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Anyone know any early retiree MDs?

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  • #16
    Thanks, I was just curious. I’m not near retirement, but with a lot of FIRE talk, frustrations with the changing healthcare landscape, etc it is someone interesting that this is seemingly quite rare. I suppose the fudge factor may be the ‘career pivot’ to non-clinical work. I work with someone who could retire (financially speaking) and doesn’t seem to love the job anymore, at least at face value. Despite this, he continues to work full-time. He still has kids in college, which may be a contributing factor.

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    • #17
      I don't know any doc retiring before 60, in fact most try to push it past 70.  One reason is for kids college and stuff, once that's paid off most of them probably could retire but choose not to.  Granted, most these docs own their own practices rather than being employed.  Many truly enjoy their work and patients, often cutting back hours, doing locums, etc.  A family member continues despite being FI as it's a social outlet for them, they have their own practice, set their own hours, etc.  Many of them don't know what they'd do with all their free time, not that they're gung-ho about medicine necessarily, but even with cut back hours they find enough time to do their hobbies.  I'd probably fall into this camp.  I don't have any grand hobbies or plans outside of medicine.  If I could setup a nice work-life balance and a steady pace, I see no reason I couldn't work until 60.  I feel there are many good financial reasons to push back retirement (more compounding, less savings needed, healthcare coverage, etc.).

      Recently, I've also been thinking how early retirement is different between doctors and everyone else.  Doctors have a late start on their actual career and retiring early means having fewer "working" years. I think almost universally many would agree retiring in their 50's is early, but for an MD that may only be a 20-25yr career, whereas a college grad that could be 30-35yrs, suddenly 20-25yrs of working doesn't seem so bad.  If I retire at 60, that'll be about 25yrs of working.  If I worked 25yrs straight out of college I'd be retiring in my 40's, which seems young and it puts things into perspective of retiring at an "older" age.

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      • #18
        My old man "retired" for a year in 2013. He's FP but hasn't done primary care since the mid 90s, mix of ER, UC, addiction, pain management, Occ.

        He kind of had his fill and told a difficult boss to shove it and walked away. Obviously easier in something like Occ where he didn't have a book patients that he owned.

        He probably could have made it financially, decent nest egg, fairly frugal, and through his wife he has Federal employee health insurance. He ended up just getting too bored and went back almost full time (albeit much more on his own terms). Turns out there's only so many hours you can sit in a tree stand or a duck blind.

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        • #19
          well yes, I know many but most of them 1)had family money, or 2)happened to be female and decided not to go to work following marriage/baby (just my experience not a judgement), 3)had health problems that precluded them from working fully, and a tiny sliver 4)did the math and realized that they had enough.

          lots more in the realm of cutting back to 50% time, if you consider that early retiree.

           

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          • #20
            I have seen some who are married to another physician stay at home.  I have seen several who did it due to illness.  I know of one who retired at 60 and another at 62.  I retired from OB at 56 because I knew I was FI.  Now at 61 I plan to continue part-time GYN for a while.  Plenty of just Gyns in my hospital are working above 65.  Most will stop OB.  I think from my perspective the OB part of my career was stressful with erratic hours so I have felt retired since 56.

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            • #21
              Leaving an autonomous job that garners respect while paying you one of the highest salaries in the country is easier said than done.

              One of my mentors always said ER docs don’t retire they just fade away (cut out nights, then weekends, then go part time)

              People need a reason to get up in the morning. The same productive drive that allows us to achieve FI is the same reason it is hard to walk away.

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              • #22




                Leaving an autonomous job that garners respect while paying you one of the highest salaries in the country is easier said than done.

                One of my mentors always said ER docs don’t retire they just fade away (cut out nights, then weekends, then go part time)

                People need a reason to get up in the morning. The same productive drive that allows us to achieve FI is the same reason it is hard to walk away.
                Click to expand...


                I agree with you.  But how about if you hate the stress, constant responsibility and feel wiped out at the end of the day?  I always feel so energetic, creative and am happier during my vacations.  I wonder if I would continue feeling the same way during retirement or I’d miss medicine?

