Inside the bad investments, financial loss for physicians last year

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More physicians reported making bad investments and experiencing substantial financial loss from practice issues in the last year than in previous years, according to Medscape's "Physicians Wealth & Debt Report 2021."

The publication surveyed 17,903 primary care and specialty physicians between October 2020 and February 2021 about their finances. The percentage of physicians who reported financial loss grew from 28 percent in the 2020 report to 32 percent in 2021, primarily due to COVID-19 losses.

Of the physicians who reported financial loss in the 2021 report, 15 percent said the loss was due to practice issues including business problems, reimbursement challenges or a change in practice situation. In 2020, 8 percent said the same.

The remaining reasons for the financial loss include:

· Bad stock investments: 10 percent
· Job loss: 5 percent
· Real estate losses: 4 percent
· Legal fees or a lawsuit: 3 percent
· Divorce: 2 percent
· Other: 2 percent

Among specialists with bad investments, 31 percent reported funding stocks and companies that turned out badly and 13 percent said they made bad real estate investments.

One anonymous physician reported investing in a surgery center that didn't function as planned, while another reported losing money as an angel investor in two companies started by his or her sons. Others reported investing in a business to flip houses, a restaurant and a sports store that weren't successful. Funding projects with relatives or friends was a theme among physicians who lost money.

One unnamed physician told Medscape: "Invested in my friend's business, spent a lot of money helping as it struggled, then found out she was embezzling money."

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