Preparing for Retirement

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Preparing for Retirement

​Regardless of occupation or industry, choosing to retire is an intricate, complex — and in some cases a difficult process. But it doesn’t have to be. 

​​There’s a lot to think about before retirement. One has to consider their own health and financial status, and whether they have the means to support themselves, their family, and lifestyle. Additionally, one must consider what they’d like to do with their time. 

Some physicians make plans to leave medicine completely, eager to immerse themselves in travel, hobbies, and family. Others ease into retirement by continuing to practice medicine part time, providing concierge medicine, doing locum tenens, or using their years of experience to work in health care administration, consulting, teaching, writing or volunteering. 

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With a projected shortage in the pediatric workforce, there are many opportunities for older pediatricians to work part time or full​ time in medical practice, medical education, or organized medicine. 

A recent study by researchers at the AAP found that: 

  • The mean retirement age was 62 for female pediatricians and 68 for male pediatricians.
  • Many pediatricians work past the expected retirement age: 
    • 49% reported working, either full-time or part-time, past age 65;
    • 24% of respondents reported working past age 70.
  • Among retired pediatricians, 12% reported that they were currently working for pay in a nonmedical field.
  • Most pediatricians phased into retirement through some combination of working part-time or tapering their hours, if possible.

​For the full article, please see: Patterns of Work and Retirement Among Pediatricians Aged ≥50 Year

​Retirement doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition — either work or don’t work. Instead, physicians can find opportunities to reduce their hours gradually, rather than jump into full retirement.

For a physician in a group practice, available office space, an acceptable compensation formula, and the cost of liability insurance and other expenses may need to be considered.

A group practice physician may have the option to resign his or her partnership, and to continue to stay with the group as an employed doctor with a yearly contract. 

Many hospital systems have a structured retirement plan that allows physicians to retire all at once or transition into a part-time position.

Deciding How to Retire 

AAP Section on Senior Members​
​​​AAP members contemplating retirement can access a wealth of information, guidance, and resources by connecting with the Section on Senior Members (SOSM). The SOSM offers pediatricians assistance in navigating professional and life transitions, planning for their future, and understanding the financial and psychological aspects of retirement. Essential resources on transitioning to retirement from the SOSM and the Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM) can be found below:

Notifying Patients

Download this sample letter​ for notifying patients of an impending retirement.


The SOSM and SOAPM teamed up to offer a webinar entitled “Retiring and Closing a Practice,” which was presented on March 1, 2016 by Jerald Zarin, MD, FAAP. See it on-demand by clicking here. (49:35)

Closing a Practice​

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