By: Michael J. Searcy
Picturing a snapshot of life in retirement might bring to mind images of gardening, grandchildren, relaxing on a beach and golfing – the images of activities people enjoy. The attraction of retirement is having the time to do what you enjoy, time for your hobbies. However, for many doctors, their job is their hobby. They love what they do, the skills they use, the people they meet, and the feeling of accomplishment. Retiring for them means the loss of a hobby, not a chance to gain new ones. Retirement means losing the opportunity to do something they love. If you love what you do, is work really work? Is there a way to retire in your job, not from your job?
Many practices are helping doctors incorporate their work into their retirement which can be a beneficial situation for all parties involved. For regions experiencing a doctor shortage, the thought of having their older doctors retire can be challenging for a hospital or private practice. In this situation, giving two doctors nearing retirement the option to stay on half time while the practice searches for one new doctor to replace them might be an excellent solution. Both doctors still enjoy the benefits they feel from their work, continue to earn income, and can use their new free time to incorporate other activities they enjoy into their lives.
Another option could be to pair a doctor nearing retirement with a younger doctor who is growing a family. Each could reduce their number of hours of work, but still maintain their skills and earn income. By the time the younger doctor is ready to ease back in to full-time practice, the older doctor might be ready for full retirement. While each situation might be unique to each practice, the idea of time sharing can be applied universally.
Time sharing or reduced hours can also be a beneficial option for doctors wishing to accumulate more for retirement before leaving their practice. Perhaps the market corrections over the past decade put them further from retirement than originally planned or they don't want a hard-stop on earning income. By working less than before, they still have time for their grandchildren and other hobbies while they have good health, and also gain a few additional years to keep revenue coming in the door. This helps the doctors and their families enjoy fun activities without the worry of how much they are spending or if their retirement fund will run out too soon.
Let your financial advisor know your thoughts about retirement. They can discuss with you the different scenarios that might be available, and help you balance your planning for a healthy cash flow in retirement with your desire to do what you love. They can show you the impact additional income will have on your retirement goals. Several of my clients have stayed in practice with a reduced time commitment, and are experiencing a new work-life balance. They choose to retire in their job, not from their job – enjoying a retirement lifestyle while being productive in the hobby they love – their profession.
Originally published in MD News
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