Retirement Planning for Medical Professionals

As a doctor or dentist, your retirement options may look different compared to those outside the medical profession. Our retirement planning for medical professionals guide features a wealth of information tailored to medical professionals.

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As a medical professional who specialises in the likes of medicine, dentistry or psychiatry – it’s fair to say that people usually come to you for all the answers.

But what about knowing how to improve your financial health? In particular, longer life expectancies coupled with higher costs of living means it’s never been more important to plan for your retirement.

Here at Holborn Assets, we help higher earners, including those in the medical field, make sense of their retirement planning.

With 18 locations across the globe, our retirement planning for medical specialists will run diagnostics on your retirement plan. This includes navigating complex NHS pensions, retiring as an expat, retiring early and anything else you may need our help with.

Retirement Planning for Medical Professionals: An overview

Confused about all things ‘retirement planning for doctors’ or ‘dentist retirement planning’?

It’s fair to say that if medical school seemed like a challenge, understanding the pension system as a medical professional takes things to a whole new level!

Just like the work you do in the medical or dental field, retirement planning is a specialism that’s best left to the experts. This is because retirement planning is both complex and important – especially since you will be relying on any funds you put away now for the rest of your life.

Plus, after many years of dedicated service, you want to be safe in the knowledge that you can relax during retirement – whenever you plan on taking it.

How can retirement planning help me as a medical professional?

✅ Make sense of the NHS pension, state pension and any other pensions you may hold.

✅ Ensure that as someone with a busy and stressful career your retirement isn’t sidelined, meaning you can strive to achieve your expected standard of living once you come to rely on your retirement fund.

✅ Provide you with trusted, independent and informed financial advice which may not be available through your employer.

✅ Help you plan for an early retirement from the medical profession.

✅ Gain peace of mind on anything else you’re unsure about.

Need help with more than just your retirement? We also offer Financial Advice for Medical Professionals.

How much do you need in retirement?

According to Standard Life, the average person now needs £37,300 a year to enjoy a comfortable level of retirement. This is in terms of their typical day-to-day living expenses.

However, your required amount may differ from this figure, especially for someone who is a higher earner.

Your retirement fund should allow you to maintain your current standard of living as you age. Alongside the essentials, this includes other lifestyle purchases you wish to make.

Ironically, medical treatment is one of the biggest costs when you retire. As a medical professional yourself, you know better than anyone the advanced level of care someone may need as they age.

According to the UK Care Guide, care costs can be as high as £55,000 annually if advanced nursing care is required.

Your retirement fund must also account for inflation and other financial market changes. Plus, any unexpected expenses.

When should I start my retirement plan as a Doctor or Dentist?

As with all types of retirement planning, the earlier you start, the more benefits you are set to potentially gain.

Even if you are newly graduated, it’s never too early to put plans in place for your retirement. After all, the medical field is demanding, and as you advance in your career you may wish to retire early. Not delaying your retirement plan is one of the best ways to plan for your future, whatever you might have already thought of.

If you’re a medical professional with an existing retirement plan, it’s also never too early to consult our retirement experts to review your current strategy either. This will allow us to develop your goals and assess if they are still on track.

Early retirement planning for medical professionals

As we’ve just touched upon above, it’s also important to consider the realities of working in the medical field, and the implications this may have for your retirement plan.

Many medical professionals work long and demanding shifts under ever-increasing amounts of stress. Therefore, retiring early may be something you are considering. Even if this isn’t where you’re at now, there are no guarantees you’ll want to, or even feel able to keep working until the standard age of retirement.

Similar to other occupations, early retirement is always a possibility. Though the difference is the types of strategies which will need to be put in place to be able to stop working early.

Read more: Retirement Planning for an Early Retirement

NHS pension scheme types

Although far from the only way of funding your retirement, the NHS pension is arguably the most complex of all pensions that may be relevant to you.

Not only are there several NHS pension schemes, but the way that NHS pension schemes work is unique, meaning they take time to fully understand.

To summarise, there are three types of NHS pension schemes, including:

  • 1995 NHS pension scheme
  • 2008 NHS pension scheme
  • 2015 NHS pension scheme

Each type of NHS pension scheme has different conditions attached, including when you can access your pension.

You will only be contributing to one NHS pension type. The specific type depends on when you joined the NHS pension scheme.

Furthermore, if you left and rejoined the NHS at any point, you may have been enrolled on a different NHS pension scheme then you were on previously.

NHS Pension 2023 reforms: What you need to know

In March of 2023, reforms were made to NHS pensions due to life expectancy rates increasing.

While NHS staff who are within 10 years of retiring will see no changes to their existing scheme, all other members need to familiarise themselves with the adjustments.

We briefly touched upon this in our post Jeremy Hunt unveils the 2023 Spring Budget. However, here are some key takeaways to keep you up to speed:

  • Annual allowance increased to £60,000 from 6th April 2023
  • Minimum tapered annual allowance increased to £10,000
  • AA taper adjusted income will increase to £260,000
  • Changes to combined pension input amounts for 1995, 2008 and 2015 schemes may significantly reduce annual allowance charges
  • Lifetime Allowance (LTA) charge abolished from 6th April 2023

For any high-net-worth individuals with an NHS pension who are more than 10 years away from retiring, our retirement experts can help you understand what the reforms mean for you personally.

