The Sunday Best (10/1/2017)

The Sunday Best
The Sunday Best is a collection of articles I’ve curated for your reading pleasure.

Expect most of the writing to be from recent weeks and consistent with the themes presented on this website: investing & taxes, financial independence, early retirement, and physician issues.

 

Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:

 


Dr. Curious of My Curiosity Lab dropped $38,000 a year on a nanny, or about as much as we’ve spent on everything the first 9 months of 2017. Let him explain. Why I Hired a Nanny.

 

After a fun and slightly treacherous bike ride, Bill of Wealth Well Done asked me a host of questions about life, liberty, and my pursuit of happiness, resulting The 4 Traits of Success.

 

I successfully signed up for free credit monitoring from Equifax. Nothing quite like entering my personal data into their site to do so! A couple physician bloggers have weighed in on the data breach with their recommendations:

 

My part time schedule starts today! I’ve always been a walker and a hiker (walked a marathon once) and now I’ve got time for longer walks. Miss Mazuma shares stories of several of her walks in Spain in a guest post @ Go Curry Cracker. So You Want to Walk the Camino de Santiago? Yes. Yes, I do.

 

They’re not doctors, but these immigrants earn as much or more than most! From 99to1percent, How We Increased Our Annual Income from $0 to $160K to $400K+.

 

I won’t spoil the last article for you, but I can tell you they didn’t rely on any pyramid scheme multi-level marketing business. From Momming Hard, Did You Know That 99% of Women Lose Money in MLMs? Why are They Still Signing Up?

 


Losing money is one thing. Losing lives is quite another. On average, we lose about one physician per day to suicide. Dr. Danielle Ofri shares her insights on Physician Suicide and the Tyranny of Perfection.

 

You can’t become financially independent without making choices that some might consider a sacrifice. You don’t have to live like a pauper, though. From Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle, guest posting @ Apathy Ends: 5 Things We Won’t Give Up to Retire Early.

 

If you follow this blog or follow me on Twitter, you probably know I’m not a fan of receiving dividends in my taxable account. Larry Swedroe, famed Boglehead and writer at ETF.com shared a couple enlightening posts on the topic recently.

 

Giving Fatigue

 

After Hurrican Harvey, so many of us were motivated to do something. The donations poured in. I donated $1,000 to the effort like it was a big deal. Then J.J. Watt donated $100,000 and it was a big deal. Then his fans donated another $37 Million to his Youcaring fund and it was something far beyond a big deal. It was awesome.


Then Hurricane Irma hit Florida. It was obviously a big deal, particularly to those who lived through the ordeal on the peninsula. I gave $100 as it didn’t seem like quite as big of a deal and that’s all I earned from a request I had made in the wake of Harvey. The bloggers didn’t seem to have as much to say about Irma, including me.

Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Maria walloped Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with lesser means compared to the states. From all reports that I’ve read and seen, the devastation far exceeds the damage inflicted upon Florida or Texas. The electic grid was essentially destroyed, potable water is scarce, and many uninsured buildings were flattened.

A couple years ago, my wife and I spent a week in Puerto Rico. We drove the circumference, visiting the cities and rural hideways, a trip highlighted by a couple days on Vieques Island, home of the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay. We also took in a Golden Gophers basketball game, toured the caves of Rio Camuy, and stopped in to quench our thirst at every brewery on the map.

 

san juan cemetery

 

It’s heartbreaking to hear of the condition of Puerto Rico and its people today. There’s not a whole lot I can do from here, but our donor advised funds exist for a reason. I often give from our Fidelity Charitable account due to the lower minimum grant of $50, but I decided to give from Vanguard to a couple charities with the $500 minimum grant required by Vanguard Charitable. Recipients of this weekend’s giving are:

  • Americares. They claim every $10 donated provides $200 in aid. If my $500 magically becomes $10,000, that would be wonderful.
  • UNICEF USA. $28 provides a kit with basic essentials to keep families clean and healthy. Our grant should be good for about 18 of those.

 


You’re still not using Personal Capital? Track all your accounts in one place like I do.


 

My aim in sharing our donations is not to be boastful or shame anyone, but to inspire others to consider giving in whatever way you can. It may be tough to step up once again if you’ve already given to aid the recovery from other recent natural disasters (including the Mexican earthquakes and damage to other Caribbean islands), but I encourage you to shake off that giving fatigue. Whether you’re sharing your money, time, or prayers, all are needed and welcome.

 

Have a wonderful week!

-Physician on FIRE

38 comments

  • There’s nothing like waking up and seeing a pingback from the one and only POF. You have made our day!!! Thank you very much for including us in your Sunday Best.

    Good to hear that you are finally starting your part-time schedule. I’m a walker too, and use Fitbit to motivate me to do 10K-15K steps/day but I’m slacking a little bit nowdays since blogging is keeping me very busy.

    I always wondered how you were able to do your doctor duties, daddy duties, blog, and promote your blog. I see your name everywhere, which really inspires me to work as hard as you do (or at least try :-).

    By the way, is strange that when I read POF, the first thing that comes to my mind is Plenty of Fish, the online dating website ? 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Happy to include, you Ms 99to1. You’re not the first person to point out the PoF / POF similarities. I had never heard of it until I had been at this a few months, but then again, I don’t spend a lot of time on websites for singles.

      I do struggle to do it all well, which is why I’m excited to be working less as of today. It’s about time I take advantage of my FI status — I’ve been talking about the advantages from nearly two years without taking real action.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • hatton1

    I think the MLM story is interesting. I have been to a LuLaRoe event. All of the vendors were selling exactly the same thing.
    On a personal note MLM aka pyramid schemes have been around a long time. My cousin was vice president of a company called Koscot Cosmetics in the late sixties. It was classic pyramid scheme in that people (women primarily) paid so much to be a salesperson and the person who got her in got a percentage of the sales. The problem was the money being generated all came from initiation fees and not the sale of cosmetics. Only samples were ever manufactured. My cousin and all the officers got indicted for mail fraud. My cousins attorney was F. Lee Bailey (later one of OJ Simpsons attorneys). Everyone was convicted except my cousin. (His jury was hung.) He later resurfaced on a Sunday morning Evangelical show basically offering faith healing over the phone for a “donation”. I have never gotten involved in a MLM scheme and never will.

    • No kidding? You’ve been associated with some rather unsavory characters (including the angel investment that ended with a gunman opening fire).

      Thanks for sharing your story. Based on a wiki about the case, F. Lee Bailey was indicted, and Turner eventually went to prison for the later stuff you referenced. Fascinating.

      Best,
      -PoF

      • hatton1

        Because of my anecdotal experiences I do not recommend MLM or angel investing. I guess I need to google my cousin. I Was a mere child but he defrauded several relatives. My Dad was smart to pass on the opportunity.

  • Great list! I have a colleague at work (much more senior than me) who hires an au pair. We pay around $15/year for daycare, but my colleague lives in DC and will need to much more than double that amount for babysitting. She said it’s cheaper to hire a nanny to take care of her two kids. It can easily cost $48k to send 2 kids to daycare in DC proper @[email protected]

    • Ouch. I am thankful that my wife was willing and able to stay home with our boys. It’s an arrangement that has worked very well for our family.

      Best,
      -PoF

      p.s. I’m assuming you mean $15,000 a year.

  • Welcome to part-time work! I am looking forward to hearing about how the experience is for you.

  • As a longtime reader and a resident of Puerto Rico, it is great to hear that POF has our island in their mind. We are very appreciative of all the efforts and resources that are going to help rebuild our island stronger than ever!

    As for DAF, would PR charities (which are also recognized by the IRS as non profit orgs) would qualify for charities? I have a couple of friends who want to donate…

    PS – Next time you’re in PR we’ll def. give you the low down of all our breweries there…other than medallas!

    • Are you living in Puerto Rico now? If not, have you heard from friends and family who are there? I’d be curious to know how conditions are for you or them. I’ve heard electricity may not be back for months in many places.

      A quick Guidestar search shows over 1,400 eligible Peurto Rican charities cataloged. One can donate directly or via DAF to any of them.

      Best,
      -PoF

      • Hello PoF,

        Just moved 2 months ago as a DINK physicians to Boston, but all of my family is back there….Long lines, food/water/gas is critically low and electric are estimated to be back consistently around December.

        Just sent my parents solar panels to get them up and running.

