By: Dr. Ken Teufel
Rarely does one hear of a physician taking “early retirement.” In fact, many physicians continue working well past the traditional retirement age of 65. Being a doctor is “who they are,” and it’s hard to walk away from that part of their personal identity. But this is only part of the picture.
Age Wave and Merrill Lynch recently surveyed more than 7000 retirees and pre-retirees (physicians included) to assess their attitudes toward working in retirement. Completed in March 2014, this comprehensive study — “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations” — reveals that retirement is not what it used to be and challenges some long-held assumptions.
Myth #1: Retirement means the end of work.
Reality: Majority of the pre-retirees say they want to continue working in retirement.
Myth #2: Retirement is a time of decline.
Reality: Retirees are living longer, healthier, and more active lifestyles.
Myth #3: People primarily work in retirement because they need the money.
Reality: It’s not just about the money. Many retirees choose to keep working for non-financial reasons.
Myth #4: New career ambitions are only for young people.
Reality: Three out of four pre-retirees say they are open to charting a new path during retirement.
The study also looks at four types of retirees based on why they have chosen to continue working:
The Driven Achievers: These are the Type A workaholics. They can’t imagine themselves not working.
The Caring Contributors: These retirees are motivated by their concern for others and a desire to make a difference.
The Life Balancers: This group wants a less stressful, more flexible way of working that provides a good income.
The Earnest Earners: For these retirees, income is the main reason they keep working.
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When asked for their best advice to others, working retirees agreed: “Be open to trying something new.”
About the author: Dr. Ken Teufel is the medical director at Interim Physicians, a pioneer locum tenens physician staffing firm based in St. Louis, MO that has provided quality physician coverage to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities since 1979.