Physician Retirement Savings

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DJInvestor
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:10 pm

Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by DJInvestor »

Me: 56, widowed, Pathologist in a university practice, income <$200K, 2 young adult kids, one recently graduated from an in-state university and gainfully employed in a biotech company, headed for med school, second currently a rising junior at an "out-of-state" state university, headed for med school. I (will) have gotten them through college without incurring any debt. Med school is on them.

I have been reading "The Millionaire Next Door" as the first homework assignment from Dr. Bernstein's "If You Can". Together with my late wife, our whole working careers would qualify us as "prodigious accumulators of wealth", though we thought we were just being reasonably frugal.

I had a full tuition scholarship for college. My parents covered my room and board. I graduated from college with a small negative net worth (one credit card) and have been financially independent ever since, including a scholarship for MD-PhD training. I have not and will not receive any inheritance from my parents. I did inherit my late wife's retirement accounts (we both prioritized maxing out our available tax-deferred retirement accounts) and a small life insurance payout.

Total net worth, ~$3,000,000, house paid off
Retirement goal: ~$5,000,000 in current dollars
Pre-retirement goal: start developing alternative revenue streams that will enable me to cease working as a pathologist without needing to start spending down my stash

Best part is I now work 0.75 FTE, meaning that I have one week completely away from work in every 4 weeks. This could possibly be considered a phased retirement, as I now want to work even less, maybe move to 0.5 FTE as soon as my youngest graduates.

I use this down time to develop side gigs for life after medicine. Ultimately I would like to start and own a business (TBD) that is completely outside of medicine, but in the meantime I help develop content for CME and review content for other medical information programs. My goal is to find ways to be productively engaged (and compensated), no matter where I happen to be traveling on any given day of my upcoming retirement! :beer
DTSC
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by DTSC »

White Coat Investor wrote:
Erwin007 wrote:Reading through this makes me feel like a schlub.
Want to feel like a schlub? Write a book and read the negative comments on Amazon about it. Here's one I saw today that made me chuckle:
The Author has no financial credentials other than reading the Bogleheads forum. This book is a ripoff of the Bogleheads and claiming that financial advice is something special/different because it is for doctors. What a schtick. I suggest you read the Bogleheads forum and the Bogleheads Guide to Investing unless you want your financial advice from a charlatan doctor that claims to be a financial guru. His writing is style comes off as patronizing typical of the know it all type of doctor. Larry Swedroe and Rick Ferri are infinitely more qualified authors.
Apparently all you need to be able to write a best-selling book is to read this forum. :) Although I have to admit that I agree that Larry and Rick are infinitely more qualified authors! I'm just waiting for Taylor and Mel to send me a cease and desist notice.
You need a few negative comments here and there, otherwise people think it's a fake if you have 5.0 stars! Besides, you're still laughing your way to the bank.

I personally have bought over 15 Kindle copies of your book as gifts to my partners, especially those with $200-300K in student loans. The disheartening thing is that 40% of these gifts are never even claimed. It shows you that some doctors are just stupid with money - someone spends 15-20 minutes giving you advice about money and investing, gives you a $10 instruction manual for free, and you don't even pick it up. That's being a schlub.
Misenplace
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by Misenplace »

I like you even more, White Coat Investor! :happy
ImaBeginner
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by ImaBeginner »

Age 35, in practice almost 5 years. Partner almost 3 years.
NW 3.5-4 mil. Goal: Unsure. As I will want to continue practicing for a long time yet, I would consider myself at goal in some ways. I still am sorting out my desires regarding how much to pass along to my children/charity.

I have been working very hard these past few years, and have set myself up for being FI very shortly. A lot of this is based on a couple PE and ASC investments, my boglehead type investing has not kept up with that by any means. Since I have arrived where I am however, I will be slowly shifting my risk/assets towards more boglehead investments.

I love my job however, and am happy to be there every day. The only part I dont love is missing out on family time due to inconsistent and long hours. I will be continuing to work well past my FI point, however, I have already started trying to sort out a strategy for cutting back. Ultimately, I would like to work 4 days a week and have 12 weeks of vacation as I feel this would be the ideal balance of "life" and the fulfillment I get from work. Actually doing it is likely a task that will take a few years time due to the complicated needs of the practice and the major players.
These past few years have been tough at times, however I feel that now I have the option to choose how much I want to work, provided I can arrange it with the other partners. To me, that has been worth it.

I will say that I have a nice home in a good neighborhood, and private school for kiddos, but don't see a need to have second home or fancy car. For us it is more fun to go to a new location with free time rather than "to the cabin."
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JDCarpenter
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by JDCarpenter »

ImaBeginner wrote:...
Ultimately, I would like to work 4 days a week and have 12 weeks of vacation as I feel this would be the ideal balance of "life" and the fulfillment I get from work. Actually doing it is likely a task that will take a few years time due to the complicated needs of the practice and the major players.
These past few years have been tough at times, however I feel that now I have the option to choose how much I want to work, provided I can arrange it with the other partners. To me, that has been worth it.

...
A close friend of ours (ortho in integrated system) has this type of setup. Like us, he is in his mid-50s and he is well past FI--but still has youngest child in HS. He enjoys practicing, has great income that they don't come close to spending, and relatively little stress (particularly due to the FI). Hope that you are able to work it out.
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Beardog
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by Beardog »

I haven't read every post, but enough to get the character of this thread.

My story:

Grew up in a blue collar home. Married at 20 years old. Started college at 21 years old. Worked as a carpet installer through college. Also installed carpet anytime that I could as a medical student. Borrowed as much as I could through college and medical school, as I had a wife and 3 sons before it was all over. My wife was a secretary, and never went back to school after graduating from high school. She quit working when I went into private practice. Went into solo ENT practice at 33 years old, straight out of residency. Paid off my student loan debt by 42 years of age. Discovered the "Boglehead philosophy" at about 42 years old, too. Raised 3 sons. Still married to the same woman. Never inherited squat. I live in a paid for 2800 sq. ft. house. No mortgages or any other debts. Closed my practice and sold all my medical equipment 1 year ago. I always leased my office space, so I didn't have to unload an office building that nobody wanted. I was never cut out to work for a hospital administrator, and solo private practice was no longer enjoyable or profitable enough to entice me to work full-time any longer. Recently rolled all of my ex-employees out of my small business 401(k) into their own Vanguard IRA's and converted my plan to an individual 401(k). Truth be told, the hardest part of closing my practice was terminating my employees. Only one of them had ever worked for anyone but me, for my entire time in solo private practice (21 years). They were like family.

