What's your "walk away" number?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

anaesthetic

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
480
Reaction score
1,644
I've been dreaming about quitting medicine altogether, or, more likely, working a less stressful job with more controlled hours and fewer politics (e.g., locums, maybe?). I'm currently working at a high volume, high acuity, demanding practice and am experiencing some burnout despite being overall satisfied with the compensation. I've caught myself daydreaming about retiring early and am wondering: at what number would you say, "F.U." to 8-hour surgeries on 95-year-old patients and drive off into the sunset? I still haven't decided what my number is, as we are a young and growing family.

At 5 million, assuming a "safe" withdrawal rate of 4%, this would equate to roughly $200,000/year. Nothing to sneeze at but would be significantly less than what I make now.

At 10 million, it's double that, and I'm thinking this would be more than enough for us. I would probably still work at least part-time for extra insurance against the unplanned, and I really enjoy what I do, minus the drama with OR staff, surgeons, and hospital leadership which have all contributed to the burnout.

I think if I got a windfall of 6.6 million (5 million post-tax for long-term capital gains), I would think very hard about my exit plan and working "for fun." Hoping SDN still exists when/if I hit this number.

Members don't see this ad.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 8 users
4% is no longer a safe withdrawal rate (this came from recommendations 30 years ago when interest rates were routinely 10-15%).

Many people say 3% is safe but more conservative financial people say 2%. That is probably correct, particularly if you are retiring young and could live 40 more years.

My personal # is 10 M. That’s in the retirement + taxable accounts not counting any real estate. Also assuming all debt paid off (no mortgage) and kids education fully funded. And at that point just work for fun.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
$10M and I’m out this rat race
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users
Members don't see this ad :)
I also think 10 million. But my job isn't that stressful, I like my surgeons and the admin don't bother me so I think I have quite a while left.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
A lotta people are gonna say their # or give you a firm # but the reality is that it's so dependent on so many variables
- SWR and your AA
- how large u think you're gonna live
- what age you are now, how well you are (years in retirement)
- what's paid off in your life (house etc) and what's not
- how much you wanna leave for your kids

Ironically, as it turns out, my N is also $10M in 2040 dollars retiring in approximately late 50s/early 60s with house paid off and an SWR 3%.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
A lotta people are gonna say their # or give you a firm # but the reality is that it's so dependent on so many variables
- SWR and your AA
- how large u think you're gonna live
- what age you are now, how well you are (years in retirement)
- what's paid off in your life (house etc) and what's not
- how much you wanna leave for your kids

Ironically, as it turns out, my N is also $10M in 2040 dollars retiring in approximately late 50s/early 60s with house paid off and an SWR 3%.

You also forgot whether or not you would ever earn an income again. People that retire in their late 40s/Early 50s, will probably find that they want to do something else, that incidentally may also earn income. This can make a significant dent in the FI number. Even 40k (tax situations vary) of earned income can turn a 5 million FI number to 4 million
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
4% is no longer a safe withdrawal rate (this came from recommendations 30 years ago when interest rates were routinely 10-15%).

Many people say 3% is safe but more conservative financial people say 2%. That is probably correct, particularly if you are retiring young and could live 40 more years.

My personal # is 10 M. That’s in the retirement + taxable accounts not counting any real estate. Also assuming all debt paid off (no mortgage) and kids education fully funded. And at that point just work for fun.

I don't know any "financial people" that recommend a 2% safe withdraw rate. Even 3% is very conservative. The truth is 4% has a very high success rate if you are anticipating a <30 year retirement and have a somewhat aggressive stock allocation (70-80% stock)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 8 users
I don’t understand the $10million that so many docs come up with. At a very conservative 3 percent SWR that’s spending something like $20k month after taxes. Do you guys really spend that?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 11 users
some straight ballers here. for me, 2-3 mill with house paid off and children's education well funded, and things significantly change for me. I'd likely cut wayyy back or switch jobs to something like working 2-3 days a week with 16-18 weeks off a year, or more. or I may just quit and do something completely non-medically related that suits me. I have a good number of hobbies that could very easily fill my time.

i want my time to be my own.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 12 users
I don’t understand the $10million that so many docs come up with. At a very conservative 3 percent SWR that’s spending something like $20k month after taxes. Do you guys really spend that?

