Building your retirement nest egg

March 10, 2011

In today's world, we are all pension plan managers in some way.

Key Points

In today's world, we are all pension plan managers in some way. This situation is especially true for physicians in small or solo practices. Whether you manage your individual retirement account (IRA), profit sharing, defined benefit, or other retirement plan yourself or hire someone to do it for you, ultimately you are in charge. In fact, the success or failure of your retirement plan will depend on your ability to evaluate investments, funds, and/or financial advisers.


Complicating the problem, almost none of the information we use to choose investments has any proven predictive value. For example, the period from 1990 to 2000 was not predictive of returns from 2000 to 2010. The 1990-to-2000 decade was one of the best in history, whereas 2000 to 2010 was one of the worst. The same is true of the 1970s and 1980s.

So if a physician-or any investor-wants to take charge of his or her retirement plan investments and reduce the risk of a long period of poor returns, what can be done? This was the question posed to me by the aforementioned physician. He wanted to make sure the next 10 years would be better than the past 10. What should he focus on when evaluating investments or advisers?