I cannot make the jump and retire

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VictoriaF
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by VictoriaF »

wshang wrote:Butterfly effect = OMG, I am now responsible for removing four 50-ish y/o physicians from the healthcare system. GDP just dropped by several million. Cumulative stress level dropped by even more! :D
It's not a butterfly, it's an invisible hand. The best and the brightest have choices and they exercise these choices.

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Mitchell777
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Mitchell777 »

I once worked with someone in his 70's. Said he would never retire. In his case he liked the work and the people he worked with. His wife talked him into a long vacation. When he returned he retired.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by TheTimeLord »

bhsince87 wrote:
StarbuxInvestor wrote:
IMHO until you have an activity to go to in retirement there is zero reason to retire. Don't just retire for the sake of retiring. Age wise you aren't going to fit in with most retirees anyway. Find a passion that can keep you engaged in life whether it be reading, volunteering, travel, a sport just something or you might end up with a huge void in life. For many people a huge percentage of their social life revolves around work and losing that with nothing to replace it could be a very difficult adjustment. Best of luck on whatever path you take.

This is the most insightful quote of the thread for me.

What a surprise to find it comes from starbux investor!

Apparently, you're learning something here, starbux. Me too! :sharebeer
Even a blind squirrek finds a nut every now and then. Plus I have retired and unretired so I have a little experience in the area.
Last edited by TheTimeLord on Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Luke Duke
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Luke Duke »

obgyn65 wrote: 95% of my assets are in CDs or munis.
:shock:

This is a good way to outlive your money. I would definitely recommend reading some books on the Boggleheads reading list.
http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Category ... nd_authors
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siamond
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Re: Good advice

Post by siamond »

Blister wrote:It sounds like you need to take a vacation. A long 1-2 month vacation.
I'd suggest a real sabbatical instead. At least 3 months, preferably 6. Then you will experience how is it to NOT be paid, and you will have enough time to experiment on how to make your non-work days full and enjoyable. While not severing the link to the job/employer that you still seem somewhat attached to. At the end of the sabbatical, you will probably see things differently, and decide to go one way or another in a more serene, fact-based, manner.
chaz
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by chaz »

I made the jump at 74 - not earlier because I enjoyed working.
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heyyou
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by heyyou »

From Victoria

A trip of the lifetime turned into a desire for the lifetime of trips.
As a thank you for your wonderful quote, here is one for you.
It was the hottest, driest, roughest, rockiest, ruggedest, reddest, least populated, least developed, least watered, most sun baked, most desolate, most forlorn, most God forsaken corner of the Southwest. It was the best I've seen, so far.
Edward Abbey
I know of a lab tech who volunteers in Haiti for several months every third year. Her husband does maintenance and remodeling at the hospital there while she is in the lab. His brother helps by managing their dozen rental properties here in the States.

For the OP, why don't you unwind your medical business here, and go volunteer where your medical skills are needed. That puts purpose into your life that is worth more than money.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
LadyIJ
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by LadyIJ »

obgyn65 wrote:To answer your question I have found out that what makes me truly happy is to set up free clinics in third world countries and run them to take care of people free of charge. Trying to save lives each time I go, about 3 or 4 times a year. There is nothing like it.


Not to get off topic, but what about free clinics in our country? It's a shame so many take their talents and goodwill abroad when we have so much poverty right here. Also, I was sure I would retire at 59 1/2, but not I'm shooting for 61. Many of my friends had the same issue - it could take a year or two to psyche oneself - and watching the net worth go up is pleasurable - in a kind of Silas Marner sort of way :)
JustSomeDude
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by JustSomeDude »

I am in similar situation. I am a mid 50’s medical professional in a deteriorating group practice situation. The road ahead is impossible. I will leave clinical practice shortly. I will continue my teaching activities and look for new volunteering activities. I am not certain how I will spend my time, but developing a new passion is not possible when struggling just to meet your clinically obligations. My wife is very supportive and says life outside of medicine is possible and enjoyable. I will step out in faith and keep my ears open. I am fond of this quote: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. “ Alexander Graham Bell.
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Just Some Dude
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obgyn65
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

