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as attendings, what's a good percent of salary to safe?

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by Painter1, Jan 15, 2012.

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  1. Painter1

    Painter1 Junior Member

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    Before anyone attacks me and tells me to get a financial planner, just curious what you guys feel is a good percentage of one's salary to stock away in savings yearly.

    Since becoming an attending, my cost of living has increased. I held on to my Honda for a year after residency and only after it literally left me stranded did I treat myself to higher end car (nothing outrageous), but with school loans, morgage and random bills, it seems like a bigger salary gets trimmed pretty quickly.
  2. Birdstrike

    Birdstrike

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    .
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  3. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    I would say you should be saving about 15% for retirement, another 5% for liquid savings is a good start. If you can manage to save 10% for liquid savings (or 5% for liquid savings and 5% for investments), that's great.

    All % are based off of gross annual income.
  4. Ibn Alnafis MD

    Ibn Alnafis MD

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    Is that of gross or take-home income, before or after tax?
  5. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    Probably gross before tax. 401K is usually pretax.
  6. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus

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    To just throw out a random number without thinking about personal goals doesn't really work. It's a good idea to think about what you want out of your career and retirement and get a planner who can help you meet those goals.

    I'd also think more about amounts you need to save instead of a percent of income.
  7. GeneralVeers

    GeneralVeers Globus Hystericus

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    My company allows for automatic deduction, so I max out the individual contribution every year (approx 15% of salary) into 401K. Additionally I try to put $5000 every month into savings.

    Automatic deduction is the way to go as it enforces discipline and helps make your retirement fund stable.
  8. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    Alright some real numbers:

    Annual salary (random estimate) = $275,000
    401K deduction = 41,000 (at 15%)
    Taxes = (275K-41K = 234 taxable income) = 85,000 (Illinois, single filer)

    After taxes:
    150,000/yr

    Save 10% of gross amount = $27,500/yr

    Post taxes and post savings:
    $122,500/yr

    That's $10,000 a month that you are seeing.

    Subtract expenses (student loans, mortgage, car, insurance, travel, food, entertainment)...
  9. EM4life

    EM4life attending

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    I'm confused, I thought you could only contribute about a maximum of 17k to your 401k per year regardless of income?
  10. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    We're assuming one of two things:

    1. The employer contributes to help hit that 15% mark. Max for employer+employee contribution is $49,500.

    OR

    2. You are setting up a deferred retirement account (a way around the $17K max). Your work sometimes lets you do this.
  11. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus

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    I like the numbers, but I was saying it's better to work backwards from some goal.
    Think about how long you want to work, the lifestyle you want in retirement, etc and figure out a plan to make that happen.

    The above plan will save close to $70k a year. Sounds great, but that may or may not give you the retirement you want.

    Some may want to save more earlier to cut back on work earlier or whatever.
  12. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Lifetime Donor

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    Seriously? About what kind of retirement are you talking? $70k for 30 years is $2million. Again, what kind of retirement do you have in mind?

    The anesthesia guys talk about have $5-6mil for retirement. Hell, you can buy a palace for that kind of money, and still be able to pay the property taxes for 20 years after retirement on that, and still have cash left over to go around the world every year.
  13. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    Conservative estimates on a 401K plan with a contribution of 41K a year should get you about 4M in 30y and nearly 5.7M in 35y. Consider that you should be debt free in 15y (student loans and mortgage), you should be in great shape.

    Use this calculator:
    Merril Lynch Retirement Calculator
  14. KYTNOH

    KYTNOH

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    You forgot any interest too. 70K a year over 30 years will leave you with $9.2 million with 8% average return.

    What you want to do is save enough money that you can live off the interest alone and not touch your principal after you retire. If you can live off of $200,000 and you'll get an average of 5% interest per year then you'll need $4 million saved up.
  15. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    Let's stick with a 4-5% return... that's a bit more realistic.

    It's still a lot of money.
  16. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Lifetime Donor

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    I forgot to put in that I was noting what you would get just by stuffing it in your mattress or burying it in jars in your yard.
  17. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD Partner Organization

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    Ahhh....

    Good question, and right up my alley. The simple answer is 20% of gross pay toward retirement.

    When running calculations, use a "real" rate of return, that is, after-inflation. Something like 3-6% ought to do.

