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Ten Reasons to Delay Your Early Retirement by Five to Ten Years

dock of the bay

Prepare to be taken on a musical journey through Vagabond MD’s extended-play version of One More Year Syndrome. Today’s post borrows ideas from a wide variety of talented artists, so strap on your Beats and enjoy the ride.

Our guest author is a financially independent interventional radiologist who will soon be working part-time. He is a frequent and thoughtful contributor to the White Coat Investor forum with over 1,100 posts to date.

You may recall his previous guest posts, both of which generated much discussion.

Let’s hear what the Vagabond Doctor has to say today.


You have met your savings goals, and the calculators, gurus, bloggers, and advisors all agree that you are financially independent and can pull the early retirement trigger. Even your mother-in-law is giving you the green light to hang up the stethoscope. Before doing so, here are a handful (or 10) reasons why you should delay doing so for a handful (or 10) years, along with some musical accompaniment.

1. I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues”  Elton John


As has been written and discussed ad nauseam, the health care system, and specifically buying your own Blue Cross (“The Blues”), Cigna, or United health insurance on the individual market in the U.S. is an unmitigated disaster.

Estimates for the cost of insurance can be $24,000/year or more, not including the various co-pays, deductible, and other out-of-pocket charges, nor dental care and other health related costs. There is nothing on the horizon that will change this.

If you are employed as a physician, there is an excellent chance that the bulk of these expenses will be borne by your employer or practice, and this is one excellent reason for an MD to stay on the job, well after having achieved financial independence.


2. Teach Your Children” Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young


And feed them, and clothe them, and … I have previously written about the negative financial effect that children can have on early retirement aspirations, with expected and unexpected costs that can exceed tens of thousands of dollars per year…or not.

One way to hedge the financial impact of your children on early retirement is to retire later. The further into your own children’s lives that you are working, the more of these expenses will be in your rear view mirror and the better you can estimate their future expenses.

While your six year old may have the bloodline and potential of a D1 scholarship athlete, by age 16 you will probably know whether or not this is really in the cards. Furthermore, if your 15 year old is approaching the high costs of driving, college, and grad school, by age 25 these expenses will (hopefully) no longer be your concern. Connecting you with more... for less

(But good luck getting them off your family cellphone plan…)

3. “Life’s Been Good”  Joe Walsh


Life is precious, and it is both a blessing and a curse that we do not know when is our last day. I have two friends from my fellowship class of six that did not make it beyond age 50. A recently retired colleague in his late 50’s, a lifelong nonsmoker, was recently diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.

Saving and investing money is laudable and creates great flexibility for your unknown future, but so is having wonderful experiences with family and friends…today. If you plan to work a little longer, you can comfortably spend a little more to enjoy life along the way. I would hate to reach life’s finish line with a large hoard of cash, an unscathed bucket list, and a lifetime of regrets


4. “Money”  Pink Floyd


Be they retirement plans, taxable accounts, pensions, inheritances, or even the much-maligned social security system, the laws of simple intuition and math dictate that the longer you add to the pile and less time you have to subtract from it, the larger the pile will last. QED

Working longer will increase your Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR), the percent of your assets that you can comfortably spend to live. And, if it so interests you, you will also likely have more money to leave to your heirs or charities.


5. “Truckin’ ”  Grateful Dead


You went into this medical thing for a reason, spent 4 years in med school, 3-10 years or more training, in large part so you could have the experience to assist people during a time of physical and or emotional need. You have been in practice for ten, fifteen, twenty years or more. You know your EMR like the back of your hand. You can do the routine procedures in your sleep. You know and like your patients and colleagues, and they know and like you. The hospital CEO is your Facebook friend. You have already done the hard work of building your career, and the wind is at your back. While some might even suggest that it is your duty to practice, if you are still able, why not just keep enjoying the long, strange trip.


6. “Work less, smile more” (apologies to Hamilton: The Musical – “Talk less, smile more…”)


Most medical specialties are in demand, and that allows creative and forward thinking MDs to craft their own schedules. If adding to the nest egg is not as high a priority, you can work less, creating time and space for family, hobbies, and interests, while a decent income keeps rolling in. You do not have to go cold turkey.

