Oncologists’ Wealth and Debt: COVID Had Little Impact – Medscape | Vette Leader

Last year brought welcome relief to oncologists, whose incomes generally rose as practices reopened after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and patients ventured out again, concludes the latest 2022 Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report.

Comparing the results to those of the larger 2022 Medscape Physician Wealth & Debt Report, which surveyed more than 13,000 physicians in 29 specialties, the results for oncologists show how they compare to those who chose other paths in medicine .

Oncologist income increased by an average of 2% last year and now averages $411,000 annually, up from $403,000 in last year’s report.

This places oncologists in the top third of specialties, with plastic surgeons once again taking the top spot (with a median income of $576,000 this year).

One-fifth (20%) of oncologists surveyed reported family wealth of more than $5 million, which represents significant family wealth, the report comments.

However, 22% of oncologists said their family wealth was less than $500,000, and another 10% estimated it to be between $500,000 and $1 million.

For comparison, the average net worth of a U.S. family is about $749,000, according to the Federal Reserve.

Most live “within their means”

Most oncologists (94%), as well as most (94%) of all physicians surveyed, reported living above or below their means.

How do you do that? Just paying off credit cards each month and depositing enough into a 401(k) account to get an employer match doesn’t meet that standard, says Joel Greenwald MD, CFP, a physician wealth management consultant. To live within or below your means, you also need to save at least 20% for retirement, pay off student loans, contribute to your kids’ college savings and set aside money for rainy days, he explained.

When doctors were asked about their favorite cost-cutting tactics, answers included bringing lunch to work, keeping a car for 15 years, and doing their own household maintenance and repairs. One doctor described a “24-hour rule” when shopping: “Visit the desired purchase again after 24 hours to see if it is still desired.”

But how well do these tactics resonate with “the other half” and the rest of the household? Two-thirds (66%) of oncologists and a similar proportion of all physicians said they argue with their significant other about expenses. This seems high compared to the results of a recent survey, which found that about 1 in 4 couples (25%) in the United States argue about money at least once a month.

In terms of expenses, the largest expenses among oncologists were childcare (16%), tutoring for offspring (14%), mortgage on a second home (14%), tuition for offspring (14%) and a Car leasing (12%). %).

Around 17% of oncologists said they still pay their own student or medical loans. For these statistics, they are roughly in the middle of all disciplines.

The report notes that it is very costly to break free from medical school debt. Physicians in the United States pay an average of $356,000 to $440,000, about half of which is interest.

Little change from last year

The COVID pandemic has had a much smaller impact on physicians than the general population when it comes to keeping up with payments, and most physicians have been unaffected. Only 3% of oncologists reported defaulting on mortgage payments; 6% defaulted on other bills.

By comparison, nearly half (46%) of Americans have missed one or more rent or mortgage payments due to COVID, according to a 2021 industry survey.

Over the past year, most oncologists (70%) did not change their spending habits, and only 11% reduced spending by deferring loans or restructuring debt. In addition, most oncologists (75%) avoided major financial losses. Only 8% reported financial losses due to problems in their doctor’s office.

However, a slightly higher percentage of oncologists reported that a stock or company investment went wrong this year (37%) compared to the previous year (28%).

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