Ready to Wind Down or Retire? Experienced Physicians Share Their Advice - acp

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Ready to wind down or retire? Experienced physicians share their advice

Ready to Wind Down or Retire? Experienced Physicians Share Their Advice

Every doctor comes to the point in their career when retirement moves from the back burner to a top priority. As this life stage nears, many doctors question when it’s the right time to retire and how to best prepare for that next step.

Do I have enough money saved to have a comfortable retirement?
Should I change course and retire a bit later than planned?
What will I do with all my spare time?

These are common questions in the physician community. And the American College of Physicians (ACP) gathered hundreds of nuggets of valuable, insightful, and thoughtful advice from retired physicians of various ages, specialties, and perspectives to help provide answers and guidance. Here is their advice for those considering or nearing retirement:

1. Ease into it.

Don’t suddenly change your lifestyle so drastically that you feel overwhelmed with free time and boredom. Instead, begin to put some space between your career and personal life to prepare for the day when you can finally step back.

2. Consider your options as a professional.

Think about whether you want to step away from the profession entirely, wind down your practice, or perform locum tenens work to fill some of your free time.

3. Retire to something, not from something.

Find ways to fill the time after retirement. Surveyed retirees recommend volunteering in your personal or medical communities, finally ticking off bucket list items, prioritizing time with loved ones, or learning new skills. You’ve worked hard to make the world your oyster, so take the time to enjoy it.

4. Remember that it’s never too early to start planning.

Seek guidance from a financial advisor, especially a certified financial planner. Start planning early, and remember to periodically check in on your finances, retirement plans, and insurance to ensure you’re still on track.

5. Have a plan B (and maybe even a plan C).

Be sure you have an alternative route to success should your plan A not work out, whether that means being flexible enough to retire a little later than expected, delaying travel plans, or preparing yourself for an unexpected turn of events. You can never be too prepared—but 2020 has already shown us that.


retirement chart


Read more about planning a secure and fulfilling retirement in the 2021 ACP Physicians’ Financial Preparedness Report. This new report is filled with advice, insights, and data compiled from a recent study of internal medicine doctors, assessing their financial preparedness for retirement.


Source: ACP Internal Medicine Physicians’ Financial Preparedness Survey conducted March to May 2021.