Employed physicians nervous about retirement too

A desire for greater financial security is one of the top reasons physicians may leave private practice for hospital or large group practice employment. But a steady paycheck doesn't necessarily guarantee employed physicians are comfortable with their long-term financial picture, according to a new report from AMA Insurance.

Highlights of the 2014 survey of more than 1,000 employed physicians across the United States include the following:

  • Seventy-two percent of surveyed physicians are somewhat or very concerned about having enough savings to retire; 42 percent of physicians consider themselves behind where they'd like to be in terms of saving for retirement.

  • Their next-biggest concern is funding long-term care, at 65 percent. One-third of physicians surveyed revealed they didn't know how they would pay for such care, while 33 percent plan to use long-term care insurance and 36 percent intend to self-fund their care.

  • The highest percentage (42 percent) of physicians surveyed consider themselves somewhat knowledgeable about personal finance issues, while 21 percent say they aren't very knowledgeable. For the second year running, lack of time was the top reason physicians cited for not being more informed about personal finances.

  • Although most physicians who use personal financial advisers are satisfied, the top reason given for not using advisers was physicians' inability to find someone they could trust.

  • Most (67 percent) of employed physicians earn more than 75 percent of their family's total household income.

  • Ninety-one percent of employed physicians surveyed have malpractice insurance paid by their employer, while 48 percent say their employer pays their disability premium (12 percent are not sure).

As FiercePracticeManagement reported previously, the time for physicians to begin negotiating contracts that will help them secure their financial future is when they receive an offer letter from a potential employer.

"In most jurisdictions, an offer letter is a contract. What many physicians don't realize is that the ability to leverage and negotiate change to the standard form of contract is limited by what they agreed to in the offer letter," said Dean P. Nicastro, a healthcare attorney with Pierce & Mandell in Boston. "In an ideal world, if you're ever going to talk to a lawyer, you should do it when the offer letter arrives rather than waiting until you get the contract."

To learn more:
- see the survey