Every month I publish my income from the various jobs I whore myself out to and my income for February 2018 was $9,383. It’s all pre-tax money – gross income.
I was in SoCal and then NorCal for couple of weeks so my schedule was a bit hectic but I still managed to do all the wonderful things I enjoy doing. I visited my family in NorCal and got a taste of Cali life after being away for so long.
February was snow-month in Portland – I love the snow and I love the rain. The winters are mild here which makes it still a great time to go for a walk or a long bike ride.
Let’s dive right in. I’ll break down my income, how many hours I worked, my tax obligations, and my future income plans.
Per Diem Income
I lost my virginity to per diem work and I have missed it dearly from 10/2006 until 11/2016 when started it up again. I forgot how much freedom there is in moonlighting and how delicious the tax savings are.
Here is one of my W2’s from back in my moonlighting days. Not too shabby for a 3rd year resident.
I’m currently working for and with the following companies:
- Doctor On Demand
These are my main income sources. It’s important to me to have multiple income sources not only for diversification but also to not worry about retaliatory employers.
I am also working with the following companies though these haven’t yet generated much income for me:
I earn some income from dividends or interest but that’s not something I’m spending so even though I keep track of it the income isn’t high enough to mention here.
JustAnswer – $640
When I’m stateside I don’t spend much time doing JustAnswer work. I reserve this for when I’m overseas since other telemedicine companies don’t like me logging in from other countries.
I do my work on JustAnswer from a coffee shop or go sit at a bar or in a restaurant. The reason I do this is because any of my entertainment or elective spending can be written off on my taxes directly against this income.
Teladoc – $8,743
I earned $8,743 in gross income from Teladoc and I saw 295 patients in February 2018. How do I know that? Because I count each and every patient to make sure that my paychecks are accurate.
That’s an average of 10 patients per day which comes out to about 1 hour a day. There were a few days when I didn’t see any patients and 3 days where I saw around 20-30 patients.
I see about 8-10 patients an hour on Teladoc and my patient satisfaction rate is higher than the average provider (95%) and I see 5x as many patients as the average provider. I also dispense less medication than the average provider – only by about 8% however.
I know these facts because of the monthly feedback which is sent to each provider. I’d love to share that pdf with you guys but it’s a confidential document.
I probably spent about 30 hours in total for the entire month doing telemedicine work with this company which comes out to $290/hour gross.
I set aside 25% of my income from these per diem gigs into a tax-category using my budgeting software. YNAB is fantastic for this. Even though the money still sits in my checking account I know that a portion of it is spoken for towards taxes.
You see, I never look at my checking account balance because I have YNAB. I only look at each category such as housing, groceries, taxes, savings, investing, etc.
My checking account shows that I have nearly $30k but my YNAB budget shows that I only have $15k available for discretionary spending and $4,600 in my tax budget. The rest is money I have already assigned to future categories so that I know that I have my expenses for the next few months covered.
As a per diem I send in estimated taxes to the IRS directly from my bank account using their bill-pay feature every 3 months – I believe the dates are April, June, September, and January. 20% to federal and 5% to state.
It’s helpful to keep track of your spending that’s related to running the business which is your per diem gig. As a locums physician I am an independent contractor and label myself as a sole proprietor.
In order to perform the work I do I incur certain expenses such as cell phone, medical licensure, legal fees, consulting fees, financial adviser fees, and dining out expenses.
Some physicians feel bad writing these expenses off. Or perhaps a physician is worried that they might get audited. The reason the tax code allows a business deduction is because we have a consumer economy – more spending means more growth for the economy.
What I’m Doing With the Money
I need to see what the medical board wants to do with me now that I’m under investigation. Most of the money I’m saving right now is for potential legal fees. Once this matter is settled I can continue pursuing the things I want.
If I can resolve the matter with the medical board then this money will either go towards buying a condo in Spain or to replenish my emergency fund.
Having a healthy emergency fund is so important. You’ll feel safer having that cash available to you and knowing that you don’t have to scramble for cash somewhere. Sure, you can hook or sell some blow to the neighbor’s kids but it’s such a hassle!
The rest of the money will go towards buying a condo in Spain if that becomes a viable option. Otherwise I could spend a small portion of it on a few renovation projects around the house.
I have a great friend who is a chef who has her eyes on a hotel property in Portugal. We have discussed an investment opportunity partnership so I would pounce on that if it pans out.
What I love the most about my income lifestyle is that I can work whenever I want. My time belongs first and foremost to me and whatever is left over I allocate to some income generating work.
I wake up in the mornings without an alarm clock. I don’t have curtains on my windows so I get beautiful natural southern lights shining directly on my bed. I look at my email and look at the online roster of patients waiting to be seen and if I feel like it then I clock-in and see some patients. I hand grind my coffee, sit on my bed under the covers with my bluetooth headset on, and I see a few patients before starting my day until I officially wake up.
I have a good idea of how much money I need to earn to keep the lights on – I see just that many patients throughout the day and then I’m done.
There is much more to this flexibility than I can express in a blog post. Not only can I log on during times when there are plenty of patients but I can also do it when I am going to be least productive otherwise. If I’m waiting around for a meeting or a buddy to pick me up then I can knock out a few virtual visits.
With the ability to work when I want and for however long I want, there is the luxury of looking for other lucrative opportunities. I can pursue my desire to teach at a college as I am doing now, work on my consulting gigs, help friends with their business ideas, and travel when the cost of travel is cheapest.
Intentionally Designed Lifestyle
I used to design my lifestyle around medicine. I’d go to bed early to have plenty of energy in the urgent care. I would power-eat at work so that I could see more patients and amp myself up with coffee.
My patients would get my cell and my email and they could contact me anytime they needed access. If they had trouble getting follow-up at Kaiser Permanente then I’d go out of my way to make sure they’d get their referral or whatever they needed.
For better or worse my work now ranks low on my list of priorities, somewhere between picking navel lint and greasing the door hinges. I reserve my energy for exercise, cooking, hanging out with friends, reading, writing, investing, and learning new skills. Whatever is left I’ll selflessly offer to my medical profession.