        Thanks for DAF update, definitely helpful

  • In my defense I spent a tad bit more in September, but still less than $1,000. Y’all should be proud of me. However, today, October 1st, I took the Mrs. Accountant and the girls out for brunch. With tip it set me back $62. See! I can spend money once or twice a year.

    And, thanks for the mention, PoF.

    • I recall reading that you plan to loosen the purse strings a bit at FinCon in Dallas. I welcome and encourage that notion.

      See you there!
      -PoF

      • My intentions are to spend ten, maybe as much as twelve dollars on this business trip. How will I live with myself.

        Truth is, at an event like FinCon I do spend more. Since it is my first FinCon I got a hotel room at the conference which was pricey. (Some travel rewards knocked it down a bit and the airline was close to free.) I don’t really watch my spending all that close. Living in the boondocks there are few things to spend on. I’ll buy food and plenty of beer at FinCon, I’m sure, unless people want to slather the rich guy with endless free ones. Whatever FinCon costs, it costs. I’m there to learn, have fun, share ideas, meet people and build relationships. All worth every penny spent.

  • Lil

    Big congratulations on going part time!!!

  • Wow! This is starting to seem like my second home! It seems as if an awesome friendship has begun to grow in both of our lives. Thanks for the link, and I hope your readers get to see a new, and candid side of you with the story I wrote. Looking forward to the next adventure. We’re headed up to Lake Vermilion next weekend, and then Fincon in a few weeks, so not sure if I’ll get up there again this fall. But our cabin opens up early spring and I look forward to less real-estate work (did most of it this year) and more mountain biking next summer. Now just tuning into my happy place: Go VIKINGS!!!!

  • Ugh – I felt the same way about our pledges for Harvey and then the
    silence for Irma and now Puerto Rico. I can not believe the timing of these events!! SWA has been sending humanitarian flights in an out of PR. So far, employees who live there or have family are the only ones allowed to go in (they have asked we not send volunteers yet as there is no place to put them) and only previous passengers booked and employees and family coming out. They have said that if you go in it may take 2 weeks to be able to get a flight out. It’s a disaster literally and figuratively. My hope is to do a Habitat for Humanity build down there once they get back on their feet. Until then, there isn’t much else we can do but send supplies and money.

    Welcome to PT work and thank for including my camino post! I hope you get out there soon because I love reading other peoples perspectives. It is a hike like no other. 🙂

    • Yeah, it sounds like an ugly mess there. Now is a difficult time to physically help out, but there will be lots of rebuilding to do, and it will eventually be easier and safer to visit.

      The post on your multiples treks on the trail is inspiring.

      Best,
      -PoF

  • So I feel pretty special to have been included in this list! I am glad to know so many have the same feelings as I do about what’s worth the sacrifice and what’s part of the journey! Thank you so much for including my guest post!!

    • Happy to share. We’ve also done this as a one-income household and really didn’t give up anything we wanted. We didn’t even know we were pursuing FI. It just happened naturally as a result of the choices we made that felt right.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

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  • Gasem

    Interesting articles on dividends. I’m not sure why ppl always “ignore” taxes. It’s like ignoring cancer. I once did a Dogs of the Dow analysis to see why that portfolio “worked” and found half of the gains were due to dividends and not growth.

    1st order of business: sleep in! Dr’s orders.

    • Dogs of the Dow! I discovered that strategy sometime before I had much money to play with. I received a free e-mail newsletter for awhile, but never acted on any of it.

      Sleep in? For better or worse, I’ve decided to get up at 0600 weekdays on my days off. I like getting a few things done before the family gets up to start our day. I did it my last week off and strangely liked it.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Great list, Doc! I also really enjoyed what Ms. Mazzuma is putting down these days. Makes me want to retire now and get to hiking. Anything but the cube, as we say at my place.

    Great call out on Maria too. I’m sad that our company hasn’t stepped up with a two for one donation match yet, as it had for Harvey. Regardless, we intend to give equally from our donation funds.

    Go Goldy – You’ll rebound soon (but not at MSU’s expense.)

  • The real reason why Larry Swedroe doesn’t like dividend investors, is because they are DIY and he cannot charge them his steep fees for assets under management.

    There are no ongoing fees to do dividend investing. Zero.

