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The Sunday Best (1/5/2020)

Sunday Best

The Sunday Best is a collection of articles I’ve curated from the furthest reaches of the internet for your reading pleasure.

Every week, I scan hundreds of headlines, read dozens of posts, and bring you the best of the best to save you time and mental energy.

Financial Independence (FI) is a primary focus, but it’s an awfully broad topic. I tend to approach FI and early retirement from a fatFIRE perspective and through the lens of a physician, so expect to see those biases in the selected articles.

Related topics that have become recurrent themes include early retirement, selective frugality, tax issues, travel, physician issues, and of course, investing.

For more great articles, take a peek at The Sunday Best Archives. Now let’s get to the best… The Sunday Best!



Sunday Best


The Sunday Best


How do you set New Year’s Resolutions? Have you broken any yet? Ryan Derousseau of Forbes says Here’s How Extreme Early Retirees Set Financial New Year’s Resolutions.


If you haven’t made any yet, it’s not too late! These can be made and worked on all year long. Top 11 Financial New Year’s Resolutions to Make (and Keep) in 2020.


The New Year is a good time to commit to new habits, and it’s also a good time to reflect on past goals and whether or not they were achieved. Passive Income MD looks back at My Best Financial Decisions of 2019 (which are his, not mine).


One of the best decisions you can make in 2020 is to commit to filling out a legacy binder to both organize your financial life and leave thorough instructions to your loved ones. The Importance of a Legacy Binder: The ICE Emergency Binder.



Physicians and pharmacists, Register with Incrowd for the opportunity to earn easy money with quick "microsurveys" tailored to your specialty.


Did you know that Jonathan Clements’ excellent money guides have transitioned from an annual printing to a continually updated and free site online? Check out the thorough, no-cost-to-you modern approach to the Money Guide at the Humble Dollar. Start Here. Go Anywhere. The section on Buying Happiness rings true.


Zach from 4 Pillar Freedom doesn’t agree with the traditional FIRE take of saving up 25x to 33x your annual spending and then being done. He takes A Modern Approach to Financial Independence that can lead to increased freedom even earlier in life.


Eric of Bonus Nachos has already retired and is now traveling the world with his bride. He wants his freedom to last which is why he takes four different approaches early on to help ensure his money will outlast him. Front-Loading My Retirement To Fight Sequence Of Returns Risk.


Low-cost travel is part of that plan, and that’s something that Dr. B.C. Krygowski knows a little something about. The Tired Superheroine, a mother and interventional radiologist, reviews Dr. K’s latest book (available for pre-order for $5 or $10): Spending Habits for Professionals Who Want FIRE.


If you want FIRE, you need to set aside plenty of money, and automation may be the key to success. The White Coat Investor outlines 8 Ways to Automate Your Finances.



The Physician Philosopher would be pleased if you automatically put away 30% of your gross salary, a number that lines up well with my live on half challenge for high-income professionals. Saving Money. How Much is Enough? The 30% Rule.


Six weeks ago, I spent a week in Ecuador with a group of FI-minded individuals. My new friend “Max” from Max Out of Pocket detailed our experience and shared some gorgeous pictures. Chautauqua 2019 – Ecuador.


You don’t want the max taken out of your pocket when you invest in real estate. That’s why it’s important to engage in Risk Management in Private Real Estate: 3 Types of Uncertainty, as described by Michael Episcope from Origin Investments.


The ever-popular Millionaire Interview series from ESI Money keeps on keepin’ on. Here’s another batch of five:


Vanguard Offering Free Trades


I didn’t get all excited when every other brokerage under the sun started offering free trades a few months ago, and this news doesn’t do much for me, but at least the stalwart has finally joined the free-trade party.

Just three days ago, they announced that online purchases of stocks in Vanguard brokerage accounts would not incur fees. This has been true for their ETFs and mutual funds as long as I’ve known them, and I’ve had 25 free stock trades a month for years as a Flagship member.

I’m not a trader; I buy and hold, and I’m usually buying a mutual fund anyway with a rare exception.

Now, if they could just eliminate the 7-day hold on funds transferred into an IRA brokerage account, I’d be a happy camper.


Backdoor Roth 2020


As of January 3, my wife’s 2020 backdoor Roth conversion was complete, whereas I’ll be waiting until January 9, 2020 before I can proceed with the next step. It’s not the end of the world, but it does delay the annual update of this post, and it also means I’ll be completing Step 2 from Spain when I should be enjoying the architecture and tapas!

**Post-publication update: Thanks to a couple of readers’ suggestions, I was able to complete Step 2 this morning, which I was unable to do on Friday, even after calling Vanguard and speaking with two people who told me all I could do was wait until 1/9 when the “unavailable shares” would be available.


I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.


RoofStock Academy


A partner of ours, RoofStock, has released a program that has the best money-back guarantee I’ve seen anywhere. Like Costco, if you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase, you can request and receive your money back years down the road.

Roofstock Academy is a course, library, forum, and coaching service. In addition to didactic learning, you’ll have access to 1-on-1 coaching, group coaching, and a Slack forum exclusive to Academy members.

The goal is to help you get started in real estate investing while avoiding costly mistakes. I know this isn’t the first time I’ve presented a real estate investing course, but they all become available for a short window, and this one’s available now (and I’m guessing it will remain open indefinitely).