I have already set up 2 free clinics in the US. However, the needs in third world countries are immense. I have seen kids eating grass in front of me as they were so hungry. When I give $20 to a woman in El Salvador for her to buy milk for her kids, this money is like one week's pay and she has tears in her eyes. When I give $20 to a patient to my free clinics in the US, the answer is sometimes "please can you give me more ?" ..
LadyIJ wrote:
obgyn65 wrote:

Not to get off topic, but what about free clinics in our country? It's a shame so many take their talents and goodwill abroad when we have so much poverty right here. Also, I was sure I would retire at 59 1/2, but not I'm shooting for 61. Many of my friends had the same issue - it could take a year or two to psyche oneself - and watching the net worth go up is pleasurable - in a kind of Silas Marner sort of way :)
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
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obgyn65
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

I feel the same. The road ahead has become impossible. I will have to reduce my working hours. I am posting this in the middle of the night, haven't slept at all. My professional life feels empty. Looking forward to opening new doors.
JustSomeDude wrote:I am in similar situation. I am a mid 50’s medical professional in a deteriorating group practice situation. The road ahead is impossible. I will leave clinical practice shortly. I will continue my teaching activities and look for new volunteering activities. I am not certain how I will spend my time, but developing a new passion is not possible when struggling just to meet your clinically obligations. My wife is very supportive and says life outside of medicine is possible and enjoyable. I will step out in faith and keep my ears open. I am fond of this quote: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. “ Alexander Graham Bell.
Best
Just Some Dude
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
SGM
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by SGM »

Read First Do No Harm Being a Resilient Doctor in the 21st Century by Leanne Rowe and Michael Kidd.

When I read that you were a more conservative investor and were mostly in CDs, my immediate thought was "Yikes!" What about inflation?

It took me two years of working part time and exploring new interests before I decided to pull the plug at the end of next month. I have been in the field for over 20 years, but I had a few other careers before medicine.
Wolkenspiel
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Wolkenspiel »

I'll keep a link to this thread handy for next time the "doctor's hourly pay is less than school teachers" meme comes around.
Dave1
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Dave1 »

Maybe it would help to see it not as retiring but as changing course. Just words, I know, but it helps to reframe the problem sometimes when the original problem seems to be too much to tackle at one time. What's the worst that can happen anyway? The free clinics may not pan out as you wish, corruption might set in, people might not benefit as much as you think etc. etc. etc. And then you will take stock of the situation and make yet another decision, and maybe yet another course correction at that time. Maybe you will decide to do something else, or maybe you will decide to come back to your current job or something similar , or ???? My point is that you have already done all the necessary groundwork, so now it's time to give it a shot, knowing that if the worst happens you will still be fine. I found it to be helpful to consider the upper and lower bounds of the decision tree consequences of any major decision. Good luck whatever you choose to do.
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wshang
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by wshang »

Dave1 wrote:. . . maybe you will decide to come back to your current job or something similar
For the non-physicians, just a point of clarification. It is very difficult to "come back" to the same job for physicians.

The board recertification requirements are uniformly becoming more frequent and rigorous. They include continued work, preparation for exams, keeping up on continuing medical education which is time consuming and frequently not inexpensive. Personally, I am keeping up my CME hours, but it takes a good deal of self-discipline - a good deal more than when I could attend a course and get a certificate at the end.

Malpractice insurance, especially for OB is extremely expensive, not to mention the overhead cost of running an office. Many specialties cannot simply go part-time for these reasons alone. I have seen many OB/GYN's drop the first two letters to have a decent lifestyle.

With no intention to hijack this thread, physicians face the economic problem of extreme specialization. While a creative mind can think of ways to use an MD/DO degree in nontraditional ways, these jobs tend to be niche type and relatively few.

In answer to the comment made earlier about serving in free clinics in the US, the headaches faced by physicians of documentation and liability are simply absent in these other countries where the need and level of patient appreciation is so much higher.
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tom0153
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by tom0153 »

Gee, you may be a candidate for a financial planner with good (read excellent) pedigree who can show you how to allocate a portion of that cash to equities, and how to move around your investment in munis so that your fixed income is in line with everything else (including those deferred annuities).

