Retirement Readiness Tool
This readiness tool is designed to assist you in planning for retirement. To continue to work in a positive way, we need passion, energy, and ability*. Ask yourself the following and score a point for each:
- Do I still have fun and enthusiasm in the work I do?
- Do I still have strength and vitality to work?
- Do I still have stamina left at the end of my working day for my family and my interests?
- Am I able and motivated to keep up with learning? Medicine is a fast-moving science, and I need to keep up to date.
If you scored 4/4, you may not be ready to retire.
Considering the impact of retirement on your emotional state, relationships, social capacity, and the financial and legal implications will enable you to be better prepared for this new life chapter.
- Physicians are trained to be experts in their practice areas. They are trained to anticipate issues and seek solutions. Transitioning to a phase of life with many unknowns can be overwhelming.
- It is critical to think about how you will feel during your retirement prior to retiring. Without planning around emotional and mental health, physicians may be unequipped to deal with this new stage in their lives and experience difficulties including anxiety or depression.
- You may find your relationships change during retirement. This could be a function of simply having more time for friends and family or it could be you are being asked to become a care giver for a partner, child, or grandchild.
- You may also find yourself single and wanting to connect with others in a similar situation.
- When planning your retirement think about how this change will not only impact you, but all of those around you. It may be helpful to have conversations to discuss how others are feeling about your pending retirement.
- New social changes are redefining retirement. It is no longer a time of stagnation but can be a time of new opportunities to discover or renew a passion, to determine who you are, or to finally have the time to do what you have been dreaming of.
- This new social definition of retirement values meaning over rest, personal fulfillment over relaxation and life balance over a lopsided leisure life**. Retirement does not have to be a sudden, and distressing process of quitting work, but a transition, which may last several months or years. It is a process where work may still exist but is no longer the main activity. The idea of free time to explore and try new things may give you an uneasy and uncomfortable feeling, but it is important to value and protect it. The key is to reconnect with your self and develop a new life mission.
It is best to start planning for retirement as soon as you begin practicing medicine. Throughout your career, have regular financial check ins with your financial planner to ensure you can have the financial peace of mind and experience you want in retirement. Most financial institutions will have a variety of tools which can also assist you in your planning. Some examples are listed below.
Connect with your lawyer early on in the retirement planning process. Discuss what is necessary to ensure your affairs are in order (up to date will, medical directives, etc.). Discuss what is required related to your medical corporation and any other outstanding concerns. Explore any requirements related to employment standards and labour laws, existing contracts, and leases.
The Canadian Medical Protective Association has additional resources on retiring and ending your practice. It is best to become aware of all of the resources and supports available to you.
- Interrupt or end your CMPA membership
- Closing or leaving a practice: Tips for primary care physicians (CMPA)
If you are unsure about any of the aspects of the readiness tool, consult the Physician and Family Support Program to speak to counsellors, legal and financial advisors who can assist you. MD Financial also offers a wide range of retirement planning resources.
* Dr Stephen Archer. To Remain or Retire: Advice for Physicians from Leonard Cohen. Department of Medicine Blogs. Queens University.
** Dr. Richard P Johnson. The New Retirement. Discovering your Dreams.