In Conversation with Freddi Dogterom – Retiring to the Life you Design

Close your eyes. Imagine your dream future retirement situation … 

Are you sitting on an exotic beach holding hands with your significant other, sipping a mimosa as the sun sinks slowly in the west? Maybe you’re on a rocking chair on your porch whittling a new toy for a grandchild as you watch over expansive farmlands. Maybe it’s something completely different.

Whatever your dream for the future is, it’s yours, and it’s in your control to shape it into a reality as you see fit. So, how do you do that?

We reached out to Freddi Dogterom PRP, RCC—retirement planner, certified career development professional, adult educator, and regular VetCare mentor to talk about the secrets of retirement planning. 

Doing the math—the first step to a happy retirement

Retirement is about so much more than just stepping away from your day job. One of the first things people exclaim when they hear the word retirement, is something along the lines of, “Oh my goodness you’ll have so much time to relax!”

Well, yes, that’s true. But have you ever sat down with the math and calculated how much time you’ll actually have? 

I spent 35 years in a career that I loved and one day I decided I was going to move on to the rest of my life. I carefully planned what I was going to do next, and they had a wonderful retirement party for me. There were cake, balloons, and all my friends gathered. And then the next morning I woke up and thought: oh my gosh, now it’s real. I have these plans, but how am I going to spend the rest of my life?

Freddi Dogterom, Professional Retirement Planner

If you’re spending 70 hours a week at work, you’re putting in around 300 hours a month. When you then retire, you suddenly have 300 hours waiting to be filled each month. No one’s saying you can’t put your feet up, but suddenly going from 100 to zero is a lot of pressure to relax on a full-time basis. 

The best approach—one that we promote at VetCare—is a phased transition. For some vets that means a lighter workload, for others, it’s about dedicating all their time to surgeries or consultations. 

Whatever transition you choose, it’s one that you choose to suit your lifestyle and retirement goals. 

You’re used to being the boss and in control. You still can be. Your future is in your hands. You’re in charge of your future.

Freddi Dogterom, Professional Retirement Planner

Because of the pandemic, the last couple of years have looked a bit different for the ride. It’s now open to all pet lovers, rather than exclusively to veterinarians and clinic staff. And it can be done ‘from your own home’ aka, anywhere you’d like to ride. Dr. Wimmers rode the 100 kilometres in two 50km loops on a beautiful September day.

Practice makes perfect

Retirement is a skill, and it takes years of practice to get right. Freddi often talks to people who plan on travelling the world upon retirement, but on probing, she realizes they’ve never been big travellers in their normal lives. 

Just like you can’t go cold turkey from working full-time to having nothing to do, you also can’t dedicate your life to a new passion that you’re not even sure you’re really passionate about. If it’s travelling, for example, head out on the road this weekend and start exploring!

Just try one action, one thing you plan to make part of your retirement. Just start
— Freddi Dogterom, Professional Retirement Planner 

You might not retire tomorrow, but who says you can’t try on different lifestyles to see what’ll work for you when you do make that big decision? 

Get out, have fun, and enjoy that mimosa as the sun sets in the distance. (Maybe you realize you really hate mimosas, and that’s okay too.) Have a toast on your future, this is only the beginning of great things!

Want to learn more from Freddi?

Join us at the 2022 Veterinary Education Today virtual conference! Gaetano (Guy) Guzzo, VetCare Director of Business Development will ask Freddi some of the most common questions about career transition and moving forward in your personal and career life. Looking forward to seeing you there!

When: April 21 3:30-4:00pm and April 22 10:30am-11:00 am

Where: Spark Talks Theatre (virtual venue)

Register for the Veterinary Education Today virtual conference here.

Wondering what a team transition might look like for your practice? Reach out to our team directly today by emailing
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