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Why don\'t more MDs retire early (40\'s)? Do you know any?

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  • #31
    It's not common but I don't think we should burn the people who want to do it. It is okay to say no to doctoring if you want (I wrote a post saying as much). For me, I would like to work 10 more years (14 total since training and it would put me around 45) then scale back to 60% after a 6 month to 1 year sabbatical. That way I would be doing the job but at a much slower pace and can keep it going for a bit longer.

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    • #32
      I'm speeding towards FI--obviously, the recent equities market has helped a lot.  Originally, I had planned to pull the ripcord as soon as possible, but I'm finding that cutting down my hours at work makes the actual job a lot more palatable and gives me more than enough time to enjoy my other vices and hobbies.  Heck, I even have enough time to practice being a stay at home dad.  I could stop now (43 yo) and live indefinitely on an upper-middle class income...or I can work part-time (a veritable vacation as alluded to earlier) and continue walking around the hospital picking up $100 bills off of the ground and enjoying a decidedly patrician lifestyle.

      Don't get me wrong, if they stop paying me or if the Gov jacks up my tax rate: I can and will go John Galt.

      So add me to the list of MDs who are able, but choose not, to retire in their 40s.

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      • #33


        2. Work one more year during which you can save $$$ and see your investments grow (and need them to last one year)
        Click to expand...


        The Power of One More Year can be huge. Let's say, hypothetically, a hard-working, good-looking anesthesiologist can set aside $200,000 working one additional year. Also assume they don't spend down their portfolio by $80,000 which is their anticipated retirement spending.

        That's $11,200 a year for my family, I mean, his or her family to spend annually based on a 4% withdrawal rate. I wouldn't count market returns on the pre-existing portfolio as a factor since you'd get those whether or not you were working. Still, one more year can make a big difference, which is a big reason I'm still working.

         

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        • #34











          In fact I know of none. 
          Click to expand…


          Well, now you know one.

           
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          Actually I’m not referring to people who think about possibly retiring in 1-2 years but those who actually *have* pulled the plug (I think there’s a big difference)

          its pretty telling that no one here knows of someone who actually retired at age 45 or so, im just trying to figure out why that is.
          Click to expand…


          Oh, you want to know about early retired doctors. I still maintain I’m an “early retirement doctor” since I’m planning on it, writing about it, and have a website devoted to the concept.

          I would guess most everyone here knows a physician who was no longer working by 45. I know one who finished residency and never worked again. I’ll bet she was 29. And yes, she was married to another doctor. Others are forced into “retirement” due to legal issues or substance abuse — I know a number of those, sadly.

          It is not easy to put yourself in a position to do so, particularly if you’re also supporting a family. Here’s my guide on how to retire by 45 if anyone’s looking for a roadmap.

           

           
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          You don't count in my book until you pull the trigger.  We have been very spoiled by the long lasting bull market.  A bad bear market will destroy many plans for early retirement.  Giving up your skills and income in your 40s seems like a bad move given the uncertainties of the future and life.  Going part time, doing locums or taking a lower paying job are much better options.

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          • #35














            In fact I know of none. 
            Click to expand…


            Well, now you know one.

             
            Click to expand…


            Actually I’m not referring to people who think about possibly retiring in 1-2 years but those who actually *have* pulled the plug (I think there’s a big difference)

            its pretty telling that no one here knows of someone who actually retired at age 45 or so, im just trying to figure out why that is.
            Click to expand…


            Oh, you want to know about early retired doctors. I still maintain I’m an “early retirement doctor” since I’m planning on it, writing about it, and have a website devoted to the concept.

            I would guess most everyone here knows a physician who was no longer working by 45. I know one who finished residency and never worked again. I’ll bet she was 29. And yes, she was married to another doctor. Others are forced into “retirement” due to legal issues or substance abuse — I know a number of those, sadly.

            It is not easy to put yourself in a position to do so, particularly if you’re also supporting a family. Here’s my guide on how to retire by 45 if anyone’s looking for a roadmap.

             

             
            Click to expand…


            You don’t count in my book until you pull the trigger.  We have been very spoiled by the long lasting bull market.  A bad bear market will destroy many plans for early retirement.  Giving up your skills and income in your 40s seems like a bad move given the uncertainties of the future and life.  Going part time, doing locums or taking a lower paying job are much better options.
            Click to expand...


