July 1997 Bulletin

What's retirement really like?

Orthopaedists enjoy freedom, but miss patients

Are you thinking of retiring? Will it be in five years or 10 years or just someday in the future? Will it be when you're 65 because it's mandatory or expected? Or, will you walk away sooner because you're unhappy with the changes that managed care has forced on you and your younger partners are getting all the "good" cases?

Whenever it happens, it will mean you'll be entering a new way of life. More than 1,300 fellows and their spouses responded to an Academy survey, providing insights that might be helpful to those who wonder what's retirement really like.

Asked to check off one or more reasons why they retired, the orthpaedic surgeons responded:

The top write-in answers for "other" were:

Retirement from being actively involved in medicine meant just that for 54 percent of the orthopaedic surgeons; they had little or no involvement with professional activities such as medical societies and conferences. Forty-one percent said they had "some" involvement. However, 62 percent said they did "some" reading of professional journals and 31 percent said "none or little."

The orthopaedic surgeons are not active or only somewhat active in community, religious and political organizations.

They weren't as interested in attending sporting events as they were participating in activities such as jogging and golf.

When it comes to what they do "a lot," they responded:

Under "other" activities and hobbies, 15 percent listed woodworking/stained glass; 13.6 percent, fishing; and 10.4 percent, computers.

Asked how they would rate life in general now, 66 percent were "delighted" or "pleased." Only 1.9 percent were "mostly dissatisfied" and 1.4 percent were "unhappy."

Fifty-seven percent said their feelings about life have become better since they decided to retire. What are the three most enjoyable aspects about retirement? The orthopaedic surgeons listed:

What do orthopaedic surgeons find most difficult or challenging about retirement?

The spouses list as the most difficult or challenging aspects about retirement:

What advice would retired orthopaedic surgeons have for someone contemplating retirement? Have sufficient financial planning (26 percent); have hobbies, interests (20.6 percent); have a plan and plan ahead (15 percent). They also recommend keeping active and challenged.

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