The Ridiculous Costs of Dental Work
Dental work is expensive gang and it totally killed my June savings rate.
First, some back story about my crap teeth but even more first, some advice, don’t drink/eat a ton of sugar and floss a lot when you’re young or your teeth will suck when you get older. If that happens, they’ll either hurt, you’ll lose them or it’ll cost a lot of money to fix them. All bad things really.
I had TWO root canals last year. If you’re not familiar with a root canal. It’s this pleasant thing where they drill a deep hole in your tooth then jam files deep into your tooth canal to clean it out. It’s a real joy especially when you have to two of them at the same time. It was like a two hour visit the first time then another hour for a follow up. Not fun, don’t recommend.
I do have dental insurance but most(all?) dental insurance has a $1,500 annual limit so I still had to pay quite a bit considering each root canal was like $1,700.
The good news. That was towards the end of the year so the deductible reset right after.
The bad news, the roots were curved and hard to fully clean and the teeth still hurt after so the endodontist was like, hmm, let’s do an apicoectomy.
What fun! If you’re not familiar with this one, it’s basically a procedure that gets done if a root canal fails and/or is too difficult to complete. It involves cutting into you gum line above the tooth to get access to the back end of the root and then shaving off the root tip and cleaning out the gunk/infection around the root if there is any.
You get another hour plus in the dental chair and some poking, drilling and cutting. Actually this thing wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be but even with numbing the feeling of all that scraping and cutting wasn’t something I’d recommend.
These suckers also ran like $1,700 per tooth but my doctor only charged me once this time around to help out, what a friend!
The tooth did feel better after that pleasant experience but my deductible was mostly met and I still needed two crowns on top of these newly healthy-ish teeth so they don’t all collapse on me in the future.
Well, those crowns finally happened in June and it was a costly endeavor that included preparing the teeth for a crown, getting the crown made and getting it attached.
All in all, all this dental work cost nearly $8,000 prior to insurance and like $5,000 all in after insurance. And that’s just for two teeth! Sure they were the molar and the tooth next to it and required extensive work but still!
How the hell is anyone supposed to afford dental work in this country when they have serious issues. Ridiculous! Thank She-Ra I have the capacity to weather these types of costs and not go into debt because the other choice was to just rip out two teeth in my 30s.
Back to my original point, don’t eat sugar, brush those teeth, floss and hope that we get better healthcare for all so that not only the lucky few can afford this type of stuff.
With all that in mind, as you can expect, my savings rate probably sucked this month. At least dividends should be good.
On that front, June is one of the big four months as ETFs and index funds which make up the majority of my holdings and pay out quarterly really carry the team.
Last year’s dividends actually shrunk this month due to some dividend cuts and shrinking yields but I was hopeful to get back to growth again. This year so far has been solid on the growth end and I’m hoping June continues that tradition.
After all, my dental work means I probably didn’t save any money this year so it’ll be nice to get more shares via dividend re-investment.
Last June, I had $2,466.98 in dividends so let’s see where I ended up this year.
June’s dividends came in at $2,847.08 which is a 15.4% bump over the prior year.
That’s nice little bump considering the starting point is rather high. I’m back to growth and that continues the streak of growth in 2021.
That brings the total for the year to $6,579.17 which is a 21.25% bump over last year. I won’t complain about that type of growth especially considering my savings rate this year has been terrible given my health issues and home purchase.
The index funds and ETFs make up the majority of that. However, even my M1 Finance portfolios which hold individual stocks are growing fast in terms of dividends with a 51% boost over last June. It’s still just $110.07 but those dividends will make the off months grow at a faster rate.
Steve, my dividend employee, saw a boost in his hourly wage this month and that sat at $17.08/hr. For the year, his hourly wage sits at $6.58/hr. Still far from a living wage but it’s certainly growing.
The best part about these bigger months is that all this money gets re-invested and means an additional $83 in future income. That’s the power of compound growth and every little bit helps.
Besides the dividends, one of my mutual funds paid out a long-term capital gain amounting to $4,216.87. Luckily that was in a tax-advantaged account and can be re-invested in more shares as well.
