Career exit and succession planning
As you move towards the end of your career you need to think about the last stages of your working life and develop a career exit plan.
Most doctors lack a definitive plan for the latter stages of their lives. Advanced planning can lessen the “shock of the transition from the working phase to the retirement phase of one's life”.
If you are considering retiring at age 60 or earlier you may still have 15 to 20 years to contribute in some way to medicine and develop new interests for when you no longer want to work.
You need to plan so you:
- consider of all the alternatives to full clinical practice
- can make good decisions on when to decrease or stop active clinical practice
- if you own a general practice or a speciality practice it will take time to “sell” this and recover some of your “good will “and be able to hand over your patients and work
- have other interests to give you a meaningful purpose to life when you retire - it takes time to develop new interests so you can have a “life” after medicine
- have enough retirement savings for your needs so you can withstand economic downturns – so you do not have to continue to work because you cannot afford to retire.
A definitive plan can help you make the transition from the working phase to the retirement phase of your life and “ensure retirement serves its purpose”.
Research shows that doctors retire for several reasons:
- readiness for retirement and desire to have interests outside medicine
- need for other types of job satisfaction
- concerns about their health
- concern about decline in their technical skills and physical abilities with age.
Many doctors retire suddenly when they reach a certain age or point in their career without really thinking it through. Other doctors advocate for alternative lifestyles outside of medicine and easing into retirement - using the latter stages of one’s career to go back and do things that were precluded during a busy medical career “to go back and explore a road not taken.”
Some doctors are more ready to retire than others. Today many people are working longer and like the general population, doctors’ age at different rates, “it is not age but attitude that counts”.
Reasons why doctors do not want to retire include:
- lack of financial planning and financial security working
- concerns about boredom after retirement
- the need for continued self-fulfilment and the sense of worth gained from work
- after a long, busy medical career work, the workplace may be the main place they have social interaction
- the intellectual stimulation gained from work.
For more information see:
The information and quotes on this website are from the report 'Retention of doctors in their "third age"'. Download the report: