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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Is it true that not all doctors are rich?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (17361points) 1 week ago

Also what is the highest paid and lowest paid doctors? By specialty and country?

Who is the individually highest and lowest in all of the field’s?

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11 Answers

chyna's avatar

It is true that not all doctors are rich. Lots of them owe thousands in student loans.

gorillapaws's avatar

It’s very true. Healthcare is a brutal industry unless you’re an insurance company, device manufacturer or big pharma employee. If you want to get rich, become an investment banker. If you want a life of high-intensity, stress, very long hours with people depending on you for life/death decisions, take call and rush into the ER at 4am to take out the appendix of someone who is uninsured and cannot pay but will sue the shit out-of-you if you mess up, risking your own life via potential exposure to diseases and bloodborne pathogens, an upper-middle-class lifestyle and a reasonable retirement, then investing the time and money into 4 years of undegrad, 4 years of medical school and 3–7 years of residency may be worth it to you.

If you were in it for the money, you’d do the smart thing and become an investment banker: 4 years of undergrad and 2 years for an MBA, some luck, a willingness to act immorally, knowing the right people and you could make enough to employ a staff of physicians to perform K-pop dance routines for your amusement while you throw caviar at them and laugh.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’ve met a couple of doctors worth millions from about 1970; they were cardiologists that did artificial hearts. My Family doctor from 25 years ago sold his practice and moved from Connecticut back to Maine where he grew up. The move was because he was slowly going backwards because of malpractice insurance and paying for the mortgage on the offices he had.

Once back in Maine he worked part-time at a clinic and someone else paid the bills. He also started up a hunting and fishing guide service like he had to pay for college. Talked with him four years after the move, he was less stressed and had more money.

si3tech's avatar

Absolutely! Not all doctors are rich.

JLeslie's avatar

Depends what you consider rich. Most of them do pretty well. Pediatricians and GP’s generally are near the bottom of the salary list, @Caravanfan posted a good link. I know doctors who make “just” $90,000—$100,000 a year.

I think in most parts of the country someone making $200,000 plus a year accumulates wealth over time and by mid-life they probably are viewed as rich by most of America, but really it is an upper middle class salary. In very expensive cities $200k would definitely not be rich, because you spend so much on just living expenses. But, also think about it like this, there are CEO’s making $10 million a year!

Some doctors make a lot during some parts of their career and not others. My uncle was an ophthalmologist and he made a million dollars a year for about 10 years of his career, but when he started is was much much less, and towards the end of his career it was much less. Still a lot of money though.

Jeruba's avatar

A quick search took me to a 2018 study that includes stats and mentioned that 69% of U.S. doctors (in 2018) aren’t self-employed but are employees of some organization. I assume this takes in both medical organizations (e.g., hospitals and clinics) and private organizations (e.g., a staff physician at Google). They make less money in those settings, but also have fewer hassles, so it says.

When my PCP’s affiliated hospital declared bankruptcy, my doctor closed his practice. He said he’d been invited to join a medical group, but “I can’t practice like that.” He’d had a private office with oriental rugs on hardwood floors. We ended up in an assembly-line clinic with cold, bare rooms and the merest semblance of doctor-patient relationship. He went to work for a huge Silicon Valley high-tech corporation. I doubt that any of us is better off. But he undoubtedly made the most advantageous swap for himself, even if his income fell.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

A generation ago, U.S. physicians did very well and could accumulate significant wealth. The circumstances have changed.

Many physicians begin their careers with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt. If they decide to join a medical practice, the buy-in costs are huge. It’s even more costly to start one’s own practice, with pricey equipment to buy, staff to pay, and overhead to cover. Most physicians need to participate in multiple health insurance providers; the administrative work is staggering, and the medical practice might get paid nothing or very little for any given procedure.

There was a time when “doctor’s wife” meant a life of ease, privilege, and luxury. Today, many such spouses need to work and help make ends meet.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What country does this question limit? It varies from country to country.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Any country and any county.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 Do the research. A country like the US, will be all over the board, based upon the classification of doctor. In countries that offer national health care, it may be different.

My nephew-in-law decided to become a surgeon so that he could support a charity organization he started in Malawi, Africa. They gather all sorts of medical members to travel there at least once a year to do health care and surgery services on the locals. They have raised money to send locals interested in medical training and build a local health care facility.

What he makes in the US and what he contributes to his organization can make in a financial difference.

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