Psychiatrists' Income, Net Worth Rise as COVID Wanes

Megan Brooks

August 15, 2022

Last year brought welcome relief to psychiatrists, with incomes generally rising as practices reopened after COVID-19 restrictions lifted and patients ventured out of their homes.

Psychiatrists' average annual income rose to $287,000, according to the Medscape Psychiatrist Wealth and Debt Report 2022. That is up about 4% from $275,000, which was listed in last year's report.

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

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

The lowest-paying areas 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 physicians in 29 specialties. All were surveyed between October 5, 2021 and January 19, 2022.


Savvy Investors?

Similar to last year's report, three quarters of psychiatrists have not done anything to reduce major expenses. Those who have taken cost-cutting measures cited deferring or refinancing loans, moving to a different home, or changing cars as ways to do so.

Most psychiatrists (80%) reported having avoided major financial losses, which is up slightly from last year (76%). Only 6% of psychiatrists (9% last year) reported monetary losses because of issues at their medical practice.

One quarter reported having a stock or corporate investment go south, which is about the same as last year. In addition, 42% said that they have yet to make a particular investment mistake and 19% said that they have not made any investments.

This year, a somewhat smaller percentage of psychiatrists reported keeping their rates of saving in after-tax accounts level or at increased rates compared with last year (47% vs 52%).

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

The vast majority said that they kept up with bills amid COVID, as they also did last year.

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

That is in contrast to one 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 psychiatrist wealth and debt report include that:

  • 61% live in a home of 3000 square feet or less, which is greater that the current average size of a US house (2261 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% differ in opinion, at least sporadically, with their significant other about spending. A Northwestern Mutual study showed that across the country, around 1 in 4 couples argue about money at least once a month.

In addition, 70% of psychiatrists said that they typically tip at least the recommended 20% for decent service, which is somewhat more generous than the average physician (64%).

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