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  • Ready to walk

    I have been in practice for 12 years as an employed physician. I am 45 years old and through careful saving starting early I have 5 million in invested assets and property, not including my primary residence. No major expenses foreseen other than health insurance. Lately I have been feeling burned out and despite decreasing my hours I am really feeling like I need a change. The corporate medicine environment keeps becoming more and more depressing and I feel like I am just selling my soul for a paycheck at this point. I feel like I have enough money to live for the rest of my life without working but its really hard to walk away from the security of a well paying job. Anyone out there taken a leap and left clinical medicine for some time off?

  • #2
    Bump - need some colleagues to jump in and support @alphafire. I could give my thoughts, but this needs to start from the community of docs.
    Financial planning, investment management and CPA services for medical and high-income professionals | 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      Just take a year off OP, you can clearly afford it.

      At the end of a year you're probably going to want to work again at least part time.

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      • #4
        What's your specialty if you don't mind sharing?  MPMD has some good advice, although I don't know about credentialing if a year off looks bad when applying for another job.  I personally would love to go part time, but I'm not in a good enough financial position to do this yet.

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        • #5
          I think CM did a 12 year detour as a financial analyst. He might be able to give advice.

          Take a year off but make sure the license is not suspended. You can do some free clinics to keep it active.

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          • #6
            I agree with the first few responses so far. Your specialty will depend on the best course forward. I would take 6-12 months off, get away from medicine, and then recharge. Would a part time job under different circumstances be a better option? Maybe.

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            • #7
              My net worth is less than half of yours (though my spending is also really low).  I just turned in my resignation notice and don't plan to work full time or for an employer again.  I will keep working in some way starting next year, but that is mainly because I am too young to just be "retired" and because I don't want to lose my skills completely.

              Most of us who are burned out and FI seem to wait way too long to pull the cord.  Just do it.  What's the risk?

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              • #8
                I think more information is needed.  Were you able to amass such wealth because you made a good salary and lived well below your means vs made a fantastic salary and are able to afford a more plush life.    At 45 years old if your annual spending is 250K then you are not ready yet for FIRE.  If you are living under 100K then you might have been able to stop years ago.

                Upcoming expenses?  Kids?  College costs? Mortgage?  Second mortgage? Health insurance?

                Can you translate your field into another line of work that you might enjoy more?

                Do you need a break or think you are done with medicine completely?  12 years is a short career but not unheard of.  Look at PoF.

                Would you want to work in a non medical field?

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                • #9
                  If I was in your shoes, I'd give my 2 weeks notice immediately. Take a break, read some books, stay up on my CME and spend a bunch of time with my kids/family. Then when I was feeling the need to be "career productive" again, I'd pick up locum tenen shifts in cities around the country I want to visit. Do 2 weeks per month. Depending on the specialty and the market you can make just as much money working 2 weeks per month as you can being full time. Having been (presumably) financially wise and/or lucky in the past you now have the freedom to say no. When the corporate types make unrealistic demands you can say no and walk away. Don't burn bridges or send nasty emails. Be kind and firm and professional. You are the valuable commodity. Take a break to recharge. You might find some other equally rewarding passion or maybe you'll come back to medicine. Either way, you have the power and freedom to do so.

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                  • #10
                    Yep, I'd be out today if I had 5 mil.  My networth is only 1/10 of that and it's tempting to leave for another career.

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                    • #11




                      Most of us who are burned out and FI seem to wait way too long to pull the cord.  Just do it.  What’s the risk?
                      Click to expand...


                      The risk lies in discovering that you're going to need more money (either for yourself, or to help a loved one) and you no longer have the means to generate it.  (In the OP's case, given the size of his savings, it's a very small risk, but it's not zero.)




                      If I was in your shoes, I’d give my 2 weeks notice immediately. Take a break, read some books, stay up on my CME and spend a bunch of time with my kids/family. Then when I was feeling the need to be “career productive” again, I’d pick up locum tenen shifts in cities around the country I want to visit. Do 2 weeks per month. Depending on the specialty and the market you can make just as much money working 2 weeks per month as you can being full time. Having been (presumably) financially wise and/or lucky in the past you now have the freedom to say no. When the corporate types make unrealistic demands you can say no and walk away. Don’t burn bridges or send nasty emails. Be kind and firm and professional. You are the valuable commodity. Take a break to recharge. You might find some other equally rewarding passion or maybe you’ll come back to medicine. Either way, you have the power and freedom to do so.
                      Click to expand...


                      This is an excellent plan!  Take an extended break now, and see how you feel a few months down the road.  Maybe you'll come back to medicine in a different capacity, or maybe you'll do something completely different - but a break now doesn't commit you to any one path, and will do wonders for your mental health.

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                      • #12
                        Was 42 when I hit the reset button and moved out of the area.

                        Most employers understand this. If they are smart, they will allow a sabbatical. Some even do this paid benefit. Kaiser recognizes the need for an extended recharge and allows for it.

                        The worst case is a lost productive physician which costs them a heck lot more than a few months sabbatical.

                        As others mentioned you really need to run the numbers for FIRE and make sure you're good. 5M can get you to about 166k yearly using the x30.rule.

                        If you dont plan to move, negotiate a sabbatical. Worst case for you is that you dont go back.

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                        • #13
                          I feel for you. Hope everything turns out well. Whether you like it or not, you do vitally important work. Good luck brother or sister.

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                          • #14




                            .

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                            • #15
                              I would try part time before quitting completely. That is what I did and it worked.

                              So did all of these docs:

                              https://www.crispydoc.com/docs-who-cut-back/

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