Exploring Early Retirement as a Doctor: Advice from Fellow Physicians
By: Varun Verma, MD
Published: Dec 26, 2022
📂 Physician Perspectives
✅ Early Career Physicians
✅ Mid Career Physicians
✅ Established Professionals
Recently, a discussion sparked among physicians around the concept of FIRE (Financial Independence – Early Retirement).
What message does it send to society?
What if all physicians retired early and there was no one to take care of them when they needed it?
Over 200 physicians commented on the topic, with varying and passionate responses. Here are some of the themes we saw:
"You may not ever be completely retired”
Many of the physicians agreed that while early retirement is a valid and achievable option, doctors may not be fully retired and be able to explore other options in order to stay occupied and find fulfillment, such as volunteering, teaching, or mentoring.
“No one really cares about your life except you”
Physicians made the point that when it comes to the retirement, each individual should make their own life decisions and be comfortable with it, regardless of what critics or society might think. This sentiment was echoed with phrases such as “you owe nothing to society just because of your profession” and “f***k the critics".
“Your life is your own, do what you want”
Physicians shared a consensus that as long as you make sure to take care of your patients, your life is your own and you should be able to do what you want with it, including retiring early if you choose to do so
“We physicians have been abused for far too long in the name of the greater good”
Physicians emphasized the need to take the decision of retiring early seriously; they noted the long history of overworked and undervalued physicians and the need to focus on what’s best for the individual physician and their own family.
“You have taken care of your patients and deserve the life you have built”
This was a recurring theme in the comments, many of which reiterated the message that if you take care of your patients and devote yourself to your profession, then you deserve to retire early and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
At Andwise, we believe that every physician should be able to pursue financial independence and retirement as it suits their lifestyle and needs. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to make the best decision for their own life. We think it's important for everyone to explore their option, weigh the pros and cons, and set their own financial and lifestyle goals and plan for the future.
Varun Verma, MD ⇨
Dr. Varun Verma, a seasoned internal medicine physician, embodies a passion for public health advocacy and a deep-seated knowledge of the trials encountered by medical professionals. His expansive experience spans 14 renowned hospitals, including UCSF, the Brigham, Jefferson, and Bellevue. Alongside his wife, a dermatologist, Varun champions the physician-patient relationship and fosters community and solidarity among physicians.
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