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Is retirement overrated?

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  • Is retirement overrated?

    ok, before the knee-jerk responses, hear me out.  I recently had some extended time off (1 month), and I hated it.  Not only did I gain 10 pounds but am sure that I aged 5 years during that  time.  I am sure 99.9% of y'all can think of so many things to do, and so can I, but chances are those things don't do it for me....I mean, I've never been a big fan of travelling, and have little cares for "pleasures" of this world, except family and sports haha

    This got me thinking, do I really want to retire? I don't think so.  I mean, I am in a profession that I absolutely love.  My profession is what most would call a "lifestyle" field. I can hold a private practice, at least partime, until I kick the bucket.  Not only that, I believe keeping the 'ol nogging active in old age is neuroprotective.  Not sure if there is already a post on this but I would love to know whether there are others out there that feel the same way that I do.  And, don't get me wrong, I still plan of planning and saving as if I will retire at 50.  But, what would be the most significant change in financial/retirement planning for individuals like myself.

  • #2
    You're status says that you're a resident.   Come back in 10 years and tell us how you feel then.


    • #3
      I'm in the somewhat opposite camp. I love to travel and am thinking of retiring abroad. At least for parts of the year. This means I'll prolly have to save more than the usual. But I also think one should travel when they are "young" - certain trips need more physical agility and I'm not into organized tours. I traveled a month after Med school and a month after residency. Cost a lot but no regrets.


      • #4
        I think most really would be very happy with FI and the ability to do whatever they want, IF they wanted. Career may not be so bad if tailored to what/when you want and especially if not needed. I would probably just try to find something else productive to do. I absolutely love traveling, doesnt have to be fancy, I could probably take a couple years to do the national parks right, the US, then abroad is endless possibilities.

        Could try to get into shape enough to do a triathlon, never understood how they have the time, its a full time job. Would definitely like to learn some new things, coding, many other subjects of interest.

        Dont get me wrong I get bored as well, but dont think medicine (my field at least) is much more stimulating than anything else, I mean it used to be, but it becomes like anything else after you've gotten a mastery, somewhat rote and simple. It just happens to occupy a decent chunk of the day and we're used to doing that. Im sure everyone would have a rough patch, but most would find something to occupy that time productively.


        • #5
          I think retirement is something like the story of the old guy and kid out fishing, one is in heaven and the other in ************************ so you have to decide what you enjoy then figure out how to do it thereby not getting stuck doing what you hate.  Retirement to some is not working, traveling, opening a different business, whatever.  To others it's going to be to work locums or part time because they want to not because they have to.  I assume by the screen name and status you are a psychiatry resident so you'll have to give it time to see what you want but there are plenty of burned out docs in all specialties.  I'm still young so take what I say with a grain of salt, but to me retirement planning is having the flexibility to not worry if I need to cut back on hours, change jobs to something lower pay that will make me/my family happier, or worse, if I get disabled stop working.  But I'm with you about working at this point in my life, I've got 4 kids and don't want to be a stay at home mom, going to work is what keeps me stable (note there are 4 kids in my house to drive me crazy).


          • #6
            The thing is, I don't have to wait until retirement do what I enjoy.  I enjoy working, the hustle and the grind; feel empty without it.  Been doing it since I was a teenager.  Is it that unbelievable that some folks can actually enjoy this? I guess it is



            • #7
              I don't think any of us thinks of retirement as sitting around doing nothing. Most of have other interests and hobbies that we would like to spend more time on. FI- a better term perhaps for "retirement" gives us that ability. No one is saying they want sit around doing nothing.


              • #8
                I believe the critical question people neglect to consider is what they are going to retire to before planning for when.
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                • #9
                  I do not know if retirement is over rated. I am not retired. I never wanted to work for a living and now I enjoy work and I do not mind working 50 + hours working per week. Now I do not want to retire. So there is fair chance that I would love retirement and will be sorry that I did not retire in my 50's, when I reached financial independence.

                  The reasons I do not want to retire:

                  1. I worked hard to be proficient at what I do, and I see it as a loss to give it up.

                  2. Society spent a fortune to train me  ( I thought it was about 2.5 million, ( 300,000 per per year and I would love to see references as to the cost of society of medical training) and I should give back and pay taxes on a boatload of money and provide services for as long as I am able.

                  3. If I do not like retirement, it will be hard to get back to my job I worked so hard to get to.

                  4. I worry that I will not be as proficient in my pursuits as I think I should, when I can spend 50 hours a week on them ( I can always blame it on my body/ knees giving out that I am not the golfer, skier, windsurfer, runner I used to be).