    You get more money to keep to yourself. You are not paying a financial adviser to pick funds for you.

    What puzzles me is that the bogleheads embrace a money sucking financial adviser like Swedroe, that doesn’t add value to investors, but bashes low cost dividend investing.

    That makes no sense.

    • After giving out free advice in over 15,000 posts on Bogleheads, Larry Swedroe left the forum due to personal attacks. His note:

      “Taylor,

      As to my departure, I’m afraid for a variety of reasons this is highly likely to be permanent. I can spread only so thinly. Also I’m getting near retirement and want to spend more time with family.

      Bogleheads were taking up to 10-15 hours a week sometimes. But the main reason is I just got tired of the personal attacks, questioning my integrity–assuming I’m spending all that time and patience answering the same questions for the reason of self-promotion or making money.

      First, it’s not true. That should be obvious given all the time spent on a DIY site and all the PMs and emails Bogleheads know I answer from people who will never do business with an advisor. I think there have been two Bogleheads who are clients. Do you think I would spend that much time for two clients?

      It’s simply mostly my way of giving back, trying to help others. That’s 90% of it. The other 10% is it’s great to debate ideas and have to defend positions, that’s how we learn. So I never mind the debates or even answering the same question over and over again. It’s the personal attacks. And some people are even clueless, asking for help after they make the accusations.

      It’s sad that a few bad apples can spoil everything for the majority, but that’s the nature of the internet and why most pros won’t post on such sites. I see this everywhere. Your moderators do a good job, so not blaming them.

      At any rate you can feel free if you like to summarize my reasons for not posting. And you can tell the Bogleheads, as I have told the many who e-mailed or PM’d me that I’m always happy to answer e-mails or PMs, but not posting.

      Best wishes.

      Larry.”

      Financial Advisors aren’t for everyone, including you and me, but they do provide value for people who won’t take the time to learn personal finance and investing on their own.

      You may not like Larry, but there are a lot of people who appreciate the books he’s written and his contributions at Bogleheads.

      Best,
      -PoF

  • I’ve been contemplating a DAF for a few years now. We are in the highest tax bracket but might drop in 2 years. Should I wait? I’ll still give regardless but want the most tax benefit. Much of my current donations are phased out.

    • I would start a DAF this calendar year to take a big deduction. How are your donations phased out? Please don’t say Pease. That’s not how that provision really works (more details here).

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      • Thanks. I followed the link on your blog. I think I was caught in the following situation owing to just starting to save lots of money and not having any debt (so no mortgage deduction), being an employee (no self-employed deductions) and not giving huge amounts (yet)

        There is one caveat, which applies to high-income taxpayers whose itemized deductions are extremely small relative to their incomes. If the aforementioned couple’s contributions, taxes, mortgage interest, and certain other deductions had been less than $18,750, then Pease would have used a different formula to compute the extra taxable amount — that formula actually would have reduced the couple’s incentive to claim additional deductions. But, high-income taxpayers with such small deductions are few and far between. And certainly no charity should rely on them for financial support — by definition, people with few itemized deductions aren’t big givers.

  • Congrats on Oct 1, Doc! Excited that you’ve made it to the “part-time work” scenario you’ve so carefully built. Sincerely happy for you. PoF vs. POF, really? Learned something new today, maybe I’ll take the rest of the day off? Oh wait, I can’t. I’m STILL WORKING FULL TIME!
    (ah, but only for 249 Days, not that I’m counting)…..

    • Thanks, Fritz! I’m grateful that the date has arrived, and I’m not working a single hour this week. I took in some Golden Gophers football with family last weekend; next weekend it’s Golden Gopher hockey. Other than that, I’m working on the blog, brewing beer, and enjoying free time with my family.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Congratulations on moving to part-time work! We set aside a specific amount each month for charitable donations, and apart from our monthly contribution to church, donate the rest during the holiday season. I am very interested in your articles on the Donor Advised Funds, as I anticipate a decreased in my salary in the next 1-2 years. Are there very specific guidelines on which charities I can contribute to with the money in the DAF? I often support our local community through various giving, and there are a few that are not registered charities. We currently do not take our tax deduction for donation to those organizations. From what I have read, the same rules apply to DAF?

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