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The Sunday Best (1/8/2017)

The Sunday Best is a collection of a handful of posts I share with you each week. With so many informative and inspirational writers out there, I have no trouble coming up with a number of worthwhile reads each week.

Every featured post should be of interest to any physician seeking financial independence. Some will be written by your physician colleagues; others will be written by our friends and patients who share common goals and interests.

Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:


What the Heck is HEP? [Hint: not a liver disease in this case] Economist FinanciaLibre answers and tells you why you should care in The Single Greatest Stock Market Predictor is… What? [site inactive]


Live Free MD crushed a massive debt in 2.5 years. A 1.9% variable refinance with SoFi helped. But still, how did he do this? How I Paid Off $400,000 Worth of Debt.


Another physician has an aggressive debt payoff schedule in store for 2017, the year in which his will be destroyed with five-figure monthly payments. Read Some Random Guy Online‘s 2016 Financial Year in Review, Goals for 2017.


In an Oldie But Goodie from 2008, The Finance Buff Harry Sit discusses traditional versus Roth 401(k) contributions. He makes it clear where he stands in The Case Against Roth 401(k).


Dr. Dahle goes on vacation and comes back with some lifestyle wisdom. From the White Coat Investor, 6 Lessons Learned in Belize.


2016 was a year of transition for Drs. Nii & Renee Darko of Keeping Up with the Darkos. Big changes are coming next year for the podcaster and entrepreneur. They explain it all in Our Year of Failure Was a Success!


The Darkos aren’t the only ones celebrating their failures. The “Elephant Eater,” a physical therapist with an incredible savings rate who writes @ Eat the Financial Elephant fell short of savings goals for a good reason. Learn more in Why We’re Happy We Didn’t Achieve Our Goal.


A couple of my friends got together for a little Q & A. The Happy Philosopher visits Mr. 1500 in 10 Questions with The Happy Philosopher.


First Blogiversary


Guess what? This blog turns one tomorrow! I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts after one year of blogging in a “blogiversary” post on Tuesday, and e-mail subscribers will receive a quarterly newsletter tomorrow detailing blog revenue, statistics, and more. Not signed up yet? It’s not too late. All subscribers also receive access to an Excel file containing all of the calculators I’ve created.

Below, I’d like to share a few of the ways we get through a long, cold winter, but first I’d like to share a few words about Set For Life Insurance in this week’s Sponsor Spotlight.

Led by President Jamie Fleischner, Set For Life has been in business since I was in high school. They’ve got a great web site with a wealth of resources, including a few hundred blog posts in the eight-year archive, including numerous client stories.

Specializing in disability insurance, Set For Life has access to numerous discounts, particularly for women and for employees of hundreds of individual hospitals and universities. If you are a resident, now is the time to safeguard your future and lock in your rates.


Technically, winter is only a couple weeks old. Truthfully, it’s been around for a couple months here Up North. We got a foot of snow on my birthday mid-November, and Old Man Winter decided to stick around for the season.

Some people can’t stand the winter. They either move south or become snowbirds, living Up North most of the year, and flying Down South during the worst of the weather.

Others embrace the winter and take full advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the cold, snow, and ice. Me? I’m just sort of used to it. I spent a few years in the land of snowbirds, but am happy to be back Up North. I’m no winter fanatic, but we find ways to stay active year round.


Learn how to better manage your student loan debt, and explore refinancing to a lower rate with cash back offers up to $1,000! Student Loan Resource Page

Weird Stuff We Do in the Winter


I’m on a curling league. One of our urologists approached me in my first year here and pulled me aside. This made me nervous, until I realized he was inviting me to join his curling team, and that there would be no digital exam. Curling is not only an Olympic sport, but it’s also rather fun and addicting. Curling league has a great tradition of the winning team buying a round of beverages for the losing team, and enjoying them together after the game.


curling club


Our boys aren’t quite big enough to handle the 44 pound curling stones, but they are big enough to ski. We have a well-organized cross-country ski club with groomed trails about a half mile from our home. Our boys take weekly lessons and all four of us have gear to use all winter long. Downhill skiing is also available nearby, but nordic skiing is a great workout. The nearby arboretum is a great place to snowshoe, too.



Some days we stay in, light a fire in the woodstove, and watch movies. We had a day like that earlier this week.



Ice fishing! It’s not unusual for the lakes to have a few inches of ice by Thanksgiving, and by Christmas, small cities spring up on the lakes. I’m not hardcore by any means, but I know a lot of people who are. A couple weeks ago, I joined my brother and father in the family ice castle. We pulled some nice crappies up from the depths!




Have a great week. And stay warm!

-Physician on FIRE

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

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38 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (1/8/2017)”

  1. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
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  3. Have you seen the Thrillist’s ranking of states with the worst winters?

    The midwest doesn’t rank very well (and MN and MI rank at the very bottom). However, I’ve found that its all about your mindset. The more people embrace year-round outdoor activities in cold climates the more they generally like where they live.

    I personally melt in hot weather and find snow to be very beautiful and fun to play in. Though I do prefer temperatures close to zero or above!

    So nice job on your diverse winter hobbies and congrats on the 1 year anniversary!

  4. I’m giving out high fives tonight. Yours is because you curate such good stuff, I’m just reading blog posts and have forgone tv. 🙂 *high five*

  5. Thanks for the shout out, PoF! And happy blogiversary! -28 is pretty darn cold. I don’t think I encountered a winter like that in all my time in Chicago. Stay warm!

