40% of physicians 'behind schedule' in saving for retirement

Although "a comfortable retirement" remains a universal personal financial goal for physicians, many of them are not as prepared as they'd like to be, according to American Medical Association Insurance's 2016 study on physicians' financial preparedness.

From 2013 to 2016, the percentage of practicing physicians who said they are "ahead of schedule" in their retirement plans nearly doubled — from 6 percent to 11 percent, the study found. However, nearly 40 percent of practicing physicians consider themselves "behind" where they'd like to be in saving for retirement.

For the study, researchers surveyed approximately 125,000 practicing physicians, contrasting age, specialty and employment situation of physicians who are "ahead" versus those "behind."

The survey determined physicians can be financially prepared at any age. In fact, 7 percent of physicians in their 30s, 11 percent in their 40s and 13 percent in their 50s said they are "ahead of schedule" in planning for retirement.

But researchers also found dramatic differences in the attitudes and behaviors of physicians who are meeting their retirement savings numbers compared to those who reported being behind.

Researchers said physicians who are financially prepared for retirement are eight times more likely to say they are very knowledgeable about personal finance matters such as retirement planning, investing and insurance than their peers who consider themselves "behind." The study also found that 67 percent of physicians who are "ahead" use a professional financial advisor compared to 44 percent who are "behind."

Additionally, researchers said, physicians who are financially prepared for retirement have more money saved than physicians in their age and career stage; max out their qualified retirement plan contribution; are more diversified in their investments; carry less debt; and have their estate plan in order.


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