Here are some part time schedules and job sharing arrangements that I have known people to take in the later years of their careers:

4 days per week

3 days per week

2 1/2 days per week

No nights or weekends

Every other week

Every other month

Six months on, six months off

Locum tenens only

x” shifts per month in ED, UCC, Clinic, ICU, Hospitalist (dial in whatever “x” you want)

Contrast coverage for imaging center

Two weekends per month

Sporadic prn coverage

In reality, the part time possibilities are infinite for a physician in good standing, especially one with a strong professional network.


7. “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”  Otis Redding


As a prospective early retiree MD, you have no doubt been a super saver and hard worker, and you were likely laser focused on the career for many years. Do you have enough hobbies and interests to keep you busy and engaged? Sure, you can retire at age 45 and play golf every day for 45 years, but guess what? You can retire at 55 and play golf everyday, and in either scenario, you will still be bored and tired of golf in 6 months! People are living longer, too, so retiring at 40 or 45 might leave you with 50+ years of time to fill.


dock of the bay
a nice dock for sittin’


Now that the career is in the bag, you can divert some of your focus to your hobbies, interests, additional education, and charitable work, while you work, and you will be better prepared for the next phase of your life.

8. “Only the Lonely” The Motels


If you retire sooner, rather than later, you might find yourself alone much more than you are accustomed. Maybe your significant other works or has his/her own routine. Your kids are at school most of the day or have already left the nest. Most of your friends still work. Your work friends still work (that’s why they are your “work friends”), and you will miss them. Do you really want to spend more of your days alone?


9. “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin)


Totally counterintuitive, but there are a lot of studies that suggest that early retirement is a risk factor for an early death. Work longer and live longer.


10. “Let’s Go Crazy“ (Prince)


A myriad of studies also connect early retirement with declining cognitive skills and a rise in mental health problems.

There are certainly many other factors and confounding variables, but if working beyond financial independence allows me to keep my wits for a bit longer, it is probably the sane and intelligent choice.




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Some of the above points may not apply to you, but at least a few must resonate with most. Early retirement is a goal worth striving for, but once you get to the point that you can FIRE, there are many excellent reasons to work a little bit longer.

Obviously, one should be more choosy with the job and lifestyle when playing with house money, perhaps working less and letting go of elements of the doc job that you find unappealing. You might just find that toiling beyond FI is when work is the most enjoyable and worthwhile.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to see The Top 5 Money Lessons From Prince. You might also be interested in my pre-emptive rebuttal, written nearly a year ago and published over at Financial Samurai: Rejecting Every Reason Not to Retire Early.

And remember, don’t retire to something, retire on something!

To read more from the prolific guest author, Vagabond MD, see all of his articles:



Which is your favorite reason? Which is your favorite song? Got a number eleven to contribute?


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72 thoughts on “Ten Reasons to Delay Your Early Retirement by Five to Ten Years”

  1. Only the lonely is right. I’m not FI. However, I’m currently not working a full-time job. Do you know how hard it is to find a weekday brunch buddy? C’est impossible!

    • Well, my wife is home most das and the kids are in school. We could definitely do brunch dates. But I see your point.


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  3. I am all for financial independence, but I don’t think early retirement is for most people. Find any type of work that you enjoy (which for many of these readers might be medicine!) and do it for the love of the work, not the money.

    Great list and musical references!

  4. Everyone points out longevity, if you retire at 50 you may have another 40 -50 years. But your 50’s and 60’s are not equivalent you your 70’s and 80’s physically. The five years you give up by working say from 60 to 65 are not the same 5 years as 70 to 75. These are precious, healthy, years that where you likely have excellent health that you can use to accomplish your most physical bucket list items. With greater savings you can’t buy yourself better health, energy, flexibility, strength. One can certainly elongate these attributes with good physical fitness but they are going to decline over time. Balance the value of your younger years against the additional savings.