I now work about 2 weeks out of every month as a self-employed, subcontractor "Locum Tenens" physician. I don't work through an agency. I found my own work, and don't pay a chunk of my profit to a middle-man agency. We bought a 45 ft., 1996 Prevost bus conversion that I use both for work and for pleasure travel. I never made anywhere near these huge salaries that some docs post. I might have cleared $275K after taxes and overhead two or three years early in my career.

At 54 years old, I have 30X our current yearly expenses saved for retirement. When I subtract what I pay for disability/life/malpractice/etc. insurance (all stuff that I will get rid of when I fully "retire"), I have closer to 45X current living expenses saved. We have always been "insurance poor", but that is the price one pays for the best disability/term-life/etc. insurance policies. But, my guess is that my living expenses are miniscule, compared to most "specialty physicians'" living expenses. My wife drives a used Volvo. I drive a 2011 Dodge pickup. I may work half-time until I am 62, as I enjoy what I do for now. Until then, my savings can compound, if the "gods of the market" allow them to do so. I have no desire to keep piling away more money, just to reach a certain predetermined "magic number".

Most of my physician acquaintances have been married at least twice. They live in million-dollar homes (owned by the bank), drive new expensive cars, take trips around the world, belong to the country club, and probably have a net worth of about $0 at 45-55 years old. Most have now sold out to the local hospitals, in order to keep their monthly paycheck coming in. All of the new docs come out of residency, and receive a great starting salary, but it "ain't gonna last"...not when the steadily dwindling dollar of health care profit goes through the hospital administrator's pocket first. The next 10 years are going to be a real eye opener for employed physicians, I fear.
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goodenyou
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by goodenyou »

JDCarpenter wrote:
ImaBeginner wrote:...
Ultimately, I would like to work 4 days a week and have 12 weeks of vacation as I feel this would be the ideal balance of "life" and the fulfillment I get from work. Actually doing it is likely a task that will take a few years time due to the complicated needs of the practice and the major players.
These past few years have been tough at times, however I feel that now I have the option to choose how much I want to work, provided I can arrange it with the other partners. To me, that has been worth it.

...
A close friend of ours (ortho in integrated system) has this type of setup. Like us, he is in his mid-50s and he is well past FI--but still has youngest child in HS. He enjoys practicing, has great income that they don't come close to spending, and relatively little stress (particularly due to the FI). Hope that you are able to work it out.
The practice of medicine is much more pleasant when you have reached financial independence and, thus, you are not in an accumulation phase. Knowing that you can quit when the the next bit of intolerable regulation (PQRS, Meaningless Abuse, EMR etc.) is forced down your throat is reassuring. The doctors that have figured it out early will be well rewarded. The rest will be bitter and miserable. Spend a day in the doctors' lounge or waiting between cases in the OR and you will get your fill.
"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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JDCarpenter
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by JDCarpenter »

goodenyou wrote: The practice of medicine is much more pleasant when you have reached financial independence and, thus, you are not in an accumulation phase. Knowing that you can quit when the the next bit of intolerable regulation (PQRS, Meaningless Abuse, EMR etc.) is forced down your throat is reassuring. The doctors that have figured it out early will be well rewarded. The rest will be bitter and miserable. Spend a day in the doctors' lounge or waiting between cases in the OR and you will get your fill.

yeah. DW is taking advantage of it right now--trying to clear up some issues she and her partners have within the larger single-specialty organization. Won't help her that much, as she is counting the months down to full-time travel and planning, but will make life better for her partners and her replacement if successful. Not yet in full Bullworth mode, but she's starting to feel the beat.

[edited to remove a quoted post that has been removed from the thread - moderator prudent]
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kcxie
Posts: 66
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by kcxie »

ImaBeginner wrote: Age 35, in practice almost 5 years. Partner almost 3 years.
NW 3.5-4 mil.[/b][/u] Goal: Unsure. As I will want to continue practicing for a long time yet, I would consider myself at goal in some ways. I still am sorting out my desires regarding how much to pass along to my children/charity.......

less than 5 years practice, you got NW 4 mil!!
that is incredible!
do you mind to share some details and specifics? how could you do that?
it is mind blowing to me
ImaBeginner
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by ImaBeginner »

kcxie wrote:ImaBeginner wrote: Age 35, in practice almost 5 years. Partner almost 3 years.
NW 3.5-4 mil.[/b][/u] Goal: Unsure. As I will want to continue practicing for a long time yet, I would consider myself at goal in some ways. I still am sorting out my desires regarding how much to pass along to my children/charity.......

less than 5 years practice, you got NW 4 mil!!
that is incredible!
do you mind to share some details and specifics? how could you do that?
it is mind blowing to me
Timing, luck, and a great deal of risk tolerance, with a high paying salary (and great benefits)
Year 1-Salary 220k
Year 2-550k
Year 3-5 650-900k
First 2-3 years out my anual expenses were ~10k higher than as a resident.

Invested in private equity which has distributed 4x investment in 3 years, with most invested still. Invested in ASC/hospital which brought income up to 1.5+mil last 2 years, plus very healthy value appreciation. I took out BIG loans for ASC investment, which I shouldnt have probably done, but I was able to see where certain trends were going and get ahead of a few "one time payouts." Those are paid back now, thankfully. I was nervous for the first few years about the risk of the investments, and the debt, but finally paid the debt off. I sort of figured that worst case scenario I would be 40 with no savings (based on projected income at MGMA for specialty), but best case I would be a little ahead of the game. Things happened to work out better than my wildest hopes (recent unexpected PE payout), but now I am for the most part done with fancy investing and the super high risk stuff.
Im just gonna go and enjoy my work and let my money go and enjoy its' work. It is however hard to actually cut back despite knowing that I could due to logistics at work. I am hopeful that within 2 years I can make it happen, but that sort of change moves slowly.
I only found you guys and clicked with the philosophy for the investment side last year. Have been given great guidance by family up until that point, but it is easier to read the website here than talk about some of these topics in real life.
letsgobobby
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by letsgobobby »

DJInvestor wrote:Me: 56, widowed, Pathologist in a university practice, income <$200K, 2 young adult kids, one recently graduated from an in-state university and gainfully employed in a biotech company, headed for med school, second currently a rising junior at an "out-of-state" state university, headed for med school. I (will) have gotten them through college without incurring any debt. Med school is on them.

I have been reading "The Millionaire Next Door" as the first homework assignment from Dr. Bernstein's "If You Can". Together with my late wife, our whole working careers would qualify us as "prodigious accumulators of wealth", though we thought we were just being reasonably frugal.

I had a full tuition scholarship for college. My parents covered my room and board. I graduated from college with a small negative net worth (one credit card) and have been financially independent ever since, including a scholarship for MD-PhD training. I have not and will not receive any inheritance from my parents. I did inherit my late wife's retirement accounts (we both prioritized maxing out our available tax-deferred retirement accounts) and a small life insurance payout.