    If you assume an average EP income of $275K per year and a 5% real return, your nest egg should be worth:

    $1.8 Million in 20 years ($72K per year in retirement)
    $2.6 Million in 25 years ($105K per year in retirement)
    $3.7 Million in 30 years ($146K per year in retirement)
    $5.0 Million in 35 years ($199K per year in retirement)

    How much do you need? Read here about how I decided I only needed 28% of my current income in retirement. http://whitecoatinvestor.com/percentage-of-current-income-needed-in-retirement/
  18. DrQuinn

    DrQuinn My name is Neo Moderator Emeritus

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    Try to also think about getting out of debt, too. I have student loans, but they're at a paltry 1.6% (read: awesome).

    I have zero credit card debt, but have four mortgages (I have a place back in DC and a primary residence here). Trying to pay down my mortgages, though that's the only tax write off I have at this poitn (kids don't amount to much).

    Then there's your kids' college fund....

    At minimum, max out your retirement (my group we do individually 48-49k a year). Anything on top of that is icing.
  19. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    ^^^ Dr Q is right.

    Main thing is to start investing in your retirement as soon as you become an attending - time is money.

    While doing that, your next objective should be to save up for a rainy day fund - probably 50-75K in the bank.

    After that, you should start doubling your efforts in paying off your student loans then whatever other accounts you have (interest rate depending).

    Just remember, you can declare bankruptcy from your credit card, car loans.... but you will never rid yourself of the student loans unless you die.

    Another tip would be to buy a house you can pay off in 15 years.

    So by the age of 45 (considering you become an attending at 30), you should have no house loan, no car loan, no credit card debt, no student loans.

    You should be able to scale back your hours, still save the same amount for retirement and REEELAAAX.
  20. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    I plan to travel a lot in my early years of retirement, and I plan to retire early, so I need more than most people. I would say 4-5 million is right considering inflation, travel expenses, etc.
  21. Jarabacoa

    Jarabacoa non carborundum ilegitemi

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    If the European economy collapses is the stock market going to hold its value? Are 401K plans going to lose money or gain money in that scenario. It seems it is all gambling.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  22. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    Me as well. Also for the people thinking about working 30-35 years you should look around you. Thats not a realistic career longevity.

    Much of it depends on how old you are, how much you saved etc.

    For me I know I will need 4 million to be able to retire. I figure if I earn 5% thats 200k per yr. I could live on that esp if my house is paid off and my loans as well.

    I have plans to hit that number in no more than 18 years of work. It really depends on your job and personal situation but if you have a high paying job (and it stays that way) you can def put a good bit away and have financial freedom.

    IMO if you make 275k you MUST put away every tax deferred penny away that you can. Whether that is 49k or more (spouse etc.).

    50k per yr with a decent return of 5% (adjusted for inflation) and you will be in good shape (not 4M) but good shape.
  23. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus

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    Not saying you need more money, but what if you don't want to work that long?
    You need amounts, years, goals, etc.
    Don't just throw out a random percent and assume that will fund the retirement you want.

    That's why it's nice to have a professional help you with a plan.
  24. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Lifetime Donor

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    That's not what you said - you said that that amount of money "may not give you the retirement you want". As people have extrapolated, for those that don't want to work as long, they say about saving more. That's kind of a common sense answer. If I want to pay my house off early, I have to make larger payments.

    So, again - about what kind of retirement are you talking? Extravagance, poverty, or comfort?
  25. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus

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    Try again. I never made reference to a number of years, nor did the post i was replying to.

    My thoughts are pretty simple.
    Just come up with a plan that includes specific goals, amounts and years.
  26. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    In order to come up with an individualized plan you have to figure out the number of years you want to be retired for, how much money you will need per yr (ActiveDuty's website helps come up with the annual number).

    There are a ton of calculators out there. My favorite is bankrate's.

    Lots of variables to play with. I came up with an age I wanted to be ABLE to retire, decided I needed money for 35 years, didnt count on a penny from social security used inflation numbers I believe in and viola I got a number.

    http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/retirement-plan-income-calculator.aspx

    My number is aggresive but as long as incomes dont drop by 20% I can do it. No one can give you a number. it is individualized.

