American dream?

Although Devangi Patel, 33, has been working as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist at a large medical center outside Atlanta for only two years, her goal is to afford to walk away from her job at 50.

“That, to me, is the American dream,” she said.

For Dr. Patel, it’s challenging to save 50 percent of her salary even though she is not a big spender.

“I would have to give up vacations and the things I like that are splurgy, like eating in finer restaurants or flying to New Jersey to see my family at the drop of a hat,” she said, adding that she could save $3,000 a month if not for her loan obligations.

SOURCE: New York Times By Lisa Rabasca Roepe, Sept. 24, 2022

Imagine this current millennial version of the American dream. Quit working at 50 – sometimes in their 30s.

And to reach her dream look at the sacrifices she would have to make, oh my. No more eating in fine restaurants 🤭


  1. If that’s her “dream” to retire at age 50, that’s HER dream. It has nothing to do with anyone else’s “dream”, if they have one. I don’t have a dream. I live in reality day by day and do the best I can. I am still working past age 70 and don’t expect to stop anytime soon. That’s my reality (and I’m sticking to it!)


  2. I wonder what the correlation is between income and retirement age?

    I see judges, doctors, lawyers, executives, etc. working into late 70s or higher who clearly can afford to retire, and manual laborers retiring As Soon As Possible, “afford it” or not.

    I retired at 62 (cancer), not sorry I did. According to the odds, I should be a statistic by now. Go figure.


    1. I didn’t love my job, but was comfortable (mostly) with it. It was a way of life, almost an identity. I planned on retiring at full SS retirement age, my younger wife could retire with me at 62.*

      Dad also planned on working as long as possible but retired at 62 due to a bad heart.

      He used to tell about a (possibly apocryphal) co worker whose greatest obsession was retirement. He scrimped and saved and was basically miserable in life, with that one goal in mind. If you guessed he passed away within 6 months, you got it.

      Dad had another comfortable 15 years with family and friends, no regrets. I’ve had 12 so far, life has a way of working it out.

      *Between pension, SS, and IRAs, would have given us a much higher income than working.


    2. I know a judge. The judge that I know, as with doctors and lawyers, get a late start into the workforce due to school and internships. Add in any student loans, that delays large active saving. Plus, many after pinching pennies, they want to live the lifestyle they worked so hard for. Lawyers and doctors used to have to save 100% for their own retirement too as they often worked for themselves paying all the business costs and malpractice insurance.

      I imagine that some get addicted to the money while others find it is easy work so why stop. As for my judge friend, he didn’t get appointed to his judgeship until his late 40’s and he still is putting his son through college. If he stays until he is 67 he will get a full state pension. Then all the money that he was saving on his own will almost equal his pension. His income will double in retirement. As a retired judge, he can pick up some arbitration cases if he wants some extra cash for a bigger boat or something if he finds a need.

      Also everybody works for somebody. The higher up you are on the pay scale, the more control you have over your working conditions and are able to hired some help at home if needed. It might be a little less stressful at the top when you have some control.


  3. If her plan was to only work 20 years and retire, then her plan should have included paying off her loans for the 8-10 years it took her to become a doctor. A decade ago, loan forgiveness really wasn’t even a thing.

    Or am I suppose to feel sorry for her that she is paying $3000 a month in student loans? If she is smart enough to become a doctor, she should be able to basic math. Either that or she is ordering the wrong dosages of drugs for her patients.

    Am I suppose to believe that she isn’t going to see her family for the next 17 years so she can retire early?


  4. With strict financial discipline, Dr. Patel likely will reach the ‘tipping point’ of financial success enabling her goal of retirement at age 50.
    But the more difficult question- will she remain retired at age 60? 70? 80?
    The average 55 year old lost one-third of their asset’s value between 2007 and 2013 due to the Bush/Obama recession. Many people managed their losses, but were forced to delay their planned retirements.
    Hopefully such a recession will not reoccur, but Dr. Patel should consider this contingency as she plans her career and life choices.


    1. I am not interested in obtaining medical care from doctors whose passion clearly isn’t medicine . You can tell by talking to them if they are or not. Better outcomes with the doctors who went into medicine because they love it.


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