From time to time I like to review things for you guys which I use and love. I’ve talked about my folding Brompton bike, my cell plan with Ting, budgeting with YNAB, living in Portland Oregon, free audio books from the library, using Google for your telemedicine workflow, and using FedEx to replace your office needs.
I have found yet another fantastic tool which will be great for physicians, especially those who do mostly or only telemedicine. This new tool is Traveling Mailbox. It was recommended to my by someone who left a comment on this blog and I’ve had it long enough to tell you guys about it.
Traveling Mailbox as a virtual mailbox
Traveling Mailbox is a virtual mailbox service. Instead of you receiving your mail to your house, it is sent to such a service. Each envelope is scanned and you can decide what you want to do with it: open it and scan it, shred it, or have it forwarded to your home address.
The anonymity is probably the best thing about such a service. By having a virtual mailbox, you can slowly disconnect any ties between your physician name and where you live.
As a physician, you are a high-risk target for lawsuits and other scams. Those who will want to figure out your net worth before filing a claim against you will want to know what kind of mail you receive and what services your name is associated with.
With a virtual mailbox you can review your mail whenever you want, from anywhere in the world. You can have anything important documents forwarded to your actual home address still, without having to worry about sensitive shit ending up in the garbage.
Virtual mailbox for physicians
If you’re a telemedicine doctor, you won’t be able to put your telemedicine company’s mailing address as your business address on your state’s medical board profile. Medical boards force you to put your home address, which is absolutely ridiculous.
You can now enter the virtual mailbox address into your online profile and have all mail, including certified mail, go straight to Traveling Mailbox.
If you’re a physician and you enter your per diem site’s work address as your work address, you won’t receive any communication from the medical board. This is exactly what set off a cascade of problems for me.
I had Kaiser Permanente as my mailing address but since I was mostly doing telemedicine for them, the dumbass Oregon medical board kept sending my investigation letters there without ever notifying me. It wasn’t until the deadline passed when the low-IQ investigator decided to call me on the phone. He then proceeded to have an emotional breakdown because he was butthurt that I hadn’t gotten back to him in a timely manner.
Though you will still have to deal with your grossly incompetent state medical board, at least you won’t have to worry about missing a deadline on such a letter.
Envelopes and boxes
I made the mistake of forwarding my mail to this virtual mailbox which was stupid. You actually want to keep your own home address active with the USPS so that you can have shit forwarded there such as boxes or forwarded letters from your virtual mailbox. Lemme ‘splain.
All my credit cards and bank statements now go to Traveling Mailbox. I chose an address in Washington because my plan is to eventually have my physical location in the US be a state with no income taxes.
If there is a new credit card in there, the Traveling Mailbox people will ask me where I want it forwarded. I can have it sent anywhere in the world, including, of course, my home. But if I have my home mail forwarded back to Traveling Mailbox then it creates a stupid circle fuck which you don’t want.
As for boxes, they actually have an address as well where you can have boxes sent to. If you are out of the country but need to receive a larger item, they can receive it at that address and you can decide what you want to do with it.
Cost for Traveling Mailbox
I’m paying $30/month for this service. Is it a lot? Fuck yes – to me that’s a ton of money. Especially since I recently cancelled my cell phone which was even less than this bill. But here is how I look at it: it’s lowering my risk as an entrepreneur and as a physician. I get to separate my name and home address from the various companies I do business with.
Next time I am spending several month in Spain, I can have live access to my mail through this virtual mailbox. I no longer have to assign this task to a friend nor forward my mail to a friend’s house.
This is also a huge cost saver for those who want to be long-term expats. Without a US address, you would risk having your investment accounts closed.
Here is another huge cost savings: time. I have the habit of meticulously destroying and scanning any document I receive in the mail. To be honest, it’s getting tedious.
I open an envelope, scan each item using a phone app called Genius Scan, which is brilliant, and then I shred the paper and toss it in different series of garbage bins. I know, I’m paranoid.
With Traveling Mailbox, they cleanly scan each envelope and you can either store the PDF on their secure server or download it for yourself. They then shred each document. Super easy.
As I said, if there are credit cards in that envelope – you can have it sent to you anywhere. If there is a check in that envelope, they can deposit it for you.
What you get with Traveling Mailbox
- a physical address, not a PO box
- access to your mail live from anywhere in the world
- mail forwarding of envelope contents anywhere in the world
- unlimited storage of scanned PDF’s
- a highly functional mobile app
- very fast customer service by email
- they will deposit checks for you
- free fax service and a fax number
- you can send a letter for free through their virtual office
How to use Traveling Mailbox
Here is the best-practice when it comes to a virtual mailbox:
- don’t use USPS mail forward to your virtual mailbox
- keep receiving mail at your home address
- for each envelope you receive, identify the company and go on their website and change your home address to your Traveling Mailbox address
- start with your banks, brokerage accounts, insurance bills, utilities, credit cards, debt statements, and medical boards
- wait for a notification from Traveling Mailbox and review each envelope
- You will have them shred the majority and you can have them scan the pertinent ones
- Upload the PDF into your Dropbox or Google Drive or wherever