Even young, fresh-out-of-residency physicians need to think about retirement. In his final blog post for the American Academy of Family Physicians Fresh Perspective blog, Peter Rippey, MD, a specialist in sports medicine in South Carolina, addressed common physician retirement concerns.1

According to an article published on CNBC,2 most Americans who are close to retiring have only saved 12% of what they need to retire; similarly, nearly a quarter of physicians aged 65 or older do not have enough net worth to fund their retirements. Dr Rippey offered a number of suggestions that physicians can employ when saving for retirement.

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First, physicians should start saving as soon as possible. Many delay putting money aside for retirement due to debt or the need to pay for additional schooling. In this case, Dr Rippey exhorts even the “late bloomers” to begin saving immediately, citing the power of compounded interest. Sometimes this includes the use of a company’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan, or a health savings account (HSA), all of which can be funded with pre-tax dollars.

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Another strategy to aid in saving for retirement is to enlist in the help of a financial advisor. Employing an advisor means not having to spend time learning the ins and outs of investing. However, it is still important that the person investing understand enough to know how an advisor can be of the most help.

Overall, Dr Rippey’s suggestions come down to examining one’s spending habits and comparing this with retirement goals.


  1. Rippey, P. Start saving for retirement now. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://www.aafp.org/news/blogs/freshperspectives/entry/20180529fp-retirement.html. Published May 29, 2018. Accessed June 11, 2018.
  2. Martin E. Most Americans close to retirement have saved only 12% of what they need. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/19/most-americans-close-to-retirement-have-saved-12-percent-of-what-they-need.html. March 19, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2018.