            I believe this to be the case. This Bull market is like a lull. Lets see how many are very confident in a long long bear market. The true test of grit and sticking to the plan.

            @PoF - I mean slippery slope though no? One more year...just one more and soon you realize its a string of 10 years.

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            • #36




              We have been very spoiled by the long lasting bull market.  A bad bear market will destroy many plans for early retirement.  Giving up your skills and income in your 40s seems like a bad move given the uncertainties of the future and life.  Going part time, doing locums or taking a lower paying job are much better options.
              Click to expand...


              Very much this.  It'd be very difficult to quit work for years and then get back in practice like nothing changed.  You'd have trouble getting licensed/credentialed plus getting back into a workflow.  I have trouble readjusting even after a week off!

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              • #37


                @PoF – I mean slippery slope though no? One more year…just one more and soon you realize its a string of 10 years.
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                Believe me, I know. It's a discussion my wife and I have at least monthly. Really just vacillating between 2018 and 2019 exit dates, and whether or not to explore a half-time option.

                Comment


                • #38





                  @PoF – I mean slippery slope though no? One more year…just one more and soon you realize its a string of 10 years. 
                  Click to expand…


                  Believe me, I know. It’s a discussion my wife and I have at least monthly. Really just vacillating between 2018 and 2019 exit dates, and whether or not to explore a half-time option.
                  Click to expand...


                  not meant to be a personal attack. but I doubt you will have the guts to actually pull the trigger and fully retire. i do like your blog though.

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                  • #39
                    I don't know any early retirees. In fact, all of the physicians with whom I have worked directly chose to work well into their 60's. Some were great with money, others I'm not so sure. I had a partner who was mad at 65 when our hospital closed and he had to retire... I still have lunch with him every month and at 68 he wishes he kept working in between going back and forth to his multimillion dollar house in St. Croix  (but he didn't want to move or update his skills, so...)

                    I honestly just really like my career - I think of being a doctor as part of my life, not as just a job. I work hard, use my knowledge, earn a great living, spend some money on dumb stuff, save a lot and enjoy myself with my family. In this way, I am much more like WCI over Mr Money Mushtache or the Bogleheads - I have no desire to live on 24k or even 50k a year in "retirement".  I know that there are things about medicine that are a pain, but everyone has aspects of their job that stink. The coders at Google who play ping-pong and go to the gym during lunch have their own issues too I'm sure (well, maybe). And I think getting paid low-to-mid 6 figures (or more) for a skill that is always in demand is pretty darn nice and generally recession-proof

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                    • #40
                      I continue to return to the thesis in the OP that financially savvy necessarily implies early retirement. Or the mindset that one should work as hard as possible and save as much as possible early in one's career so that he/she can get out as early as possible. In fact, I wonder if having that as an objective is self-fulfilling. Humping at work, taking extra shifts, living like a miser and neglecting family, friends, and interests probably encourages one to get out ASAP because that lifestyle sucks.

                      And again, retiring early is great, but you have to retire to something. Sitting around counting your money, waiting for the mailman and scrutinizing Vanguard's ERs all day will get old very quickly.

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                      • #41




                        I continue to return to the thesis in the OP that financially savvy necessarily implies early retirement. Or the mindset that one should work as hard as possible and save as much as possible early in one’s career so that he/she can get out as early as possible. In fact, I wonder if having that as an objective is self-fulfilling. Humping at work, taking extra shifts, living like a miser and neglecting family, friends, and interests probably encourages one to get out ASAP because that lifestyle sucks.

                        And again, retiring early is great, but you have to retire to something. Sitting around counting your money, waiting for the mailman and scrutinizing Vanguard’s ERs all day will get old very quickly.
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                        Very well said.

                        Problem - as far as I am seeing from a senior resident perspective - is that of burn out. Not every field is kind on physicians cutting back to part time. I think most will agree that medicine is enjoyable if done in moderation.

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                        • #42




                          I know one who sold his company at 50 and retired not because he didn’t like practicing, but because the liability was too much. He was simply adding liability without sufficient compensation to be worth the liability. And he wanted to spend time with his kids and run more rivers.

                          The only ones I know who retired in their 40s are people I know online.

