Recent surveys show > 50% prevalence of burnout, frustration with extra time of almost 2 hours daily with EMR, increasing overheads, constant change in compensation by insurers etc.
You probably know 'retired' physician friends who fall in three camps.
First, those who are not really retired, work part-time maintain a flexible schedule and yet keep their hands in either clinical practice or related healthcare activity.
Second, those who are truly retired and bored to death and wish they had not.
Third, retired completely but have enough hobbies and lead a busy and productive life.
A recent survey by CompHealth shows that 30% of physicians are 60 years of age or older (26% in 2010) and the average age of actively licensed physicians is 51. The average age at which physicians intend to retire is 68. Surgical specialties are the least excited about retiring. Of those intending to work past 65, 58% say they love patient care, 56% enjoy the social aspect and 50% because they wish to maintain their current lifestyle (aka income).
The survey reveals that > 90% of physicians say social interaction is at the top of the list of things they will miss upon retirement. So, they are holding off retirement and 76% look forward to more travel when they do retire.
Almost 51% of physicians are working part-time.
Conclusion:Like everyone I wish I had done some things differently. One of the things I did right was life/work balance. 44% of physicians in the survey wish they had done that. My advice, which seems to resonate with millenials, is join practices where this is a priority.
Another survey finding is that physicians wish they had started retirement planninge earlier. Again, of the few things I did right, this was drummed in to me. Another bit of advice for younger physicians is this: start planning on hobbies or planning for what will occupy your life when you do retire.
The planning should start ten years before your target date. Of course, life happens and the plan may need tweaking. That neck pain may get worse and curtail the tennis game. Or, golf game may go from 18 holes twice a week to nine holes every other week. It makes sense to have several hobbies/interests some indoors and some outdoors to keep you busy. I also recommend staying connected to something you know well. Healthcare. If patient care is tiresome, choose something else related. Teaching, clinical research, mentoring residents or students, writing about healthcare etc. Take my word for it: Your spouse will be happier you are busy and not home all day!