An estimated 40 percent of physicians in the country are feeling the effects of physician burnout. When practicing medicine becomes a negative experience, physicians lean towards hanging up their white coats. A recent survey by Medscape shows that peak burnout is amongst physicians in their middle years, ages 46-55. Although retiring may sound appealing, you may not be quite ready to put away your stethoscope for good.
Here are three common mistakes that hinder a successful retirement:
- Retiring early can have an unfavorable impact on physicians. Due to late career starts for doctors because of continuous education and residency, most doctors do not begin retirement planning until their thirties. Even with higher salaries and longer life expectancies, physicians may face financial burdens with retirement plans.
TIP: Combat early retirement and burnout with a locum tenens job! Consider new work, different facilities, or even regions. Locums positions can support you financially and help you keep your love for medicine strong.
- If a physician retires early, he or she may have to claim social security. Did you know that the social security program determines benefits from the highest 35 years of earnings? Since physicians begin later careers, there may be years with zeroes or low earnings and lifetime benefits will be dinged.
TIP: Setting up a retirement savings plan can help stop you from dipping into your social security too early. If you have taxes withheld by an employer, then a 401(k) is a great retirement savings account. For locums physicians, you have many options like SEP IRA, solo/individual 401(k), profit sharing plans, and cash balance plans. Read more here: Physician Retirement Planning Basics.
- After little income in medical school and residency, many physicians splurge when they begin a career. Those first few paychecks cause many physicians to put a late start on retirement saving and savings in general. Although splurging may be nice, physicians have to remember that their career typically starts later than most professionals.
TIP: Putting an additional 10 to 15 percent into your retirement plan now will allow you to indulge in little things later on in life like travel, home remodels, or a new car.
If you are retiring or just planning for the future, it is important to create an effective retirement plan so that you can be financially and emotionally ready. If you manage to steer clear of these common errors, you will face retirement with a smile and some extra cash!