I'm guessing that you would want to know how this would increase your returns at the same time that it only marginally increased your risk (you are already at risk for inflation, and the losses that might occur if rates increase).

I'd ask here how best to find such an excellent financial planner. I am thinking you'd only need to consult once, and then be able to commit to managing your own money.

Do you think that your conservative investment style has anything to do with not wanting to mess with the status quo in terms of employment? Not a psychologist :D
obgyn65 wrote:There is nothing extraordinary about my assets. I am about average when I look at the bogleheads net worth survey. About mid seven figure, depending on how I count the value of my deferred annuities.

But I am single with no kids, so expenses are less than 50k a year.

The big difference is that I am much more conservative than most here, as about 95% of my assets are in CDs or munis. So I watch my accounts carefully since I don't know much about finance.
pteam wrote:
If you want more info from us tell us your assets, and your expenses, and your plans.
Best, Tom
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Wannabe »

obgyn65 wrote:I have already set up 2 free clinics in the US. However, the needs in third world countries are immense. I have seen kids eating grass in front of me as they were so hungry. When I give $20 to a woman in El Salvador for her to buy milk for her kids, this money is like one week's pay and she has tears in her eyes.
That's gotta be a really great feeling. Very cool.

Does word spread that there's some gringo giving out free money and you get hounded?
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obgyn65
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

I have ruled out using a CFP at this stage but may change my mind in the future.

I agree with the "stop playing when you have won the game". I have no desire to take any risk with my money. Once I leave my position, there will be NO way back. Inflation risk is the only risk I am willing to take.
VictoriaF wrote:
windhog wrote:

I don't think the OP is uncomfortable with financial management. He can live without risk and he chooses to live without risk; that's his "management." It's consistent with the approach recommended by many others here, "If you have won the game you can stop playing." Most financial planners cause more harm that good; the OP does not need one and probably does not want one. And he is too young for buying SPIAs.

Victoria
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
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TheTimeLord
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by TheTimeLord »

obgyn65 wrote:I have ruled out using a CFP at this stage but may change my mind in the future.

I agree with the "stop playing when you have won the game". I have no desire to take any risk with my money. Once I leave my position, there will be NO way back. Inflation risk is the only risk I am willing to take.
VictoriaF wrote:
windhog wrote:

I don't think the OP is uncomfortable with financial management. He can live without risk and he chooses to live without risk; that's his "management." It's consistent with the approach recommended by many others here, "If you have won the game you can stop playing." Most financial planners cause more harm that good; the OP does not need one and probably does not want one. And he is too young for buying SPIAs.

Victoria
I think a lot of people who think they are out of the game really aren't. Believing the debt market is not part of the game is illogical to me.
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windhog
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by windhog »

I thought I was done contributing to this thread previously and stopped following the discussion. After catching up today, I have one more thought.

I totally agree with the OP’s view that an extended vacation or sabbatical is not feasible. Whether the constraints are institutional, financial or emotional is irrelevant: the OP cannot simply walk away and expect to return. Physicians are socialized to feel very uncomfortable with abandoning their commitments, and often their work arrangements make this a practical impossibility. (See wshang's post above.)

I would reiterate my view that the OP’s struggle is entangled with finances, which led to my prior suggestion of engaging a fee-only CFP. I find this last statement interesting.
I have ruled out using a CFP at this stage but may change my mind in the future.
One would think that the value of a CFP for a busy, preoccupied physician would be greatest during the accumulation phase and least after having won the game. How would you see a CFP being helpful to you in the future?

I have a friend (I am not among his clients) who is a CFP and whose clients include many physicians. During a recent conversation I summarized the sense of this thread. His response was just the opposite of what one might have expected. He felt that the best advice to the OP was to seek psychological counseling, and after reading this, I must agree.
The road ahead has become impossible. I will have to reduce my working hours. I am posting this in the middle of the night, haven't slept at all. My professional life feels empty.
There is a good reason why jumping is not possible. You need to understand why, and no amount of financial literacy or vacation recovery is going to help you with this.

