Many Physicians Unprepared for Retirement

Physician's Money Digest, June30 2004, Volume 11, Issue 12

"It's not right," a 45-year-old physiciantold me recently. "I take mycar to an auto mechanic and pay$100 before he opens the hood. As adoctor, I can't command that kind of pay.Something's really out of whack." Thatanecdote seems to sum up the deep professionalfrustration felt by manyAmerican doctors. Sadly, there's notmuch they can do about it.

Not Quite Ready

Physician's Money Digest

A recent Merritt, Hawkins & Associatessurvey found that about 50% ofdoctors aged 50 to 60 would like toclose their medical practices or significantlyreduce their workloads in thenext 3 years. While it's a nice idea, it'salso a dream. I've discovered that mostdoctors are wholly unprepared forretirement—financially and emotionally.A recent survey of more than 700 readers foundthat two of three expect their medicalpractice revenue to decline or remainthe same in the next 3 years.

It's nothing to be ashamed of,though. Caring for people—not buildingwealth—is something for whichyou've trained your mind, body, andsoul. It's what you're good at. Besides,nearly 85% of doctorssay they still find thepractice of medicine tobe "satisfying."

The MillionaireNext Door

As long as you'restuck and a comfortableretirement is more—much more—than 3years off, try to steady your nerves withthe wise theories of Thomas Stanley, PhD,author of the bestseller (Pocket; 1998). Among themillionaires he has studied (10% weredoctors), he has found that the key tosuccess is living a balanced life.

Wealth Foundation

Millionaire WomenNext Door

Dr. Stanley, who hasstudied affluent Americansfor more than 25years, just penned a newbook, (AndrewsMcMeel Publishing; 2004).The results of his new research confirmthat successful men and women have similar"foundation stones to success." Tobuild a foundation of success, they mustdo the following:

  • Know that our economy rewards and will continue to reward success factorssuch as hard work, integrity, and focus.
  • Be assured that a lackluster academic record does not have to stand in theway of economic productivity.
  • Take some financial risks and learn how to overcome defeat.
  • Look for a vocation that is original, profitable, and makes full use of yourstrengths; make it one that you love.
  • Choose a spouse who is honest,responsible, loving, capable, and supportive—characteristics that are compatible with success.
  • Search and negotiate aggressively when buying a house and choose oneyou can easily afford.
  • Adopt a full and balanced lifestyle—having fun doesn't have to carry aluxury price tag.