Total net worth, ~$3,000,000, house paid off
Retirement goal: ~$5,000,000 in current dollars
Pre-retirement goal: start developing alternative revenue streams that will enable me to cease working as a pathologist without needing to start spending down my stash

Best part is I now work 0.75 FTE, meaning that I have one week completely away from work in every 4 weeks. This could possibly be considered a phased retirement, as I now want to work even less, maybe move to 0.5 FTE as soon as my youngest graduates.

I use this down time to develop side gigs for life after medicine. Ultimately I would like to start and own a business (TBD) that is completely outside of medicine, but in the meantime I help develop content for CME and review content for other medical information programs. My goal is to find ways to be productively engaged (and compensated), no matter where I happen to be traveling on any given day of my upcoming retirement! :beer
What are your annual expenses, now, and targeted in retirement?
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PhysicianOnFIRE
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by PhysicianOnFIRE »

Beardog wrote:I haven't read every post, but enough to get the character of this thread.

I now work about 2 weeks out of every month as a self-employed, subcontractor "Locum Tenens" physician. I don't work through an agency. I found my own work, and don't pay a chunk of my profit to a middle-man agency. We bought a 45 ft., 1996 Prevost bus conversion that I use both for work and for pleasure travel. I never made anywhere near these huge salaries that some docs post. I might have cleared $275K after taxes and overhead two or three years early in my career.

At 54 years old, I have 30X our current yearly expenses saved for retirement. When I subtract what I pay for disability/life/malpractice/etc. insurance (all stuff that I will get rid of when I fully "retire"), I have closer to 45X current living expenses saved. We have always been "insurance poor", but that is the price one pays for the best disability/term-life/etc. insurance policies. But, my guess is that my living expenses are miniscule, compared to most "specialty physicians'" living expenses. My wife drives a used Volvo. I drive a 2011 Dodge pickup. I may work half-time until I am 62, as I enjoy what I do for now. Until then, my savings can compound, if the "gods of the market" allow them to do so. I have no desire to keep piling away more money, just to reach a certain predetermined "magic number".

Most of my physician acquaintances have been married at least twice. They live in million-dollar homes (owned by the bank), drive new expensive cars, take trips around the world, belong to the country club, and probably have a net worth of about $0 at 45-55 years old. Most have now sold out to the local hospitals, in order to keep their monthly paycheck coming in. All of the new docs come out of residency, and receive a great starting salary, but it "ain't gonna last"...not when the steadily dwindling dollar of health care profit goes through the hospital administrator's pocket first. The next 10 years are going to be a real eye opener for employed physicians, I fear.
I like your style, Beardog. I've done quite a bit of locum tenens, and wrote about my experience on emergdoc's blog recently. Now that I have a family of 4, it's easier to stay in one place, but I loved the freedom that came with being a locums doc. The next freedom I look forward to is an early retirement, which seems odd, because I actually enjoy many aspects of my job.

We keep our expenses in check as you do, and at age 40, we're approaching 30x expenses invested; we could be there by year's end if the market cooperates. I plan to work full time until we have at least 40x and I'm slowly building additional revenue streams. The time will come I will see diminishing returns from trading my time for additional money that we won't need. It's a wonderful "problem" to have. :beer

Best,
-PoF
Dude5568
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Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:46 pm

Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by Dude5568 »

I have read most posts on this forum and some of them are almost too good to be true. This is a free for all anonymous forum so you have to take this stuff with a grain of salt . Anyways ,

I am 31 , DW is 28 , Dual physician , no kids household.

Gross income - just above 500 k ( both in primary care )

Retirement savings - around 120 k ( been working as attendings for past 6 months )

Current N.W - about 1.5 million if I include inheritance and around 170 k without it.

Goal - break 10 million mark in N.W ( including inheritance and in today's dollars ) by 55 and then go part time. We plan to live lavishly in retirement. :sharebeer
staythecourse
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by staythecourse »

I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
staythecourse
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by staythecourse »

I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
Cramerica
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by Cramerica »

Well, there is a middle ground where you still have purpose in life but your job does not consume your life.

That perfect work-life balance is actually what many (?most) are seeking.

The idea of amassing wealth to have more flexibility in your work schedule seems perfectly reasonable to me.
staythecourse
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by staythecourse »

Cramerica wrote:Well, there is a middle ground where you still have purpose in life but your job does not consume your life.

That perfect work-life balance is actually what many (?most) are seeking.

The idea of amassing wealth to have more flexibility in your work schedule seems perfectly reasonable to me.
Of course, work life balance should be the goal, but the approach by many on this site doesn't make sense. If one wants that and is on pace to achieve that why not start seeing less patients, let your income fall, and spend MORE time with the family when they are young? It seems many are working so hard (at the expense of spending time with family and other life interests) to make MORE money 500k+ vs. 300k at age 35 just to make several millions by 45 so they can then cut back on hours to spend time with family and personal interests at that time. But of course, the problem with that is life goes on. Health issues comes up, spouses die, divorces happen, and kids grow up just to name a few.

If one cares SO MUCH about work/ life balance then why not make it a point of emphasis when it is most critical, i.e. when the family is young or you are young and healthy.

What makes logical sense to me is either work your tail off and make a TON of money and retire earlier for any number of pursuits/ reasons OR if you trajectory is one pace then dial down the hours and "smell the roses" so to speak as your planning on working forever anyways and can enjoy family/ interests along the way. What doesn't make sense is working really hard for a ton of money just to cut back and continue to work forever as well BECAUSE one's life at 35 is NOT the same as 55. Folks get sick, spouses get sick, divorces happen, parents die, etc...

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
letsgobobby
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bostondan
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by bostondan »

Seeing all these posts about high salaries makes me want to leave Boston! I'll be a cardiologist in a few years. If I were to stay in the actual city of Boston, my colleagues are receiving job offers for full-time cardiology positions starting as low as $120k. I've heard you can negotiate up to $160k. They expect that you do some research. I think you can add to your salary that way, but I'm not a big researcher, so I actually don't know.

If you go out to the community, I've heard you can make more, but not a ton more. I've got a colleague who couldn't find an offer for more than $250k as an interventional cardiologist in the area surrounding Boston. He ultimately took a job out in Arizona making $600k first year out, expecting make more within a few years. One person got an offer for an insanely busy practice making $400k near Boston. It sounded like a horrendous job other than the salary.

I currently work in a major academic center (one of those institutions that I should feel "privileged" to work at :annoyed ). Most of my physician colleagues are not spending excessively and many have high debt burden still. If anything, most of my colleagues are frugal and drive 7+ year old cars. They often comment that my relatively new Honda Civic seems fancy.

I know if you go out to the community and find private practice doctors in procedural specialties that they are often driving fancy cars and spending a lot, but in practice that's not what I see.