    I might want to retire in manhattan and you might want to retire in rural iowa. Our costs of living will be way different.

    The 20% rule has been out there for a while and if you work 20 years you should be fine assuming things dont tank. Also, you have to make sure you dont tank the retirement fund. For this most people need someone to help them. Dont get screwed with Whole life, high fees or investing in crap that pays your broker more. An independent financial advisor is the way to go. More importantly is what no one wants to hear. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Otherwise you are an easy target and those guys will take the money you slaved for.
  27. MD13

    MD13

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    Couple questions:

    1. Seems like the consensus is that a 30yr career is too long for most people.. how long do most people work?

    2. Also - I would assume 'retirement' in a field like, general surgery, would mean stopping everything--surgeries/patient care/etc and enjoying your family, life and money. It seems that this is what you guys are talking about doing in EM too.. I would have assumed, however, In a field like EM, instead of working 20 years (or whatever) and then just stopping, it would be more of a tapered finish... ie work 15 shifts/month for 15 years, then 10 for a few years, then 8, then 5, etc until you are in your 60s, enjoying your family, life and money most of the time, while still working a few shifts a month until the end...is this common? Seems like this would be the best way to end out a career.
  28. DrQuinn

    DrQuinn My name is Neo Moderator Emeritus

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    we have three "old" guys in our group of 33. one is 64, other is 62, and other 59. they all work 10-11 shifts a month still. the 62 year old says "its hard to just walk away...."

    I work 14 shifts/month now (about 110-120 hours clinically) but do admin work as well. I am hoping to cut down to 11-12 shifts/month in about 1-2 years (90-100 hours/month). I have no significant debt besides my student loans and my two houses (which I said before is the only tax break I have). My children are pretty young right now (9 months, 3 years, and 4 years) and I 'd really like to spend some time with then while they're small and not in school. Once they go to elementary school I may ramp it up a bit. I can't imagine completely walking away when I"m 50 or 55... in our group you could work 8 shifts/month and still pull 200k/year plus retirement (assuming the environment doesn't change, but it probably will with ACOs).

    Q
  29. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    We have a few docs in their early 60s, a bunch in their mid to late 50s.

    Quinn's group I believe is like mine. They pay is superb. For that reason its hard to walk away. In my group after 20 years you are guaranteed no night shifts. So that prolongs their longevity. We also arent exceptionally busy. As a group we only avg 1.8 pts/per hour.

    If you were in the top few percent you might be at 250/hr (or more) assuming this if you worked 100 hours a month thats 300k per yr. Thats a tough thing to give up especially once your kids are out of the house.

    I would say the avg career going hard is 20 years, after that people taper and that taper depends on the individual.
  30. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    When you guys are throwing out these numbers like 4 million, 5 million, etc, you all are just counting the amounts in the retirement funds and post-tax accounts, correct? I assume that you are not counting the equity you have in your already paid off house. Is that right? So at that point, your net worth is really much higher?
  31. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    I'm not counting any other equities that I'm hoping to be holding at that time. Just 401K.

    Not including commodities (like gold, Rolex watches, etc), your home, whole life insurance, etc.
  32. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    I think this is fair to say. I would recommend reading activedutymds site.

    I think people are referring to cash on hand in both pre and post tax accounts.
  33. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    Would be tough to get to $4 million in your retirement accounts.

    If you put in a full 50k per yr for 30 years at 6% rate of return would get you to just over 4.1 million.

    I think a more likely move would be 50k in retirement and 25k in other accounts at 6% return for 24 years.

    Personally I will be putting away at least 100k per yr in all accounts starting this yr. Only a major downturn in healthcare will stop my plan.

    If things go well I will put away even more.

    Anyone who is in residency or in the first few years out best advice is dont try to live a lifestyle beyond your means and have the money pulled from your account asap so you dont feel lilke you dont have it. The relief of looking at your retirement and savings and seeing a decent number there will ensure you arent stressed in 15-20 years.
  34. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    That's the goal. 50K into retirement funds for 30y.

    So when I become 59.5, I can retire.