When can I access my NHS pension?

Technically, you can access your NHS pension from age 55 as drawdown payments without leaving your job.

However, the age at which you can claim your full NHS pension and retire will depend on which NHS pension scheme (1995, 2008 or 2015) you are enrolled in. The age of retirement ranges from 60 up to the state pension age which applies to you.


Accessing your NHS pensions as an expat

It is not possible to transfer an NHS pension overseas, so, therefore, your options are limited as an expat.

The only way an NHS pension is transferable within the UK is if it is switched to another government entity.

We’ve put together a guide on UK pension transfers to explain more, including the types of pension transfers which are possible.

However, it’s also good to know that there are several other ways of funding your retirement as a medical professional who is an expat as we’re about to explain.

Beyond the NHS pension – Retirement Strategies for Healthcare Professionals

The NHS pension or even the state pension are far from the only ways to fund your retirement.

The earlier you approach us about your retirement as a medical professional, the more options that may be available to you.

Some of the ways to fund your retirement may include:

  • Investments
  • ISAs
  • Property
  • Savings
  • SIPPs and other pension types
  • Tax efficiency reviews (including expat tax planning)

When you meet with our retirement planning experts, we can guide you through a full list of options both as a higher earner and as a medical professional.

Retiring as a medical professional FAQs

Want to learn more about how you can plan for your retirement as a doctor, dentist or another type of medical professional?

We’ve answered some of the most common queries below.

What age do NHS doctors retire at?

The typical retirement age for doctors is between 60 and 65. Although, a lot can influence when a doctor may actually end up retiring.

In terms of retiring at the year you can claim your NHS pension, for doctors on the 1995 scheme, they can take their pension at age 60. For 2008 the age is 65, and for the 2015 scheme, the age at which you can draw your NHS pension is the individual’s state pension age, or age 65 if this age is later.

However, if NHS doctors have additional pensions, investments or savings to fund their retirement, they may wish to retire at a younger age. The ability to control when you retire as a doctor is one of the many benefits of medical retirement planning.

Finally, from a practical perspective, doctors must also be competent in their work. Ensuring safe practice may also influence when a doctor or similar medical professional wishes to retire.

Can I cash my NHS pension early?

It very much is on a case-by-case basis. To see whether cashing in your NHS pension is possible, you need to contact NHS pensions directly.

If you have undertaken retirement planning with Holborn Assets, you may have other pensions in addition to an NHS pension. For anyone wishing to retire early, our financial advisers can offer you tailored financial advice.

How much will my NHS pension increase in 2023?

In 2023 it was announced that the value of NHS pensions will increase by 10.1%. It is worth keeping an eye on the changes to NHS pensions, since further changes will likely happen in the coming years.

What happens to your NHS pension when you die?

With an NHS pension scheme, it’s possible to nominate a spouse or family member who will receive life assurance cover and a financial lump sum if you die.

Sometimes referred to as ‘NHS death in service’ the amount your nominated individuals will receive will depend on the type of NHS pension you’re a member of. Plus the circumstances of your death.

If you die without any nominated dependents, the value of your NHS pension will be transferred to your estate.

Will I get a State Pension if I have an NHS pension?

Yes. Your entitlement to the state pension exists so long as you’ve made national insurance contributions. Therefore, as the NHS pension scheme is a separate pension scheme from the state pension, you’ll normally receive both.

However, receiving both pension types may affect the amount of state pension you are paid.

Can I retire at 55 on the NHS pension?

If you were an active member of an NHS pension between 31 March 2000 and 5 April 2006, then you can take your pension from the age of 50.

However, voluntary retirement is currently available from the age of 55 with all three NHS pension schemes. Although, the amount paid will be reduced to account for the fact the pension will need to be paid for longer.

Otherwise, the 1995 scheme has a normal pension age of 60, and the 2008 and 2015 schemes have a normal pension age of 65.

In addition, from October 1st 2023, changes are coming which will make it easier to take partial retirement from age 55. Known as a ‘drawdown’. It will allow those who qualify the ability to take between 20% and 100% of their pension benefits, without having to leave their job.

How to find out what your pension is worth

Calculating your pension value needs to consider any pensions you may hold.

Details of your state pension can be viewed on the .GOV website.

If you’re still employed by the NHS, your employer will be able to give you details of your pension, which you should receive as part of an annual summary.

Additional UK pensions can be traced using a pension finder with your National Insurance (NI) number.

Holborn Assets – Your Retirement Plan Checkup is only a call away

Similar to how you advise your patients as a doctor or dentist, we’re here as financial experts to review your retirement plan with an expert eye. If you’re currently in the medical profession or have already retired and moved abroad, we can assist you with your retirement plans.

Holborn Assets has locations across the globe including the UK and the UAE, meaning we can help you with all matters relating to your retirement. This includes retiring as an expat.

For any help or advice with anything we’ve mentioned above send us a message and our team will be in touch shortly.

You can also keep up to date with our latest financial news and advice over on our Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn channels.

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