy increases.[2]

Good health is essential. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment may control most ailments except probable malignancies. In a study on 708 Indian retired orthopedic surgeons, 85% had excellent health while 22% reported poor health before retirement.[1] Longer working hours have been associated with a lower level of satisfaction. Previous research work has suggested that an increased workload is the main cause of job dissatisfaction among British doctors including general practitioners.[14] Taylor et al. observed that 70% of the participants cited good health while 6% cited ill health as a reason for considering early retirement.[10] In a study on dental practitioners in the United Kingdom, Kay and Lowe reported 67% of respondents to be in good health.[6] Schofield et al. reported 28% of Australian dentists in good health and only 1% in poor health.[4] In the present study, 74.7% of the respondents were in good health while 5.3% reported with poor health.

We are accustomed to a particular lifestyle during our active professional life. One would feel comfortable if the same lifestyle can be maintained in the retirement period. Self-owned living accommodation, bank deposits, and mediclaim policy are the bare minimum essentialities required. Adequate and sustained income is a prerequisite for an enjoyable and comfortable postretirement life. The power of compounding decreases the amount of money that one actually has to save if the retirement planning is begun early. Financial planning for retirement must start at a younger age to enable a person to save enough money for a decent postretirement life.[15] In a study done by HSBC in 2011, 33% of Indian respondents saw retirement as a whole new chapter of life as well as a time for rest and relaxation. Only 22% associated it with financial hardship. Just 7% of respondents believed they will be worse off than their parents’ generation in retirement, though 51% were worried about being able to cope financially in old age. Fourteen percent thought that their personal pensions will provide their largest source of retirement income, while 13% said that they would rely on other forms of saving and investments. One in ten people in India expects to continue working in later life to provide an income for themselves. Seventy-six percent of respondents had financial plans in place – far more than the worldwide average of 50% – while 57% had also sought professional financial advice. Independent financial advisers (33%) and banks (21%) are the most common sources of professional financial advice in India.[2]

In a study conducted by Schofield et al. on Australian dentists, about 72% said that they would have their desired income in retirement while 10% thought that they would have a lot less.[4] In contrast, in the present study, 93% of the dentists thought that they would have the desired income in retirement and only 6.6% of the dentists thought that they would have less than the desired income. The study by Schofield et al. also showed that 87% depended on superannuation source of funding for retirement and 46% dependence was on property followed by shares (43%).[4] Brown and Lazar found that male dental practitioners invested their money in nontax deferred personal investments while female dentists invested in an individual retirement account. Females saved 8.8% of their income while males saved 10.7% of their income toward retirement. Overall, only 4.4% of dentists invested in precious metals and property while 70% invested in the stock market and mutual funds.[11] The most popular source of income in retirement in India is expected to be individual’s personal pension schemes (14%) and other forms of savings and investments, suggesting that many people in India understand the need to personally prepare for retirement. In addition, many Indians expect to continue working to fund retirement, with 10% of people expecting income from employment to be a main source of income in later life.[2] In the present study, in contrast, 53.33% invested in property, shares (13.33%), bank savings (31.33%), and bonds (2%).

Strength and weaknesses of study

The strength of the study was that the respondents had made necessary investments and plans for their retirement. They had started investing at an earlier age to save for a comfortable postretirement life.

As with any questionnaire study, the present study also has its limitations, especially due to false reporting on financial assets or the number of patients seen as dentists may not have felt secure to disclose the fact. Some did not participate due to their busy schedule. No physical inspection was carried out in the clinics by the investigators, so such false reporting is possible.


The assessment of the dentist’s assets and asset sources leads to the conclusion that dentists are well prepared for their retirement. Dentists were also satisfied with their retirement preparedness. Many senior dentists advised the younger dentists to begin investing early. Younger dentists have more time to invest their money, can tolerate more risk, and may continue to have income coming in, while older dentists have less time to invest their money, cannot tolerate as much risk, and will have to live on a fixed income once they retire. There are scant reports on the retirement planning of physicians in general while those on Indian dentists are not available. Planning for the future is very necessary. The most important factor in preparing for a sound retirement life is to start an early financial planning. Doherty recommends getting a “financial checkup periodically – at least once a year – just like a medical checkup.”[16] Through the present study, dentists can review their current level of savings and look for ways to increase it to a level identified to ensure they are on a path to a safe and secure retirement life.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.181654


[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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