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Income: January 2018

January was a hectic month but I still managed to earn some income, $10,503 in total. This income is necessary for me to pay for these things on my list:

  • legal fees for medical board investigation
  • legal fees for getting visa to Spain
  • rebuilding my emergency fund after recently draining it
  • saving for a small condo purchase in Spain

I go back and forth a lot. I sometimes think to myself that it would be so much easier to just settle down, relax, and start mobilizing my investments and live off of that.

Then I get excited about all the things I want to achieve and the 1,001 projects I have going on.


Income Sources

I have active income sources and I have potential income sources – these are completely separate categories. One is the kinetic energy of my personal financial lifestyle and the other the potential energy.

My active income sources are the following:

  • Teladoc
  • JustAnswer
  • Doctor On Demand

My potential income sources are:

It’s exciting to work on these potential income sources because one thing leads to another and you never how something will turn out.

It’s helpful to remain flexible and keep trying different things. As a physician it would be fine for me to just work for different medical groups but if all I’m doing is clinical work then I’d get bored.

This is why I urge my readers and friends to not just pick extra shifts at their current work but to branch out and try something different. Even if the income from the other job might be lower, its future potential might have a lot more value.

Teladoc Income – $4,965

My gross income for January from Teladoc was a touch under $5,000 and that’s a gross income from which I would owe taxes.

As an independent contractor I consider myself a sole proprietor and can therefore write off quite a bit of my expenses against this income.

I am averaging about 8 patients per hour @ $23 per patient. Which means that I did 26 hours of work in the month of January and saw 215 patients.

Doctor On Demand Income – $2,311

The income from DOD is fairly steady as well but because I have to sign up for shifts in advance I am not quite as diligent about emailing the schedulers.

When DOD is busy it’s quite easy to see a fairly high volume of patients – probably on par with Teladoc. 

JustAnswer Income – $3,227

I do less work with JustAnswer when I’m in the US and do much more work with them when I’m overseas.

The average pay per question is about $15 and so that means I’ve done 215 questions. This income is gross as well.


Estimated Taxes

I totally forgot but I have to start paying estimated taxes again since I’m no longer an employee. For those of you who used to do moonlighting work you know that you have to set aside a portion of your income and send that in every 4 months to the IRS.

The dates to send in estimated taxes are April, June, September, and January. You would need to do it for both state as well as federal income taxes.

The IRS has forms that you can use to estimate how much to pay and you can submit these payments electronically.

It can seem a little intimidating and the IRS certainly uses big words to scare you if you don’t send them their money on time but it’s easy as pie. It’s a little tedious having to do so but being an independent contractor is well worth the tax savings.

My strategy is simple, I take 25% off the top of my income and set it aside in a separate account. I then send 20% towards federal taxes and 5% towards state every quarter.


Expanding My Income Sources

You’ve read all the different ways that I generate income as a physician and I’m constantly trying to expand my income sources. Some people buy apartment complexes, I find new income opportunities.

I do this for 2 reasons, one is genuine interest in seeing what else is out there, second is that I’m creating an income diversification plan.

By diversifying my income streams I’m less vulnerable to companies or medical boards which might try to bully me. I’m also protecting myself against my own stupidity as I have demonstrated on occasion.

I don’t think that there is one single recipe for creating more income sources or even finding out about them. You sort of grab a string and pull and just keep pulling and see what shows up next.

I look through every job posting that relates to the medical field and I ask myself how a physician with my set of skills could do that job better. Then I look for similar job postings and companies and send my resume to them.


Net Worth Update

I retired in 2016 and as you can see from my net worth it is continuing to increase.

Of course I have continued earning and income since retiring nearly 2 years ago but I haven’t contributed much to my investments. The growth in net worth is mostly from the performance of my individual investments.

Some might worry and say that my net worth has only increased because the market has been performing excessively well. My answer would be that I wouldn’t be invested in something if it wasn’t going to be performing well.

What if this was the beginning of 2008 when the average index fund investor lost 40%+ of their portfolio value? Again, if you follow that forward then you’ll see that after a few years the market regained its value and continued to climb.

I can’t predict the future and have only a tiny control over these 2 things:

  • budgeting
  • investing

I budget so that I can lower my overhead and keep more of what I earn. And I invest so that I can become better at growing my money – growing my net worth.

I recently had drinks with a buddy who 8 years ago moved to a very cheap town and took on an ER job with his little boy and wife. With his wife working part-time as a PT and him picking up extra hours they were making a solid $450k a year. Despite this, he still has a $250k in student loan debt, a hefty mortgage, and only $200k saved up in retirement.

With a gross income of $3,600,000 over 8 years he only has $200k and a little home equity to show for that wealth. He never experienced any major life disasters so his case might be a matter of an imbalance in budgeting/investing.

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