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  7. Thanks for the shout out, PoF! And happy blogiversary. I’m actually oddly intrigued and fascinated by the sport of curling ever since I saw it on the winter Olympics some time ago. I’ll have to see if there’s a recreational curling league here in California.

  8. Congrats on hitting the one year mark, I’m looking forward to checking out that post! And hey, if you’re going to live that far North, you might as well embrace it with full-on winter activities!

    I grew up in Miami with lots of fishing and I remember the first time I ever heard about ice fishing I thought it was the craziest thing. Now that I’m a little further North, I’m actually intrigued!

    • Yeah, it’s about the furthest thing from catching Marlin. What’s crazy to me is how much people can spend on the hobby. Here’s a $600 fish finder. A Yetti ice house runs from about $15,000 to more than $30,000 for a top-of-the-line one.

  9. 1 year! Happy anniversary/Birthday/Blogiversary. I suspect this blog has grown quite quickly in that 1 year, a testament to your writing. Keep up the good posts!

  10. Congrats on the upcoming 1 year blogiversary ! Way to embrace that winter. Temperature is all relative anyway. After those negative temps we had last month, those 20 degree days seem downright balmy.

    • You couldn’t be more right, FP!

      I love a good harsh cold snap early in the winter. After one of those, you feel good in a long-sleeve tee in the 20s; short sleeves are reserved for temps in the 30s and 40s.

  11. Thanks for the link! We’re winter sports enthusiasts as well, but it is crazy cold in Western PA today so I’m spending a rare weekend day inside cozying up with the IPad while waiting for Steeler kickoff. Off to read some other selections from the list.


  12. Happy Anniversary!
    Your ice castle would have my nieces in a frenzy… until they found out it had nothing to do with Elsa 😉

  13. Brave souls, you are, for living in a place where you can ice fish!

    Looks like you’ve got the ‘health’ part of your lifestyle down. Starting the kids early on the skiing and frigid outdoor activities will definitely get them ready for Tough Mudder in no time! 😉

    • People do love to fish around here. The river in front of our house was open water throughout November, and there were fishermen fishing from their boats while it was snowing on them.

      My Dad was telling me the fish won’t bite as well for the next couple months but it should pick up again in March — when you might have to put out a board to cross the open water at the shoreline to get out on the ice.

      Sounds safe.


      • Do you have to use special bait for ice fishing? Was wondering what the perks of risking your neck for fresh seafood.

        I do hear that the trout, salmon, and bass in your neck of the woods is pretty tasty. Have to make my way back there someday!

        • Crappie minnows work well. If you’re fishing for bigger fish, a larger minnow is required. For those larger fish, you can set up a “tip-up” outdoors and the flag goes up in the air when you get a bite.

  14. Whoa – and I was complaining that is was only going to feel like 0 today here. But they’re predicting 50 here in upstate NY this week – so no complaints! Congrats on the one year mark too! Quite an accomplishment. Loving your kids cross-country skiing too. Lots of great life-long benefits there!

    • Thank you, Vicki. April comes early to upstate NY I guess!

      For the most part, we get to hang onto our snow here in the upper midwest. In some ways, it’s better than going through regular freeze / thaw cycles. Especially if you plan a getaway someplace warm in February or March, as many of us do.


  15. Many thanks for spreading the word about the HEP epidemic!

    I’m no epidemiologist, but I have a feeling HEP couldn’t survive -28 F, so you’re probably safe up there. Especially with those frozen stones and ice crappies all over the place.

    But most important of all: Feliz cumpleanos, medico!

    • Gracias, FL! I saw a great meme with huge spiders, alligators, and snakes trying to enter homes or already in them. These things, along with HEP, don’t do well in the cold.

  16. I actually said, “Wowwww” out loud when I saw Live Free MD’s payoff plan. I’m definitely checking him out now, so thanks for the recommendation. 
    And wow again, it’s only been a year for this blog? You’re clearly doing something right.  Congrats on the blogiversary!
    I wish we had a true winter here in Texas, but sadly we do not. This week we just started to see below-freezing temperatures, so that was a nice sign of winter I suppose. I’m jealous that you can do all those neat winter activities! Mr. Picky Pincher loves fishing (and eating said fish), but there aren’t many great spots around where we live. Oh well!

    • I’ll bet the place shuts down when you get a couple inches of snow, too.

      That day where it was -28 F? It was actually -29 when I got up, and school was not cancelled. We’re well equipped to deal with it, but the cold air does kinda hurt your face. 🙂

  17. Honestly I’m not a big fan of winter. I like the items you mentioned: skiing and other winter sports, even the look of snow. However for those who live midway between real winter and always temperate it kind of sucks. We get the sub freezing weather but little snow. If it does snow it’s gone in a few days. It just ends up looking bleak. The snow when it occurs also ends up being a hazard because people don’t know what to do with it. I can see being a snow bird or even a reverse snow bird, but winter in the mid Atlantic not so much. Living up here in the great white north

    • I hear that, FTF.

      I’ve driven down to New Orleans for New Year’s festivities and it’s pretty dreary and brown most of the way. I’d rather deal with a cold, white winter than a cool, brownish gray one.


  18. Some great articles there, POF.

    Loving all the winter activities you’re getting in. And congratulations on blogging for a year, you deserve a beer!

    • I do deserve a cold one, don’t I?

      In this weather, our enclosed patio is one giant refrigerator. A few cold ones waiting out there for me.


  19. Ice fishing and curling? You guys really do live in the midwest 😉

    Lots of great articles in this Sunday best, thanks PoF!


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