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Not sure what to do....
Old 02-11-2013, 03:49 PM   #1
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Not sure what to do....

Hi everyone
I am a 56 yo primary care physician toying withe idea of ER. Firecalc and my financial advisor say I can do it now. Thinking of trying semiretirement for a couple of years if my partners will go for the idea.

I am definitely ready to slow down and spend some more time on outside pursuits but wonder about going cold turkey... Any retired docs with any input?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:54 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard.... since I am not a doc, nor retired I will let others post..

But, we do have a number of docs on board... I would bet most will say go for it... but some have gone the part time route... and I think Obygyn (sp?) volunteers his time overseas, which he seems to enjoy a lot...
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome Texas. I welcome input from anyone of course. Just wondered what it is like after years of an almost all-consuming job that is frustrating but often rewarding to move on? I am sure there are other jobs that would have similar issues?
Thanks again!
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:42 PM   #4
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If you haven't done so yet, by all means browse the FAQs here. They should give you plenty of help.

Yours is a common dilemma, and you might be pleasantly surprised by its solution!
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:50 PM   #5
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Hey Nikki J....
I'm rather new here and am a bit younger than you, but I have seen several people on here calculate out their expenses for a couple of years to the cent to ensure their plan will work out. After that, just go with whatever makes you feel best. For me, it will be a slow phase out with semi-retirement, then full on retirement after a time. If your group is amenable to that, it would be a great plan! The little more time off would probably feel wonderful.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:53 PM   #6
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I am not a doctor.

If you could do a partial retirement, I would certainly do it. Try to live on the money you make on that. If my profession let me be able to work part-time, I would jump in with both feet. As it is, I will probably do early retirement when I am 50.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:15 PM   #7
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Thinking of trying semiretirement for a couple of years if my partners will go for the idea.
Presumably your partners will be supportive, and accept that half a loaf is better than none. But if not, as a GP you have other options (locums, etc.), and can simply opt to quit the partnership entirely if necessary to achieve your goals.

I appreciate that you have obligations to others; but you only have one life to lead, and you can't always defer to others' needs/wants. No one is irreplaceable.

Are you familiar with FreelandMD.com? Might be worth checking out. And you might like the book "Physicians in Transition", by Fernandez and Mudge-Riley.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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Just wondered what it is like after years of an almost all-consuming job that is frustrating but often rewarding to move on? I am sure there are other jobs that would have similar issues?
I think so. I was in full-time private practice as an attorney until 3 years ago. I went to a very part-time arrangement which has varied from about 40 to 60 hours a month over that time.

The important thing for me is that I am prepared to walk away entirely when what I'm doing is no longer fun. I made it clear that I was only willing to do certain types of tasks that I didn't find stressful or annoying. Doing that I found that - somewhat to my surprise - it wasn't so much my actual work that I didn't like it. Rather it was the long hours, high stress, and things that weren't directly related to the work. Now that I don't have any of that, I actually like the actual work that I am doing.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:29 PM   #9
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Nirvana! Well done, Katzmeow.

While I don't miss practice, I'd be open to a legal job like that, if I could find it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:01 AM   #10
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To Texas proud : my username is obgyn65.

To Nikki J : have you thought about volunteering a few weeks or even a few months a year in the US or abroad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Welcome aboard.... since I am not a doc, nor retired I will let others post..

But, we do have a number of docs on board... I would bet most will say go for it... but some have gone the part time route... and I think Obygyn (sp?) volunteers his time overseas, which he seems to enjoy a lot...
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:15 AM   #11
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Hi Nikki,
I am a 54 yr old pathologist who retired last March. It has been mostly a wonderful change. A few times I have really felt at a loss. I guess I let my career define who I am. Without work I have felt emotionally bare. It has been a lot of fun to feel time slow down, to find extreme pleasure in the simple things, and to take myself off autopilot.

I do not regret one bit my decision to retire. I was offered to go part time, but declined. I have mixed feelings about that decision...mainly thinking that it might have kept me in the robot like mode that I used when working.

I still have sort of a spending paralysis about which others on this site have spoken. My financial advisor keeps reassuring me...you can spend some money, you know! Just not used to seeing the numbers go down and not up.

I still love to read path literature. I fill my days with volunteering at the local animal shelter and handling the prison dog program. Also now have time to ramp up my bike and swim mileage and am training with a group of misfits to do a Tough Mudder event in May.
The garden that I always dreamed I would have is now a reality.

Everyone is different ...but for me retirement has been great...way beyond anything I wished for or expected.

Not sure if this is helpful, but we do seem to be at similar places in our lives. Take care.
Kay
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:46 AM   #12
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I am a Doctor and retired last year at age 56. I was able to cut back to 75% for 18 months and it was very helpful. I was planning on retiring as soon as I hit 55 but by cutting back I was able to take more vacations and an extra day off so for awhile I didn't mind work nearly as much. That feeling lasted a year or so and then I felt like even that was too much work and I knew I was ready to go. When I slowed down at work, it also cut my income and I started living off my projected retirement income so I was able to test that out. Cutting back also made the transition to retirement easier for my wife who wasn't used to having me around during the week.

