Many physicians are in need of a financial cure, as they face a shortage of income in retirement despite being among the most highly paid professionals, according to a report from Fidelity Investments.
Based on Fidelity’s analysis, released Thursday, physicians are on track to replace only 56 percent of their income in retirement, much lower than the income replacement rate of 71 percent Fidelity suggests for those earning more than $120,000 annually.
The disparity could be due to factors such as a shorter savings horizon, since physicians often don’t start their careers until their 30s, and substantial student loan debt from undergraduate and medical school, Fidelity said.
“This analysis reveals that physicians are not as financially prepared for retirement as one might think , which is a clear indication that employees at all income levels need financial guidance,” said Rick Mitchell, executive vice president, Tax-Exempt Retirement Services, Fidelity Investments.
“Physicians work hard and the well-being of their patients are at the center of everything they do. That’s why they should enjoy the peace of mind of knowing their retirement plan has been given a ‘clean bill of health,’ and we are working closely with our health care partners to help their employees—including physicians—achieve retirement readiness.”
The report did reveal some good news: physicians’ average total savings rate, from both employer and employee contributions, is healthy at 14.9 percent. Older physicians, not surprisingly, are saving more than their younger colleagues, with 60-64 year olds saving 16.3 percent, compared to those age 30-30, who are saving 13.1 percent.
The report analyzes the retirement savings behavior of 5,100 physicians and 95,500 other health care professionals using proprietary Fidelity data.