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By Simon Appleyard, senior area manager

Thinking of retiring in 2022? Things to consider as a GP

doctors pension
4 min
Man sitting at desk with laptop on phone

Simon Appleyard, senior area manager at Wesleyan, shares his advice for those thinking about retirement.

This point in the year often triggers reflection. For some that even includes making big life changes.

The pressures on the profession, which have been amplified since the Covid-19 outbreak began, have prompted many GPs to reconsider their professional and personal priorities. For some this has sparked thoughts about retirement.

For those thinking 2022 might be the right time to step back from the workplace, here are five things to keep front of mind.

Full or flexi retirement?

The first thing to think about is your retirement ambition, and what you want to achieve through making this move – it could be stepping back from full time work commitments, spending quality time with family or to focus on a hobby.

For some GPs, a part-time or ‘flexi’ retirement maybe the perfect balance between keeping a hand in the profession while creating time for other passions or opportunities. Once you’ve decided which option you want to go for, it’s time to talk to your colleagues.

Keep colleagues in the loop

For those working in a practice partnership there may be agreements on retirement in place that need to be considered.

For example, some partnership agreements restrict how many partners can retire within a fixed period, which may need negotiating.

Having open conversations with your team around succession planning is essential to avoiding these hurdles and are a good opportunity to be able to adjust partnership agreements, if necessary. These changes could include creating exit strategies that incorporate the needs of the business and the individuals. For example, putting frameworks in place on what to do if a retiree owns part of the building, as well as the practice.

Ultimately, good planning will bolster the continuity of patient care, and help safeguard the health of the business.

Thinking pounds and pence

The next step is to consider what income you’ll need to fund your retirement lifestyle.

If you’re planning to retire earlier than previously thought, it’s important to understand how this may impact what you have set aside in your pension.

Requesting your Total Rewards Statement (TRS) from the NHS Pension Scheme is a good starting point, even if you’re only in the initial stages of considering retirement. The TRS will let you know exactly how much of your NHS pension you’ve accrued.

You can then combine this information with other retirement savings and look at a holistic picture of financial incomings and outgoings – what money is spent on now, what it might be spent on in the future, along with overall living and lifestyle costs – to see if you have enough saved for the retirement you want.

Establishing financial goals and reviewing outgoings is something a professional adviser can help with.

Some will use specialist cashflow modelling tools that look at current and future data on income, expenditure, and lifestyle to show how cash requirements might rise or fall over time, helping provide a clear overview of what money will be needed.

You can see the potential impact of inflation in this inflation calculator. Remember that while investing your money can give you a greater chance of beating inflation, the value of any investments can go down as well as up.

The McCloud judgement decision

The McCloud judgement refers to the case about the Government’s 2015 public pension scheme reforms. Following the reforms, public sector workers took the Government to court arguing it had unlawfully treated existing workers differently because of their age. The Court of Appeal ruled in their favour and the Government is now rectifying the changes. 

As a result, GP’s who are part of the NHS Pension Scheme who were in service before 31st March 2012 and on or after 1st April 2015 (including those who’ve taken their pension already) will get to choose how the benefits are calculated between two schemes for the remedy period from April 2015 to April 2022.

It can be a complicated decision with comparisons required on annual pension and lump sum benefits and seeking professional advice can be helpful here.

Access wellbeing resources

Finally, retirement is a big life step so it’s important to take time to check in with yourself and ensure you’ve got support in place to help with your wellbeing.

GPs can be used to being under immense pressure but retirement is the time to put your needs first and there are plenty of resources that can help you adapt to this new path.

Whether you’re beginning to think of retirement, or ready to step back completely, making sure you’ve got a robust plan in place is vitally important. 

For more information you can speak to a Specialist Financial Adviser from Wesleyan Financial Services as part of a no obligation financial review.

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