Endocrinologists' Net Worth on Low End of Specialists

Nancy A. Melville

July 28, 2020

Although post-pandemic figures will no doubt tell a much different story, the financial state of endocrinology in the latest Medscape Endocrinologist Debt and Net Worth Report 2020 shows steady earnings but a sustained gender gap in terms of net worth.

The report, based on data from Medscape's Physician Compensation Report 2020 of surveyed practitioners in more than 30 specialties, provides an overview of clinicians' salaries, debt, and net worth up to February 11, 2020.

More than half of respondents (64%) were men, 34% were women, and 2% preferred not to say. Half were under the age of 50.

As previously detailed in the Compensation Report, endocrinologists' earnings fell to among the lowest ranks of all physicians, with an average reported income of $236,000, unchanged from the previous year. Comparatively, specialists overall earned an average of $346,000, a 1.5% increase from the previous year.

Net Worth Varies by Specialty, Gender, and Age 

About half of endocrinologists (53%) had a net worth under $1 million, while 39% had a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, and just 7% had a net worth above $5 million, according to the report.

As many as 37% of practitioners' in diabetes & endocrinology net worth was under $500,000, which placed them in seventh in that category. Family medicine fared worst, with nearly half (46%) having a net worth under $500,000.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the top three specialties in terms of net worth above $5 million were orthopedics (19%), plastic surgery (16%), and gastroenterology (16%).

The report also shows a sustained gender gap in terms of net worth among endocrinologists, with about 55% of men having a net worth above $1 million, compared to just 35% of women, which is similar to rates reported among all physicians.

Not surprisingly, endocrinologists with a net worth above $1 million increased significantly with age, with rates of just 17% for those under age 45, 41% for ages 45-54, 66% for ages 55-64, and 45% for those over age 64.

College Loans

In terms of expenses or debts, mortgages (57%), car loan payments (34%), and childcare (22%) were the most common expenses.

Interestingly, only 17% of endocrinologists reported paying off their own college or medical school loans, which is lower than those with car lease payments (19%) and credit card debt (21%).

The 17% college loan rate places endocrinologists among the lowest six specialties paying off school loans.

Conversely, the top three specialties still paying off college or medical school loans are physical medicine and rehabilitation (34%), family medicine (34%), and emergency medicine (32%).

With the largest majority of endocrinologists having three to four credit cards (33%), the specialty falls in line with average Americans.

Financial Losses Were Low — Pre-Pandemic

As many as 84% of endocrinologists reported no significant financial losses in the past year in the 2020 report.

Just 6% reported financial losses through bad investments or the stock market, 5% had losses due to practice issues, 4% had real estate losses, 4% had losses resulting from legal fees or a lawsuit, 2% had losses due to job loss (either their own or a spouse/partner), and 1% because of divorce.

Most Building Up Savings

In terms of savings, more than half of endocrinologists reported putting away more than $1000 per month in tax-deferred retirement or college savings accounts.

Just over a quarter (26%) save more than $2000 per month, 37% put away $1001 to $2000, 17% set aside $501 to $1000, 8% save $1 to $500, and 11% don't regularly contribute to a retirement or college savings account.

Meanwhile, most endocrinologists (69%) said they make some kind of contribution to a taxable savings account, typically used when tax-deferred contributions have reached their limit.

Most endocrinologists (66%) had either currently or previously met with a financial planner.

COVID-19 Effect

Responses for the next report will likely show quite a different picture. Early indications show primary care physicians are experiencing a 55% decrease in revenue and a 20% to 30% decrease in patient volume due to the pandemic, with some even forced to close their physical offices, according to the report.

Specialists are believed to be experiencing an even greater toll.

"Specialists are currently having more troubles than PCPs because they're largely dependent on elective cases, which can't be directly addressed by medicine," Joel Greenwald, MD, CEO of Greenwald Wealth Management, in St Louis Park, Minnesota, said in the report.

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