Retirement report

Nearly 70% of doctors in their 40s want to retire in their 50s or early 60s, survey reveals

Medscape report finds that physicians, on average, would like to save $3.9 million to feel comfortable retiring from medicine.


Around 2 in 3 physicians expect or hope to retire from medicine by their mid- or late 60s, according to Medscape’s retirement report released in December 2023. Roughly 28% of hospitalists expressed a desire to retire even earlier, in their 50s.

To create the report, Medscape surveyed 1,017 practicing physicians in the U.S. across 29-plus specialties. Below are some highlights from the report.

  • Nearly 70% of physicians in their 40s want to retire in their 50s or early 60s, compared to doctors overall (19%).
  • Physicians placed a higher price tag on retirement than the typical American employee. On average, men stated that $4.1 million would provide a comfortable retirement, with women stating $3.6 million. Overall, the average for physicians was $3.9 million.
  • At these levels, physicians have typically funded about 77% of their desired amount. About three-quarters of the men surveyed believed they would meet their goals by retirement, while only 58% of women agreed, and 32% of all were unsure.
  • Nearly half of doctors told Medscape that they plan to wait until their 70th birthday to begin drawing Social Security benefits. Social Security payments max out at age 70. About 27% plan to start withdrawing funds before age 65.
  • Reasons behind physicians’ planned age of retirement include wanting more family time (45%), desiring time to pursue other passions (61%) and when they expect to reach their monetary goals (68%), with burnout being the most commonly cited reason (74%).

Related reading:

The ‘doctor’ treatment: How to vet physicians for ourselves and those we love

Nearly half of physicians surveyed say they’re burned out in 2024


  1. Wendy Miller, DO

    We’ve industrialized medicine and turned doctors into high output production machines. We’ve imposed mountains of meaningless tasks to be done in addition to actual patient care. For many, paring down work is impossible because the system requires us to be all or nothing, which seems the only option is to retire early. Some, like me have gone into solo micro-practice and are able to scale our practice to something sustainable. What if we created a medical system that supports and respects the human-ness of the doctors (and nurses)?

  2. Steven Kamajian,D.O.

    work for yourself. You likely will earn less…work more…and have full control of your schedule, those who you work with, your days off, what you do, and most importantly why you are doing it.
    It is the worst lie ever given to physicians that the “tough part of medical practice is the management”…doctors have given up independence due to the lie “you can’t manage this on your own”
    What crap. Managers can’t manage without doctors. They tell us where to stand , sit and walk only because we let them. So “yeh” doctors want to retire to get away from the problems that the managers have cause them. Get rid of the managers, manage yourself and work slower, longer, happier….and you WON’T burn out.

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy