Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Money Life Lately: Dental Work and an Actively Managed 401(k)

Tory Burch Georgia Card Case (affiliate link) - One of many knockoffs of that Saint Laurent Fragments Card Case (affiliate link) I've sort of been coveting, and I think the best-looking one by far. For the most part though, the knockoffs just make the original look much better.

Today's post is about a few small money-related details in my life from recent weeks. It's a bit of a boring post, though I think, after the initial learning and planning period, a lot of things about day to day personal finance management are rather dull. It's all just a matter of staying the course!

On Dental Bills

After my accident last year, the cause of a set of dental bills that were, collectively, my most expensive purchase of 2017, I'd set aside another $2000 for follow-up dental work. When my new  insurance coverage was activated a few weeks into my new job, I found a dentist to consult on what the next steps would be. As it turns out, I don't actually need a crown, post-root canal, due to the location of the injured tooth, and the previous work. The only bad news is that I need yet another root canal for another tooth that was affected by the accident. I'll be able to get this done in-network though, so I'm fairly certain it won't cost as much. 

I'll confess, because I'm a giant baby about going to the dentist, and because my root canal last year was done by a wonderful out-of-network endodontist with a very gentle hand, I have some fear of the unknown associated with going to a new dentist for my next one, I had even thought about putting about $1500 of what I'd previously budgeted for the crown into paying that out-of-network endodontist to do my next root canal. I decided against it, though, because that seemed a little irrational. 

On 401(k) Plans

This may be #smallcompanyproblems, or it may just be something that's unique to my workplace, but there's only one option for my current 401(k) plan, an actively managed fund holding primarily stocks for a range of large US companies, spread across most of the industries that are represented in, say, your typical S&P 500 index fund. This is not the way I'd choose to invest, but the tax savings are still worth my maxing out my 401(k), so that's what I'll be doing.

While I don't think I fully understand the fund's strategy, it doesn't look like something that will diverge from the market too, too dramatically, as best I can tell. Or at least, that's what I tell myself so that I can feel a little better about the situation!

Hopefully no one has any root canal horror stories to tell me, because that could make me change my mind about not going back to the known quantity of my wonderful (but expensive) previous endodontist, who doesn't take most dental insurance. 

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