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2019 Q2 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 Q2 PoF Portfolio & Blog Performance Update


2019 Q2 PoF Portfolio Update


Using my universal portfolio tracking spreadsheet that I’ve made available for everyone, I’ve updated my portfolio as it stands at the midpoint of 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.




We’re well-positioned for retirement, which is a good thing since I plan to leave my anesthesia job next month!

Our taxable brokerage account with Vanguard represents just over half of the portfolio. I’ve also lumped in my stake in a couple of websites in the taxable category. I’ve got real estate investments outside of any tax-advantaged account, so it would be fair to lump them in as taxable investments, too. Altogether, more than 60% of our retirement assets exist outside of retirement accounts.

Our crowdfunded real estate portfolio is now just under 2% of the pie. I’ve reclassified most of our lakefront property as investment property, as we’re selling about 75% of it (see lots for sale 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 about 17% of the total, 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 over 20%, and we’ve got a sliver of investments in the HSA.

I’ve made a significant change to my desired allocation (I know, I know…). It should not be in constant flux, but the addition of some lakefront property to the portfolio made us overweight in alternatives.

When I sell it, I expect to incur significant capital gains. There may be a role for a 1031 exchange at that time, and I’ve long been intrigued by both hands-on and hands-off real estate investing.

We could take the proceeds from the sale of those properties and roll it into an Airbnb property on the same lake or another nearby. Or we could invest it in a 1031-eligible crowdfunded investment like RealtyMogul offers.

With more time on my hands in retirement, I plan to take the time to learn more about the asset class. Coach Carson offers a free real estate investing class designed for hands-on investors.

I’m enrolled in Passive Income MD’s course on investing in syndicated real estate (and enrollment closes tonight)!. I hope to see some of you in class! Every day is a school day, or it should be, even when you’re early retired.




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 Q2 PoF Portfolio Performance


The upward march of 2019 continues. According to Empower‘s You Index, my mutual fund investments gained 2.68% while the S&P 500 gained 3.79% in the second quarter. Those returns pale in comparison to the first quarter, but we did bounce back from over 2% down to finish strong with an excellent June.





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 about 3% of the portfolio is in cash. I’m earning better than 2% there, but stocks are doing much better.


The top performer of the quarter for me was the Vanguard Mid-cap Index. It seems to be a different category every quarter, which is not surprising to me. Last quarter, it was REIT.



Emerging markets were the worst performing of the quarter, but even those eked out a tiny gain of 0.03%. I decided to move these from my Roth account to taxable, and I’ll write about how and why I went about that in a separate post soon.





Bonds haven’t been exciting in recent years. They rarely are. But last quarter, they not only gave us a smooth ride, but also some decent returns, with a gain of 2.34% on the quarter.




I don’t own any cryptocurrency, but Bitcoin gained 237% on the quarter. If you can stomach the volatility, you could have some amazing gains to brag about (and big losses to quietly tell no one about).


2019 Q2 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 06.06.2019, the site has 648 published posts and 50 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 6,009,000 times and counting, and the site’s been averaging nearly 250,000 pageviews a month this year.


How readers are following Physician on FIRE


  • 341 RSS Feedburner subscribers
  • 1,018 Facebook Friends (under my FB pseudonym Milo Andersson) Friend me!



The Top 5 Most Viewed Posts of all-time:


Credit Cards for People Who Love Free Travel and Money 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 my site’s front page.


The Top 5 Posts of the Quarter:



The next six posts were Sunday Best posts. I could just run those and keep pretty good traffic coming in.

I’ll take it as a compliment to my curation skills rather than an indictment of my writing skills that you like my roundup posts more than my original creations!

Where is the traffic coming from? 


Top 5 referring sites all-time:



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

Facebook and Twitter swapped positions from the last update, as did Reddit and Doximity.


Top Referring Sites this Quarter:



The power of the WCI Network is quite evident. Now that we’ve added The Physician Philosopher, I imagine his site will show up in future updates.


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. Earlyretirementnow.com fell off the list — since retiring from his main gig, he’s been posting less often, too. Smart fella.


Most clicked site this quarter:



The Saturday Selections certainly drive a fair amount of traffic to my WCI Network partners.


What’s Next?