Age: 31
NW: ~$750k without inheritance (I did freelance web development pre-residency and did reasonably well). $3.5 million with inheritance :(
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel
HIinvestor
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by HIinvestor »

Wow! My internist is in his 60s and still has the same under $200k net earnings he has had all the decades of his practicing! He says he spent his retirement funds upgrading and having electronic health records installed. I have no idea what his net worth is but his twin brother retired comfortably in a small town in a LCOL area where he lived and practiced.

It saddens me that so many here are wanting to retire or significantly cut back hours by the time they're 50. My favorite doc is finally retiring at 70 and has mentored so many young docs. It seems like so much experience will be lost, tho I know it can be quite grueling with EHR and insurance directives.

Just another data point (how the non MD folks manage). My H was our sole earner for many years. I did work full time for about a decade and part time for about 15 years. For 90% of the time he was working he earned under $100K. The most I ever earned was $40k in a year.

H retired with a pension that covers all our annual expenses (with a 55% survivor benefit to me) and we currently have liquid investments north of $2mm, no debt, no mortgage, and a house. We also put 2 kids thru a very expensive private U.
qwertyjazz
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by qwertyjazz »

bostondan wrote:Seeing all these posts about high salaries makes me want to leave Boston! I'll be a cardiologist in a few years. If I were to stay in the actual city of Boston, my colleagues are receiving job offers for full-time cardiology positions starting as low as $120k. I've heard you can negotiate up to $160k. They expect that you do some research. I think you can add to your salary that way, but I'm not a big researcher, so I actually don't know.

If you go out to the community, I've heard you can make more, but not a ton more. I've got a colleague who couldn't find an offer for more than $250k as an interventional cardiologist in the area surrounding Boston. He ultimately took a job out in Arizona making $600k first year out, expecting make more within a few years. One person got an offer for an insanely busy practice making $400k near Boston. It sounded like a horrendous job other than the salary.

I currently work in a major academic center (one of those institutions that I should feel "privileged" to work at :annoyed ). Most of my physician colleagues are not spending excessively and many have high debt burden still. If anything, most of my colleagues are frugal and drive 7+ year old cars. They often comment that my relatively new Honda Civic seems fancy.

I know if you go out to the community and find private practice doctors in procedural specialties that they are often driving fancy cars and spending a lot, but in practice that's not what I see.

Age: 31
NW: ~$750k without inheritance (I did freelance web development pre-residency and did reasonably well). $3.5 million with inheritance :(
Some universities feel like they do not have to pay you and you should be privileged just to work there. Even those who want to eventually wind up there find it advantageous to move away and move up then come back. If you are not a researcher then even worse staying around. You are there to generate money so the researchers can generate fame. The market is oversaturated due to this model. That assumes you care about money. If you do not and just like where you live , why sweat it? Stay bostondan. Otherwise GTFO and never look back. LBYM and retire early then maybe move back in a semivolunteer status. It all comes down to what you care about and honest evaluation of what you bring to the local market.
Good luck
G.E. Box "All models are wrong, but some are useful."
bubbadog
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by bubbadog »

I took a different course than most of my colleagues and decided to basically go to about half time at age 42. My wife is a STAM for our two children and my income has been around 250K for the last several years. I really enjoy the additional free time and time traveling with my family. As a physician, my income has afforded us with the ability to live a comfortable upper middle class lifestyle without both of us working full time. I am kind of surprised few others have chosen this path. What we gave up was a giant home, new cars every couple of years, and private education for our children (local public schools are excellent).

I am 50 now and plan to continue working 2-3 days a week till age 60. Taxable and tax deferred accounts are at approx.2.1 million, home paid off, and no other debt. We are just plodding along with a simple 3 fund portfolio and hope to have around 4-5 million in investments in 10 years but who knows.

Most working families in the US never approach an income of 250K/year with both parents working full time. Physicians are in a desirable and somewhat unique position to consider other ways to approach a work/life balance. Why work your rear end off in college, med school, and residency just so you can work 60 hours a week for the next 30-40 years? I did not want my "life" to start when I retire. I just want to give other physicians a different path to consider as it has been the right choice for me.

Best of luck,
staythecourse
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by staythecourse »

letsgobobby wrote:
staythecourse wrote: It makes sense except for the time value of money. $1 saved at age 30 is worth far more than $1 saved at age 60. While it's tempting to work less while the kids are young, you lose a lot of compounding by going that route.
Maybe I'm wired different, but this makes sense ONLY if you are going to spend most of your wealth in your lifetime where you need maximize the compounding. If you aren't going to spend all your money (guess is most doctors don't) then who cares if you saved more dollars at 30 vs. 40 to get to 10 vs. 3 million just so you can die with more money in the bank.

Remember it isn't like you are trading off nothing for more money. You are trading off the most limited rescource everyone has and that is time. If one has a family then you are also trading off limited time when the family is young which you CAN NOT get back no matter what wealth you have when you die. If you have outside interest then you may be trading good health not knowing what may be your health situation when youd do decide to pursue other interests.

As mentioned I get wanting to make A TON. No problem if you goal is to hang it up quick. What I don't get is IF you are planning (like many on this thread) to keep working anyway at 50 despite attaining large wealth then why not slow down the pace in your youth.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
Cramerica
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by Cramerica »

There is an unwritten rule in medicine that the younger guys are the workhorses. Sometimes working harder earlier in your career is only partly your decision.

Also, some specialties simply do not allow you to work less early on. You either work as a full partner/employee or not at all.

The other consideration is health benefits. Some elderly docs would quit altogether but maintain part time status to retain full health benefits.
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ram
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by ram »

This has been an interesting thread. We are a 2 physician family in our early 50's. We recently came to the conclusion that we can slow down. Wife has gone down to 0.9 FTE (23 more days of vacation per year.) We are trying to recruit and as soon as I find a younger partner I will slow down as well. Hopefully from the graduating batch of 2018. I have stepped down from some of the administrative responsibilities.
Ram
Domingo.Montoya
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by Domingo.Montoya »

48 year old full time private practice, wife in part-time practice, two kids 14 & 12

NW: 3.0 Million
of that approx 370k is home equity
no inheritance


Finished training with $380,000 in loans between the two of us, paid off about 4 years ago.

Was in academic practice in HCOL area first few years of practice, then changed to private practice.

We live a very comfortable upper-middle class lifestyle. I would say we were pretty frugal until the loans were paid off, then we loosened the purse-strings a bit. One house, 2-3 vacations/yr, both kids in private school. Am ready to start trading off money for time at this point. I would like to retire with about $6M, and plan on practicing for another 20 years, albeit not as hard as I am now.
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gasdoc
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by gasdoc »

Age 56
Goal $5M
Goal age 60-62.
Sorry- not comfortable stating net worth, but goal seems manageable.

