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2019 Q1 PoF Portfolio & Blog Performance Update


Every three months, I publish an update to let you know how well my own portfolio has performed and what’s going on with the blog. Some people like to know the blog stats, believe it or not.

I used to track spending, too, but after three years of consistent spending, I decided there was little value-add for us to continue such close tracking. I may start to track our post-FI budget when we are settled into our new, more nomadic life within the next year, however.

I don’t share how much this enterprise is earning in these updates; I reserve that juicy info for e-mail subscribers.

I will say that it’s more than I ever imagined would be possible and I am looking forward to making another six-figure donation in accordance with the site’s charitable mission later this year.

Let’s dig into some numbers and spreadsheets, shall we?


2019 Q1 PoF Portfolio & Blog Performance Update


2019 Q1 PoF Portfolio Update


Using my universal portfolio tracking spreadsheet that I’ve made available for everyone, I’ve updated my portfolio as it stands in early 2019.




Rather than share the actual values, I’ve altered the dollar amounts to add up to a cool $1 Million dollars. The ratios are perfectly accurate, though.

I’m glad I force myself to update these quarterly. Empower is great for a random check-in, and I use it to update this spreadsheet with one easy log-in, but nothing gives me a better look at the big money picture than a spreadsheet of my own.


Q1 2019 Accounts


We’re well-positioned for retirement, which is a good thing since I plan to leave my anesthesia job by the end of the summer!

Our taxable brokerage account with Vanguard represents 48% of the portfolio. I’ve also got real estate investments outside of any tax-advantaged account, so it would be fair to lump them in as taxable investments, too.

Our crowdfunded real estate portfolio is now just over 2% of the pie after a recent pooled investment in DLP via CityVest. I’ve reclassified most of our lakefront property as investment property, as we’re selling about 75% of it (see here and here).

I called the expense ratios of these real estate investments 2% as that’s a pretty fair representation of the layered fees in crowdfunded deals (some more, some less) and that’s about what we’ll be paying in property taxes on the investment property. A weighted average of the rest of our investments’ expense ratios is a mere 0.06%.

The tax-deferred portion of the portfolio, consisting of two 401(k)s and a 457(b) is under 18%, meaning my future tax burden should be quite low when I stop earning active income one day. The Roth money, a.k.a. best money, adds up to 23.3%, and we’ve got a sliver of investments in the HSA.

The asset allocation has gotten out of whack since I started counting the waterfront lots as part of our investment portfolio. I’ve got to do some catching up in the international stock portion in particular, and I plan to do that as the dust settles after an upcoming move and hopefully several real estate transactions.





Our desired allocation may change in retirement, but as it stands, I’d like to convert some of that real estate into stock investments.

If you’d like a blank copy of the spreadsheet used for this section, grab yourself a copy by entering your email below. You’ll also be subscribed to receive my emails, and you’ll be able to opt out or downgrade to get one e-mail a week from me at any time.



2019 Q1 PoF Portfolio Performance


This quarter was so much kinder than the final quarter in 2018 in which we were down nearly 11%.

According to Empower‘s You Index, my mutual fund investments gained 11.49% while the S&P 500 gained 13.07%. I got back all that I lost in Q4 2018 and then some. That drop wasn’t a lot of fun, but I was able to do some tax loss harvesting, and that’s the only “selling” I did when the market was down.



The S&P 500 isn’t the best benchmark, since I’m not trying to match its performance, but it’s worth looking at what would have happened if I had a simple one-fund portfolio. Usually, the difference isn’t all that much. Some of the underperformance stems from the fact that 6.4% of the portfolio is in cash. I’m earning better than 2% there, but nowhere near 13%.

The top performer of the quarter for me was the REIT allocation with a gain of 17.28%. These are volatile instruments, and they often find their way into the quarterly updates as either the top or bottom performer.




The Midcap stocks did well, as well, with a first quarter gain of 16.78%.





The only individual stock I own, Berkshire Hathaway, outshined my overall portfolio by about 10% last year, but it’s been a relative dud this year, registering a first quarter loss of 1.61%




Sadly, I won’t be able to make it to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting yet again. Happily, I’ll be in Costa Rica, so don’t cry for me, Argentina. I think the last two years I couldn’t go because I was on call.

I like this year’s excuse much better, but I’d better start running out of excuses because Buffett and Munger may start running out of sand in the old egg timers.


2019 Q1 Blog Performance


E-mail subscribers can skip to the end of this post, as they’ve already seen this data and more.