  5. “We kissed altogether wrong…”

    Oh, man, haven’t thought of The Motels in 30 years. Anyway can you work Nena and 99 Luftballons into your next post?

  6. I am no doctor, but I can definitely relate and appreciate this list!

    The one that sticks out to me the most is #7. I have a lot of colleagues around my age (25) who tell me they don’t plan to work past 50. Most of them don’t save/invest enough for that goal anyway, but they have the idea that work for them will stop at 50. The one thing I always shoot back to them is “well what are you going to do after that?” I have yet to here anyone actually answer that question. There is a thought out there around retirement that once you “retire” that life is just a fun breeze after that. Well unless you have hobbies/family/friends to fill your time, you’re going to quickly realize how bored you are! Personally, I am not sure if I will ever fully retire. I would still like to occupy some of my time doing some things I enjoy, like maybe being a golf pro at the local course!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. I hope to always be doing some sort of work. I really think there is something to it that keeps us healthy and young.

    I don’t want to be working as much as a FT but I think 20 hours a week would seem like a breeze at this point.

    Overall I can see the point of pushing it back, it is hard to not fall into the “one more year” crowd.

    • I’ll admit to being in the “five more years” camp, although the baseline FI we had a few years ago didn’t allow for extensive travel or health insurance. The last couple years will be part-time work, so I’m easing into it.

      The nest egg I will eventually retire with will give us financial freedom with a generous budget for both family travel and healthcare coverage.


  8. Hi, Steve,
    It sounds like you guys are in a great position, no matter what. I like the new field of “Culinary medicine” and have a friend who gave up IM to work as a medical director in a “plant-based medicine” practice, probably related. It’s amazing (but not the least bit surprising) who many of our ailments can be attributed to diet.

    The unpredictable nature of future health care costs is what keeps a lot of otherwise financially independent people in the workforce. “I guess that’s why they call it the Blues…”


  9. Early retirement maybe defined differently given the unique circumstances that each individual and/or couple faces. My wife and I are both physicians in successful private practices. She is seriously considering a second career in Culinary Medicine which is an emerging new sub-specialty. I am experiencing more neck and back pain with longer recovery times after long days in the operating room.

    We are both growing tired of the constant headaches of “prior authorization”, excessive intrusiveness by health insurance companies on which medications can be selected for our patients and the growing complexity and expense of maintaining compliance with MIPS … Does anyone think that doctors of the future will have less government regulation, less insurance company intrusiveness and higher payment for services?

    Given current tax laws, on an after-tax basis we may be better off selling our practices and our real-estate holdings incurring capital gains taxes (23.8%) rather than continue to work more years and be taxed at the full marginal rate of 37%. Just computing federal taxes alone the difference is 13 percentage points. My practice plus real-estate holding is on a pre-tax basis estimated to sell at around 6 to 7 years of my current pre-tax income. To me it is a no brainer. Sell out now while there are still buyers and diversify the holdings.

    The biggest unknown variable is the out-of-pocket expense for health insurance for an individual or couple who are not yet Medicare eligible. If you look at health insurance premiums over the last 10 years it is up about 131% versus overall inflation at around 28%. Will health insurance premium increases continue at rate of more than doubling every 10 years for the next 10 years?

  10. In my practice life I was a Navy doc, I did locums, fee for service private practice, started and ran a group for 18 years, FIRE’d, Started another group no call no weekends at a SDSC which worked about 20 hours per week. The biggest driver for me was kids and insurance. The biggest reason I quit was corporate medicine. After being my own boss for 30 years when it came to corporate medicine I realized Homey Don’t Play That. I also realized you can plan eventualities into your retirement. I started planning for my kids expense when they were 3 with a separate Uniform gift trust which grew to cover all the little and big expenses to pay for them in retirement. Now that I’m 100% retired there is PLENTY to do. I’m glad for my past but time for something new

    I’m singing Skynyrd:

    If I leave here tomorrow
    Would you still remember me?
    For I must be traveling on, now
    Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see
    But, if I stayed here with you, girl
    Things just couldn’t be the same
    Cause I’m as free as a bird now
    And this bird you can not change

    I left all the drama behind


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  12. Oh man, I have so many songs stuck in my head now… I think another big reason to work longer would be because *gasp* you actually like your job, although this might be able to be thrown in with #5. Or if you wanted to be a “Billionaire” (by Travie McCoy).

