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53 yo MD thinking about ER
Old 02-28-2016, 10:26 PM   #1
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53 yo MD thinking about ER

53 year old MD thinking about calling it quits within the next year or two. Loved my job but had to stop clinical work due to a disability. Quit before it got so bad i needed major surgery it probably should have stopped a year or two earlier. Doing administrative work which is not so great but still well paid. I think I was very lucky to have had a job I loved every day and paid me very well. Although I still get paid well, I am not sure that is enough to keep me wanting to go to work. I might rather find something else to do like travel or volunteer and if need be cut down on my lifestyle. Never was a big spender and lived on about 30% of my paycheck and put 4 kids through school and have no debt. Disability will pay me 80k per year with no tax for 14 years and I have about 2.5m put away. Would most likely downsize and rent which would give me between 500-700k more. Seems like that should be fine but it is a big step to walk away from a job that I saw myself doing into my late 60s back when I was seeing patients and enjoying it.

Anything I am missing?
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:47 PM   #2
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Topeka! That brings back old memories.

The self-paid disability policy is huge. Tax-free 80K until 67 is golden. Generally speaking, no debt and kids off the payroll is a very good sign. (And 2.5 in savings accounts is far more than most people are going to envision.)

What will you spend per year in retirement? That is the key to your (and everyone's) decision. Have you been tracking spending over the past few years? How much of the 2.5 is in tax deferred accounts--are you going to need 72t withdrawals to live on until you are 59.5 years old?

FWIW, DW is doc, we are retiring when she is 56. Our retirement spending will be less than our current taxes; nonetheless, we are planning carefully to ensure no issues on bridging until I hit 59.5.

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Old 02-28-2016, 10:58 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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I have started to track spending better. To be honest we just saved a huge portion of my salary and I assumed I would work well into my late 60s. Thought of early retirement as being prior to 70 because I enjoyed he work. Only started to consider retirement when I had a change at work and only then really looked at the finances.

Good point on the bridge money. I could very easily live on a small withdrawal from my investments and possibly none at all if needed. I also have a second disability plan I am waiting to hear about but do not want to have to count on that when thinking about whether I will quit or not. Having enjoyed my work for 20+ years, I am finding it hard not enjoying it now.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:06 AM   #4
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I'm assuming that your disability policy is an own-occupation policy and that you can still receive long term benefits while doing administrative work. You now have the benefit of finding medical admin work that is less stressful and perhaps at least as enjoyable as clinical practice; there are lots of venues to do such. And you have the ability to leave the work force, re-enter, etc., so long as you stay current (so for sure, do maintain your medical license). I see no rush to decide, and this seems like it is a family decision. You can also teach, with lots of et ceteras, as your skills are likely in high demand. Take your time.

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Old 02-29-2016, 09:29 AM   #5
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We know an oral surgeon who could no longer practice due to disability and he went into teaching in his field. Have you considered that avenue? Might be more interesting and rewarding than administration.
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
We know an oral surgeon who could no longer practice due to disability and he went into teaching in his field. Have you considered that avenue? Might be more interesting and rewarding than administration.
That was my thought also - are there possibilities out there (potentially part-time) that would be more interesting and fulfilling than your current work? Perhaps getting involved (pay or volunteer) with a health-related nonprofit?

I would also concur with those who counsel being deliberate in your considerations as there is no need to rush into any decisions. All the best!
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Old 02-29-2016, 02:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
We know an oral surgeon who could no longer practice due to disability and he went into teaching in his field. Have you considered that avenue? Might be more interesting and rewarding than administration.
+1..Although I did not have any disabilities I chose to stop practicing dentistry and teach part-time. Best decision I have ever made.
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:52 PM   #8
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Unfortunately my field is Very narrow in focus and the only way to teach is in clinic and doing patient exams which I have done all my career at a major university with residents and fellows. I can no longer do that and my field is too narrowly focused to teach at the local medical school to students. I can certainly continue to do some lectures, etc. I have some interests within my field to volunteer in the U.S. and elsewhere that I would enjoy along with some medical charitable organizations. My biggest issue is to walk way from administrative work which is far less interesting, especially given the state of medicine now, to go do something I will almost certainly enjoy more but is be different than what I have due for the last two decades and walk away from a good income feeling comfortable I can live on what we have now.
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:20 PM   #9
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Welcome to the Forum. From my experience when I tried to get a sedentary job, not requiring heavy physical work (34 years as HVAC tech with disability after a back surgery) nobody wanted to hire "inexperienced" 55 yo to any other related position.
Enjoy your ER and freedom.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:03 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum.

You've done a great job saving and getting your kids launched. Now you need to figure out what you need to retire. The key is spending... spending all in - including taxes, health insurance, travel, etc... Once you know your spending you can see if the disability payments and savings and future SS are enough.

A good tool for seeing if you have enough is firecalc (linked at the bottom of the page). Make sure you fill out all the tabs... You can input the disability payments that end in the future, as well as expected SS payments. The number on the first page for spending is all inclusive, not net, so make sure you include tax and healthcare costs in that number.

Here's a good FAQ of questions to ask yourself about your retirement readiness
Some Important Questions to Answer Before Asking - Can I Retire?
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