Have I mentioned that I’m about five weeks away from early retirement? Or that I have the next four of them off?

The first couple of months won’t be exactly leisurely as we move into a new (to us) house 550 miles away from the place we called home the last 5.5 years. I’ve also got plans to attend several events and football games back in Minnesota, and I’m looking forward to seeing my many blogging and podcasting friends at FinCon in September.

In October, life slows down as we head to Ecuador for two full months. The only plan I’ve made is to spend one week at the Above the Clouds Retreats for an Ecuadoran Chautauqua. I’m pretty sure we’ll find a way to sneak over to Peru for a look at Macchu Picchu, as well. Our kids have been talking about the place for years!

We now have local Physicians on FIRE groups as a subset of the main Physicians on FIRE Facebook group. It’s a prerequisite to be a member of the main group (which means these are also physician-only), and then you should be automatically approved for any local group you choose to join (although I’ve had to manually approve a number of you for some reason).

I do plan to add more groups when I have more time, but this is what we’ve got so far.


If you are not a physician, I may add local groups to the fatFIRE group when we reach 10,000 members there. Until then, I don’t think there’s a critical mass of people to make the groups as useful as I want them to be.



How did the last few months treat you? What has been your best performing asset or asset class? 


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14 thoughts on “2019 Q2 PoF Portfolio & Blog Performance Update”

  1. Whatever happened to these quarterly updates? And the web traffic graph? I know 2020 has been a bit of a rough year, but I enjoyed seeing your traffic tick up. It’s a lovely website.

    • That’s a good question, Lisa.

      Putting these together took a ton of effort, and I could tell by the email open rates and traffic on the quarterly updates that most readers had lost interest in them. I think they were too often.

      Perhaps I’ll publish annual updates from here on out.


      • An annual summary sounds wise! I enjoy reading Mr Money Mustache’s annual spending each year. And perhaps break it up so no one post is exhausting. I.e. Annual Blog Performance – 2019 Summary (June), Annual Portfolio 2019 Summary (July); then post each annual summary in February/March respectively (or whenever companies post their Q4 earnings summaries).

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. As an old retired guy, I enjoy reading your blog and the many thoughtful articles and comments. Can’t wait to find out where you are moving!

    Just wanted to give some comments to the “youngsters” regarding conversions to a Roth. When you have to start required minimum distributions from regular IRAs at age 70, you may wish you had converted all your IRA type money into a Roth. Especially if you have some low income years or retire early with a lot of years left for growth in the Roth. Too bad the financial blogs were not around 40 years ago when I needed them! If you have most of your savings in traditional IRAs, the RMDs after age 70 can bump you into a higher tax bracket AND jack up your Medicare payments. Great for the tax man but not so great for you.

    However, from a personal perspective, I’m still thankful and blessed to have this issue. Cheers!!


  4. Can your spreadsheet be used to track / calculate total return over several accounts? Return of each account could be entered each Jan 1st etc.

    • Ypu can modify as you like, but it’s not set up to do so. I rely on Personal Capital do make those calculations.

        • Yes — You can manually enter real estate or rely on Zillow’s estimates, but it does log into everything for you without actually storing your login info on their site. Wallethacks has a great article on the security of the site. It’s probably more secure than typing in your login info on your own (due to keyloggers).


        • Wallet Hacks has a great post on the security of the service. It’s probably safer than individually logging in to separate accounts on your own.


  5. My first half returns:

    Commodities 8.2%
    Alternatives -0.6%
    Real Estate 20%
    US 16.4%
    Foreign 12.5%
    EM 8%
    Fixed 5.2%
    Cash 2.4%

    It’s all jiggered to get me on the efficient frontier @ 10% risk

    Always enjoy your updates

  6. Congrats on a great quarter, PoF! Cool you are so close to early retirement – looking forward to hearing your reflections from the other side 🙂

  7. My parents are going to Greenland in August, I’ll remind them to visit your website while they are there. 😀

    Congrats on the impending retirement. Maybe there should be a retirement party for you at FinCon.

  8. Thanks for all of the support, POF! It has been a whirlwind quarter for sure.

    And congrats on the impending retirement! That’s gonna be really fun to follow going forward. I intend to live vicariously through you over the next couple of years ?

    Jimmy / TPP


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