Your busy... but do you have a retirement?

Therapists: How to plan for retirement

Therapists: How to plan for retirement

I'm at the EMDRIA conference in Denver, CO and meeting amazing therapists from all over the world. As people came up to my table to figure out "what the heck do you do?" I had an interesting interaction. I told a woman that I help therapists build successful private practices. She quickly replied that she had more clients than she knew what to do with. Awesome! 

I LOVE to hear and see therapists who are successful! 

For those of you who are considering niching- I would say just half a day in, I'm meeting more therapists who have a glut of clients at this conference than at the average conference! Unfortunately, my excitement faded a bit when I asked a question about retirement. This beautiful, educated, experienced fantastic EMDR therapist looked at me a little like I had 4 heads. 

Retirement for Therapists in Private Practice

This wasn't the first time I've been looked at oddly when I mention retirement, or when I discuss the idea of a profitable exit strategy for therapists preparing to end face-to-face practice. It's as if therapists assume that if they are working for themselves, retirement isn't an option. 

The transition from employee to business owner

The transition from awesome employee who does great clinical work to awesome business owner who does great clinical work is a big shift. Many therapists who launch private practices feel like they have to "give up" their retirement to be self-employed. The truth is, you need to "play for" your retirement as a business owner. 

A few steps to creating a retirement program for your private practice

If you are a therapist in private practice, you need to plan for retirement. This planning doesn't happen after you've gotten full, or after you've hit some imaginary mark. Planning for retirement (and vacation, illness, etc.) should all happen from Day 1 of developing a business plan for your private practice. 

  1. Develop a business plan that integrates the expense of retirement into your plan, including your hourly rate. 
  2. Even if it is just $10 a month- open a retirement plan, contribute to it every month. 
  3. Consider a pyramid strategy for your retirement plan. Whether it is $1 a month, $10 a month, or $100 a month- increase the amount you put away each month until you've hit your target. 
  4. If you have a full practice, but you aren't making enough to put away from retirement- this is a sign that something is out of balance. Consider watching our free how to set fees workshop. 

Ok, truth time. Share below what keeps you from contributing to a retirement account. Or, share some encouragement for your psychotherapy community about how GOOD it feels to contribute to your retirement plan. 


Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!