The $1,750 price of admission is offset by $1,750 in Roofstock marketplace credits towards the purchase of turnkey properties on the Rooftstock Marketplace ($1,000 towards your first, and $250 each towards up to three more). And there’s also that anytime money-back guarantee.



If you’re looking to get started in hands-on real estate investing in 2020, Roofstock Academy may be what you’re looking for. As is the case with 100% of our referral partners, if you make a purchase via my link, you’ll be supporting our charitable mission.


Spain Bound!


On Tuesday, my family and I head out on another two-month FIRE adventure, this time in Spain. We’ll arrive Wednesday afternoon after an 8-hour layover in Amsterdam that includes a tour of the Anne Franke house.

We’ll spend time in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid. They all look like lovely cities, and were excited to be traveling again after a brief hiatus here in the northland.

The Barcelona half-marathon is six short weeks away. Amazingly, we’ve been able to run outdoors regularly over the last few weeks. If you told me I’d be training in northern Minnesota and northern Michigan in December and January, I would have asked for a team of sled dogs.

This mild winter weather has cooperated surprisingly well, so I didn’t get that chance to name any Huskies or tell them to mush. Mush! Mush, I say.

I would have named of them Blitzen, for sure. Instead, I’m just cranking out the miles and it’s actually going really well.




Speaking of Blitzen, my Golden Gophers took no sacks and no 5H!t from Auburn in the Outback Bowl, securing a 31-24 victory in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Minnesota more than doubled Auburn’s yardage total and took a knee deep in their opponent’s territory to end the game rather than running up the score. That game was a lot of fun more me — a fitting end to a rare special season.



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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20 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (1/5/2020)”

  1. BackDoorRoth finished a couple day ago with no holds:

    Fund $12k to your taxable account into the Prime MMA some time in December.

    Use those funds to fund the tIRA. Since the money is already in the account, I didn’t have a hold on the money. Your mileage shouldn’t vary by much.


    • I’ve heard from 2 people who experienced delays using Vanguard MMFs in taxable with brokerage TIRA accounts.

      I’m willing to give it a try for 2021, though. The taxable account should spit off enough in late December dividends to cover them.


  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. I’m in Palencia if you feel like reaching out to a fellow anglophone while in the Madrid area. Also, I’d like to make one suggestion: take a copy of Anne Franke’s Diary to read on the plane ride over before visiting the house. It’s what I did and it made the visit that much more impactful.

    Buen viaje

  4. Happy New Year and enjoy your trip to Spain PoF!

    Great Sunday Best as always. I’m surprised to see so many FIRE/PF bloggers write posts about goal setting this time of year. One of the very reasons I left the corporate world was because of the excessive goal-setting culture.

    I guess I’m more about dilligent work than goal setting.

    • For what it’s worth, I’ve set no financial goals this year.

      I am determined to run a marathon, though. That’s my one New Year’s Resolution.


  5. Thanks for the mention PoF! Very nice of you to include my little blog.

    In my first full calendar year of retirement, I’m having a small issue with my Vanguard Roth conversions too! Since this is my first time, I’m learning that they want me to specify a number of shares instead of a dollar amount. What the what? So now I’m waiting to sell off enough of the shares to have cash. Then I can convert the exact amount of cash, and rebuy with any remainder. I mean, it’s probably not a big deal, but I really want a $0 tax bill this year, so I’m willing to jump through the hoops.

    Enjoy your trip to Spain! I’m looking forward to getting there one of these days on our world travels.


    • You’re welcome!

      I only put the money in a money market fund in the brief stay in the Traditional IRA. Then a share = a dollar and that’s one less issue to deal with.

      From what I hear, Spain is quite affordable, especially for Europe. It’s no Chiang Mai, though. We’ll be in that part of the world at this time next year.


    • POF, I think, after reading your updated post, that I found out why I could convert mine easier than you and WCI. I still haven’t switched my fund to a brokerage fund, it’s still a Mutual Fund fund. I vaguely recall reading something from either you or WCI suggesting to keep it as Mutual Fund if possible. I think my wife might be in a brokerage fund, so I’ll see if there’s a difference when I do hers.

      • Yeah, the main reason I transitioned mine was to capture and detail the process for my readers. I also assume it won’t be long before mutual fund accounts are forced to transition to brokerage, anyway.

  6. I was able to do my backdoor conversions Vanguard this year one day after funding my Traditional IRA. It did give me some warnings about funds not being fully cleared and that I couldn’t sell or some sort of verbiage like that, but it did allow me to do the conversion. I funded TIRA, money market fund on 1/2, then did the conversion into RothIRA on 1/3 to VTSAX.

    • No kidding?!?

      I even called and ended up talking to two different people, both of whom told me there was nothing they could do. The main hassle for me is just the delay in updating the blog post and having to deal with this from Spain. But it’s annoying for anyone to have to wait.

      I’ll try again, but there was no option for me to proceed, as far as I could tell. But maybe there’s a workaround I didn’t figure out.

      Thanks for the insight!

        • Thank you for the offer, but I was able to get it to work. I believe I got a different result when I clicked on “Convert to Roth IRA” the first time.

          Thanks again for the heads up!


  7. It is hard to believe it has already been six weeks since the Ecuador trip. The Holidays flew by.

    Thanks again for putting together your presentation, everyone enjoyed it.

    Have a great time in Spain!


    • De nada! Enjoy your remaining few days in Europe and we’ll see you somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean as our planes pass like flying ships in the night.



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