Gasdoc
travellight
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by travellight »

katnok wrote:
am wrote:The amounts saved my many MDs here is not typical. For one, most MDs are primary care which typically make under 200k. Next, they are posting here on bogleheads which says a lot. Third, I am not sure the indebted divorced 45 y/o Cardiologist with a vacation home is going to post saying how he has a networth of -200k.

Many MDs toiling in large metros, academics, employee jobs, stay at home wives are not going to come anywhere near millions in savings. And I hope the government CMS fellows aren't following this thread because they are going to think MDs make way too much and cut compensation even more!
Agreed. I'm in primary care, late 30s and make about 200k. We have been quite frugal, and at the rate we are saving (~100k/yr), I can envision FI in my 50s. However, we're not aiming for several millions to retire on.
+1. I know of someone in Primary care who is age 58 and has a NW of 500k and is unable to retire.
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travellight
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by travellight »

staythecourse wrote:I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
"then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 ..."

Because one doesn't know at 30 that one will be successful in achieving the financial goal. Also, our personality type may be to overprepare.
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gasdoc
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by gasdoc »

travellight wrote:
staythecourse wrote:I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
"then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 ..."

Because one doesn't know at 30 that one will be successful in achieving the financial goal. Also, our personality type may be to overprepare.
And in smaller medical practices in smaller cities, often one is part of a small group where everyone must cover their share or they must find someone who will. For example, there is an anesthesiologist at our hospital who is married to a successful neurosurgeon. She wants to work, but is not willing to work a full time position. She has not worked in a clinical capacity for the last 2-3 years simply because we cannot create a position for someone wanting to work "only" five days per week. Let's not be so quick to judge.... In my town, there are two choices- work or don't work. Possibly one day the schedule will become so unbearable that I will be forced to uproot my family and move to a major city where there is day work in surgery centers. For now, though, my plan is to continue on until I can fully retire.

gasdoc
arsenalfan
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by arsenalfan »

gasdoc wrote:
travellight wrote:
staythecourse wrote:I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
"then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 ..."

Because one doesn't know at 30 that one will be successful in achieving the financial goal. Also, our personality type may be to overprepare.
And in smaller medical practices in smaller cities, often one is part of a small group where everyone must cover their share or they must find someone who will. For example, there is an anesthesiologist at our hospital who is married to a successful neurosurgeon. She wants to work, but is not willing to work a full time position. She has not worked in a clinical capacity for the last 2-3 years simply because we cannot create a position for someone wanting to work "only" five days per week. Let's not be so quick to judge.... In my town, there are two choices- work or don't work. Possibly one day the schedule will become so unbearable that I will be forced to uproot my family and move to a major city where there is day work in surgery centers. For now, though, my plan is to continue on until I can fully retire.

gasdoc
Agreed. Just about every other area anesthesia group offers only 1 FTE positions with 6 weeks vacation. And I'm in major metro HCOL area.
I keep looking for a better job, but can find none permitting the high level of flexibility of my current one. Time=Money, take as much as you can afford, whenever you want (once you're partner). I take between 10-14 total weeks per year, no questions asked (more $$$ for the others!).
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JDCarpenter
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by JDCarpenter »

gasdoc wrote:....
And in smaller medical practices in smaller cities, often one is part of a small group where everyone must cover their share or they must find someone who will. For example, there is an anesthesiologist at our hospital who is married to a successful neurosurgeon. She wants to work, but is not willing to work a full time position. She has not worked in a clinical capacity for the last 2-3 years simply because we cannot create a position for someone wanting to work "only" five days per week. Let's not be so quick to judge.... In my town, there are two choices- work or don't work. Possibly one day the schedule will become so unbearable that I will be forced to uproot my family and move to a major city where there is day work in surgery centers. For now, though, my plan is to continue on until I can fully retire.

gasdoc

+1. This is our situation for both DW (private practice OBG) and me (law). Not so much the smaller cities, but the smaller single specialty practices that each of us love. All or nothing. (soon to be nothing, at 57 & 56, after this year's residency crop is ready to start.)
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oragne lovre
Posts: 504
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by oragne lovre »

goodenyou wrote:
coalcracker wrote:
kayli69 wrote:39 y/o, procedure oriented specialist. 8 years out of training

Taxable and investment accounts 3.5 million, goal is 5 million and then start to work part time
beezquimby wrote:Dual physician family 40/38
Retirement savings approx 2.5m
College savings 200k
No debt
livesoft wrote:
chicagoan23 wrote:Respectfully....You went from zero to a $3.5 million portfolio in eight years by investing in index funds, ....
The years starting in 2009 have been quite good for the stock market. Don't forget that US equities have more than tripled in value since March 2009, but some of that was in the first few months.

Frankly, I think the high-net-worth physicians are keeping their mouths shut and not reporting in this thread.
What would you consider a "high-net-worth" physician :shock: ?
And why would they keep their mouth's shut?
Probably because they may value their privacy :wink:
The finest, albeit the most difficult, of all human achievements is being reasonable.
staythecourse
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by staythecourse »

travellight wrote:
staythecourse wrote:I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
"then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 ..."

Because one doesn't know at 30 that one will be successful in achieving the financial goal. Also, our personality type may be to overprepare.
Well either I am super brilliant or super lucky, because I have predicted nearly to the month each milestone from when I started practice a mere 10 years ago. It isn't that hard. Just take how much you make- taxes- big expenses (student loan, house payments, child care, etc...)= savings. Then just multiply saving by year and that is the number. Spending an extra 5k a year on clothes doesn't move the needle much for salaries of 300k+

Also compounding is not a real issue until probably the LAST 10 years of work. The first 10 heavy lifting is savings.

Doctor's are really lucky, because you can predict your salary pretty well and is rather immune to economy changes. The numbers I predicted were spot on as a salaried employee, partner employee, and now solo practictioner.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
investorpeter
Posts: 192
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by investorpeter »

Great thread! This is very informative for comparing apples to apples.
Our situation: I work full-time, stay-at-home wife, no kids, low cost of living area, fully paid off home with no mortgage.
Spending: varies between $85,000 and $95,000 per year, living a moderately luxurious lifestyle, considering we do not pay a mortgage and have no kids, with most spending on "experiential" activities (vacations, concerts, eating out, etc.) rather than hard assets.
Goal: 40x annual spending. I know this is perhaps cutting it close for early retirement, but with no kids, we have no use for assets in the afterlife, so my ideal networth life graph is a perfect bell curve.
Philosophy: The most valuable thing money can buy is time. Though I actually love my job and could continue working indefinitely, I have promised myself and my wife that as soon as I hit our number I will cut down on my work hours and spend more time with her, maybe start a small business together, or just travel around the country in an RV working locums jobs and hiking around national parks, until we come up with a better plan on what to do with the rest of our lives.
Last edited by investorpeter on Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sketchy9
Posts: 191
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by sketchy9 »

staythecourse wrote:I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
I'm an anesthesiologist. One day (night) I was at work doing one of the hardest cases I had done, and it was 430am, and the light bulb went off. What was I working that hard for? I was sacrificing my youth and my health, missing my family, and I was miserable. I was making money hand over fist, but I didn't have time to spend it. It was going into an account, awaiting my eventual retirement 20-30 years down the line (assuming I made it that long). I decided I needed to change my life-- I eventually wound down my job and found a 0.4 FTE position. I re-started hobbies I used to have, exercised more, took up cooking, and most importantly started spending more time with my family. That was 3 years ago.

