1. Money
Dana Anspach

Root Canals and Your Retirement Planning

By February 19, 2013

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Last Friday I had two root canals. I had a root canal once before in about 1998. It was a horrendous experience. The procedure itself was fine, it was just the next day I experienced the most excruciating pain I'd ever had - and the pain meds did nothing to abate it.

This time one of the root canals they said I needed was on the same tooth I'd had the root canal done on back in 1998. Somehow the endodontist could tell from the x-ray that there was an infection going on in there.

Now-a-days right before they start doing your root canal, they take what is called a digital x-ray. As my endodontist stood there looking at mine he said, "It looks like they left part of an instrument in there, and left part of one of your roots. That's not cool. And it's not that uncommon. I'll know once I get in there."

He discovered he was right!

The instruments they use to do root canals are like fine thin wires - to me they look like fishing wire. Sometimes they break off. He said it happens to him on occasion, but he is able to get them back out.

Here I've been walking around with an infection - and a piece of a dental instrument embedded in my mouth - since about 1998. Goodness!

Now the dentist who did my root canal in 1998 was a general practitioner - not an endodontist. Did he think he was qualified to do my root canal, or had the practice of endodontics not evolved yet to the specialty it is today? I don't know. All I know is that now I know why it was such a horrendous experience.

With my recent root canals I never even needed so much as Advil. It was actually the most pleasant dental experience I have ever had.

So, where I am going with all of this? Well, if I had a dental instrument left in my mouth 15 years ago by someone who was perhaps well-intentioned, but without the qualifications to do the work he was trying to do, it just makes me wonder, what might be lurking in your portfolio?

Do you have a collection of random investments, or a plan? Might there be some investment you own sold to you long ago that really shouldn't be there any longer? Could there even be something festering, like an infection, that might cause you trouble later? Might you have had a bad experience with someone who called themselves a financial planner, when really they didn't have the skills needed to do retirement income planning?

I do know that as you near retirement you need an investment plan that aligns your investments toward the purpose of generating reliable income. I also know that this is an area, just as with endodontics, where a specialist can make a meaningful difference.  (See What Will a  Good Retirement Planner Do For Me?)

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