Radiologists among top specialists with wealth over $5M. How are they spending it?

Radiology is among the top three specialties with the most members holding wealth of $5 million or more, according to new survey data from Medscape released Wednesday.

About 31% of radiologists surveyed said they have attained this level of income, placing the specialty in a tie for No. 2 with gastroenterology. Urologists took the top spot at 33% while cardiologists and orthopedists (both 28%) rounded out the top five.

One expert cautioned that how much a physician squirrels away is just as important as how much he or she earns.

“We work with some physicians who are in lower paying specialties but live well below their means and save a ton,” Chad Chubb, founder of WealthKeel, a financial advisory firm specializing in Gen X and Gen Y physicians, told Medscape. “We also work with some higher paid specialists who live a more lavish lifestyle and whom we need to beg to save more for the future. The main point is, it doesn’t matter how much you earn as how much you save.”

The survey also explored how physicians spend their wealth (though not specific to radiology). About 60% of respondents said the mortgage on their primary residence was their biggest expense. Car loan (31%), credit cards (26%), college or medical school loans (21%) and children’s college tuition (19%) were among other popular answers.

About 18% of physicians surveyed said they had suffered losses from bad investments or the stock market. Other popular answers included practice issues (10%), job loss (5%) or real estate (4%). About 11% of physicians said they had made a bad investment in properties, while 33% said it was the stock market that sank them, and 19% said it was something else.

“I have a lot of conversations with doctors who thought real estate was a ‘passive’ activity for passive income and quickly find out they signed up for a part-time job,” Chubb told the publication.

Medscape conducted the survey between October and January reaching a total of 7,000 respondents across about 30 specialties including 200-plus radiologists. You can read much more about the results here:

Marty Stempniak

Marty Stempniak has covered healthcare since 2012, with his byline appearing in the American Hospital Association's member magazine, Modern Healthcare and McKnight's. Prior to that, he wrote about village government and local business for his hometown newspaper in Oak Park, Illinois. He won a Peter Lisagor and Gold EXCEL awards in 2017 for his coverage of the opioid epidemic. 

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