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Hey- Mr. CIO: When Are You Retiring?

April 18, 2009
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Most executives (that would be you) start their career with plans to eventually retire and enjoy the fruits of their many years of hard work. For some leaving the hospital when the clock strikes midnight on their 65th birthday that was always the plan. Right? Not any more. Let’s regroup shall we?

Things have changed a bit. 401K plans have been hit hard (ok – killed) and many executives that were planning to retire at 62 or 65 years of age have had a change of heart (or is that change in projected cash flow?) While this dynamic may seem somewhat depressing for some of us – I think delayed retirement is real and much more realistic than we want to believe.

In a recent survey done by 6FigureJobs.com a whopping 46% of executives polled have already made that decision. They are planning to delay retirement given a variety of circumstances in today’s economic environment. Of those polled only 8% plan to retire as planned! WOW! That is an amazing statistic if you step back for a moment and think about it. Get this – of the 8% of those planning to check out on time - half of that group are completely unaffected by the current economic environment while the other half will just retire with less.

Announcement: My favorite stat (love it). One-fifth of the executives polled have no plans to retire at all! Please include me in that number as well. No plans whatsoever! I think that is absolutely amazing and pretty cool. My (Irish born) dad (God rest his soul) had lots of Irish sayings. One of my favorites: “when you are green you’re growing and when you are ripe you begin to die”. I think there is more to that now than ever before.

Many of these same executives had a very solid plan to check out in their early 60’s but now they feel that age 70 is much more realistic. All I can say is that if you make the decision to continue working many years beyond age 60 you will have plenty of company. AND… unless I’m missing something when you really look at the demographic trends - your talents will be needed as healthcare IT (everywhere) will have a major shortage of skilled healthcare executives to lead hospital IT organizations

So… when are you planning to power down your desktop for the last time? That decision is totally up to you. But if you want to keep active in the workplace beyond your early 60’s - that will certainly be a very realistic option.



Very interesting, Tim, and very timely. The economy is definitely impacting retirement plans. My Dad, who is 64, retired last fall after decades of service with a Fortune 500 company. By December, he was working again as a consultant - which was not part of his original plan.

I also think that with everything going on with the stimulus package, a whole bunch of CIOs are going to want to stick around longer than they may have planned. It's a very, very interesting time.

Tim, I have a friend who, last summer, sold his company. As he puts it, he can now retire in a red state. Now, he's working on blue.

I have a problem with the concept of retiring, as it implies one wishes to break away from their life-long work. To me, there's a problem in that. I say, get yourself into a job that you love, then they'll have to drag you out of there kicking and screaming. Think of how much happier we'd all be if we made that happen. I think Tim has it just right. Do what you love and NEVER retire!

Anthony is the Brett Favre of health IT publishing!

For those of you who are 60 Minutes (CBS) fans, they did a piece 2 days ago (April 19th), titled: Retirement Dreams Disappear With 401(k)s.

Videos are here:

The world has changed. No doubt. I still think many people wll want to stay active instead of retiring - even if it is only for temp assignments. The need for HCIT talent will still be there (for sure) and staying active helps keep the mind sharp. This is clearly one of those glass 1/2 full 1/2 empty discussions. What has happened is history we can't change that. However, we can choose on how we respond. Thanks Kate and Joe!

Not quite! Bret kept changing his mind. I'll never even allude to it :)