                  5. I like my life the way it is now. Why change?

                  6. It feels good to spend freely and that money is no object.

                  I plan to work till I feel I do not do a good job anymore and fully expect to work till I am 80 +. I am 60 now and the only problem with this, is that medicine is changing so fast ( I actually enjoy the challenges of new treatment paradigms, I just hate how what doctors do is marginalized by insurance companies, CMS, big pharma etc). What I dislike is that it will be  hard to stay in private practice.



                  • #10

                    The thing is, I don’t have to wait until retirement do what I enjoy.  I enjoy working, the hustle and the grind; feel empty without it.  Been doing it since I was a teenager.
                    Click to expand...

                    I read a book called Stumbling on Happiness.  The author references a number of studies in the field of behavioral economics.  His main thesis is that people find it difficult to imagine the future in any way other than an extension of the present, and he cites numerous research studies to support this theory.  In other words, people can't imagine that their future selves will want anything other than what they want now.  That's one reason why people would rather spend money now instead of saving for retirement later.

                    There are indeed people who prefer working to retiring, and who work until they die.  Those people are in the minority.  It's also true that psychiatrists can easily work part time, and easily work when they are old, and also have very low overhead.  So OP, you may indeed be able to work forever.

                    However,  someone who is a resident and proclaims that they don't plan on retiring because they like work and have been doing it since he "was a teenager" lacks credibility, since he was a teenager only about 10 years ago, and has spent exactly zero years actually working independently as an attending.  My conclusion isn't that you're enthusiastic.  Rather, just inexperienced.

                    When I started working as an attending, I told my senior partner that I didn't mind taking call.  He shook his head ruefully and said "wait till you have been doing it for 17 years".  I found out that he was right.  Of course, call in my field is more demanding than it is in psychiatry, but I still think the point is valid.  It's a lot more fun when you first start out than it is after 30 years.

                    OP, I suggest that you plan your financial life as if you were going to retire in your 50's, so that you're prepared for the reality that most people would rather decrease their workload or change professions or retire after 20 or 30 years in medicine.


                    • #11
                      I thought and more true, did not think about a lot of things when I was younger, and one does tend to project present into the future. Things change, views, likes/dislikes, etc...Your situation may change, or more likely your body will. Now psychiatry isnt that much of a physical toll as opposed to say surgery, but I certainly can feel the difference now. I also was masochistic and reveled in the amount of work that could be done, that fades.

                      As we age lots of things change, hormones, views and of course our bodies capabilities. All of these changes will have massive influence on how you assess your desires going forward. Its nearly impossible to accurately forecast your views in the future since the influencers are not present now that will make the biggest contribution. Its difficult in the same way it is to appreciate how painful losing 50% of your savings in a draw down is, impossible to fully understand outside of the actual event and emotions/stress that are present.

                      Not saying you will definitely have a different viewpoint in the future and as was mentioned psych certainly makes a long career very possible, just that being less sure of things and going through scenarios is more prudent.


                      • #12
                        Agree with above about FI being more important than retiring early. I'm working hard to get to that point and then I'll see what I want. Part time? No time? Work more to take yuuuge vacations? Work for social interaction? I do foresee work being more fun when financially i don't have to do it.


                        • #13
                          You had a month off and gained 10 pounds? Last time I had a month with only half days 3-4 times per week I lost 5 pounds since I had that much extra time to run and lift.


                          • #14

                            You’re status says that you’re a resident.   Come back in 10 years and tell us how you feel then.
                            Click to expand...

                            So true! When I was a resident, I loved it all. I could not believe they paid me to do what I did. It seemed so fun and exciting, and I can do this forever and will always love it...

                            20 years later, the job has changed, and I have changed, and I am very glad that I am prepared to retire so that I could quit when I wanted. So I quit!

                            It is best to prepare yourself to retire early, so it gives you the option to walk away. There is nothing worse than being in a job that you no longer like or want but feel trapped. Most people live like that, but doctors should not have to feel trapped. All the better if you always like what you do and do it forever.


                            • #15
                              I'm in the middle on this one.. I absolutely hate traveling and would never leave a two hour radius if it was up to me. With that said I can lounge with the best of them. So give me a little time off and I'll be fine.

                              So As of now I think I'll always work some. Mostly because I'll always feel guilty that I can earn so much more for my kids stability than they ever likely will be.

                              I'm also in the middle of the play now vs play later crowd. Both extremes can end up burned IMO.