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Doctors’ view of retirement

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

The challenged economy is hurting the retirement planning efforts of people in all walks of life. A retirement survey of physicians by medical staffing firm Jackson & Coker shows that even the highly-paid among us are worried.

More than 75 percent of physicians surveyed plan to work past conventional retirement age. Of those, 70 percent say they are doing so because their personal savings have been depleted or haven't grown as quickly as they had anticipated.

"This is a tough time to be a physician," said Sandy Garrett, president of Jackson & Coker, which specializes in physician jobs. "They (are) facing the coming effects of health care reform, which is placing considerable challenges on their ability to effectively practice medicine and maintain a viable medical practice. And the economy has severely impacted their ability to save and retire."

The survey gave physicians an opportunity to comment on their situations. Here are some of the doctors' thoughts, and they don't paint a very pretty picture.

  • "I still have work, and as long as I can keep up with and get caught up with my bills and save, I want to continue to work. I'm not in a position to completely retire and I hope my health holds up so I can continue to work after age 70. If I can afford it, I would like to work a little less than full time."
  • "The recession has had a dramatic impact on my practice. I practice radiology and while volume has only decreased slightly, reimbursements have diminished and the business of radiology has allowed employers to extract additional work out of some physicians while letting others go. My salary has decreased by about 50 percent."
  • "In a group of eight physicians, we struggled to pay our employees in 2008. There were times we took no salary. Medicare held up payments. Patients treat us like a bank. Employees have better benefits than we get ourselves. I would quit entirely if I didn't still have a child in college."
  • "I'm actually happy to be working indefinitely. 'Work til you drop' is the old surgical model. I love my work, even if I don't love the harder work it takes to cover overhead."
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August 04, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Sadly, these people are in this position often, because they have to delay their savings start for many year to pay back student loans AND malpractice insurance is ridiculous!

Being a doctor is not what it used to be and with the "reform" we will eventually have a shortage, bc people can't afford the debt and the work is no longer financially beneficial. It's not worth it!