I can find a way.

For me the walk away number (which is also $10M) is the number that provides the most amount of money I could realistically spend in retirement for essentially forever.

I could definitely survive with $5M in the bank after taxes. I would be fine. But it wouldn't be so much money that I would just walk away from my job at age 45 or 50. Once I started getting to 8 figures, though, at that point additional income/savings would be almost meaningless to me and I could retire at any age.

I use a 3% withdrawal rate for planning purposes. 4% would likely be fine for 30 year retirement, but if I am walking away at a far younger age it might need to last longer. 2% withdrawal is just silly IMHO.

There is a big difference between how much money I need to retire comfortably at age 65 and how much money I could drop everything and retire at 45.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users
Lol you guys are gonna have some insanely rich kids if you’re retiring with 10m and 3% withdrawal rate.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 16 users
5 Million assuming house is paid off and kids’ education is funded.

For those that have actually retired before 60 (or know someone who has), what have you done for health insurance?
 
Members don't see this ad :)
I don't know any "financial people" that recommend a 2% safe withdraw rate. Even 3% is very conservative. The truth is 4% has a very high success rate if you are anticipating a <30 year retirement and have a somewhat aggressive stock allocation (70-80% stock)

Completely agree. If you run Monte Carlo simulations, 4% SWR will leave you with MORE money than you started retirement with in >95% of possible scenarios. Pretty amazing.

Doing 4% SWR with your money buried in your backyard will give you 100% success for 25 years. It’s not much of a leap to invest conservatively and make it last significantly longer than that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
For folks interested in this topic, read more about sequence of return risk. When people talk about a 4% SWR not being conservative enough, the main scenario where that is possibly true is if you retire and we immediately go in a deep (and prolonged) bear market and you don’t have enough cash on hand and need to sell a large amount of your equities to live on.

Several ways to get around this particular issue during early retirement:
-have enough cash on hand (say 5 years of living expenses in a CD ladder/cash equivalent) that you don’t have to sell your equities to live on.
-keep one foot in the door by working in some very flexible part time scenario your first few years of “retirement” where you earn enough that you don’t have to sell equities in a market downturn.

If you can avoid a particularly calamitous first 3-5 years of retirement, your sequence of return risk goes way down.

The reason I keep saying 3-5 years is because when you look at most depressions/recessions to date in the US, the time to full recovery is roughly 3-5 years typically.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 11 users
I don’t understand the $10million that so many docs come up with. At a very conservative 3 percent SWR that’s spending something like $20k month after taxes. Do you guys really spend that?
Agree. When you look at your current monthly spend to project how much you need in retirement, don’t forget to take out your mortgage, student loan payments, disability/life insurance costs, 529 savings for kids, all costs to raise kids, etc. I don’t know about you guys, but when I subtract those from my current budget, it turns out I don’t actually spend that much money.
 
  • Like
  • Wow
Reactions: 8 users
Lol you guys are gonna have some insanely rich kids if you’re retiring with 10m and 3% withdrawal rate.

wouldn't that depend how much money I am spending and for how long? I mean I hope my kids end up insanely rich but it is unlikely they get it from some large inheritance from me and my wife.
 
Agree. When you look at your current monthly spend to project how much you need in retirement, don’t forget to take out your mortgage, student loan payments, disability/life insurance costs, 529 savings for kids, all costs to raise kids, etc. I don’t know about you guys, but when I subtract those from my current budget, it turns out I don’t actually spend that much money.