I hope this helps.
Paul
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VictoriaF
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by VictoriaF »

windhog wrote:I thought I was done contributing to this thread previously and stopped following the discussion. After catching up today, I have one more thought.
Paul,

I also thought that I was done contributing, but I'd like to respond to you. Why does the OP have to do anything at all? He has enough money to last him a lifetime even if he keeps it all in dollar bills.

Victoria
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windhog
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by windhog »

Hi Victoria,

I'm pleased to respond to your comment. I would totally agree that this poster has no need of help in accumulation of assets, which is the reason most investors engage a CFP. My original thought was that a CFP could provide the reassurance that might be needed for OP to 'make the jump' to retirement and/or charitable work abroad. I could not escape the feeling that this person is anxiously (or compulsively) following the growth of their investments, which, after having won the game, strikes me as inappropriate and rather sad. (Remember, the OP offered the connection between the lack of courage to jump with the preoccupation with following the growth of the portfolio.)

I agree that the OP has no need to do anything different with the portfolio. Just remember that someone struggling (for a year) with a retirement question posted on the BH forum to get help with the problem. The problem is not "Do I have enough?" I would frame the question rather as "Why is watching my portfolio grow more important to me than doing what I really wish to do?" I certainly do not know why, but I think the OP needs to figure that out. Otherwise, I see no solution to their dilemma.

Again, hoping this will help somehow,
Paul
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VictoriaF
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by VictoriaF »

Hi Paul,

Thank you for a detailed answer. I hope it is useful to the poster. I am satisfied, but that's beside the point,

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
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Abe
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Abe »

obgyn65 wrote:I have been trying to retire for at least a year but I don't have the courage to make the jump. Turned 49 this year.

The sad truth is that I get some enjoyment from watching my net worth grow every year. But I just feel burnt out.

How did you make the jump and quit your job ? How long did it take between your decision to retire and finally walk out and embark on the phase of your life?

I guess I am looking for inspiration. Thank you in advance.
I can relate some to your situation. I think part of the problem is that we scrimp and save so long that even after we have reached and even surpassed financial independence, we cannot change our mindset that we have had for so long. That's the way it is for me. Consciously I know that I have plenty of money; subconsciously, I can't relax. I have to keep doing the same things I always did. I don't know if that is your situation, but I think it is. I had a small business that was wearing me down physically and mentally. I thought about getting out for a long time, maybe 10 years or so, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. A little over 20 years ago I finally did it. I had the same thoughts and concerns that you do which is natural because it is a big change in your life. I didn't have near as much money as you do now when I sold my business. The funny thing is my networth increased almost fivefold since I sold my business which was a big surprise to me. As for your situation, I think you have plenty of money to do what you want to do. In one of your post you said you have a mid 7 figure net worth. You are single with no children and you only spend about $50,000 per year. So if you only withdraw 1% from lets say a 5 million dollar portfolio then you should never run out of money. So in my opinion, your problem is mental not financial. There comes a time when we need to just do it. Good luck. :beer
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gasdoc
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by gasdoc »

As an anesthesiologist who just spent the better part of last night working with OB/GYN's in Labor & Delivery, I understand the OP's sentiments (I am guessing he is an OB/GYN from his name. This past summer, my wife and I bought a home in a well known retirement community in Florida, where we visit a few times per year, and rent the place out the remainder of the year. This has given me an opportunity to compare my future retirement life with my current working life. I am only a little older than the OP (54), and I plan to retire at age 60-62. Who knows- now that I can see a part of my future, it may be easier to cut the cord and "jump!"
staythecourse
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by staythecourse »

The first key is to find out WHY you keep working. If I remember correctly from you past posts finances is not an issue.

Is it nothing else to do?
Is it fear (albeit irrational) of running out of money?
Is it you still like parts of your job?

Just like in medicine unless you have a diagnosis it is useless to try to come up with a treatment.

If I remember correctly from you previous posts on your finances you are VERY conservative so maybe some of this is just plain fear of running out money. I would caution you regarding working just to see your net worth go up. The same time you net worth is going up it is NOT uncompensated. Your are giving up time which only gets lower and lower each year that goes by. So I would change your thinking about exchanging seeing your net worth go up vs. giving up limited time of life.

