Are Surgeons Millionaires

Ava Flores
• Wednesday, 16 December, 2020
• 8 min read

Managers While actors, singers and athletes make news with multi-billion dollar contracts, other conventional high-paying professions remain the source of most millions earned. Chief executive officers on an average make around $160,440 in the US, even though this figure would depend on the size of the company as well as the nature of the appointment.

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Investment bankers, hedge fund managers and insurers are among the highest paid professionals in America and even though the recession of 2008, took off some zeros from their paychecks, they continue to enjoy some of the best salaries in the country. In the US, depending on the field of expertise, reputation and location, the average annual salary for an investment banker is between $45,000 and $80,000 per year.

However, if a person is working in a city like NYC and has several years of experience, then he/she could definitely be taking home an annual paycheck of around $70,000 to more a million. Add to this the fact that investment bankers get hefty commissions and bonuses and their net pay could easily get them into the millionaire club.

But top firms in cities like New York and Washington D. C are reported to start salaries for first year associates at $160,000 plus a yearend bonus. TIP: Millionaire Match has many wealthy professional men from the USA, Canada and Europe looking for women to date and marry.

For example the cardiac surgeons and anesthesiologists have some of the highest earnings while salaries of general practitioners and podiatrists are on the lower range. Co-founder of Google, the most popular web search engine, Larry Page is believed to be worth around US $17.5 billion like his partner Sergei Brain.

Mark Zuckerberg till recently was the youngest single billionaire on the planet, and he is worth all of two billion dollars, according to the Forbes 2009 list of the super-rich. A case in the point is Hollywood star Johnny Depp who has been reportedly carrying away $50 million in fees since 2009.

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Julia Roberts remains one of most bankable female actors in Hollywood because of which she reportedly charges at least $25 million per film. Figure skating champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Kim Yuan is the richest female athlete in her sport and her annual income is estimated to be in the range of US$9.7 million.

Kobe Bryant, American basketball sensation figures as the second highest paid male athletes with a personal income of around US$45 million last year. Yet another star of the hoops to figure among the richest male athletes of the world is former NBA player, Michael Jordan.

The only billionaire on the list of the richest female singers is Madonna who enjoys an estimated net worth of US $1.1 billion. Barbra Streisand also a critically acclaimed actress, producer, director, composer, designer, author, activist as well as one of the richest female singers with a net worth estimated at $625 million.

Despite being in the headlines for the wrong reasons more often than her music, Britney Spears remains one of the richest female singers in the world with an estimated net worth of $500 million. Among the current male singers, Jay-Z, the rapper turned entrepreneur, walked away with a cool $63 million in 2010 chiefly on account of sold-out Blueprint 3 concert tour as well as several profit-making business deals.

With an income of $70 million last year, Bruce Springsteen made sure that he retained with his place among the richest male singers in the world. One of the most popular singers in country music genre, Cheney is estimated to have accumulated $50 million last year with the simple expedient of out-touring everyone else.

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Disney Channel regulars, the Jonas brothers continue to figure among the richest male musicians with their $35.5 million earnings last year Even though Timberlake hasn’t had a major new album release since his Future Sex/ Love Sounds in 2006, his earnings still touched $40 million 2010 on account of his featured appearances, lucrative endorsements as well as profit-making business ventures. However, one also needs to remember that not all pilots take home the same kind of pay check; those who are just starting their careers may be under a lot of debt since flying schools are insanely expensive.

Most surgeons (and practitioners of many other professions which require as much education) become millionaires. In many parts of the US, most surgeons who have been in practice for at least twenty years are millionaires.

One of the more interesting surveys out there for physicians interested in personal finance is the annual Meds cape Physician Net Worth and Debt Survey. Now I can't promise that this survey is scientifically and statistically rigorous, but it's about all that is out there on this topic.

The Meds cape survey tells us how many doctors are millionaires. But the data gets fascinating when you start dividing up the doctors by age.

The data is similar, they just used to include a < $500K category that I find interesting. The most impressive data from this chart in my opinion is from doctors in their 60s.

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Remember that includes their house, bank accounts, cars, stuff, investments….everything. But today, let's go through every age category and discuss the physician millionaires.

Certainly, I would not expect to see very many physician millionaires in this category, at least among those who earned the money to become so themselves. Not too much to say here, but I am encouraged by the 2016 data that shows that 16% of docs have a net worth of at least $500K.

Here is a category that is near and dear to my heart, since I was 38 and Katie was 35 when we became millionaires 7 years out of residency. Even a doctor who came out of residency at 30, made $500K/year, saved 40% of it every year, and earned 8%/year on it would only have a nest egg of $4.8M at age 44.

Not very many docs doing that, so even with home equity and “stuff”, there just aren't very many worth $5M+. This is the first age at which you start seeing significant numbers of early retirees.

I mean, there might be a few in their 40s like The Physician on FIRE, but most docs who stop working before 50 are becoming stay at home parents or changing careers, not really stopping work altogether. I think it's safe to assume that many doctors are retiring with the net worth displayed in this age group.

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Here is the last half of the 60s and this period includes the current average physician retirement age of 65 (it's 63 for Americans in general). Presumably, some people in this category have already been retired for 1-15 years at this point, so maybe it isn't a huge surprise that the numbers aren't really different from those in their early 60s.

But if you assume these doctors have $500K-$1M tied up in their house and stuff, 1/4 of doctors are basically retiring on just Social Security and (using the 4% rule) a majority are likely retiring on less than $80K in income in addition to Social Security. Now I'm not saying you can't have a comfortable retirement on $100K or so a year, but it seems a shame to me given what most docs should have.

Multiply by 4% and add in $40K in Social Security and that's $268K gross. Even if you make a few bad decisions along the way and only end up with half that nest egg, you should still have a retirement income of $154K.

If you had fewer assets in your 60s, you likely have less now because you're spending them faster than they're growing. That's not necessarily bad (none of us live forever) but it is an interesting bit of data.

I think the biggest lesson to learn from all this is that the process of becoming wealthy is not automatic, even for high earners. While very few of us went to medical school to try to get rich, it would be dishonest if we didn't say that most of us still expected it to happen thanks to our high income.

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Sometimes this is due to tragedy, but certainly not the 25+ percent of time that it happens. More likely the story behind all these non-millionaire physician retirees involves spending too much, lack of investment discipline, lack of any sort of coherent financial plan, and maybe a divorce or two.

The beauty of working for a big, publicly owned company is that you don't have to necessarily be a senior executive to become rich. Two of the millionaires in my study were low-level employees who kept buying company stock over 35 years.

They were lucky, however, in that their company's stock rose significantly during those 35 years. Surgeons and scientists earned the most money and were the wealthiest, according to my data.

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