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                • #23
                  I think we haven't seen more of it in the past because many ahead of us thought of medicine as a calling, rather than an exchange of services for income.  I disagree with side hustle scrubs a little-the drive to walk away is the highest I have ever personally seen.  not just in medicine, but in many fields.  I expect it to increase and we will see more and more people with less long term career ambition and more this is good enough for me to enjoy the other parts of life ambitions.

                  ymmv

                  jmo

                   

                   

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                  • #24
                    I had a partner who retired completely in his early 50s. He was phasing out for at least a decade before that. Six day shifts a month for a long time. Frugal and had a successful side gig.
                    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                    • #25
                      There was a doc in my group of hospitalists who left practice back in Dec 17.  He was in his early 50's/late 40's.  I don't know anything about his financial situation, though I had "heard" he was in decent shape.  His reason for leaving was that he was "fed up with the corporate take over of medicine."  He was very open about it.  Haven't heard from him since he left.  At the time his plan was to take a few months off to figure out what he wanted to do next, but he was adamant about not returning to medicine at all.  I've been meaning to try to follow up with him since, but haven't gotten around to it.  Right before he left though I remember hearing that he was "surprised" by the cost of health insurance.  So, I suspect he'll be back in some for or another.

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                      • #26
                        I plan to at age 49. Check back in 13 months

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                        • #27
                          I look forward to hearing about WCI’s and PoF’s experiences with waking away, but even that won’t be a true test because their blogs are time consuming, financially rewarding and autonomous - just like medicine. They will find it easier to fill the void than someone who leaves their 40 hour a week job so they can spend 5 hours at the gym and 35 hours twiddling their thumbs.

                          I would love to read a book or blog about failure to launch - a physician who tried to walk away but kept getting pulled back in.

                          My hospital has a few retired surgeons in their 70s who still wander the halls like ghosts of Christmas past. They clearly miss feeling needed. I think the key is to design a retirement that allows you to continue living a purpose driven life.

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                          • #28




                            I look forward to hearing about WCI’s and PoF’s experiences with waking away, but even that won’t be a true test because their blogs are time consuming, financially rewarding and autonomous – just like medicine. They will find it easier to fill the void than someone who leaves their 40 hour a week job so they can spend 5 hours at the gym and 35 hours twiddling their thumbs.

                            I would love to read a book or blog about failure to launch – a physician who tried to walk away but kept getting pulled back in.

                            My hospital has a few retired surgeons in their 70s who still wander the halls like ghosts of Christmas past. They clearly miss feeling needed. I think the key is to design a retirement that allows you to continue living a purpose driven life.
                            Click to expand...


                            wci had a couple guest posters about retirement not taking the first time around.  you can try google it.

                            I think there is a difference between running away from something you are burned out from and running towards something else you really want to do.

                            we've talked about it in the past, but some fields in medicine are more conducive to going part time-others basically force you to retire or work.  I think there is a significant difference between working 25% and earning 100k versus retiring without significant W2/1099 income stream.  likewise, difference between pension/healthcare provided and not.

                            ymmv

                            jmo

                             

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                            • #29
                              With burnout and physician wellness being more on the forefront, I’ll be very interested to see if RE increases among physicians. I think we will need a good 10-15 years to know for sure, given that these issues, although not new, have been more openly discussed over the past few years. Despite multiple articles, including in mainstream media, wellness/burnout initiatives by health systems, etc. there doesn’t seem to be an effective solution to this currently.

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                              • #30




                                There are multiple blogs about early retirement out there but I’ve never actually ran across a physician who took early retirement say before 55-60?  I’ve known some who went part time and unfortunately some who got sick but never anyone who actually retired early in my over 17 years in medicine.  In fact I’ve observed the opposite.  Multiple elderly physicians still practicing.  Those who retired were generally over 65.  If this is your experience also, why do you think this is?
                                Click to expand...


                                yes. they retired at 58.

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