Not only was November my highest spending month in recent history but it was also a very low-income month. I earned $2,103.46 for the month of November – before taxes.
As I do every month, in this post I’ll break down my income, the tax implications, and what I did with the money.
Income November 2017
The reason the income was so low was that my main income source from Kaiser Permanente dried up. I had also started to cut back on a few other telemedicine gigs in hopes of some in-person KP urgent care shifts back in Portland.
Without the medical board fiasco, this anemic November income could have been sufficient. Looking ahead, I’ll have some high expenses for the foreseeable future.
This was a good lesson for me. Situations like this will always come up and being prepared emotionally and financially makes all the difference.
- I mistakenly underestimated the power of the medical board
- I was careless when it came to following the Medical Practice Act
- I didn’t have enough money saved in my emergency fund
I continue to earn income through JA. I only had a few days to dedicate to work in November which is why the income was only $2,066.68.
My JA income is pre-tax so I always set some of it aside for taxes. However, I’ve had to raid that stash since I tapped out my savings and my emergency funds for legal fees.
JA is the least clinical of my income-generating gigs. I have very little desire to take on the risk of a clinician right now which is why I’m focusing most of my energy on JustAnswer. Errors & Omissions (E&O) is the only risk I am taking by answering questions on JA and that’s fine by me.
Dividend income is one of those categories I’m tracking recently. I earned $36.78 which is a monthly dividend payout from my bond portfolio. It’s not a lot but I love seeing it trickle in.
This month, December, I should see the rest of the quarterly dividend distributions which are far sexier than the bond dividends.
Looking Ahead To December
I expect to need around $3,000-$5,000/month for the next few months to cover legal expenses.
I am not sure how quickly my regional medical director position will ramp up. I don’t have a whole lot of time to dedicate to it but it should be a helpful addition.
I have started doing more work for Doctors On Demand and the work is fairly easy. I’m still torn when it comes to clinical work, I prefer to do less of it. I also deal with DOD directly as opposed to my unpleasant American Well experience where I had to deal with a recruiter.
I started out with Teladoc but haven’t followed up with them. That’s also on my to-do list. It’s another telemedicine company but I believe they have more flexibility when it comes to picking up shifts.
I have applied to a local urgent care to do some in-person shifts. The problem is the credentialing. Because I have to mention the current medical board investigation, not a lot of companies are willing to credential me until they know what the result is.
Taxes will be completely different this year from previous years when I was a full-time employee. It’s the first time that I’m strictly a per diem physician. I’ll be able to write a lot off against my income.
As an independent contractor I’m supposed to send estimated taxes to the IRS. The reason I haven’t done that for 2017 is because KP paid me as a W2 employee and withheld my taxes accordingly.
I intend to petition the IRS to reclassify me as an independent contractor. KP chooses to pay me as an employee (a W2) but it’s not accurate and it would hurt me tax-wise.
Savings, Investing, Emergency Funds
Due to poor planning, I have drained my emergency funds and tapped into my savings to pay for my recent increase in overhead.
I need to start replenishing my emergency funds and build up a savings account again.
Dealing with the medical board investigation takes priority. However, I’m also in the midst of changing careers. So there is a lot going on, and though it’s not all favorable, I think everything is going well and going in the right direction.
The worst thing to do when encountering financial problems is to panic. That’s when you might go cashing out investments or borrowing against retirement accounts.
Having a financial adviser and intelligent minds to run things by will help. At first everything will seem hopeless and a complete mess. After you get some moments of clarity, you’ll find some viable ways around the problem.
I have found that reaching out to my network was very helpful. I’m not shy about asking for specific help when I need it. There are a couple of companies for which I have done consultation work in the past and so I’m happy to call in those favors in return for some paid gigs to get me through.