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When early retirement is not early enough...

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  • When early retirement is not early enough...

    (I am going to be a little bit vague on details to protect privacy on the off chance that someone here may know the subject of this thread)

    I have a professional friend, late 50's, subspecialty surgeon, with whom I share a common interest in early retirement. We eat lunch together often in the doctor's lounge, usually with a few others, but I have never socialized with him outside the hospital. I have closely followed his early retirement blueprint as a potential model for what I might do in the future, and he has been forthcoming with his plans over the last few years.

    In fact, he is retiring at the end of this month, and he and his wife are planning to go to Europe in early October. He has had a full medical career, raised and educated his kids (all adults now), bought land and built his dream retirement home in the mountain West, and looks forward to the rest of his life in front of him, with travel, golf, skiing, and lots of time to spend with family. In addition, he picked up a part time college biology teaching gig in his new location. Everything was falling beautifully into place. Until this week.

    What looked at first to be an unusually aggressive bout of pneumonia with a pleural effusion over the weekend has turned out to be either Stage IV lung CA (never smoked) or metastatic disease to the pleura (unknown primary), either of which will almost certainly limit his early retirement to three to six months, and not likely include much European travel, golf, or skiing.

    Absolutely heart-wrenching and brutal , but a sharp lesson to balance living for today with planning for the future.

  • #2
    Heartfelt embrace to you and your friend.   Let's all check our moles, get screening colonoscopies, and also live our best lives.


    • #3
      Sad case and anytime Stage IV hits unexpectedly;  lots of new stuff out these days to extend Stage IV.   My aunt on Keytruda and did well for 6months then progressing now.   Have patient with Stage IV to brain on Opdivo for 1 year.


      Carpe Diem.   Each day to the fullest.


      • #4
        My condolences to your friend. I'm glad he has such a great friend to help him through this. Points out the need to balance out having a life while you're still working with having a dream retirement. Prayers and best wishes for your friend and colleague.


        • #5
          Yes jz we all need to get all the screening tests.  Several docs at my hospital have died in the last few months also.  It does make you reassess your priorities.


          • #6
            Heartbreaking to hear.


            Agree with balancing getting to FI while enjoying life now.


            I could pay off my loans faster and put more away - or still do a bit of both in a timely manner while still taking some kick ****************** trips and eating out which we enjoy.


            • #7
              A couple of months ago I had some free time and decided to get in touch with some people I knew from residency.

              Out of about 10 that I researched:  4 doctors and one wife dead in their 50's.   Another doc dead at 50.  Not a representative sample, but food for thought nonetheless.





              • #8
                That's just awful. Best wishes to him.

                Reminds me I really ought to use more vacation time even though I would take a salary hit (I'm RVU based)


                • #9
                  Thank you for sharing.  Best wishes to your friend and his family.


                  • #10
                    My parents were in outstanding health and my physician dad retired at 80, when my mom was 70. Six months later my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and 2 months later my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Despite some of the best care in the world, neither lived 2 years. They died four months ago with a pile of money. One of the last things my dad admitted to me is that he had worried about running out of money his entire life.

                    I do not plan to be my dad. I bought a $60,000 truck this year and not a second of regret.


                    • #11
                      Sorry about your friend.  I wish him good luck and peace in the upcoming months.

                      That is why I sometimes chuckle when people get obsessed about $1,000, or say never but a new car.   A bunch of us here won't be around for retirement.

                      Appreciate the little things.  Live beneath your means.  Know that any day could be the last day, or perhaps not.

                      Stephen Mitchell's translation of The Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey, might be a good book at this time.


                      • #12

                        Very sorry to hear that. Something like that affects one deeply.

                        But a metastatic cancer can affect at any age, especially a breast cancer in a female. Sitting in a weekly breast cancer tumor board is a sobering lesson about life and its unexpected twists and turns. So it is best to work well and enjoy work. But also continue to take vacations and do other fun activities in your twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. That way, if an expected thing should happen, you have lived life to the fullest.


                        • #13

                          Moderation in all things.
                          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


                          • #14
                            By family history, I have extra reason to believe this could be me.  I intentionally took a salary-only position (no incentive to work more) with generous vacation time in order to make myself take time off and enjoy my family for whatever time I have... which I hope to be decades.

                            I worry about competing risks regarding the possibility of making an early exit from this life: not having made enough money for the family I leave behind, and not spending enough time with them/doing things I enjoy.  Thankfully, one of those risks is insurable, so I can make decisions mostly in light of the other.


                            • #15
                              My mother died unexpectedly at age 64 from a MI.  She was a heavy smoker. My father lived to be 92 despite being a smoker from age 13 -55.  He led a cholesterol laden life as well.  I worry more about living to 100.  POF has an actuarial post today about longevity.  I guess I am more frightened by longevity than an early death.  Some things are just unpredictable.  Anyone no matter how healthy can die in a MVA anytime.  My college roommate and best friend from high school died at age 43 from metastatic breast cancer leaving behind 3 little kids.