I now wake up every day and know I can do whatever I want and the feeling is fantastic. I am rediscovering parts of my life that were lying dormant for many years due to the demands of my career. My wife was concerned at first about the finances but once she saw how happy I am in my new life she totally got on board. I ran into my former secretary who said I look years younger and accused me of using botox. The stress and worry of a Medical practice had been taking its toll on me.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:03 AM   #13
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Hi Nikki, I am a 55 year old pediatrician who recently ER'd after planning for years. No regrets at getting out of the ratrace. I am doing a little consulting, which is interesting, but has reminded me how hard my former colleagues are still working, and why I no longer want to do so. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:36 PM   #14
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Thank you everyone for the welcome and for sharing your stories. It is reassuring to hear that the other side is a happy one for you all.
I think I need to be prepared for my partners to say no to part time and if so to then decide to retire. We have had 2 physicians before me go part time and they were very half hearted in their practice at the end. I think they were part time because they were burnt out and not vice versa but I am not sure the others see it this way.
Kay I think you are my long lost twin! Volunteering at the animal shelter is on my list for retirement!
Thanks again. You all are the best!
Nikki
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:19 PM   #15
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To Texas proud : my username is obgyn65.

To Nikki J : have you thought about volunteering a few weeks or even a few months a year in the US or abroad ?


Sorry... I am horrible with names.... even people I know.... please don't take it personally...


PS... I also do not want to take the time to look it up.... just lazy...
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:43 PM   #16
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Hi Nikki, I am a 55 year old pediatrician who recently ER'd after planning for years. No regrets at getting out of the ratrace. I am doing a little consulting, which is interesting, but has reminded me how hard my former colleagues are still working, and why I no longer want to do so. Welcome to the forum.
Kind of disheartening to hear pediatrics described as part of the rat race.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:18 AM   #17
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I am a physician who is planning to go cold turkey later this year at age 52. I hear tales of some MD's who "go crazy" after a few months of golfing, etc. and find that whatever hobbies they had to escape to are no longer as invigorating now that they have nothing to escape from. A study based on a survey of 238 retired MD's in LA published in Western Journal of Medicine in 1993 found most retired MD's happy and concerns about emotional distress and boredom unfounded. (first author was Virshup) I realize that was a very different time and an older set of MD's, but I cannot envision myself having any problem with that aspect of retirement. My job is very high stress, time consuming and yes, rewarding. But time off is better. When I realized that the worst days off -and that included being home sick with the flu-still seemed better than the best days at work, I knew I needed an early exit strategy. Burned out? Charbroiled.

I really am not concerned about the not working aspect of retirement. Maybe I am lazier than my colleagues. Maybe I never loved my work the way they may have or still do. Maybe I have confidence in my abilities to engage myself in whatever the task, in this case repurposing myself and my time. We will see how that part works out. Financially, we should be more than ok without compromising our lifestyle, depending on the health insurance. With my wife wanting to keep working, it is a non issue as long as she still feels that way. If/when she quits, it could potentially force us to examine downsizing our house, but we were planning to do that anyway sometime in the next 5- 7 years. We even refinanced to a very low(2.75%) 7 year ARM -30 year loan on our remaining mortgage, to make us seriously think about in that time frame. We should be fine even worst case if we had to pay off the remainder in 7 years or let the rate float up...but we both have Zero desire to maintain the big fancy house lifestyle beyond getting our youngest out of high school (2 more years). That change, when it comes, should both lower our expenses and give us a tidy cash infusion/cushion to deal with some of the unknowables.

I intend to keep lurking and posting here, but for now all I can do as a fellow physician is relate to your thoughts and concerns.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:35 AM   #18
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Hi "urn"
That charbroiled struck a chord! Have you told your partners if you have any that you are retiring?
What about your patients?
I inherited some patients from someone who retired unexpectedly in his fifties. I can not count how many asked when I planned to retire and at the time I planned to work until late 60s. Things have changed now and there is no way that will happen. Are you going to send out a letter?
Congratulations on your upcoming retirement! Have you set a date?
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:40 AM   #19
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Kind of disheartening to hear pediatrics described as part of the rat race.
I can't answer for the poster but for me the ratrace is from the insurance companies changing mandates and our parent organization making unreasonable demands for no good reason. I love my patients. If I could be transported magically from room to room seeing patients without the endless computer work to get tests approved medications approved meet Medicare mandates etc etc etc I would be a happy camper!
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:46 AM   #20
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First of all- I second the rat-race comments. It is 11-hour days..The transition to electronic medical records is being implemented in mindless ways and wtih very little input for the practitioners using it...Add in insurance companies and their nonsense and medical-legal issues and it only takes a few of the few patients who might be ungrateful or difficult on top of that to make it very hard to put up with when you realize that financially- you really don't have to.

My partners definitely know. I was here when one of the partners left with 3 months warning and it was hell...I swore I would never do that to my partners so I gave them MORE than a year and notified them in time to appeal to the upcoming graduates to find a replacement.

For now things are being kept secret to continue me at full productivity -fear of referrals being reduced when the word gets out. I will send out a letter. I think 3 months ahead is the plan as that it when the replacement doctor starts as well. There will be 3 months overlap. I have written a preliminary letter. It feels really good doing anything that makes it all seem more real. The wording of the letter has been a challenge. I welcome any suggestions that might help patients so they don't feel obligated to come in and discuss it with me. I am dreading repeated encounters of the same conversation over and over and over about what has not been a simple decision and has taken 4 years to conclude.
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