Psychiatrists’ income and net worth rise as COVID wanes


The past year has brought welcome relief to psychiatrists, with income generally rising as practices reopened after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and patients ventured out of their homes.

The average annual income of psychiatrists rose to $287,000, according to the Medscape Psychiatrist Wealth and Debt Report 2022. That’s about a 4% increase from the $275,000, which was in last year’s report.

However, psychiatrists still rank in the bottom third of all specialties when it comes to physician income.

According to the 2022 Medscape Physician Wealth and Debt Report, the highest-paying specialty is plastic surgery ($576,000), followed by orthopedics ($557,000) and cardiology ($490,000).

The lowest-paying fields of medicine are 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 doctors in 29 specialties. All were interviewed between October 5, 2021 and January 19, 2022.

Money conscious

Savvy investors?

As in last year’s report, three-quarters of psychiatrists did nothing to reduce major expenditures. Those who have taken cost-cutting measures cited deferring or refinancing loans, moving to another house or changing cars as ways to do so.

Most psychiatrists (80%) reported avoiding significant financial loss, up slightly from last year (76%). Only 6% of psychiatrists (9% last year) reported financial losses due to problems in their medical practice.

A quarter said they have a stock or business investment facing south, which is about the same as a year ago. Additionally, 42% said they hadn’t made any particular investment mistakes yet, and 19% said they hadn’t made any investments.

This year, a somewhat lower percentage of psychiatrists reported keeping their savings rates in after-tax accounts at the same or higher rates than last year (47% vs. 52%).

About 28% of psychiatrists do not regularly put money into after-tax savings accounts, compared to 25% of all physicians.

The vast majority said they tracked bills amid COVID, as they also did last year.

The percentage of psychiatrists who paid mortgages or other late bills during the pandemic is about the same this year as last (3% and 5%, respectively).

That contrasts with a 2021 industry survey that showed 46% of Americans missed one or more rent or mortgage payments because of COVID.

Other key findings from Medscape’s latest report on the wealth and debt of psychiatrists include that:

  • 61% live in a home that is 3,000 square feet or less, which is larger than the current average US home size (2,261 square feet);

  • 22% have one or two credit cards and 42% have five or more credit cards, while the average American has four cards; and

  • 63% have different opinions, at least sporadically, with their partner on spending. A Northwestern Mutual study found that across the country, about 1 in 4 couples argue at least once a month over money.

Additionally, 70% of psychiatrists said they usually tip at least the 20% recommended for decent service, which is a bit more generous than the average doctor (64%).

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