I'm now 40 and my NW is $1M. I took a ~65% pay cut but I'm so much happier and healthier now. I actually enjoy going into work again and appreciate what I can do for my patients. I would never go back to my former life. have been very fortunate to live in a large city with very large employers desperate for employees and they have been willing to accommodate my schedule request.
ks289
Posts: 655
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by ks289 »

staythecourse wrote:
travellight wrote:
staythecourse wrote:I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
"then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 ..."

Because one doesn't know at 30 that one will be successful in achieving the financial goal. Also, our personality type may be to overprepare.
Well either I am super brilliant or super lucky, because I have predicted nearly to the month each milestone from when I started practice a mere 10 years ago. It isn't that hard. Just take how much you make- taxes- big expenses (student loan, house payments, child care, etc...)= savings. Then just multiply saving by year and that is the number. Spending an extra 5k a year on clothes doesn't move the needle much for salaries of 300k+

Also compounding is not a real issue until probably the LAST 10 years of work. The first 10 heavy lifting is savings.

Doctor's are really lucky, because you can predict your salary pretty well and is rather immune to economy changes. The numbers I predicted were spot on as a salaried employee, partner employee, and now solo practictioner.

Good luck.
You are probably BOTH super brilliant and super lucky.

The factors which are mostly luck (with some brilliance):
1.The markets have been very helpful for the last 8 years (and you did not sell in '09 and stay on the sidelines).
2.You and your spouse have remained healthy enough physically and mentally to practice medicine (and you maintained your skills and worked hard).
3.You and your spouse have been in practice situation/specialty/location which has allowed you to maintain your income (and you had chosen an in-demand specialty, managed to escape a less favorable partnership, did not face dominant competition, or make poor business decisions).
4. Your expenses never unavoidably increased from a lawsuit, catastrophic event, uncovered medical expenses, etc.

I completely agree that doctors have a lot to feel fortunate about. However, nothing is guaranteed, and one should feel grateful if things do go according to our goals and projections for an extended period of time.
travellight
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by travellight »

investorpeter wrote:Great thread! This is very informative for comparing apples to apples.
Our situation: I work full-time (41), stay-at-home wife (35), salary $420k, no kids, low cost of living area, fully paid off home with no mortgage.
Spending: varies between $85,000 and $95,000 per year (tracked daily via on-line apps and everything is paid with credit cards), living a moderately luxurious lifestyle, considering we do not pay a mortgage and have no kids, with most spending on "experiential" activities (vacations, concerts, eating out, etc.) rather than hard assets.
Current investments, not including home: 2.2 million, with aggressive allocation (almost 100% equities, with about 50% index funds, and 50% individual stocks with a value investing focus)
Goal: 4 million in investable assets. I know this is perhaps cutting it close for early retirement, but with no kids, we have no use for assets in the afterlife, so my ideal networth life graph is a perfect bell curve.
Trajectory: Saving about $150k per year, but assets increasing much faster, $500k over the past year, due to aggressive allocation. If Trump rally continues due to corporate tax reform and deregulation, I could conceivably hit my target in 5 years, though 10 years is perhaps more reasonable.
Philosophy: The most valuable thing money can buy is time. Though I actually love my job and could continue working indefinitely, I have promised myself and my wife that as soon as I hit our number I will cut down on my work hours and spend more time with her, maybe start a small business together, or just travel around the country in an RV working locums jobs and hiking around national parks, until we come up with a better plan on what to do with the rest of our lives. :happy
Sounds like you have everything in order! I am just curious what your wife invests her energies in... volunteering?
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am
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by am »

sketchy9 wrote:
staythecourse wrote:I'll say the same thing here (even as a fellow doc) that i have said on other threads and that is I just don't get some of the posters goals.

How many folks who have worked their backends off to accumulate 5-10+ million will just be able to throw in the towel and spend lavishly when they have never done it before for 40 some years? IT isn't like neuroplasticity is any different for docs then non doctors. Folks don't change their behaviors at 40 let alone at 50+.

I am starting to think doctors really are just hamsters on a wheel. The dumb ones spend everything they have and not sure the smarter ones are that much more intelligent because their NW goes up and up to a point they will never spend most of it yet keep working. Is it just me or does it feel odd to hear, "Oh when I get to 5-10 million I'm going to splurge and cut back to 0.5 or take 12 weeks vacation"? That would mean you are still working 0.5 or 40 weeks. If one is going to keep working all their life despite amassing huge wealth then why not just go down to 0.5 at 30 and enjoy life going forward? Nothing wrong with loving your work, but if you are going to do that then why work so hard to finish at age 45 when you really don't need the money until age 55?

No offense to one of the posters above, but I am sure he would have loved to spend more time with his wife before she passed away then just be set to spend a ton of his money on his own WHILE starting a new job (just to start one).

You would figure if anyone understands the fragility of life it would be doctors, but guess not. Doctors seem to complain and moan all the time about wanting to retire early if they could, but here it seems the one's that can still won't and I'm not sure the reason?

Good luck.
I'm an anesthesiologist. One day (night) I was at work doing one of the hardest cases I had done, and it was 430am, and the light bulb went off. What was I working that hard for? I was sacrificing my youth and my health, missing my family, and I was miserable. I was making money hand over fist, but I didn't have time to spend it. It was going into an account, awaiting my eventual retirement 20-30 years down the line (assuming I made it that long). I decided I needed to change my life-- I eventually wound down my job and found a 0.4 FTE position. I re-started hobbies I used to have, exercised more, took up cooking, and most importantly started spending more time with my family. That was 3 years ago.

I'm now 40 and my NW is $1M. I took a ~65% pay cut but I'm so much happier and healthier now. I actually enjoy going into work again and appreciate what I can do for my patients. I would never go back to my former life. have been very fortunate to live in a large city with very large employers desperate for employees and they have been willing to accommodate my schedule request.