    • True dat! If you like your job, you have won the game. I hope that that’s where you are, Mrs. Wow! (It’s hard to type “Wow” without a “!”. 😉

  13. You have nicely articulated with your playlist many of the factors for a doc to consider once having the financial options open. Loved it! I have been talking with my friends and colleagues about these exact issues.

    One common thread through all of this is that medicine is such a major part of most of our lives that we need a weaning plan – kind of like with a life support ventilator. Some people can just be extubated because the ventilator only makes them agitated and they don’t really need it. Most who have been on it a long time need a slow reduction of support, and others weaning trials on and off to figure out how to breathe freely again. The best strategy is different for everybody and the only way to figure it out is trial and error.

    • I agree that everyone will require a different exit plan. I was prepared to leave cold turkey, but I was able to arrange a change in responsibilities, followed by a pat time arrangement, which reduced my desire to retire completely. Someone else may have a different solution and exit strategy.

      Best to you, Loonie!

  14. Appreciate the creativity of this article! About a year out of residency I had some frustrations with my work environment–I loved the actual job (you know, the part where I actually see patients and help them out) but I found the support structure lacking. I looked around at other jobs, but the grass was browner on the other side. I let my frustrations with the inefficiencies of our medical system dominate my mind, and for a time I became obsessed with FIRE. My husband and I are fairly frugal by nature and make a good bit more than we want to spend, so fast forward 5 years and we are almost there. But I still find that almost nothing beats a good day at work (a good day being one in which I can figure out what is wrong for at least a few of my patients and move towards fixing it) for me for boosting my happiness. I will probably look at part-time options in the future (my specialty depends on continuity, but does not have many emergencies, so you can still have continuity 3 days a week rather than 5, right?–I hope I can get my employer to see it that way when the time comes). I found that focusing too much on FIRE was actually making me less happy–what I truly want to do is work in a healthcare system that works for both the patients and the doctors (as well as the nurses, therapists, and other staff), not to give up working altogether.

    • Hi, Ann,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree that in an ideal environment, it would not seem like work at all. None of us work there, unfortunately, so we have to do our best to survive and find the situation that suits us best.

      For me, it will be part time, 3 days per week, starting today. Happy New Year and best of luck. 🙂

  15. Great article. May I add 1 more item?

    Having a schedule:
    Working part time gives you some form of a schedule that keeps you in check.

    Over the last 4 years I have been slowly decreasing how much I work. Now I often find myself with a week off from clinical duties every month. By the end of the week usually 1 of two things happen. With all the free time I am productive, wake up at a reasonable hour and gets things done.
    I get very lazy and do nothing at all. By day 3 I find myself going to bed at 3am and wake up an noon. Having to get back to work for a few days gets me back to a reasonable cycle and makes my outside of work life more productive.

  16. Your first few reasons to keep working after FI suggest you aren’t really FI yet. It always frustrates me to read RE posts that suggest the best way to RE is to keep working. What? Even PT work is a big drag once you’ve really tasted what FIRE is all about. I surveyed dozens of people who tried a PT FIRE lifestyle and the great majority summed it up as FT problems for PT pay. Not worth it.

    • I guess it comes down to me viewing FIRE as a last result, not the highest priority, and this article reflects my viewpoint. When I hated my job and wanted out ASAP, FIRE made sense. After I fixed my work situation, it no longer made sense, but it’s still nice to be financially independent. 😉

      As for the “FT work for PT pay” issue, there are many jobs where this is the natural end point, so one has to be careful to pick the right circumstances and not get led into this trap.

  17. Appreciate your wit and wisdom as always, Vagabond. I think PoF has written credible counterpoints a number of times, my favorite being his guest post on Financial Samurai.

