The Importance of Establishing a Retirement Plan for Veterinary Practice Employees: A Win-Win Proposition

In the bustling world of veterinary practices, the welfare of employees holds (or should hold!) significant importance. Beyond competitive salaries and workplace culture, offering retirement plans can greatly enhance employee satisfaction and long-term financial security. This article explores the reasons why veterinary practice owners should establish retirement plans for themselves and their employees and how employees can effectively influence practice owners to make this crucial decision.


Why Establish a Retirement Plan for Veterinary Practice Employees?


Employee Retention and Satisfaction

A well-structured retirement plan demonstrates a practice owner’s commitment to the well-being of their employees. It fosters a sense of security, which is vital for employee satisfaction and retention. Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to remain loyal to the practice, reducing turnover rates and associated recruitment costs.


Competitive Edge in Recruitment

With the veterinarians shortage, those seeking positions consider benefits beyond salaries when evaluating job opportunities. Offering a retirement plan can give veterinary practices a competitive edge in attracting top talent. Prospective veterinarians are more likely to choose a practice that provides comprehensive benefits, including retirement plans, as part of their compensation package.


Tax Benefits

Practice owners can benefit from tax advantages when establishing retirement plans. Contributions made to retirement plans are often tax-deductible for the practice, lowering the overall tax liability. Additionally, contributions grow tax-deferred until withdrawal, allowing the practice to accumulate funds over time. With the passing of Secure Act 2.0, eligible employers may be able to claim a tax credit of up to $5,000, for three years, for the ordinary and necessary costs of starting a SEP, SIMPLE IRA or qualified plan (like a 401(k) plan, greatly reducing the administrative costs!


Practice Continuity

A retirement plan can also serve as a succession planning tool for practice owners. As the practice owner nears retirement age, having a well-structured retirement plan in place ensures a smooth transition for both the owner and the employees. This contributes to practice stability and continuity.


Employee Financial Well-being

Perhaps the most significant reason to establish a retirement plan is the positive impact it has on employees’ long-term financial security. Many employees may not have the financial literacy or discipline to set up retirement accounts independently. By offering a retirement plan, practice owners empower their employees to save for their future without the added burden of navigating complex financial decisions. 


Lower Student Loan Payments

Pre-tax retirement contributions can also work to lower a veterinarian’s taxable income, which can result in lower student loan payments when using an income driven plan.


How Veterinarians Can Influence Practice Owners to Establish Retirement Plans:


Education and Awareness

Veterinarians should proactively educate themselves about the benefits of retirement plans and their potential impact on their financial well-being. Understanding the advantages of retirement plans, such as tax benefits and employer contributions, equips employees with compelling information to present to practice owners.


Collective Advocacy

Veterinarians can collectively advocate for the establishment of a retirement plan. By presenting a unified front, employees demonstrate the importance of this benefit to the practice’s overall success. This can be done through discussions during team meetings or by forming a representative group to communicate with the practice owner.


Benchmarking and Comparison

Veterinarians can conduct research on competing practices to identify whether retirement plans are commonly offered in the industry. Presenting data on industry standards can help practice owners realize the significance of providing such benefits to remain competitive in attracting and retaining skilled professionals.


Tailored Presentations

Employees should tailor their presentations to address the specific concerns of the practice owner. Highlighting the positive impact on employee retention, financial well-being, and the practice’s bottom line can effectively demonstrate the value of establishing a retirement plan.


Professional Advice

Seeking advice from financial professionals can lend credibility to veterinarians’ requests for a retirement plan. By involving financial advisors, employees show their commitment to informed decision-making and can offer expert insights on plan options that align with the practice’s financial goals.



The establishment of a retirement plan for veterinary practice employees is a decision that yields substantial benefits for both the practice owner and the associate veterinarians. Practice owners gain tax advantages, enhanced recruitment opportunities, and improved practice continuity. Veterinarian employees, on the other hand, enjoy increased job satisfaction, financial security, and the knowledge that their employer values their long-term well-being.

Employees have a pivotal role in influencing practice owners to establish retirement plans. Through education, advocacy, benchmarking, tailored presentations, and seeking professional advice, employees can effectively convey the significance of this employee benefit. A collaborative effort between practice owners and employees can lead to a win-win scenario that strengthens the practice, fosters employee loyalty, and contributes to a more financially secure future for all.


Andrew Langdon is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CERTIFIED Student Loan Professional™ and the founder of VetWorth, a fiduciary fee-only financial planning firm dedicated to serving the unique needs of veterinarians and their families.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Andrew Langdon, and all rights are reserved. Read the full Disclaimer.

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