How To Have a Comfortable Retirement

DECEMBER 28, 2016
David Alemian

During the last several years the American Medical Association (AMA) has conducted multiple studies on the financial preparedness of US physicians.  All of these studies revealed that the top financial concern for all US physicians is providing a comfortable retirement for themselves and spouse or partner.  Retirement is a huge problem for physicians because they are such high-income earners, and most live a high-priced lifestyle that matches their income.  The challenge for physicians is the ability to maintain their lifestyle when they retire and the income stops. 
I have personally polled countless physicians with the following question:  If you could ask only one question about retirement, what would you ask?  In every case, they all wanted to know how much money they would need to save for retirement.  Here is the bottom line:  when it comes to retirement, you need to think differently.  If you follow the crowd and go with qualified plans, money in the stock market, etc., you would most likely run out of money in retirement.
You're a physician; so when you think about retirement, think like a physician.  In other words, look at the evidence and look at the results.  Almost everyone who depends on their qualified plan, and puts most or all of their money in the stock market, runs out of money.  That's the evidence and the result.  Now look at people who have lifetime pension plans, they never run out of money.  That's evidence pointing in a better direction and a better result.  Which result would you rather have?
You can start a private pension plan for yourself, but you would have to fund it.  The cost would depend on your age and when you plan to retire.  Another idea is to ask your employer to help start a group pension plan where you work.  If you do it through work, the employer, the employees, or both could pay the cost.  
The fact is there is a huge talent shortage in the world of healthcare, and employers are very concerned about talent retention.  Most would be open to the idea of a pension plan because it is a way to retain talent long term.  It’s the ideal win-win solution, you solve your retirement problem and your employer solves his or her retention problem.
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