The Sunday Best (2/11/2018)
The Sunday Best is a collection of articles I’ve curated for your reading pleasure.
Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:
Dr. Dahle and I have a pleasant chat about part-time work, slow travel, safe withdrawal rates, and answer a number of reader’s questions. From The White Coat Investor Podcast, Physician on FIRE Update — Podcast #40.
Here’s a good way to save money. Protect some dollars from tax drag by making a Backdoor Roth contribution for you and your spouse annually. I’ve shown how it can be done via Vanguard. Dads Dollars and Debts has a tutorial for you Fidelity users. Funding a Fidelity Backdoor Roth IRA – a Step by Step Guide.
Remember Boiler Room? That movie where Ben Affleck teaches Giovanni Ribisi how to be a cold-hearted thief? It’s still happening, but now with cryptocurrency rather than penny stocks. A Warning Story Of Blind Momentum Investing: Inside A Pump and Dump Scheme from JP at The Money Habit.
You’re probably tired of hearing about cryptocurrency, but the wild ride has been something to behold. Mama Fish Saves published a great primer on cryptocurrency in Q&A form: Everything You Need to Know About Cryptocurrency.
I’m a big fan of three-week trips; in fact, we’re on one right now! The couple behind FI Big Sky appreciates longer-term traveling, as well. Europe – We gallivanted around it. Here’s how much it cost.
We spent most of last week in a Kauaian timeshare resort I booked via Airbnb. Most people regret their timeshare experience (particularly when buying after The Pitch). What has ESI Money‘s experience been? Our Latest Timeshare Adventure.
If you ever wanted to know more about the dude behind ESI Money (and you should), Coach Carson has the inside scoop. From Corporate Career to Financial Independence in His 50s.
Speaking of updates, I’m overdue on sharing Miss Bonnie MD‘s excellent interviews.
- Interviews with real women physicians – Allison
- Interviews with real women physicians – Stella
- Interviews with real women physicians – Vivian
- Interviews with real women physicians – Diana
- Interviews with real women physicians – Rebecca
In case you missed it, here’s what I published this week:
- Cruise to Cuba With Us for Free! Using Travel Rewards to Cruise, an original post from me showing you how to join me and other bloggers and podcasters on a September cruise to Havana and Key West.
- Debt, Equity, Development & More: Types of Crowdfunded Real Estate Investments, a guest post from Soren Godbersen of EquityMultiple.
- How Many Different Income Streams Should You Have? a Saturday Selection from Passive Income MD.
Talk Me Out of Purchasing Resale Timeshare Points
I learned a lot about timeshares this week. We stayed at the Wyndham Bali Hai in Kauai, which we booked via Airbnb. The place was awfully nice. I don’t need luxury when traveling (I’m writing this from an off-the-grid yurt), but I don’t mind a little luxury from time to time, either.
The 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment was spotless and nicely furnished. The grounds were landscaped and manicured, and the amenities were top notch. Our kids enjoyed the heck out of the pools, joining us intermittently in the hot tubs, and there were poolside gas grills just waiting for a slab of meat.
After checking out on our last day, we had time to kill before catching our flight to the Big Island of Hawaii, so we filled some of that time with their on-site timeshare presentation. I wasn’t about to drop tens of thousands of dollars on some timeshare points, but I was curious to know more about how their points system worked, and I was willing to learn about the program and their sales tactics for $100 an hour.
After The Pitch, we politely declined and shook hands, and I went on eBay to see what I could find. Of course, Wyndham points packages are practically given away there. People don’t get the use they thought they would, or bought a product they should never have considered in the first place, and just want to be done paying the maintenance fees.
So why would I consider buying a product people are willing to give away, and in some cases, even pay to offload?
- With my decreased workload, we have a lot of availability and flexibility when it comes to traveling.
- The potential to book a quality property in prime season and profit by offering the place on Airbnb ($40 off your first stay!) or VRBO is also intriguing.
- The worst case scenario isn’t so bad. The upfront costs in resale are low, and we’ll know the maintenance fees going in. Given our flexibility and the hundreds of options in the program, we’d probably end up paying a reasonable amount to take a vacation each year we own the points.
I’m not convinced I should take the plunge, but I haven’t talked myself out of it yet, either. Perhaps you can help me with that.
Yurt So Good
After living like kings and queens for a few days, we’re living like people who consider a big round tent to be a home.
It’s actually a pretty spectacular yurt as far as yurts go. It’s got a walled-off bedroom, a sleeping loft above it, and the center is a large clear plexiglass dome that offers a great look at the starry night. The Big Island is known to have some of the best stargazing on the planet, and it’s not letting us down. Orion is out in full force, and I can see all seven of the seven sisters.
We’re surrounded by jagged lava rock, there’s not a swimming pool in sight, the shower starts trickling when toilet flushes, and my boys think it’s the coolest place on earth. It also happens to be a short drive from one of earth’s few green sand beaches — we took a nice 6-mile round-trip hike to spend the afternoon there on Saturday.
The Market Correction
In other news, the stock market has been doing stock market things, like dropping 10% for the first time in some time. As long as you weren’t heavily invested in a fund that shorts volatility, you probably weathered this storm. The wind and rain could intensify, there may be some thunder and lightning, and we might even see a bear market (can a bear take away FI?) before calmer weather returns.
Hiccups like this are expected and not at all unusual. It can be a bit unsettling to see your net worth drop nearly 10% in a week, so if that bothers you, it’s best not to pay such close attention.
If you are paying attention, though, times like these can present opportunities to harvest losses from recent investments. I did just that on Thursday this week. It wasn’t a huge loss to harvest, but I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to show you all how it’s done, so look for a post with screenshots on tax loss harvesting in a couple days.
Have a calm week!
-Physician on FIRE