It is uncommon for doctors to retire early in Australia, but you may have ideas for your life other than being a full time medical practitioner. Perhaps you have family aspirations, are looking for a change in career, or you’re simply looking for more freedom and control over your life.
Early retirement is a hard feat for anyone, let alone doctors. It requires plenty of sacrifice and stringent habits from now to ensure you’re well prepared for the future. But it is certainly achievable. And here’s how to do it.
Set a plan
You need a detailed wealth and financial plan which considers your retirement dream, debts, expenses, income and investments. This will help you to set goals and establish the right saving / spending habits. Early retirement won’t come easy, so you need an effective savings strategy that’s maintainable and realistic to achieve between now and retirement. Most importantly, you have to determine how much you will need to comfortably live out your retirement goals and work towards this figure.
Once leaving your job, you’ll be saying goodbye to your high income – which is why so many doctors stay in the game until late in life. But with the right plan and investment strategy, you can ensure that you have the cashflow to enjoy life as you know it.
Find your purpose
You need to have a vision and purpose for life after retirement. If you’re retiring early, you still have plenty of prime years to fulfil your other goals. It could be investing in family, pursuing a new hobby, travelling, or even paid / volunteer work in a different field. Many doctors find it hard to simply sit at home twiddling their thumbs – a clear purpose will make your transition more than worthwhile.
Tackle your debts
Potentially the biggest downfall for many doctors is the major debt hanging over their heads, often with multiple mortgages and personal loans, credit cards, school fees and other lifestyle-related debts. So, a big part of your financial strategy should include set payment plans to quickly eliminate your debts. The quicker you tackle your debts, the less interest you’ll have to pay and the more time you can spend on using your income to generate wealth. It’s particularly crucial that you avoid taking out extra loans – you’ll only dig yourself a deeper hole that will jeopardise your post-retirement lifestyle.
It’s simple – the more strict you are now with your savings, the more you’ll have for early retirement.
We can’t stress this enough – you need to save big and you need to save now. Especially as doctors’ careers don’t usually take off until later in life, you have a smaller window of opportunity to put aside enough funds for early retirement.
This shorter timeline also means you can’t just rely on long-term investing strategies and compound interest alone. Your savings will take up a significant portion of your retirement nest-egg. Therefore, one key recommendation is to automate your savings so money is consistently being transferred into your savings account. This will stop you from being tempted into splurging.
Some doctors are beginning to adopt the ‘FIRE’ concept, or ‘Financially Independent, Retire Early’. However, it involves a lot of sacrifice now and great frugality. So you need to ask yourself, is cutting back now and losing the comforts and luxuries in life worth the end goal? Will it make you happy?
Fortunately, there are several other methods of saving without losing your lifestyle in the meantime. Firstly, are there areas you can cut unnecessary or excessive spending, such as unused subscriptions, recreational activities, takeaway food, or even the transport you use? Even being savvy with your expenses and searching for the best bargain could save you thousands in the long run.
Plus, while you’re reducing your spending, you can also increase your income by taking on higher paying roles, overtime or a side hustle such as developing your own technology/company, books and courses, teaching and mentoring, in-practice medical sales and more.
Finally, with a higher income, you should also have a greater capacity to boost your super and make extra payments whenever possible.
Build your investment portfolio
With limited time to create a decent passive income, you can’t afford to make financial mistakes or miss key wealth building opportunities. So you need to have a diverse, reliable investment portfolio. In Australia, property is one of the best and safest investments anyone can make. You can also adopt smart strategies with super and shares, too. This is where talking to your medical wealth adviser will be crucial, who can advise you on the best strategy based on your needs and goals.
It’s crucial you talk to an expert who specialises in wealth for medical professionals, right now, to develop the right wealth building strategy and retirement plan for you.
Contact DocWealth, specialists in accounting, financial planning, investment and finance, investment and business for medical professionals. We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.
– Kym Nitschke
The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.
Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on DocWealth’s interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.
DocWealth specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.