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Retirement? Don't Get Out Now!

April 24, 2011
by Tim Tolan
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You are the one in the driver’s seat on how you write the next chapter of your life

When I started writing my blog for HCI the market was at a very different place. The overall market across all vertical segments were predicting a shortage of qualified workers due to all of the baby boomers that would be retiring and leaving their jobs for the sunny retirement beaches of Florida (hold that thought) to kick back and enjoy life at a rate of 16,000 a day. Well that was then and my how things have changed. Today’s prediction on the number of people retiring each day while below the estimates of three years ago is still a healthy number. It's been estimated that 10,000 people will turn 65 every day this year. That pace then continues for the next 19 years.

Many of us were shaken to our core from an awful recession that impacted retirement accounts and killed home values. It’s truly a different world. But–there is some good that we can all point to. The market downturn changed the way they think about spending, saving, investing and yes–retiring!

That’s where I strongly believe that senior HCIT talent has an advantage. Whether the shortfall of knowledge based HCIT workers is 50,000 or more is up for debate. Those numbers are huge and it tells me that your skills as CIO will continue for as long as you want to keep working. Besides, what are you going to do anyway? And more importantly, why in the world would you consider bailing out of the hottest technology segment in the market when your skills will be needed? All questions you should ponder before taking 1-75 South to the Sunshine State. You will have plenty of time for that later. I always talk about understanding your value equation and now more than ever your skills are in demand. More good news: You have lots of choices to decide how you want to spend your time if you semi-retire.

I was talking to a very bright CIO last week who has a chance to punch his retirement ticket if he so chooses. When I asked him how he was going to spend his time after working for all of those years, he really had to stop and think about it. The more we talked the more he convinced himself that he wanted to consult with hospitals and perhaps a HCIT vendor (or two) for a few years. In that scenario, he would get to choose where to live, how many hours he wants to work and what rate he would charge for his time. Now we’re talking!

You are the one in the driver’s seat on how you write the next chapter of your life. Do stop and smell the roses. You have earned the right. Just make sure you enjoy life doing what you want to do and when you want to do it. That feels pretty liberating to me!

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Comments

Thanks Joe. Deciding to stay and choose a meaningful work/life balance will be a reality for most of us in this space given the supply/demand for top talent in HCIT. Plus - the value exchange ($$) for working a few more years could be substantial! I love having options!

Tim,
Great post. One friend who recently built and sold his healthcare related business said that he can now retire, but only to a Red state and not a Blue one. I think your framework, including a well structured semi-retirement is a terrific vision.

I have a few intellectually gifted friends in addition to you who have reached some of the same conclusions you have about the trajectory of our specific HCIT industry. In their own ways, they have each reached a similar concern. The reforms being proposed to redesign care delivery, demand and payment are not new. In 1973, proposed reform substantially similar in design and intent to current ones never proved out. We need the best and brightest folks over sixty to continue to both serve as leaders, as well as to develop the critically needed leaders to achieve our shared vision.

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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