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Doing The Math: Could I Keep My Work In Portland

Could I Financially Justify Flying Out To Another State Once A Month For Work?

Generating income is no longer a priority in my life as long as I make wise decisions with my money. I am trying to shift my focus on projects which have more value to me than even my free time. There was a quote which I am going to butcher, something about you should keep searching until you find something worthwhile that’s greater than yourself.

I am writing this post because I am realizing that I miss working in Portland in the urgent care for reasons other than the income and ease of the work. I miss my colleagues, I miss the people of Portland and I miss the intellectual stimulation of seeing that patient population.

I’m living in NorCal with my girlfriend now, been here a little over a month now. The factors to consider are cost, the commute, time away from my partner and the stress of an air-commute. Can I justify a monthly air-commute? Let’s see.

The Benefits of Keeping This Job

The primary reason is just being able to work with a good work-buddy of mine, we keep each other sharp, learn from each other and help each other out which makes the day go by faster.

A secondary reason would be that I wouldn’t have to make a whole lot of changes to my financial life. Though I could generate income from working in a nearby urgent care I would have to change health insurance plans, I would likely have to move my 401k and do a few other chores. I don’t intend to dip into my savings or retirement since I’m coming up with new fun ways to make money.

Thirdly, I haven’t vested in my pension plan yet. Andrew, my financial adviser @ Modern Dollar Planning would breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I could have my pension secured before leaving this current employer. After all, I have only a little over 2 years left before vesting. Perhaps only a sunk cost, it’s nevertheless worth taking into consideration.

The Downside Of Keeping This Job

Commuting by air is probably less stressful than a daily Los Angeles commute but it comes damn close. Having to stand in line for TSA and dealing with delayed flights can be a huge pain in the ass. Thankfully I am able to take the light rail (BART) straight to OAK and go by light rail (MAX) straight to my condo in Portland.

I would no longer be able to rent out my condo in Portland, bummer because I was borderline excited about learning how to be a slumlord. Generating income from that $142k investment is appealing. If I wanted to be very accurate then I would calculate the loss of that income into the math of this decision but I won’t, that’ll get too complicated.

How Much Do I Want To Work?

In the past I would plan vacations around my work-schedule. I would enjoy a few hours before and after work. Now I want to have just a few hours of work nestled into my daily free time and I want to squeeze in a squirt of work into my perpetual vacation.

According to my recent post, I can perform 2-4 hours of work most days of the week and not feel burdened by it. This could be mostly virtual visits which I can do with my phone and laptop from anywhere in the US. However, in order to maintain part-time employment in Portland I would need to do some in-person shifts as well.

I could fly to Portland 1x per month and do a few in-person shifts which would make my chief happy, get me the hours I need to vest in my pension and bring back that camaraderie which I’m missing.

The Financial Math Of An Air Commute

The average round-trip flight will cost me ~$200. I won’t need a car to go to the airport so I will have a $20 BART commute and a $5 MAX commute. Thank you public transit!

Since I would be using my condo I would have to calculate the monthly cost of it into the math. I would also have some dining-out expenses. In total that’s $655 per month in order for me to work in Portland.

Getting around in Portland is easy, I can bike to most of the urgent care locations and take public transport to the offices which are farther away.

The Income Side Of Working In Portland

By calculating my exact hourly pay I know that I take home $95/hr. Working in Portland for one week and doing 5 hour shifts for 5 days I would pocket $2,375.

Deducting my expenses would leave me with $1,720 for the month. I would still need to do some of those virtual telephone shifts in order to meet the minimum 20 hours per week to consider me a part-time employee.

I don’t know if I could do this for 2 years, the time needed until I vest, but at least it would satisfy my immediate desire to get back on the floor and work with my colleagues. I will need to spend some time figuring out if this is even feasible by discussing it with my girlfriend and my chief.

This stuff is interesting to me though it might sounds tedious. What I particularly enjoy is being able to engineer the lifestyle I want and experiment to find what is right for me.

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