Physicians Resist Retirement for Numerous Reasons, Including Job Satisfaction and Patient Care
A significant majority of physicians find satisfaction in their roles, leading to delayed retirements. Factors contributing to this trend range from concerns for patient welfare to maintaining a specific standard of living. Financial issues and a looming physician shortage further encourage physicians to continue working beyond the typical retirement age.
HCN Medical Memo
For physicians contemplating retirement, it’s essential to weigh not just the financial aspects but also the emotional and professional implications. Your expertise remains invaluable, especially in the face of a looming physician shortage. If the thought of leaving your practice feels premature, remember there are alternative paths such as part-time work, teaching, or volunteering that can allow you to continue making a meaningful contribution to healthcare.
- A survey by CompHealth and the American Academy of Family Physicians reveals 71% of doctors are content with their jobs, and 57% report enjoying life “a lot” or “a great deal.”
- An impending physician shortage, predicted to be between 37,800 and 124,000 within the next 12 years, amplifies concerns for patient welfare.
- Physicians work, on average, five years longer than people in other professions, mainly because they enjoy their practice and its social dynamics.
- Inflation and financial considerations discourage retirement; physicians would need between $2.5 million to $3.3 million to maintain a standard living after retirement.
According to Doximity’s 2021 Physician Compensation Report, mean pay increased by 3.8% for physicians in 2021 versus a 6.2% inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- Loss of identity is a significant concern for older physicians who believe they can continue to contribute meaningfully to their practice.
- Longevity factors in retirement planning; male physicians can expect to live up to 86 years, and female physicians up to 89 years, requiring substantial savings for retirement.
- Alternative paths post-retirement include volunteering, teaching, and part-time work in locum tenens or consulting roles.
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