I am happy for you and would love to do the same. With kids and their college coming up, travel and house expenses it would be tough to lose the income. It is also scary in early 40s to just give up the prospect of financial independence In early to mid 50s by saving large amounts. Doing what you did essentially commits to working for a long time in exchange for a better life for the foreseeable future. Sounds like a better deal than what myself and others are doing. Working to death, saving a ton, hoping for better days to come. And we know how that could end...
Incendiary
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by Incendiary »

Interesting thread. Is the OP still around? Have these answers helped put you at ease or do you feel worse now?
staythecourse
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by staythecourse »

am wrote:I am happy for you and would love to do the same. With kids and their college coming up, travel and house expenses it would be tough to lose the income. It is also scary in early 40s to just give up the prospect of financial independence In early to mid 50s by saving large amounts. Doing what you did essentially commits to working for a long time in exchange for a better life for the foreseeable future. Sounds like a better deal than what myself and others are doing. Working to death, saving a ton, hoping for better days to come. And we know how that could end...
Here in lies the rub that I have noticed on this thread. How many folks on here say the same thing then when you look and read some of the responses they have MILLIONS at age 50 and still work/ plan to work. So I don't think it is necessarily true that when folks say they are doing this to retire early they actually do it. So it seems folks are sacrificing their early years to make more money just to keep making money. Maybe we need another thread to find out how many docs know fellow docs who retired early (lets say under 50)? I know of one guy that is it.

I can gaurantee the statistics say doctors who run out of money in retirement is likely as low as a group of ANY occupation in this country so what is this premorbid fascination of not having enough money? Or is is just plain GREED and we dont' like to admit it. Another person on a different thread I think may have hit it on the nail that some folks (seems like a lot of doctors) confuse net worth with self worth. It seems that self worth of one's value is more important then enjoying family, friends, and external interest.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
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sketchy9
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by sketchy9 »

staythecourse wrote:
am wrote:I am happy for you and would love to do the same. With kids and their college coming up, travel and house expenses it would be tough to lose the income. It is also scary in early 40s to just give up the prospect of financial independence In early to mid 50s by saving large amounts. Doing what you did essentially commits to working for a long time in exchange for a better life for the foreseeable future. Sounds like a better deal than what myself and others are doing. Working to death, saving a ton, hoping for better days to come. And we know how that could end...
Here in lies the rub that I have noticed on this thread. How many folks on here say the same thing then when you look and read some of the responses they have MILLIONS at age 50 and still work/ plan to work. So I don't think it is necessarily true that when folks say they are doing this to retire early they actually do it. So it seems folks are sacrificing their early years to make more money just to keep making money. Maybe we need another thread to find out how many docs know fellow docs who retired early (lets say under 50)? I know of one guy that is it.

I can gaurantee the statistics say doctors who run out of money in retirement is likely as low as a group of ANY occupation in this country so what is this premorbid fascination of not having enough money? Or is is just plain GREED and we dont' like to admit it. Another person on a different thread I think may have hit it on the nail that some folks (seems like a lot of doctors) confuse net worth with self worth. It seems that self worth of one's value is more important then enjoying family, friends, and external interest.

Good luck.
I also suspect people stick with the behavior that got them that far in life. Successful professionals, docs included, are masters of delayed gratification. They sacrifice all through college and their 20s in the hopes of having their dream career in their 30s. Once they get it and start reaping the monetary awards, it's natural to continue in that vein-- don't spend too much today and save it for later when they'll be "ready" to enjoy it. I know that, personally, it took a lot of soul-searching and deprogramming of long-ingrained habits to be able to step back and admit that I was ready to enjoy my life today and not defer it any longer. It felt very strange when I finally did it-- "you mean I can actually live my life the way I want right now?"
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by staythecourse »

Thanks "letsgobobby" and "sketchy9". I think both of those assessments are spot on. This helps me better understand why folks in these situations do what they do.

Kudos to you sketchy9 for realizing what makes you happy and doing it even though for many it would seem the atypical path. I am sure your memories and relationships will be stronger that you spent the time fostering them instead of just grueling away at work everyday.

Like many I am a second generation physician and envitably EVERYONE I meet whose parent(s) who doctors say the same thing. That is they understood, but sure wish their parent was more involved in their life growing up.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by abonder »

Lots if interesting insights in this extended thread. Impressive wealth accumulation by a select group of boglehead physicians. I'm highly suspicious that selection bias plays a role in the posts here. Bogleheads (and the subset of boglehead physicians) tend to be highly motivated, fiscally responsible folks. You don't see a lot of posts by the doc with 5 leased luxury cars, two homes, country clubs memberships, etc. Even the financially established physicians tend to choose a few areas of indulgence and live otherwise grounded lives. Also many two professional families represented. This likely represents the trend of professionals more commonly partnering with other professionals in similar socioeconomic circles. Thus, the overall level of achievement is accelerated due to the presence of two professionals in the family unit.

I suspect that a lot of the financial anxiety/drive for financial freedom comes from starting earnings so (relatively) late in combination with ever-increasing educational costs. I've felt alarmed when I've seen my friends already financially secure with good careers, a decade,of retirement contributions, and less educational debt. It makes you want to get your financial affairs in order quickly and make up for some lost time. I vividly remember working with a pediatric, cardiac surgeon in his 10th year of subspecialty training out of medical school. He had attended an Ivy League undergraduate institution and he had multiple friends who had gone directly into lucrative jobs (finance, tech, etc) and were already retired prior to him having his first attending-level job. I think physicians also tend to be a financially conservative group. You have the subset of entrepreneurial types who may shoot for particularly high incomes through business ventures etc but many aspire to a stable income, high savings rate, and disciplined investing. Maybe seeing patients suffer and seeing families distraught over illness and loss makes you want to provide some sort of safety net for your own family?

In terms of the life balance...it's true that certain fields/practice settings are more amenable to part-time work and flexible schedules. But other settings don't offer this opportunity...it's more of a full time or nothing situation. There's certainly a financial argument for full-time employment as it diffuses the fixed costs (malpractice insurance, credentialing costs, overhead) more effectively than utilizing more part-time providers. Also, in some cases, there is additional workload shifted to full timers when part-time physicians can't follow up studies, manage complications, etc. In my practice setting we have a number of physicians who desire to be part-time but routinely work full-time hours in order to meet clinical needs. As the group grows and/or workload moderates, they hope to transition back to a part-time role.