Sure but you also don't have time to actually do much. When I travel I can easily go through $25K on a 2 week vacation. Do that a few times a year and it adds up quickly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Completely agree. If you run Monte Carlo simulations, 4% SWR will leave you with MORE money than you started retirement with in >95% of possible scenarios. Pretty amazing.

Doing 4% SWR with your money buried in your backyard will give you 100% success for 25 years. It’s not much of a leap to invest conservatively and make it last significantly longer than that.

Sustainable withdrawal rate refers to a withdrawal amount that increases with inflation every year. Burying your money in your backyard will not keep up with inflation for 25 years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
Sure but you also don't have time to actually do much. When I travel I can easily go through $25K on a 2 week vacation. Do that a few times a year and it adds up quickly.
Whoa. What on earth are you doing on these vacations?!??!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
Whoa. What on earth are you doing on these vacations?!??!

anything you want. fly business class, stay in fancy resorts, do crazy fun stuff.

Can you travel for cheaper? Sure. But if you can afford it...
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users
Was thinking the same thing. “All gold and caviar everything!”

there are plenty of stunning resorts in various places that will run you $1000-$1500 per night
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Agree. When you look at your current monthly spend to project how much you need in retirement, don’t forget to take out your mortgage, student loan payments, disability/life insurance costs, 529 savings for kids, all costs to raise kids, etc. I don’t know about you guys, but when I subtract those from my current budget, it turns out I don’t actually spend that much money.

True but a few factors also to consider:

1. 20k spend in retirement is not close to equal 20k spend now due to inflation. Travel/food/medical is going to be more expensive (possibly twice as expensive depending on how far from retirement you are)

2. Do you want to be able to help your kids/grandkids if the right situation arises? Possibly pass on some inheritance?

3. I personally want to plan so that if the USA goes into an extended period of stagnation (say like Japan for 30 years) my lifestyle wouldn’t change. I know various people say that’s impossible but with our national debt I’m not convinced. Worst thing is if I’m wrong- kids get a few million each.
 
Whoa. What on earth are you doing on these vacations?!??!

a decent oceanfront home rental will run you 10-15k, or more, a week. So I can understand where the money could go. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

if I had 10 mill though, I’d buy the oceanfront home, rent and cover the expenses and spend my time there in the offseason when no one is around.

there’s nothing wrong w wanting 10 mill. I just don’t like work that much and I don’t want to be there for the years it’ll take to accumulate it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
I don’t plan on walking away anytime soon. Just changing the scenery and doing medical business. If I were gonna retire in the US, 3-4 Mil. In a third world country, even less.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Whoa. What on earth are you doing on these vacations?!??!

Business class flight to Europe, nice hotel, see the sites - private guided tours skip the line, good restaurants. They add up. I don’t travel like this often, but if I am going to a non English speaking country, it is worth it to me at this point in life to do it this way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
Business class flight to Europe, nice hotel, see the sites - private guided tours skip the line, good restaurants. They add up. I don’t travel like this often, but if I am going to a non English speaking country, it is worth it to me at this point in life to do it this way.

Exactly. I had fun backpacking on a 500 dollar budget in Europe in my 20s.

But different stuff for different times in life. Super fun to skip the lines, private tours etc. 2 weeks with family of 4 that way can be 30-40k easy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
10M sounds great but 5M is plenty.

My walk away money is 300K pretax income without withdrawal anything.

Currently have about 4M in rental properties, 1.2M debt on properties outside of my other retirement stuff. Once I pay off the 1.2 M debt, I will have 250K pretax income. Once I get to 5M in rental properties, I will have about 300K pretax which is a hedge on inflation as rents/property value continue to go up.

Likely within 10 yrs, I should be able to get 10M in properties.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users
4-5M, Primary house paid off, $100k each in 529's for the LO's, zero debt. I'd likely still work part-time, 3-4 days a week of outpatient anesthesia, no lates no call. A lot of 4 & 5 day weekend trips. I honestly wouldn't know what to do with more than 12 weeks off a year. Alternatively, I plan to do locums ~1 full week a month, coast the rest of the time with only 1-2 extra shifts per week. Hopefully, I can obtain this in the next few years. The biggest things are to just keep my expenses low, stick to one spouse, try not to make too many dumb financial decisions, and live in a good neighborhood with great public schools.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
10M sounds great but 5M is plenty.