  35. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    Keep in mind thats 4.1 million in 2042 dollars.. much less than 2012 dollars.
  36. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD Partner Organization

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    You need more retirement accounts. I get $50K in a 401K, $5K in a Backdoor Roth IRA, $5K in a Spousal Backdoor Roth IRA, and another $15K (used to be $35K, but we need more participants to stay out of trouble with the IRS) in a Defined Benefit Plan that essentially functions as another IRA. I also get $6250 in an HSA. That's $81,250. You could toss an extra $19K at student loans or the mortgage if you really wanted to avoid a taxable account, not that there is anything wrong with it.

    That's not even counting your spouse's 401K/403B/457/defined benefit plan/SEP-IRA/Solo 401K etc.
  37. Dr.McNinja

    Dr.McNinja Nobel War Prize Winner

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    The part I'm personally having a problem with, and more importantly, convincing my financial advisor, is how much you actually need to retire on. I fully contend that $200K per year will be enough, since the house will be paid off, and I don't have a fleet of Ferraris. However, they keep telling me that it will need to be 85% of our current income. I don't think I need more than $400K per year, considering I won't have much more than travel, property tax, and gas/electricity/rainbows/whatever powers everything. We certainly don't spend that much now, and make more than that.
  38. WilcoWorld

    WilcoWorld Senior Member

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    If you're currently saving say, 35% of your income, then it's absurd to say you'll need to live on 85% of your income - you're currently living on 65%. That is unless you intend to significantly ramp-up your cost of living in retirement.

    ADMD - I'm intrigued by this Defined Benefits Plan. Tell me more please.

    Also, for anyone who wants to retire before 59.5 - realize that things like 401k & 403b will not be available without a penalty until then, so you need some medium-term investments as well.
  39. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    Yeah... Let's hope I have other sources of in one as well.
  40. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    2 things:

    1. You make really good money to hit well above 400.

    2. Maybe the estimate of 85% may have a component of inflation. 85% of your income now probably has a spending power of 50% of current value in 30 years.
  41. Dr.McNinja

    Dr.McNinja Nobel War Prize Winner

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    I make pretty good money, yes. However, my wife is also a physician, and she makes pretty good money too. This isn't my income alone.
  42. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    If we are gonna talk personal here. Ill tell you what my group does. 16,500 into a 401k, 32,500 in profit sharing and an option of 10,25 or 50k in defined benefits. Some of the older guys can put 75 but I would be at least 10 years from qualifying for that.

    Ill be doing the 99k (though I think that number may have gone up this yr) this yr, plus as much as I can in my wifes account. I will also do the HSA but thats likely next yr. If in Dec I have a chance to do the HSA I will.. Just depends how money flows this yr.

    Also, gonna throw in what I can to my wifes 401k.

    Active duty whats the benefit of a backdoor IRA? You would pay taxes on that money today and it would grow tax free until you want to pull it out? Is that the benefit?

    You would be paying quite high taxes on that money today.

    Anyways as people can see I will be able to write off over 100k off my income. I also run my expenses through our business which helps even more.

    EDIT: Just to add Ill also save 40-50k in my savings account to have an emergency account and savings for money for a down payment for another house.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  43. jendc08

    jendc08 Member

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    What is this defined benefits?
  44. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    think pension...
  45. WilcoWorld

    WilcoWorld Senior Member

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    The benefit of the backdoor IRA is that you don't have to pay taxes on it later. Think of it as diversifying your portfolio, because if taxes go up before retirement, those tax-deferred accounts will take a hit.
  46. winkleweizen

    winkleweizen

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    After you contribute your 17000 do most EM group employers contribute enough to get to this 49500?
  47. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    no one knows about "most".. some do and some dont.. Most important advice....hide your money from the felons in DC.
  48. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    They'll get to it somehow, someday, someway....

    :mad:
  49. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough

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    Do all you can to prevent this. Thats all we can do pinipig.. Do what you can to keep your money out of their grubby little hands.
  50. Eyesore

    Eyesore Member

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    SDN 10+ Year Member
    What about some of you higher income earners (400k, 500k, 600k and more), are you all still trying to put away 20%? Or is it more because you have more excess income to save? Or is it less because you feel a set amount is all you need to put away (50k or 100k) to reach your goals? What is the max you have heard of people putting away pretax, including all the tricks in your bag (db plan, hsa, 401k, profit sharing, etc)? Thanks for sharing.

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