The Sunday Best (1/13/2019)

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:


It’s been a little over two years since I published The Sunday Worst in the wake of resident physician and blogger Dr. Amanda Liu’s unfortunate demise. Her site, Dr. Wise Money, was ahead of its time as one of about five physician finance blogs in existence when I started this one. Her sister has kept the site going and offers an update on what she and her family have been through and up to in the interim, a Two Year Review.


My friend Jillian from Montana Money Adventures has been sharing her fascinating story with some great FIRE bloggers. She visits the author of The Simple Path to Wealth at in “I Wanted the Unreasonable.” 


Jillian also paid a visit to Kristy and Bryce at Millennial Revolution, penning How to Become FI With 6 Kids, Zero Privilege, and a Small Salary. Naysayers, check it out. And check out Ms. Montana’s free 10-day course (I tried to convince her to charge money, but she persisted): Live With Intention: A Road Map to Your Best Life.


A young woman from my little hometown is living her best life, traveling the world, working odd jobs, and of course, sharing her experiences online at The Wanderlust Rose.


“The more you limit yourself, the more freedom you create.” Rich from PF Geeks explains the paradox in The Surprising Way that Financial Discipline Leads to Financial Freedom.


Wait… did I join a cult? I just may have, according to the Physician PhilosopherJoining a Cult: The Financial Independence Counterculture


The cult members could not have been too pleased with the performance of our index funds last year. Based on history, what can we expect in 2019? From Four Pillar Freedom, Here’s How the Stock Market Has Historically Performed After a Down Year.


Well, it could be worse. We could have invested with Option Sellers and lost more than 100% of our money. Big ERN of Early Retirement Now explains their strategy and how it lost their clients everything and them some. The Debacle: How to Blow up Your Portfolio in Five Easy Steps.


This millionaire series has proven to be immensely popular and has now exceeded 100 stories. From ESI Money:


John from ESI Money continues to share what he’s learned from asking detailed questions of so many millionaire investors. Five Attributes of Millionaires, Part 1 and Five Attributes of Millionaires, Part 2.


I made my 2019 non-deductible contribution of $6,000 each for my wife and I on January 3rd and converted to Roth on January 4th, completing the two-step Backdoor Roth. Vanguard Backdoor Roth 2019: a Step by Step Guide.


On Thursday, I published updates with lots of 2018 data pertaining to the blog and our personal finances.  2018 Q4 & Annual PoF Portfolio, Spending, and Blog Performance Update.


This week’s Saturday Selection from Passive Income MD focuses on his imperfections when it comes to money. Seven Money Matters I’m Horrible with and How I Deal with Them.



Companion Passes for the Masses


Easily Earn a Southwest Companion Pass in 2019


If you may be flying on Southwest Airlines later this year, it’s easier than ever to score a Companion Pass for a complimentary flight for a guest who travels with you. The second fare is free using a Companion Pass, with only fees/taxes of $5.60 each way.

This week, Southwest announced a first-ever offer of a Companion Pass as part of the welcome offer on each of their three Visa cards via Chase Bank. Spend $4,000 in the first three months as a cardholder and you’ll get a Companion Pass good for the rest of 2019. You’ll also get 30,000 bonus points (miles) when meeting the minimum spend.

Note, this is not as valuable as earning 110,000 points to qualify for a Companion Pass good for the remainder of the current year and all of the next year. To qualify for that, most people also acquire the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card, which is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

The three personal cards (Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority) give you another 30,000, and you’ll need to pick up an additional 20,000 points via spending and/or flying to earn the pass good for greater than 12 months.

Personally, among the three personal cards, I like the Priority card the best. It’s got a higher annual fee, but with the $75 Southwest credit, it’s more like a $74 annual fee if you fly on the airline annually, and the top perks level make this card the best value among the three.


Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority: COMPANION PASS & 30,000 points

  • Companion pass good for all of 2019 after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. A companion flies free
  • 7,500 point bonus on cardmember anniversary
  • $75 annual Southwest Airlines credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $149 annual fee
  • Learn More about this card



Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier: COMPANION PASS & 30,000 points

  • Companion pass good for all of 2019 after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. A companion flies free
  • 6,000 point bonus on cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee
  • Learn More about this card



Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus: COMPANION PASS & 30,000 points

  • Companion pass good for all of 2019 after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. A companion flies free
  • 3,000 point bonus on cardmember anniversary
  • $69 annual fee
  • Learn More about this card




If the Companion Pass is not a high priority for you, but you do enjoy earning Southwest points, remember that Chase Ultimate Reward points transfer 1:1 to Southwest Airlines (United, too). The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a welcome bonus of 50,000 points and the Chase Ink Business Preferred offers a whopping 80,000 Ultimate Reward points in its welcome bonus.

These are my Preferred cards (pun intended) for those getting started with travel rewards.


Chase Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 points

  • 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months
  • $95 annual fee, waived in year one
  • 2x points on travel & dining
  • 25% more value when booking travel with Chase portal
  • Many point transfer partners
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Learn More about this card



Chase Ink Business Preferred: 80,000 Points 

  • Spend $5,000 in the first three months
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3 UR points per dollar on travel and select business categories
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Learn More about this card




I have updated my Credit Card Tracking Spreadsheet to reflect the changes in the Southwest and other cards. You can download that below by subscribing to my email list. You’ll be given the option to unsubscribe at any time or receive one email per week in the form of a weekly digest.

For more information on credit card rewards strategies, please visit my previous posts:




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Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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  • Thank you especially for drawing attention to the post from Dr. Wise Money’s sister. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed since I heard the news.

    I am glad to see that her sister has found a fiance that aids in the support system and it was nice to hear a little bit about Mini. Losing a mother at that young age is tragic and her outlook was one the first thoughts that came to mind when the news broke of her mother.

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  • Thanks for the shout out, PoF. Glad to be in such good company!

    And I am glad that you have shared the posts from Amanda’s sister. I’ve really found it meaningful to follow along as she updates the site.


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