    I’d interpret #3 as reason to FIRE when ready, and perhaps even replace it with the Specials’ cover of Prince Buster’s “Enjoy Yourself.”

    The refrain: Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

    • Wow, that song is brutally bad 😉 but sure does make the point. 🙂

      See my response to Scott (above) why it might be a reason to work longer, if you spend the funds along the way.

      Thank you for reading and for the comments.

  18. I love the music references, Vagabond! My favorite point (not song) is about being lonely in early retirement. The thing I am most afraid of with early retirement is being lonely while others are at work – while missing all the fun social activities I currently get at my workplace.

    • My dad retired early and joined committees and boards which kept him busy, and social. As former local coworkers have also retired, they meet for lunch every other week. Not having to be up for work Monday or rushing out of work to be somewhere on a Friday also made it easier to accept weekend plans.

  19. #9 is silly. There are plenty of studies that show a correlation between early retirement and death, but absolutely none that show causation.

    Which do you think is more likely?

    I have Stage IV cancer, therefore I have to retire.
    I have to retire, therefore I have Stage IV cancer.

    But overall, I liked the list. I was a little confused that dying with items on your bucket list is a reason to work longer (#3)? huh?

    • Agree, regarding #9, and I was pushing hard to get to “10 Reasons”. We all know people who “dropped dead” within a month or year from retiring. In many cases, perhaps physical impairment or subclinical disease led to retirement.

      The point of #3 is that since you do not know when your game is over, rather than over aggressively saving and scrimping for an unknown future, spending some money along the way to have the experiences, even if it means prolonging your career to do it.

      For example, my wife and I took our family on a wonderful two week vacation to Italy for our 50th birthdays a couple years ago. It was very expensive. We could have saved the money on the vacation, maybe retired a little bit earlier, and taken the family on the same vacation for our 55th birthdays, except that, who knows, maybe one of us would not be around to take the vacation. Sobering, but possible.

  20. Really great post Vagabond. I love the musical references. I love Prince and Led Zep. I think key is achieving financial Independence and then assessing the situation. I am working 2 days this week and 2 days next week. I work less and I make less but when you have “enough” it is ok. I think this concept of FIRE is very individualized. I consider that I semi-fired at 56 (sparked). When I quit taking OB call a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.

    • Thanks, hatton1. With financial independence, you have lots of options and flexibility. With two teenagers, one now in college, our financial independence preceded our independence from our dependents. (That’s a mouthful!)

  21. Awesome list!

    I am approaching 15 years post Emergency Medicine residency and have achieved FI, however plan to work for at least five more years. You have touched on most of the reasons. Our kids are still at home and in school, health insurance would be a concern, and most importantly, I still enjoy coming to work.

    Another option that has helped me is working at lower volume departments where you have time to talk to patients and nurses, and some downtime on most shifts. You sacrifice some pay, but delay or prevent issues with burn out.

    • Yes, I think that I would enjoy coming to the Hospital and hanging out with the work people (mainly the nurses and techs) even if I were no longer working, but that’s a little creepy. If I stay on the job, I can hang out with my work friends without being considered odd.

      I have stripped out the parts of my job that were the most unappealing, but a lower volume, lower acuity, or lower status situation, even if pay were lower, might do well to extend the career.

  22. Early retirement leading to early death or declining mental health?? Hmmm I think I’ll have to look up more studies on this, but like the article suggested, I think remaining active and engaged during retirement is key.

    A part time gig sounds good to ease into retirement.. in my case maybe working as a mail order pharmacist and checking prescriptions from home!

    • The mail order pharmacist from home sounds like a great gig. Radiology is set up nicely for home work (tele radiology), but the jobs that are typical are not as nice as you might think. It is typical for a tele radiologist to work 9P-7A, 7 days on and 7 days off, or something similar.

  23. What a fun list! The longer I’ve been on the FIRE path, the more appealing part time work sounds, especially if it comes with benefits. I’ve talked with a prior consulting firm I worked for, they would require 24 hours/week to get health insurance. My current employer only requires 12 hours/week, but there aren’t many jobs that they’d allow to be so part time.

