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Income – May 2018

My May 2018 income was $5,508. This income came from 4 different sources, most of it in pre-tax dollars. In this post I’ll talk about where the money came from, the tax implications, and how my net worth has adjusted.

 

Telemedicine X Income – $3,730

This particular telemedicine company, whose name I can’t mention, remains an easy income source for me. No need to sign up for a schedule ahead of time. I log on whenever I want and see patients.

The money is pre-tax income since I earn it as an independent contractor. I prefer this due to the tax advantages it offers.

I stopped keeping track of how many patients I’ve seen for the month or how many hours I spent doing telemedicine. Due to the lower volumes in the season, the hourly wage is likely lower.

Ease of Income

I would say that this telemedicine company is one of the easiest of the telemedicine gigs to earn an income from. I’d love to tell you who they are but they have asked me to remove their name from this blog. In their defense, they are worried that some of the information I’m sharing with my readers might risk their competitive edge.

Patients are realistic. Work notes are easy to write. Medication prescribing is limited which prevents abuse. And the platform is one of the easiest to navigate. 95% of my visits are done through phone calls – I rarely do video.

I get text messages and phone calls when the volume picks up so I know when is a good time to hop online to see some patients.

 

JustAnswer – $198

I didn’t do much with JustAnswer this month but I like to do just enough to keep my foot in the door.

For not having to prescribe any meds, make any diagnoses, and not having to talk to a patient on the phone, it’s a great way to earn money.

Ease of Income

This is another easy one to earn income with. As I suspected, now that the volume is lower, a lot of doctors have left the platform so there are more questions to go around.

But, answering long question strings and dealing with customers with unrealistic expectations is a problem. You’re sort of begging for a 5-star review, which isn’t terribly hard to get.

 

telemedicine Y – $770

I can’t include their name of this telemedicine company but I love their business model and they are probably one of the more patient-focused telemedicine companies.

I have done a few 2-3 hour shifts with this particular telemedicine company this month. Fortunately, they aren’t as busy as the cold & flu months. Because all their visits are over video, it’s very draining having to do a long shift or a seeing a lot of patients.

Ease of Income

The platform works flawlessly. But the video visits which are exhausting. It’s not an easy income but the patients, for whatever reason, are really easy.

Signing up for shifts isn’t as easy since the full-time and part-time physicians get first pick. It helps to stay in close communications with the scheduler.

 

Other Income Sources

There are 2 other telemedicine companies whom I’ve seen patients for but haven’t gotten paid yet. I can’t include their name here because they have asked me to remove their name – fair enough.

One of them pays me $15 per patient and I figure I’ve seen 50 patients in May.

I love their platform. The concept makes sense and is easy. I wrote about them in this previous post. Instead f me asking the same damn questions over and over, the patient answers them ahead of time. I review the case and either approve or contact the patient for more information.

A patient will pop up on their platform and you have to click on their name faster than other providers or else you can’t lock on the patient. The competition is pretty fierce.

This other telemedicine company has a very different business model – they are an insurance company and telemedicine company, all in one. Don’t quite know what to say about them yet. It feels like a family which I really appreciate. They are constantly making improvement to their system.

That said, the learning curve is steep. Lots of different platforms to learn and you have to use their email and their laptop to do visits. This is actually more logical from a telemedicine security standpoint.

I am still learning their platform so I can’t say too much about it. I haven’t even figured out how I’m paid yet – whether per patient or per hour. I’ve done a few phone shifts already. Today, I’ll be doing my first messaging shift.

 

Income Taxes

My income for the year so far is around $48,000. I have done some tax-planning for 2018 but with the medical board investigation drama I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up.

That headache is ending soon. I suspect I’ll focus on tax strategizing for the rest of year. I want to earn enough to pay for my living expenses, contribute a little to my individual 401k, and use the rest to pay for ongoing legal costs.

Tax Write-offs

I can write off the majority of my expenses such as cell phone, internet, home office, legal fees, financial advisor, and some travel expenses.

Everything will go on Schedule C of the IRS tax form. It’s still a learning process for me. I will write more posts on income taxes as an independent contractor. My 2017 income taxes turned out quite favorable.

If I wanted to I could contribute $5,500 to a traditional IRA or $18,000 to my individual 401k. Or possibly both. These would be direct tax deductions and would lower my taxable income.

 

Net Worth – $856,000

My net worth is growing, currently at $856,000 which is the highest it has been. 20% is the value of my condo which is a healthy real estate portion for me.

If I needed the passive income from my portfolio then I could mobilize it to pay for my overhead. From the graph above, my core spending is below the passive income – so I’m heading in the right direction.

The net worth is growing in part due to appreciation of the underlying investments, such as the index funds. It’s also growing due to the dividend income.

I try to contribute a little to the investments but it’s no longer a big priority for me. If I can contribute $1,000/month then that’ll be a good goal for me.

Net Worth Perspective

It’s important to not put too much emphasis on the actual numbers of our net worth. It will be in constant flux as it shifts with market changes.

What matters is that it trends in the right direction. The assets should be invested in line with your risk profile. And any money that you need access to in the short-term should be invested in more liquid assets.

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