That’s a big chunk of change and one of the reasons I like tax-advantaged accounts like 401ks or Roth IRAs for mutual funds or index funds that can sometimes pay an unexpected capital gain.
We’ve got a few smaller months up ahead but I’m still hoping for growth especially now that I’ll be able to save a bit more due to having met my medical insurance deductible.
You can see that July and August are nothing to be amazed by but even these smaller months are growing at a decent clip and have neared the $300 threshold in recent months so I’m hopeful I can break into that area in those off-months before the year is over.
Plus I’ve still got September and the big month in December up ahead which might mean new thresholds being broken there too($3,000+ in September and $5,000+ in December).
June Total : $2,847.08(+15.4%)
2021 Total : $6,579.17(+21.25%)
Portfolio monthly hourly wage : $17.08/hr
Portfolio annual hourly wage : $6.58/hr
June Expenses – Dental Work
This year has been a year when it comes to health issues. I’ve hit my deductible on the health insurance and then blew past my dental insurance deductible too.
Add that to buying a house near the end of last year and all the stuff that comes with it and I’ve had my most expensive year ever. In fact, just 6 months into 2021, I’ve spent more than I spent in all of 2019.
That leads to really piss poor savings rate and some negative months too.
Last June, my savings rate was 19.4% so let’s see where it sits in 2021.
Well there it is, the 2nd negative month of the year.
My savings rate was -23.8% in June which meant I had to tap into savings to actually pay for all the stuff. Adding in employer contributions brings that number up to -16.6%.
Most of that went to health expenses but I also had my first big home repair when I had to get some stuff installed to lower the water pressure in my home.
The pressure was in the 120+ range and was making all sorts of noises in the plumbing whenever we flushed the toilet or shut off the water so we had to get that fixed.
Since we have a house now, some of the mortgage does get allocated into savings. With equity, the savings rate was -12.5%(-17.4% with just extra equity payments). With the employer contributions that number becomes -5.3%(-10.2% with just extra equity payments).
These calculations get messy with home ownership but I think tracking all of that stuff will be fun to see through the years. I do make extra equity payments each month just to push forward the payment date on the mortgage. It’d be amazing if I could pay this house off in 10 years but we’ll see if that’s possible.
The big expenses this year means I’m saving a lot less but I’m hopeful the rest of the year gets a lot better on this front.
After health and house stuff, restaurants were actually next. This was the first time in a while we went out a few times eating a few really nice meals to celebrate my wife’s birthday and a few other things.
Groceries were right below that as we still do eat in more often and that will likely continue to be the case as the weather gets colder in the next few months. We do tend to go out a bit more in the warmer months and stay in more during the colder months. Plus our shitty friend seems like it is back and keeping us inside more often as well.
Health insurance comes next(and includes dental). It boggles the mind to think about the amount of money I’ve spent on healthcare this year despite having health insurance make up 6.4% of my expenses. Why not just raise my taxes 10-15% and cover everyone? I don’t get it! It’s not likely every other country in the world does it.
After that, I had some gifts(wife’s birthday and niece’s birthday) and then the generic stuff that shows up monthly.
Overall, you can’t be super happy about a negative month but I’m hopeful this is the end of big health expenses of the year. After all, I think my teeth are OK now and while I’m still paying 20% coinsurance on expenses until I hit my out of pocket max, that should happen soon-ish.
There’s hope ahead and I think there’s actually a three paycheck month sometime in the next few months that might lead to a decent savings rate. So far, I’ve had zero months with a savings rate of 50%+ after having 7 of those last year. Naturally, with 6 months left in the year, I won’t be anywhere close to that level but I’m hopeful I can get least a few of those on the board before the year is through.
Despite not saving any money this month, I still re-invested those dividends and capital gains and will get going on saving in the next few months.
Thanks for reading and hope your June went well. Note, I am aware I am a bit behind on these but I’ll try to get the July update before the end of August and start catching up. I’ve got to write some more articles as well.