    • 24 hours per week sounds great. I am going to approximately 27 hours per week, well, next week! In a medical career, 12 hours per week might be a little bit on the light side, but I expect it has been done.

  24. I think part time is a good way to go, but definitely easier in shift based fields. For us docs with patient panels the messages never end so I think working 80 percent is reasonable. Less becomes harder.

    • DDD, part time is easier in shift-based fields, for sure, but increasingly doable throughout the medical professional landscape. In cardiology, for example, perhaps you could join or create a group where everyone is committed to a part time schedule and is therefore equally committed to making it work. Or jog sharing 50:50 with another cardiologist. Not easy, but not impossible.

  25. Well written post. I’m not a doctor but my situation wasn’t dissimilar. I could have retired pretty early but instead worked until my 60th birthday when I pulled the trigger. I was just having too much fun working to consider hanging things up until then. And now I have a half dozen paid side gigs and about the same number of non-paid volunteer side gigs. What I was able to do was to create side gigs that captured the most enjoyable parts of my former career and minimized the parts I didn’t enjoy. It is a pleasant unintended consequence that the paid gigs are supplying 100% of my family expenses even though I don’t need to earn an income. I think the preferred goal should be to become financially independent early on and then to choose between continuing a career you may love or building an alternate better one to transition into without worrying about the economic impacts of the choice.

  26. I’m targeting FI for the #3 reason. 3 out of 4 of my grandparents passed by age 72. I don’t want to retire at 65, or 67 and only have a few years. Worse yet as in that section, be working so hard and not make it to 60. Last year a coworker (~age 40) died in a car accident in early December , and then a former coworker (under 40) of a heart attack. We really don’t know…so I’m trying to enjoy time with friends and family now, while making plans for FI.
    Both of my parents retired before 65 and are not bored, so I expect I’ll follow suit. 🙂

  27. Great list Vagabond.

    Part of being “financially independent” is being able to feel “financially secure”. I probably reached FI 5-10 years ago, but with the memory of the 2008 market meltdown so fresh, it was difficult to think of being financially secure based only on my investments without also having income from the job. So, I kept grinding on in my practice.

    One of the great things I have gained by reading PoF’s site and WCI is the idea that there are options other than working full time until retirement. 2018 is the year that I put you #6 into effect! The schedule has already been blocked off with 1.5 days off per week, and more vacation. It will feel like early retirement.

    Best wishes to all for a happy 2018

    • Yes, Neuro-doc, those of us who have experienced previous market meltdowns (2000-2 and 2008-9 for me) seem to have a more cautious outlook than those who have not. I guess we understand that our paper wealth can be crushed pretty quickly. Do you remember all of those jokes about your 401k turning into a 201k? (Not funny, was it?)

      Congrats on your move to part time. I am also switching to part time (3 days per week), starting in January. Tomorrow is our last day of full time clinical work. My family is going out to dinner to celebrate (and to beat the annoying New Year’s Eve crowds).

  28. Definitely agree with #6 about cutting back as opposed to quitting entirely. I think it’s a much more realistic goal for most. I hope to do this when I reach my financial goals. Basically get to a point that you can live paycheck to paycheck without dipping into your retirement accounts. This is especially important for paying for health insurance too as you mentioned in #1

    If I am able to continue working as a hospitalist, I’d be able to cut back to working only 8 shifts per month and still be eligible for full benefits as a 0.5 FTE. It would give me plenty of money to live on and would still be able to contribute some to savings if I choose not to spend it. But most importantly it would give me a lot of freedom to pursue other interests.

    • It is funny that you mention freedom. About 45 minutes ago, I received a notification from google calendar warning me that “FREEDOM” was on 12/31. I must have put that on the schedule at a time when I thought I would be finished with my career on 12/31/17. Alas, it looks like “FREEDOM” will have to wait a bit longer.