Good luck.

p.s. I do second retiring and feeding the working side by doing some medical missionary work which you seem to love.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
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obgyn65
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

Thank you for your post. Please can you kindly provide a reference for good retirement communities ? feel free to send me a PM. Thank you.
bkinder wrote:As an anesthesiologist who just spent the better part of last night working with OB/GYN's in Labor & Delivery, I understand the OP's sentiments (I am guessing he is an OB/GYN from his name. This past summer, my wife and I bought a home in a well known retirement community in Florida, where we visit a few times per year, and rent the place out the remainder of the year. This has given me an opportunity to compare my future retirement life with my current working life. I am only a little older than the OP (54), and I plan to retire at age 60-62. Who knows- now that I can see a part of my future, it may be easier to cut the cord and "jump!"
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
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obgyn65
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

To answer your question, I keep working to make more money and save more. The "one more year syndrome", I guess. Very conservative with my investments, this is correct. I keep working to increase my feeling of financial safety, although realistically I have been financially independent for years and could live on 1% of my net worth. Maybe it's a form of OCD, I don't know.

However, I am single without children and feel very lonely, especially around the festive season. My brother, parents and cousins all live in Europe.

I also found out that I can have a much larger positive impact on people's lives in developing countries than here in the US. Only a few thousands dollars are needed to set up and run a free clinic in Central America. I have set up a couple of clinics every year for the last five years or so, and now trying to set up small orphanages in cooperation with MDs there and a few mayors. My life certainly has more meaning there than in the US. It's my passion - see my signature line.

I am still afraid to run out of money, but the desire to stop my full time position to help the neediest has become the top priority for 2015.
staythecourse wrote:The first key is to find out WHY you keep working. If I remember correctly from you past posts finances is not an issue.

Is it nothing else to do?
Is it fear (albeit irrational) of running out of money?
Is it you still like parts of your job?

Just like in medicine unless you have a diagnosis it is useless to try to come up with a treatment.

If I remember correctly from you previous posts on your finances you are VERY conservative so maybe some of this is just plain fear of running out money. I would caution you regarding working just to see your net worth go up. The same time you net worth is going up it is NOT uncompensated. Your are giving up time which only gets lower and lower each year that goes by. So I would change your thinking about exchanging seeing your net worth go up vs. giving up limited time of life.

Good luck.

p.s. I do second retiring and feeding the working side by doing some medical missionary work which you seem to love.
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

Quick update : I have decided a couple of weeks ago to stop my full time position around the time I turn 50, in 2015. A colleague of mine has just offered me a position at his facility working on my terms, about 1 or 2 days a week.
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
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VictoriaF
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by VictoriaF »

obgyn65 wrote:Quick update : I have decided a couple of weeks ago to stop my full time position around the time I turn 50, in 2015. A colleague of mine has just offered me a position at his facility working on my terms, about 1 or 2 days a week.
Congratulations with making a decision. From my reading of Behavioral Economics, the toughest decisions and the longest deliberations take place when all choices are essentially equal in terms of the subjective well-being. In these cases, it does not matter what you choose. Once you make a decision, you take ownership of it and another BE phenomenon, the endowment effect, soon makes you think that you have made the best choice.

I recently went through a process similar to yours. Like you, I had three options: (1) continue working in well-paying stable and mostly-rewarding job, (2) leave my job and do some consulting, (3) retire all together. I retired in September 2014, 1.5 years later than I first planned. Now, at the 3-months mark, I think I have made the best possible choice.

Victoria
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by surfstar »

obgyn65 wrote:However, I am single without children and feel very lonely, especially around the festive season. My brother, parents and cousins all live in Europe.
Going down to 1-2 days/week will allow you some time to try the whole online dating thing - hopefully this will take up some of that extra time and fill any emptiness you might have. Watch out for gold-diggers ... maybe list your occupation as in the medical industry or health care provider instead of Doctor, if you're looking for substance!

