Max’s Back Pocket Vol. XII

I was able to drum up enough motivation to start biking to work again this week. I really don’t have any excuses for not to be biking in. My one-way commute is 2.1 miles and only takes between 10-12 minutes on the bike. I suppose the lax dress code at work certainly makes things easier now. If there is one thing that sticks out of this pandemic, I hope it’s this new policy. But the dress code was just an excuse.

Max biking on Tuesday

I rode my bike in Tuesday through Friday logging a total of 16.8 miles for the week. The IRS puts a value on these miles at about $0.575 per mile in 2020. That comes out to $2.42 every day that I bike.

$0.575 X 4.2 miles = $2.42

This theoretically represents the fixed and variable costs of operating my automobile. Considering the age of my vehicle and the fact that gas prices have tanked, it probably isn’t that high. But I am going to go with it as a form of motivation. So this week, by biking, I put $9.68 back in my pocket. That’s a decent chunk of change!

$2.42 per day X 4 days = $9.68

I had a pretty good streak of biking into work a few years ago when we were living down south. Back then my commute was just over 6 miles and it would take about 30 minutes in the morning, mostly because of the hills. I was rewarded with a nice downhill ride on the way home, though. I would leave really early in the morning to try and beat the heat.

With that, welcome to the 12th edition of Max’s Back Pocket.

Max’s Back Pocket

Over the last several years, I have absorbed a ton of great content from a lot of talented people in and around the internet. Several of those ideas even got drawn into my personal finance strategy. Some of these writers are professionals, but a lot of them are just amateurs throwing their weight around in a random 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 these ideas just landed in my back pocket. There they would sit for my own benefit whenever I needed them. They were rarely shared or exchanged with anyone in my personal network. These days, that is no longer the case. Max will start scouring the entire internet for these ideas in a weekly effort to not only spread but 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.

Personal Finance

I have been dollar-cost averaging into my medical office building portfolio every two weeks for over a year now. Jim Collins discussed way back in 2014 why he doesn’t like that approach with Stocks — Part XXVII: Why I Don’t Like Dollar Cost Averaging. He sees it as just another form of market timing, and I tend to agree with that thought process when talking about the total stock market index. That said, my medical office building portfolio is just a speculative hobby for me to learn a little bit about REITs. I am somewhat dependent on W2 income to keep that project going. Investing $50,000 all at once just wasn’t in the cards.

That said, since yesterday was payday, I did invest another $750 into the portfolio.

Slow and steady wins the race

Here at Max Out of Pocket, we reviewed how I got $1,000 in paper I Bonds from my 2018 tax return. I am actually creating a ladder with I Bonds so I can eventually release my $51,436 emergency fund security blanket. I hope to have a post on that sometime in the near future.

Another good one from this week: Courtney from Your Average Dough, discusses Net Worth vs Cash Flow: What’s More Important? Courtney notes that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between income and net worth. She ultimately thinks cash flow is more important than net worth. I would tend to agree.


The mind behind MEDIMENTARY took a look at an old study that asks the question, “Why Are Danes So Smug?” Spoiler alert, it’s not genes, diet, or even climate contributing to Danish happiness. It all comes down to the fact that the Danish are able to live in the moment. They have low expectations about the future and are happiest just living in the present.

This place is now on my list to visit

Medimentary goes on to compare the governing policies and healthcare philosophies between the United States and Denmark. Since Mrs. Max OOP is Canadian, we have this type of conversation quite regularly comparing Canada to the United States. She even wants us to move to Canada someday.

Evidently, the Danish healthcare system has virtually no cost-sharing for patients. In other words, things like co-payments, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums wouldn’t exist in that system. Does that mean the Max Out of Pocket blog wouldn’t even exist in a system like that? Maybe. But that would probably be doing us all a favor.

One other thing I found interesting is the Danish model of offering after-hours primary care services including telephonic services. It only took a pandemic for Medicare to loosen up telephone and telehealth options here in the United States. If you need to know how that stuff gets billed, check it out here.


I am looking forward to the long weekend. Hard to believe it is Memorial Day. It looks like the nice weather is following us into the weekend. We grilled out for the first time last week and I am eager to do more of it this weekend. Hoping to keep my biking streak going into the short work week next week too.

Hopefully, we can start looking at some travel plans soon. The folks over at Costa Rica FIRE have some good ideas with 100 Dreams Of Travel Destinations. I hit up 17 out of 100, not too bad. Mrs. Max OOP was born in Australia so hopefully we can check out those three options of their list someday (including New Zealand).

  • Montreal, Toronto and Niagara Falls, Canada (Mrs. Max OOP is Canadian)
  • Ecuador
  • Mexico
  • China (two-week trip, even rode the high-speed train)
  • Thailand
  • Iceland
  • Bar Harbour, ME
  • Jackson Hole, WY
  • Chicago, IL
  • Kansas City, MO (work project)
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Nashville (lived there)
  • New Orleans, LA (3 trips)
  • Carolinas Coast (lived two hours from here as well)
  • Charleston, SC
  • Finger Lakes region (got married very close to here)
  • Vermont

Good opportunity to show off a few Iceland photos!

Max in Iceland

What’s going on in your personal finance world?


4 Responses

  1. Medimentary says:

    Hey Max,
    Thanks for the shout out and I’m honored to be mentioned. I think Denmark would be a great place to visit for a lot of reasons. Biking to work would just be the icing on the cake and maybe their city planning is another reason to be smug!

    • Max OOP says:

      Absolutely, it sounds like that place has a ton going for it! Perhaps Caroline should add it to her list of 100…but what will she strike in its place?


  2. Aaron says:

    Thanks Max! I also bike to work and factor in another benefit of time saved. On the surface biking takes longer but I count biking as productive time- time I don’t need to spend exercising later- so the calculation is that I net the time I would otherwise spend driving in my day. I also consider the less tangible benefit of how much better your day goes at work after a relaxing bike ride in vs. a stress filled commute. The same goes for your day when you get home after work.

    • Max OOP says:

      That’s not a bad idea and a good consideration. That would put me at 80 minutes of productive time last week. If I value my time at $1.00 per minute I could add $80 to the total above. I was also probably more productive for my employer.

      Actually, on Thursday I got home and wanted to do some light weight training at the house (since my gym has been closed). I initially was going to run beforehand but realized I was already warmed up from the bike ride home, saving me the 20-30 min run.

      How far is your commute?


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