      • When does part-time start for you, Vagabond? I recall it was going to be 10/1 (with me), but I know that got delayed. I hope for your sake, it begins soon if it hasn’t already.


  29. Nice list! I think you could argue the reverse for each of these as to why it’s important to retire sooner rather than later. But your list applies for folks who have no clue as to what they’ll be doing after they hang it up. If on the other hand, you intend to continue working on personal pursuits, be it carpentry, blog writing, Etsy shop, or, gasp, volunteering, you don’t have to worry about your #10 (Nice Prince reference, btw.)
    My advice is to not delay, but instead find the means to accelerate early retirement. Just be sure to have a plan for Day 1 that isn’t reduced to jetting around the world.

    • I cannot disagree, other than that the point of this piece was to support the idea that continuing to work might have some payoffs beyond the paycheck.

  30. This is such a good guest post. I’m not a doc but I can relate.

    And the solution of maybe working part time is not such a bad idea.

    I actually just published a guest post from a reader who has FIREd but is now consulting for only 16hrs/week and still able to bring in 6 figures. Not bad…#Goals 🙂

    • Thank you for reading and your comments. Part time and consulting are both great options for docs (and others) who are emotionally and financially ready to downshift from the grind of the standard career. If you can make your expenses with significantly less effort, all the better.

  31. Thank you for writing this! It’s an awesome playlist and some good insight. #5 stands out the most to me, I often go home and muse “I can’t believe they’re paying me this much to do X all day.” It’s not that its easy work, but its work I’ve trained fifteen years for and no longer requires the same level of effort.

    • Mr Shirts, thanks for reading (and can I introduce you to Ms Skirts?).

      On a more serious note, I think that this point is not written about enough, especially with respect to medical careers. There is a very long runway to launch a medical career, and even after launching, it often takes five plus years to really hit your stride. An early retiree might be dropping out just as he or she is getting to “the easy part”, which would be a shame.

    • Thank you, Wealthy Doc. The musical theme did not enter the article until I came up with “Work less, smile more…”. I am a HUGE Hamilton-The Musical fan, and it just seemed to fit that entry beautifully. I then had to come up with the rest. Admittedly, some songs worked better than others, and it was a personal requirement to work in The Grateful Dead somewhere.

  32. Nice playlist! I like the “Only The Lonely” inclusion, what a great song.

    I had never seen that study about early retirement possibly causing early death. They have a pretty big correlation/causation problem in that study, as the article admits. Frankly I’m not buying it.

    And for those who retire to Airstreams I would add The Who’s “Going Mobile”!

    • Thanks, AF. Yes, the study is hardly Level 1 research, but it is something to think about it. We all probably have some anecdotal examples that support the possibility the idea that early retirement could lead to early death. At that point in the article, I was pushing hard to get to #10!

  33. I think this is spot on, Vagabond!

    I plan to be able to FIRE in my mid 40s, but likely won’t do so. What I will do is cut back to part time work and focus on the things I really enjoy. I don’t get paid (yet) to do my academic research, but would be nice at some point to do that (on my own schedule) and work 1/2 time or less clinically, though I love my clinical work, too.

    Maybe I am strange, but I actually love what I do. Yes, I am young in my career. But really want I want is to be able to focus on the good aspects of the job and be able to get rid of the ones I don’t like, as you suggested. Additionally, working part time and earning even $5000 per month is like having an additional $1.5 million in your retirement account. You can cut back, keep bringing home the paycheck (and benefits), and still enjoy life.

    I could then invest the additional time off into things I enjoy! Great post!

    • Thanks for the comments, TPP. You are not strange at all. When I was a resident, I liked my work so much that I would have done it for free. 25 or so years later, some things I like and others I do not. (You might find the same.) Now, I am focused on eliminating the things that I do not like and concentrating on what I do enjoy doing.

    • If you can find the right balance, why not? I like the 3 day or 2 1/2 day/week. Gives you money to pay basic bills and perhaps more. Give you time to take longer vacations and do other things you love.

      • Absolutely agree. Nothing treats burnout better than feeling productive when you are working and having time off to recover.


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