Max’s Back Pocket 3/14/2020

Over the last several years, I have absorbed a ton of excellent content from a lot of talented people in and around the internet. A lot of those ideas even got implemented into my personal finance strategy. Some of these people are professionals, but a lot of them are just amateurs throwing their weight around in a specific niche. I like to think I am pretty good at healthcare and personal finance, but there are plenty of people out there much smarter than me.

Up until now, most of this content just landed in my back pocket to be used for my own benefit whenever needed. It was rarely shared or exchanged with anyone in my personal network. Today, that all changes. Max will start scouring the entire internet for these ideas in a weekly effort to help spread and recognize the wealth of knowledge that is out there. This weekly check-in will also give me an excuse to catch up on what’s going on around here more often. What are we calling this idiomatic experiment? Max’s Back Pocket.

New and improved logo!

Max’s Back Pocket

Losing an hour always throws me off a bit, but having some extra daylight is worth the pain. For me, the time change from last Sunday is a distant memory at this point with all the COVID-19 activity we saw this week. It almost seems like the entire American economy is coming to a halt.

Our recent hike to a “halted” waterfall. Okay, I get it, Max.

Mrs. Max OOP and I are both still working, but I expect Mrs. Max OOP’s school will move her to remote teaching next week like a lot of other schools are doing. My company has put in some travel restrictions and is keeping meetings to a minimum. My office is still open, but I imagine there will be an update on “nonessential” employees soon.

Mrs. Max OOP got hired to help with the Census come April, but I am wondering if there will be any changes to that schedule with everything going on. It is supposed to be about an 8-week gig paying $20 per hour and works well with her part-time teaching schedule. One of her classes is statistics, so she is doing the census job mostly to learn about the process. Sometimes things you are interested in inadvertently generate income.

Personal Finance

Mr. 1500 days lost $141,000 from February 19th to February 28th, and he attributes it to the COVID-19 scare. $141,000 is probably nothing in comparison to what he has “lost” so far in March. That’s okay, he has a solid understanding that this is part of the natural course of the stock market. He suggested that we mentally prepare ourselves for events such as this one when the sun is shining. Perhaps having more sunshine each night will come in handy after all. I should probably look at rebalancing things myself. I did make some new purchases into my medical office building portfolio this week.

My usual payday purchase


Speaking of COVID-19, the Healthcare Economist (Jason Shafrin) suggested we should keep the magnitude of the crisis in context. He compares the leading causes of death worldwide (per day) to that of COVID-19. Interesting way to look at things. He posted that on March 9th, though, and a lot has changed even since then as the situation remains fluid.

The Dragons On Fire are enjoying their early retirement. They just got back from an epic trip to New Zealand. Mrs. Max OOP is an Australian citizen and New Zealand comes with the package, so this is on our bucket list.

But leave it to Max to be more interested in Dragon Guy’s recent trip to the dentist. When Dragon Guy quit his job a few months back, he kept his medical insurance through COBRA. He opted not to sign up for dental COBRA.

Unfortunately, Dragon Guy’s dentist of 15 years does not offer a cash discount for self-insured patients. His cleaning alone would come in at $118. Throw in a few bitewing X-rays, his total out-of-pocket comes in at $287. Dragon Girl’s dentist, on the other hand, offers the cleaning, fluoride, and x-rays for $80 cash price. Dragon Guy did the same thing Max would have done; ditched his dentist of 15 years in favor of market pricing.

I just had a comprehensive cleaning myself back in December and some subsequent work that needed to be done. We should take a look at the pricing on that here soon. Hopefully, it came in less than the $500 I spent on our cat’s teeth back in 2019.


Life is going on for us. We have food, water, shelter, and our rural community does not have a single COVID-19 case. We skied twice this week in an attempt to get in what we can before it warms up too much. Hopefully, we have another solid month of action. So far, I am still going to the gym. I even found some time to look at where things are with out-pocket-costs for the COVID-19 lab test.

I am finally putting some plans in place to tackle the elevated cholesterol test I got back in November. Mrs. Max OOP has been making me eat oatmeal every weekday morning for the last three weeks. Evidently, the soluble fiber in oatmeal can help reduce my LDL cholesterol levels by telling my liver to pull the bad LDL cholesterol out of my bloodstream. I am also adding four prunes to the oatmeal every day to help with these efforts. Hopefully, I can add in some additional measures to keep working this number down.

I got my lipid panel test for free, and you probably can too.

It will be an interesting few weeks, to say the least. The Max Out of Pocket crew will continue to use common sense, wash our hands, and try to avoid getting sick.

What’s going on in your COVID-19 world? Any great content for Max’s back pocket? Shoot me an email.



2 Responses

  1. Dragon Guy says:

    Thanks for the mention, Max! Glad to hear you are in agreement with my plan of dumping my dentist :).

    The whole COVID-19 thing is quite surreal. Cases are starting to pick up in our area, so we are just keeping things low key. We don’t lead busy lives to begin with, so it is pretty easy to just take it easy.

    Good luck with the cholesterol. I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast for years. By itself it can be boring, so over the years I have found things to add to it to flavor it up, such as raisins, cinnamon, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and turmeric.

    • Max OOP says:

      Hi Dragon Guy,

      Interesting, I will definitely need to mix it up soon. Flax seed sounds good. I still can’t get over my elevated reading, I stay in really solid shape so I must just have bad genes.

      Take care, Sir.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: