Most people look forward to the day when they can retire. But surveys show Physicians aren’t too excited about leaving the profession.
The average retirement age in the United States is 63. According to a CompHealth survey, on average, respondents intend to retire at 68 years old.
The U.S. Census shows, 30 percent of physicians are 60 or older and the average age of active licensed doctors is 51.
Many Physicians do look forward to spending more time with their families and on doing things they love to do outside of work. But many don’t want to retire due to the enjoyment of the practice of medicine, the social aspects of working, and the desire to maintain their existing lifestyle.
One reason Physicians work longer than other people is because they started their careers later.
Medical school runs four years and residency can be three years or more so Physicians don’t start earning an income well into their 30’s.
When asked about retirement concerns, the top responses were:
• Loss of the social dynamic of the work environment
• Loss of purpose
• Boredom, loneliness or depression
• Unable to maintain desired lifestyle
• Not feeling useful
• Lack of sufficient savings
• Concern about care of patients
According to a Physicians Practice article, most physicians over the age of 60 said they remain confident in their skills with 91 percent feeling they can still be useful and 89 percent feeling they can still be competitive in the healthcare field.
A CompHealth survey asked Physicians to look back over their careers on whether they would have done anything differently, 44% of responding physicians wished that they had kept a better work/life balance, while 34% reported that they wished they had begun saving for retirement earlier, 19% that they had chosen a different medical specialty, and 13% that they had chosen to work in a different practice type. Only 12% reported that they wished they had chosen a different career altogether. (The percentages add up to more than 100% because participants were allowed to choose multiple answers.)
The ideal retirement is different for every physician. It depends on their individual circumstances, desires, health and other factors. But, it is clear that the valuable skills they spend their careers developing afford physicians the opportunity to continue to contribute even after they retire.