                          It is very uncommon for three reasons:

                          1) Most docs aren’t savvy enough financially to pull it off

                          2) Many of those who are actually like their job

                          3) It requires serious financial sacrifices to retire at that age as a doc. Unless you detest your job, perhaps those sacrifices aren’t worth it. While some espouse the benefits of financial independence, which are very real, the main benefit is the ability to retire early. If you don’t need/want that, FI isn’t all that life changing. So as you approach your number, why not sit back, evaluate your life, figure out what you want and if it turns out that what you want to do includes something that pays you well, loosen up the purse strings a bit if there are purchases that would increase your happiness.

                          This post discusses some of the sacrifices: https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/14-reasons-why-you-shouldn%E2%80%99t-retire-early/
                          Click to expand...


                          WCI hit the nail on the head with point number 3. Even doing everything right, you need a good dose of luck and you probably need to make enormous sacrifices around family and personal satisfactions to achieve retirement in your early 40s. I've done 'everything right' and I've been pretty lucky and I could retire now (age 43) - but only if we spent $50,000 per year instead of $120,000. The reason is that health care alone would cost us $30,000 and my portfolio could support an $80,000 per year spending at 3% SWR. Well, dropping from $120k per year to $50k per year is an enormous decrease in quality of life. It would mean no traveling, moving to a very small house, pulling the kids out of most of their activities, eating a beans and rice diet, canceling cable and internet and newspaper subscriptions, etc. I really don't see the point of living like that just so I can retire. I like my job. I work 4 days per week. My work is rewarding and mostly has stable hours. I have input into policy-making at my hospital and in my multi-state organization through various leadership positions. It's all good.

                          I can drop to 3 days per week and may do that soon. I may go to 2 days per week by my late 40s. Or maybe I won't, and I'll just take a pay cut for more vacation (I get 8 weeks now). FI can mean a lot of things, including flexibility. It doesn't have to mean quitting.

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                          • #43
                            @FIREshrink

                            I think threshold to say "I can retire" then should be $120,000 if you want to spend that much.

                            Heck as a resident I CAN retire now. Just would have to not have a kid, live in the $800 apartment + make loan payments all from RE income. Problem solved.

                            People forget that the word flexibility can be stretched to infinity. That stretch factor decides when enough is enough. Too random to quantify. In fact recent reading for 4% withdrawal rate seems bogus to me.

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                            • #44




                              Plenty MDs retire early.  Some even in their 20s and 30s.  They’re called women ?

                              Seriously though, only reason an MD would typically retire that early is due to some disability or because the MD had enough money or other income to no longer need to work.  For the habitual saver who loves to put money away, retiring that early is asking that saver to stop saving and give up hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.  Not going to happen.

                              The only MDs I know of that have retired that early are MDs married to other MDs who no longer need the money and prefer to stay home with kids etc.  Even then, only a handful.  Too much time and effort invested, student loans accrued, etc. to hang it up so quickly.  And then most are happy with their jobs, are the primary breadwinners in their family, have to support a lavish lifestyle they’ve been living since college, etc. etc.
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                              Craigy- first sentence is totally uncool.  For as many as there are 20/30 something females who are "retired", there are plenty of 20/30 something males who have "failed to launch".   Also, there are plenty of SAHD married to female MDs who are sole breadwinners.  Its like sex and reproduction, it takes two to tango. Please reconsider.

                              Interestingly, I recently read about a woman, who at age 69, did not want to retire.  Furthermore, she has never taken a backseat and even tolerated some poorly made choices from her counterpart. Instead, she was willing to continue to put effort into the work which she has committed more than half her life towards.  But, alas, what do we have now......

                               

                               

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                              • #45








                                @PoF – I mean slippery slope though no? One more year…just one more and soon you realize its a string of 10 years. 
                                Click to expand…


                                Believe me, I know. It’s a discussion my wife and I have at least monthly. Really just vacillating between 2018 and 2019 exit dates, and whether or not to explore a half-time option.
                                Click to expand…


                                not meant to be a personal attack. but I doubt you will have the guts to actually pull the trigger and fully retire. i do like your blog though.
                                Click to expand...


                                Oooh, he's calling you out.

                                So here's the question for the internet retirement police. If he quits practicing but keeps blogging is that "fully retiring" or not?
                                Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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