My walk away money is 300K pretax income without withdrawal anything.

Currently have about 4M in rental properties, 1.2M debt outside of my other retirement stuff. Once I pay off the 1.2 M debt, I will have 250K pretax income. Once I get to 5M in rental properties, I will have about 300K pretax which is a hedge on inflation as rents/property value continue to go up.

Likely within 10 yrs, I should be able to get 10M in properties.

Just curious, given the current environment, are all your tenants current with their payments?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Just curious, given the current environment, are all your tenants current with their payments?
1/11 is not paying. Chalk it up to doing business. I guess it could be worse esp when they are on the lowest rate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
My ideal scenario is to have around 4-5M by my late 50’s and then work enough for 2-5 years to cover my expenses. That will give the nest egg time to grow. If you can just leave 4-5M alone for 5 years at 6% interest the amounts skyrocket. I found that this calculator:
Is a good exercise to show how much compounded interest will help you and how saving big early makes a huge difference. I wish I had done more earlier.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
My ideal scenario is to have around 4-5M by my late 50’s and then work enough for 2-5 years to cover my expenses. That will give the nest egg time to grow. If you can just leave 4-5M alone for 5 years at 6% interest the amounts skyrocket. If found that this calculator:
Is a good exercise to show how much compounded interest will help you and how saving big early makes a huge difference. I wish I had done more earlier.
Skip the calculator. Use the Rule of 72.

72/(interest rate) = #of years for money to double.

6% interest rate, your money doubles in 12 years. 7%, doubles in 10 years. 9%, it doubles in 8 years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
My goal is not just have $$$ to live on which is easy. My goal is to create a legacy for my kids/grandkids thus my $$$ needs to continue to grow and still produce good income.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Also... I am nearing 50 so healthcare until 65 for 2 adults is a bit nebulous at the moment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
I don’t have a specific number, but I’ve worked pretty hard my whole life.... no kids, wife is a doc. Currently 8.5 mil invested in pre-post tax accounts. 3.5 mill invested in real estate. All homes paid off. Rental income has been very steady for me. Hotels are ramping up nicely in Vegas. Plan is 1/2 time work for at least a few years and then I’ll decide if I can take the full plunge. Problem is once you stop practicing it is hard to come back.... and honestly... i love what I do. Just need to rebalance my work/life situation.
The No Kids alone would have me retired by now. I prob would be sitting at 6+M right now without kids and looking up at 50 in a few yrs.

I prob will always work until I can not anymore b/c what am I going to do esp with kids still in elementary school? I am currently working 6 dys a month and likely go to 4 before 50.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Also... I am nearing 50 so healthcare until 65 for 2 adults is a bit nebulous at the moment.
uh, 12 million net worth, I don’t think your Blue Shield premium is going to break you.

keep your taxable income down and it’s nearly free with Obamacare anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 8 users
Also... I am nearing 50 so healthcare until 65 for 2 adults is a bit nebulous at the moment.
Healthcare expenses are a rounding error with your net worth. Don't sweat it
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Skimming thru this thread and seeing it next to literally 3-4 threads about crnas at Envision replacing anesthesiologists at a hospital is ... well, let's just say, amusing.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 9 users
Skimming thru this thread and seeing it next to literally 3-4 threads about crnas at Envision replacing anesthesiologists at a hospital is ... well, let's just say, amusing.

it just means anestheisologists are willing to work hard, and many are not going to retire soon. i'll never reach 10m for sure, or anywhere close :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Damn . . . Straight geezer status. Maybe you and Noy can get some matching walkers.
Noy has nothing on this speed chair ninja.


1618270593316.gif
 
Top