Feeling COVID Burnout? 4 Tips for Physicians Who Want To Retire Early

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It’s no surprise that the global pandemic has made its mark in the medical space. For many physicians, the demand, stress, and hectic work environment have led to intense burnout. A study by the MGMA found that COVID-19 caused 45% of early retirements for doctors. 

Have you been having thoughts about retiring early? Here are a few ways to consider structuring physician exit plans.

Check Your Cash Flow

We’ve often talked about cash flow planning for physicians, and early retirement is one area those valuable lessons come into play. Have your financial advisor review your current portfolio. 

  • Where do your allocations stand?
  • Are you close to your retirement savings goal?
  • How much money would you like to spend per month in retirement?

Analyzing these elements will help your financial team devise strategies for moving forward. Your financial journey is fluid, and working strategically with your advisor can help you accommodate more extensive changes such as early retirement.

Your advisor will work with you to establish a cash flow plan with dynamic adjustments. If the plan goes well, you may be able to spend more; if not, we can adjust to cut back on some spending. 

Early retirement is a great time to explore passive income streams. A dynamic partnership between advisor and doctor can make early retirement a reality if everyone on the team commits to bring that vision to life.

Understand Your Priorities To Live Your Best Life Now

You only have one life, and you should live it with joy, passion, and fulfillment. Take this time to understand what’s important to you in your life right now. Go back to Honest Conversations to better understand how COVID-19 has changed your perspective and priorities. 

If you can’t achieve what’s important now while still working, it may be time to explore retirement with more intent. Another option is to work part-time or as a medical consultant.

Can I Retire Nearly A Decade Early?: A Case Study

We had a client recently who, as a result of COVID burnout, genuinely asked the question of whether they could retire a full seven years ahead of schedule.

With this task in hand, we got to work. We started by asking questions to glean what they envisioned their life to look like, and from those answers, built an intentional spending plan. Armed with those numbers, we evaluated their portfolio. Current projections indicated that we would need to make some compromises—whether spending a little less per month, working two additional years as opposed to seven, or downsizing to one property. We worked collaboratively to build a plan that would work for the client and give us confidence that their portfolio could see them through to the retirement they wanted.

Our client went from being anxious about their early retirement dreams to emboldened that their dream could be their reality. They are currently in talks with their respective practices regarding notice periods and revised retirement dates. 

You may think you’re stuck, but there are multiple avenues to explore to get you living your best life now.

Decide What Comes Next

Once you’ve decided that retirement is the best option for you, it’s time to figure out what comes next. 

  • Do you have a passion project or side business? 
  • Are you deeply involved in a local charity? 
  • Do you want to see the world?
  • Are you interested in remaining in the medical space or flexing another muscle?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Think about what’s important to you. Maybe there’s been something that you’ve had to push to the back burner for years, like a business idea, travel plans, etc.—it’s time to take that idea and make a plan to bring it to fruition.

Life outside of medicine can seem incomprehensible, but once you discover what you’re passionate about outside of the hospital walls, it’s easier to see how the pieces can come together.

Leave Guilt Behind

How could you retire when the country needs doctors with your skills? Aren’t you worried about what to do next? Do you really have enough money to retire? These questions could make you feel self-conscious or guilty about retirement—but it’s time to re-frame the narrative. 

Remember all of the people you’ve been able to help throughout your career. You can’t work forever! You deserve to retire on your own time and let the next generation make their mark.

Many physicians have also had to forego a lot of time with family and loved ones to further their medical careers. It can be taxing on everyone. Instead of feeling guilty about leaving, think about what more you can give to the family that has supported you every step of the way. This perspective shift comes from a place of graciousness and abundance.

Retire Your Way

At Vestia, we’re here to help you live out your most authentic life. Retiring early is a goal for many physicians, and if that’s important to you, we can help you build a plan that takes you in that direction. If you’re feeling burnt out and want to know what options you have, get in touch with our team.


Investment advisory services offered through Vestia Personal Wealth Advisors, Vestia Retirement Plan Consultants, and Vestia Advisors, LLC. Securities offered through Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc., 5187 Utica Ridge Rd, Davenport, IA. 52807 (563)326-2064. Member FINRA/SIPC. Vestia Personal Wealth Advisors, Vestia Retirement Plan Consultants, Vestia Advisors, LLC, and Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc. are independently owned and operated.

This material is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax advisor.  This information is not an offer or a solicitation to buy or sell securities.  The information contained may have been compiled from third-party sources and is believed to be reliable.

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