Medical accountant Kym Nitschke explains why Australian General Practitioners should set their retirement plans in motion sooner rather than later.

Retirement is a double-edged sword; it’s welcomed but not without its financial challenges.

General Practitioners, in particular, have a difficult time adjusting to this new normal. Loyalty to patients, immense pride in their vocation, a great income and the shock of stopping work can all affect the difficult decision. Additionally, many GPs aren’t financially ready for the steep cost despite earning well for most of their career.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners estimates that 18% of General Practitioners plan to retire within the next five years (read the full report here).

Despite individuals’ differing expectations of life after work, what is certain is that all medical professionals need to financially prepare for their golden years as soon as they can.

Without proper preparation, the possibility of having a retirement that falls short of your dreams and plans is an unfortunate reality. While working, you have the most freedom to impact your future.

Here’s some key considerations for GPs should be preparing for retirement.

Understand lifestyle costs

Before financially planning for retirement, it’s essential to figure out what this looks like for you and your family. Do you want to move somewhere new, downsize to a more manageable home, take up exciting new hobbies or continue to live the same way?

These lifestyle factors all influence the expected cost of living.

Instead of aiming at a magic number, focus on building multiple income streams to support these expenses. Super and other investments can all form part of an income strategy during your retirement years. 

Additionally, working longer, harder or smarter can increase your income allowing you to invest more, even for a limited period of time.

It’s not just about money in, managing the money that’s coming out is key too.

Take care of debt

The last thing you want hanging over your retirement plans is the doomed black cloud of debt.

It’s critical to prioritise paying off your mortgage, other loans, credit cards and any other outstanding debts as soon as possible.

Debt can quietly erode your income and investment potential over many years, significantly limiting your retirement possibilities. And when debt gets out of hand, retirement plans can get thrown into disarray.

Making up the deficit may mean working harder during your allotted years or extending the length of your medical career. 

Plan for emergencies

Understandably, one of the biggest worries for retirees is unexpected costs. Having a well-thought-out plan for crises, along with a sufficient emergency fund separate from your day-to-day expenses, is essential.

Your medical financial adviser can help you create a robust budget that includes a contingency plan for emergencies.

Time retirement right

Circumstances change and evolve, and your expectations of life after practising medicine could alter too. Markets ebb and flow, and other external factors can also influence the timing of your retirement. Working closely with your medical wealth expert can ensure you are continuously working towards your retirement goals and aspirations. 

By making the right retirement moves now, while you’re working, you can ensure you maintain a great lifestyle when you exited the profession.

The best time to start planning is right now. At Nitschke Nancarrow, we’re medical wealth experts, helping medical professionals across all levels and roles create the retirement of their dreams.

Want to know more? Let’s talk. Contact us now.

Find out more about what we do for doctors along with medical practice advisory.

The information contained on this article 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 Nitschke Nancarrow’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.

Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.

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