Either way, good luck to your new adventures in 2015! Find some new hobbies to take up your free time and start spending all that you've been saving.
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

Agee I made a mistake when I chose my screen name during the registration to this website. Maybe I will change it when i semi-retire later this year.
surfstar wrote:
Going down to 1-2 days/week will allow you some time to try the whole online dating thing - hopefully this will take up some of that extra time and fill any emptiness you might have. Watch out for gold-diggers ... maybe list your occupation as in the medical industry or health care provider instead of Doctor, if you're looking for substance!

Either way, good luck to your new adventures in 2015! Find some new hobbies to take up your free time and start spending all that you've been saving.
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
ripete
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by ripete »

Wow. Lots and lots of opinions voiced here and lots and lots of sage advice. Read a lot of them but couldn't read even a third of them, so of course, I may be rephrasing and repeating what's already been said.

I happen to work with a couple of OB/GYN's who are in their mid 50's and are looking forward to packing it in. The OB hours are grueling, the risks are immeasurable, and if you've reached critical mass, well, there might be some less risky way to move on.
They have each hit upon the same plan, and I believe their timetables are about 1 or 2 years from now. The plan is simple: no more OB. GYN yes. OB no. But as, a lot of OB patients generate gyn patients down the road, they are each trying to come to an understanding with a physician who they will gladly give their OB patients to, so they will have the GYN connection down the road. No guarantee the OB's won't stick with the new OB doc when they become gyn patients, but it's a calculated risk.
They each have outside multiple interests, and they each feel they've had enough of the OB part of the business, considering all the changes in the way practices are managed, the EHR"s, the reimbursements, the liabilities, etc. etc.
So, they are looking for a gentler transition phase.
You might want to look into this aspect as well, as it seems like 'half a loaf' as opposed to just throwing the whole loaf away.
The other advice was something I would've mentioned as well. Go away, far far away, with someone you love, alone, whatever makes sense in your personal life, for a good long while, meaning months. This will get you to clear your head, and you will either make up your mind that you want to rid yourself of ob/gyn or some combo thereof or you will rush headlong back into it, as you may discover the original enthusiasm that led you to the specialty in the first place. Maybe you do miss those 2am c/sections for failure to progress or non-reassuring fetal pattern. Who knows? But you'll have a better idea of it if you can segregate the onus of the daily practice from the actual doctoring parts. And then you may decide once and for all that there is no segregation of the two, and that you'll either accept or reject the whole enchilada, but with a clear mind. Either way, you want to make a decision that feels 'right', and getting away from the trenches for awhile will allow you to calmly think things through. It's tough to make a good decision on week after week after month after month of sleep deprivation, right?
Maybe, as others have suggested, you get a teaching job, a consultant job, a part time coverage job, something, anything to throttle back so that you're not entirely out of the loop, however your own personal preference runs.
But 49 is a young age, and it's sort of a midlife crisis age also, so be careful that's not what's going on here. If you live another 40 years (not hard nowadays), you better have a LOT of money put away. When I was a kid, pizza was 15 cents. It's a heckuva lot more than that. You're going to either have incredibly great investments, a huge savings already in place, or some combo of the two if you just don't work at all. Of course, you may sell your (presumed) private practice for 'all the money in the world' and that may really be enough. Only you know what you expenses/income balance will be going forward. But just make sure you think about all the financial responsibilities to yourself and your loved ones that will accrue over the years. Just be sure, that's all. And then follow your heart.
cromwell
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by cromwell »

I think you are hinting at your own solution.As a fellow physician,I suspect your burnout is with bureaucracy not with medicine as a scjence or expression of human compassion.Consider becoming an expat and providing your skills and judgement in a country where they will be truly appreciated rather than taken for granted.Rekindle that exhilaration we first experienced when we truly helped a patient and they said "Thank you Doctor" . All good wishes to you
staythecourse
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by staythecourse »

obgyn65 wrote:However, I am single without children and feel very lonely, especially around the festive season. My brother, parents and cousins all live in Europe. I also found out that I can have a much larger positive impact on people's lives in developing countries than here in the US. Only a few thousands dollars are needed to set up and run a free clinic in Central America. I have set up a couple of clinics every year for the last five years or so, and now trying to set up small orphanages in cooperation with MDs there and a few mayors. My life certainly has more meaning there than in the US. It's my passion - see my signature line.
I am not a psychiatrist, but think it doesn't take one to see there are some issues of isolation that you are afraid of if one was to retire at this early of life since you are single and without kids. Much of one's social life as an adult is tied up into their relationships (like it or not) at work. Maybe you are afraid of feeling even more isolated if you weren't working at all?

