Summer is out and fall is in. It is hard to believe the Max Out of Pocket crew is heading into our third fall here in New England. This is a beautiful part of the country to be in for this time of year. The only negative is as the leaves start changing the “leaf-peeping” tourists start flooding the area. I shouldn’t complain, though. Tourists bring in money that lands in the pocket of people in our local economy.
We technically started September by closing out another trip to Saratoga Springs, NY for one last summer visit with Mrs. Max OOP’s sister and family. The Saratoga Race Track was giving away free sweatshirts for the last day of the 2019 race season so we decided to do another visit to the track. Unfortunately, they ran out of sweatshirts before we got there! Don’t worry, the sweatshirt wasn’t an excuse for an underlying gambling problem. I limit myself to $2.00 per race for ten races and ended the day up $1.00. Despite missing out on the sweatshirt, it was still a fun day, and really nice to see everyone. We probably won’t be back in upstate New York until Christmas.
Outside of that trip, September was pretty low key for us. After a busy summer, it was nice to spend the majority of the month at home getting back into a routine. Although we didn’t do much traveling out of New England this summer, we did a ton of running around. We had family in town for a few weeks, made two trips to Canada, and several trips to upstate New York. We even went to Boston. It was a good busy, but it was also nice to have the last few weekends to ourselves. It is also college football season, and that always makes for a good Saturday. I will be rooting on my Michigan State Spartans.
Mrs. Max OOP started back at school teaching math in early September. I haven’t touched on this in the blog much, but she cut down to teaching part-time when we moved to New England in 2017. In the teacher world, this basically means she is teaching 3 classes instead of 5. This is considered 0.6 of an FTE (full-time employee) for all you managers out there. Her new schedule has made all the difference in her workload. She is basically done every day by noon and has been using her time in the afternoons to focus on other interests. One of those interests has turned into an unexpected “side-hustle”, as the personal finance world has come to call it.
When we were down south, Mrs. Max OOP was head of the math department, head cross country/track coach, drove the school bus regularly, and taught 5 classes. We also hosted two international students at one point. Needless to say, it was a busy few years. So she has been enjoying having some of that time back and now she can choose what she does with it.
One of her side projects netted us six fresh Maine lobsters last week! They were freshly caught not too far from Kennebunkport and she got all six for free. I will have to explain how one gets six free lobsters from a “side-hustle” at some point, but we will have to save that story for another day.
The Max Out of Pocket crew put a lot of work and effort in previous years to make her current work situation possible. Several years of matchmaking, front-loading, and busting tax brackets put us in a position to say no to work when we don’t want it. Although we probably don’t meet the technical definition of being financially independent, we are definitely not too far off from getting there. With that comes flexibility and part of the reason this blog was born.
The Max Out of Pocket crew had $0.00 in out-of-pocket healthcare costs in September. That is not to say we were completely healthy all month. With Mrs. Max OOP’s return to teaching comes germs, and with germs, she often brings home a cold or two early in the year.
So we both ended up sick in September. We landed a cough that stayed with us for almost two weeks. We know better than to use the clinic or, even worse, the emergency room for small things like this. So despite getting sick, we were able to keep our out-of-pocket healthcare cost to a minimum in September.
Our feline family member Dinah wasn’t so lucky. Although we did save over $300 on dental insurance premiums in 2019, our cat needed a dental cleaning in September and, unfortunately, that procedure sucked up most of our premium savings. More on that later.
I found a new gym and I am settling back into my workout routine. We have also been able to keep up our healthy hiking by crossing off two new hikes from our New Hampshire list. Neither mountain is part of the 4,000-footer club, but who’s counting?
I mentioned last month that I would be slowing down blog coverage of the healthcare REIT experiment. Frequency wise, I am still thinking about one post per month going forward. Behind the scenes, I am revisiting the experiment every pay-day in a loose form of dollar-cost averaging.
We were able to go back to the basics of healthcare REITs and talk about the actual numbers behind Physicians Realty Trust (DOC). We already know how Physicians Realty Trust makes me money, but I wanted to see the quantitative data behind it. Just like any other business, they have revenue, expenses, and income. If you subtract expenses from revenue, we get income. Some of that income is then shared with investors in the form of dividends. Since REITs technically don’t need to pay depreciation expenses with cashflow, their funds from operations (FFO) are usually much higher than their income. This leaves even more cash to share with investors such as the $314 in dividends I got back in July. I am scheduled to get another load of dividends later in October. This experiment remains a very small portion of our overall portfolio as index fund investing remains our primary investment strategy.
Here is our medical office building portfolio as of this afternoon. It has gotten a little too big for comfort and it is probably about time for Max OOP to get responsible and start diversifying. We are now showing where we keep our medical office buildings in the “account” column. That will come in handy when we look at our REIT taxes in 2020. This portfolio is set to kick out about $1,800 in dividends over the next 12 months.
Our overall net worth increased by 2.49% in September. I have been tracking our net worth every month for years, but I am very seriously considering cutting the tracking down to only quarterly. I think it is great practice early on in learning personal finance, but it also takes up time that might be better used for other things.
I am still enjoying my new blogging hobby. I somehow managed to get five posts in for the month of September. In preparation for my free preventive health visit later in October, we took a look at how much a lipid panel should cost in the event I had to pay for one.
I also had my first personal interaction with someone from FIRE community a few weeks ago. It turns our Mrs. PIE from Plan Invest Escape lives right down the road from me and Chris from Can I Retire Yet was able to connect us. We met up for coffee and it turned into a great conversation. It was a relief to interact with someone like-minded right here in my local community. We are thinking of Mrs. PIE and her family and wishing them the best.
I plan on keeping up with these monthly updates for at least a year. It has been nice reflecting on what we do each month. It helps me make sure we are making the most of our time and living intentionally. Even if that time is intentionally spent relaxing on the couch watching college football.
How was your September?