Neurologists’ Income Up, Major Financial Losses Avoided

Incomes for neurologists generally rose last year, as practices reopened with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and patients venturing out.

Neurologists’ average annual income was $301,000, according to the Medscape Neurologist Wealth & Debt Report 2022. That is up about 8% from the amount of $280,000 found in last year’s report.

They now rank in the middle third of all specialties when it comes to physicians’ income, according to the overall Medscape Physician Wealth & Debt Report 2022.

The highest-paying speciality was plastic surgery ($576,000), followed by orthopedics ($557,000) and cardiology ($490,000). The lowest-paying areas were family medicine ($255,000), pediatrics ($244,000), and public health and preventive medicine ($243,000).

The report is based on responses from more than 13,000 physicians in 29 specialties who were surveyed between October 5, 2021, and January 19, 2022.

“Compensation for most physicians is trending back up as demand for physicians accelerates,” James Taylor, chief operating officer of AMN Healthcare’s Leadership Solutions Division, told Medscape Medical News in the report.

Net Worth Rose

About 8% of neurologists reported a family net worth of more than $5 million, which is up from last year’s 6%. In addition, 35% of current respondents had a net worth of under $500,000 vs 41% of last year’s respondents).

Fewer female than male neurologists reported a net worth of more than $5 million (3% vs 10%, respectively), and more female than male neurologists reported a net worth of less than $500,000 (53% vs 26%).

According to the latest Federal Reserve data, the net worth of many physicians exceeds the average US family net worth of about $749,000 — and their wealth is growing at a faster rate.

Roughly two thirds (64%) of neurologists are making payments on a mortgage, with payment amounts spanning widely from less than $100,000 (23%) to more than $500,000 (17%). However, 27% reported having no mortgage at all.

Additional expenses or debts for neurologists continued to be payments on a car loan, paying off their own college or medical school loans, and carrying monthly credit card balances.

Three quarters of neurologists reported not doing anything to reduce major expenses. However, among those who have taken cost-cutting measures, deferring or refinancing loans, moving to a different home, or changing cars were cited as ways to do so.

Investment Savvy?

Most neurologists (78%) reported having avoided major financial losses, and only 8% reported monetary losses because of issues at their medical practice.

About one quarter (24%) reported they had a bad stock or corporate investment, whereas 41% said they had not yet made a particular investment mistake; 17% reported not making any investments at all.

More than half (58%) of neurologists have kept up or increased their rate of saving in tax-advantaged accounts. About one third have decreased their savings into tax-advantaged accounts.

In addition, 26% do not regularly put money into after-tax savings accounts, which is about the same rate as physicians overall (25%).

The vast majority (97%) of neurologists reported they kept up with their bills during COVID, which is in contrast to a 2021 industry survey. It showed that 46% of Americans missed one or more rent or mortgage payments because of COVID.

Further key findings from Medscape’s latest neurologist-focused report include that:

  • 50% live in a home of 3000 square feet or less, which is greater than the 2261 square feet average size of a US house today;

  • 32% have three or four credit cards and 20% have seven or more, whereas the average American has four credit cards; and

  • 66% differ with their significant other about spending rarely, sometimes, often, or always. A Northwestern Mutual study showed that across the country, around 1 in 4 couples argue about money at least once a month.

In addition, 59% of neurologists reported typically tipping at least the recommended 20% for decent service, which is somewhat less generous than the average physician (64%).

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