As you may know, I have been donating half of my site profits, and I plan to make a six-figure donation in 2019 as a part of this charitable mission.

If you’d like to be included in the next quarterly newsletter to get all the details of what this site earns and how, please subscribe in the box below. You’ll get some great bonuses, as well.



Site Statistics:


As of 04.07.2019, the site has 598 published posts and 49 pages. These have been visited by people in 215 countries. Still no visitors from Greenland, Svalbard, North Korea, Western Sahara, or the Republic of the Congo.

Please tell all of your friends in Greenland, Svalbard, North Korea, Western Sahara, and the Republic of the Congo about the site so we can fill in the rest of the world map!

Don’t worry about those other white spots between countries. I won’t get credit for visits from the Baltic, Black, or Caspian Seas.



The site’s pages have been viewed 5,367,000 times and counting, and the site’s been averaging over 250,000 pageviews a month this year.


Q1 2019 Stats


How readers are following Physician on FIRE


  • 392 RSS Feedburner subscribers
  • 923 Facebook Friends (under my FB pseudonym Milo Andersson) Friend me!



The Top 5 Most Viewed Posts of all-time:


Tax Reform! How Physicians and the Self-Employed are Affected is next in line. All of these posts rank highly for certain terms on Google and other search engines, and several are pinned to the top of the site’s front page.


The Top 5 Posts of the Quarter:



#1 was updated and republished in January. #3 is the only other post that was published this year. Calculating the Value of Your Backdoor Roth Contributions, another new post, would have been next.

Where is the traffic coming from? 


Top 5 referring sites all-time:


The next largest sources of traffic are Doximity and WCI Network partner Passive Income MD.


Top Referring Sites this Quarter:



Again, Passive Income MD just missed the Top 5. My Backdoor Roth post was featured by Ramit Sethi in an email. He’s got a huge email list!


Where do people go from Physicianonfire.com? (mainly referred from The Sunday Best & Christopher Guest Posts): All time clicks:


WCI would very likely show up at the top, but some must exist that keep me from seeing those clicks in the Jetpack Site Stats. #5 is a new entry. I love Michael Kitces’ deep, detailed dives into financial topics.


Most clicked site this quarter:

#3-5 are all links from my Backdoor Roth post that get’s a ton of traffic from January 1 to April 15th. I expect the interest to die down over the next 8.5 months.


What’s Next? An Ecuador Chautauqua!


In addition to the big move two states east, we are planning our first big slow travel trip. We booked tickets to Ecuador for under $400 apiece (thank you Scott’s Cheap Flights!) and we’ll be in South America for two months this fall.

I’m penciled in as a speaker at the Ecuador Chautauqua from November 16th to the 23rd, and I’d love to see you there.

If you’re interested in learning more about this retreat above the clouds near Quito, Ecuador, read up on what prior participants and speakers have to say:

  • J.D. Roth: Ecuador 2013: A Chautauqua on Wealth and Happiness



This fall, there are two week-long Chautauquas in Ecuador. The first week is sold out, but there are spots available yet during my week.

If you’re remotely interested in joining Paula Pant (Afford Anything), Steve Adcock (Think Save Retire), Cheryl Reed, and me in this remote location, please visit Above the Clouds Retreats.




-Physician on FIRE



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  15. Cool update and congrats on the looming retirement…and Berkshire might as well not even be considered a single stock!

    • I have automatic rebalancing set up in my 457(b), so I will automatically shift a bit from mid cap to small cap, but I don’t try to analyze the market and look for buying opportunities. Rebalancing among the different asset classes does that, in a way.


  16. I notice that your investment portion of your HSA is in a total bond fund. I’m curious what your thought process is behind that? Why not a total stock fund?

    • Good question, Rob.

      First, I should mention it represents 0.6% of the portfolio, so it doesn’t matter much what it’s invested in, but I’d rather have it invested than sitting in cash.

      There’s at least a theoretical risk that a purchase in VTSAX there could trigger a wash sale if I’ve tax loss harvested the same fund in taxable. Probably not an issue, but it’s a gray area that’s easily avoided.

      Also, I spend from my HSA (one of my top 5 intentional money mistakes). I don’t expect to have that balance forever.


  17. Strong work, as always POF! The site continues to grow, and I am excited to follow along as it does.

    Chataqua sounds amazing. My wife and I will definitely have to take part in one of these some days when everything slows down. I’ve never heard a bad thing about one. Looking forward to a post about your thoughts and how it went after you go!



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