Max Out of Pocket – August

August has come and gone, and we are somehow moving into a new school year. It is almost hard to believe. Mrs. Max OOP started teacher workdays last week and has kids again this week. I have closed out another busy summer at work while still managing to get in several long travel weekends and a full week off in July to host my family in our home vacation town. We even got in some blogging here at Max Out of Pocket. 

Another Nice Month In New England And Canada

Summer is great in New England. We have been living here for just over 2 years now and still finding all kinds of cool things to explore. Most of this has revolved around hiking since it is a common hobby I share with Mrs. Max OOP. Her brother-in-law initially got us interested in it several years back when we were still down south.

We kicked off August 1st with a nice local mountain hike right around the corner from our house. When we got to the top of this mountain we were pleasantly surprised by a busting crop of blueberries. We took a small harvest home for ourselves. When you can combine healthy hiking with healthy eating, it is usually a win-win and may even help our future out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

Wild Blueberries

A few days later on the weekend, we decided to tackle 2 of the 48 four thousand-foot mountains in New Hampshire; Mount Pierce and Mount Eisenhower. These hikes were pretty amazing and Mrs. Max OOP’s first time tackling a 4,000-foot NH mountain.

Mount Eisenhower from Mount Pierce

The next weekend, Mrs. Max OOP’s sister’s family came through town for a few days. They then grabbed Mrs. Max OOP to head up to Canada for the week. Since she is a teacher, she took the whole week off while I was sweating blood at the office counting healthcare beans. I was able to leave early on Thursday and take Friday off to get a nice long weekend in New Brunswick. This was our second trip up to NB this summer. We didn’t go back to Hopewell Rocks but I did manage to get a hike in at Fundy National Park with my brother-in-law. So at least I got to see the highest tides in the world again. Mrs. Max OOP and I drove back down to New England on the 18th together and listened to the Slow Burn podcast along the way. Great coverage of the Clinton and Nixon impeachment if you like that sort of thing.

Canada’s Border!

To close out August, we decided to take one more local trip back to Saratoga Springs, New York. Mrs. Max OOP’s sister’s family is settling in nicely into their new house and we like visiting with them. We used to live in the same neighborhood down south and got to see them all the time, but now they are 5 hours away. These trips will be harder for us to do with the school year starting soon so we decided on one last trip for the summer. We are already planning on spending Christmas with them this year since they have come to our place for the last two years and it is their first year in their new house.

We Climbed Mt. Washington

How could I forget the best part of August? We climbed Mount Washington! After all this hiking lately, we felt like we were finally in good enough shape to tackle Mount Washington for the first time – without a car. This is the highest mountain in New England and quite the sight. We went up Tuckerman Ravine to the summit and back down Lion Head trail. This hike was only eight miles, but the elevation is pretty wild. The only disappointing part of this hike is once you summit, there are carloads of tourists already up there who took the Auto Road to the top. We had to wait in line behind tourists to take this photo of the summit. One of the highlights of the hike is a nice lunch at the top. I got chili since it was really cold up there. This hike does take some preparation and general knowledge of the White Mountains and the severe weather that comes with it. Make sure to plan accordingly; people have died up there.

Free Stair-Master

Healthcare

Max somehow managed to get stung three times last weekend. Thankfully, it didn’t amount to any out-of-pocket costs since I didn’t need to go to the clinic or ER, but that sure would have been frustrating.

Other than that, another solid healthcare month for the Max Out of Pocket crew. Neither of us had any out-of-pocket costs for healthcare. My $39/month gym closed on the 30th and my exercise partner from work and I will check out our options for September. It is looking like it will cost a little more than the $39/month I have been paying, but time will tell. Luckily, I have healthy benefits to help offset some of that cost. I did lose a little ground in August with the week off in New Brunswick, but it was also probably good to give my body a break from the heavy lifting. 

I went ahead and scheduled my annual preventive physical exam for October, but I expect the exam will be free without any out-of-pocket costs to me. I am also hoping to get a free cholesterol test out of the deal. We will cover all of this in detail in the coming months. It was a 78-day wait for the appointment, so if you are trying to get in your preventive exam before the end of the year, I would put in for it now. Mine will be October 30, 2019. 

Finance

I will be slowing down coverage of the healthcare REIT experiment a bit here on the blog. Mostly because I can’t keep up with it with a full-time career on the side. That doesn’t mean I am not re-visiting the experiment every pay-day. Although we love passive income here at Max Out of Pocket, we don’t want to accidentally place this blog into a “REIT” niche. As for frequency, I am not sure, maybe one post a month? An early goal of mine was to have a dedicated healthcare portfolio that would spit off enough passive income to cover my max out-of-pocket healthcare cost in any given year. That would be over $6,000 per year so we would have a long way to go to get there.

I have been dollar-cost averaging my way into this investment every two weeks since early April with more than ten purchases this year, and I will likely continue that through the end of 2019. I will then probably start one last round of front-loading my 403(b) into the total stock market starting early 2020. At that point, the medical office building portfolio may just go into maintenance mode while I focus on other things. At least I will still get to collect the dividends.

We did manage to cover in detail where I keep all of these medical office buildings. I have historically held them in tax-advantaged accounts like the Roth or Traditional IRA to make my tax life easier. That was until August 2nd when I purchased 100 shares of DOC with my brokerage account. I am always willing to complicate my life a bit in the name of the Max Out of Pocket blog. I am hoping to buy enough shares to generate about $100 in dividends so we can follow them through my 2019 tax return come 2020. I purchased 90 shares on 8/16/2019 and 75 shares on 8/30/2019 with both transactions occurring in my brokerage account.

My medical office building portfolio consisting of DOC has eclipsed $30,000 at this point and will yield about $1,600 in dividends over the next year. Owning one stock at $30k isn’t ideal and I keep saying I plan on tightening this investment up, and one of these days I will get that!

As for the rest of the Max Out of Pocket portfolio (mostly index funds), our monthly overall net worth increased 0.64% in August, but it was a pretty wild ride in the stock market.

Blog

I was happy to get in three new healthcare articles this month. As I write these, I definitely feel the struggle and frustration patients would feel trying to make their way through this system. I find it difficult to put finishing touches on some of the posts, mostly because all things healthcare have so many moving parts. I am finding I can rarely say “always” when talking about healthcare. It is usually words like “generally” or “most of the time” or “grandfathered plans”. Hopefully, as things progress, we will have the tools we need to at least push back on the system where we can.

Did you have a healthy August?

Max

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