I had some time off switching from a group practice to being solo a few months ago and was BORED out of my mind. My wife was at work. My kiddo was with childcare. The friends we have were all at work as that where everyone else is my age during the daytime. So I can see some reservation of quit working when you don't know if you can fill up enough social time on your own. I'll be honest and say I started to feel depression/ sadness setting in.

I think your decision to cut down to 1-2 days per week is EXCELLENT as it gives you some time to start easing back and gives you the flexibility to take the time off to do whatever you want whenever you want, i.e. go on medical missions whenever you want. This will also give you a taste of what the social issues will be in semi-retirement.

My biggest advice would be to use some of that time on YOURSELF not for others. Find social clubs, find internet dating sites, find hobbies, etc... This will be VERY important because at some point you will be completely retired and dependent on health may not be able to travel abroad whenever you want. I don't have to tell you depression has a very high rate in the elderly for a reason. Physician are taught to be indestructible emotionally and it just is not true. Take care of yourself!!

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
Herekittykitty
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Herekittykitty »

Congratulations on reaching a decision that addresses many of the issues while keeping you practicing medicine therefore presumably licensed and board certified (along with all the other requirements for licensing and board certification), and keeping you current.

I'm just reading the thread for the first time today, and find it interesting and timely. (I'm a doc too.) Before I got to your post updating us on your decision, I was going to mention locum work a few months out of the year to keep timely, licensed, and board certified (I assume you need to stay licensed to do your overseas work although I don't know), and to keep your options open. But it looks like you have a fine option with the 1 or 2 days a week position you have found. (I assume that will keep you working enough hours to maintain your license and board certification - if you don't know for sure, be sure you check.)

I assume you will still be able to take trips to contribute your services in third world countries in you new position - it seems like it is very important to you to keep doing that.

One thing that really jumps out at me as that you miss your family, all in Europe. Unless they are in a country that you can't get out of once you cross the border into the country, I would suggest visiting them frequently, for extended periods of time if possible, but for at least a few days at a time. I would do this every few months at minimum. In addition I would treat various of the relatives to trips to see me. And especially since you don't have children/grandchildren, I would spend plenty of time cultivating relationships with my nieces, nephews, and cousins young enough to be my child/grandchild - not to the exclusion of the older ones of course, but as a way of keeping the next generation in your life while at the same time providing friendship and mentorship to the next generation of family. Don't let their being in Europe hold you back. That is what the internet, mail, face time/Skype, and airplanes are for. In fact - I would make enriching my relationships with all generations of my family a top priority.
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Caduceus
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Caduceus »

OP, are you familiar with www.meetup.com? It's basically a site where people who have shared interests meet up to do activities together. So if you like hiking, you can meet like-minded people for hikes. Often, the groups are separated by age ("20-something professionals," "30-something professionals," etc.). You can make new friends easily or even meet other singles who are open to dating, and since this is activity-centered, everything feels very natural.
Bfwolf
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Bfwolf »

OP, congrats on your decision.

Given you have 100x expenses saved up, I would encourage you to really and truly believe you've "won the game" and have no more need to play from either a working standpoint or risky investment standpoint. And of course someday you'll start collecting social security as well.

Go indulge your passion. It's a wonderful one.

My only piece of financial advice is to consider mixing TIPS in with your CDs and Munis. TIPS are risk-free as they are bonds issued by the federal government, but you will gain the benefit of inflation protection.
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just frank
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by just frank »

Many people find personal fulfillment in their marriages and raising children.

At 49 the OP is not too old to do either, if biological children are not possible, there is adoption. You could still be in your vibrant 60s when they go to college.

