July is an interesting month for my income as a retired physician. I have definitely enjoyed an incredible amount of time freedom. However, I would like to have less of a ‘commitment’ in order to focus on what matters to me most.
Anytime that my time is under the control of someone else, I feel that it should be far more valuable. In fact, it makes little sense for me to get paid $120/hour as a full-time physician and $100/hour as a per diem. It’s not just the 40 hours which I’m committing, but I’m committing them on an ongoing basis, AND I’m committing those hours based on the times in the day that is most convenient for them.
July 2017 Income: $9,856
I earned $9,856 for the month of July. The income came from Kaiser Permanente, Remedy Medical, and JustAnswer. Let me break down the income and talk about how it might change moving forward. I will also share my net worth.
Kaiser Permanente Income = $6,250
This is net income, after taxes. It’s higher than usual because I was in the midst of a pilot project for KP doing some new telemedicine work. It went quite well and looks like it will be part of KP’s new workflow.
Now that I work as a per diem, I likely won’t have as much input in such pilots. But I’m fortunate that I still have the connections to get pulled into them when they become available.
The hourly wage is often much higher during such pilot projects because I may only see 1-2 patients virtually while getting paid for a 10-hour shift. I’m not sure what the hourly rate for this gig was, I suspect in the range of $500/hour, net.
JustAnswer Income = $160
As always, this is the money I earned for the previous month, June. It reflects maybe 1-2 hours of work. The income is gross income, leaving me with probably $90 of take-home if I were to pay direct taxes on it. I suspect that before the year is over I will be opening an individual 401k in order to stash some of this income away.
Remedy Medical Income = $3,446
My work with Remedy will come to an end by end of August. The majority of my work with them had been seeing patients, though in the end I got involved with a really exciting consulting project.
The team knows that moving forward I would like to be involved in such smaller consulting projects and I hope that they will take advantage of my skills. Not only that, but I hope that I will be furthering my skills so that I have more to offer the next time we collaborate.
It wasn’t easy passing up on a net monthly income of $3,446, but I’ll be happier not having the ongoing time commitment. I only spent a couple of hours seeing virtual patients on any given day. The downside was being in “patient mode” for the entire day, waiting for a patient to come through on the platform.
Income For August While Abroad
I have a few more days left before leaving for Spain. Once there I would like to continue earning some money virtually. The ability to live anywhere I want and earn a decent living is very appealing. A location independent gig would fit me really well.
Abroad, I will be able to continue working for Just Answer which is easy to do from any location with a laptop and an internet connection. With a couple of hours a day I should be able to earn around $3,000/month. We’ll see if that’s a worthwhile use of my time.
Another company will be American Well. They have been great to work for but I’ve actually had some technological glitches with them recently. I’ll keep testing the platform and I’m sure they will become a good source of income as well.
I still think that Remedy Medical and I will cross paths again. They are such an inventive group of entrepreneurs and I really enjoy working with them. I wrote about a recent offer which I ended up passing up on because it was going to be a full-time consulting gig. Again, I am not keen on anything that takes up a lot of my time in retirement.
Kaiser Permanente might continue to be a source of income for me while abroad. I don’t see any problem with seeing patients virtually from another country. If they have a problem then I may have to come up with some ways to get around it, maybe using a VPN.
Earning Money In Retirement
I keep revisiting the topic of earning an income during retirement because it interests me. On one hand, retirement is great because it means that we no longer give anyone else permission to control our time. As a retired person I can work whenever I want. I can work on projects which may offer no remuneration or I can earn an income on my own terms.
On the other hand, I am trying to figure out if there is a way to earn an income forever through desirable work to the point of never really needing to retire. This latter concept really appeals to me but I haven’t yet figured out how to do it.
Imagine you like baking, could you do it for a few hours every day in perpetuity? And if you could earn enough money doing something you love then would you have the need to be financially independent, much less retire?
An evolving mindset
My good friend N. and I were just talking about this. In fact, it’s a sign of an evolving mindset that I was able to say ‘no’ to some easy incomes. Both KP and Remedy were making me incredibly lucrative offers recently with not a whole lot of time commitment.
Saying no to income opportunities and forcing myself outside of my comfort zone is important. I know medicine, it’s easy but it’s not something that I’m inspired by – at least not in the traditional sense.
Real Estate As A Business
I would rather keep searching and working on the things which I really enjoy and see if one of those can gain enough traction to produce an income. A larger scale real estate business is still something I am considering. I have some weird hangups about real estate. I can see the rich buying up all the real estate and driving prices up for the poor. I can also see it becoming an emotionally intensive business. In the past few years I have not come across a single person who has their own full-time job and thinks of their real estate side gigs as easy ventures – they are all exhausted by it. Passive income? I don’t think so.
My friend M. and I are working on a product line which appeals to both of us. A personal product which is sustainable. We talked about it a few months ago but couldn’t figure out what steps to take next and finally decided to each mail the other person a sample product. I mailed mine off today, I’ll let you know what she thinks in another post.
Health Related Business
My friend N. and I have talked about a medical weight loss clinic or a laser clinic for some time. She is incredibly business minded and is one of the best marketers I know. Neither of us is inspired by a weight loss clinic that just pushes meds or focuses on shakes. We have come up with a unique business plan and throwing ideas back and forth.
I decided to visit her this week before leaving for Spain to meet with a few individuals who could help us in launching such a business. The meeting went well and N. and I were able to hash out a few important details. We’ll see what happens next.
Net Worth Changes
The graph above shows my average monthly household expenses and my passive income. My spending is gradually decreasing and my investment’s passive income is slowly increasing.
Defining Monthly Spending
I have my ‘core spending’ graphed out because my actual spending is a couple thousand dollars more each month.
Why not account for my actual spending? Because I have no intention of spending money that I don’t need to spend if I were retired without any other source of income other than my investments.
I have already proven to myself that I can live a very comfortable lifestyle spending less than $1,500/month. Knowing that, I will only account for what I need to spend to enjoy my lifestyle.
Defining Passive Income
Whatever index fund I buy will hopefully appreciate over time. By selling the fund, I get to lock in a profit. I can do the same with the dividend yields.
Overall, I should be able to extract a few percentages of my total investment every year and still have the portfolio maintain a respectable balance for many years to come.