Swipe to advance
1 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Although many physicians struggled with income issues in 2020, oncologists overall are doing pretty well with building their nest egg and paying off debts. Many cut their expenses, whereas others saved less than in prior years. Debt remains a big issue. Medscape surveyed almost 18,000 physicians as part of our annual Physician Compensation Report 2021, to assess the state of physician net worth and debt in America. Net worth measures a person's total wealth, accounting for all financial assets and debts.

2 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Despite COVID, oncologists' income increased from $377,000 in our 2020 report to $403,000 this year. Although many medical offices were closed for a period of time in 2020, some physicians made use of the Paycheck Protection Program; others cut staff, renegotiated leases, switched to telephysicians visits, and made other cost-cutting changes that kept earnings relatively on par.

3 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Oncologists' wealth overall has increased over the past year. Fifty-five percent had a net worth of $1-5 million this year compared with 42% last year. "The rise in home prices is certainly a factor," says Joel Greenwald, MD, CFP, a wealth management advisor for physicians who is based in St Louis Park, Minnesota. "Definitely the rise in the stock market played a large role; the S&P 500 finished the year up over 18%. Finally, I've seen clients accumulate cash, which has added to their net worth. They cut back on spending because they were worried about big declines in income and also because there was simply less to spend money on."

4 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

The percentage of oncologists with a net worth of over $5 million was about the same as last year. They remain in the upper half of the list of wealthy specialties.

5 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

The percentage of oncologists with a net worth under $500,000 decreased from 26% last year to 16% this year. Oncology is a specialty with the lowest percentage of members reporting a net worth under $500,000.

6 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

As in prior years, a majority of oncologists are paying down a home mortgage, while a significant percentage are paying off car loan payments. Paying off college and medical school debt is still a burden for 17% of oncologists. Respondents also named some of their other expenses: bills for assisted living for elderly relatives; child support payment; a boat, tractor, or aircraft loan; hefty taxes; care for a disabled child; and "a huge, lavish wedding."

7 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Despite some months of financial challenges to oncologists' incomes, the vast majority kept up with paying their bills. This is better than what much of America experienced; according to a US Census Bureau survey last July, 25.3% of adults missed a mortgage or rent payment as a result of COVID difficulties.

8 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

About three quarters of oncologists continued spending as usual. One quarter of oncologists took significant steps to lower their expenses, such as refinancing their house or moving to a less costly home.

9 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Seventeen percent of oncologists are still paying off school loans compared with 25% of oncologists in last year's report. The Association of American Medical Colleges notes that the average medical school debt for students who graduated in 2019 was $201,490. By gigantic contrast, the average student loan debt for all graduating students in the same year was $28,950.

10 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Savings was mixed for oncologists this past year. Whereas 56% put the same amount or more each month into their 401(k), 32% put less money into it compared with last year. It's likely that many oncologists had to dig into their bank accounts or use their full income to pay bills when they had fewer patients or worked fewer hours during COVID.

11 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Whereas half of oncologists put the same amount or more into after-tax accounts, more than one quarter (29%) put less money into them compared with last year. One fifth didn't use these savings accounts at all.

12 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Net worth for female oncologists surpassed that of their male colleagues with a few exceptions. A similar percentage (17%) of female and male oncologists have a net worth of less than $500,000. A much higher percentage (22%) of male oncologists than female oncologists (2%) have a net worth of more than $5 million.

13 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

The percentage of oncologists who had losses due to practice issues rose from 3% to 8% in the past year. Much of that was due to COVID. Also, the percentage of oncologists who reported no significant financial losses this year (75%) was similar to last year (77%).

14 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Stock holdings and company investments are common among physicians. The percentage of oncologists who made bad stock investments was similar to the percentage of physicians overall who made similar investments. Physicians sometimes bankroll a colleague's or family member's venture. In many cases, these investments don't work out.

15 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Consistent with prior years, about half (55%) of oncologists have a general idea of how much they spend and on what, but they don't track it or formalize it. According to a survey by Intuit, only 35% of Americans say they know how much they spent last month. In that survey, viewed by age, 27% of millennials, 34% of Gen Xers, and 46% of baby boomers knew how much they spent.

16 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Three quarters of oncologists live in homes that have at least 2000 square feet. The average size of a new single-family home in the United States grew from 1660 square feet in 1975 to 2531 in 2019.

17 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

The specialties with the highest and lowest percentages of larger homes are similar to those in prior years. Seventeen percent of oncologists have homes that are over 5000 square feet, which is up from 13% in last year's report.

18 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Oncologists' mortgages span a wide range, from less than $100,000 to more than $500,000. However, 37% of oncologists reported having no mortgage. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the overall average size of a home mortgage loan was $344,556 in March 2020.

19 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

Many oncologists have a higher-than-average number of credit cards, with 54% having at least five. (The average American has four.) People may have multiple cards in order to get travel rewards, 0% APR introductory rates, or bonus cash back in some categories. A recent review showed that New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York residents have the most credit cards on average, whereas Alaska and Mississippi residents have the fewest.

20 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

The vast majority of oncologists are living within or below their means. "There are certainly folks who believe that as long as they pay off their credit card each month and contribute to their 401(k) enough to get their employer match, they're doing okay," says Greenwald. "I would say living within one's means is having a 3-6 months' emergency fund; saving at least 20% of gross income toward retirement; adequately funding 529 college accounts; and, for younger docs, paying down high-interest-rate debt at a good clip."

21 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

The majority of oncologists pool their income to pay the bills, whereas one quarter do not have joint accounts with a spouse or partner. Respondents described their strategies: "Husband pays the mortgage for the house; I pay everything else"; "We vary payments based on who has better cash flow at the time"; "We have separate finances and pay equal amounts into an account for certain household bills"; "My spouse is a stay-at-home dad"; "I pay everything; my wife sleeps and plays on the computer all day."

22 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

23 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

24 of 25

Scroll

Medscape Oncologist Wealth & Debt Report 2021

Christine Lehmann, MA | August 13, 2021 | Contributor Information

25 of 25

Related Content on Medscape

Start
 

Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2021: The Recovery Begins

Physician compensation was atypical in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Almost 18,000 physicians told us about their income, bonus, hours worked, and greatest work challenges.Medscape Features Slideshow, April 2021
All Slideshows
1 26 Next