Many people with intense careers simply never find the time to find a suitable mate (or settle for an unsuitable one). This could be the OPs chance to explore that dimension.
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obgyn65
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

Lots of good points, thank you to those who posted. It will take me a few days to read your posts again and digest the points you made.
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by travellight »

I agree, bh. ^

I am in a similar position to the Op, except that I am not burned out, yet. I think it could be difficult to retire. I could find new things to occupy my time but for me, it may be challenging to have worked so hard for so long to get to where I am and actually disengaging and releasing from that hard fought pathway is psychologically not easy.

My plan is to keep going strong till age 58 when my son finishes college (when there will be less cost), then consider going part time for a year and then retire and work per diem if/when I wish. My goal is to retire feeling and looking in my 40s so that is a limiting factor that will keep me from going on for too long.
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VesperLynd
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by VesperLynd »

Good luck to you in your new path ahead...

I was surprised to see that some posters concluded that you were male.... I don't believe you indicated either way.

It's funny what people read into messages online.

Nevertheless, wishing you the best...your work is noble.
sambb
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by sambb »

yes, also odd to me that some considered you a male. I don't know either way and it doesn't matter to me. I do think a small allocation in stocks would be good, but if you've won the game, then why bother.
Nevertheless, happiness isn't always retirement. I work with healthcare industries and see doctors who can't wait to retire, and others who love what they do so much, that they will never retire. It is different for every person, like all fields.
staythecourse
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by staythecourse »

VesperLynd wrote:I was surprised to see that some posters concluded that you were male.... I don't believe you indicated either way.
Good point, but not sure how any of the advice would be any different. Off the topic, have you noticed that investing books or financial articles seem to refer as if the reader is a female in how they address the reader?

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
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obgyn65
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by obgyn65 »

Just to clarify, I am a male but I work with many women - and I agree that financial advice should be gender neutral.

I will answer other points from other posters later in the week, when time permits.
staythecourse wrote:
VesperLynd wrote:I was surprised to see that some posters concluded that you were male.... I don't believe you indicated either way.
Good point, but not sure how any of the advice would be any different. Off the topic, have you noticed that investing books or financial articles seem to refer as if the reader is a female in how they address the reader?

Good luck.
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell
Billionaire
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by Billionaire »

The last couple of years, I've added up the interest/dividends/capital gains from all my investment accounts to compute the annual total. Wow. I could retire now. What I'll probably end up doing is working another year or two then getting a part-time job doing something totally different. I want to work with young people. I'm currently in IT - computer programmer.
VesperLynd
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by VesperLynd »

The advice is usually only different with respect to average life expectancy - which does come into play for retirement income planning.

I am not sure I've ever come across a finance book that uses a generic feminine, but I am curious - do you have examples?

Best wishes and Happy New Year to all...

PS - message to Billionaire :) Are you sure don't already have enough!? LOL
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goodenyou
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Re: I cannot make the jump and retire

Post by goodenyou »

The OP sentiment is very common amongst physicians ~ age 50. Many want out given the direction and changes in medicine. I can see why he would want to help people outside this country. The regulations in this country are stifling and the expectations of the populous are overwhelming. Spending the day in a surgeon's lounge between operations is almost unbearable; the negative comments and disgust of medicine is rampant. The problem is that most of these middle aged doctors are in their greatest cash-burn years of their lives. College-bound kids are very expensive as is their expensive lifestyle. Several physicians are enmeshed in difficult partnerships where succession planning and replacement physicians are impossible to find. Overhead is skyrocketing and incomes are falling. Many doctors have made very bad financial decisions and poor investing decisions and cannot make the jump to retire. The OP is fortunate enough not be be on the steep accumulation phase of his life. It is just an anxiety of possibly running out of money. It is highly improbable, but the fear is mollified by continuing to work. It sounds like the OP could change his lifestyle to accommodate his resources, if needed. After all, it is a lot easier to do that if you don't have dependents. My life would be far simpler if I were single with no kids. I could eat beans out of a can and be happy and my money would outlive me by many decades.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.
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