I frequently find myself in a position of taking on additional work for a combination of factors. I always try to help colleagues in genuine need...sick kids, family emergency, important meeting, etc and I hope that those same colleagues will be willing to do the same for me when I need it. Additionally, I feel an intense guilt turning down the opportunity to do some additional work and earn additional compensation. I think some of this stems from growing up with financial insecurity, some is from acclimation to 80 hour work weeks in training (60 hours now seems like a treat, relatively), and some is from a genuine enjoyment of work and caring for patients. I think there are a lot of behaviors that get ingrained that are hard to shake. I remember a senior physician speaking to us as medical students. She was married to another physician in a highly-paid specialty but she noted that she could never shake the habit of eating lots of food at meetings very quickly and filling her pockets with snacks for later. She said it was a remnant of those very lean times in medical school and residency when time, food, and money were seriously scarce commodities that you always took advantage of the the max.
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by goodenyou »

Physicians are accustomed to achievement. They have a very long pathway (and often painful) to final certification to practice medicine or perform surgery. Retirement also requires physicians to give up their identity as a doctor. It is near impossible to return to the practice of medicine after giving it up for many years. Many do not change careers, so when you are done, you are done. You don't see many retired physicians doing work outside of medicine. Therefore, there is a fear of not having enough and not having the skills to look for alternative employment. Most physicians are risk adverse and having a very large cushion is a way to mitigate the risk of running out of money.
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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by gasdoc »

goodenyou wrote:Physicians are accustomed to achievement. They have a very long pathway (and often painful) to final certification to practice medicine or perform surgery. Retirement also requires physicians to give up their identity as a doctor. It is near impossible to return to the practice of medicine after giving it up for many years. Many do not change careers, so when you are done, you are done. You don't see many retired physicians doing work outside of medicine. Therefore, there is a fear of not having enough and not having the skills to look for alternative employment. Most physicians are risk adverse and having a very large cushion is a way to mitigate the risk of running out of money.
+1. I have an MBA degree, but was never able to find an alternative that came anywhere close to my current income. Therefore, I am still on the "hamster wheel," as another poster put it. I also though that at some point I would do a second career after retirement from medicine. Following this Bogleheads forum has convinced me that I should "just" be retired when I reach my version of FI.

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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by goodenyou »

letsgobobby wrote:
staythecourse wrote:
am wrote:I am happy for you and would love to do the same. With kids and their college coming up, travel and house expenses it would be tough to lose the income. It is also scary in early 40s to just give up the prospect of financial independence In early to mid 50s by saving large amounts. Doing what you did essentially commits to working for a long time in exchange for a better life for the foreseeable future. Sounds like a better deal than what myself and others are doing. Working to death, saving a ton, hoping for better days to come. And we know how that could end...
Here in lies the rub that I have noticed on this thread. How many folks on here say the same thing then when you look and read some of the responses they have MILLIONS at age 50 and still work/ plan to work. So I don't think it is necessarily true that when folks say they are doing this to retire early they actually do it. So it seems folks are sacrificing their early years to make more money just to keep making money. Maybe we need another thread to find out how many docs know fellow docs who retired early (lets say under 50)? I know of one guy that is it.

I can gaurantee the statistics say doctors who run out of money in retirement is likely as low as a group of ANY occupation in this country so what is this premorbid fascination of not having enough money? Or is is just plain GREED and we dont' like to admit it. Another person on a different thread I think may have hit it on the nail that some folks (seems like a lot of doctors) confuse net worth with self worth. It seems that self worth of one's value is more important then enjoying family, friends, and external interest.

Good luck.
I suspect docs more than many other professions have their core self-identity tied up in their work. This probably increases as we age/go through our careers. Thus we can intend at age 30 to quit when we are 50 and have enough money, but 50 rolls around and we have enough money and suddenly the thought of quitting doctoring completely is less appealing. I am less interested in quitting early today (early 40s) than I was ten years ago. My 'practice' of medicine has been very rewarding. I enjoy what I do. I have a skill and experience that people need and which they are grateful for. It's not about the money. In fact it's the opposite: it's learning that money isn't everything.
Most physicians I know will agree that they are trying to achieve financial independence from a profession that is broken. The changes in healthcare, the costs of education and the overall attitude of the public about healthcare has soured many physicians on the profession. When you are financially independent, changes to the system may bother you less because you have the ability to quit anytime. Staring down $300-400k worth of loans as a young person just starting out in a system that is broken is an entirely different reality. Many older docs are running out the clock and taking pay cuts for not participating in many of the Medicare regs. They would rather take a pay cut than deal with the aggravation because they can afford to take a pay cut.
"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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Re: Physician Retirement Savings

Post by arsenalfan »

goodenyou wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:
staythecourse wrote:
am wrote:I am happy for you and would love to do the same. With kids and their college coming up, travel and house expenses it would be tough to lose the income. It is also scary in early 40s to just give up the prospect of financial independence In early to mid 50s by saving large amounts. Doing what you did essentially commits to working for a long time in exchange for a better life for the foreseeable future. Sounds like a better deal than what myself and others are doing. Working to death, saving a ton, hoping for better days to come. And we know how that could end...
Here in lies the rub that I have noticed on this thread. How many folks on here say the same thing then when you look and read some of the responses they have MILLIONS at age 50 and still work/ plan to work. So I don't think it is necessarily true that when folks say they are doing this to retire early they actually do it. So it seems folks are sacrificing their early years to make more money just to keep making money. Maybe we need another thread to find out how many docs know fellow docs who retired early (lets say under 50)? I know of one guy that is it.

I can gaurantee the statistics say doctors who run out of money in retirement is likely as low as a group of ANY occupation in this country so what is this premorbid fascination of not having enough money? Or is is just plain GREED and we dont' like to admit it. Another person on a different thread I think may have hit it on the nail that some folks (seems like a lot of doctors) confuse net worth with self worth. It seems that self worth of one's value is more important then enjoying family, friends, and external interest.

Good luck.
I suspect docs more than many other professions have their core self-identity tied up in their work. This probably increases as we age/go through our careers. Thus we can intend at age 30 to quit when we are 50 and have enough money, but 50 rolls around and we have enough money and suddenly the thought of quitting doctoring completely is less appealing. I am less interested in quitting early today (early 40s) than I was ten years ago. My 'practice' of medicine has been very rewarding. I enjoy what I do. I have a skill and experience that people need and which they are grateful for. It's not about the money. In fact it's the opposite: it's learning that money isn't everything.
Most physicians I know will agree that they are trying to achieve financial independence from a profession that is broken. The changes in healthcare, the costs of education and the overall attitude of the public about healthcare has soured many physicians on the profession. When you are financially independent, changes to the system may bother you less because you have the ability to quit anytime. Staring down $300-400k worth of loans as a young person just starting out in a system that is broken is an entirely different reality. Many older docs are running out the clock and taking pay cuts for not participating in many of the Medicare regs. They would rather take a pay cut than deal with the aggravation because they can afford to take a pay cut.
This!!!! Describes our dual MD household to a tee.
As an aside, do a medical mission some time. The purest distillation of medicine - treating patients no CYA medical decisions made purely for Med mal reasons, and minimal excess red tape. Just pure patient care.
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